From the category archives:

Place

A newspaper box in St. Petersburg, Florida

A newspaper box in St. Petersburg, Florida

A closeup of the sign

A closeup of the sign

Photo Credit: Jim Blair

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Egypt Remembers

The faces of murdered Egyptian protesters

via

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Heritage

January 29, 2011

in History,Image,Place,Storytelling

Egyptians form a human wall to protect the history museum in Cairo

Unconfirmed, but hopefully true

Citizens form a human wall around the Egyptian Museum in Cairo to protect historical artifacts within.

via

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These stanzas from Thomas Traherne’s “Walking” seem to resonate with the idea of small stones:

To walk abroad is, not with eyes,
But thoughts, the fields to see and prize;
Else may the silent feet,
Like logs of wood,
Move up and down, and see no good
Nor joy nor glory meet.

To walk is by a thought to go;
To move in spirit to and fro;
To mind the good we see;
To taste the sweet;
Observing all the things we meet
How choice and rich they be.

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But the present is not a potential past; it is the moment of choice and action; we can not avoid living it through a project; and there is no project which is purely contemplative since one always projects himself toward something, toward the future; to put oneself “outside” is still a way of living the inescapable fact that one is inside; those French intellectuals who, in the name of history, poetry, or art, sought to rise above the drama of the age, were willy-nilly its actors; more or less explicitly, they were playing the occupier’s game. Likewise, the Italian aesthete, occupied in caressing the marbles and bronzes of Florence, is playing a political role in the life of his country by his very inertia. One can not justify all that is by asserting that everything may equally be the object of contemplation, since man never contemplates: he does.

– Simone de Beauvoir, from The Ethics of Ambiguity

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Motorized Glass

January 6, 2010

in Music,Place,Sound

I went to see Transference last weekend, and it’s not the kind of work I’ll try to summarize in words.

The tone of the bowls is enchanting, but so is the clicking and tapping of the motors which turn them.

The piece is installed right next to the entrance, so the ebb and flow of people adds another layer to the work. Though I must say: talking loudly about your latest knitting project in the middle of a sound installation is sort of like flicking the lights off and on in the middle of a movie theater.

I feel like I’m channeling Rodney Dangerfield: “Sound gets no respect!!!”

From the second floor of the museum, it’s a quite different experience: almost all tones, and none of the tiny sounds. I prefer the first floor.

Does a sound installation count as craft? Megan Driscoll explores that question and has some great photographs of the piece.

Transference can be heard and seen at the Museum of Contemporary Craft through January 9th. (On the east side of the North Park Blocks.)

Hurry, Portlanders! (But please take your time once you get there…)

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Signifiers of Home

January 5, 2010

in Place,Process,Words

There are “Books You Can Live Without“? Really?

The NYT’s Room for Debate blog makes this claim, and asked six book enthusiasts how they go about the task of choosing what stays on the bookshelves, and what should go.

My own attitude is closest to that of Joshua Ferris:

“Books are notes from the field, bound and domesticated, life brought into narrow focus. Get rid of a book? No way. Every one is a brick keeping the building standing. Books are my life. I leave and come back, and the books I find there tell me I’m home.”

I can only hope he’s joking about piling books on top of his wife — well, unless she’s into that kind of thing.

And Fred Bass, co-owner of The Strand Book Store, summarizes the economic conundrum that lurks within every book-purging project:

“When you’re all finished, think of selling your books to the Strand! Though we’ll definitely buy the quality books you plan on discarding, we really want the books you’re keeping.”

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Snowfall at Dusk

December 29, 2009

in Image,Place,Senses

I actually choked on a snowflake earlier this evening, but my cold, wet walk was worth it.

Snowfall in Portland (Dusk)

This evening in Portland

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Gary Snyder, quoted in the book “Where Inspiration Lives”:

Another key principle in this creative stewardship is waking up to “wild mind.” He clarifies that “wild” in this context does not mean chaotic, excessive, or crazy.

“It means self-organizing,” he says. “It means elegantly self-disciplined, self-regulating, self-maintained. That’s what wilderness is. Nobody has to do the management plan for it. So I say to people, ‘let’s trust in the self-disciplined elegance of wild mind.’ Practically speaking, a life that is vowed to simplicity, appropriate boldness, good humor, gratitude, unstinting work and play, and lots of walking, brings us close to the actually existing world and its wholeness.”

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I went momiji-viewing late this afternoon, and there was just something in the air, or the light, or the drizzle, or the combination that seemed like an ending.

Can fall be over already?

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On the 60th anniversary of the founding of the (so-called) People’s Republic of China, this image resonated with me:

Camouflage 2 by Liu Bolin

Camouflage 2 by Liu Bolin

From photographer Liu Bolin:

“I choose to merge myself into the environment. Saying that I am disappeared in the environment, it would be better to say that the environment has licked me up and I can not choose active and passive relationship.

In the environment of emphasizing cultural heritage, concealment is actually no place to hide.”

via Shoot! The Blog and designboom

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The BBC goes behind the scenes of Brian Eno’s 77 Million Paintings project as it was projected on the surface of the Sydney Opera House:

There is also a profile of the project, with some technical details about how it was put together, on Apple’s website:

“77 Million Paintings” continues to evolve. “We’ve been discussing the idea of using natural selection in the next project,” says Taylor. “When users see a combination of images they like, they’ll be able to hit a button and the computer will remember it. Likewise, the user will be able to kill certain combinations. At the end of a very long period of time, you’ll have a handful of images that have survived the selection process. Then the program will stop. Everyone’s choices will be different.”

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Thomas Jefferson designed his own house, and constantly fiddled with it — and yet his bed was in the wall between his office and bedroom:

Jefferson's Bed (by Maira Kalman)

Jefferson's Bed (by Maira Kalman)

From “Time Wastes Too Fast“, a narrative and series of images by Maira Kalman based on a visit to Monticello.

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Irrepressible

Irrepressible

By fascists — with batons — this mark was made.
Her smile says: “Our resistance will not fade.”

Wishing the people of Iran all the best in your struggle for your human rights to freely express yourselves and be treated with dignity.

The world admires your courage.

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I feel ambivalent about Banksy. I find some of his work really impressive, while other pieces are either a yawn, or overdone, or a yawn because they’re overdone.

But taking over your hometown’s main museum for the summer, with only a handful of people knowing about it until the day before it opens?

Not bad…

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