Posts Tagged ‘michelle aldredge’

I checked Gwarlingo not long ago to catch up on Michelle Aldredge’s thorough, sensitive meditations on art and literature.

What caught my attention was her review of a movie about restoring an old house in Japan.

“It is rare to find a film that is pitch-perfect in its cinematography, story, pacing, and length,” Aldredge writes, “but Davina Pardo’s short film Minka is such a gem. (I owe writer Craig Mod a thank you for turning me onto this quiet masterpiece.)

“Based on journalist John Roderick’s book Minka: My Farmhouse in Japan, the film is a moving meditation on place, memory, friendship, family, and the meaning of home. Most remarkable, this haunting story plays out in a mere 15 minutes.

Minka is the Japanese name for the dwellings of 18th-century farmers, merchants, and artisans (i.e., the three non samurai-castes), but as Wikipedia explains, this caste-connotation no longer exists in the modern Japanese language, and any traditional Japanese style residence of an appropriate age could be referred to as minka. The word minka literally means ‘a house of the people.’

“The story of how AP foreign correspondent John Roderick and his adopted Japanese son Yoshihiro Takishita met, and then rescued a massive, timber minka by moving it from the Japanese Alps to the Tokyo suburb of Kamakura is full of small surprises and revelations (the biggest one comes at the end of the film).

Minka is a film that celebrates stillness. Pardo’s camera lovingly lingers on sun, shadows, and dust. But the peaceful home is not just a restored space full of beautiful, personal objects, it is also an expression of the deep connection between Roderick and Takishita and of familial love.”

Read about that at Gwarlingo, where the filmmaker will let you watch the entire 15-minute movie.

Photo: Davina Pardo & Birdlings LLC
A still from the film

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Michelle Aldredge runs an outstanding arts blog called Gwarlingo. Recently, she wrote about snowflake art by the identical twins who created the Big Bambú installation at the Met. (I wrote here about the second life of Big Bambú when it was done being art.)

Asks Aldredge on December 21. “What do photographs of snow have to teach us about artistic originality?

“Today is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, and snowflakes have been on my mind, specifically the snowflakes of Doug and Mike Starn.

“Born in New Jersey in 1961, Mike and Doug Starn have worked collaboratively in photography since the age of thirteen. …

“The Starns’ approach [to snowflakes] is partly science, but mostly art. It took the brothers years to hammer out the logistics that would allow them to capture flakes during their fleeting existence — there were microscopic lenses, plasma-emitting lights, snowstorm photo sessions. But the results speak for themselves. There is a poetic quality about their flakes.” More.

The twins called Os Gemeos, whom I wrote about here are an artistic team, too. In fact, they say, they always know what the other twin is thinking as they work on giant murals like the one they did in Dewey Square, Boston.

After seeing the musical Sideshow, I became aware that even Siamese twins may have very different personalities, but it’s intriguing to think about the close communication many twins have.

 Art: Doug + Mike Starn, from the series alleverythingthatisyou, 2006-2007.

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In addition to poetry, art often brings comfort. (Artists don’t usually want to make anyone “comfortable,” which has a different connotation.)

One reason art brings comfort is that creativity generates surprises, and surprises may bring delight.

So although I’m still preoccupied with Boston, I’ll leave Boston for today and write about Cleveland.

Thank you, Mary Ann, for pointing to the Gwarlingo blog, which recently said of the art scene in Cleveland,”prepare to be surprised.”

Blogger Michelle Aldredge writes in part, “It is possible to experience the best of Cleveland culture entirely on foot. …

“According to Ann Craddock Albano, the director of The Sculpture Center in Cleveland, the 550-acre area that encompasses the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Botanical Garden, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Cleveland Symphony, the Cleveland Institute of Art, the Cleveland Cinematheque, Cleveland Institute of Music, and numerous university and medical facilities is the most concentrated neighborhood of world-class cultural institutions in the country. …

“The latest jewel in the Circle’s crown is Farshid Moussavi’s new building for the Museum of Contemporary Art. MOCA is Moussavi’s first museum design, and also the first American project by the Iranian architect, whose firm, Farshid Moussavi Architecture, is based in London.

“A few blocks away from MOCA, at Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management building, silver planes slice through red brick like paper in a windstorm. While Frank Gehry opted for flamboyance, Moussavi wisely chose a simpler, less ostentatious design for MOCA—one that is unique and engages the surrounding neighborhood.” More.

BTW, I wouldn’t mind hearing what other folks do for comfort.

Photo: Michelle Aldredge
The zigzagging stairwell is the most eye-catching feature inside the new MOCA Cleveland

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Michelle Aldredge once again introduces me to an artist I knew nothing about. Check out her wonderful post about the artist Slinkachu at her blog, Gwarlingo.

Like Banksy, Slinkachu is part of the London street art scene, Aldredge writes, but  “is everything Banksy is not — subtle, empathic, poignant, contemplative.”

I won’t try to replicate her post but will just mention that I especially like “The House of God” and “Dreams of Packing it All In.”

The photos are copyrighted by Slinkachu. If he doesn’t consider this “fair use,” I can take them down.

Update: He is in NYC until tomorrow, Oct. 7, 2012. Read up, here.

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I really like Michelle Aldredge’s blog on writing and the arts, Gwarlingo. (The word gwarlingo, Aldredge says, is Welsh for the rushing sound a grandfather clock makes before striking, “the movement before the moment.”)

See my post about Gwarlingo and artistic Japanese manhole covers here.

This week Aldredge wrote that she had recently “stumbled across a small online collection of rare color images taken by photographers from the Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information. The … photograph of Jack Whinery and his family was so remarkable and surprising that I immediately began exploring the online archive of the Library of Congress, which owns the images. The 1,610 Kodachrome transparencies were produced by FSA and OWI photographers like John Vachon, Marion Post Wolcott, Jack Delano, and Russell Lee. They are less well known and far less extensive than their black and white images, but their rarity only increases their impact.”

Check out the America in Transition photos.

*Jack Whinery, homesteader, and his family. Pie Town, New Mexico, October 1940. Photo by Russell Lee. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress*

Another great Gwarlingo post was on poetry bombing.

“Since 2001,” writes Aldredge, “the Chilean art collective Casagrande has been staging ‘Poetry Rain’ projects in cities like Warsaw, Berlin, Santiago de Chile, Dubrovnik, and Guernica – all cities that have suffered aerial bombings in their history. The most recent event took place in Berlin in 2010 and was part of the Long Night of Museums. Crowds of thousands gathered in the city’s Lustgarten as 100,000 poems rained down from the sky.” Read more here.

I also found a happy video.

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Blogger Andrew Sullivan is on vacation in Provincetown (uh-oh, hurricane!), but his crack team at the Daily Beast is doing him proud.

I’m so grateful that they clued me in to the delightful Gwarlingo blog. Creator Michelle Aldredge says that her goal with Gwarlingo is to highlight “some of the most inventive work being made today in music, writing, film, performance, and the visual arts.” My first exposure confirms that she’s succeeding.

In this Gwarlingo post, we learn about the fine art of manhole covers in Japan and a book by Remo Camerota on the topic called Drainspotting. Camerota writes, “In the 1980s as communities outside of Japan’s major cities were slated to receive new sewer systems, these public works projects were met with resistance, until one dedicated bureaucrat solved the problem by devising a way to make these mostly invisible systems aesthetically appreciated above ground: customized manhole covers.”


Photo source unknown.


Photo by Carlos Blanco via Flickr Commons

Lots more manhole covers at Gwarlingo.

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