Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Fiat Tagliero Building

This former gass station stands in Asmara, the capital of Eritrea. Designed by Italian architect Giuseppe Pettazzi, who was obliged by Italian law to put pillars under the 'wings' of his design (Eritrea was an Italian colony at the time -1938), it was constructed with wooden pillars under the concrete wings, but on the day of the unveiling, the architect made the reluctant main builder remove the pillars by bringing him onto one of the wings and putting a gun to his head -so interesting negotiator as well as architect.

(found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kemela/2319345992/sizes/o/in/set-72157604070386556/ )

Monday, March 30, 2009


Performed very shitty at a competition yesterday. One of the judges aptly qualified it thus:

"schijterd" literally means shitter, but freely translated would be 'Pussy', or 'Chicken'. In the judge's defense, it was written underneath the wonderful drawing at my request, along with the little steaming addition.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Bookwurm

This is the Bookwurm, by Carl Spitzweg. Saw a print of it in a picture a couple of weeks ago and it took me a while to find out what it was and by whom, so i'm glad to have scratched that particular itch. What struck me about the painting, besides that wonderful character and the great bookshelves, was the light. Now that i know more details, i like it even better. For example, he browsing through the metaphysics section.

I also really like the name of the town where Spitzweg was born. It's a place called Unterpfaffenhofen, which kinda sounds like sneaking a smoke underneath some giant lady's underwear. He studied to be a pharmicist there, so he could've been Unterpfaffenhofen's pharmacist, a word-combination that makes my nose produce strange involuntary noises.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Orca's contrasted

(found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ajisai8/3186961317/sizes/o/
and here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/minette_layne/407188393/sizes/l/ )

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Swift, for Martin

(found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/12457947@N07/2564919193/sizes/l/ )

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Desk

When my father bought his 19th century American roll top desk, i instantly fell in love with it. It was a thing of magic, with its endless amount of hidden drawers and slidey bits integrated into its structure. I think i spend hours playing underneath it, driving my toy cars over my father's toes as he attempted to work. I loved the shine of the wood, and the touch of it, and thought i could make it my home.

Now that i'm too big to live underneath it, i make sure it has a place of honor in the houses i live. It has moved with me 4 times now, and each time i'm about to move, i check the new house for a place to put my father's desk. The rest of the furniture will organize itself around it. It needs a place with good light, so the wood can shine. Yesterday, when i got home, it was glorious.

My father never had any of his published work on that desk, just 5 maps containing 200 as of yet unpublished essays in one of the drawers, but since the desk has come into my care, i've put his works in bookform on it. His collected works consists of more than 3750 titles, so i'd need a bigger desk to hold that, but the books just about fit, so far. They stretch from his thesis in 1956 on the right to the books published after his death, the most recent in 2004.

I don't really work at the desk, i keep it more as a shrine to family -and to put my mail on.

And it's a good place to put some of the things my father collected. We share a fondness for wood and old iron.

The desk, besides being a beautiful object, also is the most physical reminder i have of my father. More than the statue, more than his clothes and coat, the desks represents him in my life, his physical being. His voice and spirit are in his books, but the dominant image i have of my father is him working at that desk. Combining them is about as close as i can get to having him around.

"You won't find wisdom in books -I read somewhere."
~ Cornelis Verhoeven

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Rather cruel store

To call a store a 'dump' is already an odd decision -aren't the two contradicting each other?- but a baby dump, that's just mean.


Training in a pool is all very nice, but what i really want to do is go

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mondriaan's trees

Mondriaan's descend into abstraction as expressed through his trees:

Friday, March 13, 2009

Narcissus, by Cornelis Verhoeven

In the huge collected works of my father, i make a couple of appearances. Each time he mentions me my heart does a little dance. In the following essay, i feature as a variation on Narcissus, so me reading it, and translating it, gives the whole experience a layer of contemplating a contemplation on a contemplating younger version of me that makes my brain all mushy -if not by sentiment then by the metaphysical steps it has to take.


My son was kneeling in front of a tub filled with rainwater and was looking attentively at the little animals swimming in it. The sunlight, which had to make its way through erratically moving bushes, kept changing his view. I saw how he weighed his chances and tried to find the right balance between light and shadow. His hair was almost hanging in the water. Sometimes he would hold that curtain to the side to get more light on the water and the animals, but that seemed to hinder him more than it helped. He was endlessly fascinated by the display and I by his attention. For an outsider who would have witnessed this scene, it must have been a very complicated game of looking at something and looking at looking. And merely by looking they would have made the tableau even more complex.

I wanted to take a picture, from an overhead diagonal, to capture the reflection of his serious face amidst the little beasts. I didn’t, because in all likelihood it wouldn’t have become the masterpiece I momentarily had in mind, something like a painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, an impossible unity of refinement and innocence. And for sure my technical actions would have disturbed the scene which fascinated me so much even more drastically than the observing eye of a third party. Why don’t events pause themselves for a while when they reach their zenith?

It is always fascinating to watch children being busy and concentrated, especially when a maximum of activity is paired with a minimum of movement. The miracle seems to happen that they are completely outside of themselves, engrossed in something that is more interesting than their ego. But it does not happen completely, for they too get in the way of themselves, strain themselves trying to lift their own weight, and cannot suspend their presence for a while to become all eye and to see without making themselves visible.

I thought of the mythical hunter Narcissus, who for the first time in his life saw his own image reflected in water en became fascinated with it. With my own little Narcissus I had the idea I was watching the opposite, since he only had attention for what was moving in the water, and therefore his mirror image was an obstacle from which he cunningly tried to liberate himself. He kept bowing deeper to cover that reflection with the shadow of his hair, but the further he went, the darker it got, the less he could witness the captivating life in the water. The closer he came to it, the further his efforts removed him from it and the more his presence weighed in.

He didn’t seek his own image and neither did Narcissus, who discovered it by accident and only then started paying it attention; but he in effect wanted to turn off his reflection to fully concentrate on the things themselves that he was seeing. He didn’t succeed in making his own presence undone and still remain observer in front of the treacherous mirror that is water. I was surprised that he didn’t for a moment lose his patience and willingly disturbed the scene so he would no longer have to be a witness to his failure. He kept attempting the impossible.

His mythological predecessor did not smash the mirror –for it moved with him- but disappeared in it. This Narcissus, since long used his own image, tried to filter out the disturbance by half closing his eyes and gazing through his eye-lashes. It looked like he was leering at prey that would show up if he’d pretend not to pay attention. Is that too the big trick of sleepy carnivores? They can be at the same time lost in contemplation and preparing to pounce, a wondrous combination.

What I saw before me was the enigma of contemplation in the very concrete shape of an attentive child. He was completely with himself and completely lost in the things. At that moment he was to my eyes more of a child than ever, but at the same time I saw in him too the classic paradox of the philosopher as a weight that wants to weigh itself. I Understand less and less why psychologists have made this elemental given into a paradigm of a deviation. Do they even know the story of Narcissus?

The parents of narcissus, both born out of water, were promised that their son would reach old age, as long as he wouldn’t get to know himself. And he didn’t show any signs of being interested in himself. The hunter is completely geared towards the outside world. His eyes are focussed on everything but himself. So when Narcissus saw his own image reflected in the water, he did not know that he saw himself and not some prey. Narcissus’ error was not that he mistook an image for a reality or himself for another, but that he approached the subject of his perception as a hunter and tried to grab it instead of seeing it.

Narcissus is the one who flees into action the moment contemplation is needed. In his attempt to identify with his own actions he dissolves in the shapeless water, his origins. Contemplation discards ownership. It only wants to be an eye and only wants to see. But sometimes the eye sees itself and then it sees too little.

~ Cornelis Verhoeven

Picture by Gabriel Dante Rossetti, 'A parable of Love (or Love's Mirror)'

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Goya own way

With the hundreds of pictures i see on a daily basis, sometimes one encaptulates how i feel at that moment. Though i couldn't describe my mood today, it turned out it was thus

Francisco de Goya, The Dog. 1820-1823 Oil on canvas, 134 x 80 cm Museo del Prado, Madrid

(found here: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Goya_Dog.jpg )

Hypnotic dive footage

Been staring at this film on youtube. It's footage of Mandy Rae Krack diving down to 70 meters, but as seen from the bottom-plate camera, which gets released about 15 seconds before she starts the dive. So You see the surroundings getting deeper and deeper blue, the figures in the background slowly dissappear, and then it becomes more and more abstract.

Monday, March 9, 2009

underwater abstract

Waves van be quite artistic. Perhaps they don't mean to, though -does it being an accident make it less arty?

(found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/35656034@N08/3339417987/sizes/l/ )


Ten years ago today Stanley Kubrick died. His movie 'The Shining' made a huge impact on me, scarring the crap out of me when i was about 12. The twins and the lady in the bathtub haunted me for weeks, but when i saw it again years later, one of the sickest things i thought was how he'd endlessly written down that line "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy", in various patterns. The film is full of iconic images; the one below is a combination of two

(found here: http://media.filmschoolrejects.com/images/oc-heresjohnny.jpg )

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Memory lane

This is the lane where i learned how to ride a bike. I was 4 or 5 years old and it seemed miles long.

the room is a view

A friend of mine has a wonderful apartment, and when the light hits it like this, it's all Vermeer -so i tried to give the picture a more painting like quality

Screw March 21st

this flower says it's Springtime already

and so do its friends -who seem about to invade my house. They're welcome any time but i'll probably forget to water them. March won't.

Monday, March 2, 2009


While looking up Vermeer for an idea, stumbled upon this one

(found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shaun_the_sheep/2700825905/sizes/l/ )