Picking up the Pieces: David Halliday

We are living in a world of collage.”

The more I think about it, the truer it feels.
Maybe it’s an ‘age’ thing: the awareness that there is no over-arching narrative; there’s just stuff happening, one thing and another.
A world of jarring juxtapositions, odd contiguities; dislocation; disjunction; fractured and fragmented.

Except for the Cymbalta:

“Something is eating a hole… There are too many names in my head. PINS… And a friend. In the Nut House told me. That insanity is not all that it’s cracked up to be.”

David is Canadian, a published writer and artist; that’s about as much as I know. We ‘met’ in the blogosphere; his posts, combining haunting, surreal collage/photo montage with prose poems (micro-fictions?), struck a chord; no callow, eager-eyed youth he; here was a man who has Seen Life.

Still Wearing An Apron: Confessions of a newly divorced woman:

“At the bottom of the stairs. I used to wait for you. To come down. Head first… I can take heart ache. Who doesn’t want to find their husband. Jerking off. Over the dishes?”

His style is spare, staccato, disruptive. No ‘thens’ or ‘becauses’; nothing to imply coherence and understanding, rationalisation; just the piling up of words, phrases, sentences, their only connections being those which we, as we do, read into them.
Like a collage.

There Must Be A Special Home: Drinking buddies:

” For old men. Who still pine… I have to wonder if my liver. Would have outlived. Yours.”

Life; relationships; time itself, experienced not as linear progression, but through snapshots of memories, flitting back and forth; past, present and future commingling uneasily to form an idea of ‘now’:

“Every moment around me. An ambush. Of memory.”

Too Busy Tonight:

“I sat alone in a restaurant. Eating snitzel. And reading the New York Times. Across Church Street. She stepped out of an apartment building. Swimming. In the arms of her lover. Who looked like he’d just taken her. For a test drive.”

Pudding On Your Plate: An old man goes mad cooking dinner:

“Jesus is a wrist watch. That never keeps time. But at least it distracts you from. The point of getting older. My only concern about time. Is how much I have left… The glass is too frail to be half full. Turn my head back to the table. I thought you should know. That isn’t pudding on your plate.”

Just bits and pieces.
We, it, words, images are discrete quanta, bumping up against each other yet remaining forever separate, abstractions in a composite; and this thing we call ‘life’ is something far more grotesquely absurd, far less orderly, than we like to think.
A jigsaw that will never –  quite –  fit:

“The scars from the war. Were still waking him up. In the alley. Between those condominiums that were being renovated… The President is handsome. Aren’t they all.”

The Girl In My Heart: Melancholia:

“The condition of the world. Has sucked off my soul. And you’ve got to get over the feeling. That this has been said. Before. I leave. That the girl in my heart. Is the one. Over there. Her head on my shoulder. Her hand in my pocket.”

Multiplicity and heterogeneity.
No sense of things hanging together comfortably.
Pessimistic? Depressing?
Not at all. (At least not to me. Absurdity is always blackly humourous, I’ve found.)
If art –  the arts –  have one purpose it is surely not to ‘explain’ but to record in a way that we recognise and yet makes us think differently.
David’s work does this, for me.

I’ll leave the last thought to him:

God Or Not:

“There are 2 things.

If there is no God, then the universe is like a haunted house. And freakin’ scary.

And if there is a God. He’s a prick.”


See more of David’s art and writing here:

10 thoughts on “Picking up the Pieces: David Halliday

  1. “We are living in a world of collage.” I like that, though, I think this “age” is (or should) be more about simultaneity than non-linearity. I think simultaneity is a natural mode of thought for the human mind, it’s how we can accomplish systemic thought, something this world need more of, whereas non-linearity falls generally into the thought experiment realm (memento) since we don’t experience non-linearity in our lives. I absolutely love Hertzfeldt’s Bill Trilogy for this reason. The simultaneity and compositing creates a very nuanced experience of the human mind. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IUX0Qy-IDM

    • Don’t get all technical on me! haha Ok – ‘simultaneity’ is good.
      The film is SUPERB. A great addition. Thanks so much for that, Andrew.

      • Haha, coming from the person who introduced themselves with: “Nice post, although I would point out that the Golden Ratio ….I’m anal like that.” No that’s fine, but I would say though that there is an argument to be made for non-linearity as separate and necessary from simultaneity, not merely technicality. I just don’t care to formulate it or recognize it as being as valid as simultaneity at this juncture. Haha.

        I’d also recommend following up with Hertzfeldt if you liked the film, he’s my favorite animator. “Rejected” is another great short, but with an inverted comedic:profound ratio.

  2. Touché. Haha. Yeah, I’ve just been thinking about it as I cook… they are not ‘interchangeable’ at all – in some contexts they could mean the opposite. Will ponder more… and check out “Rejected”.

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