Saturday, February 07, 2009

Two things about myself

I discovered two things about myself.

Number one. I like reading a text that describes what's going on in very detail. I realized this when I was reading "Collectors" by Raymond Carver. I rarely read a novel in English because I need to look up words in dictionary several times per page (expressions like "lift up" when you are laying on the sofa and "put out his hand" when someone meets up someone else are the kind of English phrases I don't perfectly understand). But this short novel came with a Japanese book on translation from English to Japanese written by Haruki Murakami, who did a lot of translation of English novels for Japanese readers. So I had an opportunity to read it (along with Haruki Murakami's translation into Japanese). And I found myself enjoying reading it when a sentence describes people's movement or landscape in a bit too much detail. I did know this when I read Haruki Murakami's novels in Japanese whose sentences are also too much in detail with tons of adjectives (and most of them are dropped when his novels are translated into English). But I didn't know this would work for English novels until today.

Number two. I like watching a video with good sound that is rather difficult to understand. Today I went out to the area around Industricentralen, a former residential building for factory workers located in north-western Stockholm (off the beaten track for tourists), which now houses a cluster of contemporary art galleries. I needed to refresh myself by facing hard-to-understand pieces of contemporary art. More than 90 percent of contemporary art works are rubbish (and they often use rubbish as ingredients, by the way). It's important to visit a cluster of galleries. Then you will encounter at least one not-too-bad piece of art. This time, Galleri Flach+Thulin did a job to me with Twan Janssen's 20-minute video installation entitled "The Stockholm Syndrom". While all the other visitors left within five minutes, I sat down on a chair (provided by the gallery) to watch the film all the way. It's an abstract one created by computer graphics. It just keeps on showing white stuff whose shapes and movements are inspired from clouds, water waves, smokes, and the like. This continues for 20 minutes with abstract music of repetitive kind composed by Jasper TX. It's not too bad at all. Much more enjoyable than normal movies, television programs, or music videos from uninspiring rock and hip hop musicians. I do not watch films or TV, but this is not because I don't like videos as a means of expression. I do like videos that are not easy to understand (like this one that I wrote about before or the one that I saw at the List Visual Arts Center at MIT).

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