I am 26, I am not sure where I fall in terms of generation. I seem to fall smack dab in the middle between Gen X and Gen.com. So I either don't know what I am talking about or I have an unbiased view.
The relationship between Gen Xers and Baby Boomers is bitter sweet, much like how teenagers don't appreciate their parents wisdom until they have kids of their own. Be patient though, their generalized disdain will soften around the edges.
The main generalizations:
Baby Boomers: stubborn, community oriented, activists.
Gen Xers: self-centered, bored, adaptable.
(I dont think anybody in real life falls into any of these categories, but this is just the general consensus as far as I understand it).
Some people think that it's post modernism to blame for the differences in values between the generations. I have not read Fredric Jameson's work on Post Modernism, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, but from all of my art history classes, I could have sworn that in Art Discourse, no one can really agree on when exactly it began? Many believe it began in the 1950's, but not everyone. Not only that, no onee can even aggree on what post modernism is let alone if it is still a current phenomena.
Another issue I have with a generalization the Baby Boomers have of Gen X feminists: "Embrace your inner slut," seems to be a common stereotype a lot of people think of when they think of the contemporary feminist. Mind you, I am not offended. Its just that I hate it when people assume that is the message of Third Wave Feminism, because its not. If it wasn't for 3rd wave feminism, feminism would either be dead in the water or feminists would go on trying to beat the male species down with their ideologies. It's not about embracing your inner slut, its about being okay with who you are and not having to explain yourself to anyone, especially 2nd Wave Feminists.
Alright, alright. This isn't my favorite kind of blogging (going on a rant), but I just had to say something about the subject after I read this article .
Thursday, November 30, 2006
I am 26, I am not sure where I fall in terms of generation. I seem to fall smack dab in the middle between Gen X and Gen.com. So I either don't know what I am talking about or I have an unbiased view.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Stella Lai, the spotlight artist of the week, is a Chinese-American painter who grew up in Hong Kong and now lives in San Francisco. You can currently see her work at the University of Virginia Art Museum along with other artists from both China and the US.
The reason her work caught my attention was that these are paintings and collages, not digital work. They are so precise and mechanical, they look like they were done with a computer, yet they also have subtle traces of a human. To me, they are wrought with the nervous technological energy of modern culture. Hong Kong used to be a place that was oozing with rich cultural history that was visibly evident. Granted, I have never been to Hong Kong, but when I think of contemporary Hong Kong I think of a large, bustling, and hugely international city much like New York. Of course in New York there is a rich culture everywhere you go, but has evolved into its own unique isolated culture of New York. I imagine that Hong Kong is similar? (I think that kind of environment is very stimulating and fascinating).
The bi-polarness of her work reflects the manic traits of modern culture. Yes, her work is primarily about Chinese culture, but the meaning of her work can be applied to any modern culture; bi-polar histories with hyperactive metropolis' overtaken by a monster in the disguise of consumption.
"Using a visual library of fragments of Hong Kong's history, I have created paintings that accurately reflect the city's present nervous condition," -Stella Lai
For more info, click here
Posted by Beth at 11/29/2006
Monday, November 27, 2006
I was laying on the ground, looking up. I must have been outside somewhere because there were tiny grains of sand and pebbles which made the ground sharp to lay on. I could see blurry images of buildings in the distance. I couldn't see myself, it was as if my eyes were a video camera and what I was seeing was a home movie.
Then I saw three large birds, about the size of skyscrapers walking towards me. They were pecking at the ground as they made their way closer. They looked like those cute little brown birds that are all over Washington DC year round (I think are scavengers), only they were enormous.
I then realized what I was. I was a bread crumb. The birds weren't out of proportion, I was. I was a bread crumb and they were most likely going to eat me.
I wasn't scared though, I was more interested than anything else. It was just such a curious position to find myself in. How did I get there?
Posted by Beth at 11/27/2006
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
I love the holiday traditions, the love of tradition will always win me over.
I thought I would toss a nod at Thanksgiving and point you all to a creative article by Garrison Keiller, called A Quiet Life Among Autumnal People
Happy Thanksgiving, hope it's a good one.
Posted by Beth at 11/22/2006
There wasn't any more doing to be done. She was feeling entirely uncreative. She hadn't showered in a week, and her bedroom was starting to smell like the sweaty shoes of someone who doesn't wear socks. The photographs she had been taking were taking on a kind of despondency, completely void of "otherness."
There was a reason she hadn't taken a shower in a week, it wasn't that she was just lazy. This had in part to do with why her photographs weren't working anymore. She just wanted to hear something else from her mind. Those voices that everyone has, not the voices people with schizophrenia sometimes have. She wasn't "crazy". It's just that she had been watching too many movies.
She popped a peppermint candy in her mouth, the kind grandmas usually have in their purse.
Her thought patterns were definitely non-linear, but not crazy. Discipline was all she needed.
Discipline. Perfect time to practice this by finishing the thought on how photographs and showers were related. The last time she took a shower she had noticed in the mirror before she got in about 3 dozen scratches on her back. A lot of them were in a pattern, short diagonal slashes going in a horizontal pattern across her back. Strange. Especially since she had been reading about all those Female Hysterics in the 1900's who's common symptom was Dermographism. Dermographism? She had read about the doctors who treated the hysterics. They loved to play a game with this disease. They would write all over the hypnotized women's bodies with tongue depressors, as if their skin was a blank canvas; covering every inch of it with words and pictures.
Wait, had she dreamed this? Maybe it was really two weeks ago that she took her last shower. Or maybe it was yesterday? Were the scratches really there? yes, they were definitely there. She saw them with her own eyes. Why were they there? She hadn't scratched her self on accident. It was the morning, she had just gotten out of bed. There was no explanation for the scratches.
When she saw the red inflamed marks in he mirror, she got a camera. The camera would be a record. An artistic record. Where were the pictures, hadn't she developed them yet? That would be proof that it wasn't a dream. She hadnt taken any good pictures of anything else since. Thats why she her pictures had been despondant lately.
Out of toothpaste again. No shower, no socks to wear with her sweaty shoes, and no toothpaste. Gross. Well, it was supposed to be gross. It didn't bother her though.
She left her dirty apartment for the cold winter outside. She had an apple and a Pb&j in her bag. She passed by a man sitting on the sidewalk, all slumped over like a rag doll. His legs were stretched out straight in front of him, but his head, arms and shoulders drooped so severely that his forehead almost reached the ground. 'He must have been very flexible. Every few seconds he shivered (like when your spine shivers). She passed him by. But then she turned around and walked passed him again. After all, she was sure he wasn't crazy either. The people who are labeled as crazy are never the real crazies. She made sure no one else was looking, because that's just the way she operated. She didn't like other people watching her. She didn't like attention. She put the apple on the ground just barely touching his hand. He didn't notice, he just shivered again.
Posted by Beth at 11/22/2006
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
(not sure what this one is titled)
I will always be drawn to portraiture photography, especially when its phantasmagoric like Peter Hujar's.
These photographs look like something I could dream about. You know those really vivid dreams you have where you don't necessarily remember the plot, but the images are imprinted onto your mind throughout the rest of the day? Any time you close your eyes, instead of seeing those little white dots, you would see an image from your dream? It reminds me of Fredrico Fellini films.
Peter Hujar's work is being included in an exhibit at the Austin Museum of Art (AMOA). The exhibit is called The Downtown Show: The New York Art Scene, 1974-1984, which includes work by over 200 artists. If you live near the area, I would highly recommend going (it's also a travelling show).
Posted by Beth at 11/21/2006
Monday, November 20, 2006
Just a quick question:
Those of you who have any PVR technologies in their homes (like TiVo, Replay TV, etc.):
Are they worth the money? I am considering getting this as a gift for someone this holiday season. What are your thoughts and recommendations?
Posted by Beth at 11/20/2006
I met one of my all time favorite feminist writers this weekend.
Naomi Wolf is an incredibly famous feminist scholar and I got the opportunity to hear her speak to a very small audience about progressive interfaith religion. The only reason I was able to go was because my boyfriend was a main organizer of the event. It was a kick off event for a new Think Tank called The Institute for Progressive Christianity. (which isn't about being religious, etc; but about how people can fight the christian fundamentalists who try to control public policy.
Naomi Wolf wrote a revolutionary book in the early 90's about the female image in American media called The Beauty Myth. It addresses how the ideal standards affect areas of everyday life; violence, hunger, sex, religion, culture, and work. Everyone should read it, not just women because it addresses how this phenomena affects all members of a society. This book has had a profound impact on my life.
I was so nervous, but I think I did alright considering how much I like her.
So, I met her, shook her hand, told her how much The Beauty Myth impacted my life, and she signed my copy of her latest book The Treehouse. She wrote on the inside dedication page, "For Beth, Love thyself, Naomi Wolfe"
I suppose there are advantages to living in Washington.
Posted by Beth at 11/20/2006
Friday, November 17, 2006
Edit Made 1.29.07; Please Note: I have been receiving a lot of site visits and comments from people who are searching the Internet about the well documented disease Dermographism. The following entry is meant only as a creative exploration on the symptoms of the 19th Century disease known as Female Hysteria. Please understand that Dermographism is a separate disease from this, and they are in no way linked except for the fact that many Female Hysterics of the 19th century exhibited symptoms of Dermographism. People who have this skin writing disease are not known to exhibit ANY symptoms of Female Hysteria. If you believe you have Dermographism, please consult your doctor. Otherwise, this blog entry is only meant as entertainment.
Remember when I mentioned the famous French doctor, Charcot, who hypnotized his hysteric patients and made them do weird things? There is another thing that he did with them that is interesting.
Its called dermographism, which is an actual disease and has no explanation as to the cause of it. It is also known as "skin writing", where you can outline images or words on a persons skin by lightly drawing with a finger or object and minutes later is will appear red and inflamed as if they were scratched or whipped. It used to be a lot more common, and it was also a common symptom of the hysterics. In the present, it only occurs in some degree in about 5% of the world's population. It is speculated that it might be caused by a viral infection, antibiotics, or more interestingly- emotional upset.
This means that if someone is upset enough, they could have this as a temporary symptom. That would also lead to believe that a person could will themselves to have it. If its possible that its a disease of the mind, then couldn't it be possible for someone to consciously choose to make them self have it? Could this be something that I could make myself do through my own concentration and will? Could this be a party trick? Please note that this is a completely harmless disease and there is no pain or discomfort associated with it. Imagine, you are at a party and everyone is showing off their "tricks" (double joints, wiggling ears, crossing eyes, etc) and then someone says they can write on their skin with a feather. Then they outline the letters of their name on their arm and minutes later is appears. Spooky.
Charcot did this to his hysterics often. There is one picture (that I have yet to get my hands on) where he outlined the words "Satan" on the back of one of his patients. This is bringing to my mind the Salem witch hunts.
But, why is it less common now than it used to be? Perhaps it was a disease linked to hysteria (with symptoms that are less common nowadays also). Since dermographism is a real physical disease that is caused by the mind- then wouldn’t that mean that hysteria was a real physical disease also? OR (!!!) if you can will yourself with your mind to have dermagraphism, couldn’t you will yourself to have hysteria? Where do you draw the line between physical disease and mental disease? Are depressed people depressed because they have a chemical imbalance, or do they have a chemical imbalance because they are depressed? The chicken or the egg?
Posted by Beth at 11/17/2006
Thursday, November 16, 2006
The other day I went to a concert at the National Washington Hebrew Congregation in DC. Its a concert they hold every year where groups from different faiths perform music in their cultural or religious tradition. There were traditional Buddhist dancers, gospel choirs, Zulu choir, Baha'i, Sikhs, traditional Kirtan, Temper Chai, and a Muslim rap group.
I volunteered to be one of the run crew- meaning that during the show (which is being recorded) I help put the mics in place, time the performances, make sure the performers enter on time, etc. I have never done this kind of work before, but since I used to be a set painter for theaters they assumed I would know what I was doing and insisted that this should be my job. right.
Actually, it turned out fine. Though, it was a fly-by-the-seat of your pants kind of thing and the sound system wasn't the greatest.
The rest of the run crew I worked with were Mormon. I don't know why all the Mormons happened to be on run crew- because they seemed to be the only Mormons there in the building (some 3,000 people were there).
I don't go to church on a regular basis, and I don't adhere to any particular religion. I feel that spirituality for me is a very individual thing and I haven't found any one religion that suits me... Though I was raised non-denominational Christian, so I culturally identify with this.
One of the Mormon's asked everybody in the group "So, what church do you belong to?" Everyone said LDS, and I quickly said (because I didn't want to open up an invitation for him to try to convert me) "I'm non-denominational Christian, but I haven't found a church in DC yet because I just moved here." Then I quickly changed the subject by asking a question about one of the sound Q's.
So the concert goes on somewhat smoothly, and ends. It was actually quite a moving event. At the end, all of the performers got up on stage and sang a few songs together. It was quite a sight to see Muslims, Baptists, Mormons, Buddhists, Sikhs, Protestants, and Hindus all singing together.
So then its time to say my "goodbye's, nice to meet you's" to my Mormon run crew friends...
The same guy who asked what church I belonged to leaned over and said to me as I was leaving, "You know... you should come be a part of the Mormon church. The Mormon's have the answers to ALL of life's questions. They really do!!!" I am not exageratting. That is what he said, verbatim.
Hmmm.... didn't I just tell him that I was non-denominational Christian? Wouldn't that disqualify me from being a prime candidate for being a Mormon convert? Shouldn't he just have left me and my assumed religion alone? Shouldn't he have held back any urge to advertise his religion since we were at a inter-religious event? What did he think this was, a free for all? Did he come to this thing just so he could try to convert all the good ol' fashioned Christians, Hindu's, Muslims, Sikhs, etc to Mormonism? I found it very offensive that he said this to me.
Unfortunately, I wasn't quick enough to come up with a good response. I just smiled and said "It was nice to meet you, have a nice evening."
Damn I wish I would have said something smart that would have stopped him in his tracks and made him feel foolish for saying that. It was entirely inappropriate.
I could have just been very direct and succinct by saying, "This is an interfaith event, please don't bring your agenda to events like this."
Posted by Beth at 11/16/2006
Friday, November 10, 2006
I read an article today in the online magazine Salon, about a movie recounting the life and work of the famous photographer Diane Arbus. The movie is called, "Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus." I normally very much enjoy reading Salon, I think they have a lot of intelligent left-leaning things to say. But the article published today by Stephanie Zacharek, their regular film critic, really bothered me. She obviously does not know anything about Diane Arbus' work, and she takes the opportunity to critic Arbus' work when she is really supposed to be critiquing the movie.
You can read the article here (you will have to watch a short advertisement to visit the site for free), but basically the gist is this:
"But the portraits taken by the real Diane Arbus have a distinct sense of otherness: She doesn't commune with her subjects -- she displays them. There's rarely any evidence that she actually likes them, or has even thought about them as human beings."
"The movie asks us to believe that the woman behind the camera was actually a nice person, which is a lovely idea, until you actually look at her pictures."
However obvious it is from just reading those snippits above, let me have some fun by pointing out how this commentary is not intelligently executed:
For example; The famous photograph, The Twins (pictured above). If you actually take a moment to ponder the photograph you will notice that the identical twins are much different from one another. It is a comment on comparisons and what it means to be "pretty." It is not about putting them on display. You could perhaps go so far as to say that its a comment on how American society puts twin girls on display by constantly comparing them to one another. However, if you were to say that Diane Arbus' work is about putting her subjects on display you might as well say that about every photographer. Isn't that what a photograph does automatically, by putting something into a frame?
It is well known among the art community that Diane Arbus photographed "freaks" because she felt like a freak herself. She felt like she was on the edge of society just like the people she photographed. This is completely contrary to what Ms. Zacharek is saying- that she photographed them to point out their "otherness." The only way Arbus pointed out their otherness was by saying she as an "other" too. Diane Arbus felt like she was one in the same with the people she photographed. That's why she photographed them.
As far as talking about the "niceness" factor of Diane Arbus- why even bring this up? What makes Ms. Zacharek think that just because her pictures weren't "nice" cuddly pictures of babies wrapped in silk in a blooming flower bud (Anne Geddes) that she isn't nice? What kind of ridiculousness is that?
By the way- however futile, I did post a comment about the article on Salon similar to what I wrote here.
Posted by Beth at 11/10/2006
Thursday, November 09, 2006
This artist is from Japan, and is one of the most up and coming photographers right now. Her work is really simple and stark, with a lot of crisp linear lines. There is something about her work that I can't quite put my finger on...because I've seen work that is similar in style, but there is something different about hers. I think it has something to do with the relationship between the objects. For example, the boy and the building- on so many levels they are so much opposite, but also so similar. Or, the grandmother and the girl; the bleak optimism that takes up the physical space between them.
Through putting these scenes in a frame, the ordinariness of these people and objects somehow escapes the invisible obscurity they would normally have. You know what I mean? Like, I am walking to work like I do everyday, but that simple act can escape obscurity because I have decided to make it different.
To see these photographs properly, you will need to go to a different website. You can see more of her work here.
Posted by Beth at 11/09/2006
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
I could write something about the elections and how happy I am about how it turned out, but I don't feel like it, so I'm not gonna.
Instead, I want to tell you a story about the Late Great Johnny Cash. He is one of my all time heroes, I absolutely adore him.
There is a great story about Cash and an ostrich I read in his autobiography and I will retell it here. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. He truly is an inspiration, and I don't care if I am being over the top. I love Johnny Cash, and don't ever forget it. I even named someone else's dog after him.
At one point in his life, Cash lived on a farm with June. The farm had a lot of acreage, and Cash liked to take frequent walks there. They had two ostriches that lived on the property that were mates. Ostriches mate for life, I believe, so they get pretty attached to each other.
Well, one winter, it was so cold that Johnny and June were worried for the health of the ostriches, they were afraid they would freeze to death. If you know anything about ostriches, you know that they are not the friendliest of creatures. If fact, they are downright awnry. They even have one very long, sharp, big claw. They can make a defensive kill by using the claw to slash the victim vertically through its gut, making the guts spill out every where.
Anyway, because he felt bad for the creatures, Cash tried for days to persuade the ostriches to come into the barn where it would be warmer, but they refused. One day while Cash was out on a walk he had discovered that the female ostrich had died, she was laying on the ground frozen. So, they buried her, and felt bad for the other ostrich because he had lost his life long companion.
The male ostrich became quite angry and hostile throughout that long, cold winter, and he only became more and more angry and hostile. Cash thinks this must have been a result of the ostrich's grief. Any time anyone went near the bird, it would hiss and posture the intruder.
Well, on another cold day, Cash was going out for a walk along the same path he always went on a walk. Along the path, he noticed that the ostrich way sitting right in the middle, but he decided to keep walking. After all, he wasn't going to let some bird threaten him. So he walked by, and of course the ostrich hissed and postured him, but Cash just continued his routine walk. On the course, he decided he wasn't going to let the ostrich think he could bully him around, it was his farm! So Cash finds a big stick and carries it back with him in case the ostrich was still there.
Sure enough, there was the ostrich. So instead of quietly walking by like he did last time, he decided to raise the stick up in defense to give the bird a little scare when it hissed. When he did this, the ostrich jumped up in the air and knocked Cash over. Cash got back up, and the ostrich was still meaning to make a move. The ostrich jumped up again, but this time instead of knocking Cash over, he stuck his huge claw out and began to make a slice vertically going downwards on Cash's stomach. Luckily, Cash was wearing one of his thick leather belts, which prevented the bird from making the complete slit which would have in turn spilled Cash's guts.
Cash ended up in the hospital for weeks after this, on a lot of pain killers. He almost died, save for the belt he was wearing.
Can you imagine if this was they way he actually died (which could have easily happened)? He was middle aged when this happened I think, and he still had a lot of great music accomplishments ahead of him so it really would have been a huge shame. Though, you have to admit, that would be a pretty good story to go out on.
Posted by Beth at 11/08/2006
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Many people may not realize this unless you live in DC or the immediate surrounding area, but folks who live here can't vote today. May seem shocking, yes, but it really does make sense since DC is not a state. After all, what would we do, just pick a random state and vote? I don't think so, though that would be nice.
All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up, a third of the Senate, and 36 governorships.
Have you ever wondered why its always in November? Congress picked November because in 1845, when more than 60% of the country lived on farms--November was when harvest work was done.
It's always held on Tuesday because many people had to travel a day or longer to get to a polling place. Most Americans wouldn't travel on a Sunday.
Maybe I should have followed in tradition and taken a day to travel to Oregon so I could vote.
Yep, that's right- I didn't file for my absentee ballot in time (45 days ago). I am ashamed, but it's true. There, I said it.
Oh, and the moon is 93% full. It will be full tomorrow when we should hopefully know the results... Fortuitous for ballot counting scandals?
Posted by Beth at 11/07/2006
Friday, November 03, 2006
That's Rosie the Riveter vs. Sigmund Freud, ha ha.
Kind of funny I am posting two blogs this week associated with Freud. I actually have a book I have checked out from the library called "Freud on Women" which I think I will sit down and have a nice chat (er, I mean read) with on my couch this weekend.
Anyway, if you have read my first blog you might have guessed that I am currently doing a personal research project on 19th century Female Hysteria. I find this subject fascinating. If I were to go to grad school, it would probably be the topic of my thesis (no matter if I was studying art or women's studies). There is not a WHOLE LOT of information on the subject readily available though. I think there is a library somewhere out in Maryland or Virginia with some good research books on the subject. There are some OK websites, but nothing, so far that I have found, that does the subject justice.
I will start with the basics in this blog. It began with the ancient Greeks who believed the cause of Hysteria was a misplaced uterus. They believed that a woman's uterus could float around in a woman's body and get stuck in places that it shouldn't. They basically diagnosed any woman who was depressed, excitable, nervous, whatever- as having Hysteria. It was a catch all for women who had things "wrong" with them, but that the doctors could not diagnose.
Nowadays, the term Hysteria is not used in the medical or psychology field, and has not been since in the 50's 0r 60's (I forget which). It was decided that it was a disease based on sexism, and not anything medically proven. Though, I have heard rumors that the term may be making a come back, but it would include men in the equation as well.
You may be wondering what Hysteria is, right? Well, it can mean a lot of different things. Symptoms include "faintness, nervousness, insomnia, fluid retention, heaviness in abdomen, muscle spasm, shortness of breath, irritability, loss of appetite for food or sex, and a 'tendency to cause trouble.'" Medically, the term was assigned to someone who for no plausible reason becomes temporarily paralyzed in a part of their body. They have done brain scans of people with this problem and have found no reason to believe that this is a psychological problem since the scans show that the brain is in fact sending signals to that part of the body to move when the patient tries to move that body part.
In particular, I find the 19th century the most interesting time for this "disease." Freud and another psychologist named Josef Breuer made this century famous or Hysteria because of a study they published called "Studies in Hysteria." They mostly believed that the cause of Hysteria was sexual frustration. Freud further developed this idea to include the root cause of repressed memories and later changed the name of the disease to Conversion Disorder. Any time a woman seemed a little weird, too excited, too sexual, too paranoid, creative, or too whatever- it was thought that they had Hysteria.
One of Freud and Beuer's famous patients was Anna O. You can read her short biography here which will also explain the title if this blog, "The Talking Cure."
I have a feeling that there are a lot of cases out there that are much more entertaining to learn about, especially in Jean Martin Charcot's legacy at the famous Salpêtrière hospital in France. He did demonstrations on the resident patients there with crowds of people watching as if it was a circus act. He would hypnotize the women and make them do various "tricks," like barking like a dog, eating off the floor, and other such embarrassing acts. He would treat their illness by performing "genital massage" to relieve their sexual frustration (apparently was the cause of Hysteria). Actually, I read that the treatment of Hysteria in Dr. Charcot's experiments is how vibrators were originally invented.
Anyway- I will give updates every-once-in-a-while as I learn more.
Posted by Beth at 11/03/2006
Thursday, November 02, 2006
On the floor
I hope he doesnt mind, because I am posting this without his permission, but this film was written, directed, and produced by Craig Stinson (who also created the pop art inspired portrait of me at the top of the page). I thought I would feature it on Anna O. since I think it is a great short film. In fact, it was recenty featured on The Independant Film Channel as the IFC Media Lab winner for the month of July.
I might consider featuring a work by an emerging artist once a week. All you lurkers and readers; let me know if you think this is a good idea and if so, tell me about any artists you know (music, photography, any kind of art) who you think should be featured.
Posted by Beth at 11/02/2006
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Here is a little bit of culture for all you fellow Americans.
What do you think of when you think of New Zealand? I usually think of beautiful, far stretching, foggy and mysterious landscapes- and that's about as far as I think about it. It's one of those places where it seems like a great place to go if only for they mystery of New Zealand. Didn't they film Lord of the Rings there?
Well, the indigenous people of New Zealand are called Maori and they only make up about 14% of the population there. I suppose you could sort of compare that to the Native Americans of America- and the rest of the population just migrated there one way or another.
Anyway, the Maori culture apparently still affects the New Zealand way of life in many ways. One of their traditions is creating orioris. Try looking that word up on the Internet and you won't find much (I tried). Basically, and oriori is a chant or song performed for any purpose but usually the meaning of the chant is tied to change and transformation.
I came across this website today for a major art gallery in New Zealand called the Auckland Art Gallery. They are closing their doors for renovation and they are celebrating it as a hibernation using an oriori they created. They are having various artists (who have exhibited there before) contribute to the exhibition by performing the gallery's oriori and then taking a nap right there on the floor. Sounds crazy a little, maybe even a little too "hippie?"
Explanation from the website:
"An oriori is a Maori chant, performed for a wide range of purposes. Oriori combines Rachel Rakena's interest in states of flux, Jane Veni's interest in sound, and Kurt Adams' exploration of animated drawing. This project contemplates the Auckland Art Gallery's imminent redevelopment, putting it to rest to imagine its next reincarnation."
I think its actually really interesting. Imagine if we performed oriori's for different events in our lives; births, marriage, death, anniversaries, birthdays, graduation, retirement, adolescence, first jobs, second jobs, etc. If we didn't just celebrate the beginning of things, but the ends, breaks, middles, and pauses of things too? It would actually give more meaning and give us sound reason for certain things in our lives.
I guess what I mean is, I know I find myself second guessing my decisions and what I am doing with life- and to tell you the truth, I dont always feel confidant about my situation in life. I think everyone feels like that from time to time, right? Orioris could help us remember that every step we make, no matter how big or small, is helping us imagine the next one.
Maybe some people reading this will think I am being a little too idealistic or optimistic, but maybe it would make change a little more bearable and less scary if we had orioris
Posted by Beth at 11/01/2006