It's hardly an easy task to try and tell the story of life in the Philippines. These recent shots from Mark, a friend and aritst, are among the most intimate meditations on home for me.
This is Laura, unfolding in the early morning. Having late sunsets and even later bedtimes left us with half mornings and it can be frustrating when you realize your day starts kicking in right before it's time for lunch. But this early morning, this one time we decided to come out and recover the day, was more than worth it.
He has a way of presenting difficult issues, as if looking at its absence in a way that only amplifies its presence. A kind of mind-fuck that breaks your way of thinking, forcing you out of your own mind and knowing. Experiences like this that people call art are really necessary provocations for the soul. Also Cristiano Berti is not an obvious provocateur. I met him for the first time last year, after Fra convinced me to finally go see this great show we heard from artist friends, and was incredibly moved by Vertigo of Reality. For the first time since working in Singapore and breathing art on a daily basis, I felt excited about art (contemporary and conceptual - and dare I say, meaningful) again.
I cannot forget his short film LETY following a Slovak gypsy brother and sister with disabilities and a talent for accapella. The girl, blind and on a wheelchair, talks about one day finding the right man for her and her brother reassures her and later both sing gloriously, happily. The full film, well worth watching, can be viewed here.
A series of photographs called Memorial depicts places, spaces where dead bodies of prostitutes were found in the outskirts of Turin from 1993 to 2001. The pictures are nothing gruesome and with little or no information. The viewer is left with pieces of a puzzle, stirring something from the inside.
Cristiano refuses to be labelled but he does communicate his concerns. He has and continues to work in the areas of social inclusion and gender empowerment. I've also learned, while on a shared vacation in Sardinia last year, that he has a talent for fishing octopus. He spends hours in the water, reaching under the rocky underbelly of shallow seas to grab, with his bare hands, the many-armed creatures. A truly unique and talented man.
I write to celebrate him and also to help promote his new project, a curious exploration that links the Alps and the city of Havana. Have a look and support his Indiegogo campaign here.
Excerpts from summer.
"Move towards the path of least resistance..."
Can't remember where that's from. Struggling to find words to express this thin string of frustrations. Today there's very little of it but in the last weeks it came in and out like a tide. The passage of time - or creativity meets a dead end and never sees the light of day. Ok maybe not that bad, I've still had moments of GOD, pockets of hallelujah you can find expressed via Instagram (a new hobby). If you love, if you're a lover, if you can indulge in all that can be felt, then a little bit of suffering (or a lot) is expected. Despite that, keep loving. If there is anything you ought to be spare with it's cynicism.
An early morning walk a few weeks ago took me to the train tracks. It was not so difficult to break in through the bushes and down towards the abandoned trains. It looked like a movie - tracks and still trains and sea a few meters away. Felt a rush of energy.
Those of you suffering from the pressure and speed of the times remember there are dimensions of our selves we drop when we try and emulate computers/machines. Seek refuge in the wild, whether that means taking a dip in the ocean or dancing for the trees. Find lips to kiss or bodies to share warm hugs with - do what it takes to live again, and again.
Here comes an exhale of relief. The Hive 2013 video recap is finally complete. After filtering through the mound of footage from myself and some of the participants at my video workshop, here it is - 4 minutes of distilled memory. My only regret is to have missed some talks and workshops, and not getting to talk (or spend more time) with people.
I thought it was unique and special. Seeing arms and legs attached to those heads I see online is more than comforting. Afterall, writing/blogging can be a lonely affair and meeting others on the same path can offer new perspectives, perhaps even steer us on a different path. I'm glad I went and happy to co-create this video with the contribution of some of my workshop participants, which was also the first live Muse mini workshop. Take a look at Lu's video project with bloggers at the Berlin wall here.
Thank you to all who shared in this experience. To people I met and those who joined in - hope you walked away with something useful. Hope to see you again next time!
Do you have a Hive memory to share? Would love to see/read!