All animals have a strong exploratory urge, but for some it is more crucial than others. It depends largely on how specialised they have become during the course of evolution. If they have put their effort into the perfection of one survival trick, they do not bother so much with the general complexities of the world around them. So long as the ant eater has its ants and the Koala bear its gum leaves, then they are well satisfied and the living is easy. The non-specialists, however, the opportunists of the animal world, can never afford to relax. They are never sure where their next meal is coming from, and they have to know every nook and cranny, text every possibility and keep a sharp lookout for the lucky chance. They must explore and keep an exploring. They must investigate and keep rechecking. They must have a constantly high level of curiosity.

The Naked Ape, Desmond Morris

 

Do we know with Len Ly the ‘absolute Truth of the happiness acid?’ How do we possibly find out where it’s at? Do we try to listen to the now to discover the sound of yesterday? Is the Lennon-Yoko nude-in where it’s at? A liberation through fame and power celebrating man as animal, and the newfound permissiveness – is this key image for the future? I suspect that yes it is. People are becoming more interested in people and reality than in feeding mythical systems.

 

Doing your own thing has spread, from California to all over. Even today’s culture heroes like Steve McQueen take the cult of doing your own thing into the jaws of Hollywood. And it’s actually him up there on the wide screen, no stunt man rides the motorcycle, or handles the Mustang so superbly through downtown San Francisco, in that fantastic car chase sequence. But what is he trying to prove? Simply that we all have to run faster in order to stay in the same spot. It’s called survival, and relates to the special world that surrounds us. And what is this world? How is it discovered or defined? Is it, as Calvin Tomkins has suggested (referring to Andy Warhol’s paintings) ‘the archetypal 20th-century nightmare – up and down narrow aisles between high walls of brand name uniformity, with the lights glaring down, and canned music boring in, as we search desperately for one can of Cream of Mushroom where every label reads Tomato? Possibly not.

 

It isn’t necessary to be dreary to make a point, or to be profound to have something to say; some of the greatest insights in the world accompany a joke. And many of the mind-blowing ideas about futures in never-never-lands have originated off the pages of comic books and science fiction picture backs. Cartoons help us to discover the hidden realities of life, where straighter communications may fail.

 

From Krazy Kat to the Yellow Submarine or Egbert Nosh is just the passage of time. Andy one of us opportunists trying to create a dreamland in the sky quickly turns to the funnies for reassurance that we can do our own thing, without fear of reprisals.

 

Bugs Bunny makes a fool of himself, but he does so with élan, and always survives in the iris-shuttered end. He has perfected more than one survival trick and spreads his resources, turning a changing situation to advantage. Egbert Nosh has this house that follows him around along with the garage and the dustbin, protesting their rights. Eventually he relents and agrees to take them for a walk in the park on Sundays providing they promise to stay home the rest of the week. Absurd? I think not. If this is the way we treat our children, why not a budding nomadic house.

 

To understand one must possess a love of the absurd, which is a love of life. I have this thirst for clowns who, out of mental voids, ask the sublime questions, or make the devastating statement.

‘Owing to lack of interest tomorrow has been cancelled.’

 

At the ‘This is Tomorrow Exhibition’ Richard Hamilton, the daddy of Pop in the UK, showed a montage entitled ‘Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?’

 

It was a key image then and nostalgically still is; it led to a whole revolution in attitudes, and up on the back wall is, if nota a space comic, something pretty close: ‘Young Romance’ – ‘True Love’ with Superman-type figures breathing heavily over a Lois Lane cutie.

 

Here is a total mythical environment that incorporates everything we have been playing with ever since, and if it moved like Egbert Nosh’s nomadic (9 Acacia Avenue) the thread would be complete.

 

And it’s a thin thread, a stocking top operation, and the operators have to be as deft as Bugs Bunny.

 

Of all the prototypes for the new man, that technological opportunist, the inventor, comes closes, Barnes Wallis, inventor of airships, bouncing bombs, fling-wing aircraft and all that stuff is just such an animal. A breaker of boundaries. Breaking boundaries is a hazardous occupation, a stocking top operation.

 

The design of pantihose seemed a logical inventive step towards an evolutionary fashion future, but occasionally we get the sightly perverse but very real and necessary reversal that gives added momentum to the headlong pursuit of idea into the future.

 

Pantihose somewhere along the line missed out on the stimulus factor; so in order to reassess the direction of evolution, the suspender top is brought back to bridge the gap – a reassessment, necessary to maintain vitality. It is something we have to learn in whatever field we are engaged.

 

The whole question of connection, the glue that binds one idea to another or one course of action to the next, is becoming less and less a physical solution problem.

 

The sonar beacons stabilising any locational shift of the Delos platform is a ‘non-physical’ solution, free from any structural device.

 

This points up the current desire goal of doing less with nothing, and the soft think.

 

Like the freedom riders, five nuns in perfect echelon, held together by faith, likemindedness and bending the Highway code. A soft solution, a regulating link by association. The interrelation, sequence and event, is an extension of the personalities involved; it is a question of relationships and of connection. The comic strip has sometimes reassured me that outside my own wisdom and understanding lies a future different from that which we already predict. The disintegrated gesture of the Cybernetic Forest, Environmental Pole, or the Self-Destructing Happiness Bath are exercises in getting the message into a lot of heads and, as important, increasing the amazement brain.

 

We are really only at the beginning of ‘the absolute Truth of the happiness acid’.