Archive for November, 2008

28
Nov
08

Flip-book Life

We recently took a trip to Seattle for our dear friend Jen Dixon’s birthday. Jen’s friends from all over the country came for this one, and so we saw a lot of people. We had a wonderful time, and it was actually rejuvenating. It just felt like we reconnected with our friends there in a much more significant way this time. I suppose that because it was a tough year marked by personal loss, and because we saw people we had not seen in years, and because we are all older, there was this pervasive sense that being with people you care for is what matters in life. It sounds corny, but I don’t know how else to describe it.

One of the really nice things we had a chance to do was take a drive up Aurora Ave to see Jen’s public art work installed on the Interurban Trail. I really loved the work. It has a playfulness and a sense of place. Yet the combination of the simple, colorful, unfolding content on a form usually reserved for the concise delivery of important information for travelers creates a semiotic mystery. “What does that sign mean? What is it telling me about what’s ahead?” I love that in a work.

19
Nov
08

Our moment, our time

I am amazed. Politics has been subject matter for street art for as long as they have both been around, I am sure. But in my experience, the political message of this kind of work is almost always critical of the dominant political party, and when it comes to elected officials, nearly always scathing in its portrayals and parodies. I’ve seen plenty of this for all the presidents I have lived through going back to Nixon. Admittedly most of the criticism has been directed at Republicans. No one, however, was sneaking around putting up triumphal representations of Slick Willy or Jimmy, as far as I remember.

I just don’t remember street artists ever busting out to celebrate the election of an American president like I’m seeing happen for Obama. It is almost disorienting to see newstands and telephone poles plastered with stylized images of Barack bearing slogans of support. I think it is another indication of what an enormous cultural and political earthquake this election has turned out to be.

It’s almost as if one needs to be continually reminded of this fact because it is so hard to really grasp. And the artists are doing it. They are reminding me to be amazed.

14
Nov
08

Night Rambler 5

Night Rambler 5, originally uploaded by neocles.

It showed up one day earlier this week. It sat quietly over to the side minding its own business, not making a peep. I went by once and noticed it immediately, but I, too, didn’t say anything. Life is like that a lot these days. One makes mental notes and tries to find them later amid the clutter of scraps of paper, children’s toys, empty wine bottles, and job postings.

I went by again and the tug was more insistent; the mental note came floating down from the rafters, landed in plain view. For two days I shuffled it to the top of the stack of other mental notes.

Sarah had noticed it sitting there and said something to me about it. Tuesday night it was still there when I left the house to run the errand in another note. I threw my tripod in the car on my way to get milk.

On the way back home, i went by again. This time I stopped. I didn’t care that it was night. The moon was almost full. The golden convertible gleamed in the cocktail glow of moonlight and sodium vapor.

It was accidental at the time, brought about by the time constraints of modern suburban living. But these two great tastes taste great together: suburban neighborhood car photography, and night photography.




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