Tag Archives: imagery

Chicago Style: Through Prism of Phonetics, Colours, Rail Tracks.. and Sparrows

When I visited Chicago just couple weeks ago, for the very first time, I went through two (non) cultural shocks.  that and annoying hungry sparrows. 

1. It is pronounced [Shi-ka-go], as if the old lady who can not make any harder sounds tries to pronounce it. Not sexy, bold, appealing [i-ka-go] like in chess..

just realized how exhausting it will be to express phonetical frustration on paper. 

anyway, it is quite interesting how sounds and phonetical elements of the word are glued so intense into our minds that it is almost impossible to accept new ways of pronunciation. so I guess i will continue Italian gang style, chicago:)

2. Who said Chicago is like New York  (or rather, visa verse but doesn’t really matter)? “Ah, you love NYC? You will love Chicago even more!! ” Nope. The first 5 hours I was there I was jumping, happy-go-lucky, with wide eyes and not less wide open mouth– architecture heaven, same narrow streets with reach-the-sky churches and yay, I found another NYC for myself!! Taking into account I lived in NYC for almost 6 months few years ago, you have all the rights to lift the brow (no, do both of them) onto such statement. Yes, the second half of the very same day I devoted to a very slow realization that Chicago is not the same. It is gangster, mob city. And it is the city of neighbourhoods (maybe 2-3 in total you would want to visit) which are limited to just dozen blocks. 

But I still would love Chicago as any city which forces me to look up and up..

 

Chicago has an open train system- mostly above the ground. This offers fantastic views– not only on the city itself, but also on the whole composition of the city along with rail tracks. Somehow this old, ugly, rusty reddened massive ironmongery blends into the city landscape very harmonically. The lines of skyscrapers, the whole beautiful geometry of colours and styles would just collapse without those rail tracks…

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How about some crazy colours splashing over Chicago? With nice weird effect of prism filter. Although, using colours, I honestly transferred my cheerful coming to terms with the city, yet I could not stop gut feeling it was deserted. Maybe it was part of the long weekend, maybe hot summer days..  I would never imagine Chicago as ghost town– although quite often it felt like one. Some say, it’d file for bankruptcy like Detroit. So not sure if this was just very obvious result of yet another crisis in the row. 

 

Now: Why Lincoln statue has a chair?.. Anyway he stands, so why it was so absolutely necessary to put up the chair there? I understand when the ‘greatest ones’ are featured in work of art with some element they always carried along– hat, glasses, book, naked angry cat — but chair…???

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Well, and least but not last… Meet Chicago real local mob:))

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Illuminated Imagery: Memory, Happiness and Butterflies

IlluminatedI am reading the book, Everything is Illuminated. Most likely the name sounds familiar to you, from the movie of few years ago, with Elijah Wood and Eugene Hutz, Gogol Bordello frontman. About the writer from New York who goes to Ukraine, with the help of two locals, to find woman who saved his grandfather from Nazis during Second World War. Yes, the movie is based on the book, but for me they are very much separated apart, not at all relating to each other except of the plot. I’m not saying movie was bad, it was interpretation of the director. However, here I’m going to talk about the book in particular. Well, rather about few ideas that the book inspired me to come to, as it is the book about life and to talk about it as a whole would require several volumes.

One character, Alex, after their journey together, is pleading the New York writer to change the course of his grandparents’ story in the book: Why you are not making them happy? Why you would not do good for them in your story? That is what we, writers, are for..  Immediately after reading that, another book came to my mind, Atonement. There, the main character, also writer, explains that she wrote different, happy ending for those people whose life she wrecked (also happening during Second World War). She wanted them to have happy ending at least in her story.

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But would it be the happiness as we call it? Creating a different reality, or mutating current one, could it still be called as happiness? Could one pretend to be happy and lie about it to himself, and start to believe this lie,–  would it be happiness?

One story (scene from movie/ book, can’t remember) got stuck in my head. The woman dies without learning the truth that the whole her “happiness” was a lie: really there was no loving husband, there was no happy family, there was no real friend. But she was happy while she lived, she knew here own, different truth, sort of living in a parallel reality people created for her. Is it still happiness? And why we need so much to be sure that others also know about our happiness, maybe to confirm that it is not a dream and we are actually happy?

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Another example. I create a different reality for my mind, how about this? As everybody else in college years, I kept diaries (both online and old style written), starting and dropping six or seven of them during 5-years period. When I read any of my writings few years later, I was very confused. I was reading the stranger’s diary, not mine. At least that was what I felt. Did I write this, really? Mostly these were abstract thoughts, but I could hardly recall even most of the events. Just a slight flash, “oh yeah, something familiar..” and after heavy thinking, a memory comes. 

So, it seems like the memory failed there (or succeeded; not everything I would be glad to remember). Therefore, I’m thinking: why not, instead of writing down bad event or analyzing bad feeling, I will make up different, opposite, a good story. Changing my own reality for future myself, so to say. Why not? For my memory, slight change of the course does not matter, the mind will still believe it.

True, it does not work with major events, but something bit unfortunate and upsetting could be edited. Then, if I create a different reality for my memory, I will start living in it: of course not immediately, but memory can be trained and controlled in certain ways, believe me. As a result, this new reality becomes my own, eventually. Does it really matter if I change something, if it makes me happy now and makes me feeling as if I was always happy? Is it really the make-up and lying we are so worried about? Would this mean a true happiness?

So, why I am including in this post my images of butterflies. Partly I relate and reflect human memory onto the butterfly effect theory. However, to put aside mathematics, first and foremost, butterflies are symbols of lightness, time, and transformation. And the hope, at least for me. Let the memories to butterfly, so they become Butterflying Memories.

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Post Scriptum: I love the concept of “Butterflies of Memory” behind the installation project by artist Kathleen Griffin: “Collapsed and ruined building, literally shaken down by memories, releases them as seventeen giant golden butterflies carry it off into the sky.”

 

Singapore Tales

I want to share with you my Singapore. Very interesting place.

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Among intriguing features of the city-state what struck me most were wild macaque monkeys wandering on parking lots, ridiculously clean streets, people talking in mysterious Singlish, rich cultural trio “hindu-arabic-chinese” representing the city, business heaven aside to enormous Buddhist Temples spread all over area, nature reserves’ rain forests with myriad species, that special soft type of singaporean rain during rain season, botanical gardens full of silent practitioners of Qigong at 4am, and of course, infamous “benevolent” dictatorship (lovely word combination, isn’t it?).

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Macaques. Although mainly they stay in or nearby nature reserves (images on left and below), one gets feeling that they are wandering around everywhere, even in urban area. You keep hearing their birdish-like crying even when returning to the city, I guess it is their singaporean charisma.

Most of them are occupied with the same kind of species, but some develop quite annoying and terrifying attitude towards people in desperate search for food. And no, they do not appear particularly cute and sweet once you saw their mouth full of sharp, angry, almost vampire teeth.

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No, I’m not exaggerating: you know, bit off finger is not the worst they did to passers by. But, for the sake of a beautiful day and sunshine in my mind, I’m presenting only sweet photographs of them in Fauna gallery.

I think I will devote the whole separate post to photos of those macaques, too much to tell and show to fit here.

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Singlish. Incredible language, basically it is English-based Creole spoken in Singapore. Every single tourist guide assured me that everybody speaks English there. No, it is not English: maybe it is based on it, but except of some basic vocabulary words, everything else is far from being related. No good lah’– sorry, no idea what you just said to me.

Obviously, nobody could understand me out there.

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Botanical Gardens at 4ish am is something unforgettable. You feel morning with your lungs, the air is so fresh and silent. The same silence is kept among people who woke up that early for jog, qigong practice, or just simple meditation.

We pass by each other, we smile, say “good morning”– but almost whispering. On isolated hill stands monk and meditates flowing above the ground. Several groups of (mostly) old ladies practice qigong, hidden behind enormous bushes.

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It might sound strange but these gardens were only ones to leave me actual feeing of being in Orient, of touching complete opposite side of the world.

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I came just in time for startup of rain season: November-December. The rain in Singapore is very punctual, by the way. You can check your watch with the rain: every day it started at the same exact time, and stopped hour or so later. The intervals were very convenient for planning the day. My huge surprise came when on the first day I noticed that the more rain is falling, the drier I become. Because of the climate, you don’t feel that it is actual rain. It is very soft (almost silky), and has the tendency to miss you with the raindrops falling too far from each other. I do not know how else to describe this phenomenon.

Buddhist Temples. The least I saw in there was trace of religion. I saw touch of death with crematorium and several rows of tablets with photos on them, I saw devoted following of traditions, I saw simplicity and space, I saw the thin trace of history. I did not see any belief, though.

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Little praying man

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Singapore remained in my imagery as Orient collage, as a westernized society and mosaic of colours, thick humidity and forgotten history.

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Multi Persona

Multi Persona. TangoAh, great: thinking about the very first photograph to post on my blog took me at least one hour less then trying to figure out name for the blog. Actually I already forgot about that photo collage I did year ago. When just beginning to conquer photoshop, and just starting to realize all magic I could do with this. Old times:) Basically I try to think of all images, especially ones I edit extensively, as expressions of someone sitting very deeply inside me. Sort of subconsciousness that cannot be heard, either because it is shy, or too busy, or because it is simply still discovering itself.

Photography is a great psychologist: the image you create, the way you “paint photograph” tells you a lot about yourself. There is no need to overanalyze, but seriously– there must be something more behind our reasoning, then just “I felt like doing it”, no?  The more I look at this image the more I start to recall what was going on in that foolish chaotic mind of me two years ago, newbie in Toronto, changing hobbies/interests/jobs every other month, flying like a butterfly there and here, feeling light and constantly wanting to reach for something higher, being passionate about everything and everyone at the same time..

That is Imagery Tales. No words, just images. I’m bad with words, with formulating them and trying to keep up with flow of my thoughts. But pictures&photographs are easier to express yourself with, they tell your vision, your imagery (mental images you create). Or my vision/imagery is being created by these pictures I make? Eternal question of egg and hen.