by Jon Santiago
Today, the planet Venus crosses in front of the sun, showing itself against the solar face as a small dark dot: call it a beauty mark. It's a rare event (it won't happen again until December 2117) and a particularly appropriate one to have occur during an arts festival.
In mythology, Venus (the Greeks called her Aphrodite) was the goddess of love. But she had other interests, too. Kepler, in his freelance gig as an astrologer, would have recognized her as goddess and patroness of the arts. Like many mythological characters, Venus has a number of epithets associated with her. She's called Venus Obsequens ("Graceful Venus"), Venus Felix ("Lucky Venus"). My favorite is Venus Kallipygos ("Venus with the pretty bottom"). That one makes me think of Hay Fever-ish hijinks. Wherever there is art, the Venusian spirit is there. At least we think so.
Is she present for the tweet-wars among squabbling artists and journalists? (Here's looking at you, Mike Daisey.) Maybe she is. Venus was also the goddess of military victory. Venus Victrix ("Venus the Victorious").
Venus would have loved Feng Yi Ting's Diao Chan — the woman who saved a kingdom by playing two men's hearts (and loins, let's not forget those) against one another. The goddess loved music, dance and above all, spectacle — especially if it was dedicated to her. No fool. (She always got the best seats in the house.)
But she could be a fussy sort of art lover. We do wonder what she might have made of this, artist Bart Jansen's latest project, the Orvillecopter:
From the Guardian:
"After his cat Orville died, Dutch artist Bart Jansen decided to give him a new lease of life … by having him stuffed, attaching propellers to him and flying him around as a radio controlled helicopter. The Orvillecopter is being exhibited at the Kunstrai art festival in Amsterdam."
NOTE: The Venus transit of the sun may be visible (if these clouds part) around sunset. Raise a glass to the arts!