Thursday, 31 December 2009

That was the year, that was

It's over and now it's done
(Plus a New Year's Eve competition)

The end of the calender year and the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century (the 'noughies')

All arbitrary of course, but is there any way in which this year-end can be invested with substantive meaning.

I offer a hypothesis, no more, one to be tested only in the passage of time, by that most powerful and widely possessed of analytic tools, wisdom after the act.

A pivotal decade?

This has indeed be a pivotal decade for Conductive Education, one in which the planks have increasingly come off the international stage of the history of Conductive Education, the rocks have ground ever harder beneath its keel, and the weather through which it sails has become ever harsher and darker, while more and more souls have clambered hopefully on board.

A pivotal year?

What about the year 2009?

Certainly the social and economic sea across which Conductive Education sails feels now very different to how it did twelve months ago. Much more difficult to gauge, however, is how Conductive Education 'eels'. It is still there, no small achievement in itself. There are still places to be had, jobs to be taken. In that sense, la lutte continue.

But is la lutte (the struggle) feeling any harder? Is common favourable outcome still shared (or even expressed), is there any sense of a future endgame or exit-strategy).

What's it all about? Where is it going? Is there anyone on the bridge? Is there a bridge?

All terribly personal and individual of course. My personal feeling is that the world of Conductive Education will never now be the same, either as it has been over the last twenty years or even as anybody hoped or expected it to be. In 2009, an era passed.

Historical stages, eras, phases etc, do not go out and come in with a sharp click, like on the throw of switch. They blend one into the next, and the change may be apparent only in retrospect. The only sharp switch may be in individuals' perceptions on events.

When did I finally accept that the old world was dead, and it was now time to start building the new?

Dreadfully late, I am afraid. When did you realise? Or when are you are going to?

In the New Year, or later in the decade?

The Competition

The image offered above, under the heading 'A pivotal year' is a common enough, recognisable motif in Western art and culture.

No prizes for naming it but it would be nice to know whether it strikes any chords.

I have been told that as stated this is much too hard, so here is a clue. Think of Bosch and Géricault.


  1. Andrew

    The first image that came to mind as I read your posting was the Raft of the Medusa, and although I couldn't remember the name of the artist the image was right there before my eyes.

    When I looked it up the artist wasn't either Goya or Hieronymus B. the two artists you were after. So I was stumped and decided, as a bit of a fan of his drawings especially those of cripples and beggars and monsters, to go for Hieronymus's The Ship of Fools.

    I was pleased to see that when I got back to your posting to write this comment, having looked at all sorts of paintings for over an hour, that you had been fiddling on your blog and Goya has now disappeared as an option and Géricault has taken his place.

    So I will go with my first image and plump for Medusa and the Raft as the painting you are referring to, although I prefer The Ship of Fools myself.

    Happy New Year

  2. That's me spotted! Yes it was Théodore Géricault, not Francisco Goya, who did the Raft of Medusa. Not a deliberate mistake, just an old brain. If there were a prize you'd certainly deserve it.

    I can see why you prefer Bosch's Ship of Fools, a nicer pic but less effectively 'allegorical' to my post-nediaeval eyes.

    Either way it is the allusion represented by both, and by lesser luminaries (not just in the graphic arts) that has come to my mind over the years.

    I guess that the competition is now closed!