Aug 30, 2012

Hanging GARDEN

 Urban Ag is the new cool.  Everyone is trying to figure out how to grow food in densely populated cities.  Allotment plots, rooftops, raised beds, planters on the street, aquaponics are becoming old hat.  Two frenchmen have come up with another way to grow food in the last available space with light:  YOUR WINDOW.  It's a simple system, with simple components.

"Our desire was to provide a clever solution to the lack of space for a small garden developing nature unfolds horizontally."  This is a bad google translation, but we get the idea.  This product is not available commercially YET, but it's in the works.  Get your window ready!

All photos courtesy of Nicolas Barreau and Jules Charbonnet.

Aug 26, 2012


One minute was not enough, but that is all you have.  The entry door to  Fireflies on the Water is opened by a guard.  60 seconds later the door is opened again.  Your time is up.

Fireflies on Water is only one part of the Yayoi Kusama show at the Whitney Museum.  The installation consists of one hundred and fifty tiny lights suspended over a reflecting pool within a small mirrored room.
This is as close as you will get to what it would have been like to be Curiosity landing on Mars.  It's infinite space.  It's to experience the universe by walking into a room off Madison Avenue.

Kusama calls her on-going exploration = self-obliteration.  And as much as I agree with this idea; it is also the multiplicity of self. 

After one minute of spiritual, hallucinatory and disorienting space, a cup of coffee was called for before taking the elevator to the fourth floor for the rest of the exhibition.

Kusama has lived as a voluntary in-patient at a mental hospital in Japan for over 30 years.
"My art originates from hallucinations only I can see.  I translate the hallucinations and obsessional images that plague me into sculptures and paintings."

Personal obsession - we all have them, but only a few of us can turn them into art.  As part of this show, an entire room is devoted documentation.  Family photographs, correspondence, gallery announcements, reviews, posters and photographs of  "happenings" are all here.  Not only is the exhibition a retrospective of Kusama's work, but the "documentation" room is an archive of two conflicting tendencies. The urge to chronicle her personal history and an equal desire for "self-obliteration."

Dots are a theme from her very early work as a teenager to the most recent paintings from 2009.  The dots Kusama says are "my medicine - my personal medicine."  Kusama's medicine is a prescription we all need in small doses.


Fireflies on the Water
Timed tickets are required for entry into Fireflies on the Water.  Per the artist's wishes, visitors must enter the installation one at a time, unless assistance or a guardian is required.  There is a one-minute time limit inside the installation.

Tickets are free with Museum admission and can only be reserved on the day of your visit at the admission desk.  The day's ticket allotment for Fireflies is distributed quickly, usually within the first two hours after the Museum opens.  Due to high demand, you may receive a time slot up to 3 or 4 hours after your arrival.

I ADVISE either joining the Whitney as a member, arriving at a quarter to 10 on weekend only and walking right into Fireflies.  Or arrving at the same time and waiting until the museum opens at 11 am and being the first in line.

The installation consists of a small dark room lined with mirrors on all sides, a pool in the center of the space, and many small lights hanging from the ceiling, creating visual effects that may be disorienting to some viewers. To experience the work, visitors must step up onto a 6-inch-high platform, pass through a 30 inch-wide doorway, and travel over a 30-inch-wide platform with no edge protection.  A  video tour is also available.

Aug 20, 2012

You Get What You Need

WILL ALLEN - Growing Power

I need to be inspired.  I found that out a long time ago, when I thought just about everything was a drag.  One sentence can do the trick; even better is listening to someone who makes you want to jump out of your seat and hit the streets.

Eunyoung and I went to the Urban Agriculture Summit in Toronto this past week.  For me it was like giving the personal car of my mind a tune-up.   Some people say the country needs another stimulus.  If you really want stimulus; surround yourself with the likes of Will Allen, Paul Lightfoot and Gary Wozniak.

I am passionate about FOOD:  food security, food justice, sustainable and affordable food and local food.  But those are just words; at this point they are platitudes.  At a conference, like the Urban Ag Summit, you meet the people who walk the talk.  They are the  21st century version of Helen and Scott Nerring.

I came home, "put on my running shoes" and began to think about the ways we can expand our Edible Education Program to do more, reach a greater number kids, open our small community to a greater number of individuals and have a larger impact on the little world of Randall's Island. I think it's called VISION.