|Collage of the Author Created During the Heatwave of 2022.|
In this post, I take a walk to a hiking trail next to Willow Lake in Queens. It's a marshland in the middle of a metropolis.
|View of Willow Lake in Queens (Looking Northwest)|
Would you believe me if I told you I'm still in New York City but surrounded by marshland, wet bugs, bees, and butterflies born from under the weeds of the milkweed plant? I am.
|Pat Dolan Trail|
|Another view from Willow Lake|
In this post, I tussle with Martin Heidegger's concept of "everydayness," — all the while having fun in the town of Catskill, New York (Why, not?!).
Put your feet in the air!
Martin Heidegger has this idea he calls everydayness. It’s a complex idea to explain, but somehow it has been on my mind. Everydayness is a condition of being in the world — with its routines, habits, conventions, etc. Let’s call them societal norms. And let’s further say societal norms were constructed to form a modicum of order and stability in living with others. Please don’t take my fish sticks, or I’ll murder you and all your kin. No one has time for that foolishness. So everydayness has its merits. But, then, it’s a tricky business when those same societal norms constructed to protect and carve out stability can also have the light effect of destroying freedom of self. Everydayness is being in a world where one is so caught up in the mundane busyness of living that one forgets how to live. For me — I feel a break from everydayness when I travel. When I’m not plugged into the typical 9 to 5 life. But something is terrifying about breaking away from everydayness. Because to break away from everydayness is to be authentic. And authenticity is most terrifying for one when one doesn’t know how to live outside the habits and conventions laid out for one. To wake up with nothing on one’s schedule, no one calling, no emails to answer, nothing demanding conformity — what’s left is the empty well of the self where authenticity is carved out. So I stick out my tongue. Get caught in the rain. Sit by the river. And feel the ache. The terror of being alive. Because life is so damn limited. A quick breath of air. Poof. You’re gone. What am I to do? And no — the answer is not in any advice or life coach’s guidance. I don’t know the answer. But at least let’s try.
Wag your tongue.
|The Gloaming As Seen from 37th Avenue in Queens Looking Southwest|
Words to Describe the Period of Sunset
In the English language there are a few words that can be used to describe that moment between day and night. The most common word is dusk — which I feel like is a broad term to describe that temporal zone in which the sun has dipped below the horizon but a sliver of light remains.
It is part of the larger sunset process, that process seen from an observer on Earth as the day and night cycle. The sun seems to dip below the horizon line, never to be seen again. Our ancestors hoped for another new day — and especially in Wintertime, as the sunlight grows less during the day, we pine for more light — hence the origin of almost every Winter holiday celebration from Diwali, to Hannukah and Kwanzaa, and to Christmas. We look and pray for the restoration of light.
Twilight or Gloaming?
Twilight — which is closer to what the term gloaming means. It is that precious moment where the last dots of lights appear in a reddish, bronze haze of light — and then slowly descend into night.
I imagine gloaming is the more poetic term. Twilight is reserved the scientific view of the event. Read this nice article from the British newspaper The Guardian for a thorough review of the different terms.
I like this time of day — while it is just as likely to capture a similar picture in the morning, when in reverse, we see a similar process in the dawn.
When have you seen a gorgeous dusk? What do you call it?
Where setting sun meets lapping waves — John, a friend, and colleague who is an amateur weather guy, tells me that the cloud formation in the sky is from weather pushing inland, effects of hurricane formation in the Atlantic, and today’s low dew point (which makes for a gorgeous day to be outside). Jupiter and Saturn are visible in the sky, and the moon is a thin crescent. Waves crash on shore — moving in a sweeping longitudinal motion. I almost get wet, and I marvel at the enthusiasm of seagulls. Which picture do you like best?
I'm not pensive. Usually. Read what I write. Comment. Rant. Share. But, whatever you do, remember to support teachers, writers, and artists.
|Mom at the Anubis Ball in New Orleans, Louisiana (circa 1970s)|
A few Thursdays ago, I posted a Throwback photograph of my maternal great-grandmother at the Anubis Carnival Ball in New Orleans. As a successor to that post, here is a photograph of my beautiful mother Pamela Roselli. She was a maid escort in the ball. The photograph is circa the 1970s - I'd say. As far as I can tell from my research, the Krewe of Anubis was a non-parading krewe - which basically means they did not have a parade during the Mardi Gras season. The krewe was originally established by local businessmen in the pharmaceutical industry. I don't think Anubis is still functioning as a krewe today. Does anyone in my family have an exact date on this photograph? I'd love to add it to my family history files.
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|Upside-down Traffic Signal Near Chelsea Piers — Image Credit: Greig Roselli|
|There is foliage in the background.|
|Replica of a Viking Runestone, Brooklyn, New York — Photo Credit: Greig Roselli|
Setting: A Randall's island soccer field with the Hell Gate Bridge cutting through like a beeline. Where's that crack train from Albany? Walking underneath the trestle, the trains above me carry all Amtrak trains on their way to upstate New York, Boston, and all points north. I took these photographs with my friend @trolson14. And I sing "Under the Bridge" by @chilipeppers. P.S. We saw a Blue Winged wasp (with the scientific name #scoliadubia) and a wall covered with U.F.O. graffiti. I call it "Dripping Wet U.F.O". P.S.S. To get to the island, we walked across the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (a.k.a. The Triborough Bridge. Caveat: Walking this bridge is not for the faint of heart. @nyc_dot.
"Summer Evening Skies in Brooklyn" — I remember I was walking through Gowanus looking for the gloaming. According to the Merriam-Webster collegiate dictionary, the "gloaming" is a noun is synonymous with "twilight" or "dusk". However, I feel like the connotation of gloaming is that moment when the sky goes from evening to night time — it is a singular cosmological moment. I found it at the canal and I chanted to myself: "Thank you, for being special!". I am the gloaming. Here are my photographic results.
|"Summer Evening Sky" (Bedroom Window)|
|It is beautiful / I am the gloaming (Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn).|
|Sunset Park (pictured here) looks better in real life @nycparks.|
Brooklyn Heights Rocks - "Roadside Hazard"
|Bradley Rubenstein, Unititled (Girl with Puppy Dog Eyes), 1996|
At first I see this image as a brash conceit. All art is a conceit - right? - but this image forces me to see the conceit, to see that it's a mash-up. Maybe I am troubled because I have this ontological conviction that a photograph tells me something about reality. Maybe so. But maybe the reality that I am seeing is not so conceitful as I first think. What is going on here? Through the use of digital manipulation puppy dog eyes are inserted into a girl's eyes.
I Like Images That Make Me Re-Think What I am Seeing
I like images that ask me to question the image, to make me consider its mode of production. How did the artist do this? What was his method? I suppose this is Rubenstein's point. By making me aware of how this particular image was produced I am struck by another possibility - the genetic manipulation that would be required to produce a real girl born with puppy dog eyes. Rubenstein is playing with conceit to alert us to the biogenetic possibility that what we see as conceit could become a reality. What if someone decided that little girls and little puppies are a desirable combination? Is what we see in the art an image of a possible future?
Two Paragons of Cuteness: Kids and Puppies
On the placard, a museum curator has written this, "Merging two paragons of cuteness—kids and puppies—into unsettling hybrids, the artist offers an eerie forewarning of the transgressive potential of genetic manipulation." Where is the transgression? In imagining such mutations? Is the point that the degrees that separate the photoshop touch-up from the biogenetic not that far apart? Perhaps. Maybe the most unsettling aspect of Rubenstein's photographs is that he is telling us we have already arrived at this stage - we are just waiting for the biotechnology to catch up. I think I need to go watch Bladerunner and re-read Kazuo Ishiguro's When We Were Orphans.
|Matthew Jensen, The 49 States, 2008-9|
Google Streetview in Art
I am addicted to Google Street View. I am going to Philadelphia this weekend and I have already seen on Street View what the hotel will look like, what the front of a restaurant I want to have lunch at looks like — all as if I will have already "done" the trip before I even go. Someone else has already been there. Someone has already snapped a photograph. There is nothing new under the sun. But I like what Matthew Jensen has done in the Metropolitan Museum of Art display of his work — he has taken a collage of images from Google Street View and organized them alphabetically according to State (e.g., the fifty states of the United States).
Jensen's Work at the Met Reminds Me of the Iconic American Road Trip
Seeing Jensen's work at the Met, as part of an exhibit on contemporary photography, I think of travel, the association Americans have with the road trip and snapping pictures. What is a road trip without a camera? Now that we have Google to take our snapshots for us maybe the camera is dead on the road. *sad face*. The images Jensen has collected are absent individuals but it seems easy enough to insert a human being into each State's slot. Look, there is me in New York. There is me in Connecticut. I look at my home state of Louisiana and compare it to Wisconsin. They both seem the same — and taken as a whole the image captures a unity of sorts, the kind of unity I get when traveling on the interstate where every exit is the same as the ones that came before it and all the ones ahead will look the same and so on. Is this a new American flag? Maybe so.