Sunday, October 15, 2006

Just got back from visiting my parents this weekend -- er, actually, more like Thursday through Saturday. Having Friday off from work every week, free and clear, is THE BEST!

One of my most favorite things about visiting my hometown is the drive in or out in the evening. Let me give you some context. While making your way smack dab through the middle of the Central Valley, the suffocating stench of rendering plants and dairy farms in Manteca and the Cowboy Capital of the World is almost overwhelming. But soon the almond groves, factories, and cattle yards fall away, and great expanses of grassy hills and fields dotted with oak trees and volcanic rock as far as the eye can see spread out on either side of 108. Your headlights cut through the pitch black, and with lack of human lighting sources the stars above twinkle brightly and envelope you like a cocoon.

Then, right between Lover's Leap and Table Mountain, it hits you. That scent. The rose and sweet clovers, star thistle, and golden grasses that make up these gorgeous hills and fields bake all day in the heat. When the sun goes down and the temperature drops suddenly, they give up their sweetness and subtly perfume the environs with something straight from heaven.

Trevor knows that smell. Craig too. Eric and James (and maybe some other lurkers!) know it as well. It is the sweet sweet smell of home. It never ceases to fill me with joy.

Speaking of joy, here's something else that feeds my happy spot: Carsten Holler's ginomous slide exhibition at the Tate Museum in London.

I love what Holler has to say about his project. I agree with him -- there is happiness and terror and most important to me, engagement in the act of sliding. To wit:

I’d like to suggest that using slides on an everyday basis could change us, just as other commodities are changing us. For instance, I’m convinced that the use of cars has changed our perception of time. I could imagine slides having an impact too. The state of mind that you enter when sliding, of simultaneous delight, madness and ‘voluptuous panic’, can’t simply disappear without trace afterwards. In this sense the ‘test site’ isn’t just in the Turbine Hall, but is also, to an extent, in the slider or person watching who’s stimulated by the slides: a site within.

Word. What would be the result of sliding if it was part of the daily routine? Can slides become part of our experiential and architectural life?

Heehee, and slightly cheating again on my "scary posts for October" promise, but that also brings me joy. Consistency is queen, baby. Anyhow, this is so dope, and surprisingly, related ever so tidily to my love for Holler's slides, and my ideas about true engagement with this world we live in/this life we are given. It is also SCARY. Boo!

Poet and former man about the Bay (before moving to become a professor at Southern Oregon), Kasey Silem Mohammad has assisted in putting together this tidy little book -- that no doubt stemmed from his genius Zombie! course at Santa Cruz -- entitled The Undead and Philosophy -- Chicken Soup for the Soulless

Are some of the people we know really Undead, and how can we tell? OMFG. If I have to tell you how much this rules, maybe you shouldn't be reading this blog.

Actually, I guess the bigger questions of this whole post are more along these lines: Can using a slide in our daily lives, to help perform the mundane task of simple travel within a building, and thus daily engagement in that "simultaneous delight, madness, and voluptuous panic," (mortal LIFE!) leave us with the kind of trace element that can change our cores for the better? Can living more simply and tempering consumerism and consumption, and seeking out simple joys (the scent of home, anyone?) help us to avoid the mindless Undead "going through of the motions?" Can this fundamentally change us and create more deep satisfaction and happiness?


Blogger Trevor said...

Wow, Ammie, thank you for vivid description of driving through table mountain--it made me sad that I wasn't there with you, but happy that you were there to record it.

Aishteru, you beautiful, intelligent, wonderful woman.


October 16, 2006 at 2:23:00 PM PDT  

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