“Is the Nightmare Black or Are the Windows Painted…”

I created this video eleven and a half years ago.  Much like this morning, I sat down with a cup of coffee.  Like I have mentioned a few times before, I like my quiet mornings.  On that morning, the quiet was disrupted by a program I was watching.  That program was “Sunday Morning” on CBS.

On that day, the discussion was about Otto Dix. That was my introduction to Otto Dix, an artist and World War I veteran.  That morning, I recall being transfixed by the disturbing images.  Generally, I am not a fan of disturbing art or film, but this came with explanation about the artist himself.  He fought in WWI, and was disturbed by images that he had witnessed.  He was also disturbed by the bizarre nature of German culture between the wars.  The society suffered from many ills, and the disturbing images communicated an important aspect of the experience of the times.

This morning at 5am, I feel fortunate to still have quiet outside of my house.  As I sat down with my coffee, and turned on the news, I saw bizarre images of people furtively seeking shelter from Russian rockets in Lviv, Ukraine.  It was noon in Lviv when it was 5am in my town, so it was a bright, clear day.  Probably half of the people in the video were streaming into a public bomb shelter.  The other half were going about their business of the day.  It seemed relatively ordinary, but with a couple of scoops of anxiety added.  Their walking paces were just slightly faster than normal, while not running.  The older people could only manage their regular pace.  One old man and woman walked along with a Labrador retriever on a leash.  The anxiety of the people on the street was palpable.  And, while this was going on, there was a middle aged woman in the middle of the square doing what the reported described as “dancing”.  She was doing a childlike demonstration of an airplane with her arms straight out to her sides, and swirling and circling, in some sort of mindless play, as if to deny that the city was under attack from the air.  The stark contrast made me think of the Otto Dix collection of images which showed the fraying, crumbling psychology of people under stress.

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