The NGV houses numerous of artworks but this one, although not a Monet or a Picasso caught my eye.
This artwork entitled You, Me, and the Flock by Juan Ford (2013) where you are given a small square of stickers with three black birds on them and you are to stick them on to the wall, which was initially blue but now has turned into-what I saw-a forrest of birds. From afar, I thought that the wall was a shadow of a forrest, to my mistake, it was a wall dense in the middle, thin on the lower parts and thinner on the higher parts.
I am a huge fan of having pieces like these that urge to to interact with the work because your interaction is the work.
As you stare into the wall after being handed the stickers, you wonder to yourself: “Where am I going to put this?”, as music of the forrest seem to enchant your ears in that part of the gallery.
“Where?” I kept on asking myself as the others seemed to keep on placing them on anywhere just riding the three birds off their palette. Call me symbolic or dramatic but I believe what Ford was trying to tell you here that he is merely the person who thought of the concept and not the artist because he gives us that freedom in being the artist in his concept.
As I stared at the wall bombarded with black birds I wondered that I was placing so much importance on where I was going to place my blackbird because that wall was the world and the birds were us, humans.
That’s why I was so cautious on where to place it because, that blackbird I had in my hand was me and I simply couldn’t just place me anywhere in the world. I had to be seen, I had to be known and the only way to do that is to stick my bird way on top of the wall where the slightest hint of blue was, the only place my blackbird could be seen… But no, I told myself. No.
Well, aside form the height challenge I was facing, I also realized that that bird still had a long way to go. And what good is flying if you’re already on the air? Thus, I placed it at the bottom, teaching me and my little blackbird, humility and perseverance.
I hate being symbolistic on color, it would really be the last thing I’d want to happen on my interpretations but the work-somewhat-asks me to pay attention to the color. Black, the absence of light, the madness and more specifically, the evil from Pandora’s Box. My interpretation was that we all have the capacity to fill this world with something, may it be evil but it, if directed to the right figure, can be beautiful. That madness if directed to the right form and motivation, can be something beautiful.
Also, through this artwork did I learn that we all want one thing: recognition. To be recognized as a special being but what if we were all the same like the black birds (ehem, communism), how then? We all just want to be seen, be heard, be known; well, join the other 5oo Billion people who want the same thing. This wall pretty much reminds me of Hollywood, the exact contrast to communistic ideas. We all want the same thing, to be on that wall and be seen that we are on that wall. And lastly, it reminded me of Environmental Science (it was a given, I bet you would have seen it too), and how we are all part of the world, each one of us; some of our lives may overlap some may not but one thing doesn’t change: that we are all on one planet.
To end, allow me to ask some forgiveness from Mr. Juan Ford. I could remember that I placed only one, only one in that wall because I wanted to take home the rest of the stickers as a souvenir. A very tourist/Filipino gesture that I am proud to have because I took the rest that would remind me so of this wonderful artwork. Also, Mr. Ford I be lucky enough to find out that you are reading this, might I ask, if by any chance at all, are you also part Filipino?