Thursday, November 30, 2006

etiquette for the aisles

seeing back-to-back lectures on architecture and photography, two of the most fascinating topics, in my thoughts, I am saddened to say the only lasting impression I take away is this: how do we rid the format of the excrutiatingly demented obligatory post-lecture Q&A?

with all the hoopla around architecture and "design" in edmonton, the opportunity, the rarity, of asking someone like antoine predock a question could and maybe would have been exciting. asking predock (twice) to comment on what he thinks about our upgrades was a nice exercise in imagining our city's plans for architecture has any effect whatsoever on anyone, especially this year's AIA gold medal winner, but at least it was civil enough.

tonight, however, I feel honestly embarassed. visiting lecturer martha langford got a good dose of crazy when an interruptive audience member continuously barged her comments in throughout the talk and in the end, compared Langford's comments to Nazism. but what was worse, and it did get worse, was that this audience member tried to say it in a nazi german accent and being completely serious about it.

lecture etiquette rule #1: do not impersonate a nazi.
lecture etiquette rule #2: do not call the lecturer a nazi (even if it's within the context of digital photography.)

it's safe to say all Q&A's I have ever encountered have been bad, bad experiences. this time, I attended the langford lecture with MCO, the former arts writer for SEE and now my faux nemesis at VUE. we each appropriately wore black and white similiar long pea coats and cackled like harpies afterwards, but as two very different writers writing on the same subject, I wonder if we both miss the mark.

MCO reviews art from a very astute and intellectually provocative voice; I only explain (not reivew) exhibitions and make them safely appealing. both are done to engage a dialogue, but who are we talking with? to someone who only attended this past lecture, it would be crystal clear why 'art' remains on the periphery. I really wonder at the end of the day, or at the end of that circus, what can really be done when people are only listening to themselves. this is why I hate art, when the opportunity for dialogue turns into a one voice statement of complete and utterly drry bullshit.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

manufactured landscapes

ted and I met up to go see Manufactured Landscapes at the Garneau on Mon. we're both into Edward Burtynsky; Ted with his recent AIR at Shell Chemicals and me just into whatever (but I did go see his lecture this time last year and was duly impressed with his grandeur.) I can't say the same for the doc. The opening shot, one continuous track spanning the space of one factory, was exciting. space over time. no zooms, a few slight pans, just a medium shot gliding across, maybe forever it seemed. the rest of the doc fell into a recording of his lecture, some lame conceptual reachings, and an underlying conflict between the director and the photographer. is this about the artist, his subject, or as it would appear, neither.

the highlight of evening was certainly running into Kyla and co, swarming a row of seats and heading (skating) over to Remedy after. too loud, it was, but some good brainstorming occured. oh, and the bag of shreddies, and cornuts, with glosette raisins, plus popcorn. yeah.

in an industrial province, the beauty of modern man's thumbprint on nature has now been highly aestheticized for us to think about, but it's so pretty. distant. it's hard to think. a problem. a problem of art a problem is art.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

"but my car is my toque"

the cold is here and it is relentless. walking two blocks up to martini's suddenly became the march of death through siberia. "what are you waiting for, gary?" there was no part of skin, exposed or not, that didn't sting in every pore.

reading the paper this morning, a transient man and a transient woman were found dead in a converted school bus-turn-home. No one knows for exactly how long they've been dead, maybe three weeks one person thinks. their completely frozen bodies may or may not have died from carbon monoxide poisioning, but their bodies were found huddled by a propane heater.

since the cold started again, I have seen a lot of transient individuals finding shelter, sleeping in apartment doorways and down in the LRT (on the way back from martini's, we ducked into the station for the two block walk). going from heated garage to heated garage, I know how easy it is to forget how bloody cold it actually is out there. walking hardly becomes an option, but imagine living out there. shelters are filled beyond capacity again and that only accomodates so many. if steel motor engines are giving out on the side of the road, think of what the warm human body is going through.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

getting in on this ipod culture (or walkman if you remember them)

"Watch Out Where Yer Going!"

so I'm trying to reconcile the action of walking and listening to music. as someone who absolutely loves driving around to tunes, not just any ol' radio tunes or albums, but specially crafted mixes for specially conceived journeys--including aimless wanderings of the motorized kind.

you've heard it all before, the drifting landscape somehow finding syncopation with with the tunes blasting out of your scratchy over-trebled speakers . . . blah blah blah. I do love it, but walking and listening? I hate it. Puts me completely off kilter to each step I take, like I'm moving out of time. plus, it makes me more unaware of all the bad drivers around in this hopelessly pedestrian-unfriendly city.

Taking a walk usually clears my head, gets me thinking, but that little joy vanishes if I put on headphones. Come to think of it, I've never worn headphones unless I was completely still. Sitting, lying in the middle of my floor, getting to know a record or just content to be alone. Ah, but maybe I just like listening to the city noise, never crazy busy, but always loud on account of there being no big buildings around to absorb the noise. it's quiet except for my own shuffle steps and the odd angry driver, and I prefer it that way.

Monday, November 13, 2006

sandwiches for everyone

went to the new southside ital centre with the intent of buying and eating their deliciously processed italian sandwiches. 7 dollars for a gigantic meaty sandwich. I gave a quarter to sarah p and carly gave a quarter to the other sarah p (the shorter one) and like wolves, we downed our 'wiches in no time. poor fools we were! not picking up any orangina, that delicate balance of calcium/vitamin c fighting against the sodium nitrate, c and I were pretty hurtin' at hair of the dog. the performance may have sent me walking out, but it was the sandwich and beer that sent me napping.

that was saturday.

on thursday, explored the portugese bakeries on 118 for sandwiches. had not one, but two very similiar meat sandwiches on a crusty bun. first one was roast beef that was most unsatisfactory. typical and not exceptional in any way. 3.50. the next one on the corner of 93 was far better in its capicollo offerings. 3.50 as well. they must be aware. consumed within 15 minutes of each other, the 7 dollar battle goes to saturday for knocking me flat on my ass whereas thursday was mild discomfort.

and then there was of course tuesday, vietmanese sandwiches w/ tishkoff in a record shop. the tunes were bobby d and the flavour was mouth-on-fire hot. what is it about sandwiches that makes them so fantastic? earl sandwich, I salute you time and time again.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Walking In The City - Inaugaral Step

Tracking, literally, the steps of this small town and a half-turn-city of Edmonton, recording encounters with people, places, and objects. Not significant ones, at least not all the time, but hopefully sometimes.