May 11, 2003

under the sign of the beautiful

One day on my own in the new townhouse. Lots of space. The business pages of the newspaper says that house prices are falling and the house affordability index is rising.

The alarm goes off when I don't want it to; the automatic lights stay on when I want them to go off; I cannot figure out the digitial Swedish washing machine; the sleek Italian fridge emits sounds that tell me I've left the door open too long; and I stare at the groovy, German dishwasher whilst I hand wash the dishes. I can work the trendy Australian gas stove but it requires lots of cleaning to keep it looking beautiful. And the polished hardwood floors mean that all shoes must be left at the door.

We bought a package of beautiful living. None of it is very green. No rain water tank; no recycling; no solar energy; everything airconditioned. I sat outside on the balcony this morning in the rain having breakfast in protest at the lack of green technology.

Why not green and beautiful?

I've suddenly realised that living in the high tech apartment/townhouse is living under the law of the aesthetic----the beautiful. We have aesthetized our private lives----everything must look beautiful including ourselves. It is designer living. All that is old and tacky has to go------to the holiday house in Victor Harbor. Nothing can get dirty. Nothing can be left lying around in the of so compact townhouse. The aesthetic even rules our play. Are we not fully human only when we play?

Ye gods. What have we got ourselves into? Romantic excess? Where is the dream of the living the beautiful life going to led?

We have a designer home with an outrageous mortagage and the stress of keeping up the payments. We cannot afford to live the beautiful life----we are staring to drink and clean obssessively. Will our relationship break down? Will we crash the car? Will our immunne system be break down because we are so stressed out from tying to incorporate the beautiful into our lives. Will the place be repossessed because of the tyranny of the aesthetic?

If we sold now we would end up owing lots of money! It is a trap. And I've been here before. The wheel just goes round.

Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at May 11, 2003 07:41 PM | TrackBack

we are all institutionalised at home

Posted by: meika on May 12, 2003 10:41 AM

Yes.I know. I'm not sure that the beautiful should override every other form of shaping our conduct.

Posted by: Gary Sauer-Thompson on May 13, 2003 04:14 PM

alas (and it is a cause for regret) - such beautiful places are too beautiful for me, and my dogs and my junk. Like a (tante) hulot in Mon Oncle - technology and design and me just don't seem to get along well enough to form a meaningful menage. (I imagine though that there is a considerable pay-off aesthetically.)

Posted by: boynton on May 13, 2003 05:20 PM

Well, the junk has to go.The dogs are a huge problem especially when they come in from their morning and evening walks. And me? I cannot see past the cleaning to keep all those surfaces glistening. Everything is glass.

How do the beautiful people do it?

Posted by: Gary Sauer-Thompson on May 13, 2003 05:47 PM

they don't, they get someone else to clean it. do the 'beautiful' people actually spend much time at home anyway, aren't they all at gallery openings, cafes, winebars, the latest trendy gym, or on the road driving their Mercedes convertible?

Posted by: dj on May 14, 2003 11:18 AM

I'm still mulling over these posts of yours on aesthetics...trying to articulate a response but failing.

(Boynton - thanks for reminding me of Monsieur Hulot. that scene with the fountains...classic.)

Posted by: Gianna on May 14, 2003 11:52 AM

Actually I think the film is an "essay" on this very theme. Remember the scene with the street vendor - (I forget the food he's making/selling!)- that would surely now defy our paranoid health regulations- a place where dogs and kids an un-sophisticated adults can run free. But it's not all doom and gloom - the nephew's hand clasps his father's . In the end, that's all we primates "need" in our surroundings.

Posted by: boynton on May 14, 2003 01:50 PM
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