to be read: invisible cities

invisible cities - italo calvino
this short 165 page book composed of just 9 chapters is framed around the setting of marco polo telling the stories of his adventures and travels to kublai khan in a time when the khan's empire is coming to an end. each chapter contains a number of sections, each section only around a page long devoted to describing a different city. the book as a whole is fascinating, creative, and gives the imagination a thorough workout. i love what the book says about human existence, about memories and desires and how speech and writing affects those things. calvino speaks of cities with an entirely fantastical manner that conveys truths, questions, provocation of thought all at once. i wish i could illustrate each city he speaks of in the splendor and detail i envision in my head. invisible cities carries a particular impact for me while i'm away from the city i call home and will do the same for any traveller or resident when the place you live is placed under scrutiny.

"Memory's images, once they are fixed in words, are erased," Polo said. "Perhaps I am afraid of losing Venice all at once, if i speak of it. Or perhaps, speaking of other cities, I have already lost it, little by little."

strange compulsions?

when walking home from the north side, i pass a number of restaurants all with outside seating. - heartland brewery, republic...etc..pedestrians walk right next to all the restaurant customers eating their various plates of food and i've always contemplated how easy it would be to reach a hand out and snatch a glass of soda or a plate of clear glass noodles or a salad. or to take the fork and just steal one bite before moving on. not that i have.


architecture, art and fashion

this wednesday october 29 i went with a few friends to the chanel mobile art exhibit designed by zaha hadid, a world renowned architect. chanel hired 15 modern artists to create installation pieces for their mobile art exhibit inspired by their infamous quite quilted 2.55 handbag which is now celebrating it's 50th anniversary. hence all the commotion. the mobile in and of itself is a gorgeous ingenious design that can be taken apart, packed up, and shipped across the world. (in fact it was first in hong kong before tokyo and then new york) in english we were assigned two articles, one with a neutral perspective and one with a completely opinionated bias against the mobile declaring it a "cynical marketing gimmick" that is "delusional" and "exploiting the so-called intersection of architecture, art and fashion." in fact, according to nioclai ouroussoff of the new york times, it is "a black hole of bad art and superficial temptations...an elaborate mousetrap for consumers."

is it not possible for fashion and architecture to be art as well? do consumerist and materialistic qualities disqualify things from being art? is it possible to view art objectively from social issues or do they automatically apply?

if you're interested:
carol vogel nytimes article: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/24/arts/design/24zaha.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=chanel+mobile&st=nyt&oref=slogin
nicolai ouroussoff nytimes article: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/21/arts/design/21zaha.html?scp=8&sq=nicolai+ouroussoff&st=nyt
chanel mobile site: http://www.chanel-mobileart.com/



outside of my dorm is union square, where every monday, wednesday, friday and saturday there is a farmers market and everyday of the week there are small stands / tables that sell a variety of odds and ends / bric a brac / political messages. this rather popular stand features six different pro-barack obama shirts and one anti-palin. new york is not a swing state. it's very firmly an obama state so i wonder if these stands started because of people who wanted to promote their firm beliefs and spread them to others (turning new york into an obama state) or because being pro-obama is a clever marketing strategy and in new york is bound to be financially profitable. and if it's the latter, is it fair to take advantage of political leanings to make money?


what i've been doing

in 2d integrated studio i've made a number of digital value scales. these are my favorite. in the last two months i've learned to reproduce in adobe illustrator the things i doodle / draw in real life on paper. which is an accomplishment for me and my (former, but no longer) technological illiteracy. i'm fond of the fact that i can operate with material things and my keyboard and mouse as well.


losing socks in the dryer is not a myth


what you eat

i've discovered that having complete choice over what you eat is a surprising freedom and responsibility to yourself. i can choose to learn to cook or i can choose to make soup out of a can every night. the former still gives a sense of personal achievement despite its necessity now while the latter is instant gratification with an msg lashback. i can choose to snack or not snack, satisfy midnight cravings or not because now what my kitchen is stocked with falls completely in my hands. it's a strange power.


things critical reading and writing taught me

1. october 2 is gandhi's birthday
2. mole day is october 23 because of something to do with 10^23
3. pronouns are extremely resistant to change (as is America according to my prof)
4. the road to hell is paved with good intentions
5. and poverty is the parent of revolution and crime

what i learned

today (yesterday) i learned that having friends over is incredibly fun and exhilarating and busy and happy but intensely time consuming and energy draining. you would think that this would be fairly obvious but until you have two girlfriends over for four days and five nights and your boyfriend around for a full day you're not aware of how things build up.

i also learned that having black hair requires intense bleaching and multiple dying in order for color to appear properly. trying to defy your natural hair color is also time consuming.

a note from my art history teacher

"But writing as practice should be part of the tools of your trade, art, science etc. In other words, not only will you use writing in the greater world out there after you graduate and of course while you are still in school, but you will begin think differently about, let's say, how to make a painting, or shooting a photograph, or designing a collection. Conversely, writers absorb a myriad of material outside of the written word. Do you think that succesfull artists, designers etc are only involved with aspects of their profession??NOOOOO WAAAAAYYYY; inspiration comes from many fields of visual culture, literature, philosophy and so forth (even TV?). Your education, should never be approached singularly, i.e. like a trade or vocation, but expansive, encompassing, and thankfully, endless. There, I feel better now that (I've) plugged the importance of education.....(seriously)"


to be watched: burn after reading

basically about how something small snowballs into something huge and massive and uncontrollable. contains all star cast including george clooney and brad pitt with completely unique characters crafted and executed well. is hilarious, quirky, satirical and the perfect dark comedy and despite all the oscars is the more enjoyable cohen brothers film in comparison to no country for old men. odd similarity to the latter is the lack of a soundtrack and the fact that you only register that after the movie's over. extremely quotable. promotable to all except for young children.