Thursday, April 08, 2010

Bad to much better

Last night I got a text saying that the new washing machine was coming today at any point starting from 7:30am. Made me very unhappy. I did not sleep well or much, worried I would miss the delivery, or fall down the stairs rushing to open the door, or open the door in my pajamas. But they came and took out the old one, which was full of crap and standing water (which was likely at least a month old) since it broke mid-cycle during the last residency. So then I had the putrid water all over the kitchen floor and dumped into the sink. Gross. They couldn't take it away b/c it was full of crap but at least dragged it to the back area and said that the city council would take it away.

I mopped and cleaned the kitchen before the landlord arrived at 10am. I told her about it and she said to wait until a part-time renter came by to make sure it wasn't her stuff locked in the old washer before we drag it into the alley for removal. The good news is that now I don't have to hand wash my clothes.

[The Merchant Hotel--a fancy place where you can have fancy tea and I think the place that Bill Clinton likes to stay when he visits. Also an example of older architecture in the city; used to be a bank.] I thought it was going to be a bad day, a challenging day, since I already felt a throat tickle last night. But I made it to a panel that I had found out about last night, called "Perspectives on Public Space in the City Centre." It was in two sections, three panelists each. I liked the first grouping b/c it was a mix of an architect, an architecture professor, and the director of a circus school who was intimately acquainted with street performance. The first went long so one of the second group of panelists had to leave right after his talk, but they were all architects. One seemed to generate lots of arguments and the other was quite affable and better at staying within the time constraints.

[St. Anne's Square, a new "public space" that was debated today and that I stumbled upon when I was trying a new route. Note the reference to columns and the smokers running away from me and my camera.] The audience was lively and everyone was very talkative. I still don't know how people function here, so I did my best not to fidget but found a lot of the debates fascinating, and loved that there were so many excited architects in the room. I don't ever hang around groups of architects, so it was funny to see them get so enraged with each other. I've never heard "steel structure" and "load bearing" so many times in an afternoon. But what I loved was how they talked about specific spaces in the city that I had been to, and confirmed my gut instincts about how they succeeded or failed in serving the public. I think most people agreed that a lot of the public art in the city is awful and placed badly, but there was almost no talk about that b/c the arguments were so skewed towards traditional v contemporary and "can we really know what is 'beautiful'??" and so on.

[Clever enough installation for me to shoot, outside of the Golden Thread Gallery.] The best part, besides the unexpected sandwich platters and desserts and tea and coffee, was being around people. It was a full house, and I happened to be sitting next to a board member of Flaxart, who is also an architect. The woman next to me, Lucinda, had just completed her PhD in conflict studies (focusing on Jerusalem) and we had a nice talk before and after the event. She also recommended going to parts of town that I had been told to stay away from, as long as I don't linger in any one place, and I may have found someone to wander and socialize with. We shall see.

[Jimmie Durham, Our House (2007), drypoint.] After the panel, I went upstairs to see the exhibit at Belfast Exposed, and then the Golden Thread Gallery, Craft NI, and Belfast PrintWorkshop (gorgeous studio space, and a nice collaborative show). I did stop by my studio to get a sense of how cold/warm it is in the space on a day like this: overcast but not cold. I wrote a few postcards and then figured out a post office machine well enough to print postage and mail them myself. Hooray!

[A piece from the "Exchange Mechanism" show at Belfast Exposed but I can't find the artist's name.] On the way to the post office, I saw a man who had been in the audience who had made some insightful comments. I thanked him for sharing and he then gave me a quick Architecture 101 right in the street, which was kind of amazing. He pointed out buildings that were modernist and then traditional ones, and how they had a beginning, middle, and end as he pointed to the ground floor, upper floors, and roof. I LOVED that he could show me all the contrasts and examples of things people were so vehemently arguing about a few hours earlier, by standing in one place and looking down the streets. That's how diverse the architecture can be here.

So that was a lovely end to my day downtown, and his parting greeting was, "I leave you in peace." I decided to walk home b/c it was warm enough and I needed the exercise. Luckily, the fruit market near home was open so I got a few things and the cashier was sweet, so that made up for the fact that my recycling bin was not emptied today. I just finished a very green dinner and took extra vitamin C, so I'm hoping all of that combined with cheerier spirits, will keep any illness at bay.

1 comment:

  1. i'm SO glad you're finding real dialogue and passion.
    a cute kitchen!

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