geigerteller

artpost: flight, the way they move together


Ascension, by Jacob Sutton, featuring ballet dancers Hannah O’Neill and Germain Louvet


"This September marks the launch of the Paris National Opera’s Third Stage. While the Palais Garnier and the Opéra Bastille are, of course, world renowned sites of cultural and architectural interest, this particular 'scène' is not a stage in the physical sense, but exists in the rather less tangible online realm.

Launching from the Opera’s website, which has recently been treated to a slick overhaul, the digital platform will feature a mix of mediums including the work of film makers, choreographers, visual artists, directors and writers. Third Stage will also allow ballet and opera aficionados from all over the world to delve into an exceptional set of archives, created in partnership with the INA (French National Audiovisual Institute).

One of the original films currently being featured on the site, and exclusively on Telegraph Luxury, is Jacob Sutton’s Ascension, which showcases the spectacular architecture of the Opera Bastille and the Palais Garnier, as well as the breath-taking skills of ballet dancers Hannah O’Neill and Germain Louvet. A contrast of behind-the-scenes and front of house, the film flits back and forth between shots of the dancers below stage at the Opera Bastille, dressed in black to match their sombre, industrial surroundings, and in the glittering golden foyer clothed in softer pastel shades and bathed in light."
26th birthday

Posted from an intercity train in Britain

A Life Of Break-Ups
by Ioana Cristina Casapu

I have gotten used to saying goodbye
But to travel light
Can be heavier than it seems
You always sell your stuff
Free your stuff
Give away that pair of shoes
Pass over this set of plates
And voila,
Your life fits again in only three boxes.
I have gotten used to saying farewell
I will see you again
Someday
Kiss all the bridges and gates for me
Forget me not;
Gotten used to keeping my mind alert
My baggage easy
And my memories inside my iPhone
To telling myself
The eye has to travel
So that my stories can unravel
But sometimes distance kills the best of intentions
Sometimes the home you find
Is different than the home you dreamt of
I like airports when it’s sunny
They remind me of summer
Serendipity
A life looked from afar
The promise that the Earth is round
And the hope that distance
Is only jet lag
Before coming back.
26th birthday

Selenium is sick


TV On The Radio - Trouble

"All of this borrowed time, it's running out. It's the ending of the show."


Selenium, our beautiful one-eyed pirate ferret who had the dreadful kind of exciting year, has just been diagnosed with aggressive lymphoma. This is, unfortunately, a death sentence. There is no cure or reasonable treatment. We are uncertain how much longer she has, the prognosis for aggressive lymphoma in young ferrets is dire, but as it is rare, there is less information on it. It might be that she will not survive until January, though David has been giving her the very best possible care and inventing new recipes for soft food that have been successfully coaxing her into eating, or she might survive it until spring. We just don't know. But please, if you have a moment, if you can reach out to David and offer any kind of help or support, it would be dearly appreciated. There is only so much I can do from England.
26th birthday

This has all been very entertaining to the people around me

  • What Marie Antoinette really wore.

    According to Duolingo, the language learning site, I am now at 18% of French fluency and learning at Level 5. This means I have successfully tested through two sets of basic lessons, a set of phrases, ("D'accord, à plus tard!"), and some vocabulary words that name types of animals and food. I have also learned the word "elision" and the word "enchaînement", both of which are ostensibly English, as a side effect of puzzling my way through French's seemingly illogical rules.

    This is, very possibly, more French than I have consciously ever known in my life.

    Canadians are supposed to be taught French in school, but I emerged from the education system with almost none. Until my first year of high-school French, (which I promptly flunked, as I lacked the foundation of kindergarten through seven that Grade 8 French expected to build upon), my only experience with French was when I was briefly put into preschool in Quebec, with teachers who refused to believe I only knew English because "she seems to understand The Smurfs just fine."

    Though it always chafed that I only learned one language as a child, I have never had cause to try to learn French before. (Spanish has been my second language of choice. See: Growing up next to the United States.) Why would I? French fights me every step. The genders seem arbitrary, the conjugations absurd, and the pronunciation and the elisions downright hostile. Learning to roll the "r" in the back of the throat was as easy as coughing up blood. That French seemed impossible had the strength of prophecy. Even when I lived in Montreal, I got by on what I have dubbed "restaurant French": a musical pidgin of borrowed phrases, body language, and snatches of pop songs that can be used to successfully order food, maneuver from point A to point B, and request assistance when I inevitably smack against the language barrier.

    My upbringing has given me one slight advantage, however, as French is printed on absolutely everything in Canada. It didn't occur to me before, but I have been learning by osmosis, unconsciously absorbing vocabulary from my surroundings for thirty years. The result of which is that — though my spelling is atrocious and half of the mangled words erupting painfully from my mouth are misgendered — even if I murder the language when I attempt to speak it, I can mostly read it.

    Not that it makes much sense, anyway. Shark, for example, is requin. Aside from being an absolute bitch to pronounce, it doesn't even sound right. The word shark chops the air. It ends abruptly. It carries the speed and sleek movement of the animal. Requin rolls across the tongue, smooth, it is not sharp and fast as shark, ending as it does on that spiky K, reminiscent of a knife-like tail. I don't understand it at all. Requin sounds like it should be part of a dish, something to eat. Cassolette de homard et poireaux avec requin maybe. Something with cheese. Sorry, avec fromage.

    And oiseau for bird? Was it behind a post when consonants were being handed out? Is this the French onomatopoetic for the liquid tone of a whistle? (Not that "tweet" particularly sounds accurate, either, but at least it has a good balance of vowels.) Either way, it's also worth noting that this majestic cluster of vowel-a-riffic phonemes is apparently pronounced not entirely unlike wazoo. A language chosen for beauty, indeed!



    My flight from Heathrow to Montreal leaves Friday at noon, arrives in DC at 3:30 PM, leaves again around 5:00 PM, and then lands, finally, in Montreal at 7:00 PM, half an hour before Alexandre arrives.
  • 26th birthday

    something new to learn on piano [bravery takes many shapes]


    the bird and the bee - polite dance song, directed by Eric Wareheim of Tim & Eric.

    [...] Since I'm asking so nice
    Would you just entertain
    There's nothing left to hide you away
    Just show a little bit of brain

    Yes that is what I mean
    That's the nail that I hit
    I try to be as coy as I can
    But I wanna see your naughty bit [...]


    -::-


    We fall asleep facing our laptops; two beds, eight hours away. I have practice at this, at living far away, at being untouchable, unreachable, lonely yet loved.

    The first person I had such a thing with lives here in England. He's the reason I have the eight hour time difference from Vancouver to London permanently memorized. Our correspondence set the foundation for this place. Years of it, years of talking late at night, of mornings together, of chats and distance. There are hundreds of letters from him in my folders. Hundreds of pictures. He kept me writing, coaxed me into taking pictures. In many ways, he changed me from writing to being a writer, kicked it off, back when this journal was almost new. Back when I believed people who said nice things to me.

    I was only a few years older when he hurt me, sliced his way through my center, sliced until I bled, and worse, then put me in a book full of sex that opened yet another crooked little vein. (This starts the part that's never been public). Perhaps it was meant as a surprise? A surprise like the awful things I found out about him, how he used people; a surprise that sent everything sour.

    With the open eyes of an adult, I can see that I was prey, but it took many emotional years, and many, many others to come forward with similar admissions. Women in pain have reached out to me from New York, London, San Francisco, Berlin, Toronto... We're in so many places! There's so many of us we might need a name. I collect them, now, his talented discarded. We are a small network, but we've started keeping track of the others and making friends. He has excellent taste.

    I never asked him why I had a starring role in his first book, our relationship was already critically wounded and we had almost bled out by the time it was published. Was I the first? It seems too unlikely to be true, even though it's what he said at the time. I've also never asked the other woman named in the novel if she had been consulted or what her place in the mess might be. Her name was easier to spot, the public attention must have been massive. (A mutual friend told me that she wasn't, so I've filed her under "One Of Us (potential)" and crossed my fingers that she's been okay.)

    But I have been considering it lately. Now that I'm living just outside London, I'm only an hour's drive away from his house. Two if I take transit, not even as long as a film. (Closure is such a pretty word. Sound it out! It's beautiful.) Maybe I should reach out to her, the way the others have reached out to me. Break the silence, try not to fumble, and then, perhaps, ask him for tea.

    It has been a long time, but I'll bet his phone number is the same.
    geigerteller

    tripping the wire fantastic

  • Flight Facilities - Clair De Lune feat. Christine Hoberg

    I haven't any culture shock yet, though 7,547.76 km lay between my last home and this one (as the crow flies); the only thing I haven't effortlessly taken in stride is the quality of the light. Namely, the unanticipated lack of it.

    I sat in a pub, plate full of lamb and vegetable mash on the table, one of my longest friendships across the table, the city outside drained of colour, all neon and reflected halogen, the shine of artificial lights on wet pavement, sky suddenly black, and felt we were a peculiar form of vampire. (No wonder this place is so thick with myths.)

    England is North. Very North. More North than I had weighed in my mind. On some level, I understood London (51°30′N) to be around the latitudinal level of Edmonton (53°32′N), but I did not truly internalize what that would do to the sun. When it shines, appearing as it does around 7 am or so, it is weak and watery and near the horizon and glares in your eyes when you face South with a peculiar orange gold. The blaze of noon does not exist, even on the most crisp of blue sky autumn days, and it is full dark by 4 pm, despite the solstice being a month away.

    -::-


    The only other thing I speculate that I will have to consciously adapt to is the level of current that runs through the local wires. Don't mistake me, I've already bought the appropriate cord for my laptop and have adapters for the rest of my electronics. It is a matter of transhumanism, purely.

    The voltage here is so much higher than I find myself fighting the desire to flinch every time I need to interact with a power outlet.

    For the uninitiated, the sensation electricity creates to those with implanted neodymium magnets is that of a danger reflex, which I have been finding unexpected, but seem to share with others. For example, the magnet in my hand vibrates when I reach for my electric toothbrush, sitting as it does next to an active socket, and loudly signals risk, peril, stop, don't! And Divide told me of something similar, that he found himself reflexively curling his hand behind his back in a protective gesture when he was in the power room at ALTspace in Seattle. (For bonus points: My generation of neodymium implant is several orders of magnitude more powerful than his, too). It's uncomfortable and profoundly provokes a very physical sense of unease. None of us flinch away from other magnets, though, even those of the opposite polarity. In my experience, only high voltage stimulates the warning. Has anyone found an explanation? Why are some of the signals interpreted as dangerous, while some are not? I haven't reached out to others about it yet.

    While the incision has been mending very nicely, I remain inquisitive about the process as my body continues to adapt and naturalize the embedded magnet. It doesn't appear to be rejecting, the area isn't sore, and it's unlikely it will scar, but there is one last thing I'm finding very curious. My magnet has moved a significant distance since it was implanted. It is not in the tip of my finger anymore, but halfway down the first joint, an entire centimeter from where it had been placed.

    It's conceivable this happened when I foolishly caught the handle of a falling basket full of groceries with that finger a few weeks ago, back in Canada. (Other stupid things I have caught from the air without thinking: knives, scissors, sewing needles, a red hot piece of nearly molten metal, broken glass, a wild mouse. I am not a clever ninja.) The pain of it, though not sharp, brought me literally to my knees. At the time, I chalked it up to the freshness of the surgery, but presumably the impact shoved the magnet underneath the fat pad, along the surface of the muscles of my finger, to where it is today.

    I can't think of why else it would have migrated. The soft impacts of typing, though daily, are mostly absorbed by my long fingernails and I've never heard of anyone else having their magnet move, except when the earlier generation (and flatter) ones would flip or were rejected from the body and migrated to the surface like a metal splinter. The technology is relatively recent, (my friend Todd was the first to be implanted in 2004), and still very gray-market/DIY, so I don't know if there's an exact science to the fingertip placement yet, which creates the question: Should I move it back or leave it?

    Either way, whether this is an ordinary thing for an implanted object to do in a finger or if the movement is due to banging it, I'm paying more attention to it than I otherwise would have, not because I'm worried, but because I don't want reason to be. And, seriously, the voltage here. Sheesh.
  • 26th birthday

    Landing in London

    Zombie Flowers from ANTSANROM, as inspired by Charles Darwin´s first impressions when he first saw a carnivorous plant in 1875.



    I had zero leg room on the flight from Seattle to Reykjavik, my bag of camera lenses and hard-drives took up all the space instead, so I spent the whole time curled up in the chair, feet up, reading book after book until we landed in the cold. (Mr. Penumbra's Bookstore made a special impression, as it had been a gift from Alexandre that we picked up at the Amazon brick & mortar in Seattle the week we took together there before I left. There's a girl in it I somewhat identified with, though we're not of a type.)

    From the outside, landing in Iceland at night is like landing on the Canadian prairies. It is dark, flat, empty, and cold. Walking across the field into the building, I felt the bite of Edmonton's winter. The inside, however, looks precisely what I might imagine a minimalist airport manufactured by IKEA might be like, all pale wood floors and sketches of metal furniture. The gift shop sold furs, the cafeteria had an entire refrigerator shelf for greasy fish products, but otherwise what I managed to explore (with my dreadfully heavy bags) struck me as being similar to any other small airport. Mostly I simply sat, curled up with my phone, surfing the wifi, chatting with Alexandre.

    The hours were wrong for the Northern Lights, unfortunately, and the airport, also unfortunately, is an hour out of town, so I did not get a chance to see the aurora borealis or visit Reykjavik or stelpa, who lives there. No regrets, though, as I have been assured there will be other chances.

    Heathrow, however, was a sprawling place. It reminded me of nothing more than a level of an old James Bond video game that I remember playing a handful of times as a teenager. Low-rez, blocky, big open spaces, lots of windows without any view, and the illusion of multiple paths that resolve only into one when you try to move forward. I would love a map of the place, a 3D rendered duplicate that I could wander at will in virtual reality. The illusion of choice was especially interesting, as if the corridors could be reformed like a labyrinth and somewhere there might be a beast, perhaps some metaphor for finance, with gold dipped bull's horns and diamond tipped claws.

    The border questions were nothing after having to handle the US/Canadian border so many times over the years. The guard dismissed me as soon as they gleaned that I own a credit card, all flags dropped and I was through. Waiting for me were Arnand and Dee, my suitcases, a little red car, and a whole new life. "Hello."