…Or something like that
I noted earlier that the holiday décor in what I saw of Florida (OK, just a bit of Captiva/Sanibel and Ft. Myers) struck me as odd, as I know what real Douglas-fir trees look like (I can see them out my office window right now). The plastic fir boughs and the lit-up snowflake images on palm trees seemed bizarre.
It wasn’t until we were being driven to the airport in Ft. Myers that I realized what was really strange: There was no visible indigenous décor. For example: Why were the wreaths and garlands imported (visually or actually) and not made from local vegetation?
Perhaps Christmas needs to look “snowy and cold” even in Florida at 80 degrees. Maybe it is a set of cultural signs brought by the snowbirds from the north. Maybe the “Florida” culture has no holiday imagery from its own past. Perhaps it is akin to the ancient Romans adopting much of Greek culture.
At the same time it can be seen as akin to a Rauschenberg collage.
Snowflake attached to palm tree.
Maybe that disjuncture wakes us up to questions about cultural symbols, what they meant, what they mean now, where they come from.
Rauschenberg’s work often sparks such questions, just as real life does.