Trump’s communication techniques

I’m not sure what is scarier that Trump knows what he’s doing, or, like so many liberals in the USA and around the world say, that he is a fool and doesn’t. Either way, it is useful to examine how he does what he does because whatever you think of his policies (or lack of them) he certainly has a powerful influence with those who believe in him and with those who seek to resist him.

As an Australian, we take great pride in giving our leadership shit. The more powerful, the more self-assured (or arrogant) and serious, the more we use humour to take them down a peg, remind them that leadership is supposed to be an act of service. My impression is that in the US they like doing this too. They have their roasts and the Washington journalist’s dinner (which Trump hasn’t attended). I spent 5 years living in the States and I have a continuing interest because my son still lives there and because our politics is influenced by our country’s little brother hero-worship attitudes. :-p

It’s true that US citizens are generally much more passionate about politics and religion than we are. It does worry me any time, regardless of the culture, society and nation when people don’t apply scepticism to all political players regardless of their tribe (I mean party). Watching from a distance I worry about the cancel culture and the rudeness and absolutist thinking that I see there (and to some extent elsewhere). I love politics so I don’t shy from it when I see it here or anywhere.

It is sad, but understandable, that some people make personal attacks when they don’t have a strong comeback.

If you are interested in politics and communication, in general, read up about classical rhetoric. 2500 year ago (and with continuing development through all that time) they knew there are 3 appeals on which effective and influential communication is based – authority (ethos), emotion (pathos) and evidence (logos). Different audiences are reached in different ways.

Trump appeals to authority and emotion and purposely pushes away people who respond to evidence. He invites conflict because it creates a sense of drama that appeals to the mass media (including the social versions) and to those members of the nation that are seeking heroes and adversaries, for simplistic black and white stories, who appear to have authority and excite their emotions. He uses the “analog markers” of NLP and the speech rhythms of preachers to deliver embedded commands. His version of the preacher is not as obvious as Obama talking to an audience of African Americans, but it is there subtly because it is part of the public speaking style of the States.

It’d be nice and I’m sure he’d like people to believe that he is a natural genius at this stuff. But he used to teach workshops, present at conferences and was involved with the great NLP Maestro Anthony Robbins – teaching and talking about sales and influence. So I think he’s done a lot of training on how to influence people (check out the Will Smith movie ‘Focus’ about criminal confidence tricksters for the great examples of the dark side of these techniques)

Here’s an example from today of the white Mr T (they both love gold) in action. Close your eyes as you listen. Note the pauses, the rising and lowering intonations, the changing speeds of his delivery – Donald Trump says he has directed a halt to his country’s payments to the World Health Organization pending a review of its warnings about the coronavirus an…

Contact Improv

Contact Improvisation is a dance form which I’ve participated in, on and off for over 30 years. This art is a central practice of my life. It feeds my need for touch, for continuous learning and creative, release from past and future. Contact is a challenge to the very structures and traditions (including politics) of our whole society and to the way so many of us do inner work. It is anarchism as an art expressed in the moment to moment experience of each other as partners, and therefore how we do being in ourselves. It gives a nonsexual experience of intimacy that breaks down status, power, authority and leadership in the simple process of dancing together.

Its techniques allow us to do superhuman activities – like the much smaller woman lifting the tall man at various times in this video. This is because the flowing techniques of contact lead to effortless movement based on the bones and posture doing the ‘work’.

This form is the love child of ballroom dance, modern dance, free jazz, and martial arts techniques (notably Taichi and Aikido without the competitive edge). It breaks a lot of the fundamental rules of these other styles while sharing some techniques and sensitivities. Its relation to and difference from these better-known styles are many –

* Traditional participant ballroom dance and martial arts are like contact, in that they are not about performance, they are about participation and they are all about partners. (performance ballroom is, of course, an exception)

* Traditional participant ballroom dance and Taichi are standing arts – Contact uses all levels from rolling on the floor to standing and lifting, which is part of its harmonic with Aikido.

* Traditional ballroom usually has one partner leading – Contact flows without a lead and can have more than one partner.

* Martial arts is competitive with all partners seeking conquest – contact is non-competitive, it is a completely collaborative experience (though some participants may sometimes compete to excel and do more physical techniques together if they know each other well)

* Some forms of Modern dance and martial arts use circular movements when most ballroom and some other forms of dance (including martial arts) use more linear movements – contact is all about the curves

* All forms of partnered dance (including martial arts “the dance of survival”) use sensitivity to each others’ movement and flow. This is heightened in improvised partner play as in unrehearsed ballroom, martial arts and contact.

* Attempting to translate this sensitivity to the kinaesthetic nonverbal experience of communicating between moving bodies in contact with each other into other languages like words leads to talk of “shared energy”, “empathy”, “feel” and “presence”

* All dance forms are a body of techniques that must be trained and learnt.

* Most dance forms do training classes that teach in traditional ways, the nonverbal sensitivities mentioned above comes second after you’ve memorized the movements, counted steps and develop the rhythm to synced up with the music (if not the martial dances) – in contact (like in martial arts) the rhythm comes from your flow with your partner, from synchronizing and harmonizing with them, not from the music (in martial arts winning comes from doing this then breaking the harmony in ways to outwit the partners).

* Contact’s primary difference from all the other forms is that this sensitivity to your partners comes first and is central to all techniques and movements. The skills are learned through experience with partners that are guided by more experienced people whose aim to enhance and build on this natural sensitivity and learning how to flow effortlessly with each other without using muscular strength.

* Contact doesn’t really make sense without doing it.

* The improvisational free jazz aspects of contact draws participants into the here and now, to be really present with partners. Full attention on the movements you are doing together requires intense focus on your kinaesthetic experience, on proprioception (that is, the sense that lets your know where you are in space and the relationship of your body parts with each other) and touch/feel. It takes most people away from their primary senses of seeing and hearing, with practice your inner voice can go quiet. You let going of past hassles and joys, you let go of future planning, fantasies and anxieties. You let go of proving yourself, worry and shame. When this works something really interesting happens; without trying you begin to know what your partners are going to do. It feels like your consciousness slips slightly into the future, and your body seems to get ahead of your decision-making. There is some interesting neurology for this but that’s for another time.

60 Second Scream – a poem and video

Here’s a poem that inspired this video montage – https://fetlife.com/users/2471446/pictures/88689025

Technical info – I did this using the Blender’s video editor. Blender is a free open-source computer graphics program that gives profession level 3D & 2D animations with everything you need to design and share them.

Monet and the Musee l’Orangerie

July 7th 2019 – I went to see the great works of Monet at the Musee l’Orangerie. The building was first built in the 1850s to protect orange trees (thus the name) in the orchard of a local palace near the Lourve. Serious decadents to build something this big an lush as a greenhouse. It was modified to hold Monet’s painting in the 1920s following his very specific instructions that they should be displayed in natural light.

The size of Monet’s paintings bring up some ideological issues for me. I admit they are beautiful in the classical sense that they give you a feeling of safety and comfort, maybe peace. They are the opposite of what Picasso seemed to be aiming for.

However, their size means they could never be owned by ordinary people. In fact, I don’t think they could be owned by the super-rich today. They were created by an artist who knew he wanted them in their own government-operated museum or gallery. As they are. Of course, this doesn’t mean I don’t have a ton to learn from him, as a maestro of the techniques and how to communicate feeling through art.

When I questioned other artists about this matter of size, they bring up the artist should not consider such things and go with the inspiration. But to me our beliefs, our desire for status, our politics and values are all part of how inspiration works.

The limitations, whatever they might be, are also important. These artists I’ve brought this up with are quite happy to limit their medium, their palette of colours for a project, take commissions for a specific location, and place various other boundaries on the work. But to consider your audience and their taste, their experience of your art is somehow capitalist or compromising or something.

To me, art is always a negotiation. I have to negotiate between my vision, my skill and my bodily coordination and the medium I’ve chosen. It doesn’t seem to be a great imposition to me to acknowledge the next level negotiation that goes on when I consider the reality of who my audience is and then between my taste and the taste of those who may buy or even just look at my art.

There is, it seems to me, a class or status thing at play subconsciously with many artists, especially those I put these thoughts to.

While I was in Vienna I attended an exhibition at the Mumok (Museum of Modern Art) focused on a group that was around in the 70s called ‘Pattern and Decoration’. They pointed out there struggles with the minimalists of the 60s and 70s who used decoration as an insult. These people wanted to go back to figurative work and to take inspiration from the decorative arts of different cultures around the world.

A long and well-exercised tradition which these snobs seemed to have forgotten.

After all, Picasso and his peers took inspiration from African masks and decoration. Some Impressionists, especially Van Gogh, were inspired by Japanese decoration. In all my travels around Europe showed me that the vast majority of ‘Art’ through history was decorative particularly murals. And most of these had political themes that sucked up to the powers that be. Donald Trump and Obama would both love an artist to surround them with angels, the Apostles, prophets and spiritual light to bless his presidencies.

It seems to me that doing art in a size and medium that can be afforded by people with an average or even median income is somehow below artists. It is proven by the way artists and others in Australia react to Ken Done’s success by turning his art into t-shirts, coasters, postcards and other useful bits and pieces. He doesn’t even rates as a designer, on Google (though he did come up as an artist there). Interestingly Mambo’s politics, cynicism and humour seem to protect them from the same attitude from many artists.

I’m not sure what this will mean if anything to my art over the next few years as I decide what to do to earn a living.

I did two painting of my own to learn from the masters.

waterlilies - after Monet
This watercolour was drawn at the Musee l’Orangerie which is a Museum devoted to Monet large waterlily paintings and his peers in Impressionism and early 20th century Modernism.
Piano Lesson - After Renoir
7/07/2019 – This was done at the Musee l’Orangerie. It is a museum in Paris devote to Monet and his peers in Impressionism and early Modernist art.

Here’s slide show of the pictures I took in the museum, including pics of the originals of the above.

Dali versus Picasso – A lesson from my journeys in Europe

Dali and Picasso are arguably the most famous names of 20th Century art (Picasso seems to be a tad ahead of Dali in recent times for recognisability). Will they be remembered in 500 years like Michelangelo and Da Vinci? Who knows. Art has its fashions, too.

They had several things in common

  • A love of myth, dreaming and symbolism,
  • A prolific output to the point of compulsion,
  • Their creative instincts were smack on the zeitgeist of their times,
  • A confidence (or arrogance) that freed them to pursue their creative and life impulses, regardless of criticism.
  • They both used caricatures and simplicity to tell stories.
  • Through their lives, they picked up and played with the art fashions and movements of their day, except the absolute abstraction of that came to the forefront from the 1940s to the 1970s and onwards – abstract expressionism, minimalism etc – although they might have been the original pop artists or at least inspiration for them.
  • They both made their meanings clear and usually pretty obvious, in ways that provoked their audience to think and feel.
  • They were both very intellectual in their expression of passion and imagination.
  • Both were unafraid money and fame, or of tags like commercialism or capitalist.
  • They were both Spanish and loved the heritage they were born into – expressed it in different ways.
  • Both were recognisable by the last name.

They were very different too.

  • Dali harnessed realism to his surrealist imagination, while Picasso, though he used the full gamut of his skills, seem to separate realism from his symbolism and expressionism.
  • Dali found a partner he was happy with most of his adult life, a relationship of equals, it seems, in many ways a true partnership. Picasso was known for “not keeping it in his pants” as the cliche goes. Some going as far as saying he was misogynist, though I’m not sure. His paintings certainly suggest sexually provocative appetites.
  • Picasso’s art seems to me to be more macho, violence and analytical, deconstructive in ways that I think Dali was gentler on the eye of the beholder.

This was even true of Dali even when doing illustrations like those in this version of Alice in Wonderland, from 1969. You may not see them the same way.

My feeling is that even in these wonderfully weird mixes of abstract symbolist images the colours are delicate, transparent. There is a classical beauty aesthetic at play as in all Dali’s work, even at his most provocative. Picasso doesn’t have this. He is truly wanting to tear down the status quo using the same stories and myths that have been used throughout Western art history from classical times, through the Renaissance, and onto the Romantics of the 19th century. He uses highly skilled techniques sometimes, but at other times he doesn’t seem to give a shit. He wants to get the ideas out ASAP with thinking too much about the process or the meaning.

I love both of them as the Yin and Yang of modern art. Both inspire me to be freer in my thinking, in my arts, to be highly skilled and to use history as a jumping off point for growth.

World Trip – Day 1

South Africa (SA) 1st-8th April

I know I’m running late by 3 weeks, but I’ve been busy living the dream.

Accommodation – Couchsurfing Host: Donald Massyn

April 1st – the flight

Arrived 5 pm local SA Time after leaving Sydney at 1200 noon for a 14 hour, 6862 miles or 11043-kilometre flight. I watched several movies I’d missed. I won’t review them. I can sleep on planes, but not well. So I only slept an hour or 2, and fitfully and read for some of it.

as expected there flight was crowded but not full there was a spare seat that help to make the flight slightly less claustrophobic.

I realised recently that I don’t read fiction very often, just for fun. I also realised that I enjoy James Bond movies but haven’t read the books that inspired them. So I’m reading “From Russia with Love” which interestingly is quite close to the Sean Connery movie from the ’60s.

I beautiful lightning storm greeted the plane as we arrived.

It took only about an hour to get through customs. It was storming with a full lightning show as I got off the plane at SA’s O. R. Tambo International Airport. I had three quarter of an hour wait that seemed like two hours for Donald, my couch-surfing host.

http://couchsurfing.com is website not unlike Airbnb but mostly free accommodation. You can register as a host and traveller. Hosts offer help travellers because it’s fun, they get to meet interesting travellers. Those of us who are couchsurfers are backpackers, creatives, Bohemians, travellers at the poor end of the demographic or just cheapskates. Hosts are often similar to couchsurfers because they have travelled the same way. So they reciprocating. Both hosts and couchsurfers are also at the courageous end of the spectrum. For some reason many mainstream people seem to think that the traditional Capitalist approach to pay-per-day plus extras accommodation (as in hotels and Airbnb) is perceived as safer than the generosity of hosts offering free services for fun and out of idealism is less safe. For safety sake you can check the reference system for both hosts and travellers for their mutual experience with each other. I hosted when I was living in Annadale, and had a spare room, then I couchsurfed three times on my last trip to Europe, five or six years ago.

Still as comfortable as I am with meeting strangers, the first meeting with a couchsurfing host when you don’t have a local phone number is anxiety filled. The airport free Wifi required a local phone number, so no Whatsapp.com call to reassure me Donald was on his way. I was only staying for a week in SA, so I have experimented with not having a local phone number.

It worked. More later.

Donald had a spare room, which regardless of the website’s name, is actually most common among Couchsurfing hosts. We sat talking for a while and he cooks me a quick dinner. I don’t have rules around food when travelling, or at other times I’m a guess. I take the Buddha’s Original Rule that you be flexible and open to experience so eat what is on the table. It’s the host’s Karma (in Buddhist terms. For me, it is about being a grateful guest and an adventurer. I went to bed about 10 pm local time which was 6 or 7, wakeup time in Sydney. I didn’t realise this until day 2.

Grand Art Tour

As of April 1st, I’m touring the world. Well, South Africa, Europe, North America and South America. This itinerary is going to change. And already has. I’ve split the French leg between Paris and some time in the country-side. And I haven’t booked the South American leg because that depends on my budget. I will be posting regular reports on the travels, that will include art (mostly watercolour pencils), photography and the occasional video here.

I’m already behind on postings as this demonstrates, being near 3 weeks late. Enjoying participating in the experiences does interfere with writing about them. Stay tuned I will be catching up soon.

ITINERARY
1 April – Flight to Johannesburg
Origin: Sydney NS AU (SYD)
Flying Time: 14 hrs 5 min
Airline: Qantas

8 April – Flights to Paris
Origin: Johannesburg ZA (JNB)
Destination: Frankfurt DE (FRA)
Flying Time: 10 hrs 45 min

Origin: Frankfurt DE (FRA)
Destination: Paris Charles de Gaulle Apt FR (CDG)
Flying Time: 1 hrs 10 min

BusAbout Europe
1 May – Bus to Amsterdam
Departs Paris: 08:00 AM
Arrives: Amsterdam: 18:00 PM

6 May – Bus to Berlin
Departs Amsterdam: 08:00 AM
Arrives: Berlin 18:00 PM


11 May – Bus to Prague
Departs Berlin: 08:00 AM
Arrives: Prague: 13:15 PM

16 May – Train to Vienna (One-Way Train Ticket)
Departs Prague: 08:50 AM
Arrives: Vienna: 12:50 PM

20 May – Bus to Krakow
Departs Vienna: 08:00 AM
Arrives: Krakow: 16:00 PM

25 May – Bus to Budapest
Departs Krakow: 08:00 AM
Arrives: Budapest: 18:00 PM

29 May – Train to Venice (One-Way Train Ticket)
Departs Budapest: 09:10 AM
Arrives: Venice: 20:05 PM

5 June – Train to Florence (One-Way Train Ticket)
Departs Venice: 07:25 AM
Arrives: Florence: 09:30 AM

8 June – Bus to Cinque Terre
Departs Florence: 08:00 AM
Arrives: Cinque Terre: 10:45 AM

10 June – Bus to Lauterbrunnen (Swiss Alps)
Departs Cinque Terre: 10:45 AM
Arrives: Lauterbrunnen: 20:00 PM

12 June – Bus to Nice
Departs Lauterbrunnen: 08:00 AM
Arrives: Nice: 18:00 PM

15 June – Bus to Barcelona
Departs Nice: 08:00 AM
Arrives: Barcelona: 18:30 PM

20 June – TO BE ARRANGED: MOROCCO + SOUTH SPAIN

2 July – Bus to San Sebastian
Departs Barcelona: 08:00 AM
Arrives: San Sebastian: 16:00 PM

2 July – Train to Bilbao (One-Way Train Ticket)
Departs San Sebastian: 18:55 PM
Arrives: Bilbao: 20:30 PM

7 July – Train to San Sebastian (One-Way Train Ticket)
Departs Bilbao: 05:15 AM
Arrives San Sebastian: 06:40 AM

7 July – Bus to Paris
Departs San Sebastian: 08:00 AM
Arrives: Paris: 18:00 PM

Flights out of Europe

8 July – Flights to Los Angeles
Origin: Paris Charles de Gaulle Apt FR (CDG)
Destination: Frankfurt DE (FRA)
Flying Time: 1 hrs 15 min

Origin: Frankfurt DE (FRA)
Destination: Los Angeles CA US (LAX)
Flying Time: 11 hrs 45 min

24 August – Flight to Sydney
Origin: Los Angeles CA US (LAX)
Destination: Sydney NS AU (SYD)
Flying Time: 15 hrs

understanding Colour..

Colour is central to our lives. As artists we have active control of colour to communicate with our viewers. There are observable ways colours interact to express our tastes and feelings. As we create we explore the feelings, the stories the colour helps us to tell. We can purposely go against our taste, in order to provoke or flow with it in order to placate or the third option is to downplay colour by going black and white. Knowing how they play together gives you freedom of choice.