Saturday, March 18, 2017

Sand and stone

For 20 minutes I was whisked away to Acacus, Libya; Petra, Chad and was grateful. To remember the beauty that has been left for us to discover. Thankful to the internet that I can visit and see these remarkable places without leaving my living room.

I don't really want to be ranting about politics every day. I don't like politics. Like most artists, I just want to get lost in my studio to play and create. The last year+ my anger and frustration has taken over my creativity, except what I create for work, all else has taken a back seat. A better description would be "playfulness". I feel guilty if I am feeling happy and distracted from the appalling corruption going on in our government. I even get mad at the morning news shows for daring to have something trivial on, like the best, newest lipstick. They are all laughing and cajoling, while our country to going to hell. I feel frustrated that we, "we the people" can not fix it. 

I join the local "resist" movement, read everything I can about the state of our nation, tweet, post, repost, comment, rant. Read the NYT, Washington Post, Vanity Fair, Time, Rolling Stone, PBS Newshour, Bill Moyers, exhausted just thinking about it. I watched Bill Maher last night when I realized he was about to lose it while begging the GOP "to do something". I saw in his face and heard in his voice, that  "I want to explode".  I feel it, just as many of us are feeling the frustration of having to sit back and watch this debacle unfold. Honestly, I keep expecting Trump to have a news conference admitting we have been "Punk'd", we all laugh and get on with a normal state of affairs.

So today when a friend of Robin's emailed that she was at Petra, it gave me a minute to think about something else. Something bigger than Trump, Bannon, Conway. 

Places in the world that have been there forever. Built out of sandstone, worn down through time and wind. "Petra is a famous archaeological site in Jordan's southwestern desert. Dating to around 300 B.C., it was the capital of the Nabatean Kingdom. Accessed via a narrow canyon called Al Siq, it contains tombs and temples carved into pink sandstone cliffs, earning its nickname, the "Rose City." Perhaps its most famous structure is 45m-high Al Khazneh, a temple with an ornate, Greek-style facade, and known as The Treasury." Can you imagine seeing this in person!

Rock-Art of Tadrart Acacus - Prehistoric rock paintings. The Acacus Mountains form a mountain range in the desert of the Ghat District in western Libya, part of the Sahara. Where there were once palm trees and giraffes.

Rock art of Botswana. Most of Botswana is located in the central part of southern Africa and is bordered by Namibia to the west, South Africa to the south and east and the Caprivi Strip to the north. Most of the country is covered by the Kalahari Desert/Sands. The only mountains or rocky hills are either on the eastern side of the country near the border with South Africa or in the extreme north east of the country near the borders with Namibia and the Caprivi Strip, west of the Okavango Delta. This is where the Tsodilo Hills are located, now a World Heritage rock art site where some 4,500 paintings have so far been recorded. Although some of the paintings were made by San/Bushmen most are believed to have been made by Khoi (Khoe) people and also by Bantu immigrants like the Hambakush who arrived there about 1,800 years ago. It is possible that most of this art was made during the last 2,000 years. In eastern Botswana a lot of the art is San art but there is also some Khoe art in the east.

"Rock Carvings and paintings in Northern Chad are prolific and relatively little known. They range across a vast and mostly uninhabited region. During this trip we covered just a few of the important sites in a small part of the east of the Ennedi Massif in the southern Sahara. A vast area remains unexplored and unmapped and there has been almost no archaeology in the region Dating the sites is complicated and in need of serious study." From Factum Foundation. Images from TARA | Trust for African Rock Art.

This is a beautiful account of the search for rock art in Chad by Ferdinand Saumarez Smith for The Economist’s 1843 magazine.

"It’s dusk and I’m walking through one of the world’s most surreal landscapes. Towering above me are slender 50ft - high stacks of rock that stretch into the distant desert like some kind of ancient Manhattan. The pillars are the remains of mountains whittled away by wind over millions of years, but this landscape has more recently been subject to change that is, on a geological timescale, swift. Only a few thousand years ago, the desert was a green home to past oral people. One of the ways we know this is through the beautiful, graphic artworks they made of their lives and their herds – the sole remaining evidence of a lost civilisation."

Monday, March 13, 2017

FORMS IN NATURE: Understanding Our Universe

Sometimes I see something that makes me tear up because it is so beautiful, and that happened today when I watched FORMS IN NATURE: Understanding Our Universe: Through scientific study and understanding, we deepen our connection to the natural world. An audiovisual collaboration by Kevin Dart // Stéphane Coëdel // David Kamp // Nelson Boles. More about his process here.


FORMS IN NATURE: Understanding Our Universe from Chromosphere on Vimeo.