Refraction

rɪˈfrakʃ(ə)n/

noun

PHYSICS

  • The fact or phenomenon of light being deflected in passing obliquely through the interface between one medium and another or through a medium of varying density.
  • The focusing characteristics of an eye or eyes

Other:

  • The way you see yourself through the eyes of another. The way light passes through glass and creates a rainbow – or the way something solid appears broken in water.

Tim VS Tim

Last year I was in a car accident.
Nothing too dramatic, three lanes.
Me on the far right, the man in the far left – and we both merged into the middle lane, and each other.

I had merged into a very creepy 60 year old man named Tim.
I stored Tim’s details in my phone incase I needed to contact him, and he saved mine.

The insurance company declared it a ‘Each Bare Own Responsibility’ accident.
Meaning we each pay to fix our own cars.

*

3 months later, I had a very casual encounter with a beautiful 28 year old bartender named Tim.

One very hot evening, 28 year old Tim and I had been sexting. He was at work, and I was waiting for him to finish for some sexy time. I had a drink or two, and had taken some rather explicit pictures, and wrote some very suggestive content to send to Tim.

Several minutes later, and there was no response. I looked to his message conversation and the picture hadn’t sent.

I noticed another message conversation named Tim.
Confusion, and then horror.

I immediately switched my phone off and hid it in my underwear draw. I don’t know why. My brain just went “ABORT ABORT”.

About an hour later I switched on my phone, I still needed to contact hot Tim.

Weeks went by and I never recieved a call or text from creepy Tim. I assumed he was too old to have data on his phone and therefore didn’t have the capabilities to download the explicit pictures.

*

On Friday, some 9 months later- I recieved a phone call from Nicole from GIO. It went something like this.

” Hello ****,

I’m calling to inform you that Mr Tim has put in a complaint through his insurance company and has attached photographic and written content where he claims you are attempting to seduce him in order to get out of paying his excess. He claims that this is evidence to support that you are in fact at fault.”

The entire GIO team had seen my bum cheeks.

I DIED.

My brain (from embarrassment) went into panic/auto pilot mode. I blurted out “No, it was an accident, Tim is the name of my Fiancee. I was sending it to him”. I don’t know why I lied, I think I didn’t want the GIO lady thinking I was promiscuous.

It didn’t end there, I continued. “Believe me, if I was trying to seduce him, he would have been seduced!!!” – my ego was also taking a hit.

Nicole then continued to read out the written content. Where I was offering very specific services (to hot Tim). She was very professional, but I had the feeling that I was on speaker, with her entire team listening. A story they will no doubt be telling their friends for years to come.

At this stage, I was prepared to hand over all my money for this conversation to end.

However, Nicole further explained that this had no impact on the claim, and that she just had to notify me.

I apologized several times, then we hung up. I had my phone in my underwear draw for 2 days!

Fingerprints Of A Burglar

A single fingerprint can reveal so much about who you are, your unique identifier in this infinite expansion of time and space. An impression left by the friction of your finger. An identifier that is detailed, unique, unchanging, and durable over the span of your life – making it the perfect marker and symbol of your identity.

If we look at a fingerprint as a concept, rather than the physical definition, is it possible that we each have an endless equation of infinite fingerprints applicable to all facets of our lives?

A painter’s brushstroke is his fingerprint, specific and unique only to him. In the same way a writer’s idiolect, language, and vocabulary represent their unique written fingerprint. We drop personal clues, like burglars who secretly wish to be caught, we leave our fingerprints on broken locks, our voiceprints in bugged rooms, and our footprints in wet cement – why do we leave our mark?

What about lovers? Over time, we build a database, for the fingerprints of our lovers, past, and present. Their motivations, desires, and trends. Eventually we begin to familiarise ourselves with their patterns, their rhythm, and touch.

Plain Arch – I remember him well, he lacked imagination and didn’t like to kiss, but he would always run his fingers lightly up the back of my thighs, applying pressure as he lost control, his signature. Radical Loop – was an exhibitionist and would pull me in tight when he noticed other people looking at us, his eyes always trying to catch mine, trying to look into them, no matter how hard I tried to evade him. Double loop whirl – was passionate and all consuming, he would bite my bottom lip after every third kiss and whisper my name into my left ear. Ulnar Loop teased me, he liked seeing me hungry, and jumped between soft and sharp so radically that I never knew what was coming next.

Do we all have a unique and individually distinct style for love? Do we place our fingerprints on each and every lover we touch?

I always wondered what it was about him that made the way he touched me so profound. Even after great reflection I just couldn’t make sense of it. How can you explain to someone in no uncertain terms why they are so enigmatic? I wanted to tell him, it was his fingerprint.

I wanted to ask him, I wanted him to tell me what made him so special. In the most flirtatious of ways I provoked him;

“The way you touch me isn’t how other men touch me, it can ruin a girl.”

“You want to know my secret? When I touch you, I don’t want to fuck you, I want to see your soul.” 

If you were to place my body under a black light, uncovering things naked to the eye, I would be illuminated by the swirls of his fingerprints all over my body. If you were able to pull prints off human skin you would be able to track his fingers – all over my neck, his prints telling you that that was his favourite part of me. If he were to ask me where I felt his mark the most, in the most flirtatious of ways, I would tell him, my heart.

Rust & Stardust

Intimate relationships, much like the cosmos, have laws. Laws of attraction, laws of chemistry, and laws of physics. I’ve often wondered why it is that some couples are perfect for each other, and others seem to perpetuate poetic catastrophe. I’ve dreamt up this great correlation between the rules of the planets and the rules of our love lives.

I find it endlessly fascinating how two people can come together in such harmony that it’s almost inconceivable. It becomes similar to the concept of earth, a planet with breathable atmosphere, sustainable climate, copious amount of water, an ideal proximity to the sun, an ozone layer, and a magnetic field, easy – ability to support life/love.

While another two people can consume each other in a burst of love and incompatibility, like two unsuspecting black holes, orbiting one another, until gravity pulls them closer, both feeding off each other, their pending collision sending ripples through the fabric of time and space. The two come so close to each other that escape is impossible, the cycle is locked in, an embrace and collision, merging them into an all consuming, light destroying bigger black hole. The same can be seen with two incompatible lovers, dangerous and consuming, but lovers nonetheless.

Gravity and attraction, orbits and compatibility, magnetic fields and chemistry, heat and sustainability, we truly are made of rust and stardust.

Writer’s Block & Recalibration: Nabokov’s Lolita

My pallet has lost its vibrancy, colours mixed in the wrong equation. My paintbrush has dried up, boar bristles jagged and harsh. My toolbox, playing hide and seek. I stare at my canvas and despise what I have created – dullness – I loath it. The theory has overpowered the aesthetic. The rush has displaced detail, and my lust for beauty is hibernating.

I know it’s there, I’ve written before, and I will write again in the same fashion. Writers Block. A disease. A parasite.

I know what I need, I need a recalibration. I need Nabokov. Na. Bo. Kov. I can feel it working already. I pull apart my bookshelf with appetite. There it is, my compass, my true north. Lolita.

I’m often asked what my favourite book is. I always answer without hesitation, without thought, almost innately. Of all the books, of all the stories, of all the words. Lolita.

Predictably, they ask. Why?

I was 15 when I bought my first copy – I wondered around the second hand book arcade in Newtown for hours, four to be exact. Red heart shaped glasses enticed me – $4.85 and the book was mine. The previous owner was a smoker, the smell of burnt tobacco hitting me as I opened the first page. I imagined who the previous owner was, where they were now, what brand of cigarettes they smoked, and what they thought of Lolita.

When I die, if a supreme being asks me what was the most beautiful thing of my existence – I would recite this paragraph. The opening paragraph.

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.

And with that, it begins. The words are no longer just words. They are the entire past, present, and future. They are creation and death. They are etherial and otherworldly.

What’s the book about they ask.

It’s about a pedophile I reply, mainly for shock value. I enjoy creating a little controversy, curiosity, and uncertainty.

An orchid growing in a conventional garden is beautiful, but an orchid growing out of decaying and rotten land is more than just an orchid – it holds a different currency.

Beautiful words written about a beautiful topic is still just an orchid in a pretty garden. Beautiful words written about human immorality – that’s when the conversion begins.

I finish the book in three days, and it’s back. The knowledge that words can alter cognition, that even the most immoral concepts can be painted romantically – that I can turn the dull into an orchid.

A Thing Of Beauty

There’s so much poetry written about women. An endless fascination with their beauty, character, and bodies. Women – the inspiration for art, muses for the artist. A woman can hold a gaze in a way that no man can recreate, she is the centrepiece of every room, the moon amongst the stars.

Women are empowered on every corner – reminded that they’re smart, beautiful, funny, and intelligent. They have an abundance of support systems, constant reassurances from advertising, and a network of people willing to help them. I began to question how, as a society, we have this unhealthy attitude of degrading men in an attempt to empower women.

There’s a mass under appreciation of men. The male anatomy, the male brain, the male heart, and the male sex – I think there’s endless beauty there. Something often overlooked.

I remember the first time I spent endless moments observing the male body in person. Height that towered over me, broad shoulders that symbolised his solidarity, and sharp edges, a blatant contrast to the curves of a woman. Beautiful straight lines, definition of muscles in places that I had never seen. I was in awe of him.

As time moved on I began to understand that the cognition of the male brain was significantly different to a woman’s. It was more linear, logical, and less erratic. There was a peace, a simplicity, something so comforting and safe rattling around in there. Something unfazed by the trivial – I loved it.

The male heart is probably one of my favourite places in this world. It’s like a secluded beach, a place that never understands how beautiful it is, how rare it is, and how much value it holds. A mans heart is this perfect balance of humility, simplicity, and softness. It took me a while to understand how this organ worked. I found myself thinking it was far more complex that it actually was, I found that if you feed a man love, he will flourish. A man’s heart responding to love is like watching a garden bloom in spring.

I learnt very early on that men have a completely different relationship with their sexuality – their desires and their chemistry. Some hold a shame, others a freedom – there is an unaltered intrinsic desire, something that isn’t imposed on them. Their desires carnal, and animalistic in a way that a woman can’t understand, a physical urge that is driven by biochemistry.

I’m often inspired by men, the way that they don’t know that they’re being watched, the way they grow when given the right amount of fuel. The way they look, and the way they love.

The New Panopticon: Social Media

Is it possible that Facebook, instagram, and any other social media you can think of, is imprisoning us? Setting guidelines on how we behave and interact on social media? Are we subscribing to our own imprisonment?

The Panopticon is a building designed by the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham, the concept of the design is to allow all inmates of an institution, namely a prison, to be observed by a single watchman without the inmates being able to tell whether or not they are being watched. Although it is physically impossible for the single watchman to observe all cells at once, the fact that the inmates cannot know when they are being watched means that all inmates must act as though they are watched at all times, effectively controlling their own behaviour constantly. Bentham described the Panopticon as “a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example”.

Michel Foucault used this as a metaphor for modern “disciplinary” societies and their pervasive inclination to observe and normalise. This means that the Panopticon operates as a power mechanism. The Panopticon creates a consciousness of permanent visibility as a form of power, where no bars, chains, and heavy locks are necessary for domination any more. Foucault proposes that not only prisons but all hierarchical structures like the army, schools, hospitals and factories have evolved through history to resemble Bentham’s Panopticon.

Building on Foucault, contemporary social critics often assert that technology has allowed for the deployment of panoptic structures invisibly throughout society. In 2017, what do we consider a Panopticon? Is the structure of social media a self regulating, peer reviewing Panopticon?

 

Jack Vettriano & Painted Eroticism

It was round about midnight on a Saturday night, I was laying in bed doing some research for an art paper when I came across it.

Jack. Vettriano.

His name rolled off my tongue. There was something about his name that pulled me in, it was justified the second I saw his paintings. With each click through his exhibitions, I moved into a different era, I became immersed in a story, a mystery – the mystery of figuring out what was going on in each image. I felt like I should be sipping a scotch while delving deeper.

It was like I had been given a detective badge, a trench coat, and a cigarette. I was no longer in 2017, I was somewhere in a mixed era that spanned from the 1930’s through to the 1950’s. Everyone here everyone had secrets, and it was my job to uncover them. Vettriano’s paintings giving just enough story, but leaving enough mystery to not only pique your curiosity, but to leave you wanting so much more.

His colour pallet of deep burgundies, burnt oranges , reds, blacks, and navy blues setting the tone and creating the mood. The femme fatale women, and Donald Draper men evoking a passion that you wish you could taste, a longing between them that sent electricity up your spine.

Fallen Angels, Summers Remembered, A Date With Fate, The Passion And The Pain – And my personal favourites: Lovers And Other Strangers, Love, Devotion & Surrender, and Affairs Of The Heart.

Each exhibition feeling like the prelude to an Eyes Wide Shut party or a Film Noir movie. Lingerie, thigh highs, suspenders, suits, and ties accompanied by all things dark and dangerous: prostitution, sex, and the most dangerous thing of all – love. I can’t tell whether Vettriano’s works are testing or teasing me, but I want more. More subtle undertones of surrender and dominance, more femininity and masculinity, more love and lust.

Is this tasteful porn? Or something that has an oppositional objective? Does it arouse imagination or the anatomy? What do we consider art, and what do we consider smut?

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Surrender

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Game On

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Fetish

 

Why Is The Mystery Of Dating Obsolete?

There I stood in a fresh farmers market, my hand reaching down to pick a ruby red delicious apple, when all of a sudden another hand reached to pick the same one. I looked up into big green eyes and a handsome smile. I apologised, gave him the apple and walked a few steps to the left. “Hey, wait, I’m Evan” he said comfortably. He was oh-so charming, and kept trying to talk to me – I was confused, it almost felt a little odd. He asked for my number and that weekend we went on a date.

I didn’t know his last name which meant no social media stalking, and subsequently no anxiety. There was mystery, excitement, and a little bit of a thrill – all of which I hadn’t felt in such a long time. What was happening here?

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s no shock that since the technological revolution, our lives have been greatly impacted. Technology has brought us closer but pulled us further apart. What I want to explore is the impact that technology has had on our romantic lives, and more specifically, the way we date. What is this new social order? How have we constructed a new framework that dating sits in?

There was an organic change to the framework of dating, but were we notified about this? Did we get a vote? Were we warned about the side effects of convenience?

Tinder – How on earth did something as intimate as chemistry get turned into a mobile phone application? This app is used on a global scale and is available in 40 languages. It boasts an average of 12 million matches per day an users collectively make around 1 billion swipes a day. 50 million people use this app, so there has to be something great about it, right?

In this culture of instant gratification, I can see how there would be an appeal. I can even see that it offers a platform to connect with people that you may not normally be able to connect with – but at what cost? Mystery, excitement, and thrill are exchanged for convenience, information, and instant gratification. Is that something we signed up for?

Don’t you remember that rush? When dating wasn’t a sure thing? When you actually met someone before you knew everything about them? If you don’t – I urge you to try. Romance isn’t something you can force, it happens organically, a spark, chemistry, a slow understanding of each other, and a falling in love.

We complain that romance is dying, but we keep firing the gun – put down the gun and give romance a shot.

Why Do We Connect?

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that “There are all kinds of love in this world, but never the same love twice.” Simply put, human connections vary with every different relationship. You will never have an identical connection with one partner as you will have with the next.

But do we actually have the same love/connection with the same person?
The already established connection is characterised by constant change and perpetual threats of dissolution. We’re the most adaptive species; which means in every moment we connect the stability is undermined by our own naturally, autonomously, evolving state; and theirs.

Why do we search, so thoroughly, in hopes to find someone that can offer us the same peace we require? Or are we masochists and narcissists who are aware of how futile searching for a connection is, but for some reason enjoy the unfulfilled search? Or is it because we value the rarity and ineffable profoundness of the moment we connect to another person regardless of its nature?

Is that moment so intoxicating that it haunts, inspires and fuels us for more, greater, even deeper connections, setting an unattainable ideal?

Perhaps those moments of connection, whether it’s something as innocuous as being the only two people who laugh at a joke, almost in unison, as though your thoughts were shared through some strange telekinetic experience or something much deeper and far more enigmatic, maybe it’s just a silver lining to all the other bullshit we have to deal with, maybe we don’t try and turn it into something tangible, maybe we just let it crash through us and wait for the next wave to hit?