Posts Tagged ‘Art’

The Return

January 13, 2010

Yes I have bee missing for awhile, and yes I apologize for that.  I return today with a bizarre link:

On that site you will find a description of a controversial art project from a few years ago, the Lego concentration camps sets.  They were created by a Polish artist, and were intended to mock consumer culture.  Needless to say people were upset by this.


August 4, 2009

Back from a weekend in Montreal, I continue my love affair with the Group of Seven. Le musee des beaux arts (yes the French was painfully dusted off this weekend) features many works by Lawren Harris and Tom Thomson. I actually didn’t realize they had such a large selection of Harris’ work. Of all the members of the group his work is probably the most attractive to me. Though I have Casson, Thomson and Harris prints in my room, it is Harris’ deep blues and strong lines that inspire me most.

The relationship between the work of the Group of Seven and their favourite subjects (Northern Ontario, BC, Quebec, and the Maritimes) is a fascinating one, because it seems to me that above all else, these artists are interested in translating the experience of their location.  Obviously, most visual art intends to convey a perspective, and a set of feelings associated with the object of the work.  But like the Impressionists these Canadian masters captured the essence of the location along with its appearance.  For me at least, and I suspect many others their art replicates the intense feeling of viewing a natural vista, be it a forest around Lake Superior, or the hills of Algoma.

Where Are You Going?

April 22, 2009

I will follow you, will you follow me, all the days and nights that I know will be.


Follow You, Follow Me

Although I usually write about arts and culture on this blog I came across a unique little experiment today that I want to share. Tweenbots are the creation of an artist named Kacie Kinzer.  This American artist has taken a simple concept, a small robot trying to reach a destination, and turned it into a social experiment.Basically this minimally built robots are put on the street with a flag that explains their goal, and asks for help.  It is up to random strangers to aid them along their way.  It turns out that people were remarkably helpful and the robots tended to make it where they were going.  The artist gives a thoughful analysis on the site, and I recommend reading it.

I am probably attracted to this idea because of the parallels to Paddle to the Sea. This is not the first time I’ve mentioned this book and it ranks as  one of the most influential texts from my childhood.  Some romantic part of me loves the idea of a small object set adrift in the world with the hope that it will reach it’s destination.  I also think it’s remarkable that people are willing to respond to this tiny creature in a positive way.  By all accounts no one sabotaged the robots.  The artist began with an attempt to make interactive art and ended up unwrapping a little bit of the human condition.  This seems like the type of experiment that could be very revealing if done in a wide variety of cities across the world.  I wonder if people in certain places are more apt to help out than others.

I Went Up To The Mountain

January 19, 2009
This is mine.

This is mine.

That lovely picture is as close as I get to making visual art.  It’s a sketch of a picture that I took at Mt. Rainier in Washington, USA.  It was a windswept, snowy day on the mountain when my good friend Kern and I headed out on the trails to see what we could find. Once the snow was up to our knees we surrendered and turned around.  After some watery hot chocolate and cheesy nachos we returned to our warm hotel in Kent.

I am posting this to let you know that The Alder Fork Podcast has booked its first artist guest. Emily Chen, a graphic designer, artist, and friend of Kathleen Edwards (you might’ve noticed Emily’s comments on an earlier post) will be chatting with me about her work and what not on a future episode. You can find out all about her, and check out her great blog, here.

I am snowed in Guelph for one more evening, then I will be back to Hamilton. I will have the blog back up to full speed with all of the usual features you have come to expect. The last few days have been great fun for me, and I hope you have enjoyed the change of pace. As promised here is Part II of my piece, An Ecology of Peace. If you missed Part I, check it out here.

How is an ecology of peace framed within the context of this human-nature relationship?  As I understand an ecology of peace, and I am essentially borrowing the term and establishing my own definition, it advocates the same things as the concept of sustainability.  An ecology of peace is a religiously rooted relationship between people and the natural world, that emphasizes the importance of sustainable practices to the mutual benefit of both.  It is religious because the reasoning for an ecology of peace is rooted in an ethical system of divine love.  I will use Christian terms to explain myself, but there is potential for other religious groups to adapt my meaning to their own belief system.  I have already acknowledged that people have taken on part of the role of creator on Earth, and this has to be accepted for an ecology of peace to have real meaning.  If we pretend that what we do is wholly controlled by a divine influence then there is little impetus for change. Religious societies have made many of the great advancements in the history of our species.  People have been the force driving those changes, through their ingenuity and creativity, whether initiated by a divine spark or not.  At this point I might be tempted to abandon any notion of religion completely and move on with a humanist ethic.  If you decide to do so, go right ahead, it is certainly possible. But if you wish to maintain your religiosity or spirituality as you grasp at the meaning of sustainability please stay with me.

The theology that I ascribe to considers human love as the primary driving force for people.  This does not mean we all act out of love constantly because it is obvious that we do not.  I believe that it is our capacity to love that creates many of our greatest accomplishments.  Thus any healthy relationship with the Earth will involve a great deal of human love.  Nature is fairly neutral in its feelings towards us.  The planet would go on with or without us. Yet in an unintentional way (after all “the Earth” has no intentions) it provides us with the means for survival, and an environment we can thrive in.  Whether this is by chance or on purpose it is an undeniable fact.  Although people have struggled to adapt themselves to extreme climates, ultimately we have always prevailed. This is not hyperbole because at this moment there are human beings on every continent. The Inuit are probably the best example of the adaptability of people. They found a way to exist in the unforgiving Arctic, with ingenuity and cunning.  Today, in those hash places, humans are using technology to over come these challenges and be world builders.  My point is that in the face of an ambiguous Earth, one that we cannot destroy, we dictate the nature of our relationship.  As the masters of destiny we make the choices about our planet.  If we look elsewhere for answers, we will find nothing.  Other creatures may adapt their environment somewhat (I think of ants as an example) they are still incapable of the radical changes we have made.

An Ecology of Peace will be continued. Radio 2 Concert on Demand tomorrow, featuring The Empiricals, and The Flaps apparently going head to head.

I’m Not Your Cup of Tea

December 1, 2008

Looky looky I got Hooky!



New episode of the podcast will be up in the morning. This one features some of the music of The Mass Romantics, a discussion of volunteerism, and an interview with Dave and Crystal Fallis about the hilarious times of Pinstripe Mystery. You can find it on iTunes.

I chose to quote Hook today because it is a ridiculous and yet charming movie, and this post will be ridiculous. I want to point out some of the links I’ve added over on the side there, you know over there–>. We have Daivd Hein’s music. He’s a talented singer-songwriter from Toronto. There is also The James Clark Institute, one of my upcoming guests on The Alder Fork Podcast. His new album is great! There is also a link to The Mass Romantics, a group composed of my friend Max and his musical talents.  I have also added Lovesick Designs, which is the work of my old friend Caillin Kowalczyk.  He sells t-shirts and will do commission work as well. He is extremely talented so click on the link and discover his work. The final new link is my friend Iwona’s guide to medical testing in Toronto. Don’t laugh, lots of people make hundreds and thousands of dollars being medical guinea pigs. Check it out, even if you just want to laugh at what people will endure for money.

Alright that’s enough advertising for one day.  Has this blog become a billboard for other things? Not really. There are still a great many things to discuss.  I am interested in hearing from the readers of this blog about what specifically Canadian artists, musicians, and theatrical folk they enjoy.  With the internet it is really easy to find these people, but it must’ve been a real challenge twenty years ago. If you get a chance to travel to Ottawa I highly recommend the National Art Gallery. I was particular impressed with the Group of Seven area (no surprise given my extreme love for them).  I was blown away by the panels taken out of the MacCallum Jackman cottage.  Imagine going away to a cottage deep in the wilderness and having incredible beauty outside and inside. I wish I had the means to pay talented artists to use my house as a canvas. Art on the wall is nice, but when art is the wall, it’s even better. Really if you can get to any gallery that showcases top notch Canadian art, I’d highly recommend it.  We have a strong tradition of unique and diverse culture.

Tomorrow I want to discuss a favourite album of mine, one I’ve listened to many, many times in my life: the self-titled debut disc by Wide Mouth Mason. It’s Canadian, from the prairies, and a rock classic (at least I think so).