Thursday, December 31, 2009

Celebrations | 2009, 400th Anniversary of the Telescope



One of the only two surviving Galileo's telescopes d at the Institute and Museum of the History of Science, Florence

2009 marks the 400th anniversary of the first use of telescope by Galileo Galilei.

The telescope opened a new window on the Universe, allowing human perception to observe remote worlds before left to theories and imagination. The telescope greatly influenced the transition from a geocentric view to the heliocentric theory of Copernicus.





Monday, December 7, 2009

Places | Hudson, Winterwalk





Another winter and another winter celebration in Hudson, one of my favorite places in this side of the planet. Winterwalk, the annual winter celebration organized by the Hudson Opera House, populates Warren Street with mimes, acrobats on stilts, surreal windows and grand finale with fireworks.

Although I usually experience Winterwalk as a spectator, in 2007 I greatly enjoyed it as a participant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBHOow2Iyzk

This winter the tone of the celebration was not as festive and energetic as in the past years ---the weather combined with the economy? But yet Winterwalk is always a wonderful way to win the winter blues before the holidays consumistic madness, in a small city where diversity is very much part of the community.


Endurance | NYC, Zoe's Black Belt



On December 5 Zoe took a three-hour test for a first degree black belt in Tae Kwondo. Although not a practitioner, I have always shared martial arts structure and endurance and been impressed by the five taekwondo tenets:
  • Courtesy
  • Integrity
  • Perseverance
  • Self-Control
  • Indomitable Spirit
The first hour of the test was about endurance, in the form of excruciating warm-ups, hundreds of jumping jacks, sit-ups push-ups.
Great guidelines for life itself,and metaphor --- especially for those of us in creative professions, trying to make art, culture or critical thinking...

More about Zoe's journey toward the black belt at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytdpic-FRfM

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Spectacles | NYC Hyperreality: Thanksgiving Parade

In less than 30 days apart from each other Central Park West stages two of the most popular annual events: the NYC marathon and the Macys Thanksgiving Parade.

The events are totally different in nature: the NYC marathon is a celebration of human endurance at its barest mean,s while the Parade is a celebration of the "bright" side of consumism, full of gadgets and powered by simple but spectacular technology in the almost 100-foot tall inflatables. What the events have in common is the attraction of huge crowds. In both events crowds are civilized, exhibiting very differently behaviour from several sports events. It is surprising how there has never been a stampede or major accident. People gather in the surrounding blocks from the other NYC boroughs, suburbs or even other cities, "visiting" the inflated balloons the night before or standing, waiting for the parade from dawn.

Although I have been living for twenty years only one block away from the starting of the parade, this is my first year that I am actually a spectator. And, quite paradoxically for somebody who does leave home without a camera, this morning I did not bring one; and totally regreted. The surreal spectacularity of the five+-storey high Shrek, Spiderman, Ronald McDonalds, Snoopy and many other popular characters generated excitement and overcame the grey day and general atmosphere.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Camminando | About "Making" : An Afternoon in Long Island City, Queens

I don't go there so often, but every time I come back with the perception of how culture is made out of Manhattan. From the industrial beauty of the built-up structure of the bridges to the heart of making, out of industrial materials, steel, concrete, stone, brick, plastic...

Queensboro Bridge


Socrates Sculpture Park


The Landau Fisher Center reopening today...



Sunday, November 8, 2009

Camminando | The Poughkeepsie Walkway

Yesterday I looked at the sun setting on the mighty Hudson, from the walkway of the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge, built in the late 19th century. The walkway opened to the public in October, after being closed to traffic for over 30 years.





Friday, November 6, 2009

Vernissages | NYC, Chelsea on November 5


No time to write, just a photojournal from my usual walkabouts...

A posthumous exhibition of Ian Hamilton Finlay at David Nolan


Dan Flavin at Zwirner

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Events | NYC, 100th Anniversary of Futurism at the Italian Cultural Institute

Three exhibitions related to Futurism opened yesterday at the New York Italian Cultural Institute:
  • 100 years of Futurism, Futurist Manifestos and Paintings
  • Feminine Futures: Valentine de Saint-Point,
  • 100 years from Giro d'Italia
The exhibitions presented a variety of materials including photos, written manifestos, press clips and archival footage of about three decades around the birth of Italian Futurism. Particularly interesting was the footage and photographs about the beginning of modern dance, curated by Adrien Sina. Choregraphies and performances by Martha Graham, Josephine Baker, Hedwig Hageman, Rudolph Laban, Ruth Page and Mary Wigman illustrated the intersections between humand body and space in the harmony of movement.




Sunday, November 1, 2009

Event | New York City Marathon: Endurance and Motivation

I usually don't like spectator/spectacle sports: the only exeception is the New York City marathon. Every year many thousands of runners (over 100,000 applicants in 2009) gather to endure the 26.2 mile race.

The runners are from all around the world, from many different social, economic and ethnic backgrounds. And many different level of fitness, including a large number of physically challenged participants. So are the spectators, from so many different neighbourhoods around the city and often even arriving from different countries to cheer not only their friends, but everybody who participates. No ticket to purchase and no line to wait on; just get outside in the streets and parks. Diversity is the only thing in common among runners and spectators.

The marathon is not about the few prize winners, but about everybody who participates. And it is mainly about motivation, drive and endurance. What a wonderful metaphor for life, running and overcoming obstacles, giving your best in spite of adversities. And running is the simplest and most primitive way to arrive at a destination, going through different landscapes, views, streets, parks, roads...

This year I made the resolution that next year I will be not only a spectator, but a participant. Anybody else joining me?