I hate shopping malls. Badly designed ones, mediocre ones, even beautiful ones I dislike -though I can't think of any beautiful ones at the moment. Maybe where we live the malls are especially bad? Very possible. But the ones in Sydney that I have been to, and Brisbane, and Seattle, I hate them all. Upsetting. I get upset in shopping malls. And I get mad.
I worry about the people in them. Many many years ago, soon after arriving in Australia I was working in a shopping mall. The shop was a few counters making up a little island in the walk through. We monogrammed robes and towels. I got a tic above my eye. It was so weird, I could feel it jerk. I don't know if anyone else could see it, no one ever said anything. I was 26 and it hasn't happened since that time. I think it was the stress of being there.
( a small watercolour of mine called "at the mall")
I worry more about the people walking around than the ones working there. The fact that most shopping malls are completely closed off freaks me out. We are walking around in a huge closed off place full of internal shops. No plants, no earth, no sky, often no natural light. I used to have dreams where I could fly and I would go up and up and then bump up against a ceiling like one in a shopping mall. It was very disturbing. I wanted to keep going up and up but I couldn't. I felt trapped.
But the worst thing is all the stuff. Shops and shops full of racks and racks of stuff. And we are walking around like rats in a maze looking at all this stuff to buy it. What do they do with all the stuff we don't buy? What do we do with all the stuff we do buy? Why aren't we having picnics or bike riding or making things instead of our entertainment being buying stuff. This can't be good for us.
And what is it doing to the natural environment? I don't need to get started on that! When I think of what it takes to make all that stuff and get rid of it all, I get so mad. Not at anyone, because I wouldn't know who to blame. And I don't feel blameless, it isn't that. But I would like to do something about it.
I think that is one of the reasons that I teach art journaling. I know that the more I make things the less I care about buying and owning stuff. It isn't that I can or even would want to make everything I need, it is something more mysterious than that. Something about being creative that is nourishing and I just don't feel the same need for new stuff.
I just want people to be doing something that will really nourish them. I think shopping as entertainment is kind of like imitation creativity. It is like eating fast fake-food when what you really need is a good nourishing home made meal.