{{One small change in the world a day}}

Imaginary safari chasing art

I was born on an island shaped like a three-legged monster and rugged like an old fisherman's forehead. me in a zooThe sea has always been renowned for its abundance in marine life, especially sword fish and tuna. But the land was poor of animals, except from the usual fauna you can see anywhere: mice, swallows, pigeons, sparrows, lizards and many insects.

When I hit the magical age of eight, a zoo opened its gates on our island. I loved animals and could spend hours reading my Animal Kingdom encyclopedia, so my parents took me there on a lovely Sunday morning. We were the first people entering. Trembling with excitement I walked around its cages. Unfortunately the zoo hadn't managed the funding to get enough animals to fill them so most of the structures were empty. Outside the cages mice, swallows, pigeons, sparrows and lizards seemed to prosper, just like on the rest of the island.

The largest cage of all was situated next to the play area (one slider and two see-saws). At first glance it appeared to be sort of empty too. Then I noticed one animal I had only seen in my Animal Kingdom encyclopedia so far: a praying mantis. I didn't dare to breathe or move and sat there motionlessly on my knees observing the little creature observing me. Suddenly she started moving towards the bars. Gently and elegantly she hopped out of the iron cage and hid under a waste basket. There I was, standing in a zoo, surrounded by free animals and empty cages. Had the world itself become a zoo?

Context changes meaning. A chair looks weird in the middle of the street but normal at home. And how can you call a zoo a 'zoo' when it has more animals outside than inside his cages? Let's say we let art run free of context. What will we find when we go on an imaginary safari chasing art?

1. Reuben Margolin grew up making things with his father's tools. One day he saw a caterpillar move and spent months researching how he could emulate its crawling movement with wood. This was the beginning of something special: Reuben creates extraordinarily complex kinetic sculptures. A fusions of technology and high art inspired by simple movements he found while observing nature. Please watch this video and feel the same enchantment I felt when discovering his work:

2. Jarbas Agnelli is a wonderful filmmaker from Brazil and the creator of Birds on the Wires. On a magical life-changing day he spotted a picture of birds on electric wires in a newspaper and noticed they were arranged like notes on a musical score: 'I cut out the photo and decided to make a song, using the exact location of the birds as notes (no Photoshop edit). I knew it wasn't the most original idea in the universe. I was just curious to hear what melody the birds were creating.'
He then sent the music to the photographer, Paulo Pinto, who he had Googled. Pinto told his editor, who told a reporter and the story ended up as an interview in the very same newspaper. I can assure you will end up telling everyone you know about it too.

3. Walking along the windy Dutch coast, you might find many things on your way like wiggly jellyfish, thousands of grey-coloured shells and beautifully washed wood. But chances are you could also find yourself staring at a herd of enormous plastic animals. These 'strandbeesten', beach animals, are given life by Theo Jansen.
Jansen is a physicist who once invented a painting machine after which he dedicated himself to creating a new species: giant skeletons resembling dream animals and are able to walk on the wind, their life source. Some of these creatures can capture and store the wind. Others have the ability to anchor themselves in the sand when the wind threatens to blow them away. All of the animals are set free.
Strandbeesten is a wonderful example of engineering being kissed by art.

4. Have you ever watched Jim Henson's Labyrinth? Ron Mueck was one of its model and puppet makers. This Australian hyperrealist sculptor works in London creating perfect human figures using fiberglass resin or silicone. The only unreal aspect of his work is its scale, all his figures are either oversized or undersized giving YOU the feeling of being undersized or oversized.
The first time I saw his work I simply stopped blinking. Afraid I would miss a furtive, tiny movement from the sculpture I was looking at.
Image of Ron Mueck courtesy of Photobucket.com

5. It's not just humans who can create art based nature, engineering and imagination. A rare species of solitary bees found in the Middle East, called Osmia avoseta, constructs its beautiful nests from petals, creating pink, yellow, blue, and purple chambers for its larvae.
Image from http://scienceblogs.com

6. Our imaginary safari ends on the shores of Zadar, in Croatia. Simple and elegant steps, carved in white stone, were built here on the quayside: underneath you will find thirty-five organ pipes. Day and night sea waves push air through them, playing strange and unworldly musical chords, resembling a whale cry.

Isn't the world amazing?

Have a lovely day,

Miss Moussetache

{Background image Zoo: Life.com}

1 comment:

  1. Elementary brought me there (solitary bee) very nice safari, thx, love your pseudo too :)
    the birds on the wire idea is sublime !


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