Archive | December 2008

On Inefficiency

In the factory of my brain, there are certain workers who disobey my rules. Using banned production methods and inefficient machinery. These workers use more energy than i have stored, for silly little tasks – draining me of life.
Not only that! – these inefficient pieces of machinery release potentially hazardous notions into the surrounding area. Because of these unethical thinking methods, my brain resides in a rather unpleasant area.

The thin crust of the man made world.

mankind’s civilizations – built in the image of what nature shows him/her, built over the top of nature, again and again. Foolishly forgetting what lies beneath. We live dangerously upon this thin and fragile crust we call home.

I think if humans saw themselves as part of ‘the flesh and blood’ of the Earth – has a matter of cells in a larger body – it would be a step that would compel us to live in a more sustainable way.
My mind is currently over-run with the idea that i have always been on Earth in some form. Born as a new human, but still of some form before that – as old as the granite rocks. I am not really ‘I’ when it comes to the Earth. Could i be part of Earth, re-used time and time again as its living matter?.
It is hard as a human being to separate deep thought from spiritualness-a fundamental part of the human psyche. But these ever growing thoughts are not leaning me towards religion, but to a feeling of greater closeness to Earth.

Last night i saw the re-make of the film King Kong (i haven’t seen the original since i was 9 years old). The final scene from the film stayed with me for the rest of the night -the scene where the giant Gorilla is lying dead on the floor, whilst lots of ‘little’ people frantically scrambled up to it, like a bunch of tiny insects attacking their prey. It was typical to how people react to something, we aren’t as individual, separate and superior as we like to believe.
Most people like to be part of the crowds, too much isolation generates fear and anxiety. It is as if most species have the instinct to work as one solid body, one clump of life. Are all animals programmed to do their job in maintaining healthy living environments on earth, like different cells in the body are their to keep each of us living healthily?

We Humans arrogantly (perhaps maybe more foolishly) create our own worlds -sweeping all the rest of nature out of the way, as if it no longer is needed there – replacing Earth rules with those of Kings and Dictators. I – a man frightened of the prospect of a totalitarian regime – would have no argument against letting mother Earth be my dictator, she would never lie to me or strike fear into my mind.
It is the reigns and power we drape our leaders in (or they drape themselves in) that need to be taken back from man and given back to the Earth if we want to survive as a species. Our power is an illusion, and if we carry on living in our current mode, our reign wont last much longer.
Its fear it is a matter of urgency.

A more rational view on the need for social interaction If i do not manage to write about this, i will throw up from stomach churning regret.

I spend most evening in relative solitude, sometimes i just have to get out at night time.

There is a certain group of females in my home town, who – after several alcoholic drinks – i don’t seem to able to stop being manic and idiotic around, nearly always resulting in me offending one of them, damaging any chance of much wanted friendship on my part. How do i transform from the solitary serious figure, to a manic imbecile?. I am not a man who goes out to ‘pull’ in any way, shape or form, but it is impossible to divert from a natural interest in the fairer sex, and nor should i try to do so. The prospect of social interaction with females expands into a frenzied-hyper mindset, when there is a large number of females i know in close vicinity to each other.

It is an unwanted overload of options for social interaction, which i can only compare to other very modern situations where options become suffocating – such as the person who spends most of his day frantically flicking through the 300 t.v channels, or the shopper who cannot decide from 300 consumer brands. I feel my own case is also a unwilling options indulgence “buy, buy like there’s no tomorrow!”. Of course to label all women as objects to be consumed and bought does sound very unfair and sexist, but in a manner of speaking, it is a matter of fact. The ideas in ‘Brave new World’ of systematic casual sex aren’t completely abstracted from reality. I do my best to stay clear of these trapdoors, but after6 or more quickly drunken alcoholic drinks -consumed in perfect symbiosis with the attitude towards social interactions- any attempts to keep any irrational mindset at bay are always in vain.

One of the reasons i am constantly analyzing society is because this kind of mental mania is possibly more fertile in me, than in many others due to my already compulsive and habitual life mode. I most urgently need to find that illusive balance to the way i approach social interactions and friendships, before the concrete finally sets around the door of the room i make my artwork in. More and more isolation will almost certainly make me redundant of art ideas and artistic motivation (ironically the area of life that i trim my social activities in the name of!).

No matter how the world i so despairingly watch unfolds before me, it should not be allowed to imprison the fact that i am still a living, breathing part of this earth, and will be so even 3 seconds before the annihilation of civilization. As for the irrational stance i continuously press upon myself “i have no place for relationship in my life, mankind is heading into a battle against extinction and there is no time for me to waste on age old customs”, surely the natural relationship of a man and a woman is an essential element of living, if we are to successfully make moves to co-exist with the rest of life on earth once again.

If i want to stop having these increasingly schizoid persona’s on nights out ‘attempting’ to socialize, then i must lower my defenses and allow more interaction with mother Earth. For somebody such as myself – someone who desperately wants a social revolution, towards sustainability. There is a big irony in the idea that one who attacks a system in nearly every thing he does, is one of the ones most conditioned by its way of working.

However, all i can do in the present tense is doubly apologize for the Schizoid pixel-brained doings of my ‘other side’ – the side most people know as ‘John’ or ‘ledge’. I apologize to people all the time, but these apologies are needed. More than anything i need to apologize to the hard working thoughtful side of me, who has been wrongly imprisoned whilst an idiot lives his life for him.

Festive disillusionment

I must apologize to my friends for leaving early on Christmas eve, and showing as much festive spirit as a pocket calculator. On Christmas morning sat in my usual chair, i couldn’t blame my mother for expecting a smile on my face, but i psychically could not raise one!.
I was in no way depressed, just disillusioned and there is a big difference,. To be depressed you have to be unhappy, i feel neither sad or happy, just lost.

This year (2008) has been a strange one. i have ‘had’ to grow up this year, but in doing so, life seems to be a lot quieter. I also have started reading a hell of a lot more, hoping that clarity would dispose of my apathy and confusion which clouds my views and feeds my fears. -so far-reading has made my head more foggy. However it isn’t an option to leave this newly trodden path.

Every year since my mid teens i have found it more and more difficult to get ‘into the groove’ of the festivities at Christmas. Even my most like-minded friends, can loosen up a lot easier than i can. However i will not, and will never accept the label of ‘miserable’ placed upon me. I am very skeptical of what i see, but i never wanted to be like this. I am just never able to switch off – a constant stream of skeptical analysis.

Writing this down always becomes a messy job, because this constant stream of analysis doesn’t display itself in a composed way, my thoughts are all over the place. Ironically i have become Conditioned to exist in a manner very much like the subject areas i am most critical of, my mind is like a pick and mix of spoon fed junk-like an collage of pop music videos.

Due mainly to this confused-yet- aware state of being, i have never been able to draw a line between the personal and the environmental. All the worries blend into one big clump, making me mentally incapable to combat any of them. For someone to say the well used saying “Its not worth worrying about what you cannot change” Just evokes a feeling of despair over our collective mindset. A selfish mindset that has grown from a human displacement from the land we used to occupy . Now we are creatures who live in private cars, personal computers and on mobile phones.

Most people seem to view the ‘overly concerned’ as laughable and idiotic. I am quite sure that -to some- i come across all naive and neurotic when i open my mouth. I am very poor with one to one conversation -except with about 3 individuals. In these situations my points always get diverted into the realms of idiocy and ignorance, by the usual patronizing reactions i receive.
Who can blame these people?, i mean, a problem isn’t a problem until its biting at your ankles is it?. Since 15 years onwards i have been constantly shooting myself in the foot, constantly punishing myself until i actually found I’d drained myself of recreational enjoyments. I became a man with no accessible emotion, except fear.

I am pretty confident that this dilemma would only to be able to be found in the industrialized western world. There is an intolerable, unrivaled strain on the concisenesses of overly concerned middle and working class people in western countries. Rendered useless by their half hearted governments, they(we) are pampered with shiny new gadgets and trinkets that obscure us from the true liberties and essentials in life. It is quite safe even for large corporate companies like the bookstores, Amazon, Borders and Waterstones to sell books that contain text that attacks these companies individually. I have found this out to my dismay, that the more knowledge i gain the more useless i feel.

I find it very difficult to separate a good thing from the underlying negative aspects. Its not very easy to explain thoughts about a new birth in the family, without sounding cold and sensationalistic. But my second and third thoughts after i hear of a birth, are ladened with concerns that these children are entering a human world already showing signs that it is soon going be struggling imensly. I’d love to have a child one day, but how can i justify bringing one into a world where i even have serious doubts whether my generation will live a full life!.

I do not think you have be irrational or be a doom monger to see that the 21st century is going to be a very turbulent century for humankind and that we possibly face our greatest ever test. So there it is, my annual festive cheer-this time in text. A blurred and murky rant, that offers about as much clarity as the World i see from my eyes!.

The sprawl (Installation)


Installation within the room I sleep in, September – December 2008

The Sprawl - complete (2008)
Ledger9 - Copy (2)

The cars, lorries and buses are like the blood cells in the veins – keeping the city alive and keeping the blood circulation to the brain.

  • The idea for ‘the Sprawl’ sprung from a conversation with my good friend Bradley Sharp, about how urban areas on road maps look very much like bacterial spawns growing and multiplying upon the surface of the land. The actual idea for this drawing came on a train trip to Leeds, a day when the clockwork movements of masses of people in urban environments seemed to trouble me more than usual. This drawing could also have been called ‘the spawn’.
  • However the idea behind this drawing isn’t directly based upon Leeds, it could be any city -all cities, all urbanized developments. The landscape of industrial Yorkshire is however one that i am very familiar with. Whereas a lot of my previous works have been blatant criticisms, i see this piece more of a way of understanding, coming to terms with human life.
  • I wanted the drawing to spread itself across the wall covering all areas accessible with a biro, in a way quite similar to how urban development spreads itself across habitable land. I suppose a way of seeing this drawing, could be as if the landscape of man was being viewed for the first time by an intelligent alien race. If my eyes were alien to human life and i was looking down on it for the first time, i am pretty sure i would find the movements and doings of these beings bizarre and almost frustrating. (The images on the television screens in the piece could also be seen as alien interpretation of the ways of human life).
  • There is a lot of sexual references in this piece of work. Sometimes i start to believe that sex is used in civilized societies as a way to drag people into a uniform and safe existence, the old ‘boy meets girl’ and ‘youth pressuring youth’ stories and so on. Having children, getting jobs for life etc, i see this as becoming another compatible blood cell keeping the sprawl alive.
  • I suppose it would be justifiable to question why i use such a small mark making tool, and that it would probably be possible to say what my work says within a shorter time span, and with a lot less workload. But for this to be the case, the work would no longer be within what i regard as my strengths and would be with somebody else’s. Work for me (John Ledger) requires an industrious nature, so then it is possible to to get close to replicating the strain and stream of the constant analyzing my brain does everyday, and from which these initial ideas are borne (see image at top of page). And i don’t know why-perhaps from the conditioned guilt trip- but i just couldn’t justify putting out a piece of work that took me not much effort, even if it outshone my other pieces – a fault on my behalf.
  • I do generally like the fact that most of my most treasured work is made from mundane tools such as 25pence biros. Suffering from silly little doubts, i am always having to re-assure myself that progression does not have to be a materialistic way. For example- a writer doesn’t progress from writing with ink on paper! There’s no reason why i should stop using biros.
  • This drawing-that dwarfs even me- is so far my ultimate way of expressing my feelings of tinyness and hopelessness in the face of society and the environment, but also showing my strange fascinations with cities and people.