Updates, Live

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I'm in the Mood for Kiarostami

addressing the camera as he begins the first filming lesson
Abbās Kiyārostamī in 10 on Ten
(source: Firouzan Films)
no copyright infringement intended

I'm in the mood for Kiarostami. I watched his The Wind Will Carry US about five times and I still need to do it more. I ordered on the Amazon his Five Dedicated to Ozu, I'm waiting for it to arrive.

The Wind Will Carry Us is very hard to grasp at the beginning: it is extremely simple while extremely subtle. It's like the poems of Forough Farrokhzad.

Okay, if modern Iranian culture is unknown to you, let's not start defining Abbas Kiarostami by making a reference to Forough Farrokhzad. We'll come later to her, it's absolutely necessary.

Let's try some references:

Number one: Tarkovsky. Well, let be no doubt about it, Tarkovsky is Tarkovsky and Kiarostami is Kiarostami. There are many differences between them. Both of them are great artists. I said Tarkovsky: it was only to have a point of departure in understanding Kiarostami. Anyway, the movie of Kiarostami gave me a fresh idea to analyze Stalker.

Number two: Parajanov. His Tini Zabutykh Predkiv is amazing, to say nothing about Sayat Nova and the others that followed. But, the same note, Kiarostami is Kiarostami and Parajanov is Parajanov. It's just another point of departure. While watching The Wind Will Carry Us I was thinking at Tini Zabutykd Predkiv and I was noticing the differences; I will talk about this in a future post.

Number three: Satyajit Ray. Actually comparing Kiarostami and Ray leads you to striking discoveries. The same poignancy, the same profundity. Said Kurosawa, words cannot describe my feelings about them ... when Satyajit Ray passed on, I was very depressed. But after seeing Kiarostami’s films, I thanked God for giving us just the right person to take his place. Well, I watched the Apu Trilogy more than one time; you can consider it the best ever and you'll make no mistake. What does it mean the best ever? It means that if you can see only one movie for all your life, then you can choose Apu Trilogy (which means three movies, okay) and you'll make no mistake. Of course, you could choose some other movie from Ozu, or Eisenstein, or Griffith, or maybe Wong Kar-Wai: you'll make no mistake either, but you've got the idea. Now, what I can say is, if you consider Kiarostami at the level of Ray you're probably right.

Number four: said Jean-Luc Godard, cinema starts with Griffith and ends with Kiarostami. I would say, however, take it easy. Today there is Kiarostami, there is Wong Kar-Wai, there is Hou Hsiao-Hsien; Hou made Café Lumière, as a homage to Ozu; Kiarostami made Five Dedicated to Ozu: all roads lead to Ozu. (and thanks God, there was also Satyajit Ray).

The thing is that Kiarostami cannot be compared easily with any other great filmmaker because, like for any of them, his style is unique. I would let this for another post.

(Iranian Film and Poetry)

Labels: ,

Reinventing GOP from the Right

An article in Newsweek about the future of GOP: will Sarah Palin be the person to reinvent her party - not from the middle but from the right? I tend to disagree to this hypothesis.: I think white working class will continue to adapt to the new American realities: globalization, Hispanic growth, etc. It will be slow, however this will be the trend: the future of GOP should be nuanced Bobby Jindal rather than rigid Christian Right.

John McCain's defeat will be a lonely one. The old soldier has always taken pride in proving no one owns him—not his party, not its leaders and, for damn sure, not the ideological purity police of the right. So if the polls prove right, and McCain loses to Barack Obama next Tuesday, no one but him will own his defeat. Already, from every corner of the conservative coalition, the same refrain is rising: nasty, obstinate old fool, he should have listened to me.

Will Sarah Palin join that chorus? The answer, if Palin has big ambitions (and every piece of her life story suggests she does), is almost certainly yes. Even now she is dropping hints of unhappiness with her running mate's way of doing things—saying, if she had her way, the McCain campaign would skip the robo-calls, go after Obama's association with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and continue to pour resources into Michigan. It's easy to imagine her amped-up post-election critique: they dressed me in their fancy clothes, they fed me to their elite media friends, they even made me bow and scrape to Saturday Night Live, but they still couldn't change me. I'm still Sarah from Wasilla and I'm ready to take Real America back.

Democrats, having witnessed Palin's wobbly 2008 performance (31 percent of registered voters in the new NEWSWEEK poll say Palin makes them less likely to vote for McCain), will no doubt relish the prospect of Palin lingering on the national stage. They should be careful what they wish for. For all her problems now, Palin has the biography, the ideological sympathies and the charisma to be what the Republican Party lacks: a populist, far-right politician with intense celebrity appeal.

This has less to do with Palin than with the one group most essential to the Republican Party's long-term survival: America's white working class. In brighter days, Karl Rove and his disciples dreamed of a conservative majority that cut deep into traditional Democratic demographic groups like Hispanics and culturally conservative African-Americans. Those fantasy targets are gone. African-Americans will almost certainly remain solidly Democratic in the Obama era, as will Hispanics given the realities of immigration politics in the GOP. A public fight concerning Roe v. Wade (an Obama first term might see three Supreme Court vacancies) will preclude major GOP gains with affluent coastal moderates. The one remaining target is low-education white voters, Reagan Democrats, the last group to join Obama's coalition, and thus the first group Republicans should try to snatch away.

How would they do that? For several years, conservative intellectuals have argued that, to survive, the party needs to adapt its economic message to address the insecurities of the culturally conservative working class. This populist GOP, they argue, would offer more than just the pro-life, anti-tax party. It would offer a vision of how limited government can promote strong families and grow the middle class. The intelligentsia look at Republican governors such as Louisiana's Bobby Jindal and Minnesota's Tim Pawlenty—thoughtful conservatives who have a touch with the common man—and see reasons for hope.

But what the intellectuals have not always acknowledged is that there is an easier, if less utopian, way to speak to the anxieties of working America: full-fledged culture war. There are, in fact, wedge issues the Republican Party has yet to fully exploit. Rather than expose the divide between McCain and the base of his party on immigration (the nominee takes a moderate stance; party activists are filled with close-the-border zeal), the Republicans have taken the issue off the table in 2008. But any politician who thinks millions of middle- and working-class white Americans have stopped caring about it is delusional. It is only a matter of time before a candidate with A-list name recognition decides to make it a pet issue.

Why not Palin? Unlike most top-tier Republican candidates, she owes very little to the party's business wing and thus would have little to lose by taking an anti-immigration stand. Since joining McCain's ticket, she has echoed his moderate position on the issue. But she could turn this into a virtue: yet another McCain mistake she had to grin and bear. She could use the issue as a jumping-off point to break the party from business altogether on things like trade, making a protectionist argument from the right. The inexperience that has dogged her this year could help her in the future; without a record of party fealty, she could easily dispose of any party orthodoxy that kept her from marrying pitchfork populism with the ideals of the Christian right.

No telegenic Republican has tried this since Pat Buchanan in the 1990s. No superstar Republican has tried it in history. In Palin's hands, this strategy could spawn a movement. In the event of a Republican embarrassment on Election Day, the real story won't be John McCain licking the wounds from his lonely defeat. It may be Sarah Palin reinventing the Republican Party—not from the middle, but from the right.

Zoon Politikon)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Neo-Constructivist: Clark Goolsby

Synthesis II
mixed media on canvas

Clark Goolsby was born in 1980, in Santa Rosa, california. He lives in Los Angeles. Here is his blog.

Expanded View
mixed media on canvas

The Soviet Constructivists of the Twenties come to mind. There are, of course, clear differences: the delicacy of the colors; then the elements that have room in his works (and couldn't be found at the Constructivists) - the skull, some emancipated female silhouettes, etc; and the stripes remind rather the Washington Color School.

Vertical Hold
paper collage on canvas

But his penchant for the Constructivist art is obvious: the geometrical corps, the embedded letters; and more than that, the generous audacity of the shapes.

Little Punks
mixed media on canvas

mixed media on canvas

paper collage on paper

Skull I
mixed media on canvas

Teeth II (Manga)
mixed media on corduroy

(Contemporary Art)


Calaretul intreba crepusculul,
Spune-mi de stii,
Unde este casa prietenului meu?

Iar cerul s-a oprit o clipa,
I-a daruit trecatorului revarsarea luminii
Mangaindu-i buzele
Pana spre intunericul nisipurilor,

Iar apoi revarsarea de lumina
A aratat inspre un plop,

Pe langa plop,
E o carare
Mai verde decat visele Celui Atotputernic,
Iar dragostea acolo-i mai albastra
Decat penele Celui in toate Drept.

Mergi pe carare pan'la capat,
Il vei vedea, capatul,
Rasare dincolo de trecerea in barbatie.

Intoarce-te apoi spre floarea singuratatii,
Iar la doi pasi de floare,
Este fantana vesnica din care Pamantul se adapa
Dintru inceputuri.

Acolo frica iti va da tarcoale,
O vei simti, n-o vei vedea.

Iar in intimitatea aceea a spatiului,
Prelingandu-se ca o parere peste tine,
Vei auzi un sunet rostogolindu-se,
Si vei zari un pusti,
Catarat pe un copac inalt,
Sa caute pui in cuibul luminii,

Pe el intreaba-l;
Unde este casa prietenului?

Many have written about Sohrab. Honestly, he deserves more.

The rider asked in the twilight, Where is the friend's house?
Heaven paused
The passer by bestowed the flood of light on his lips to the darkness of sands,
and pointed to a poplar and said:

Near the tree,
Is a garden-line greener than God's dream
Where love is bluer than the feathers of honesty.
Walk to the end of the lane, which emerges from behind the puberty,
then turn towards the flower of solitude,
two steps to the flower,
stay by the eternal mythological fountain of earth,
where a transparent fear will visit you,
in the flowing intimacy of the space you will hear a rustling sound,
you will see a child,
Who has ascended a tall plane tree to pick up chicks from the nest of light,
ask him:
Where is the friend's house?

(Iranian Film and Poetry)


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Marea artista Dina Cocea ne-a parasit

1912 - 2008


Man Ray at the American Art Museum

I met firstly with the photos of Man Ray, his Violon d'Ingres and Larmes. It was a book about Paris, as viewed by the American artists who lived there Les Années Folles.

Then I met the cineaste: his amazing abstract short movies. It was a DVD devoted to the experimental films of the Twenties.

I met then the painter: an exhibition at the Phillips Collection, devoted to The Société Anonyme.

I was last Sunday at the American Art Museum: Man Ray was there. I tried to record a video with his works. Unfortunately I rendered his Autoportrait very poorly.

His influence on the Twentieth Century art is enormous in so many respects. Along with Marcel Duchamp he democratized the art work: look at the paper sheets framing his Autoportrait, look at his Cadeau, look at his It's Another Spring. But it's not only that. It's his enthusiasm, his commitment to promote new artists and new forms of art. Another name comes now to my mind, a great artist and a great enthusiast: El Lissitzky.


Cadeau (Serie B), 1890
iron and tacks

Indestructible Object, 1965
wood, fiber, metal,and paper on cardboard

It's Another Spring, 1961
metal spring, ivory ball,wooden cigar box

(Avangarda 20)

(American Art and Portraiture)


haridasb: Bangalore on the Move

(Indian Cinema)

Kiarostami's 10 on Ten

I haven't seen this movie (10 on Ten by Kiarostami); I would like to find a DVD of it. It is not listed on the Amazon. Somebody wrote on youTube that 10 on Ten comes as an extra on a DVD featuring another famous work of Kiarostami (Taste of Cherry). I have seen only one movie by him so far, The Wind Will Carry Us, and I am waiting for a DVD with his Five.

What I found is this video about Kiarostami's 10 on Ten. It is awesome. The author, Haridas B, published only five videos on youTube so far: four of them are dedicated to Kiarostami's works. As for the only video not related to Kiarostami, see my next post :)

(I'm in the Mood for Kiarostami)

Labels: ,

The Five Most Important Books for Cornel West

The five most important books for Cornel West:

(A Life in Books)

Picasso et les Maîtres

Picasso et les Maîtres: a face-off on view in Paris, at Grand Palais. Here's a chronicle by Michael Kimmelman, in today's NY Times:

No show in Europe at the moment bids to be more spectacular, or ends up being more exasperating, than Picasso and the Masters, sprawling here through the Grand Palais. If there’s good news to the financial meltdown, it’s that maybe bloated blockbusters like this one should become harder to organize.

Not that anyone in Paris seems discontent with the exhibition. From morning to night, long lines inch through the front doors to pay obeisance to this endlessly popular Spaniard, who was ahead of his time not least in churning out so many works to satisfy what has become the cultural industrial complex of the early 21st century.

Next door, a fine show of Emil Nolde hardly attracts a soul, sadly. FIAC, the art fair that shared quarters in the Grand Palais these last several days, was populated by shell-shocked dealers murmuring worriedly amongst themselves about the bygone customers whom not so long ago they had blithely turned away or gave five minutes to decide whether to buy a picture.

Picasso, in such straitened times, remains at least a reliable brand for exhibition organizers, who especially seem to love these compare-and-contrast affairs because they guarantee boffo box office. Just a couple of years ago, Madrid had a pair of such shows, the Guggenheim in New York yet another.

The Grand Palais, never mind the accompanying displays at Orsay (Picasso and Manet) and the Louvre (Picasso and Delacroix), trumps those events, gathering together hundreds of Picassos along with far-flung trophies that inspired or ostensibly inspired him: pictures by Cranach and Titian, Poussin and Ribera, Chardin and Zurbaran, El Greco and Courbet, Degas and Le Douanier Rousseau. The list goes on.

I lingered in the last room, watching visitors stumble a bit bleary-eyed from the earlier galleries to find Manet’s Olympia, Rembrandt’s painting of Hendrickje Stoffels bathing in a brook, Ingres’s grisaille Odalisque and Goya’s Naked Maja vying with a slew of late, mostly slapdash nudes by the great matador of Modernism. The whole ensemble of pictures was dazzling and fatuous. Overkill doesn’t adequately describe the effect.

Let it first be said that Picasso, having taken on history as if fated to do so from childhood, embraced such extravagant comparisons — which isn’t to say he survives the competition altogether intact. Art is not the application of a canon of beauty, he once said, but what instinct and the brain imagine quite apart from the canon.

The canon, in other words, remained his starting point but increasingly became his crutch. His achievements were Promethean and unparalleled in the last century, but having said that, as the show proves almost despite itself, Picasso ended up often mired in vain, backward-looking riffs on grander achievements.

Perhaps it’s as the photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson once put it, talking about Picasso’s failure to appreciate Bonnard. Picasso had no heart, he said. That’s pretty harsh.

On the other hand, there are his copies of Velazquez’s Méninas. From the 1950s, they tinker with variations on his familiar devices — the fractured, faux-childish faces; the swift, sketchy brushwork; the primary colors set often against black; the clattery scaffolding of faceted planes and accordion space — to produce what looks clever but finally cartoonish when considered against the grave dignity and humanity of the original. Granted, comparing anything with Las Méninas is unfair, but then, Picasso invited the comparison, and from it one gets Cartier-Bresson’s point.

Even that remark about the canon, as it happens, recalls what a century before one of Picasso’s canonical heroes, Delacroix, wrote: That great art derives both from humility before the past and a conviction that what has already been said is not enough.

Picasso’s later career, you might say, was a one-man wrestling match with the limits of his own enormous genius in relation to history, and his failures were, humanly speaking, as compelling as his accomplishments, but that interpretation requires from an exhibition not blind hero worship but, as Delacroix had it, a little humility. The show here lacks this altogether, substituting swagger for judgment, bluster for nuance, and in art, as in politics and finance, we’ve had enough of that approach already.

It is as if the traveling of priceless art from far-flung places and the clout that made it happen were enough — that we are supposed to feel grateful for what’s over-the-top about Picasso and the Masters — whereas the show’s excess is exactly what gets in the way of our standing peaceably and intimately before a picture.

The best blockbusters make you forget their blockbuster-ness. The Louvre happens to have an Andrea Mantegna show that’s big and marvelous and includes other artists on whom Mantegna depended or whom he influenced, some of them mediocre, some great. Crowds look closely and slowly. The show promotes that. The art rewards it.

At one point at the Grand Palais, I braved the throng and plunged as if into a strong headwind, anchoring myself before a late Picasso portrait. Against a bright orange and red backdrop, a bearded figure with large, hooded, almond eyes and what looks like a long blond wig, returned my gaze. He’s the picture of a proud, weary man with a slight identity crisis. The work appears to have been done in a flash. The date was July 31, 1974. It’s catchy, electric.

But something was missing. It will become clear, I thought, with a little more time, before a tsunami of fellow visitors swept clean the gallery.

We tend to judge exhibitions as we do one another, according to their regard for individuals. We’re awed by flash and fame. But we’re really looking to make some deeper connection, even just one, beyond the bluster and hype, that feels lasting and true.

It was those almond eyes, I realized later on the street outside, thinking back on that portrait. They were hollow.

(Avangarda 20)


Monday, October 27, 2008

American Avant Garde

Stuart Davis, Memo, 1956
oil on linen

American Avant Garde of the Twenties and Thirties, on view at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in DC.

(Avangarda 20)

(American Art and Portraiture)

Paul Cadmus, Night in Bologna

Paul Cadmus - Night in Bologna, 1958
egg tempera on fiberboard
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington

Paul Cadmus said once that he preferred to paint novels rather than short stories. Maybe Night in Bologna is not a novel; it is not a short story either.

It is a black comedy depicting an impossible lust triangle: a young soldier is looking with desire at a worldly woman; unaware of his attentions, she is targeting a presumably rich gentleman; unaware of her attentions, he is looking with visible lust at the soldier.

The setting is an old palazzio with huge arcades; the outcome is out of question; it remains the analysis of the triangle.

long shot

close up

(American Art and Portraiture)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Two Paintings by Reginald Marsh

Locomotives, Jersey City, 1934
oil on canvas

Reginald Marsh was an American artist born in Paris, in an apartment above Café du Dome. He is most notable for his depictions of New York City of the Twenties (Wikipedia).

There are two paintings of him at the American Art Museum (or maybe more: I saw only these two). I noticed firstly the Locomotives from Jersey City and I liked it for its energy, for its quiet strength. It communicates something very solid to you.

Then I noticed the other one, George Tilyou's Steeplechase: a painting filled with erotic tension. The article devoted to Reginald Marsh in Wikipedia says a lot about his artistic interest in women.

I found on the web am article about George Tilyou and his steeplechase on Coney Island.

George Tilyou's Steeplechase, 1932
oil and egg tempera on linen

(American Art and Portraiture)

Tom Friedman: Some things are true even if George Bush believes them

Thomas L. FriedmanWhat would have happened if Larry and Sergey needed today a loan for a new product named just like that: Google?

Tom Friedman in today's NY Times:

The hardest thing about analyzing the Bush administration is this: Some things are true even if George Bush believes them.

Therefore, sifting through all his steps and missteps, at home and abroad, and trying to sort out what is crazy and what might actually be true — even though George Bush believes it — presents an enormous challenge, particularly amid this economic crisis.

I felt that very strongly when listening to President Bush and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson announce that the government was going to become a significant shareholder in the country’s major banks. Both Bush and Paulson were visibly reluctant to be taking this step. It would be easy to scoff at them and say: What do you expect from a couple of capitalists who hate any kind of government intervention in the market?

But we should reflect on their reluctance. There may be an important message in their grimaces. The government had to step in and shore up the balance sheets of our major banks. But the question I am asking myself, and I think Paulson and Bush were asking themselves, is this: What will this government intervention do to the risk-taking that is at the heart of capitalism?

There is a fine line between risk-taking and recklessness. Risk-taking drives innovation; recklessness drives over a cliff. In recent years, we had way too much of the latter. We are paying a huge price for that, and we need a correction. But how do we do that without becoming so risk-averse that start-ups and emerging economies can’t get capital because banks with the government as a shareholder become exceedingly cautious.

Let’s imagine this scene: You are the president of one of these banks in which the government has taken a position. One day two young Stanford grads walk in your door. One is named Larry, and the other is named Sergey. They each are wearing jeans and a T-shirt. They tell you that they have this thing called a search engine, and they are naming it — get this — Google. They tell you to type in any word in this box on a computer screen and — get this — hit a button labeled I’m Feeling Lucky. Up comes a bunch of Web sites related to that word. Their start-up, which they are operating out of their dorm room, has exhausted its venture capital. They need a loan.

What are you going to say to Larry and Sergey as the president of the bank? Boys, this is very interesting. But I have the U.S. Treasury as my biggest shareholder today, and if you think I’m going to put money into something called ‘Google,’ with a key called ‘I’m Feeling Lucky,’ you’re fresh outta luck. Can you imagine me explaining that to a Congressional committee if you guys go bust?

And then what happens if the next day the congressman from Palo Alto, who happens to be on the House banking committee, calls you, the bank president, and says: I understand you turned down my boys, Larry and Sergey. Maybe you haven’t been told, but I am one of your shareholders — and right now, I’m not feeling very lucky. You get my drift?

Maybe nothing like this will ever happen. Maybe it’s just my imagination. But maybe not ...

Government bailouts and guarantees, while at times needed, always come with unintended consequences, notes the financial strategist David Smick. The winners: the strong, the big, the established, the domestic and the safe — the folks who, relatively speaking, don’t need the money. The losers: the new, the small, the foreign and the risky — emerging markets, entrepreneurs and small businesses not politically connected. After all, what banker in a Capitol Hill hearing now would want to defend a loan to an emerging market? Yet emerging economies are the big markets for American exports.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not criticizing the decision to shore up the banks. And we must prevent a repeat of the reckless bundling and securitizing of mortgages, and excessive leveraging, that started this mess. We need better regulation. But most of all, we need better management.

The banks that are surviving the best today, the ones that are buying others and not being bought — like JPMorgan Chase or Banco Santander, based in Spain — are not surviving because they were better regulated than the banks across the street but because they were better run. Their leaders were more vigilant about their risk exposure than any regulator required them to be.

Bottom line: We must not overshoot in regulating the markets just because they overshot in their risk-taking. That’s what markets do. We need to fix capitalism, not install socialism. Because, ultimately, we can’t bail our way out of this crisis. We can only grow our way out — with more innovation and entrepreneurship, which create new businesses and better jobs.

So let’s keep our eyes on the prize. Save the system, install smart regulations and get the government out of the banking business as soon as possible so that the surviving banks can freely and unabashedly get back into their business: risk-taking without recklessness.

Zoon Politikon)


Friday, October 24, 2008

Shuesik and His Private Tarkovsky

This video is authored by Shuesik.


Labels: ,

Michael Genovese: Language as Icon

Michael Genovese is a visual artist concerned with the iconic dimension of language: what is beyond the mere meaning of a group of words.

His projects (installation art, painting, engraving) are created having in mind not only the consecrated space of an art gallery - sometimes it is the open space of a street (or the closed space of a subway car). It makes sense: if you are interested in language as a sign, then you have to think at the universe where these signs live.

What makes language iconic? Here are some ideas:
  • it addresses some specific categories of people (social or ethnic groups) and restricts the access for some other specific categories (Llamada Ahora! Ingles por favor! No hablo espanol);
  • it communicates something out of the blue (Just because it's legal doesn't make it right);
  • it is attached to a specific object and intends to transform that object in a symbol (especially when it's done with the ellegance that characterizes the art of Michael Genovese);
  • and there are some other reasons, surely :)

(Contemporary Art)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Forough Farrokhzād - The Cold Season

I respect poetry in the very same way that religious people respect religion
(Forough Farrokhzād)

Traduttore, Traditore. Sa incerci sa traduci versuri este o cutezanta vecina cu neobrazarea. O fac pentru mine: incerc sa inteleg un pic universul spiritual al acestei poete despre care stiu atat de putine lucruri. Am la indemana cateva poeme de-ale ei in traducere engleza. Incercarea mea este o dubla tradare.

Cred ca versurile inseamna altceva decat cuvinte si propozitii. Sunt imagini poetice inlantuite intr-o anume logica. Si imaginile poetice, si logica lor de inlatuire se rostuiesc frumos in limba autorului.

Forough Farrokhzād si-a compus versurile in limba persana. Universul ei de imagini si de structuri in care imaginile sa curga dela sine este universul culturii iraniene de astazi.

Cred ca o traducere directa in romaneste ar pastra mult mai mult bogatia originalului. Si romanii, si iranienii, sunt rasariteni.

Stiu ca exista o traducere directa in romana, din 1988: Intalnirea in noapte, rodul colaborarii unui filolog cunoscator al limbii si culturii persane (Vasile Sofineti) si al unui poet (Dan Verona). Nu am la indemana cartea; o voi cauta cand voi veni la Bucuresti.

Asadar, incerc sa traduc pentru mine, ca sa inteleg un pic universul poetei, si mai apoi universul culturii iraniene de astazi. Un film extraordinar facut de Abbas Kiarostami are acelasi titlu cu unul din poemele ei (Bad ma ra khahad bord - The Wind Will Carry Us).

E insa aproape imposibil sa reusesc o traducere decenta. Imi pare o poeta cu un limbaj foarte direct, de o mare sinceritate, vorbind firesc despre dragoste si despre viata si moarte. Imaginile ei poetice si logica dupa care ele se justifica si se inlantuie imi par derutante: pentru ca sunt simple si in acelasi timp subtile.

Versurile ei par a vorbi despre doua universuri care curg in paralel si isi trimit din cand in cand semnale unul celuilalt. Un univers intim, in care eroticul este natural si este reflectat cu candoare; nu este un erotic cautat cu orice pret, nu este un erotic on purpose, iar imaginile lui sunt derutante pentru ca vin dintr-o lume foarte diferita de cea in care traim; miscarea unei perdele si jocurile de lumina, lumanarile care raspandesc miresme grele, dormitoare incarcate de flori. Apoi universul din afara, in care soarele, intunericul, curgerea apei, suvoiul navalnic al ierbii, stolurile de pasari, toate acestea vorbesc despre lucruri grave, despre viata si despre moarte, dar vorbesc iarasi in imagini care ne deruteaza: ciorile apar deodata ca sa coboare spre balta plictisului, intunericul este bine venit pentru ca preschimba ochii lupilor desertului in lacrimi de credinta, pasarile s-au nascut din iluzia zborului, viata oamenilor este o iluzie.

Intim si cosmic, iar trecerile neintreupte dintr-un univers intr-altul sunt mereu derutante.

Sau poate este de fapt acelasi univers, perceput cand intim, cand cosmic.

Dar cum zic, e greu: privesc la universul ei prin pacla, iar din ceea ce vad in versiunea engleza incerc sa imi inchipui bogatia originalului.

Sa vin insa la poemul The Cold Season. Nu a apucat sa il publice. Il terminase in ianuarie 1967. In februarie avea sa moara intr-un accident de masina. Avea numai 32 de ani.

Poemul a socat: parea premonitoriu, viata privita din perspectiva mortii, incercarea de a intelege moartea ca o fagaduinta spre regenerare. In timp ce ma luptam din greu cu imaginile poemului, gandul ma ducea cateodata spre paradigma christica. E si aceasta o cutezanta, poemul este foarte direct in sensurile erotice. Ma gandeam atunci la ambiguitatea sublima a atator mari poeti persani, amestecand dinadins l'amore sacro e l'amor profano. Si atunci ma gandeam la Cantarea Cantarilor.

Poemul vorbea despre venirea anotimpului rece care te ingroapa sub un strat enorm de zapada, ca intr-un mormant; iar poeta era de acum ingropata intr-un cimitir din Teheran; piatra de mormant era sub un strat enorm de zapada. Astepta acolo primavara, care va sa vie si sa faca dragoste cu reflectarea albastra a cerului.

Sunt doar eu,
Nimeni langa mine,
Doar eu,
La portile iernii,
Descoperind sufletul manjit al pamantului,
Disperarea trista a cerului
Si neputinta mainilor mele inghetate.

Vremea a trecut,
Iar ceasul a batut de patru ori.
Este 21 decembrie azi.
Cunosc tainele anotimpurilor
Si inteleg vorbele clipelor.
Rascumparatorul este ingropat,
Iar pamantul, acest pamant primitor,
Isi tinteste degetul catre izbavire.

Vremea a trecut,
Iar ceasul a batut de patru ori.

Vantul suiera afara,
Vantul suiera afara,
Ma gandesc la imperecherea florilor;
La imbobocirea lor din tulpine plapande,
Si la clipa aceasta suferinda, supta de vlaga.

Un trecator pe langa pomii inmuiati de ger,
Si strunele vinelor lui albastrui
Crescute peste gatlej
Ca serpi lipsiti de viata.
Si cuvintele lui injunghiate
Circuland prin mintea-i ravasita:
Salaam Aleikum!
Iar eu ma gandesc la flori aflate in imperechere...

La portile iernii,
In lintoliul oglinzilor,
Cu toate amintirile mele care se sting,
In amurgul incarcat de constiinta tacerii,
Cum as putea oare sa-l rog sa se opreasca?
Trecatorul acesta,
Atat de linistit
De ingandurat,
Cu capul aplecat,
Cum as putea oare sa-i spun ca nu e viu,
Ca viu nu a fost niciodata?

Vantul suiera afara,
Si toate ciorile singuratece ale izolarii
Zboara in vechea gradina a plictisului.

Au furat nevinovatia inimii, intreaga,
Au inchis-o in castelul sirenei captive.
Cum sa mai poata dantui cineva acum?
Sa-si lase pletele copilariei sa picure aur
In apele fermecate?

Nimeni nu mai poate calca
Pe fructul oprit!

Dragostea mea,
Singura mea dragoste,
Toti acesti nori intunecati
Pazesc marea adunare a scanteierilor luminii.

Se pare ca din viziunea zborului
S-a ivit pasarea odata si odata.
Se pare ca frunzele,
Care nu respira, dar doresc briza,
Au fost faurite din dare verzi de visare.
Se pare ca toate aceste flacari purpurii,
Stralucind in inchipuirea casta a sticlei,
Erau doar o iluzie a luminii.

Vantul suiera afara,
Este inceputul ruinei.
Iti amintesti?
Ziua aceea,
Vantul suiera si atunci.

Voi stelelor,
Stelelor goale,
Cum puteti,
Atunci cand minciuna pluteste in aer,
Cum puteti sa va incredeti
In vorbele stolurilor de profeti?
Vom invia, vom fi milenare mumii,
Iar soarele ne va fi judecator
Asupra decaderii trupurilor noastre!

Imi este frig,
Ma simt ca si cand
Nu ma voi mai incalzi niciodata.
Dragostea mea,
Singura mea dragoste,
Cat de vechi era vinul acela?
Mai stii?

Suntem pe taramul in care timpul se scufunda,
Iar rechinii ma musca de brate.
Pentru ce ma tii inca
Dedesubt, sub valurile marii?

Imi este frig,
Si stiu ca din toate iluziile unei flori
Doar cateva picaturi de sange vor dura.

Voi lasa de-o parte liniile,
Si hartile,
Si dintre toate formele geometrice,
Ma voi adaposti in spatiul in expansiune al sensului.
M-am dezbracat,
Sunt ca o pauza tacuta intre vorbe mangaietoare,
Iar toate ranile sunt din dragoste,
Dragoste, din dragoste.

Am salvat ostrovul acesta parasit,
Din revolutia oceanelor,
Din explozia muntilor.

Explozia aceea a fost talismanul acelui trup mort
Explozia l-a rupt nascand scanteieri nenumarate.

Fii binevenit, intuneric nevinovat,

Fii binevenita, noapte.
Tu, noapte, ai schimbat ochii lupilor desertului
In lacrimi, de credinta si de incredere.
Iar langa apele lacurilor tale,
Spiritele batranilor arbori
Fac dragoste cu sufletele topoarelor.

Vin de pe taramul mintilor, vorbelor, sunetelor inghetate,
Taram care este ca o groapa plina de serpi,
Plin de prieteni care
Iti tin mainile captive
Si te agata de capetele lor.

Fii binevenita, noapte inocenta,
Stii? Intre geam si vedere
Exista intotdeauna un spatiu liber.

Cum de nu mi-am dat seama?
Ca atunci cand am vazut trecatorul
De pe langa pomii inmuiati de ger?
Cum de nu mi-am dat seama?

Se pare ca mama a plans
In noaptea aceea cand am venit in durere
Si in adancul clisos al rasaritului.

In noaptea aceea am devenit jumatatea lui Acacias
Iar orasul era burdusit
De ecoul ferestrelor pline de culoare
Iar jumatatea mea venise de acum, simteam.

O vedeam in oglinda
Pura ca reflectia luminii.
Deodata m-a strigat pe nume
Si am devenit jumatatea lui Acacias.
Se pare ca mama a plans
In noaptea aceea.

O lumina inutila a explodat acum in groapa.
Cum de nu mi-am dat seama?
Toate clipele mele de fericire stiau de fapt
Ca mainile vor imbatrani si decade,
Doar ca nu mi-am dat seama,
Pana ce ceasul a batut de patru ori.

Apoi am intalnit persoana aceea micuta
Cu ochii deserte cuiburi de oua de bufnita,
Dusa in tremuratul picioarelor
Carand nevinovatia visurilor mele
Departe, in inima noptii.

Imi voi scutura oare din nou pletele
In bataia vanturilor?
Voi mai creste oare
Tufe de trandafiri in gradina?
Le voi mai aseza in spatele perdelelor?
Voi mai dansa din nou in betie, nebuneste?
Ma va indruma oare din nou vreun sunet
Spre locul de unde il astept?

Trecatorul acela,
Atat de plin de incredere in el.
Dintii lui recita lacom mestecatul mancarii,
Iar ochii ii devoreaza privelistile,
Iata-l cum trece pe langa pomii inmuiati de ger:

Este ora patru,
Serpii morti ai venelor sale umflate
Ii cresc deasupra gatlejului,
Si fraza asta repetata la infinit
Ii stapaneste mintea:
Salaam Aleikum!
Salaam Aleikum!

Hei, trecatorule,
Ai mirosit vreodata astea patru lalele marine?

Vremea s-a scurs,
Iar noaptea s-a lasat peste ramurile goale ale pomilor,
A alunecat peste ferestre,
In timp ce limba ei rece lingea ce mai ramasese din zi.

De unde am venit oare,
Cu trupul jilav,
Cu miros de umbra?
Iar mormantul e inca proaspat,
Mormantul mainilor astea tinere...

Ce bine era, dragostea mea,
Singura mea dragoste,
Ce bine era cand minteai
Si iti mascai oglinzile ochilor
Cu atat de multa tandrete!
Cu cata grija
Aprindeai luminile,
Cu festile inalte, subtiri, negre!

Si noptile pacatoase
In care intram in abatorul iubirii,
Sa stingem aburul confuz al flacarii insetate.

Si stelele goale
Rotindu-se in jurul acelui obscur infinit!
Si ele chemau zgomote, glasuri,
Staruind sa priveasca lumina aceea oribitoare!

Dar iata!
Persoana care vorbea cu vorbe din suflet,
Si strapungea cu ochii,
Si lovea cu maini tandre,
Au rastignit-o, pe crucea suspiciunii si indoielii,
Iar cele cinci degete ale tale
I-au scrijelit pe fata cinci litere: cinci adevaruri.

Ce este tacerea?
Oare nu cantecul vorbelor ingropate?
Da, am amutit, dar vorbele vrabiilor
Spun despre simpla sarbatoare a lumii.
Cantecul lor este despre frunza, floare si curgerea apei,
Despre adiere, parfum, nastere,
Dar si vorbele lor mor.

Cine este acela,
Care paseste peste aceste drumuri sacre,
Care nu duc nicaieri?
Inima lui nu a auzit niciodata
Chemarile timpurii ale vulturilor cei tineri.
Cine este aceea.
Purtand lungul voal superb al iubirii,
Imbatranita in rochia ei de mireasa?

Soarele, vai, nu a reusit sa patrunda
Amandoua sufletele noastre, ramase in singuratate fiecare,
Iar aerul acela pur, albastru precum cerul, a fost stors din tine.
In schimb in mine exista o densitate,
Glasul meu este dens ca o rugaciune.

Ramane fericitul,
Cel egal cu el insusi,
Intelept, tacut,
Strigoi chipes,
Aparand mereu in aceleasi momente,
In lumina neincrezatoare a stelelor calatoare.

Fii binevenita, dulce izolare a singuratatii!
Ti-am daruit intregul meu spatiu,
Si stiu, acesti nori intunecosi,
Imi vobesc despre apropierea cerului liber.

Numai ultima palpaire a flacarii stie
Taina luminii din viata lumanarii.

Hai sa credem,
Hai sa credem in inceputul iernii,
Hai sa credem in ruina gradinii viselor,
In lopeti ramase neincarcate, abandonate,
In seminte lasate in saci sa doarma,
Afara ninge, se asterne strat de zapada...

Poate ca adevarul statea in mainile astea tinere,
Ingropate acum, sub un strat nesfarsit de zapada.
Dar cand primavara va veni
Si va face dragoste
Cu reflectarea albastra a cerului,
Iar suvoiul verde de iarba proaspata,
Va curge navalnic,
Atunci mainile tale vor inflori, dragostea mea,
Singura mea dragoste.
Sa credem in inceputul iernii!

(Forough Farrokhzād)

Labels: ,

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Forough Farrokhzād - The Gift / Frontier Walls

Ii vorbesc acum sfarsitului noptii,
Sfarsitului intunericului!

Tu, care mi-esti atat de drag,
Daca vii,
Adu-mi o lumina
Si un cotlon,
Din care sa privesc
De pe poteca aceea plina de viata.

Intoarce-te cu mine
La steaua aceea de departe,
Departe de anotimpurile inghetate ale Pamantului
De felul lui de a intelege si masura
Acolo unde nimeni nu se teme de lumina.

Intoarce-te cu mine
La inceputul Creatiei,
In inima oului fecundat,
La momentul acela in care m-am nascut.

(din blogul lui Cizdabedar)

(Forough Farrokhzād)

Labels: ,

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Zaha Hadid: the Chanel Pavilion in Central Park

The pavilion was on view in Hong Kong and Tokyo. It is now in New York.

Its mysterious Nautilus-like form, which can be easily dismantled and shipped to the next city on its global tour, reflects the keen architectural intelligence of its creator, the Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid.

One of architecture’s most magical aspects is the range of subjects it allows you to engage, from the complex social relationships embodied in a single-family house to the intense communal focus of a concert hall. Great talents want to explore them all (Nicolai Ouroussoff in NY Times).

(New York, New York)

(Contemporary Art)


Monday, October 20, 2008

Forough Farrokhzād - Another Birth

Sufletul meu este un vers in clar-obscur
Care te reia mereu
Si te duce catre tinutul
Inmuguririlor eterne,
Al florilor imbobocite,
Versul acesta este un oftat greu,
Iar cu oftatul meu te-am altoit de pomi,
De apa si de foc.

Poate ca viata este
Un drum lung pe care o femeie
Trece in fiecare zi, cu un cos.
Poate ca viata este
O franghie, de care atarna un barbat
spanzurat de un ram,
Poate ca viata este
Intorsul acasa al unui copil de la scoala.
Poate ca viata este
Scanteia aprinzand o tigara
Cu care petreci timpul letargic
Dintre doua imbratisari in dragoste.
Sau poate pasul derutat al unui trecator
Ce-si ridica palaria,
Dandu-i binete, Salaam Aleikum! altuia,
Cu un zambet gol.

Poate ca viata este
Clipa aceea de nemiscare
In care privirea mea se stinge
In pupilele ochilor tai
Este un sens aici
Amestecat cu ceea ce simti
Atunci cand luna se lasa privita
Sau cand intunericul acopera toate.

Intr-o odaie care are marimea unei singuratati doar,
De marimea unei singure iubiri,
Contempla pretextele simple ale fericirii proprii,

Contempla ofilirea gingasa a florilor in ghivece,
Contempla rasadul pus de tine,
Cantecele canarilor,
Mari doar cat sa umple fereastra.

Asta este soarta mea,
Este bolta cereasca acoperita de caderea perdelei,
Este coborarea unor trepte uitate de vreme
Inspre decadere si nostalgie.
Este o plimbare fara voiosie prin gradina amintirii,
Stingandu-se in durerea unui glas care-mi spune,
Sunt indragostit de mainile tale!

Imi voi sadi mainile in rasad,
Si vor inmuguri,
Iar vrabiile isi vor lasa ouale
Intre mugurii degetelor mele
Inegrite de cerneala,
Exista o alee de demult,
Pe care inima a furat-o din amintirile copilariei
Si si-a facut din ea linie a vietii.

Calatoria unui volum pe linia ingusta derulata de trecerea vremii,
Si sadirea unui volum pe linia asta goala,
Un volum care isi stie imaginea,
Asa cum apare in ospatul oglinzii.

Acesta este drumul
Pe care cineva moare
Si ramane pururi,
Caci perlele nu pot fi pescuite
Pe orice firicel de apa
Varsandu-se intr-un sant oarecare.

Cunosc o mica sirena,
Care locuieste in ocean,
Isi sufla gingas inima ei
Intr-un mic nai din trestie.
Este o sirena mica si trista,
Care moare cu un sarut in fiecare noapte
Pentru a se naste din nou cu un alt sarut in fapt de zori.

(Forough Farrokhzād)

Labels: ,

Picasso: La Nana

(Galerie Lareuse)


Sunday's Game

Sunday's Game, a small gem of black humor: five elderly women spending their Sunday afternoon in kind of a peculiar way. The director is Gene Laufenberg. I've found it on SPIKE site.