Mr. Patterns, Featured Documentary at the Esker Foundation

Last night I had opportunity to view the beautiful documentary, Mr. Patterns, at the Esker Foundation.  I was so happy to meet up with Wendy Lees of Love Art in Calgary and to sit back in such a perfect space, nibbling on popcorn and sipping lime bubbly.  If you have not yet visited the exhibit Fiction/Non-Fiction, please do.

The thirteen artists in Fiction/Non-fiction challenge mainstream cultural and political narratives by offering transcultural critique through works that propose counterpoints, rhetorical questions, and revisionist statements (often as increasingly abstract forms of representation) to official historical records or archives.

Sometimes people appreciate my book suggestions.  As related to the topic of the documentary, I recommend two books.  A 1986 book, Songlines, written by Bruce Chatwin is directly related to the Dreamtime of the Papunya Tula artists.  I had tears in the dark when I saw in the documentary, the artists singing the Honey Ants…a powerful piece of iconography, strong symbols, on the side of a building.

Papunya Tula Honey Ants

Papunya Tula Honey Ants

I also recommend, especially for my women-readers, Marlo Morgan’s Mutant Message Down Under.  These two books will introduce the reader to a context as it relates to the status of the indigenous peoples of Australia.  The documentary presented parallels to the stories of indigenous peoples the world over.  A must-see.

The Papunya Tula art movement says so much about the human spirit and Geoffrey Bardon is to be commended for his vision and his promotion of the artists throughout that period of history.  The documentary was laced together with 16 mm. footage.  I enjoyed that sensibility as it contributed to themes of memory.

Charlie Tararu Tjungurrayi

Charlie Tararu Tjungurrayi

Gravity!

My son and I dawned our 3D glasses and watched this flick together.  Of course, above all, the special effects were ‘out of this world’.  I found myself gripping my arm rests for the majority of the movie.  While there were so many moments where the mind wanted to go to that place, “Yeah, right….”, the movie demanded a certain belief from the audience.  Outer Space…a world of experience that is out of reach for the ordinary person.  This movie was inclusive and gave us some sort of insight into this dark and magical world.

As a result, I dug through some of my old newspaper journals and found, from the North Bay Nugget…1969 and ’70…a small collection of things I had clipped out of the newspaper while I was a little girl.  How courageous of these daring astronauts…to let go and travel into space!

P1130434 P1130435 P1130436 P1130437 P1130438 P1130439 P1130440 P1130441 P1130442 P1130443 P1130444 P1130445

Lincoln

Given that I was schooled in the United States for a good portion of my education, included in the curriculum, were bits of American history.  As I sat watching Lincoln last night with some of my sister-friends, I remembered writing a report in Grade three about some of his accomplishments and, of course, this morning, dug through my sorted archives and found this crayon illustration, all that remains over these many years, of my report.

Abe LincolnI’m certain that the memories of these lessons and the experience of the then-patriotic sensibility of the citizens that surrounded me, caused me to feel more attached to the narrative.  I remember the morning pledge…hand held over heart and the flags flying from poles in the neighbourhoods where I lived.

From Wikipedia: Lincoln is a 2012 American historical drama film directed and produced by Steven Spielberg, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as United States President Abraham Lincoln and Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln.

I think that it’s important to remember that the film is in the genre of historical drama.  As such, it can feel long at times.  Some of the reading material that I choose takes on this same sensibility, but my interest in the context overrides my frustration with the historical detail and seeming analysis.  Other films that have had these sorts of moments, but have been more successful are The Iron LadyJ. Edgar and Nixon.  I think that in these, devices such as flash back and a more intimate psychological development of the protagonist, created more empathy in the viewer.

Steven Spielberg gives us some idea of Lincoln’s personal struggle in the scenes shared between Lincoln and Mary.  Lincoln’s admission that he wish to crawl into the ground next to his son Willie every day of his life comes out of one of the most powerful of these scenes.

I don’t think that anyone can deny that the basis for this story is a powerful one and that it represents a concept that citizens of the world continue to struggle with and that is the sense of lawful equality among all people…dignity…and justice.  And because this is such a huge concept, at times, this movie does not feel LARGE enough.

The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution reads:

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

 

Hugo

The movie, Hugo, really struck a chord with me.  Most of you saw it a good while ago…I had heard that it was beautiful.  And it was.  I was especially taken by the artistry of the film…its incorporation of all things sculptural, emotive and colourful.  I was delighted by the various links to early films, story boards, set design and sketches, but especially intrigued by the automaton that became as much a central character as the young boy, Hugo Cabret, played by Asa Butterfield.

If you haven’t seen this film as yet, please do.  Reviews cover the spectrum from admiration to disdain, as always…many complaints about various aspects of this Scorsese film, beginning early with the english accents in a french setting.  To state the obvious, movies, like music, speak to the individual heart.  Hugo spoke to mine. Fabulous!

Today I’ve spent some time exploring automatons and wondering about the complexity of their construction.  I’m posting a few bits here.

Leonardo’s programmable cart.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

This weekend was a blessing-weekend.  The weather was warm.  The leaves were a vibrant yellow.  Autumn is my favourite season of the year and in some ways each and every year, autumn surprises me.  Max and I spent time together at the parks and down at the river.  He likes the redundant fetching of a big stick again and again.  Sometimes I find it hard to believe that he is a border collie.  He has the heart of a lab.  He would not have survived a sheep farm.  I saved him.

Apart from having time with Max, I was really proud to put my nose to the grindstone (just where did any of us come up with THAT particular idiom?)…anyway, I DID…and created a website that will be developed over time in order to make connections around my art and a few different services that I hope to explore during my retirement.  You can take a peek here.  It was an intense and focused activity, but just what I needed for my particular head space.

Saturday evening my sister-cousin-friend suggested that we visit the local ‘burb-Wal-Mart and we picked up the movie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (spoiler).  Back at home, we popped a big bowl of popcorn and poured ourselves some lemon water, then parking our butts on a comfy bed, we settled in for a great movie!

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is one of those movies, jam-packed with life lessons.  The colours, atmosphere and sound track, work together to create such a beautiful setting.  The actors are superb.  The story is a story about every person who faces a big transition, enters into their ‘golden’ years OR watches someone who is special to them experience any, some or all of these. (My father always says, “I would like to find the person who decided to call these the golden years!”)

If you have opportunity, catch this one.

“Everything will be alright in the end, so if it’s not alright, it is not yet the end.”

To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart. Phyllis Theroux

Morning At the Bird Feeder

Songwriters: VALLANCE, JAMES DOUGLAS / REYNE, JAMES MICHAEL

There’s a light in the valley
There’s a heart all alone
And the door is always open

Go away from your window
Pull the shades way down low
And in a whisper words are spoken

Higher and higher
Taking you there
You’ve got to fly
You’ve got to care

When the feelings gone
And you can’t go on
Slave
When things ain’t right
You wanna stay all night
Slave

Looking for someone
Who will always be strong
And who will not let you hide

You need your defender
For right or for wrong
You know the path is deep and wide

When the feelings gone
And you can’t go on
Slave
When things ain’t right
Don’t give up the fight
Slave

thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.
e. e. cummings

 

Happy Birthday, My Beautiful Daughter!

Alright…it just might be that I won’t have the chance to give my sweet child a birthday hug today!  However, I WAS able to hook up with her auntie…picked up a drive-through McDonald’s  ‘seniors’ coffee (my FIRST seniors ANYTHING and a big purchase at 82 cents a cup…joking) and then headed for the ridge for a romp in the wind!  An awesome time sharing a few memories and so much gratitude!

The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe. Gustave Flaubert

 

Reflections on a Changed Landscape

Clouds Gathering to the East

April 19, 2012 4:30 p.m. Weather 12 degrees, some wind, intermittent cloud.  Findings: The Same: Again and Again  Now it is a matter of maintaining the park area.  I learned from the orientation that now the birds are settling in near the shores and that if I see any flushing at all from the ducks/geese out from under the cattails and other vegetation, then it wouldn’t be right to disturb their space, so I’m not pulling plastics out of the pond anymore.  I spent an awesome walk, reflecting and just enjoying the outdoors.  Max spent much of the time on leash as he LOVES the water!

The desire to write grows with writing. Desiderius Erasmus

Changing the Landscape: One Bag At a Time

March 23, 2012 11:30 a.m. Weather: 1 degree and snowing.

It was a lovely thing to have the chance to visit with a good friend before going out into the weather to pick up some of the litter that remains at Frank’s Flats.  I’m going to collect her scone recipe and post it here for my readers.  Awesome stuff!  So then, out we headed for our walk around the pond, a good chat and another clean-up.

Ok, apparently this is a   ‘secret’  recipe for scones and so, I am posting my mother’s scone recipe here instead.  I always said that my mother made the best scones!  To this mix, add a few dried cranberries and some white chocolate chips…and you will get a great result!

 Kay’s Scones

3 C.        All purpose Flour                                            1 C      Margarine
1/4 tsp. Salt                                                                       7 tsp. Sugar
1 C.         Milk                                                                       1         Egg
3 heaping tsps. Baking Powder                                     

Instructions

Mix dry ingredients as for biscuits. Cut in margarine by hand.  Beat egg and milk together. Add quickly to dry ingredients. Dough will be quite wet. Turn on to cookie sheet and pat out to a 1 ½ inch thick circle. Bake at 425-450 on center rack of oven for 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes and cut onto wedges. Serve warm with butter and jam.

Some thoughts since returning home…

Most staff rooms in the business world,  include posted signs as reminders for staff members to clean up after themselves.  People on assigned clean-up duty get frustrated with others who do not pick up after themselves.  On the internet, there is a huge conversation about how to deal with mess in the work place.  Who’s responsibility?  I’m going to link this analogy with what we, as a society, do on a grander scale.

“If the break room stays clean, I’ll take down these passive-aggressive signs.”
posted by 23skidoo at 7:31 AM on September 29, 2010
This is a self-cleaning kitchen – clean it yourself!
posted by lizbunny at 7:32 AM on September 29, 2010
Abandoned coffee cups will be used for specimen collections.
Your mother doesn’t work here (and if she did, she’d tell you to clean up after yourself).posted by motsque at 7:33 AM on September 29, 2010
Once, an anonymous hyper-irritated employee put up a sign in our break room reading “The sink does NOT have a garbage disposal. The sink does NOT have a garbage disposal. The sink does NOT have a garbage disposal!
“So I left a little sign of my own beneath it which read “This is the way the sink ends. This is the way the sink ends. This is the way the sink ends. Not with a bang, but a gurgle.”Nobody thought it was funny. posted by julthumbscrew at 7:35 AM on September 29, 2010
What has been far more effective than notes and signs is the sensation of being watched. Well, that is what this psychologist did to get pple to pay their fair share for community coffee. posted by Wolfster at 7:38 AM on September 29, 2010
The answer in an art room, when a teacher asks a student to please clean up a spill of paint is, “I didn’t do it.”

Now,  I wish to make a point, with the examples of the staff room and the art room clean-ups.  Unless human beings get over the idea that they will only clean up their OWN mess, the world is going to be in rough shape.  Yes, it’s disappointing that OTHERS are not good stewards or that they are irresponsible.  (They are busy!  They will get to it later!)  However, unless someone decides to take on the responsibility, without pay and without thanks, then we will all be left with an environment that is hopelessly scourged.

We are ALL busy!  We are ALL taxed with life and the requirements of the day.  We are ALL raising funds and doing good works in order to show that our hearts are in the right place, spiritually.  We are ALL taking care of our own families and we are ALL taking care of the hurting people of the world.  We are ALL competing and building and buying and selling.  But, unless someone takes pause and takes care of the Covenant…we will ALL lose…big time.  A community needs to take care of its environment, even WHEN THE MESS IS NOT YOUR OWN.

Changing the Landscape: One Bag At a Time

An edit: In the last slide of my published youtube, I spelled circumference incorrectly.  I just don’t have it in me to pull the project off, in order to make the correction.

March 22, 2012 6:00 p.m. Weather 1 degree, clear skies, bring sun, a layer of fresh snow on the ice of just yesterday.

Findings: I attempted to get a start on the school slope.  It is in an outrageous condition and will take quite some time to clean up.  Much in the way of food containers, sandwich bags, fast food packaging and more plastic bags.  The most interesting find was a plastic skeletal hand.  I begin to wonder about the burned pages of a book/manual in a foreign script.  I’ve been finding these pages strewn everywhere since the beginning of this project.

Writing is a struggle against silence. Carlos Fuentes