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Aug. 30th, 2008

after-travel thoughts

One day since coming back. Jet lagged. Indescribable sensation of weirdness. Need to remember this sensation, happening every time I come back from a far away vacation. New sensation each time renewed, each time forgotten, each indescribable. Is it the jet lag, the travels, a combination of both, all the things seen, the movement of what was seen and thought? One day there might be ways to capture that moment/feeling. It must be somehow an opposite to a routine, but can it be part of one, one day?
I realize those vacations were mostly made of real times, no fiction : walking, seeing, talking, no reading, no movies, no tv. What does it have to do with my sensations? I guess it complements them, the need for fiction is just one of the main part of this weirdness, along with the remembrance of all the things we did and saw. There's definitely something personal in going to places that other tourists go to, doing a touristic trip in a personal way.
Cotton feeling, being on a cotton ball, with too many invisible bricks in the head. Bricks going away, but something from them must remain.

Aug. 14th, 2008

Heslinki 5

pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ldv/sets/72157606730117347/

Thursday 14th
Tramway - Photography Museum: photojournalism + theater museum (price of best museum)
Anna-Liisa (to google)
lack of traduction
Seitsem"an veijest"ar
"In 1751, there were 5 coffee houses in Finland" (hotel and restaurants museum): how easy it is now to live everywhere, to travel..
Cable Factory, Centre Culturel Francais, french professor here during 7 years, has same ideas as me on Finns. Galleries.
Tramways 3T, B, 1A, gardens, kids, rabbits (real and cute people)
"Play it again, Sam" (vintage clothes shop) - ministry of education, pizza.

Aug. 13th, 2008

Helsinki 4

pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ldv/sets/72157606711525027/

Tennis Palasi (Museum) - Ellen Thesleff
nice round frame (Mary) art nouveau
Anton Corbijn (celebrities photograph, like Richard Avedon, Annie Leibowitz, Lee Miller,...) : tall guy => sees things beautifully?
Chris Cunnigham, Ari Up, Joy Division
Blue photographs
Doing with whatever is at hands (ivory, bones,...)
city/society: absence of communitarian intelligence, society doesn't speak to us, no communication.
Loneliness of the Finns = close to their attitudes, close to asianism = as far. Small cultures keep a higher sense of protection (and celebration?)
another Museum: once again japanese obsession.
Chinese girl/woman shoe (torture): it doesn't fucking exist in Europe!! I hate China!!!!
Exhibition on Karelia (north-est of Finland, russian border), minorities! dialects!
Different old maps for different outlooks (attitudes) ! (russian border even if it's part of Russia, by contempt...etc)
people (and dialects): Olonet, Ludic, Livvi, Vepsian, Ingrian, Nenet, Skolt, Sami,...
Design district, Minna Parrika!, Tina V...
Sea Horse restaurant, best herring steack ever, with sauce blue cheese and red onions and wild mushrooms and mashed potatoes and beets. Walk back to Hotel Marski through park (cemetery?).

Aug. 12th, 2008

Helsinki 3

pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ldv/sets/72157606692680702/

Tuesday 12
Minna Parikka "did you myspace me?"
Suomenlinna island fortress
angel shoes
Toy Museum (on island): genius idea that old toys are more beautiful than modern ones (plastic, electric-onic), details and attention to details + fragility (importance of education of - )
old toys: not perfect! broken noses, difformities... => being used to this, modern issue, artificial perfection too easy. ~ old writing, calligraphy.
+ modern materials, artificial. Nowadays, Toys (dolls) are not repaired anymore.
+ end of transition fabric/clothes/toys, all is plastic.
other ideas: Finnish symbology:
red dot (red: what contrasts on snow)
military museum,
super cute houses. Open prison (=real prison?)
800 residents on the island, 350 permanent jobs.
Cafe Chapman. strange life of being always melted with tourists, curious and wandering!

Aug. 11th, 2008

Helsinki 2

pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ldv/sets/72157606677131863/

Monday 11 : Anderson Museum - exhibition "Splash": crap, dolls in the shop
Design district
Design museum: exhibition Fennofolk (finnish designers, most of them in Helsinki)
Robert Baines
doll and finnish icon: Moomintroll by Jove Jansson
the Kavela = epic of Finland (published in 1835 (50?))
Finnish was recognized only under the Russian empire. expensive diner.
Minimalistic white Cathedral (empty frame, no murals!! 150 years old)
FINNS NEVER FINISH (what they started) !!
gigantic organ.
Went to Ice Bar (arctic bar): tiny!! vodka cocktail.

[en francais]

Lundi 11: Musée Anderson - exposition "Splash" - nul, poupées du magasin
Design Museum: exposition Fennofolk (designers finnois surtout d'Helsinki).
Robert Baines
poupee/icone Moomintroll par Jove Jansson
Kavela = épopée nationale de la Finlande (publiée en 1835 (1850?)): un des premiers textes publies en Finnois (avant seulement livres en Russe ou Suedois)
Langue Finlandaise reconnue a la meme epoque dans l'empire Russe => langue recente!
Helsinki: capitale recente aussi, depuis 200 ans a peu pres (decision russe).
dîner cher mais delicieux.
Cathédrale minimalistic blanche (exemple: un cadre vide, pas de peintures murales! pourtant vielle de 150 ans!!)
Les Finlandais ne finissent JAMAIS (ce qu'ils ont commencé)!
Orgue gigantesque dans la Cathedrale.
Ice Bar (bar arctique): tout petit! cocktail vodka orange.

Aug. 10th, 2008

Helsinki 1

pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ldv/sets/72157606653910056/

august 9
Assumption: Finns have a round face, big eyes (for women), small pointy nose, small to middle sized lips, and of course very fair skin. They all look serious and talk only when necessary. It can be a way to protect themselves, guard their identity, in which they are completely right about. Finns are what I call half-gods, i.e. people with sublime beauty, health, morals, political and social systems, along with Norway and Sweden (haven't checked the Baltic countries yet).

day of arrival (8/9): National History Museum of Finland. It looks like Finland lost their primary identities from the 5th/6th centuries, during the 'Great Invasions' (known in France as the 'barbaric invasions'). After that, Finland was a Sweden province for 600 years, from the 12th century to the 19th, then a Russian province for 100 years, 1812-1917, then finally Finnish. As such, it can be tough to find a 'pure' Finnish identity. One way is to go in the far past.
notes on the museum: statue of St George: on a horse, killing a dragon, a woman praying on her knees in front of him) - the original knight. clothes, 12th century, very original. Psalm book 1701, magnificent cover made of green velvet and decorated iron frame. The Renaissance arrives in Sweden in 1560, the king starts to remove religious estates. National postal service in 1638.
Beautiful cape of the Seraphim order. Bourgeois (Burghers) received official status in 1634 - high burghers: higher economically and politically than nobles at end of 18th c. => no need for a revolution!!
Importance of guilds (as in all medieval cities), 1576, abolition in 1860/70, liberalization of crafts and jobs.
Importance of nationalism, especially with small country.
Finland considered (before, still?) as only a bridge between Seweden and Russia. In France, nobody thinks about protecting our patrimony (legacy) as we believe we are irrevocable, permanent.
Amazing room for the kids!! with history and games.
Modern art museum.
Metallic art exhibition. video: Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzudilla
Street pointillism (clay)
Finns like round things
modern art: (one way to see it): to seek to do something that nobody has done before.
Interactive mirrors
Kari Yi-Annala Denise Siegler Pilvi Takala
Art that seems real but we don't know if it is: not important. this lack of importance is in itself not important.

[en francais]

9 août
Hypothèse: les Finlandais ont un visage rond, grands yeux (pour les femmes), petit nez pointu, petites et moyennes lèvres, et bien sûr très claire peau. Ils sont tous sérieux et ne parlent que lorsque cela est nécessaire. Il peut être un moyen de se protéger, protéger leur identité, et en cela ils ont complètement raison. Les Finlandais font partie des peuples demi-dieux, c'est-à-dire ayant une sublime beauté, santé, moralité, politiques et socialite, comme la Norvège et la Suède (apparemment pas les pays baltes).

arrivée (8 / 9): Musée National d'Histoire de la Finlande. La Finlande a perdue son identité primaire au 5/6eme siècles, au cours des «Grandes Invasions» («invasions barbares»). Après cela, la Finlande a été une province Suède pendant 600 ans, à partir du 12e siècle au 19e, puis une province russe pendant 100 ans, 1812-1917, puis finalement libre. Comme tel, il peut être difficile de trouver une "pure" identité finlandaise. Une façon est d'aller loin dans le passé.
notes sur le musée: la statue de Saint-Georges: sur un cheval, tuant un dragon, une femme en prière sur ses genoux en face de lui) - le chevalier originel. Vêtements du 12e siècle, tres original. Psaume livre 1701, magnifique couverture de velours vert et décorées de fer dentele.
La Renaissance arrive en Suède en 1560, le roi commence à éliminer les terres du clerge.
Service postal national en 1638.
Belle cape de l'ordre des Séraphins.
Bourgeois (burghers) ont reçu un statut officiel en 1634 - bourgeois plus élevé économiquement et politiquement que les nobles à la fin du 18è s. => pas besoin d'une révolution!
Importance des guildes (comme dans toutes les villes médiévales), 1576 -> abolition en 1860/70, libéralisation de l'artisanat et de l'emploi.
L'importance du nationalisme, en particulier avec les petits pays.
Finlande considérée (avant, encore aujourd'hui ?) comme seulement un pont entre le Suede et la Russie. En France, personne ne pense à proteger le patrimoine histoire, nous nous croyons irrévocable et permanent.
Fantastique salle pour les enfants! avec histoire et jeux.
Musée d'art moderne: Exposition d'art métallique. vidéo: Jennifer Allora et Guillermo Calzudilla.
pointillisme (argile)
Les Finlandais aiment ce qui est rond.
l'art moderne (façon de voir): chercher à faire quelque chose que personne n'a fait auparavant.
Miroirs interactifs.
Kari-yi Annala - Denise Siegler - Pilvi Takala
L'art qui semble réel mais nous ne savons pas si il l'est: pas d'importance. Ce manque d'importance est en soi pas important.

Aug. 9th, 2008


Spent 9 days in Ayguesvives, next to Toulouse, with my parents. Was nice. Best day was when we went south to see my uncles and aunts on my mother side to 'Ax-les-Thermes', not far from the Spanish border. Spent the day there in my uncle's remodeled old sheep house. Otherwise, spent time enjoying my dad's food, and just staying around the house and garden, enjoying the out of tune piano, going in the countryside.

[translation google à peine corrigée]
Passé 9 jours à Ayguesvives, près de Toulouse, avec mes parents. Meilleure journée: lorsque nous sommes allés au sud voir mes oncles et tantes de ma mère à côté d'»Ax-les-Thermes», non loin de la frontière espagnole. Passé la journée à l'ancienne bergerie de mon oncle, dans les montagnes. Sinon, apprécié la nourriture de mon père, la maison et le jardin, le piano un peu trop désaccordé, la campagne.

See http://www.flickr.com/photos/ldv/sets/72157606652292677/

Jul. 30th, 2008


Spent one afternoon in Paris before taking off to Toulouse. Thank you Air France for always a great flight! Saw a photography exhibition by Richard Avedon (every newspapers and magazines talked about this, probably because he photographied celebrities, just like Annie Leibowitz  (rule: when you do photography, don't take pics of rotten apples) and had dinner with my friend Séverine who was kind enough to let us sleep at her place right by the Champs Elysees!

[translation google à peine corrigée]
Passé un après-midi à Paris avant de décoller pour Toulouse. Merci Air France, décidément la meilleure compagnie! Vu une exposition de photographie de Richard Avedon (tous les journaux et magazines parlé à ce sujet, probablement parce qu'il a photographié des célébrités, tout comme Annie Leibowitz (règle: pour faire de la photo, ne pas prendre comme sujet des pommes pourries) et dîné avec mon ami Séverine qui a eu la  gentillesse de nous laisser dormir chez elle juste sur les Champs-Elysées!

See http://www.flickr.com/photos/ldv/sets/72157606651781749/

Jul. 28th, 2008

(no subject)

I joined a fun email game, in french. The rules are simple: each player plays a character and exchange emails between each other. The story progresses through those exchanges. One of the players is the 'game master' who tries and orchestrates the events. I'm not sure exactly how he does that yet since he can't be part of every communication, or maybe he is. Anyway, there are no systemic rules (no dice involved), only imagination. All happens in a french village called Rosville.
I decided to play a 52 year old fortune-teller and medium, her name is Ingerith Kof-Banzil, niece of a previous mayor of the village. The game website details that this mayor had been assassinated, the killer is unknown.
I think this character is perfect for social interaction and allows manifold story developments.
The website is at http://www.13-rue-echafaud.fr , all in french.

So I was accepted in the game, Ingerith is given an apartment in the village. My first assignment was to contact the building's concierge, Ms. Floch, to arrange an appointment to receive the keys.

Here is the email I sent (translated from the french):

On the top of a hill, near a long country road, early after dawn.
Greenery, and green trees, rising heat.
The sun infiltrates the small windows of Ingerith's truck.
Ingerith, in brown cotton robes, half-lying on her armchair, sips a naturally gazeified tea while reading the email from Pierre Lefranc [the game master, playing the real estate guy who rents me the appartment].
She lightly smiles.

Her eyes turn and stare at the right of the screen, in emptiness.

Outside of the truck, a baby bird pierces his egg shell.

A few minutes pass by, Ingerith's body suddently giggle and joyfully exclaims "ah! Floch!'"
She taps:
"Ms. Floch,
I'm the new tenant of #42. I will arrive to Rosville Wednesday at 1pm and expect to find you at the entrance of the building in order to get the apartment keys.
Do you have whitewash? If not, get some, and please sprinkle the apartment door with a few grams of powder. Just a few grams, not more. No need to ask me why. In exchange, I bring you some rare discs of the grand master harpist Franz Rachmassorski, I think you like music...

Ingerith Kof-Banzil"

She presses "Send", rubs her hand in her hair and whisper:
"Rosville, my Rosville,...".
Her smile falls down. Frowning, she brings the hot tea cup to her lips, slowly.
The steam covers her face.

Outside the truck, the baby bird has fallen from his nest.

En haut d'une colline, près d'une longue route de campagne, peu après l'aube -
Verdure, et arbre verts, chaleur montante.
Le soleil s'infiltre au travers des petits carreux de la camionette d'Ingerith.
Ingerith, en robes de cotton bruns, mi-allongée sur son fauteil, sirote une thé gazéifié au naturel tout en lisant l'email de Pierre Lefranc. Elle sourit légèrement.
Ces yeux tournent et se fixent à droite de l'écran, dans le vide.

Au dehors de la camionnette, un oisillon perce sa coquille d'oeuf.

minutes passent, le corps Ingerith tout d'un coup se remue et s'éxclame joyeusement " ah! Floch! "
Elle tapote:

Mlle Floch,

Je suis la nouvelle locataire du numéro 42. J'arriverai à Rosville Mercredi vers 13 heures et compte vous trouver présente à l'entrée de l'immeuble afin d'obtenir les clés de l'appartement.
Avez-vous de la chaux blanche? Si non procurez-vous en, et veuillez soupoudrer la porte de mon appartement avec quelques grammes de poudre. Juste quelques grammes, pas plus. Inutile de me demander pourquoi. En échange, je vous amène quelques disques rares du grand maître harpiste Franz Rachmassorski, je pense que vous aimez la musique...

Ingerith Kof-Banzil

Elle presse "Envoi", se passe la main dans les cheveux et murmure:
"Rosville, mon Rosville,... ".
Son sourire retombe. Fronçant les sourcils, elle porte la coupe de thé chaude à ses lèvres, lentement.
La vapeur recouvre son visage.

Au dehors de la camionnette, l'oisillon est tombé du nid.

Jul. 27th, 2008


July 2008. Nicole and I are preparing to leave on Monday for:
. San Francisco Airport SFO to Paris, Charles de Gaulle, spending a day in Paris, then
. flying to Toulouse to stay 10 days with my parents, then
. flying to Helsinki, Finland, 6 days (in a 4 stars hotel)
. ferry to Tallinn, Estonia, 3 days
. bus to Riga, Latvia (Lettonie in French), 3 days
. ferry to Stockholm, Sweden, 6 days in a crapy hotel but who cares
then flying back to SFO.
Of course we're excited.
I wonder: if we'll be able to discern: the real, unique, original, non-polluted, ancient elements of those countries versus the global, touristic, worldwide transformations that have occured pretty much everywhere, and discern sovietic or inter-cultural parts. For instance, there must be some clear remainings of the USSR domination in Riga and Tallinn, but I read there can be a large swedish influence in Finland. Will Stockholm feel more european than Riga or Tallinn? Will it feel like there's a cultural continuum from a place to another place, will I see the slight variations and dependencies in music, architecture, food,..? What do the words 'sovietic, baltic, nordic, scandinavian, slavic' (what else?) mean exactly, and when can they be mean the same thing?
By the way, a fantastic site to find out about any place in the world and prepare trips: http://wikitravel.org/en/Helsinki .

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