Friday, February 6, 2015

Schlumbergera seedling no. 078

As I mentioned on February 2, I had a really tough time naming this one. TinEye gave me at least one photo that I thought was really gorgeous, but couldn't be made into a good name.1 I managed to come up with ten more name candidates from TinEye, then whittled that down to three, but none of the three made me say YES! THIS IS DEFINITELY THE NAME FOR THIS FLOWER! in the way that, say, "Leather Fairy" was obviously the name for #061A. And then one of the names I had eliminated sparked a thought process that I found interesting and entertaining, so it went back on the list. Then I ruled out "Tamika Flynn" for #083A, making it available for a different seedling, so I figured I could consider it for this seedling and see what happened.

The name that sparked the interesting thought process was "Art Party." The actual photograph is kinda meh, but it prompted me to think about art, and parties, and how I sort of have mixed feelings toward both of them. And what an "art party" would even be like in the first place, and how I imagine that university Art Department parties are probably mostly terrible. On the other hand, a party where people got together to celebrate the existence of art might be pretty cool. And a costume party where you're supposed to show up in costume as your favorite painting, symphony, sculpture, poem, or etc. might be even better.

And once I had that idea, I couldn't stop coming up with ideas for what costume to wear.

Like, I think it'd be pretty easy to put together an outfit that would be passable as a Mark Rothko painting, for example. Clothes are already big blocks of colors, arranged vertically, a lot of the time: Rothko would just be a matter of finding the right colors and proportions.

And Jackson Pollock would only be a small step up from Rothko in difficulty and expense: tan jumpsuit, some leftover house paint, a couple of those plastic containers restaurants use for mustard and ketchup, squirt squirt squirt, let dry, and boom.

There are probably off-the-rack dresses available that would make for a plausible Yayoi Kusama (seriously, Google her if you're not familiar: she's fun2); maybe not outfits for men so much, but you could wear a regular suit and then stick round fluorescent garage-sale price stickers all over it and be right in line with the Kusama aesthetic: see I'm Here, But Nothing (2000-2008), or The Obliteration Room. (Use non-fluorescent dot stickers and confine them to a precise grid, on pristine white clothing, and you've got yourself a Damien Hirst instead: see Edge and Abalone Acetone Powder.)

Sculptures would be tougher (though a person could maybe do a recognizable Alexander Calder mobile, given enough time and coat hangers).

The husband pointed out that Cristo and Jeanne Claude would probably be pretty easy, if you could sew at all and had access to lots and lots of orange fabric.

I don't know where you'd even start trying to come up with a costume based on a piece of music or poetry, unless you're lucky enough to be a synaesthete, I suppose. Or you could cheat by attending naked and telling everybody you came as 4'33". Which could work on a couple different levels, even.

The imagined outfits started to get more disturbing after I thought of Andres Serrano's "Piss Christ,"3 or Marco Evaristti's "Helena,"4 but the point is that "art party" was an intriguing name, and an even more interesting idea. A good seedling name? Well, I don't know. But fun to think about, and maybe worth considering.

So anyway. The three ideas I'd sort of settled on originally were Pink Weekend, Raspberry Possum, and Riveting.

So. Pros and cons:

"Tamika Flynn" pro: Tamika's a cool character. Fictional people are less likely to object to the use of their name.
"Tamika Flynn" con: No indication of actual bloom color. The idea of naming a seedling for Tamika has less appeal, now that I've spent so much time pondering it.

"Art Party" pro: Will get me thinking about art-costume ideas every time I read it, at least for a few weeks, which would be entertaining. Both art and parties are generally assumed to be positive, if not necessarily everybody's thing. Internal rhyme amusing. Have already spent most of the post talking about art parties, so that's what blog readers are likely to remember whether I name it "Art Party" or not.
"Art Party" con: Seedling is neither particularly artistic nor celebratory. Not everybody likes art (or parties). No indication of actual bloom color. Potential buyers will likely picture a different kind of art party than the one I have in mind. Inspiration photo is not very pretty or interesting. Internal rhyme sort of seal-like.

"Pink Weekend" pro: "Weekend" has positive associations. Bloom is in fact partly pink. Inspiration photo is pretty.
"Pink Weekend" con: Strong cultural associations of pink = for girls, which might or might not be a negative depending on who buys most plants and why. Sort of sounds like a ripoff of band Vampire Weekend, somehow. Plenty of workers don't actually get weekends, and it might not be a good idea to remind them that other people do. The term probably is, or will soon be, obscene.5

"Riveting" pro: easiest to type. Flower actually is kind of fascinating to look at (if awfully similar to #054A "Helpful Gesture"). Possible mental connections with "Rosie the Riveter."
"Riveting" con: Name gives no direct indication of bloom color. Inspiration photo kinda meh. May not actually be particularly interesting compared to other Schlumbergera cultivars, in which case the name could sound like I'm trying too hard. Flowers do not actually contain rivets.

"Raspberry Possum" pro: easily the weirdest / most memorable word-combination of the five options. A lot of people do like raspberries. Has some connection to actual color of the bloom.
"Raspberry Possum" con: Inspirational photo kind of boring, depicts no raspberries or possums. Also people mostly don't like possums that much, I think? Some people dislike raspberries because of the seeds. Others may perceive name as a recipe idea.

In the end, it came down to a choice between "Art Party" and "Raspberry Possum," and I decided to go with "Art Party," mainly because I found the "have already spent most of the post talking about art parties" point above pretty convincing. Which is a dumb and self-creating reason, but there you go.

So what would you wear to a costume art party?


1 That'd be "Love Corn," which is not only pretty, but also a really, really good job of color matching. (Good job, TinEye!) The world didn't actually need Valentine's Day candy corn -- or, indeed, any candy corn at all -- but since it's upon us anyway, we can at least acknowledge that it's kinda pretty.
2 Though also, as with all the best art, sort of disturbing and uncomfortable when you learn more about what she's doing.
3 Though that wouldn't have to be horrible. Maybe a white plastic crucifix on a necklace around your neck, plus a solid orange or yellow-orange outfit under it. It'd really have to be exactly the right color for the costume to work, but the point is that there's a more or less socially acceptable way to make the costume work and still be recognizable.
4 I cannot think of a way to make a "Helena" costume that wouldn't be a) repellent, b) absurdly impractical to wear, or c) both. But there probably is a way.
5 ("Pink weekend" is not yet in Urban Dictionary, but trust me, you don't want to read most of the "pink ____" entries there, and there are a lot of them.)


Diana said...

Too bad, I really like Raspberry Possum. But then again I do like possums (they're seriously cute when they're young or very old and they don't usually cause problems for people or carry diseases but they DO hunt rodents).

I also like you're thought about an Art Party. I'm not big into parties but I like costumes... I guess I know what I'll be thinking of when I'm in the dentist chair later today.

Claude said...

I actually once went to an art party... but it was different... there were 20 blank canvases, ans you were expected to go from canvas to canvas making changes or additions on each one. As libations flowed, it became more and more interesting... some of thecanvases were hideous, bu som,e were fascinating.

Pat said...

Jeans and a denim jacket. Distracted, euphoric look on my face. Rhapsody in Blue.

If the party gets boring I can just be The Blues.