Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Way

This morning, I read a touching life quote - one that is both simple and difficult. It's still on my mind, especially the note on the way - that we are not just on it, but: in it. That we are made of it.

And so I now returned to the full quote, to add it here, together with a "way"-photo I once took, and now came across in my files:
“Every morning I vow to be grateful for the precious gift of my human birth. It’s a big gift, and it includes a lot of stuff I never particularly wanted for my birthday. Some of the things in the package I wish I could exchange for a different size or color. But I want to find out what it means to be a human being — my curiosity remains intense even as I get older — so I say thanks for the whole thing. It’s all of a piece.

In thirteenth-century Japan, Zen Master Dogen wrote, ‘The Way is basically perfect and all-pervading.’ I’m already in it. We are all in it; we are made of it.” 

via mindfulbalance

Monday, August 25, 2014

music map: every noise at once, or: 1264 genres to click & listen to

Fascinating + fun music link to explore different music styles: 

The "how to" is at the bottom of the map: "This is an ongoing attempt at an algorithmically-generated, readability-adjusted scatter-plot of the musical genre-space, based on data tracked and analyzed for 1264 genres by The Echo Nest. The calibration is fuzzy, but in general down is more organic, up is more mechanical and electric; left is denser and more atmospheric, right is spikier and bouncier. Click anything to hear an example of what it sounds like. Click again to jump to the middle of the song, a third time to stop it."

There also ist a Page with play lists
(via Kraftfuttermischwerk)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

architecture, face & facade, and: "hey architects"...

the new photo friday theme is "Architecture". such a vast theme - where to start here? i started to browse files, and then arrived in Paris, in this moment that crosses from old to new architecture - and when you look closely, in the reflection you see a  building crane:

and a second moment from Paris. again, a mix of old and new, and also a play with the concepts of house facade and face:


The future of architecture?
The theme of architecture, without knowing that it is upcoming, it also developed in my photo blog in the last days, and following the architecture tag there, i arrived at archithoughts architecture blog that linked to this interesting article: "Hey architects, the future of architecture is not about you" by Andy Schellenbaum, about a new energy in architecture:
"In the last few years, people have started to shake the pillars architecture sits on, building their own weird little houses, crowdfunding their own architectural projects, and using buildings to solve small-scale problems. Architecture started gurgling up from the grasses; non-architects began building community centers in Haiti and apartments made of garbage Dumpsters in New York. These projects are not blessed by the powers that be in the architectural world, but they’re happening anyway...."
(the article belongs to Verge Hack Week)

More architecture moments...
...from around the world: at photo friday the photo blog: once upon a day

Friday, August 22, 2014

Reading the World: from New York to Berlin, with stopovers in Chile, Antigua, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka...

This summer, I am taking a trip around the world in short stories (more here: reading the missing parts of the world). The current destinations are: the Granta "Travel" issue, the New Yorker Fiction Podcast, and a Berlin collection.

Granta Travel
Published in summer 2013, the Granta travel collection is refreshing and different, offering unusual places, and an unusual stories. Here's the official note:
"From the Amazon to rural China, west Texas to the caves that lurk beneath the Peak District, this issue of Granta takes you out of your chair and out into the world. Haruki Murakami goes home to Kobe, Teju Cole meditates on danger in Lagos and Lina Wolff imagines a woman adrift in Madrid. Here are eighteen collisions between people and the places that have made them, shaped them and terrified them."
And here's the online page with excerpts of several of the stories and additional texts: Granta Travel


The New Yorker Fiction Podcast
It was during one of my online searches for international short stories that I arrived at the New Yorker Fiction Podcast page. I almost klicked away, then tried one of the podcasts - and then returned there several times. Such a great format and series. The podcast include both the stories and a talk about them. Here are some of the international talks / stories, with extra links:

New Zealand
Miranda July reads Janet Frame's short story “Prizes
"Life is hell but at least there are prizes. Or so one thought..." (Janet Frame Blog)

Edwidge Danticat  reads 2 stories by Jamaica Kincaid: "Girl” and “Wingless
"Wash the white clothes on Monday and put them on the stone heap; wash the color clothes on Tuesday and put them on the clothesline to dry; don't walk barehead in the hot sun;..." (story + interview with J. Kincaid)

Francisco Goldman reads Roberto Bolaño’s short story “Clara"
"Sometimes, when I’m alone and can’t get to sleep but don’t feel up to switching on the light, I think of Clara, who came in second in that beauty contest..." (& a user's guide to Bolano)

Hisham Matar reads “Shakespeare’s Memory” by Jorge Luis Borges
"This story, which is one of the last that Borges wrote, is a meditation on the mind, understanding, and inspiration—and it draws on the author’s deep erudition..."

Jonathan Safran Foer reads Amos Oz’s “The King of Norway”
"Zvi Provizor loved to convey bad news: earthquakes, plane crashes, buildings collapsing on their occupants, fires, and floods. He read the papers and listened to all the news broadcasts very early in the morning... (story link)


Berlin Metropole 
Parallel to the Granta Travel collection, i am reading a Berlin collection - this is another of the surprise treats telephone book box. The collection was published in 1999, and features stories and essays from the re-united and new / old capital Berlin, and was very timely back then with stories on Berlin turning to a huge building site, and the shift of the capital from Bonn back to Berlin, covering moments and views from the German reunification in 1990 to the capital shift that happened in 1999.

Unfortunately, there is no online page for the book, and no english versions of the stories. So no direct links to share from it, but it made me go and revisit my own memories of being in Berlin: "Four Berlins, or: I am (t)here"


The New Yorker Fiction Archive
And more reads, leading from Berlin back to New York and onwards: listening to the New Yorker Podcast and following the links included, I arrived in Haiti and Sri Lanka, in Ethiopia and Norway:

Edwidge Danticat: "Ghosts"
"Pascal Dorien was living in Bel Air—the Baghdad of Haiti, some people called it, but that would be Cité Pendue, an even more destitute and brutal neighborhood, where hundreds of middle-school children entering a national art contest drew M-16s and beheaded corpses. Bel Air was actually a mid-level slum.."

Sri Lanka
Romesh Gunesekra: "Roadkill"
"The first night I stayed in Kilinochchi I was a little apprehensive. Most of us living in the south of Sri Lanka had come to think of this town as the nerve center of terror..."

Dinaw Mengestu: "The Paper Revolution"
"When Isaac and I first met, at the university, we both pretended that the campus and the streets of the capital were as familiar to us as the dirt paths of the rural villages where we had grown up and lived until only a few months earlier..."

Karl Ove Knausgaard: "Come Together"
"I was almost twelve years old, going into the fifth year of barneskole..."


Links + More

Reading the world:  the collected list of stories is online here: global reading, and a note on the reading journey can be found here:  reading the (missing parts of) the world 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

links that touched me: august 2014

When I come across an interesting link / video / story that touches me, I often copy the link to blog about it at a later point. Yet by then, there's already another interesting link that is waiting... to keep the links from vanishing unblogged, I started this "links-that-touched-me" series. Here's the next part:

Previous links:
- July 2014: look in the mirror, 61 things...
- June 2014: travel is, Slowalk, real words
- May 2014: Perspectives, ISS, Poetry Storehouse
- March 2014: Kerouac, shipping yard, film fatales,Hiding, Guardian Film Show
- February 2014: transforming problems, noticing thejourney, poetry podcast
- January 2014: stop saying, when i was, worstpasswords, windows, why dieting....

Monday, August 18, 2014

from modern art ... to ancient celtic ways

after the art short trip to "Cool Places", i made a counterpart trip on Sunday, both by direction and theme: i went to the Alb Plateau, and visited the "Heidengraben".

it's a place where once, a Celtic group had built a settlement, one of the largest and oldest of the region.
i've been to before once, in winter, and first didn't find it. now it was easier.

there's a celtic walkway, which leads around the settlement area in a loop - 
walking the loop would take about 27 Kilometres / 6 hours.

here are some impressions and maps from the web, the first image shows the rather safe and island-like place of the settlement: on the plateau, above a stone cliff:

(here is more on a webpage "Heidengraben" ( in german)

it's always special to walk those ways, knowing that thousands of years ago, people walked there already, so close from here, and so far away in time.

and here's the blog post and an image of the first visit: 2200 years ago, near here

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Meta Cool Places, or: Paintings about painting - an art short trip

At the start of the year, I was in Stuttgart city for some meetings, and knew I might have some spare time at the end of the day before the museums close. In the end, all that remained were 30 minutes. I still went, and what seemed to be just a short art moment at the end of a winter day turned into a rough plan for the year:
"Trying to make space and time for mini-trips and for art - that's what I started in January 2014, and each time, I was glad for it." (Places & Links: art short trips)"

Cool Places

Last week, I was in Stuttgart again, and revisited the same museum, with its new exhibition "Cool Places". The exhibition features paintings that together form a reflection on modern painting, it was rather varied and colorful, with good contrasts, but also a bit abstract. I probably wouldn't have visited if I hadn't been in Stuttgart anyway. But again, I am so glad that I went.

Here are some impressions from the museum, combined with the official introduction - the museum is rather modern in architecture, constructed as a cube made out of cubes. The different rooms and levels open into each other, which creates open connections between the paintings and scultpures on display:

"With "Cool Places", the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart is devoting a large exhibition to important aspects of current painting, ranging from abstract and figurative to conceptual approaches. It includes examples of Neorealism, as well as works influenced by Appropriation Art, Constructivism, and Op-Art."

"On view will be over sixty keyworks, with numerous large scale pieces by Glenn Brown, André Butzer, Günther Förg, Philip Guston, Jeff Koons, Beatriz Milhazes, Albert Oehlen, Neo Rauch, Daniel Richter, Bridget Riley, Julian Schnabel, and Christopher Wool. The selection will be supplemented from sculptures by Glenn Brown, Jeff Koons, and Rebecca Warren, as well as films from Darren Almond that highlight the impact of painterly modes of expression in other media."


Beyond the paintings

While at the exhbition, I enjoyed being there, but felt a bit overwhelmed, too - both by the abstract theme, and by the open space that keeps pulling your attention to the next thing to see, wherever you are.

Also, I felt that the exhibition for me felt a bit too mixed with the different styles and topics, many different painters. But then, you probably need this kind of variety to develop a self reflective meta-theme and its many layers.

A day later, I looked up one of the painters, Bridget Riley, and was fascinated.

I saw some of her work before, and always thought she belonged to the current contemporary group of artists, but she is a pioneer really – and is 80 now! And still working and giving interviews and being part of exhibitions. I was stunned, and read an interview with her. Here is an image collage of Riley's work:

And now I am curious for the other painters, too. So maybe this is an exhibition that grows slower from effect. And good that there is the internet, which makes it possible to continue the exhibition in another way. Just following links to Riley's work brought me to 2 art network webites with blogrolls and exhibition links:

So the Cool Place (which actually is the name of both one of Riley's featured paintings, and of the exhibition itself) now leads to more cool places..

And finally, to follow the series of art selfies I started to take, here's the one from last week:


Friday, August 15, 2014

moody skies

the skies are moody this summer here in Europe: they bring a mix of rain and sun, clouds and wind, with some rare summer-sunny-days in between. it's April weather in August, all over Middle Europe. here are some impressions from this week:

sky watching 

after the rain... before the rain.


More skies in this blog: life as a journey with changing skies

More skies from everywhere: 
skywatch friday
More moody moments from everywhere at photo friday

Have a beautiful sky week ~