A LinkedIn Update popped into my email box the other day. How exciting is that?
Well, ok, not at all exciting but when the choice is between opening it up and working on your book, I am sure you will agree that the only logical thing to do is to click on it. After all, just how many games of FreeCell can you play?
And so, I soon found myself avidly studying a list of people I barely knew connecting with people I didn’t know at all. And looking at their new profile photos, and lists of accomplishments, and where they went to school when they were 12.
Now, I’m sure there is some reason why having this update will improve my life but, to be honest, I didn’t really care enough to try to figure it out. In fact, I was just on the brink of deciding that making another cup of tea would more usefully take up some of my time when I found an announcement, right down towards the bottom.
My friend Carla is launching The Lumen Prize, the world’s first digital fine arts prize. The call is now out for entrants, a call that is being answered by people from Hong Kong to New York, from Africa to Europe. All proceeds will be going to Peace Direct, an international charity that is basically trying to bring about world peace, one person at a time. And she was running it from Treberfydd, the neo-Gothic house that has been in her new husband’s family since time began.
Yes, this well-respected financial journalist, newly qualified horticulturist, and recently promoted first clarinetist in the Brecon Town Concert Band decided that instead of taking life a bit easier now that she has stepped back from full-time employment, she should use her considerable talents to establish a major prize to promote an art form that can “cross boundaries, both conceptual and literal” and “explore the space for work beyond the usual art hegemonies”.
This prize must be the genuine arty article because I didn’t understand a word of that. In fact, I didn’t even know art HAD hegemonies, much less the usual kinds. But, apparently, it does and Carla is opening up the space beyond, beneath and behind them..
She is not doing it alone. No, she has enlisted the backing of top academics, artists, critics and professionals with experience from The British Museum, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, New York University, the National Portrait Gallery and that well-known hotbed of artistic endeavour, The Financial Times. To name but a few.
Of course, the prize is not the end of it. Where would the challenge be in that? Instead, an exhibition of the finalists’ work will then travel the world, including to conflict hotspots where Peace Direct is working.
And all of this from the middle of Wales, from a house in which you have to lean out of certain windows while standing on a chair in order to get a mobile signal.
How could someone with all those different webpages in her life have the time or the energy to do this? You have to admit, it’s a pretty amazing accomplishment and I was pretty amazed.
And then I scrolled down to the very last announcement on my Update and found her elder brother, Roger, announcing the news that his first feature-length film was now screening at cinemas throughout the midwest. Yes, WaterWalk – The Movie, the true story of a father and son who attempted to recreate the 1,000 mile trip of Marquette and Joliet could be at a theatre near you. If you happen to live in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana or Missouri. Those of us not blessed to be in those places, will have to settle for the official trailer.
“Wow”, I thought. Or words to that effect. What were the chances of two siblings, who aren’t all that far off qualifying for the Seniors’ Early Bird specials at the local diner, both embarking on such ambitious, epic, projects. At the same time?
And then I remembered a conversation over the family dinner table when I announced that my sensei had decided that the entire karate group was ready to grade for our black belts.
“Well done, Mummy” yelled my daughter.
“Well done, Riley” shouted my husband.
“Well done, Teacher” said my son.
Everyone looked at him. Quizzically. And he explained that if only one or two of us had been ready then it would be down to those individuals. But if the entire group was ready, it had to be because of the teacher.
And, you have to admit it, he had a point.
So, with that in mind…well done Carla and Roger. But, here’s to their parents. Congratulations Mr and Mrs Rapoport. You must have done something right.
I’m going for a little lie down now. Creating all those links was tiring work. But, the rest of you, it’s time to get out those iPads and whatever else it is that you use to create digiart. I literally have no idea. But you better get busy. The deadline for entry is 31st July. Good luck.
Not Leo Tolstoy (aka Eileen Riley)