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The great wave at Kanagawa.

The great wave at Kanagawa.
This amazing work by K. Hokusai is one of my favourite works of art: vulnerability and strenght; the paradoxical beauty of imminent death and thousands of waves hidden in the foam -perfect example of the fractal nature of the Universe-.

Belated announcement

I must apologize to all of you for such an abandonment of this space. Unfortunately, the imperative nature of my life at the moment is leaving me with no time to write as I would love to. Very soon, however, things will go back to normal. Until then everybody!!!This will be shown only in post's page. Read more on this article...

Who put the Modern in Modenism....

Guernica, by Pablo Picasso

When it comes to common sense most of us believe the word modern applies to the type of life we lead in the Twenty First Century. We use the term as if this era were radically different from any preceding one and far better than the obscure past; we use it to link our ordinary lives to an abstraction of a present beget by the technocratic woumb: ipods, electronic music, video consoles, interactive television, metalic appliances, plastic surgery, ABS brakes and Louis Vuitton.
Who among the Nintendo generation would suspect that everything modern was already invented by their great grandparents?

When it comes to literature, on the other hand, Modernism refers to a specific set of writters and the work they produced, but defining Modernism becomes difficult when thinking out of the box and pulling away from any text book. Why is it such a complex period in Art History and one of the most ellusive ones to define?
Allow me to invite you on a journey through space and time. Let's imagine we are standing, not at the threshold of a second milenium in Christianity, but living in the first couple of decades of the Twentieth Century.
We look around and all we see is chaos, Paul Valéry expressed it better:

The storm has died away, and still we are
restless uneasy, as if the storm were about to break.
Almost all of the affairs of men remain a terrible
uncertainty. We think of what has disappeared and
we are alomost destroyed by what has been
destroyed; we do not know what will be born, and
we fear the future, not without reason....





When it comes to common sense most of us believe the word modern applies to the type of life we lead in the Twenty First Century. We use the term as if this era were radically different from any preceding one and far better than the obscure past; we use it to link our ordinary lives to an abstraction of a present beget by the technocratic woumb: ipods, electronic music, video consoles, interactive television, metalic appliances, plastic surgery, ABS brakes and Louis Vuitton.
Who among the Nintendo generation would suspect that everything modern was already invented by their great grandparents?

When it comes to literature, on the other hand, Modernism refers to a specific set of writters and the work they produced, but defining Modernism becomes difficult when thinking out of the box and pulling away from any text book. Why is it such a complex period in Art History and one of the most ellusive ones to define?
Allow me to invite you on a journey through space and time. Let's imagine we are standing, not at the threshold of a second milenium in Christianity, but living in the first couple of decades of the Twentieth Century.
We look around and all we see is chaos, Paul Valéry expressed it better:

The storm has died away, and still we are
restless uneasy, as if the storm were about to break.
Almost all of the affairs of men remain a terrible
uncertainty. We think of what has disappeared and
we are alomost destroyed by what has been
destroyed; we do not know what will be born, and
we fear the future, not without reason....


Written in the aftermath of World War I, this passage by Valéry captures the sentiments of many people of this day. More devastating than any war the world had previously known,
World War I forced peole to the realization that the world had irrevocably changed. In doing so it left them disconnected from the past and uncertain about the future. No longer trusting the ideas and values they had taken for granted, many people struggled desperately to find new ideas that were more applicable to the twentieth-century life.
This paradigmatic transformation had begun long before the first shots of Word War I were fired. Sparked by the work of scientists such as Edison, Graham Bell and Pasteur whose major techonological advances closed the previous century. Within a period of just a few decades, the airplane, the automobile, the radio, and the telephone were introduced, making travel and communication not only faster and easier than ever before imagined but also an abundant source for imagination. At the same time, although some discoveries and inventions such as electricity, central heating, movies, and the new medical remedies, were improving the quality of people's lives, others like the machine gun and the tank made it easier for people to destroy one another.
In addition to these technological advances, major scientific breakthroughs were also taking place that would dramatically change the way people perceive themselves and their surroundings: George Mendel and his works on heritage, Pierre and Marie Curie's discoveries in radioactivity, Pavlov's experiments about behavior and, of course, Einstein's revolution in Physics.
But of all the scientists of this period, Pavlov's contemporary Sigmund Freud made perhaps the greatest impact in Art with Psychoanalysis and the way it explained the human mind.
Encouraged by the advances in science and technology, many people became increasingly optimistic about the future of humanity. To some, it even seemed possible that people could ultimately solve all their problems and establish lasting peace. This sense of optimism was shattered by the Great War (the war that would end all wars....) and by its horrifying outcome.
With the advances in travel and communication, the various regions of the world became increasingly intertwined during the modern age. Consequently Art became more interconnected than ever before, as artists from all countries were exposed to the movements and traditions originited by cultures different from their own.
The Art of this period was also marked by the interaction bewteen the Western world and the nations of eastern Asia. Westerns literature, for example, had a dramatic impact on both Chinese and Japanese literature, and writers from both countries, such as Mori Ogai and Lu Hsun, adopted many Western literary forms and techniques. At the same time, a number of prominent Western writers (from Bertolt Brecht to Ezra Pound) were influenced by traditional Oriental literature.
Regardless of where they lived, modern artists could not escape being affected by the momentous events and developments of their time. Even before Wolrd War I, some artists were concerned with the rapid changes that were taking place and sensed that society was becoming disconnected from the values and traditions of the past. Subsequently, the devastation caused by the war caused these feelings to develop into an overwhelming sense of uncertainty, disjointedness, and disillusionment -emotions shared also by philosophers and many other people-.
Distrusting the attitudes and beliefs of the past, many people embarked on a quest for new ideas and forms. The result was a broad collection of artistic movements generally referred to as Modenism.
Although there were major differences between the numerous movements covered by the Modern wing, they share the desire to establish new approaches to art and new techniques for artistic creation. As a result, Modernism is highly experimental, symbolic, abstract and even grotesque in comparison to the classical, and fundamentally structured, traditions and periods of Art (Greek and Roman Art, the Reinassance, Neoclasicism, Realism, Naturalism...)
Also, as a response to the next to last period, Realism-Naturalism, and its cuasi-photographic depiction of life, its coarse style and blunt statments, many modern movements sought to explore the creative process itself and/or placed great importance in form (in opposition to the heavy weight content had for realists and naturalists), take for example Art Nouveau, the literature of Rubén Darío and many other latin american writters, Symbolism (in Literature as well as Painting), Expressionism (in Music or Painting), Impressionism, Cubism, the literature of Hesse, García Lorca, T. S. Elliot, Proust, Kafka, Joyce or Virgnia Woolf, and the Dramatic work of Pirandello or Brecht.

Such and wide range of artistic points of view, techniques and applications coexisted without any defined separation. Therefore, the span of time comprehended by Modernism is perhaps as ellusive a concepts as the nature of this period. We can agree, however, that by the time the Second World War was over the world had yet again changed and this new turn of the screw would result in Posmodernism, which is evidently more accurate to describe our present time as well.

Modernity and all things modern have nothing to do with the techonological develpments of our days or with our nearsighted understanding of life. Though we measure life with in contrast with the short span of our lives, there is no obscurity is the past and not much is really new. The wheel that started to spin a century ago is still turning and we bare witness to yet another hour of this long day. Wheather or not we will see the world take a real turn, a paradigmatic turn; one of epistemological nature such as the step into the Middle ages or out of it, the Renaissance phoenix raising or the blooming of Romanticism (era we are still part of) is yet to be seen. Such changes are born out of deep intrisecal forces that go beyond the invention of computers and/or global connectivity.
We will have to be patient and open our eyes widely so this flag won't pass us by without noticing....

As we come back to our time, as we end our journey, the voices of the truly moderns are still booming in our ears:

Poetry is simply literature reduced to the essence of its active principle.
Paul Valéry, Literature

Opinions cannot survive if no one has a chance to fight for them.
Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain

The most visible joy can only reveal itself to us when we've transformed it, within.
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Duino Elegies

When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin.
Franz Kafta, "The Metamorphosis"

Art is unthinkable without risk and spiritual self-sacrifice.
Boris Pasternak, "On modesty and bravery"

By means of an image we are often able to hold on to our lost belongings. But it is the desperateness of losing which picks the flowers of memory, blinds the bouquet.
Colette, Mes Apprentissages

He who longs to strengthen his spirit
must go beyond obedience and respect.
He will continue to honor some laws
but he will mostly violate
both law and custom.
Constantin Cavafy, "Strengthening of the Spirit"

I seek a form that my style cannot discover,
a bud of thought that wants to be a rose.
Rubén Darío, "I seek a Form"

At my dying hour, and over my long life
A clock strikes somewhere at the city's edge.
Rabindranath Tagore, "Poem"
. Read more on this article...

What turns me on

The idea of so much life pouring into us and filling all our spaces, which we thought were empty, with hope, with sorrow, with love, with tears... all that makes life what it is.
I love being alive. Life turns me on. Even when I cry, when I feel afraid, when I am lost and confused life turns me on.

[To live: to learn, to forget, to learn again, to grow up, to be a child forever, to conquer, to retrieve, to discover(....)


For a few years now I have thought Across the Universe is one of the most beautiful lyrics. The idea of so much life pouring into us and filling all our spaces, which we thought were empty, with hope, with sorrow, with love, with tears... all that makes life what it is.
I love being alive. Life turns me on. Even when I cry, when I feel afraid, when I am lost and confused life turns me on.

[To live: to learn, to forget, to learn again, to grow up, to be a child forever, to conquer, to retrieve, to discover, to think, to speak out, to chose silence, to understand, to create, to imagine, to expect, to expand your own limits, to make mistakes, to mend, to receive, to give, to heal, to lose, to start over, to take things seriously, to take nothing seriously, to live in the moment, to plan for tomorrow, to hope, to dream, to redirect your footsteps, to go back in time, to get lost, to get found, to believe, to believe, to believe...]

Being alive is such a challenge, such an imposition, such responsability and such gift; it is, in every sense, a journey... and journeys turn me on.
With nothing but a word from you life starts moving again (moving forwards, moving nowhere, moving along)..... Come here and turn me on...

Across the Universe
Words are flying out like
endless rain into a paper cup
They slither while they pass
They slip away across the universe
Pools of sorrow waves of joy
are drifting thorough my open mind
Possessing and caressing me

Jai guru deva om
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world

Images of broken light which
dance before me like a million eyes
That call me on and on across the universe
Thoughts meander like a
restless wind inside a letter box
they tumble blindly as
they make their way across the universe

Jai guru deva om
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world

Sounds of laughter shades of life
are ringing through my open ears
exciting and inviting me
Limitless undying love which
shines around me like a million suns
It calls me on and on across the universe

Jai guru deva om
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Jai guru deva
Jai guru deva

John Lennon
. Read more on this article...

Construction

I cannot believe how much work we have all done in this house. My parents bought the land 20 years ago and it was only 6 years ago that the house was ready for living. When we were little my mum took care of it, my father has always been more of a thinker than a doer. But when we grew up, even if by then we were scattered around the world, we decided it was time to give this dream of old some attention.

We are finally making reforms to the house. For a long time (ever since we finished it 6 years ago, actually) we have been planning on extending the kitchen and building a good size Gazebo for argentinean bbq in the back. Fixing and embellishing the garden, maybe even planting a few trees. But, as always, plans have to wait since normally there isn't enough people to take care of it, time and/or money to make them come true. But now, at last, we are on our way.
I cannot believe how much work we have all done in this house. My parents bought the land 20 years ago and it was only 6 years ago that the house was ready for living. When we were little my mum took care of it, my father has always been more of a thinker than a doer. But when we grew up, even if by then we were scattered around the world, we decided it was time to give this dream of old some attention.
Over a year we all contributed with what we could, mostly working with our bare hands to make it what it is, and although Julian and I did the most we cannot deny that it has been everybody´s effort through the years that made it happen.
I have always been an "homo faber" (in opposition to Homo Sapiens as my father jokingly says: a "builder"), someone who enjoys the planning and the actual process of building. When I was little my grandfather taught me how to put a lamp together and I got hooked.-What a strange combination!- my friends say: Art and plaster...
And yes, my days of late have been spent playing the piano or outside participating of the construction. Why is that so odd, I wonder, aren't we all in the business of creating something?

I look around and I can see my work everywhere now, the windows which Julian and I made, painted, barnished and even installled; the floor I chose and travelled so many miles to get, even the glue under each tile. The library, the paint on the walls, even the walls themselves! I see countless hours of work and so much love mixed with the bricks and concrete. And although it would probably have been nice to have someone else do it for us we wouldnt feel such love for this place, such powerful feeling of connection with this something. This is the little world we have given birth to.
Now the work starts again and with it the cracked hands, the dozens of trips to the shops, the supervision, the learning a new kind of terminology (or remembering by now) and all the dreaming of how it will look in the end.
Sometimes I think it will that "end" will never come. There is always the next project... but maybe that is comforting, don't you think? How does the chinese proverb go? "When the house is finally done, death has come....."
Let's keep dreaming.....
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