Linger

 

Words, swords, crowds

Laugh together!

And they mingle.

Drink hot coco

Sniff the roses.

They stain the porcelain cups.

Dive deep in lakes of tea

Emerge spotless.

The journey continues,

This mixture of paraphernalia

Slides down the left ear

Of a grumpy, white cat.

It’s ticklish, it makes me giggle!

Whispered the cat!

As sleepy as I ever was

Just let me linger.

Take your flight!

But it is too late,

A cultural revolution enthralled

This dusty room, this lazy cat.

Let us erase Shakespeare!

Let us forget Keats!

The fate of art is to linger!

The fault in our relationships

Today’s topic of reflection is relationships. Relationships are basic components of our lives as highly social beings. Probably most of us are part of several relationships at the same time, but it can often be hard to glimpse behind their thick layers. Frequently, relationships are extremely complex and can easily become a source of great pain. I was wondering how people unconsciously cross this invisible bridge between happiness and the point where their relationships are mostly filled with heavy feelings of sadness, anger, frustration and shame. Any kind of relationship, either with family members, friends or with a partner can, at any given moment in life, seem like an inescapable labyrinth that weighs down on you. You can, all of a sudden, find yourself in a relationship that seems absolutely broken, in a lonely place where the person who used to bring the most joy to you is now floating on the parallel bank of the same river. If in the past you used to walk hand in hand, in the same direction, reaching for the same goals, now you feel alone and misunderstood. Or worse still, you feel like you are not being cared for or listened to attentively. It is a strange situation dominated by feelings of isolation and disconnection even though you might be sitting right next to other people. At this point, any attempt at communication is a complete failure because you and the other person in the relationship are on different frequencies. It is almost like you both want to transmit a message and receive a message and you do your best to put together a concise message that can communicate your feelings. However, you fail because you are using distinct communication mediums. Say, it is similar to one using a phone and the other using an email. It ends in a connection error.

I started to brood over relationships after watching a few Romanian short films (available on http://www.cinepub.ro with English subtitles, if you are interested). These shorts portrayed exactly a tangled spiderweb of painful and damaged relationships that suddenly explode and discharge cruel words and agonizing sounds. We can all agree that this type of extreme communication is damaging, but once in a while it sweeps over us, almost like a cold taking us by surprise each autumn. Sometimes, humans reach their limits and they need to release all the anger, the frustration, the anxiety, the shame, the bitterness, the despair, the jealousy, all the feelings that have been piling up inside of them. When we arrive at the point of utter fragility and desperation, our relationships become so dramatic that the tiniest of things can set us on fire. It is not about what has been said or what has been done, it is just the last blow, the icing on the cake or a mere raindrop added to a violent inner storm.

Dramatic portrayals of characters and relationships in the short films: a woman choosing solitude over attending a New Year’s Eve party because her friends invited her in the last moment and she felt betrayed (ask: what are your expectations of a friendship?; what is your conception of friendship?); a couple blaming each other for tiny mistakes or sudden actions during tense external occurrences; siblings fighting because of an unequal distribution of responsibilities in the family; an overprotective father and his daughter keeping secrets and fighting for her freedom; disagreements and shouts between spouses on how to treat their child; a man expressing his anger over the fact that he feels unsupported by his wife, daughter, brother and parents; a woman being ignored by a husband who is so taken with reading a newspaper and feeling invisible in her own house , etc. All these intense portrayals of relationships and the feelings that arise inside them illustrate examples of thwarted communication. We could argue that they are intensified or dramatized in order to create more artistic films. However, I suspect that the shorts can have such a strong impact on the viewers exactly because they feel so real. I can identify the intricate details inside my own relationships and in the relationships of people that surround me. The ultimate feeling that arguments, fights and miscommunication bring to an individual is that of isolation. Imagine being in a dark cave, completely alone! You are withdrawn from the world at that moment. It is as if your partner, friend or family member is not concerned with your feelings at all. You feel as if no one listens to you, or rather that they appear to be listening, but your words do not reach them.

Each of us have been, are or will be at some point in a situation where the way we communicate is not functional anymore. Our desires, needs, wants, goals, feelings and thoughts dissipate in the air and the person near to us seems so distant, so removed from ourselves. Maybe communication is not the problem, but rather our connection. The fact is that maybe we need more time to look within ourselves to find solutions, to listen more attentively to our feelings  instead of looking to the other person for solutions and advice. In a way, we are very self-absorbed and everything is about we, we, we…how we feel, how we suffer, how overwhelming the feeling of loneliness is, how bad was our day, our week, our entire year. Maybe it is better to start taking small steps for improving the connection in the relationship by doing pleasurable things together and by actively listening to the other. I believe that we have, in general, become so selfish that we don’t really know how to actively listen to people with an open mind and heart. We listen in order to reply and to advance our points of view. Let’s direct our attention towards our inner selves! Let’s listen and understand more!Let’s identify our painful feelings at the incipient stages and express them in a thoughtful and loving way! Let’s try to deal effectively with the fault in our relationships!

 

 

Murder on the Orient Express

Orient Express: My dream, my fantasy, my inspiration.

 

An international affair,

Murder and le bon air,

Velvet, stockings, lace and silk,

A moral hazard,

Retro crimson shoes,

The sound of soft steps,

Tak, tak, tak, tak…

On the Orient Express.

Candlelit dinner,

La Belle Époque,

Mischief,

And a well-known thief.

Lips are sour,

The witness swallowed a flower.

From Paris to Constantinople

Mystery, my dear sire!

The truth shall never transpire!

Silence is woe,

Secrets and snow,

Dwell in the shadow.

Spring emerges

 Crime, it purges!

Extravagant, grand opening

In the blink of an eye

The curtains fade.

No trace is left

Of crimson, velvet blinds.

Existence on Earth,

Spiritual, profound, connected to nature

Becomes, yet, another show!

A play enacted

In a grand theatre.

The opening is announced.

Hypnopaedia charms,

Spectators swarm.

A show on Broadway!

Except no! No, it’s not!

A most novel spectacle

From the stages of Shanghai

Diffused into the world.

Ladies with no speck of ingenuity

Gents with no signs of originality

Parade, dine and engage

Amongst Gucci bags, MacBooks

Porsches, Dior lipsticks.

Stuff and fluff,

In a city of things

A world of things.

They swallow and choke

Embrace and absorb

The concrete, the technology,

Designer goods, skyscrapers,

The latest trends, online shopping

Michelin stars restaurants.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Please swallow and choke

Buy, consume, dispose!

Come back for more!

Theatre plays of your own creation

From Shanghai to the world.

The Earth is drowning!

Suddenly, a mise-en-scene effect,

Sighs of superficiality

Sighs of materialism.

The planet is shrieking

And with it,

Some lost, rare souls.

The grand opening

Of extravagant materialism

Is a sociopathic murderer

The offspring of capitalism…

 

A futuristic, robotic world

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The advance of technology and the development of robots is a fact in nowadays world. Now, the question is: How far will these advances go and how far will humans go to revolutionize the workplace and productivity in order to save money? Will robots come to replace humans in their jobs?

Will they go as far as creating robots that will be capable of doing everything a human being can? Will we live in a world where robots and humans cohabit? Will people go as far as producing robots that are capable of feeling and thinking on their own? Will they go as far as engineering robots that can become our sexual partners? Will they go as far as starting to create hybrids, beings that are half human and half robot? Will we become beings that boost our own physical capacities by using machine parts?

Robots and sci-fi worlds make up the plot of many books and movies. The most recent Tv series I watched offers a lot of variation on the theme of futuristic, robotic worlds.

‘Love, Death and Robots’ is an extremely creative one season series. It is composed of 18 episodes, with each episode lasting between 10 and 15 minutes long. Thus, it is easy to watch and fast to finish, perfect for a whole afternoon or evening binge. I found ‘Love, Death and Robots’ captivating due to its amazing vibrant visual style. Each episode explores a different story, so in this sense the episodes do not rely on each other. They could be described as a series of unconnected, short films that fit into the same overall theme. However, each episode is constructed on the foundation of a future world in which robots, technological advancements and machines are the new normality of reality.

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The visual aspect of this fantastic, sci-fi style animation series is quite exquisite and worth to be observed and internalized by itself . The variety of episodes takes the viewer on a journey through 18 distinct, science fiction settings. Some episodes remind us of animes, others have a feel of realistic movies suddenly turned into dream-like atmospheres, full of vibrant colours. Others take us by surprise by coming on as cartoons for kids. And still, others borrow the overall visual effects of movies about space.

Love, Death and Robots. What are the narratives?

Expect to see a genetically mutated creature with a removable, computer-like brain in a fighting pit;  werewolves employed by the army; robots inhabiting an Earth where humans have gone extinct;  women transformed into robots to act as sexual fetishes; a world invaded by giant spider machines and so much more. Overall, everything is quite fluid and somehow it manufactures a vibe that the world is aactually heading towards one of the visions presented in the series, if not towards a mixture of them all. This miniseries is challenging us to envision planet Earth hundreds or thousand of years from now.

Stealing souls

 

Drink the darkness of your soul,

The oozing venom on patrol.

Feed yourself

With flesh and blood.

Crawl in the mud,

Hide in the shadows!

You, robber of souls!

On twisting and turning lanes

You feast on veins.

A mediocre performer

From dawn to dusk

With twilight

You change so brusque.

You guzzle on people’s vitality,

Thrive on carnality.

You, Dorian Gray of reality!

You, the Mr. Hyde of nightmares!

You,  a modern Dracula!

You, Azrael walking on Earth!

You, soul collector demon!

You move so swiftly,

Yet, your work is filthy!

Terror, terror and downfall!

Terror, terror by nightfall!

Yayoi Kusama: All about love speaks forever

As a lover of art, I am still a beginner. I am a person who does not know the latest, the most trendy art currents or the most avantgarde painters, the most creative urban artists or the darkest, most mysterious sculptors. That is because I like to enjoy the art itself and not the name behind it. In exceptional cases, when I am emotionally touched by art, I make an effort to know the person behind the piece.

I always appreciated art and considered it one of the most amazing and worthwhile human endeavours on Earth. When it comes to art I lose every bit of realism I might have and all I want is the realm of pure creativity, dreams, obscene thoughts and provoking feelings. I love art so much that I can always discover parts of myself inside most pieces of art. The hard part is to find the most relevant parts of your being in other people’s art. Art speaks to me, but to be honest, I only remember or try to engrave on my brain the names/ figures that impress me the most. And they are, but a few. 

Last week, I stumbled upon an exhibition of Yayoi Kusama. I knew nothing about her, but after wandering through the exhibition ‘All about love speaks forever’, I wanted to know everything. I discovered a quite well-known Japanese artist, whose art pieces communicated directly to the realms of my dreams and connected to the various life forms of my fantastic kingdoms. 

Who is Yayoi Kusama? She is a 90-year-old contemporary artist, who was born and raised in Matsumoto, Japan. For a period of time she lived in the US and exhibited her pieces of art all over the world. She received various prizes in Japan and the US and played around with distinct forms of art, from sculpture, painting, to film, fashion and poetry. Her name seems to weigh a lot in the contemporary world of art. But fame matters nought to me. I decided to get to know the woman behind the art because my curiosity got the best of me and my interest was stimulated by the vivid colors she used in her paintings and by the intersection of a multitude of art forms in her installations. 

 

Personal Interpretation of her artwork:

1.The colors she used in her paintings and installations remind me of animations and make me feel like I am walking or living inside a dream become reality. The similar face shapes that predominantly appear in the paintings remind me of lucid dreams and somehow of the multiplicity of beings I experience in life, of my alter egos.  

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2. The world of the ocean combined with the terranean world. The strong yellow of sun, the light, the force of life with the deep, strong blue of the sea, the night, the dream. A fantastic cohabitation of terranean creatures with sea creatures and mushrooms. Yayoi Kusama’s paintings made me think of hallucinations at first. I seem to be right since I read that she played around different magic mushrooms and all sorts of drugs to produce her artwork. 

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3. A recurring theme in movies based on fantastic lands and in animations is the land of giant flowers. These colorful, breathtaking plants appear as a piece of heaven on Earth. That is until these giant flowers open up and reveal themselves to be a threat to humanity because they are carnivorous flowers. 

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4. An enormous octopus-like creature extends its dotted tentacles to form a labyrinth of imagination in a yellow world. What if the world was a giant octopus and survival meant meandering and running through the constantly moving tentacles? Sounds like a horror movie created by a Pointillist artist. 

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5. Reflections of lights and self in a never-ending mirror room. The mirror room is a finite space, quite small actually, but creates the illusion of infinity of selves and space. Quite like the inside of a human being. 

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6. The human brain on drugs or the realm of optical illusions or a 90s’ music disco club after unusual mixes of strong alcohol. Reflection of lights and self, mirrors and dots are signature marks of Yayoi Kusama. 

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7. The artist singing a poem composed by herself. It is a performance created and curated by Yayoi Kusama. The stage presence of the artist, strong colors, dots, the orange wig, the playful mixture of song, poem and non-verbal gestures, brings us to a world of fantasy tainted by the recurring sadness of reality (sadness creeps into Kusama’s world through the title: A Manhattan suicide addict)

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8. Reflections characterized by a fisheye effect. The multitude of selves and others, various dimensions of reality exposed in mirror-like dots. Theme: You only see yourself as reflected in the eyes of others and of the environment around you. 

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