Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Tibet in 1993

I first truely left home when I arrived in the Delhi airport for a half-year Tibetan studies program. I still taste the weight of the air and the peculiar incense, and recall the skin, feet, hands, and fabric of the people surrounding us. Us - 15 young people, scrubbed and new to the wider world and to each other. Henry with a still red impression of innoculations delivered by a 12x12 grid of needles. Frif pressed and tidy. Myself bemused by the night world so palpable outside the doors to the terminal.

That night we shared the first of many adventures - traveling to our wonderful, damp, white Colonial mass of a hotel. I recall our adventures now in pieces - honey over a shared banana pancake with Mark and Ky; a night talking with Peter and Birch; bus trips, plane rides, temples, dog bites, illnesses, discoveries - and I am looking forward to meeting that group of 15 again - hopefully in the fall of 2006.

Photo from our meeting with His Holiness in 1993.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Dia:Beacon - the quiet of scale.

I last visited Dia:Beacon almost two years ago - and a number of pieces still offered up unexplored ideas. On a rainy fall day, with flood warnings and fog alerts, I headed out by car to revisit those ideas.

(courtesy of Dia:Beacon site)

Foremost are the monumental steel works of Richard Serra - giant lemon peels of metal creating vast, ruddy canyons of silence on the concrete floors of one wing.

Click the play button above to view the 45 second video.
The first one felt like an opening in the forest. While the second one, opened like a cathedral from a long, dark curving corridor.

Click the play button above to view the video - it's a bit long (1.5 minutes) - but it follows the path as I did.

Michael Heizer interpreted scale and space by creating massive negative spaces representing the cardinal directions: North, East, South, West. I continually wish to cross the glass barrier to peer down into these perfect cavities, to reach my hands into the space, to listen at their edges. But they are so deep, that they radiate a sense of danger, so that reach might be made while I would lay flat on my stomach to assure I wouldn't slip in.

His carefully balanced boulder elicited a similar desire to touch and engage, and a physical alertness that it might not be safe.

Fred Sandback creates an entirely different exploration of space and illusion, with colored string defining planes.

Here red string defines two planes about to intersect at a right angle. In other pieces, these slices changed the perception of walls and the flow of pedestrian traffic.

Bruce Nauman created a number of active installations: with light, video, or passage.

Click the play button above,

Monday, October 03, 2005

Phildelphia - a quick weekend visit

The Chinatown bus stops are right around the corner from my new place. I hopped aboard one to Philadelphia this weekend to help my friend Jessica move to her new place - and to visit Josh.

We moved Jess from South Philly to West Philly... or the other way around - from a block of old victorians, each going slowly to seed or trying to bloom, to a cramped block of small two story row-homes bustling with life and children spilling from every doorway and dashing among the closely parked cars.

(courtesy of ICA)
Sunday I went to Hot Soup to meet Josh who introduced me to the true Philly cheesesteak, made with Cheezwhiz no less. Then we drove to the ICA to see the Rodney Graham: A Little Thought exhibit and a gallery talk by one of the museum curators.

(courtesy of ICA)
The upside-down photos of the trees were remarkably arresting. His video/moving image work uses himself as the subject, but in a very Cindy-Sherman manner - but it creates a sense of pattern that my eye searches for and finds very familiar - perhaps that is Hollywood and the star culture, or perhaps it is also the human need to find patterns, and to solve the how-was-it-done question.