26 October, 2008

movie night in paris (with update!)

La Monde du silence
un film de Jacques-Yves Cousteau
cinématographie de Louis Malle
1956 Cannes, Palm d'Or
1957 Academy Award, Documentary Feature


The documentary takes its name from the enjoyable memoir Cousteau wrote in the 1940s based during the period of his life when he invented SCUBA diving and pioneered underwater research. I read it three years ago when Doug, Sean, and I were taking SCUBA lessons and lived on our own at the Sea Bear.

I have been trying to see this movie ever since then, but the film just doesn't exist in America. Which blows me away. I don't understand how it's possible. To begin with, it's an Academy Award winning documentary by Jacques-Yves Cousteau, inventor of the aqua-lung, fighter of the French Resistance, and romantic-extraordinaire; easily the most recognizable name in oceanography and underwater-exploration. Secondly, the film's cinematography is by Louis Malle, famed predecessor to the French New Wave, and cinema-icon-at-large. If you wanted to sell me on a film, all you'd have to say is, "Louis Malle underwater," and I'd be there. And that's what this film literally is. Cousteau, Malle, beneath the ocean and sometimes on a boat. I'm very excited. It seems like Criterion would have put this out years ago. What's the deal?

The most memorable moment in the book The Silent World, the one I played over and over in my head while diving, was when Cousteau confessed that the flying dreams he had throughout his life ceased after his first dive, never to return. Even though I never dove deeper than 60 ft., I remember being down there near the bottom, looking back up at the sky and not recognizing it. It was a shade of blue I did not know, and the sun looked fractured, appearing both big and small, and also very white. It was a pleasure to be able to identify my world and in the same breathe not recognize it. It was the closest my waking life ever came to matching my dream life.

See you tonight at the Cinematheque francaise.

When one man, for whatever reason, has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself.
-- Jacuqes-Yves Cousteau

The movie was incredible. I wasn't expecting it to be shot in color, and it was. The photography was breathtaking. I've never seen underwater photography done in such artful shots; at times it felt like I was watching a Cocteau film rather than a Cousteau. The photographers utilized being underwater perfectly, creating camera movements and compositions a director could never accomplish in our world, even with the most elaborate cranes. The whole thing was so unexpected. And they killed so many fish! Some with harpoons, and others still with dynamite, hammers, guns, knives, by complete accident, axes, fishing poles, or by shark. They harassed turtles on land and in the sea. It was the best. It was so much fun to watch. I wish there were more documentaries being made where the filmmaker sets out on an adventure.

I couldn't find any screen shots of the movie, so instead here is a picture of me doing my best Jacques Cousteau:

Halloween '04.

23 October, 2008

bees

a bee pollinating.

To begin with, I don't actually like nature. In fact, I'm currently writing an essay titled, "In Defense of the Cigarette-Stained, Spray Painted Sidewalk," where I present my argument as to why urban space is superior to the "great outdoors." Mountains, lakes, meadows, trees: snooooozers. At this point I'm really only interested in torn fliers plastered onto rusty dumpsters and stencils on unsuspecting corners that ask, "mais, porquoi?" I get it: Nature's pretty. But, in the end, I don't care for it. Anyway, it lacks charm.

Regardless of my prejudices against nature and apathy toward animals, etc, I do have a concern, and that's that Honey Bees are going extinct. Today I saw a business report on CNN that discussed how the Honey Industry is in a serious decline. Not because people have somehow found a superior product to honey (because that'd be impossible), but because Bees are disappearing. Without Bees, Big Honey just can't produce; so it's the lack of output that has economic analysts concerned, not the profit margins. Soon, they fear, you won't be able to find Honey in every grocery store.

If the Honey Industry tanks, fine. No sweat off my back. I'd be doing less Honey Hits with Karl, but I could survive. But, what I'm not so sure about is if I could survive without Bees. Or if any of us could. Or nature. Or basically all living things. Not to put too much pressure on the Bees, but they are in charge of mostly all the pollinating that goes on in this world (only 10% of plants can do it without animal assistance). And it seems that few other critters are rising to the occasion, either. Plants have to mate, and it's the Bees who are in charge of facilitating the romance. If the Bees aren't out there collecting that sweet, sweet pollen, then flowers will stop growing wildly. What happens then? Vegetation, and admittedly I haven't fact-checked my liberal sources on this, is important to the ecosystem. And the ecosystem is... um... I guess, also important.

I'm not saying it's going to happen, and that we're all doomed; and I'm not counting out the Bees, either. They're resilient, especially the American ones. I'm just saying, on October 23rd, 2008, we all became the Honey Industry.

20 October, 2008

top of the pops

I'm not way into music.

It's okay, don't get me wrong, but I just don't care about it as much as some of my friends do. I like it, I think music is typically good. I listen to it pretty often; regularly, even. But I don't keep up with it. I don't read music reviews. Wolf Parade came out with a new album recently? In all honesty, I bet it's terrific, but I'm still probably going to keep listening to Hunky Dory, and I probably will continue to do so for the next several years. That's more or less what I'm trying to say. I'm just not as with it as some people. And that's fine. We're all doing the best we can. With that said, at the risk of not knowing how to write about music, I'm going to give it a shot.

As a long time admirer of the pop song, I have always been susceptible to the quick and easy emotion the medium is able to reveal. So much so that I vividly remember throughout junior high and high school constantly submitting to the urge to copy my favorite lyrics onto the back of my notebooks and homework assignments. The words lived in my heart, moving me like the Holy Spirit. My senior year of high school I must have written "Mercy's eyes are blue" on a million different pieces of paper.

The truth is, things have changed very little. Only I've become too embarrassed to go through with my old habit of scribing out verses. And it's not actually the habit of rewriting lyrics that would embarrass me, the actual labor of it, but rather the lyrics themselves. Typically, even with my absolute favorite bands, I wouldn't want to be accused of having written the lyrics. But that's what I'm saying! This the paradox! How can these words that I'd be uncomfortable taking credit for move me so much?

This is what fascinates me about pop music: The dynamic marriage of overwrought, melodramatic lyrics that are sung and and performed in profound sincerity. When I am listening to the song "Saltwater" by Beach House, and Legrand sings the lyrics:

Love you all the time
Even though you’re not mine
Love you all the time
Broken faith and a broken way

You couldn’t lose me if you tried

I am absolutely right there with her. I'm thinking to myself, You're goddamn right. This woman is a prophet. But then when I look at the lyrics written out, I am taken back quite a bit. The words on their own lose their aura. "You couldn't lose me if you tried," punches me in the gut when it's sung, but in noiseless form, it becomes a little silly. But that's just it, the genius of pop music, or what I love about it, and what moves me the most, is the naivety it possesses. The medium, when it's at its best, is dedicated to fascination and wonderment. It taps into the 14-year-old romantic in me that would have died to have a girl write him a note that said, "You couldn't lose me if you tried." Or when My Bloody Valentine ends "Blown a Wish" by saying:

Fall apart my bleeding heart
Nothing left to do
Once in love
I'll be the death of you.

Saying "I'll be the death of you" is so absurdly romantic that I can barely handle it. It actually doesn't get more dreamy than that. If my soul were a notebook, I'd surely have this inked in repeatedly. It highlights the world's ultimate vice of tragic romance. I'd weather any amount of heartbreak to hold hands with a girl, with her eyes full of mischief, and see her mouth the words, "I'll be the death of you." I'd chase her around the world and back. I'd chase her to the moon. I'd marry her on the ring's of Saturn. We'd honeymoon in the Big Dipper, and grow old everywhere. That's more or less what I think when I hear those words sung. But they're such frivolous and coy words. I'd feel so dumb to say that.

Strangely, what inspired this not-too-interesting blog was the song "Hide Your Love Away," by the Beatles, but more specifically the music video (I say strangely because this is sort of a departure despite that the line, "How could she say to me/ Love will find a way?" is perhaps one of my all time favorites):



This video comes all the way from 1965, but it's contemporary aesthetic is uncanny. The level of cool that this video reaches, more importantly without even breaking a sweat to get there, is the tops; no post-production flash and gimmicks, just clever filming. The production design is incredible. The single colored walls, furniture, and appliances reminds me precisely how I want the mise-en-scene to look in It is Sweet and Right. They flatten everything. Look at the shot at 1:25. The image looks like two different planes smooshed into one; there's no need for temporality. And that slow push in at 1:02, followed by a series of close ups. Give me a break! It's so good.

Not to mention George Harrison is a serious dreamboat, especially when whisteling along with -- what is that a clarinet? I'm not sure. Again, I don't actually like music that much.

19 October, 2008

At the All Star Game

I've been eating breakfast in bed more than usual lately, and by breakfast I mean chocolate covered biscuits. Be that as it may, I had the most unusual dream last night. I was playing baseball in what appeared to be a late 1980s All Star Game. Maybe I wasn't playing, but I was at least on the field in a uniform running around. The tone of the dream waffled between hyper-nostalgic, childlike aw and slapstick humor. I remember standing near the pitcher's mound, spinning in slow circles, taking in the enormity of the field and stadium, completely acknowledging how lucky I was to be on this field where so many great players had played before me. I was playing on the American league team, and while playing the field, near third base, a young Sammy Sosa hit a huge home run deep into the upper deck of left field. Though I can't be too sure, and there's no way of confirming this, but I'm nearly positive that the character Sammy Sosa was being played by a young Sammy Davis, Jr. He trotted around the bases, his hair flowing from beneath his hat, shiny with oils.

It was at this point the dream started picking up the pace with the slapstick humor, also fusing in little bits of historical irony like they do in bad movies. (For example, in the beginning of Titanic when Rose is having all her art work brought aboard, and one of the pieces is clearly Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, and the Dick-Fiance says something snide like, "I don't know why you bother with such grotesque artwork. Who's this by?" And Rose, in a tone that all but says, in-fifty-years-you'll-look-back-on-this-question-and-realize-how-stupid-you-actually-are-because-even-the-dumbest-people-in-the-theater-right-now-know-who-Picasso-is, she says, "Oh, it's a Picasso." To which the Ass Hole-Fiance replies something like, "Oh, well, I doubt he'll ever catch on." Irony Spoiler alert: He did!) Anyway, my dream last night started relying on that kind of humor, maybe because I had unconsciously figured out that my dream-me was producing a period-piece -- a huge pet peeve of mine. Still and all, while Sammy Sosa was trotting around the bases, the announcer, completely befuddled that this up-start and outsider Sammy Sosa would just walk into an All Star Game and hit a dinger like that, says over the loudspeakers, "And that's a home run by Sammy Sosa. Huh, I wonder if we'll be seeing many more home runs out of this guy in the coming years." (i.s.a.: we did!)

The next inning my team was up to bat. Ken Griffey Jr comes to the plate and nails it into the right field corner. Only, instead of running to first, to second, to third, etc, The Kid starts running to the pitcher's mound and back to home plate repeatedly, like he had mistaken this All Star baseball game for a game of cricket. Griffey Jr then runs to third base from the pitcher's mound, only, there's already a teammate on third base! Well, the dream breaks into a Charlie Chaplin style film where Griffey and this other base runner aren't really sure what to do, so they both start going back to second base at the same time, but that won't do, they can't both go back to second, so they both head back to third base at the same time, only, they're in the same situation they were in before! So they try going to home plate, but alas! they timed their moves to be at the exact same time once again! There was a lot of hands at the waist, smiles full on, head shaking happening on the field at this point. Boys!

A little bit later into the dream I threw a metal bat at Lou Pinella. It didn't hit him, but he got heated all the same. He charged at me, but despite this angry old man coming to kill me, I couldn't stop laughing. By the time he caught me and noticed I was laughing, he realized that he had been part of a goof. So he started laughing in the way a Grandpa laughs at a joke made by a young person that doesn't make any sense to him and his old-fashioned ways, and took me under his arm. We went for a walk down the right field line. He was managing for the National League team, but I forget who he was managing during the regular season. He asked me where I was from, what I was up to, and all that. I told him I was from Seattle.

"Seattle?" He looked off into the distance, "What's it like in Seattle?" I told Lou Pinella all about the wonders and marvels of the Emerald City as if I were some sort of Modern Day Marco Polo just back from the Orient. Finally, letting out a big sigh, Lou looked at me for a second, examing my face to make sure it was earnest, and then set his gaze back to distance, looking like a sailor remembering that one golden sunset he saw in the arctic that lasted well-nigh ten hours, and said, "I wonder if I'll ever end up in Seattle."

Irony Spoiler Alert: He did!

15 October, 2008

during the past couple of weeks things have been pretty fun, and interesting stuff keeps happening

A few weeks ago after lunch Ciara and I took a stroll through Luxembourg Gardens, and to both of our delights, we were greeted by autumn. The leaves were all of a sudden stale and brown, and the air demanded coats, if not scarves and hats. It’s a wonderful feeling to see such an intimate season like fall as a foreigner, like being privy to a big secret; the city whispering from over your shoulder: Yes, it’s actually like this here. Ciara and I discovered a secret fountain and reflection pool where we sat watching falling leaves plop onto the pool’s surface. The leaves, we noticed, fell decidedly toward the water, and splashed with an air of finality. The blooming and the budding from spring were only the means to an end, and the waves inching away from the leaves in a series of colliding circles, it seemed, had been the hidden goal this entire time.

I’ve learned two truths about Paris: The best things always happen directly after lunch, and the most exceptional nights always end in a taxi ride. For example, several Thursdays ago after Ciara and I had met Ludmilla for a Thai lunch near Hotel de Ville. Afterwards we went over to one of Ludmilla's friends' apartment, only a few blocks from where we ate. He, S., had made his return to Paris from his summer holiday in Italy the night before. While on holiday he had decided he no longer enjoyed books. In his top-story apartment he had four large-moving boxes teeming with books. Through my experiences I've learned that boxes of books marked to move are typically reserved for the softcore romance and military-thriller titles. But S. shattered my preconceived, gotcha-media, notions of boxed books. Ciara walked away with titles like The Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, La Chute by Albert Camus, and Jacques le fataliste et son maitre by Diderot, while I was fotunate enough to add Nadja by Andre Breton, The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester (which Karl has been recommending to me since 2003, incidentally), and Les Paradis artificiels by Charles Baudelaire to my collection. (Granted, this last title is in French, but I decided to take it just in case. One never knows which language he'll be speaking in a decade or so.) Then we sat around eating pastries and drinking beer, all the while talking about Frederic Jameson and Jean-Francois Lyotard and the unraveling of the metanarrative.

Later that weekend Ludmilla took Ciara and me (officially joined at the hip) to a party at this fantastic art squat in Montmarte. Finding a place to begin describing the squat is difficult because it was so overwhelming and inspiring. There were artists of every medium and background creating in this old converted office building. Some making fashion, some hand pressing books, others painting, and others yet constructing multimedia work. And it was like a maze. You couldn't escape creativity. It's what an art school dorm would look like if it exploded and then got put back together by actual artists. But this isn't the point I'm trying to make at all, the point is that we were all dancing. I don't know how many glasses of wine I drank because they were all free. I don't know how many cigarettes I smoked because I never closed my pack.

I do know at one point I felt the inspiration to make a documentary about the squat. In one of the back rooms I approached Michel, an old man and book designer who seemed the most likely to be the resident sage, with Ciara as my translator, and asked him if it would be possible to make a documentary about the squat. Why? he wanted to know. Hundreds of shitty documentaries had already been made on the squat, what could I, he wanted to know, add to the conversation? I had Ciara explain to him that I didn't want to put the artists on show, but instead try to investiagate what it means to create in 2008. What it means, in a world where revolutions are increasingly impossible, to make art? What it means to be a leftist in a world which resoundly rejected leftism 40 years ago in the failed '68 protests and revolutions? Is leftism just an aesthetic? Doesn't the creation of art just add to the discourse of private property and bourgeois ideology? Michel looked at me for a second, and then spoke to Ciara for maybe ten minutes using animated body language, often times employing obscene gestures, before Ciara was allowed to turn her attention back to me to say, "He says you can make your documentary here."*

Feeling on top of the world I finished my glass of wine and struck a new cigarette just as "Love Will Tear Us Apart" by Joy Division came over the speakers. I excused myself, as I most prefer to, by saying, "Okay, well, I have to go dance to this song right now," and then ran to the dance floor, weaving my way in-and-out of Frenchie hipsters and artists. Once on the dance floor I had a rendezvous with the party's birthday girl and resident-clothing-designer Lucie and her cousin Samuel, whom I had nick-named Straight Man Sam. While swaying her hips, shaking her knees, and jabbing her fist toward the air, Lucie shouted at me, "It's my birthday! You have to drink champagne!" So Lucie and I shared in debauchery while Joy Division warned us about love.

I danced, most likely, with my eyes closed.

At three Ciara and I left with Ludmilla. The three of us shared a cab, and I held onto Ciara's arm like my life depended on it; crossing Paris at the speed of light.

*I don't really want to make the documentary anymore. I mean, I do, but I've been writing about it, and I can't make it be anything but indulgent on my part. C'est la vie. Any suggestions?

highlights from Florence, Italy: Post Script

Huge shout out to Dino and AnneMarie for graciously hosting stinky-Ciara and me during our stay in Florence. They treated us like we were family*; inviting us into their adorable apartment, helping fill our tummies with gelato, and indulging us in all the wonderful culture one can experience in the period of a weekend.


Dino and AnneMarie, you're the best. Thank you for your friendship.

*i recognize that this joke is still only sort-of funny.

09 October, 2008

highlights from Florence, Italy

Florence, or, The Fire City, as the locals call it, is an enjoyable city with lots of culture and fun. Here are some pictures I took, as well as some observations I made, while spending this past weekend in Tuscany.

  1. I found out that the Tuscan Sun which provides the light for the city is the same Tuscan Sun that has been in the sky since the Renaissance. Some scholars maintain, however, that the Sun has been around since perhaps as early as the middle ages. All scholars seem to agree, though, that since the Sun's miserably realized restorations during the early 20th century, the Sun has lost the unique style and look that Vasari had so passionately written about. Most historians say that the Tuscan Sun we see today simply seems cheap, lacking the original's splendor in both color and heat, as well as geometric perspective.
  2. The Giotto Tower (to the right) was home, and I swear I'm not making this up, to the first ever Olive Garden restaurant in 1514. Now, Giotto only started the tower, naturally, and it was finished well after his death. Ironically, scholars have unearthed evidence suggesting in fact Giotto was more of a Sbarro's man, and would have rather the tower never of been built, presumably, had he known it would turn eventually into an Olive Garden.
  3. I realized that looking at a girl with blue eyes makes me sleepy. It's fantastic. It's like standing on a dock and peering into the water. But brown eyes kill me. They're endless.
  4. While looking at paintings at the Uffizi, I had a strange memory come back to me: One time when I was 7 years old, I had a slight nervous breakdown after looking at a painting. The painting had depicted a group of young women picnicking in a forest, wearing dresses that exposed their staggering cleavage. I thought that they were the most beautiful women in the world, and became terrified that these women no longer existed, and that the world had been robbed of their beauty forever. I was sure that the beauty in the painting could never exist again on this earth. If I didn't throw up, I know for certain that I hid under a table for a long while.
  5. My fourth favorite part of Italian Renaissance painting is when the Holy Spirit is depicted as a bird being shot down theatrically from Heaven by God to the Virgin Mary. The typically sharp and diagonal line it creates destroys the perspective of the painting, creating a flatness to the image. I like this, because it keeps me from going inside, like a velvet rope. I couldn't be part of that world if I tried. Outstanding.
  6. I proposed to Ciara ontop of the Duomo. Spoiler alert: She said yes!
  7. I stayed in the Fire City one day longer than Ciara. She delivered my favorite lines of the entire weekend with absolute beauty and grace. While boarding the train, on the top step, she turned back to me with endless care and affection in her eyes and said, "Don't cheat on me while I'm gone." The girl knows how to woo me.
  8. I ate so much gelato. I really did. At one gelato place you could have your dessert come in a cone, a cup, or a pastry. I chose the pastry. I'm not one for decadence, but this dessert was like eating a solar system of Heaven. I dedicated the experience to my good friend, ally, and longtime roommate Nick Bild, due to his ineffable adoration for all things novelty.
  9. On a not-about-Fire City-note: Yesterday in Paris while Ciara and I were drinking espressos on the patio of a tobac on Boulevard Auguste Blanqui, we saw a man moving furniture (an arm chair) by way of unicycle. What was most interesting about the event was the way that no one else around us seemed all that impressed. As if they had seen this man move a grand piano the day before, and a family of elephants earlier that hour. In fact, people seemed more taken back by my yelling, "Bravo!" than by this unicyclist's extraordinary feat.
  10. Finally, changing the subject back to Fire City, I know that the Italians are at least familiar with the idea of bicycle thievery. So what struck me as the most impressive aspect of the city -- more than the architecture, more than the painting, more than the Tuscan Sun -- was how the entire city of Florence uses the honor system with their bicycles. They don't attach the bicycle to a pole, to a deal, or a grate of some kind, instead they opt for the chain around the frame and front tire method, and let the kick stand do the rest. And it's not just these isolated incidents that I'm presenting via photographs: it's a city wide habit. And everyone's just fine with it. Unreal. Absolutely the best. Probably my favorite part; easily the most charming, at least.

06 October, 2008

a palace in the fall

Two Saturday mornings ago Ludmilla, the kids, and the wife and I hopped onto a train heading from Paris to Château Fontainebleau. On the train Ciara and I split an orange. Oranges, I've discovered, are the fruit of friendship. To watch a friend trudge their way through the orange's peel with their fingers and nails, picking off the rind, only then to delicately tear apart the fruit into equal pieces like a surgeon would, careful not to puncture the thin layer of film protecting its innards, all for you, is to watch somebody love you, absolutely.

It was a perfect Saturday for discovering a palace dating back to the French Renaissance. Clouds didn't exist, for example, and the air held in the sun like old glass. Before going inside the Château, we picniced alongside a canal and listened to Ludmilla deliver an inspired lecture concerning the history of France, the Monarchy, architecture, wars with Italy, and the stealing of the top Florentine thinkers and creators. Château Fontainebleau was realized under the rule of King Francis I, who had an uncanny knack for culture. Northern Europe and Italy were already into their Renaissances, and Francis I essentially brought his kingdom up to speed by importing in artists, and created an architectural and decorative style unique entirely to France.


Ludmilla explaining everything that could ever be explained, all at once.

Sometimes you have to take the edge off. So what?


After seeing these swans take off for flight, I interupted Ludmilla's lecture by asking, "Do you think I'll ever fly?"


German Kings looked like this.

French Kings looked like this.

The inside of the Palace can only be described as bombastic. My camera's batteries lost all fidelity just before entering, so my photographs of the interior are slim. Instead, I'll give you the snapshots I took with my journal. Here we go:

Château Fontainebleau, as well as other palaces I've seen by now, don't encourage you to live. Their brassy and decorative noise beat you into submission. You no longer feel human, but a subject. Recently while reading various May '68 slogans I found one that said something along the lines of, "How can one think in the shadows of the Church?" I imagine the author of this quote was addressing the device of architecture as an imposition of values and ideas. In a Gothic Cathedral, how could you not feel the burden of life being lifted off your shoulders toward the high, vaulted ceilings, as you can actually see God enter through the stained glass windows? At Château Fontainebleau, as with Gothic Cathedrals, the question isn't how could you question the authority of the King, rather, it's how could you even conceive the idea of questioning the authority of the King. The palace leaves one no space for genuine contemplation with its ubiquitous intricacies, craftsmanship, gold, paintings, tapestries, etc; one is beaten into the submission of marvel.
**
While touring Château Fontainebleau, we were in this old private sancutary, and Ludmilla was explaining the room's history to us, clearly our tourguide, when this happy-go-lucky American in a red sleaved baseball t-shirt came up, smiling of course, and asked, "Hi, excuse me, but do you know what this staircase is for?" He pointed into a corner that had a blocked off stairway leading up. Amidst all this splendor and royal decadence, what this man was most interested in was what the staircase was for. My heart nearly died I thought it was so earnest and childlike, and wonderful. Childlike in that it was precisely the type of question I wish we had all asked, rather than be distracted by all the bombastic aesthetics. Christ-- The staircase. I wish I were that clever, or at least sincere.

France is attempting to energize the public's attitude toward modern art (or condem it?) by juxtaposing contemporary pieces in antiquary settings. For example, there's a Jeff Koons exhibit occuring right now at Versaille that I'll be checking out later this week. But at Château Fontainebleau, there are several pieces on loan from Palace de Tokyo, and in my opinion, they truly enhanced the space. I managed to take these to pictures (as well as the picture that's my new "banner" up top, holla!)

We came across these two pieces at the very end of the tour, and I could actually feel myself come back to life. Try and picture that climactic scene in Apollo 13 when they reenter the atmosphere, and you can see all the ice melt off the module while flames engulf them, and they're shaking, but confident, and then they hit the ocean and YES! They made it! WAHOO! Everything's going to be okay! It was an incredibly similar experience.

Outer-space, as per usual, is the proper analogy, as the artist of the elephant was creating what it would look like to see an elephant balancing on its nose where gravity doesn't exist.

The elephant's absurdity finally gives one space to feel something. The juxtaposition of the balancing elephant and the King's Library create a vacuum that sucks away the elegance and order of the King's architecture, delivering the person from the relationship of power-submission. The King, the Palace, social heiarchies, Ideas, and upside-down elephants: all constructions balancing on their noses; none natural, all historical. Fantastic.

The afternoon was wonderful. The sun was just on the horizon during the train ride home.