Friday, 5 September 2008

day 160

louisiana street
reflecting in the reflections of downtown houston...

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Saturday, 30 August 2008

day 154

Musée du Louvre at night
I was walking back from a friend's atelier this morning and I looked around me and remembered how amazingly beautiful paris is. even walking through the car park back to my studio was charming.

the first time I came to paris as an adult was in 1998 and I remember being shocked at how people living here didn't see the beauty and history around them. I commented about this to a friend and he said that australian's are the same with space - we don't notice how much space we take up, how much space we need and now expect.

I never thought I'd take this beauty for granted, but walking through a corridor that was built 300 years ago and gently opened up to the sun reminded me that I now expect to wake up to this - and, that I've stopped seeing it. this feels like home now.

I'm going to miss the daily interactions, the discussions about art, the support from other artists and other practices. and I will miss being surrounded by beauty. this constructed and artificial place that houses 100s of cultures and myriad art forms and practices. how will I adjust again?

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Thursday, 28 August 2008

day 152

stade de france
the stade de france is the site of great national pride: in was built for the 1998 FIFA world cup where france won the final by defeating brazil 3-0. who would have thought?!

this is the stunning view of this national icon from the local metro stop in the suburban area of saint-denis. definitely worth checking out...

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Tuesday, 26 August 2008

day 150

it was day 150 and I wanted to do something special. so I went up the paris version of the canberra telecom tower: tour montparnasse. here, we were told, we had the best view of paris: and this is what I saw (click to enlarge)...

it was nearly as good as the canberra version but to make things more special they marked our height above ground on every stair and every wall...

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Saturday, 16 August 2008

day 140

Les Olympiades
in honour of the olympic games I thought I'd try to capture one of the many brilliant efforts of parisian urban planning (remember la défense?) where the ideals exceed the reality (we might also add bibliothèque to this list but another day...).

in the 1960s this arrondissment, the 13th, was cleared to make way for a brilliant new urban plan that was to create a more livable paris with buildings that were tall, more luminous and separated heavy traffic from side streets. this project was called italie 13 (taken from the arrondissment and the nearby place d'Italie).

and so the area was cleared, buildings were built and it was hoped that the young urban professionals would flock to this area to work, play and live a better life.

alas, (not surprisingly) no one wanted to leave their cosy, dirty and sexy inner parisian arrondissments and it became a ghost town. the project was stopped in the 1970s (without the parks that were also planned) and because it was ugly and unwanted it was also really cheap, so the massive influx of vietnamese refugees who needed somewhere to live ended up here. later, other asian immigrants joined the vietnamese and this is now the largest asian area in paris.

but what is left of italie 13? not many of the ideals can be clearly identified, but there are a series of phenomenally ugly buildings all named after cities who have hosted past olympics: Anvers, Athènes, Cortina, Helsinki, Londres, Mexico, Sapporo, and Tokyo. this housing project, and the surrounding quartier, is now colletively referred to as les olympiades.

this photo was taken next to tower tokyo and behind the peking-duck shop....


Tuesday, 12 August 2008

day 136

every night at the same time, swallows flock around the roof tops of cité.
this was taken from the my studio doorway...

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Tuesday, 5 August 2008

day 129

sunrise at bastille
sunrise at bastille...


Friday, 25 July 2008

day 118 - london

east london east london sign with optical illusion bricks...

east london this part of london was completely bombed in WWII and the 1950s reconstruction seems to have a charming linking thematic of 'ugly'. this delight is waiting to be pulled down to make way for progress but ironically it's now so 'out' it's almost 'in'...

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Tuesday, 22 July 2008

day 115 - berlin

world clock the television tower and the world clock: two iconic images of the GDR and the successes of east berlin. iconic buildings that represented different stereotypes depending on where you saw them from.
and now, they are have been re-absorbed into the 'new berlin' but are still traces, scars, reminders...

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Monday, 21 July 2008

day 114 - berlin

cemetery borderpatrol limit
it's impossible to convey the power and brilliance of daniel libeskind's jewish museum in berlin. the architecture has been created to evoke physical responses: narrow uneven corridors, voids without lighting or heating, sloping walls and spaces that can be seen but not accessed. it's one of the most astounding buildings I've ever visited. and I visit it every time I'm here.

last time I came however, there was an addition of an installation in one of libeskind's 'voids' - a space that runs the height of the building and has no lighting or heating. the installation is called fallen leaves and today I took some pictures...

patrol limitvoid hinterland
the work was created by menashe kadishman and is both a memorial to the holocaust, and also dedicated to all innocent victims of war.
the artist asks you to walk over the hundreds of faces made of sheet metal. but when you do, they echo and reverberate throughout the space and so once you are walking in the installation all you want to do is get out. but if you leave quickly there are ramifications: more noise and a difficult uneven surface. this work is eerie, and makes you quiet and reflect on the faces you are walking over. it's a profound experience, in a profoundly experiential building...

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Wednesday, 16 July 2008

day 109 - berlin

palast der republik palast der republik
I've been riding around trying to capture the traces of buildings that have been lost. there are so many.

there are such clear scars of buildings that have been bombed or pulled down because of damage or because they were in the way of the 'protection barrier'. it's quite disconcerting when you come across holes in the facades that reveal such a clear action. what is even more disconcerting is that although most have been left and are obvious in their disappearance, often things have just been built around these holes (rather than them being re-built which is happening more now), making something completely new, that isn't quite new...

palast der republik palast der republik
there is this gorgeous michael ondaatje poem about scars which questions whether you would tell a new lover about a scar from an incident in the past. do you hide it? or tell them the details about something they can never be involved in? I'm not sure what the answer is in this case...

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Tuesday, 15 July 2008

day 108 - berlin

palast der republik palast der republik
back at the demolision site of palast der republik - this major scar within city is still causing controversy.

this building housed the government of the GDR (and cafes, discoteques and even a cinema) that was built on the even older site of the berlin city palace which was damaged in WWII and consequently pulled down. during the cold war, east berliners used this building to meet, socialise and experience life. it was more than just a government building, it was a symbol of normal (and interesting) life.

palast der republik palast der republik
but after reunification the building ceased to have a use and was re-claimed by artists. it became a haus of experimentation, innovation and amazing experiences. so this symbol of repression also housed hope, experimentation and was the funkiest place in town in two different decades.

a torn city has inhabitants also torn about what should be kept, what is a symbol of opression, what is a symbol of transformation and who should make these decisions...

> go to a lovely film about the palast looking at these ideas here...

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Tuesday, 1 July 2008

day 94

Palast der Republik the construction in the middle of this picture is palast der republik which was built in the 70s to house the east german government. it was built on the site of the berlin city palace that was bombed in WWII and then demolished in the 50s. but now, for a number of reasons (including asbestos walls) it is once again, a building in the process of demolition, symbolically taking years to disappear.

berlin stencilbut most inhabitants of this city take this kind of change for granted: when I asked what had happened to the empty centre of this church, the unemotional answer was: an american bomb.

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Monday, 30 June 2008

day 93

berlin cafe this cafe on schwedter str. in mitte is so über that is has no name. while I joke that things in paris are fabulous, berlin-nonchalance cannot be reproduced lightly...

berlin stencil


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Sunday, 29 June 2008

day 92

euro cup tonight was the final of the euro cup 08 (yep, that's a soccer game - I had to ask too) and we went to an old dis-used transmissions factory in prenzlauer berg to watch it: 800 german fans willing deutchland to be victorious over spain. alas, they lost...

euro cup waiting the line to get into this exclusive venue and remanent of the past went around the block. they locked the gates two hours before it started and inside there was nothing but beer, chorizo and national spirit...

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Saturday, 28 June 2008

day 91

berlin door finally in berlin for a few days of inspiration...

berlin bar I just love this city - it's so comforting. while it's large and unwieldy, it's also like a small town.
it's a city of contrasts and contradictions and scarring. and somehow it's captured my heart...

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Thursday, 26 June 2008

day 89

wooden building an australian-looking building on rue des roisers in saint-ouen - just on the northern border of 'paris city'...

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Tuesday, 24 June 2008

day 87

rue des couronnes on rue des couronnes in belleville. the gates in front of the enormous apartment blocks here are quite specific - almost viciously beautiful...

rue de bellevillewalking along rue de belleville...

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Saturday, 21 June 2008

day 84

fete de la musique it's midsummer's night and fête de la musique when the city transforms into a carnival: every hole in the wall and cave underground has music playing. this is at L'Institut du Monde Arabe where everyone was getting down to the funky arabic tunes beneath the hovering cranes from next door...

fete de la musique french-arabic-style kebabs en route home...

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Tuesday, 17 June 2008

day 80

rue moreau building on rue moreau near opera bastille
one of the few new buildings in paris that doesn't look like it was built for the set of dr who...


Wednesday, 11 June 2008

day 74

waiting for pina 6am at theatre de la ville waiting for pina bausch tickets...

waiting for pinawe waited 5 hours for a ticket, which seemed normal for my fellow parisian dance lovers: pina has the status of a rock idol here. isn't that a lovely thought? I was so elated after getting a ticket that it dispelled my usual cynicism and I metaphorically stag-jumped the whole way home...

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Thursday, 5 June 2008

day 68

les frigos les frigos: an old refrigeration building that was claimed by artists, is now owned by paris city, and where a friend and I went to visit one of the artist studios. during our visit we were both asked 'to sit' for an artist who does nudes. my friend has only been here for 48 hours and parisian clichés are already happening to her. it's taken me two months...

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Wednesday, 4 June 2008

day 67

cité lifteven in paris the mundane can encroach: in the cité lift with the weekly washing...

louvre and then a quick visit to the louvre...

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Thursday, 29 May 2008

day 61

palais de tokyo
a most stunning night. an opening at the palais de tokyo, a crashed VIP cocktail party and dancing all night to the music of underground by goran bregovic. perfect nights happen so rarely and always when they are least expected or most needed...

and yes, the blur behind me is the eiffel tower. could you die?

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Wednesday, 28 May 2008

day 60

invalides & the Tomb of Napoléon
the courtyard of invalides, built by louis XIV for his returning wounded soldiers (without any disabled access we noted), with the tomb of napoléon shining in the background...

grass police
so, I don't want to go on about it, but there is something strange about a country who employs men to stand around all day and whistle at people who step on the grass. we went to the front of napoléon's tomb (which, while it's no taj mahal,
let me assure you the french know how to guild), and this guy was standing there, whistle in hand, ready to pounce on anyone daring to step on the sacred grass: two measly squares of it. we stayed until we heard a stern whistle - and then day 60 was complete...

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Tuesday, 27 May 2008

day 59

wet rue de rivoli
when it rains here paris makes sense: the city is washed clean, the grey roofs become bold statements against the grey sky and the light reveals subtle shades of the buildings that before just looked dirty.
in the wet, this city is transformed...

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Friday, 23 May 2008

day 55

arch de la defence
back to arche de la défense again tonight to see the jérôme bel work the show must go on.
fred was performing in it and it's just a fantastic work.

this indoor vertical garden was captured en route home. this place never ceases to amuse me. I tried to capture the essence that is la défense, but my camera hasn't quite got the power to document that much ugliness. perhaps it has to be experienced to be believed...

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Wednesday, 21 May 2008

day 53

richard serra
today at the grand palais, one of the most beautiful buildings in the world, we saw monumenta 2008 featuring the visual artist richard serra. the work, that filled the entire space, was called promenade and it was exceptional. five large steel plates, placed at slight angles along the axis of this enormous building. the work was about the act of contemplation: us, just walking and looking, in this beautiful building. and it was a profound experience - these photos cant ever capture it.

serra said about the work: there is no content within the plates - it's a steel plate - the real content of the work is the viewer walking through and the viewer experiencing his or her own experience over time.

richard serra
it is the walking and looking and perceiving - the work is activated by the movement of the audience through it. .......
it was completely inspirational. this is what I came to paris for...

a choreographic work was also created for the opening called unlimited walks.

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Saturday, 17 May 2008

day 49

the farm
the french ministry of culture has a ‘small’ program dedicated to amateur dance. groups can apply for funds from a pool of 150 000€ to re-mount works by established professional choreographers to encourage a more sophisticated understanding of dance at a grass roots level.
this old farm, converted to the theatre la ferme du buisson (again in the suburbs), hosted this years’ presentation of the works, which were quite inspiring: works I’ve never seen live, performed by people without much training but completely in love with the piece. even the rain was lovely.

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Tuesday, 13 May 2008

day 45

I was (strangely) up at dawn and saw this lone little plane making the most of paris at its quietest...

I’ve been thinking about desire today, and what happens when it evaporates: what becomes of a life when the wanting disappears? can anyone go forward without the desire for change, for movement, for more?

I heard what a feeling from flashdance today and there is a line in it that says: ‘take your passion, and make it happen…’ but what happens to people who have lost the desire to make anything happen? society doesn’t like a person without desire. they have slipped and we get embarrassed.

everyday I walk past at least three or four people patiently sitting, on streets, in metros, with signs asking for money. did they once have desire and then lose it? how did that happen? who will 'lose' it next?

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Saturday, 10 May 2008

day 42

we went to the opera today to see two mats ek works. the first one was made in 1978 and had tears, female betrayal, sexual repression and ultimately death. the second was made in 1997 when the world was a very different place: it had equality, dislocation, desperation, but possiblilities.

I remember meeting a woman on a plane once and telling her the story of Giselle - sex; betrayal; death; forgiveness; words that sum up what were then, common thematics. the thing about dance, is that because we always need to be ‘of the moment’, we are also victims of fashion, and becuase of that, our works can, on some level, also map fashion. or taste. or generalised beliefs.

showing two works made twenty years apart was really interesting. gordon liked the first one, and I liked the second. but we both loved the little booth and the breathtaking ornamentation. paris opera has to be experienced at least once in your lifetime…

I'll try to come back and describe these works in the comments section later.

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Thursday, 8 May 2008

day 40

love on île Saint-Louis
at an exhibition of patti smith's photographs and film at the fondation cartier.
there was a quote from smith that said that whenever she was overwhelmed and needed some time to herself, she'd get out her camera and the world suddenly became quiet. I think I know what she means.

this is another building designed by jean nouvel - filled with glass, a tropical garden and a stunning commissioning program. it is, unfortunately, more gorgeous on the web than in reality, but I liked the art...

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Saturday, 3 May 2008

day 35

today we went on a day trip to belgium. brugge is a small town called the 'venice of the north' and is so charming even the tourists look inviting. new streets are built to look 400 years old and the basilica has a 'blood soaked cloth with the congealed blood of christ' which you can line up and touch, for a price.

en route to one of the 678 shops selling hand made chocolate
where the makers have shaved their hands so as not to spoil the chocolate...

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Tuesday, 29 April 2008

day 31

man on and next to building
another rainy day. near gare de l'est


Sunday, 27 April 2008

day 29

red squares

red squares in the marais...

here is the thing. I'm a bit hungover today - last night we went to a super funky party on the 4th floor of an enormous apartment in montmartre overlooking the whole of paris. we cut up the dance floor like it was 1979 and arrived home at 7.30am. so, since I'm ten years older than last time I did that, I'm spending the day in bed. these squares were found, felafel in hand, during my ten minute grease stop in the middle of the day. I thought capturing the funk wasn't very arty: but should I take the camera next time?

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Thursday, 24 April 2008

day 26

quai branley

at the entrance of the new musée quai branly. the same architect Jean Nouvel who made the insitute du monde arabe. controversial art inside a gorgeous building. I'm not sure yet what I think - contemporary artists being portrayed in an anthropological setting? but today was for loving everything and the building is sumptuous.

denis and fred cooked quail, asparagus, prosciutto and more. the day has been delightful...

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Wednesday, 23 April 2008

day 25


I didn't mean to go to notre dame, I was going to the market next door (to buy €10 of flowers), but it is so gorgeous I had to go in.

I went in and lit a candle for grandma
and mum - in thanks. religious or not, it's a gorgeous place.
joan of arc had her reputation 'rehabilitated' in this church. better late than never...

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Tuesday, 8 April 2008

day 10

L'Institut du Monde Arabe
L'Institut du Monde Arabe. this building is made up of thousands of tiny metal irises that open and close depending on the light outside. a wall that is constantly moving in response to the sun.

it must have been bitterly expensive to build: thousands of tiny mechanised irises.
but they did it because it's beautiful. the building, and the people who wanted it, are an inspiration.

I hoped it would come….

L'Institut du Monde Arabe

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Friday, 4 April 2008

day 6

la defenseArche de la Défense. it's like being on a set of blake 7.

this city has always struck me as one of contradictions: so revealing but only available superficially for visitors. so open in it's beauty it's almost sleight of hand, but full of sneaky surprises if you can drag yourself away from the seductive.
which is a challenge in itself. an editor told me that in film you can only use a breathtaking shot if you use it for less time than you want. too much is, frankly, too much. I don't usually subscribe to that on stage - but this city has me thinking.

la Défense is certainly not beautiful. nor is it revealing. but it's good to know that even the french can miss the point once in a while. it has to be seen to be believed. I can't capture it: singapore meets dr who.

la defense

gordon took this one...