Copyright 2009 by Journeys with the Messiah
Fashion photographer Michael Belk imagines Jesus in the 21st Century.
Well, I finally finished it. A friend who is an avid reader, and more to my point, a socially avid reader, in that she participates in a book group, tells me that she knows a number of people who have not finished it. A number of people. She had told me this before I finished, but I don’t think it spurred me on. Although I do carry some baggage around my multiple failed attempts to finish Gravity’s Rainbow.
I thought I would feel relieved when I finished. Not just because I had been finding it hard to stick with, but also because I was out of renewals at the library and was reading it on ever more costly overdues.
I didn’t feel relieved. I felt disappointed, at first, and actually I felt an expected disappointment. There had come a point in my reading The God of Small Things when I started expecting ultimate disappointment. I lost faith. But then, having finished, I read the laconic author bio on the back sleeve, and “first book” restored my faith. After all, I had enjoyed beautifully conjured settings, lush atmospheres, and an important social commentary. I suspect it will be memorable. My disappointment was only with a payoff that did not match its buildup. (Nor would I want it to. The payoff was fine. It needed less buildup.) A structural thing, really, and that reminds me of the kind of chop that gets honed with practice.
I hope Arundhati Roy will write a second book.
I imagine this Jonas Wood as a sort of compulsive painter, continually painting, unable to stop. I imagine this because the subject matter appears to be every detail of his surroundings, including basketball cards, stacks of stuff in rooms, and people in kitchens and so forth. And milk crates. But I don’t know.
Some of it reminds me of South Park.
Booooooom! sent me there.
If you are a fan of Margaux Lange’s Barbie jewelry, and you are in Brooklyn tonight, know that you could walk right into her paramattel universe (and the universes, or at least the studios, of 25 other artists) at the Morgan Fine Arts open house. Details of the event, plus lots of other Margaux insight, and the photo above, all on her blog, Midge’s Mind. It’s also where I learned of Ali Cavanaugh, who I’ll post up separately, RIGHT NOW.
I cannot believe I briefly forgot about The Places We Live. This website made an enormous impact on me when it launched last year. It’s a great use of the medium: award-winning Magnum photographer Jonas Bendiksen captures startling imagery from slums around the world, and these are married with sounds and voices from the locations telling the stories of the families and individuals featured in the photos. You can navigate the 360 degree perspectives interactively.
To quote Aperture: “For the first time in history, more people live in cities than in rural areas. One-third of those city dwellers—over a billion people—live in slums, mostly in the rapidly urbanising cities of Africa and Asia. Slums have become the fastest growing human habitat in the world.”
I was reminded of this important work recently, thanks to coverage of the National Building Museum’s presentation of Bendiksen’s touring multimedia exhibit, developed in conjunction with the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo. The exhibit is on view at the Museum until January 15, 2010.
If you are happy with your current intake of shelter blogs and mags, do not visit The Places We Live. You really can’t look at lush photos of architecture and decor the same way afterward.
Any kind of diorama makes me happy, I am totally cheap that way. But these! Just the right amount of narrative is injected to draw you into the magic.
My link goes to a particular ytube vid in this machine, but if you back the url off to just yooouuutuuube.com you can enter any vid you want, or just ask for random. Magnificent.
I watched this video of Kristan Horton talking about photography helping address a desire to be everywhere at once, and off I went. Imagining the scene behind the glowing motor inn window Christmas Eve, my own shoes scuffling a dusty roadside as yet unvisited, pining for the multitude of compelling eras I can’t live. Intimate terrain, wordless lifelong companion.