gistofthegrist

one-off at the wrist

Nature abhors a vacuum

street text near Victoria Park, London, UK

In physics horror vacui [fear of the empty] is a saying anachronistically attributed to Aristotle, who theorized a belief  that nature contains no vacuums because the denser surrounding material continuum would immediately fill the rarity of an incipient void. By extension the idiom Nature abhors a vacuum is used to express the idea that the human mind craves ‘excitation’ and if we feel under-stimulated we’ll generally complain of being bored or irritable and then The devil finds work for idle hands [which might have been an equally appropriate title for this post, but hey, a short phrase with the fantastic words ‘abhor’ and ‘vacuum’!]

Found last year near what became a back entrance [oo’er] to the 2012 Olympic Games Stadium site in East London, [needless to say it didn’t survive the pre-Games ‘tarting up’ process] this piece of street art/text wittily riffs on and claims for itself similar supposed health benefits of the 19th century proverb An apple a day keeps the doctor away and to my mind also comments on the wider topic of urban pacification [normally a military term] with regard to public art/ownership of land and mass media in general. Probably a miscalculation of available space, but I love the way the text doesn’t fit ‘centrally’ on the concrete slab and therefore by implication suggests something is off/not quite right.

Just had visions of the Hoover-like creature in the 1968 Beatles’ animation Yellow Submarine sucking up everything, including the landscape and then ultimately itself. And of course the superb [1964 Academy Award for Animated Short Film] earlier [when it was still Blake Edwards’ Pink Panther] cartoon The Pink Phink.

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