Thursday, January 12, 2023
In keeping with our unofficial theme of Street Art Week, this interesting display greeted me while walking to work a few days ago. These flags are located on the Hilgrove Estate in Swiss Cottage, just off Finchley Road. Are they art? Maybe.
The flags all bear the words "What if..."
I can think of a lot of ways to end that sentence.
What if Vladimir Putin wasn't president of Russia? What if Donald Trump had never been elected? What if I'd kissed that guy I was too shy to kiss way back in college -- the one who later turned out to be just as gay as me? What if the UK had never Brexited? What if my mom didn't develop dementia? What if my parents had never divorced?
It's kind of an interesting mental exercise, though I'm not sure that's what those flags are really for.
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Lif is filled with "what-ifs", we all have far too many, but would we change what we now have and hope the world is still the same place? As for Putin, he is as despicable as his war, but without it, the people of Ukraine and the rest of the world would never have discovered what a great leader Volodymyr Zelensky turned out to be. I still hope that war ends today or tomorrow though.
What if we lounge on the beach eating chocolates all day?
I like your What If thoughts, but then I think of a song with lyrics, You're on a road to nowhere.
What if "What If" was a new brand of washing powder - specially designed for colourful small flags including Buddhist prayer flags?
Looks like updated prayer flags. Funny that your responses to the question are all related to the past. I'd tend to look forward.
It would appear that the "what if" flags are doing exactly what they are meant to do!
Making passers-by ask the question: "what if ...?"
Two little words with a million possible answers!
I think that art is everything and everything is art in one way or another.
Boy that sends me down a rabbit hole! And on top of all the other "what ifs" I'm thinking about, now I'm thinking about what if Alice was real and I was Alice, and I went down a literal rabbit hole?
I love what Boud said. The What If's go backwards and forwards, don't they?
I try not to dwell on past "what ifs" and instead focus on the future "what ifs."
I like thinking about "what ifs..." for things of the past and the possibilities for the future. So many things pop into my mind in both directions.
Interesting set of flags. Pondering "what ifs" can lead to some interesting stories, the kind that movies are made of.
What if your post has given me so many thoughts that I can't think of a comment?
What ifs may be interesting but I'm not sure they will do us any good.
What if certainly has me thinking. I don't know if it's art, though.
Like WHAT IF Olga Girl Never Bounced Into Your Lives
My first thought was Buddhist prayer flags, but I don't know enough about them to know if they ever have words on them. I rarely do "what ifs" looking backward, since that can't be changed. Maybe I should try some forward-thinking "what ifs"!
When my subscription to the New Yorker is nearing expiration, I call them. So far, their phone staff has been nice and I have been able to negotiate a lower annual rate. Last April, they did answer the phone.
So many what ifs! Impossibly to speculate although we definitely wouldn't be where we are or with the same persons around us. But we wouldn't know the difference because that would be our reality. The speculation though is why I've loved books like "Life After Life."
What if...in the future, in the next half hour, in the next 24 hours
What if....a prompt to action, not just a look back to If only?
They are there to make you think.
River: I'm sure Zelensky himself would trade his recognition in order to have avoided this war!
Mitchell: We will be 300 lbs!
Andrew: Yes, there is a futility to that kind of thinking, I guess. Unless, as Boud said, you're thinking ahead.
YP: Someone could certainly stand to wash these particular flags. They look like they've been out there a while!
Boud: That IS funny. I automatically thought of it in terms of addressing regrets! And I don't think of myself as a particularly regretful person.
Marcia: They ARE thought-provoking!
Bob: Yeah, I tend to cast a wide net as well. The very act of living can be a kind of performance art!
Bug: What if Lewis Carroll had never written that book?!
Ms Moon: They DO, and it's funny that I didn't even think to look forwards. I guess that says something about me. I'm not sure what.
Ed: Probably a wise idea, at least in terms of possibilities!
Robin: It's amazing how many ways we can finish that sentence.
Sharon: Right! Did you ever see "Sliding Doors"? Very much a "What If" kind of movie.
Ellen D: Ha!
Red: I suppose the forward-thinking ones might if they help us make changes or reach goals.
Janie: But why not? It's an art installation, I would say. Derivative but certainly thought provoking.
Kelly: The prayer flags I've seen DO have words on them, but they're phrases written in a foreign language.
Allison: OK, I might try that. They said they'd get back to me via e-mail within 48 hours and so far, crickets.
Margaret: There are so many points at which our life stories could diverge from the path we've trodden! Almost infinite numbers of possibilities, I suppose.
Linda Sue: Yeah, could be any time period!
GZ: Yes, it could certainly be that!
Catalyst: I think so!
I think that's exactly what those flags are for, to make you think of your own endings but what's the point of asking what if things had happened differently as yours seemed to be? Or maybe it's a way to formulate a better future if your 'what if' wasn't about the past but about what could be.
It does look like some sort of thoughtful installation. And coloful!
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