Monthly Archives: July 2010

Astray

This is a selection of images I somehow was brought to as a natural consequence of my current state of mind.

Self Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Humming Bird, 1940

Ever since the first time I saw Frida Kahlo‘s paintings (long before that Hollywood movie, I might add) was I fascinated by the strength and pain depicted in the images she produced. If aching has a translation, here it is:

The Little Dear, 1946

Isn’t it striking how agony can be turned into an image even by the use of bright, vivid colors? The true genius of Kahlo lies in this ability in my humble opinion.

Then I  saw this picture:

Moose, by Ben Pier

It is like the animal had been caught wandering around the house. Or maybe it owns the place and the photographer just happened to be there. Wouldn’t that be an interesting perspective?

My mind is drifting today.

thinking & existing

Having an opinion is something I treasure deeply.

I simply could not understand how so many people can live their lives without reflecting upon their experiences and on the world that surrounds us.

Then I read something that shed some light on the matter. In order to have an opinion, one must think. When you think hard, you start seeing things and then ideas begin to shape in one’s mind, which in turn create the need for expression. Expressing one’s conceptions can either please or annoy others, and I find it that most people are affected by opinions in the second way, being annoyed by them.

When someone presents us with a carefully conceived, whole-hearted felt idea, there’s no way to escape our own thoughts. One is forced to think and that is exactly what many people dread. Isn’t it easier just to follow the ideas from others? Isn’t it much less complicated to do what one is told and never question anything?

Fortunately, I disagree.

departure

I found out yesterday that a cat I loved very much died of unknown reasons.

I was devastated.

It is not too often that I get that attached to pets, but this one was special.

Hiro (2010) by Camilla Engman

Bye-bye, Zézi.

New worlds within our own

How can we sometimes be so wrong?

It is fascinating to see how much our perceptions of the world are biased. The inexistance of a neutral reality is something quite painful to be realized. Let us then use the pain to free us from our own misconceptions and maybe even learn to be more open and just see what happens without overanalyzing life.

Deep, isn’t it?

At moments like these, I thank the higher powers of the universe for creative minds such as Michel Gondry‘s:

New worlds to be seen.

Sooner rather than later

When I am struck by disappointment I either feel the need to go out and meet stimulating, interesting people (generally my friends) or I feel the need to seclude myself. The latter desire is my choice for today.

To accompany me in my isolation: new books, some DVDs (though I won’t see any of them) and as always, my most important refuge: music.

Tunes such as the ones by Minitel Rose are the perfect solace for me in a day like today:

I love so much French electronica, with all its taste for past sounds and soft voices. I still haven’t gotten over it.

On a second thought, there are other things I would rather get over. And soon.

(Via Valerie Collective)

Uncivil Brazil

Isn’t it good when Friday comes full of pleasant ideas and desires for the weekend? It’s wonderful to write about lovely things on this day – it’s like a nice preamble for the free hours to come.

Not this time, though.

Intolerance has hit me and I felt it was more meaningful to debate it rather than just ignoring facts, as so many people (myself included) so often do.

Situated somewhere along the line between disapproval, shame and utter disgust, intolerance is nevertheless present in most people’s everyday lives. Be it race, religion, opinion or sexual orientation, one is more often that not faced with feelings of unwelcomeness towards others. Perpretrators or sufferers, the dislike of someone else for their difference is something most humans have known in their lives.

Which brings me to me. Machismo and sexism thrive in Brazil, even though this is the year 2010, one might add. People are especially intolerant of gay men. Unfortunately, dressing stylishly almost equals being gay (straight men in Latin American countries dress horribly for the most part) and looking different equals being subject to people calling you offensive names in the street, because you are different.

Some months ago I decided to bleach my hair white, so that I now look something like this (styling by Robbie Spencer):

Picture by Ben Toms for AnotherMan X

Which means that I am stared at about every time I leave the house. Sure I’m quite pale and my hair is now white, but I only wish this was the only source of passers-by bewilderment. Their intolerance is the reason why I get called names (some garbage collectors called me a faggot and something else a minute ago).

Was I then brave to do it? No, I did it because I wanted to. I simply cannot bear the thought of bending my will to prejudice and uncivilness. I take a stand.

Deep down, I truly want to believe that by doing what I feel like doing, trying as hard as possible to dismiss these people’s intolerance as pure misconceptions, I will be able to influence others to do the same.

So the next generation will be more tolerant. If children grow up used to diversity, they are much less likely to unwelcome it.

Hopefully.

The North’s Ugly Face

More than half of Oslo’s criminals are foreigners” (Aftenposten, 07/21/2010)

This seemingly informative piece of news hides more xenophobia and prejudice than can be guessed.

I truly admire Nordic artists and think many aspects of Scandinavian culture are to be admired, but there is one thing that I could never accept: their racism.

Historically, Nordic nations have almost always been quite apart from other places. Cultural interchange was small and very concentrated in specific periods of time. Apparently, it was not until the late 80’s that immigration really began.

As most Europeans, Scandinavians feel threatened by other cultures. It is like their country will disappear if different people come. Thus it is quite a temptation to blame foreigners (who are easily identifiable given Nordic ethnic homogeneity) for most problems faced in these countries. As if culture was something chrystalized and impermeable.

Chronic xenophobia is the ugliest side of the Nordic countries and, although they try to fight it through different measures, it is still to be felt.

Just like I did, years ago.

Not all as pretty as it seems

Photo by lovely Swedish photographer Anna Ådén. (Nice flickr too)

Not to follow

If you think procrastinating does not have its consequences, you are more or less thinking like I was. That is to say, you are obviously wrong. So how could we have been so mistaken? Perhaps it was luck. Perhaps.

How many times do we need to tell ourselves to do today what shouldn’t be left for tomorrow? Reality called and I had to answer: “Yes, I’m here. Please be gentle on me for I was so naive.”

No good trying to evade into the arts or music – and those fabulous books/clothes you bought won’t help you now – the time is coming.

The path I chose to leave this situation as gracefully as I can is to be humble, open and hard-working.

Putting a smile on our face really helps too.

Monday morning feelings

Using images from paitings by Tatiana Blass:

Cachorros molhados, 2009

Ever since I first saw her work I’ve been fascinated by the way it so subtly conveys (my own?) feelings.

Teatro da despedida #2, 2009

Have a good Monday.

Whole-hearted

I’ve just found out about this Brazilian singer who’s got such a lovely voice I couldn’t wait to post it here.

Her name is Tiê and her videos are as sweet as the lyrics to her songs.

For instance:

It’s high time everyone learned how to speak Brazilian Portuguese.

If you can’t, enjoy the melody.

Crying (with joy) for Argentina

Let us continue our unplanned trip around the globe; now to Argentina.

I am very pleased to report that our neighboring country has become the first one in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage.

In a region where sexism reigns, it is a great relief to see that a whole country is ready to let go of one of its inequalities, which is based on nothing but religious-driven misconceptions.

It is a simple question of Law. If homosexual citizens have the same obligations as other citizens, they are entitled to having to exact same rights. There is no support for the existence of two standards other than religion.

Everything should be in its right place.

In every-day terms, when such an initiative becomes a reality, very practical consequences are to be seen and felt. To the concerned people’s lives, it is not just a legal disposition, it is a life-changing moment. I have seen it happen in Spain and it is easy to see how gay couples there feel so free and proud they no longer have to hide.

As a tribute to my fellow Latin American country, here are some drawings by my all-time favorite Argentinian artist, Leon Ferrari:

El Arca de Noé, 1964

Words on art when nicely and carefully done are so appealing to me. A wonderful combination of two worlds.

Continuity and repetition are some of the constant ideas behind Ferrari’s artistic production and techniques.

Let us just hope and fight so that other countries in the world decide to follow and repeat Argentina’s refreshing attitude.

Felicidades, Hermanos!

Aujourd’hui

Today is France’s National Day. Although I don’t usually like to take part in nationalistic celebrations, I’ve decided to pay a tribute to Paris (for a change) and list my favorite places from when I lived there in a bilingual post.

A cause de la Fête Nationale de France j’ai décidé d’écrire ce post bilingue pour rendre un hommage à Paris. Malgré mon malaise par rapport à ce type de célébration, je fais ici une petite liste des lieux que j’aimais le plus quand j’y habitais.

  1. Café du Centre Culturel Suédois. I know, I know. It’s still connected to Scandinavia, but this tiny café is so cozy and has such delicious cakes it was a delight just being there. Je sais, je sais. C’est un espace quand-même lié à la Scandinavie, mais il s’agit d’un tout petit café si agréable avec des tartes si bonnes que c’est une vraie délice d’y être.
  2. Le Pink Flamingo. The best and most stylish pizzeria in Paris. This lovely kitsch spot serves the most interesting pizza flavors in wonderful, unpretentious atmosphere. Voilà la meilleure et la plus branchée pizzeria de Paris. C’est kitsch, c’est chouette et on y sert les pizzas les plus intéressants de la ville.
  3. Pop In. My favorite bar/club of the city. Indie music, nice atmosphere & great drinks. The dancefloor is quite good; unfortunately it closes at 2 am. Keep an eye for the concerts; interesting groups have played there. De la musique indie rock, des boissons super et une ambience cool. La piste de dance est plutôt bien, mais malheureusement on la ferme à 2 du matin. A faire attention aux groupes qui jouent là-bas.

No matter how big my issues with living in Paris might be, there are still some very nice places to check out and people to be met. Just remember to avoid the obvious.

Même si j’ai mes problèmes par rapport à Paris, je crois qu’on y trouve quand-même des lieux très sympas et des gens bien intéressants. Il faut juste se rappeler qu’en s’agissant de la capitale, on doit absolument éviter les choix évidents.

Allez!

An eye in the North

Keeping a constant eye for Nordic artists always pays off. Though I try hard to understand this fertility, I can’t quite grasp what makes them stand out so often. Serious investments in education? Deep cultural interest? Real life boredom? Having lived there has not enabled me to answer these questions. Still, I can’t help but admire most of what emerges from that area of the world.

Yesterday I was so pleasantly surprised by a Danish act it really cheered up my afternoon. His name is Kasper Bjørke and the tunes are the type of easy-listening, flavored electronica I love to listen to:

Not only is he a talented solo artist but also a gifted producer. His dj mixes are to die for and to dance to.

These wonderful surprises have been so refreshing.

Reading & Writing & Seeing & Thinking

I almost envy people who are at least apparently able to write in a way their mindsets unravel quite freely. These lucky writers seem to ride on their own trains of thought and the words just pop out as if they were about to miss the departure of the train.

Yeah, I don’t do that. I have never really thought about this until now, but I guess the way I think and write is more like a combination of overthinking, restraining and then letting go trying to ignore my own self-judgemental impulses. In order to let the words be more like the ones in my head, I very rarely proofread my writings and this might be the reason for apparent confusion in this blog. I truly don’t know.

All this came to mind after reading some more of Miranda July‘s stuff. I’m hooked on the blog she wrote back in 2005 connected to her first film Me And You And Everyone We Know:

Watch the trailer, rent the movie, read the blog.

Have a nice Monday.

Opposites enact

While doing a series of posts on women artists weeks ago, I was meaning to feature a Brazilian female artist whose eclectic range of work I really admire. It did not happen. Unfortunately, technological issues hindered my plans and basically turned me off from writing for a while.

Luckily for me, I very unexpectedly came across some images of her work and the idea surfaced again. I was again taken aback by the power of art. It is so pleasant to be surprised like this.

So, Rivane Neuenschwander is a representative of Brazilian Conceptualism who mixes artistic categories as dexterously as can be.

I Wish Your Wish

Neuenschwander’s work is also a true representative of Brazilian culture, for it embodies the mixture of aspects so present in the country. The chaos, the lack of planning and delightful spontaneousness that best translate this country’s life styles are very creatively transformed in carefully conceived and executed art work, creating a transparency paradox which is a treat for the eye.

A special exhibition entitled A Day Like Any Other is currently taking place at the New Museum, in New York City.

The combination of astounding art with staggering architecture is no ordinary event. It is like Brazilianness being played.