"Wake-Up Exercises For Little Kittens", France, 2007*

The time was the 1980s, an Eastern European, Communist country. This means we had no tv or radio to bring us news from "the outside". Such things were considered "subversive", a threat to the system. No-one was allowed to see, hear or read anything that implied the world could be any different. Thinking for oneself was dangerous. But most people created their own isolated inner sanctuaries, and got by. Nowadays, I admire many of them very much, for living their artistic dream during such a difficult time.

I was around 4 years old and I loved to draw and paint. My earliest deliberate "creations" consisted of filling up entire sheets of paper with brushes of different colours interwoven until there was no more white showing between. This was my eager response to the suggestion that "a true painting leaves no white space" (as opposed to a drawing, which must have white space complementing the drawn elements).

One day I sat down and, very deliberately, established a black dot on paper, and then carefully circled it. I was very pleased. "What is that?", asked my parents. "It is a Voipici...", I answered.
A Voipici [voy-`pitch]

The image above is, of course, the universalized version of the Circled Dot. I do not have the original drawing now (though I do have the subsequent development of the Voipici - seen below). I must explain how I perceived this act: to me, the circled point on the paper was a real place. The fact that I had put it there made it into a "door". It was also a creature - it was alive, hence giving it an imaginary Species name. I wanted to convey the feeling that this was something benign and very funny; but I also wanted others to realize what it was, without asking me (self-evidence).

More of these Voipici started appearing afterwards, varying from the simple to the complex (by the way, given the nature of my native language, the name Voipici is both singular and plural).

(to be continued)

* I loved the French children's book-cover because the "visionary" morning exercise implied there was also a spiritual pun in this "waking up". Coincidentally, one of my nicknames is Little Kitten.