Creation

Vik Muniz

‘Creativity is how we cope with creation’ – Vik Muniz   
Jackson Pollock in Chocolate
Jackson Pollock in Chocolate

Born in Brazil in 1961, Brooklyn-based fine artist Vik Muniz has exhibited his work all over the world.

Clown Skull - the remnant from a very evolved race of entertainers.
Clown Skull - the remnant from a very evolved race of entertainers.

He is a great observer of life and uses unexpected materials to create portraits, landscapes and still life works which he then photographs.

This creative thinker has an interesting way of looking at the world. In the 15 minute TED Talks video below he describes the thinking behind his work and takes us on an amusing tour of his incredible images made from cotton, wire, thread, sugar, chocolate, dust, earth, clouds and food.

I feel privileged to have been given a glimpse at creative genius. Enjoy! 

The Intrepid Traveller

We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment.  Hilaire Belloc

I believe the most fulfilling consequence of travel is the opportunity to immerse myself completely and enjoy a different culture. As this visitor in another country however, I am constantly surprised at the change that overcomes me as I begin to assume a new identity and for some unknown reason do things I wouldn’t dream of doing at home. The intrepid traveller emerges from within and I become this invincible tourist, naively enthusiastic and totally unaware of any danger!
One of the many spectacular views from the winding road up to the Eagle's Nest
One of the many spectacular views from the winding road up to the Eagle's Nest

Towers taunt me to climb them to the highest heights and mountains become challenges that must be scaled. Why? Why can’t I just be content with flying over them? Where did this inner mountaineer come from? I don’t enjoy heights any more than I do exercise. They both scare me.

And yet during my most recent Bavarian treks, I have ascended the Zugspitze, climbed St Peters’ tower and soared to the Eagles Nest!View-below-from-St-Peters-Tower 

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore! Dream! Discover! Mark Twain  

That's not a smile! that's hanging on very tightly at the top of the tower
That's not a smile! that's hanging on very tightly at the top of the tower

Thanks Mr Twain!  You inspired my newly acquired Teutonic temperament and this week I felt compelled to climb the tower of St Peters in Munich to get a view I could quite easily have found on the internet. There were 306 steps… or was it 360? I lost count around 200 while I had my heart attack!!  

And so the question remains… why? Why do I have a need to walk in these footsteps of the robust and brave? When I’m at home, I don’t even walk up the street.

Not having learned my lesson, I joined a strangely, trippy, little tour group to the Eagle’s Nest. We follow our guide like mindless lemmings onto a specifically designed bus that winds six kilometres up the knife edge of a mountain. The views are as spectacular as they ride is terrifying but finally we are dropped at the entrance of a tunnel.This eerie passageway leads us two hundred metres straight into the mountain to a circular marble holding room that is lit by candles.

Entrance from the tunnel to the elevator waiting room
Entrance from the tunnel to the elevator waiting room

On the opposite wall is a heavy doorway and we wait. Finally, the golden doors slide open and we enter the original elevator and ascend one hundred metres directly into the Eagle’s Nest.

Propoganda Photo of the Eagles Nest
Propoganda Photo of the Eagles Nest

I’m told that this building was Hitler’s 50th birthday present from his favourite mates in his very own inspired Nazi party. What a guy! What a present! What a party!! Explains so much… totally insane!!!

I met a lot of people in Europe.  I even encountered myself.  James Baldwin

As part of my new emerging character I begin to hanker for the local ‘look’. Store front mannequins kitted out in traditional costume lead me to imagine occasions where wearing a pair of lederhosen could be the hit of the party. What’s with that?

Lederhosen
Lederhosen

 I don’t ever wear shorts… hmm, then again…maybe it’s the leather!

Thanks to travels past, my family and friends have glimpsed previous passing personalities when I have returned bearing gifts of colourful cheongsams, vividly highlighted happy coats, tastefully painted clogs (definitely an oxymoron), traditionally embroidered Romanian shirts, regional smurflike hats and one amusing mandarin skull cap with lengthy plaited pigtail attached… to be fair, my youngest child was not quite one year old and just couldn’t run yet.

If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home. James Michener  

There was also a period of time when I cooked cabbage rolls for a month determined that the whole family should delight in the distinct flavours of Eastern European cuisine. I can’t wait to serve up some of the 1500 different German sausage tried and tested: bratwurst, leberwurst, zwiebel mettwusrt, rindswürste, rotwurst,knackwürste, bockwürste, leberkaese, frankfurters, nürnberg sausage and everyone’s all-time favourite weiβwurst. I just know how excited the family will be!

Inside-CathedralI wander historical towns and ancient cities enthralled by the architecture of the exceptional and the anomalous. I was therefore quite surprised while eyeing the interior of a beautiful Munich cathedral when my thoughts turned from bricks and mortar and my newly emerging identity discarded my cynicism of Catholicism with gay abandon and pondered the possibility that just maybe the Pope might serve a higher purpose in our world. For what, I now ask? Turning rosary beads into a fashion accessory or for bringing back a new enthusiasm for long frocks, medieval chanting and kissing rings??

 

The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land. GK Chesterton

Interestingly, I live in a tourist area back home in the beautiful world heritage area of the Blue Mountains outside Sydney. Often, I see buses passing by overflowing with tourists armed with flashing cameras. Apart from the amazing scenery, I often wonder what these people find interesting about our Aussie lifestyle, our audacities, our parochialism and our appropriated culture.

I can only imagine they have listened to the inimitable Mr Twain when he profoundly observed “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.  Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

Or maybe they are just discovering their own intrepid traveller within!

On Top Of The World

“I’m on the top of the world lookin’ down on creation” – The Carpenters

On the Zugspitze summit
On the Zugspitze summit

How wonderfully exhillerating is this breathtaking country and its people? Ahhh…Deutschland… *sigh*

 

View on the way up in the cable car
View on the way up in the cable car

The highs are so extremely high and unlike anything I have ever previously experienced.  I visited the summit of Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain at 2962m above sea level, and it was one of those days I’ll remember for the rest of my life. It was like flying but with my feet still on the ground. No wonder I felt so tall!

I really didn’t know what to expect other than beer and autobahns in Germany but I most certainly didn’t think Frau Fiona would be flipped quite so quickly by this land of towering giants with their quiet and calm ways. I am in awe of their unhurried lifestyle, their politeness and their obvious respect for others. They are hard workers and yet it feels like every day is a weekend! 

Beer Garden in the Englisch Garten
Beer Garden in the Englisch Garten

One of Vincent's Sunflowers
One of Vincent's Sunflowers

Families enjoy long afternoons  in beer gardens together while others fill their days strolling art museums taking masterpieces for granted. Instructions are offered slowly and carefully to struggling tourists and once they realise I don’t speak their native tongue, they are more than willing to attempt mine or find someone who does.

I have one English mate here who is being taught one German word a day by his local breakfast stop. After happily living here for six months he’s mastered breads and pretzels and both he and his teacher feel he’s ready now to move on to cold cuts and sausages. This will take him well into 2012 but of course… there is no hurry in this land of the ethereal weekend!

A walk in the park at home
A walk in the park at home

“I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains
Of ragged mountain ranges, of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons. I love her jewel-sea.
Her beauty and her terror- the wide brown land for me!” – Dorothea MacKellar 

There is no place like home!  Just ask Dorothea or even Dorothy and Toto!  

A comfort zone extension up to the summit
A comfort zone extension up to the summit

But… I came away to slow down and to enjoy a little out of comfort zone extension. I always enjoy a change but like most people, I will invest energy in recreating the familiar.

Rusty the dog likes to hang out with me and the ducks in the Englisch Garten
Rusty the dog likes to hang out with me and the ducks in the Englisch Garten
Currently, I find I am torn between the new and the old; who would have thought that new sites would contrast so starkly against old memories; that old events could give power to such new behaviours but most importantly, those old prejudices might be challenged by new acquaintances?
Who would ever have thought that I’d change my abstract ways and attempt drawing realistically in Kandinsky’s town!!
My God really does work in mysterious ways!
Danke Deutschland!