Zh. gets creative

I have decided to participate in an exchange loosely modeled on 20 Things. The slogan, however, should be changed to "4 things. 4 people. Unlimited time." in order to accurately reflect this particular swap. Even though the scope is small and one item is being mailed only as far as Scarborough, I am excited. It's like Nervousness without the claustrophobic web design, the vaguely high-school-esque initiation rites (which are poorly explained on the site) and the abbreviation "Nness," which drives me up the wall.

The current plan is to do a series of four collages with Chernyshevskii as my theme. For those of you not acquainted with Russian literary criticism of the 1860s, Cherny (which appropriately sounds like the Czech word for "black") was the leader of a group of civic-minded critics, who championed didactic art. Their legacy includes a fundamental mis-reading of Gogol', which still lingers today and, in Cherny's case, a truly horrendous novel: What is to be Done?. I suppose without him, however, Nabokov's The Gift would not have been the same, so he did bring about some good.

The first collage will have apples in the background and a portrait of our beloved Cherny taken from an old Soviet lit textbook transferred over it, because according to the man's master's thesis an apple is better than a painting of an apple, because you can eat an apple and not a painting. As for the other collages, I'm still toying with ideas and looking for stuff, such as cross sections of butterflies, plans, black-and-white line drawings of nettles, before I decide what the other three pieces will look like exactly. I should get cracking, however, on the horizon are an advisor-induced weekend from hell and more undergrad assignments to mark.

Even if it were to be only a brief affair, I still don't find the prospect of sleeping with Pechorin very appealing. -Zh


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