I am looking for a friend who is an expert in Assyrian art. I have no idea how or why this concept took hold. As a young child I was obsessed with ancient Egypt, but that is really not the same thing now is it.
To realize this dream, I turned duck duck go. At some point, I got fed up and wet to the metropolitan museum of art website to see if there is speaker series around Assyrian art (no). But then I was reminded of the incredible trove of open source met books. There are 502. How much richer my life would be if I was able to absorb everything in those 502 tomes?? One of them is Beyond Babylon Art Trade and Diplomacy in the Second Millenium BC and I plan on reading that first.
I thought what if I read one of these books a day. A bit over ambitious and I probably would retain very little information, but I would be done in 2 years. I would not really be able to read anything else, even if I were able to read at this pace. Such a goal reminded me of the time I tried to read an ubu web paper every week. That was a less ambitious endeavor, but still it lasted only a month. This week I am not reading, or watching tv, or listening to podcasts (unless I am coding). (If you must know I’m listening to arias on spotify.) So whatever I decide will have to wait till after Labor day.
My main resource of Assyrian art is now Omur Harmansah. He has the most fantastic syllabi about the ancient near east. His syllabus for the Art and Visual Culture on the Ancient Near East looks fascinating. I mean art as diplomacy – of course! Art/gifting was always used to curry favor and share values/connect. I like the idea of art as part of a (international) gift economy. Now we just send emojis to people on social media. The courses on on places of healing, body, performance, and architecture and water also sound fascinating, even if only partially related to Assyrian art. The concept of a “wet and fluid landscapes” … is so poetic and evocative. I am in a concrete and brittle landscape atop the hollow earth (subway). This is an amazing art resource, lots of Assyrian Art, I do like cuneiform.
Sometimes I wonder, why can’t I go on a deep dive in an area that is valued by our society – like makeup tutorials on youtube. But I guess that is just not how my desire is structured. I also think can I combine my deep dives with something productive. Like write a machine learning engine that generates Assyrian art. That also sounds exhausting and not really how I want to be spending my time. Is it enough to do just do a deep dive with nothing to show except perhaps a blog post and some journaling. Does everything have to have a product? An object? An external manifestation?