29 January 2011

Beauty will save the world

Here's a CBC Ideas program entitled "Beauty Will Save The World"

I thought that some of you might be interested. The best part, I think, comes near the end, when one of the discussants correlates beauty with freedom, as a sort of painful and/or satisfying vulnerability (depending on where you stand) that comes with embarking on the quest for beauty. I wish she had expanded on that a little more. I know I've thought about it quite a bit.

Anyways, I'm interested in your thoughts if you've got the time to give this program a listen.

25 January 2011

The Pig Farmer

a brilliantly executed, highly poignant animated short by fellow canuck, 
animator extraordinaire, nick cross! caution: graphic content
may not be suitable for the kidlings! i'm just sayin'. ;) 
th-th-th-th-th-... that's all, folks!

24 January 2011

22 January 2011

obviously, the government is responsible

The context for the following are massive upheavals in the UK in the way that university education and the health and social systems are funded and administered. Read: decimation. By the start of the next school term universities will no longer be notionally free to domestic students and there's about 5 people in all of England who think that the newly legislated changes to the national health service are a good idea.


"Don't get me wrong, I care deeply for the humanities and believe they have a vital role to play in a healthy society. I just think that the way culture is currently taught in universities is a travesty of its real potential, and that the government cuts are an understandable, if not at all nice, consequence of the failure of current teaching methods and goals."

"It should be the job of a university education to tease out the therapeutic and illuminative aspects of culture, so that we can emerge from a period of study as slightly less disturbed, selfish, unempathetic and blinkered human beings, who can be of greater benefit not only to the economy, but also to our friends, our children and our spouses."

"The contemporary guardians of culture have a habit of cudgelling anyone who might try to use culture for didactic ends or to open a subject up to a mass audience. When confronted by those who demand of culture that it should be relevant and useful, that it should offer up advice on how to choose a career or survive the end of a marriage, how to contain sexual impulses or cope with the news of a medical death sentence, the guardians of culture become very disdainful. "

"We have implicitly charged our higher-education system with a dual and possibly contradictory mission, to teach us how to make a living and to teach us how to live. And we have left the second of these two aims recklessly vague and unattended."

"[universities] are fatefully in love with ambiguity, they trust in the absurd modernist doctrine that great art should have no moral content or desire to change its audience. "

The debate is not new . . . but the full piece by philosopher Alain de Botton (here) is worth a read.

Holga Project or Don't call this a comeback.

20 January 2011

Maya and Donovan

My niece and nephew being silly for the camera.

Old Art

This is a detail from that big monstrosity I made on wood, waaaaaay back in the Label Gallery days. Sort of one of the first piece of art I made as a grown up.

19 January 2011

To whoever changed the blog's look:


No offense to the original designers, but this is so much better in terms of aesthetics and readability (white on black is anything but easy on the eyes). xor.

16 January 2011

Letters on Love

I hold this to be the highest task of a bond between two people: that each should stand guard over the solitude of the other. For, if it lies in the nature of indifference and of the crowd to recognize no solitude, then love and friendship are there for the purpose of continually providing the opportunity for solitude. And only those are the true sharings which rhythmically interrupt periods of deep isolation. - Rainer Maria Rilke

08 January 2011

Shovels of laughter

winter wonderland
in snow as high as his knees
and light as a pixies' dusting

he started it,
and they all slowly
drifted outside,
partly because of
sighing, grunting
wiping the week
from their eyes

he was an immigrant
she was a piano teacher
he was a professor
among others
of different persuasions

silence at first,
shoulders aching
into small waves of hello
to eventual laughter
and neighbourly understanding

and she was too old,
one of the first ones
on the block
but thankful enough
to encourage and
suggest strategies
for how one
shovels and builds
social connection
in a time that was getting
much too dark

05 January 2011


every time
it makes me want to
tear at my eyeballs

the imposition of
desire on dismissal

is it the age
or is it the dominion
of facts over
feelings that
in the english
sciences eats
its young

I won't be
broken down
by youth, by the
of power and
its way of killing
this growing

I tried, I tried
to keep the crowd
to escape
I wouldn't it couldn't
dignify meaninglessness

and we have this group,
searching for signs of life
and a warm body would
have kept this winter from killing me

Time and Again

Former band "The Athletics"' frontman, and my good friend, Benoit Morier was in Winnipeg last week for the holidays. What was meant to be a jam turned into the writing and recording of this song. 4 hours later, this. Music is the funnest. Happy New Year friends!! xo

04 January 2011

Energy Falls

To be so wise

I once returned from lunch to discover I had died. There was the announcement on the front page of the NY Times Arts section. After a short existential moment, turns out my parents just weren't that creative with my name. The other Sarah Caldwell was a violin prodigy and the first female conductor of the Met.

I like her style:

"Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can - there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did."

"Success is important only to the extent that it puts one in a position to do more things one likes to do."

"That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing itself is changed, but that our power to do is increased."

"We must continuously discipline ourselves to remember how it felt the first moment."

03 January 2011

Flight 26

All I had were words,
that resembled
abstract lovers

but it was
in realism
that I could
find vulnerability,
where every second
single day
and all through
the night time
and all through
the daytime
it rang in my ear,
telling me that dignity
was more important
than honesty

02 January 2011

The Naked Eye, by Catherine Hunter


excerpt from the book Latent Heat, by Catherine Hunter.

The Naked Eye
(in memoriam, HJB)

You are so far away, or let's be truthful,
you've been dead for twenty years,
a synapse in the brain of the city,
these streets so fractured, full of spaces.
I thought I saw you again this morning,
walking the maze of paths behind the planetarium,
as if you remembered the time
the teachers took us up there,
let us read the sky. They told us any loss
of matter is converted into energy. They gave us
telescopes and metaphors: You disappeared
at the speed of light. But some things are apparent only
to the naked eye. I can stand
on the Norwood Bridge and seem to touch
the potent circuit of the river. Venus, small
as the spurt of a penny match, appears
suspended, caught in the gap
of the St. Boniface cathedral's
excoriated window frame. The downtown lights
are sparks the city lets go, attempting
to purify itself. This city is still hot,
young friend, white hot.
It runs on the electricity conducted
through the streets when heroes
turn to constellations.
It's heat that separates the metal
from the ore, because in metallurgy,
as in death, beauty smolders closer
and closer to the surface
of the body, becoming visible at last,
setting itself free. The burnt cathedral,
with its empty window open like a mouth,
says, ah. The sound of finding
what it's lost. If you can see me,
make some sign. Darkness
is settling down, all over the suburbs,
and Venus is rising. I can almost see
the passion that set her blazing like a flare,
an SOS, a way of saying, don't stop looking
for me. I am here.

Flight 25

my brother
and my father
tease me
about the coldness
of my heart.
and yes, I've seen
some days, had some times
but I'm lucky
because it
was privilege
that made my sun
shine, nothing else,
nothing more, no
special intellect
or desire
just the rudiments
of enough food
and love
to last two lifetimes

all signs point

prophecy sought
in the physics of the quest,
bound by rules made

to fuel the know/ feel duel
struggling for the perfect moment, to be
imperfect in the moment

when beauty is vulnerability
unwrought by an old soul,
with a new start.

01 January 2011

Flight 24

I listen to the
chords of lust
long, lonely
sparkling dust
shining into
my eyes, singing
a song of love
with shadows
joined so many
years ago
one more time
before I go

The ladybug and the araña de rincón

Flight 23

she tells me to
to go
where the smell
takes me
of the discipline
of fences and
easy company

Flight 22

I could have bought
five more inches
for the price of the man's
soul sitting next to me.
he was old, I wanted
to say wise, but who knew.
he may have been dead
living late into life
knowing what could
not be said, what the
snake made-of-light
was telling us as we hurdled
four hundred leagues
and thirty thousand dreams
above their sorry