Sunday, August 8, 2010

Ancient Blogs

Admonitions Scroll

Glob seems to be evolving nicely. Writing and photos make it a dual medium 'artform'. How does this new internet based platform compare with those of the past? Chinese scrolls (here illustrated the admonitions scroll now at the British Museum, a Song Dynasty version of the lost Tang Dynasty masterpiece painted by one of Min's ancestors - Gu KaiZhi) and Turkish illustrated manuscripts (here the story of Hüsrev and Shirin that Orhan Pamuk popularized in his 2006 Nobel Prize winning novel 'My name is Red') are a triple medium - including poetry and illustrations, but also calligraphy. Given my handwriting, the lack of this third artform in glob is probably an overall benefit to the viewer. What viewer? Well at least the singular is correct grammatically since glob has only one follower. The celebrated power of the internet - providing outreach to hundreds of millions of souls - seems unlikely to challenge the ancients. Content matters?
Hüsrev and Shirin

Cultural Collage

Copacabana, August 2010


Brazil. Rainbow nation. On the Copacabana, the wave pattern of white limestone and black basalt derives from Brazil’s Portuguese colonial period, and the beautiful centuries old patterned sidewalks of Lisbon. But the ‘Muscle Beach’ public weightlifting zone (on the left in this pic) is obviously a cultural import from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s decades old haunt - Venice Beach in LA.  Rio is a collage not a melting pot. Be they hanging out, playing soccer or volleyball, sitting at outdoor cafes or walking the shopping zone, the locals are usually grouped by similar skin tone. Blacks, browns and whites share the same space, but they mostly don't mix. The people, it seems, coalesce into patterns, like the paving stones they walk on.
Copacabana, August 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

Bling

Bring bling to sail the wave crests
puffy lips and puffy breasts
white, brown, black. All the same
don't eat, drink champagne
Looking to the horizon line,
Is that boat bigger than mine?

Monaco. November 2008
Monaco. November 2008

Little Cherubs

Lyme, NH 2007
Crêpes, bacon, chocolate spread
can't get them out of bed
Mama's little cherubs
remembering last nights backrubs

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Urinals and other spill protectors

Gijon, Spain. May 2010
Sitting down in Gijon, Spain (20 May, 2010) for a bite of dinner in the local pub I saw, just opposite my table and right at eye height, what appeared to be a urinal. In the middle of the bar. That is certainly an efficient set up, I thought. But this was Spain. Efficiency plays second fiddle to more important qualities such as ambiance and tradition. It is a spill protector employed in the age old tradition of aerating cider by pouring it from a great height.
Gijon, Spain. May 2010

Following my previous post of the suspiciously urinal looking device discovered in a Spanish bar (above), I can update this report on the item below found in a restroom in Qatar (December 1, 2012).  Perhaps because men wear long gowns in Qatar, it turns out that there are often only squatters in the restroom. So on first entry into the country, and first use of the restroom, the 'foot washing' station (at least that is the only thing I saw anyone doing with it) in the restroom depicted here, is, it turns out, NOT a urinal, despite appearances and expectations to the contrary.


Full Moon and Fire

Arendal, Norway. June 2010
Summer solstice in Arendal, Norway (June 23, 2010). A beautiful tradition of lighting bonfires by the shore and going out on the water at midnight to remember that GDP does not capture everything that is good in life.