We went to the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University today. Ostensibly, it was to see this installation, entitled Precarity, by John Akomfrah. But, of course, we saw everything else while we were there, too. It is based on the life of “Charles ‘Buddy’ Bolden, the first person known to have explored the sonic tonalities of the music we now call jazz.”

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There is a single row of benches in the room. And, in the beginning, we had to stand by the wall because all the seats were occupied. When a group got to their starting place and left, we sat at the end of that bench. But, it was too close for me to see all 3 screens without a lot of head turning. So, I moved back to the wall.

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It’s a curious piece. There’s no actual narrative. But, it’s still very moving. Some of the triptychs are the same scene from different angles. Some are different scenes entirely. There is old footage from the time of Bolden’s life in addition to new footage of … I guess, ghosts of his life.

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I’m glad I saw it.

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Portrait of a marriage

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This is gorgeous, rich, lovely mousse. It is made from avocados and organic cocoa. You know. Healthy stuff. 🙂

One of us skims from the top, slivers, slices, layer by layer. And the plastic protector is stretched across the top without risking the loss of any of the tasty, tasty treat.

The other one eats in from the edge and covers the part that is being saved for tomorrow (because it is very rich and luscious) with plastic wrap that is tucked in, blanket-like, around the little mound of delight.

This is us.

Time to work

Working non-standard hours has made me more aware of how we are aware of time.

I work 12 hours on each weekend day and 6 hours on one day in the week. Usually Tuesday, but that can be changed if either LabCorp or I need it to. And they pay me for a 40 hour week, so that works.

My husband has his office in our house and has to go out into the world for work related stuff about once a week. Usually, he does it on Wednesday. He’s a real estate lawyer and there are closings, title searches, recordings of deeds of trust and picking up and dropping off of checks all over 3 or 5 counties that have to happen in certain orders. That can cause his travel day to shift, but the shift doesn’t happen often. He is usually able to aim things so that one day in the middle of the week is the only driving around that is required.

I usually wake up in the morning and think “Today is …” and know when I am.

This week has been … off. I didn’t work yesterday because a friend was traveling through and we made plans for her to stop off here for dinner as she passed by. So, I swapped my week day work day to Thursday. And Chuck had to “do his running around” on Monday because that was when something that needed to happen was due.

Just now, I had to look at my computer to be sure what day of the week it is. It makes me wonder about how I will relate to time when I don’t have to go to work any more. My friends are getting to the age of retirement. I wonder if the things they do (classes, volunteering, religious services, regular visits to friends and family) are ways of regulating their time in addition to being interesting to them. Serving as a fixed point in the week.

I recognize that the way we divide days into hours and collect them into weeks and months and years is how we arrange to work together as a community. I suspect those collective nouns are also necessary for us to feel safe, to feel that there is some kind of personal control, in the enormity of infinity.

Ma

I told Miyazaki I love the “gratuitous motion” in his films; instead of every movement being dictated by the story, sometimes people will just sit for a moment, or they will sigh, or look in a running stream, or do something extra, not to advance the story but only to give the sense of time and place and who they are.

“We have a word for that in Japanese,” he said. “It’s called ma. Emptiness. It’s there intentionally.”

Is that like the “pillow words” that separate phrases in Japanese poetry?

“I don’t think it’s like the pillow word.” He clapped his hands three or four times. “The time in between my clapping is ma. If you just have non-stop action with no breathing space at all, it’s just busyness. But if you take a moment, then the tension building in the film can grow into a wider dimension. If you just have constant tension at 80 degrees all the time you just get numb.

— Rogert Ebert, on Hayao Miyazaki

In the cave

Found at  ineffableobservatory

Beware of anything that promises freedom or enlightenment —traps for eager and clever fools — a dog has a keener nose — every creature in a cave can justify himself. Three-fourths of philosophy and literature is the talk of people trying to convince themselves that they really like the cave they were tricked into entering.

– Gary Snyder, Earth House Hold

Reality is false

My friend posted this on FaceBook.  Bolding and italics are entirely mine.

“Watching ‘Through the Wormhole’ while knitting. I like the show, and they have some neat conversations sometimes, but I hate when they use incorrect logic or miss the other options. This time was about how, since you can induce religious experience in human brains, it implies religious experiences are false. But since you can also induce visual, audio, and pretty much every other sensory experience, it should also imply /reality/ is false. (Note: they were not actually arguing solipsism, they just weren’t following through on their thought process). *shrugs*. Possibly, I’m expecting unrealistic levels of care from a discovery channel show…”

Think I’ll sit here and chuckle a while.