I previously posted a play here (RAW A RESPONSE PLAY) that uses Metafiction a lot in the script. This was a first stab at something like this and I’ve only just realised how much I was being influenced by Kurt Vonnegut and his book Breakfast of Champions. I genuinely thought at the time I was doing it because of my experience as a comic…
Here’s what Wikipedia says about Metafiction.
“Breakfast of Champions makes heavy use of Metafiction, with Vonnegut appearing as the narrator/creator of the work, explaining why and how he makes this world as it is, changing things when and as he sees fit, and even being surprised by events.”
In no way am I claiming I’m in the same league as Kurt Vonnegut. I’m posting this because I’m surprised how much I’d appropriated his style unconsciously. I haven’t read much of his work and haven’t read Breakfast of Champions in about 15 years, although I feel another reading may be on the cards soon.
Suicide, free will, mental illness, and social and economic cruelty are the main themes of Breakfast of Champions so you’d be surprised to find it’s also one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.
In the book is a character called Rabo Karabekian who is an artist who has sold an abstract work called The Temptation of Saint Anthony. Here’s a fictional image of a fictional painting.
Although he’s not a main character my favourite part of the book comes when Rabo has to justify the money spent on his work to a group of angry and cynical towns folk. He says…
“I now give you my word of honor,” he went on, “that the picture your city owns shows everything about life which truly matters, with nothing left out. It is a picture of the awareness of every animal. It is the immaterial core of every animal – the ‘I am’ to which all messages are sent. It is all that is alive in any of us – in a mouse, in a deer, in a cocktail waitress. It is unwavering and pure, no matter what preposterous adventure may befall us. A sacred picture of Saint Anthony alone is one vertical, unwavering band of light. If a cockroach were near him, or a cocktail waitress, the picture would show two such bands of light. Our awareness is all that is alive and maybe sacred in any of us. Everything else about us is dead machinery.”
There we go. Now you’re looking at it from a new perspective. Which is what most art is about.
Now here’s one of the new entries for the Turner prize.
Looking at this you may come to the conclusion that the Turner Prize has reached its natural conclusion and disappeared up its own. But the point is this bit of art is by the artist, Anthea Hamilton, who has enlarged it from a design by Gaetano Pesce for a New York apartment block, to which it would have been a doorway (a back entrance, so to speak) for social housing tenants.
And now you have another perspective. No other great point to make here. And so it goes…