Saturday, 5 July 2008

Weird modern poetry.

So Boulder is really such a fantastic place – filled with solar panels, fountains, parks, bums playing mandolins, and lots and lots of art installations.

I was walking down 14th street in downtown Boulder and came across the following installation. It was located in front of a church-like building – obviously an ironic wink-wink-nudge-nudge reference to traditional Americana. Then in front of the church-like structure was this stone sculpture with a weird and obscure poem, loosely signed by a man calling himself “Jer.1.5”. Maybe a post-postmodern sigh about the collision of man and computer?

The 11-syllable, two line work reminded me of e.e. cummings' works in its simplicity and its lack of proper punctuation. You'll notice that even the second-quotation mark at the end of the poem is facing the wrong way, oddly enough.

The artist demonstrates his etching skills with the engraved pair of hands holding a little baby in them. This portion of the work gives a softness, a tenderness, a gentleness to the harsh cuts of the stone and rigid carvings of the Arial font, specially chosen for the piece's text.

Just behind the marble sculpture was another nod at religious Americana – a “notice board” for the “church”’s services including one “misa” in “espagñol”. I thought that this was the critical punch that really added a scary realism to the piece.

I laud the artist for his or her bravery in depicting outdated and overly-simplistic American moral messagery, but question his or her insistence on such realism as it lacks a certain level of irony. This piece’s lack of irony made me somewhat queasy because, for a second, I believed that it was real.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

The most subtle and nuanced way to communicate your political and social views.

I’m still here in Boulder, Colorado. I have learned a lot. Especially from all the bumper stickers! I found the mecca of bumper stickers in an underground bookstore located across the street from Ben & Jerry's and near the "Outdoor Divas" outdoor gear shop for older women.

Of course I asked permission to photograph the bumper sticker collection. As I was taking the picture, the woman behind the counter (a self-proclaimed “volunteer activist and community member”) must have noticed my confusion and admiration of her store’s wondrous goods. She asked me, “Which of these moves you the most?”

“Wha’?” I replied, thinking “doesn’t she realize that I’m infiltrating as the writer of an ironical blog intending to make fun of her wares in an attempt to self-aggrandize?”

“Which one strikes you?”

At a loss for words, I pointed to the one saying, “Outrageous Older Woman” in purple wavy letters (see the second picture). Can you even begin to imagine the occupant of the car slathered with that message? My friend here in Boulder has a box of “Women’s Moon-Cycle” tea. I would imagine that the owner of this tea might also own the “Outrageous Older Woman” sticker.