Bacon!


This is the script of the speech I gave on December 21 2012 at a Toastmasters event dedicated to the end of the world. At times it repeats after Gilles Deleuze and Margarita Cappock.

Now that the world is doomed and the end is near, I can only talk about what shouldn't be left untold: my most intimate ambitions, my most valuable gifts to the universe. Much of that revolves around bacon.

[An assistant displays to the audience a strip of cooked bacon on a white round plate.]

Bacon needs no introduction, it tolerates no introduction. I say: Bacon! – and immediately there is passion; there is drama; souls are affected. There is art.

A round area delimits the space where bacon resides. This composition is shaped like a circus ring, a kind of amphitheater as "place". It's a very simple technique that consists of isolating the subject. 

However rudimentary, this technique does not consign the subject to immobility, but - on the contrary - renders sensible a kind of progression, an exploration of a figure within the place, or upon itself. 

The relation of the bacon to its isolating place defines a "fact" - "what takes place is". Thus the isolated figure becomes an Image, an Icon. This composition thus avoids all-too-familiar figurative, illustrative, or narrative character.

Perhaps some of you are not just that into bacon.

[The assistant puts away the plate of bacon.]

No worries: I give you Portrait of George Dyer Riding a Bicycle, a painting by the great Francis Bacon. 

[The assistant displays the poster of this painting.]

Here, the figure of George Dyer is given the appearance of a clown cycling round a circus ring. The circus ring then isolates the figure and defines its residence; yet it does not consign it to immobility. The keen sense of motion is evident, as Dyer, who is seen both in profile and full face, seems to be engaged in an endless activity of going around in a circle. Bacon does not differentiate between the wall and floor, which enhances the sensation of motion. 

The relation of the figure to its isolating place defines a "fact": "what takes place is". The isolated figure becomes an Image, an Icon. The composition thus avoids all-too-familiar figurative, illustrative, or narrative character.

[The assistant leaves the stage]

Now (that the world is doomed and the end is near) is no time to disengage with it, no time to retreat and exchange banalities with our loved ones - while waiting for the end to come. Instead, we should be expressing what can't be left untold: our most intimate ambitions, our most valuable gifts to the universe. I told you about bacon. Your turn.
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