February 28, 2011


Image from Kel's tumblr

I will not claim to know much about the Middle East/ Africa, but having read articles about Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, I am:
1. Appalled that people aren't talking more about these revolutions
2. Appalled that such dictatorships can exist
3. Disgusted that man can turn against man in such a degenerative way- absolutely repulsed that someone who calls himself "brother leader" can turn against his "brothers" to such an extent that he calls them "rats" and "cockroaches" that he is going to weed out from house to house
4. Proud that it is the next generation of young people who are rising up and leading the way; proud that humanity can rise above lack of freedom and political voice to take their country in their own hands
5. Worried about the future of these countries- as the Economist says, "one man might fall, but entrenched regimes are hard to shift"
6. Not entirely comfortable with the violence in Libya

Images from WSJ slideshows here, here, here and here

It is crazy how it started with Egypt...and then Tunisia, and then Morocco/Libya/so many other Middle Eastern/ African countries. This domino effect that refuses to stop, a momentum for democracy that is picking up across the Middle East. Yet at the same time, all this violence- all this blood shed for ? an undefinable cause that in some cases is spearheaded by so many diverse groups that toppling one leader might not be enough because what then? Getting rid of a single dictator may plunge these countries into even more turmoil.

Plus it's SO INFURIATING that a search on WSJ.com for "Libya" results in all these articles about the price of oil, and rarely on the plight of Libyans. Like the only reason why we should be worried about Libya is because the reduction in the supply of oil will increase the price of gas. This article to me is INCREDIBLY callous, Why Libya Could be a Buying Opportunity, in WSJ.com's Personal Finance section. WTF? People are DYING. These people don't have drinking water, any form of school system, and are getting bombed at- the state-sponsored militia are killing not just the rebels but also the soldiers who refuse to shoot at their countrymen, and you're talking about how this will affect STOCK PRICES?????

It is at these times that I feel absolutely ashamed to be part of the "free world" (which, let's not even go into how the stupid Tuesday voting system skews results, how politicians have encourage bipartisanship in order to garner more votes, the favouring of strong unions and political factions like the steel and agriculture industry that has distorted the markets ETC). How can one be thinking about stock prices when people on the other side of the world are getting shot at by their leader who doesn't even think of them as people?

I am just so... overwhelmed by this movement. Not that I think democracy is the best thing since sliced bread and the particular American form of democracy should be implemented everywhere wholesale (I do, afterall, come from Singapore)- but freedom, respect for humanity: these are ideals that I can stand by.

It's a little depressing that the more you study, the less you feel you know. Art really is the last refuge- when I think of education issues in the US, or dictatorships in the rest of the world, or development projects that need to be implemented by NGOs because governments aren't doing their jobs, it makes me so, so sad.

I've also decided to stay in Berkeley over spring break- but have lots of adventures planned (with my pass, I can go to any museum for freeeeee!) and tiny roadtrips around Northern California. Can't wait for spring break- school is just so incredibly exhausting, but so fulfilling. I feel like knowledges are bursting out of my head. And that I need 8 hands to type all my emails for me (and 1 hand to surf Tumblr).

February 27, 2011

Song Dong!

On Friday I helped out at the Song Dong Opening Night Party, and it was so much fun because I was coming off one of my most intense, crappiest week ever and it was nice just to not think about the bigger things in life and think about art~~ instead. I was there to help the photographer to record names, so it was really fun just to hang out and talk to random people. There was a lion dance show, and this adorable blonde lady came up to me and asked, "Is it okay if I yell? I mean, it's a museum right, do you think they will mind if I'm screaming? Is it too undignified for a place of art?" Hahaha.

It was such a great experience for me because I saw this exhibition being set up- so I saw the painting of the walls, the sticking on of decals, the installation of all the projections, and the slow laying out of the 10,000 items that comprise Waste Not, the highlight of this Song Dong exhibition; and then I got to meet Song Dong! And his family! It was like crazy, because Song Dong is this huge artist from China, and *I* got to meet him!! (okay fine, and like 1000 other people. But I'm going to ignore their existence.)

This is Song Dong, on the honored donor's tour...and it was just so crazy being able to hear his back story about these works. The exhibition is called Song Dong: Dad and Mom, Don't Worry About Us, We are All Well, and it is his tribute to his parents, who have since passed away. He was wearing a jacket that his mom sewed for him years ago, and he talked about how the red neon sign on the outside of the gallery was a sign to his parents that he and his family were okay- and that he conceived of this exhibition because it was a way of reconnecting with his family through art.

This is one of the main parts of the exhibition, the absolutely insane Waste Not installation, and I heard this guy in the space saying to his friend, "wow, even Chinese people have Hoarders" (the craaazy show on TV that shows people hoarding junk and they refuse to give away). The white containers on the floor are MOONCAKE CONTAINERS, btw! And there's this whole section on styrofoam. It was so crazy to see all this STUFF, which was the collection of his mother after the death of his dad, in some way to make up for the loss of his death. Song Dong and his mom worked together on this installation, and when it was first set up, she used to come hang out in the galleries and share her stories with the people who came to see it. She passed away in 2006 (I think, or 2009), but it's still this stunning documentation of a life through objects (there's even a small display of empty toothpaste containers!)

This is us interacting with one of the video projections! (Spot my mustard shoes and my bright green YBCA pass haha- I got so many compliments on my shoes! Hee. I should really wear them out more often). Image from the YBCA Flickr

It was just really heartwarming because his family was here with him, and his wife is so sweet. His kid is madly adorable (and featured in one of the pieces, where he called her "the landscape of my family")- and Betti-Sue Hertz, the curator, also had her family out at the exhibition and it was just really cute to see small blonde boy playing with small Asian girl.

There was also other exhibitions upstairs, and I really liked this one, called Counterpoint, by Jennie C. Jones.

The sculpturalness of this installation- even the shelf it was built on is angled. So stunning. I think it's my favorite piece in the room.

Her work is inspired by jazz CDs and music, and I love the minimalism of the colour and lines placed just so to create such a sense of movement even in such a static medium.

There was also a small exhibition downstairs, called Daily Lives. This piece really caught my attention:

Yes, it is a laptop computer, and iron, and keyboard COVERED in green floral print. Isn't that insane?? The print is very reminiscent of the old Peranakan print (to me), and covering these very modern objects like the computer was just a total clash of two different worlds.

It was also really cool because one of the artists, Cynthia Tom, was there sewing for part of her exhibition, and there was fabric and paper for anyone to come and help sew. I was super excited, because I love all these crafty things and I haven't sewed for a long time. Dan was super not into it at first, but Cynthia Tom convinced him to do it, and he got REALLY into it! Haha. She even asked him if he was an engineer because he was so meticulous with his tiny stitches.

Intense Dan at work

Flipping the pillow inside out!
Our final "love pillow":

(I sewed the heart in the front; my original pillow wasn't half as neat as this one so we just took this one home)

Back of the pillow! I love this print.

Us in the middle of sewing (note Dan holding a needle- so domestic!)

What a fun night! Cynthia Tom was the loveliest lady to talk to, and some of her work's also going to be on show at 1890 Bryant St Studios on April 16th and 17th, so I'm definitely going to check it out there.

After this we went to Fisherman's Wharf on a quest to get some animal fries, but I got suckered into Joe's Crab Shack (which is so much more expensive than the Boiling Crab! Boo!!) for some clam chowder and a crab cake sandwich. SOOOO good. Wanna go back for some more soon! Good meal to reward myself for handing all my academic stuff in on time despite it being so crazy.

Song Dong is showing at the YBCA galleries from now-June 12th, and Daily Lives is at the Room for Big Ideas also from now-June 12th. Definitely go check it out- YBCA always has crazy cool exhibitions.

February 21, 2011

Presidents' Day weekend!

AAAAAGGHHH I can't write. ): I'm 2/4 (or 2/3, depending on how long I want it to be) through my Stein paper and 1/3 through my Shakespeare paper (barely) and they are due TOMORROW 7.30AM (which is the time I have to haul ass down to the Haas computing center to get them printed in time for class). Plus I have the wealth and poverty midterm on Friday to study for. College student whine~

Presidents' Day weekend was actually really fun. I don't really remember what I did, except that I didn't spend enough time on homework. Which is why I am in agonies now.
Though I did:

1. Have lunch with Amy at Southie's, a new sandwich place on College opposite Safeway. Their grilled cheese... perfection. Next time I go back I want to try their pulled pork sandwich. Or their meatball sandwich. And possibly their desserts. Mhmmmm.
2. Get Ici's over the one sunny/warm day in the weekend. Though sadly not my beloved caramel with caramelized bacon, which sounds gross but is THE best ice cream in the world.
3. Go for the Cal v. UCLA game
(crappy resolution photos from D's iPhone)

And not sit in the student section )): (This is the view of the student section during halftime, btdubs. Spot the kid in the ridiculous yellow banana. And it's super not clear, but there actually were guys in full-on body paint with CALIFORNIA and CAL! Oh crazy student section, I love you.)

The game was EPIC. We were leading for forever, then suddenly in the second half everyone forgot how to shoot and we kept missing rebound shots. THEN UCLA scored a three pointer to equalize the game in the LAST 6 SECONDS OF THE FINAL HALF
(that was incredible. I thought things like this only happen in movies!! But no, they happen at the Haas Pavilion during regular men's basketball games. Plus I thought that the slow motion arc of the ball through the air and the final swooshing through the net thing was constructed by the movies- BUT NO. The ball really does move that slowly and the swoosh really is that loud even in real life. Then the crowd explodes.)
And then we went into 5 minutes of overtime (and I was dying; I kept saying "Can we just win already??? This is not good for my heart")- AND THEN in the final 1 second of the game, the coaches kept calling for time outs, which made my chest hurt because seriously? One second? Just freaking let us win (we were ahead by 4 points). Serious props to #2 who got so many crutch free throws (new vocab, my coolness has gone up exponentially since watching this game) and who has serious skills.

4. Attend Yiting's and JF's birthday party

Ian's face is classic. I also fell asleep halfway through all this excitement...I am SUCH a party animal.

5. Sleep, buy a panini press for $2 from a yard sale (SERIOUS SCORE), research for my papers, think about my papers, not actually write my papers, cook a kickass meal and had rootbeer floats with the Benvenue family, make lots of coffee, etc.

My head has been hurting like crazy for the past couple of days (yesterday was the worst- even after a nap and paracetemol it still felt like a rubber band was squeezing my brain.) Hopefully this is just because I am stressed about my papers (and procrastinating writing them by writing about things that I can write more easily about- like my life) and midterms. Though I think we did pretty well on our marketing presentation, which made me skip through school merrily despite a bag that weighed like a small child and having the mother of all headaches.

I'm so excited to be going for the S.D. opening night party on Friday!!!! I can NOT wait for this weekend to come. Hope everyone's week is going well!

February 20, 2011

English papers

Spent the whole day on research and figuring out what to write for my English 131 paper. I feel so overwhelmed- like Stein is so beyond me because her words are so impenetrable. I read the same few lines over and over again and try to formulate a cohesive argument that combines all my reading and thinking and pseudo understanding, but at the same time I am just struck by how much I do not know ENOUGH of. It's not that there isn't enough information, but an excess of information, a glut that completely inundates the reader until the actual physical meaning of the word is completely eradicated.

"It does not mean that there are tears, it does not mean that exudation is cumbersome, it means no more than a memory, a choice and a reestablishment, it means more than any escape from a surrounding extra. All the time that there is use there is use and any time there is a surface there is a surface, and every time there is an exception there is an exception and every time there is a division there is a dividing."

is my favourite part from Roastbeef... but so many questions. Example: why is there a comma at some parts of the last line but not others (arbitrary division??)? Why go from "all" to "any" to "every"? Is there a difference between "all" and "every"?? I love what she says about memory being a choice and a reestablishment, a shifting of perception into one's new frame of reference when looking back into the past, but at the same time, why follow that with lines and lines of tautology, and then a turning IN of that tautology with "there is a division there is a dividing"- from noun to verb?

This is just one tiny part of Roastbeef (and an even tinier part of the entire Tender Buttons), btdubs.

I've actually been pretty amazed by how social media has permeated the world of academia. As part of my grade this semester, I have to blog once every two weeks, use Twitter, comment on blog posts, etc. (If you're interested, this is the Didactic Modernism class blog- guess my username! Haha) My professor also has a Twitter account, and she blogs as well.

As a second year college student, I've learnt to take papers so much more seriously. I always feel like I'm just a lowly undergrad, who probably won't go on to do a PhD in English and so what use and of what worth do my papers have on the academic world?? I think some of this mentality is derived from the regurgitative quality of Lit essays in JC, where I wasn't contributing anything new or innovative to Shakespeare; I was just memorising lines that I liked (from Iago) and recategorising stuff that my teachers fed me. But being here as an English major has challenged me to think of new theses and interpret evidence in new ways- and as I'm looking at the sprawling, gargantuan project of deciphering Stein's secret code and how she redefines time in relation to language and representation, I'm so overwhelmed and scared to start. BUT excited and ready to take it on because I know that even if I don't have the vocabulary to explain it all, my professor does... thank God for office hours. Plus I have come to realise how every paper that is written contributes to a greater pool of knowledge associated with a particular author, be it a lousy or a good paper, and that we as writers of those papers have a responsibility not just to the authors, but also to the community that might be influenced by the papers we write (professors, GSIs, classmates). This sounds a little pretentious (like, I am so important!!!! Shakespeare totes cares about what I think about him!!!!) but I really don't mean it in that way, but rather as a reminder for myself to take my papers seriously and not view them as mere assignments that I have to plough through.

Sorry that this is a pretty geeky post, but this silly essay (and my Shakespeare essay, which I haven't even begun thinking about) will be consuming me until Thursday so this is a good snapshot into my college student mind now.

Last words from Gertrude Stein:
"I write for myself and for strangers."

Isn't that a perfect encapsulation of blogging??

February 19, 2011

Cold/ wet/ rainy/ grumpy

Berkeley has been ridiculous lately... all grouchy clouds and crazy wind and torrential rain. I KNEW that the nice sunny summer weather COULD NOT LAST. Now we're back to the crappy weather of last spring but even colder (Berkeley today is a high of 9C, low of 2C; yesterday's high was 7C but "felt" like 1C according to weatherchannel.com)- okay weather whine over. It's been kinda of a crazy week for me, and I have a crazier week coming up, so I'm seriously not looking forward to that, boo.
Plus there was a huge screwup this morning and tons of high schoolers running around campus, which has made my Saturday morning extremely unpleasant and I feel like I've let a lot of people down. ): Sigh.

BUT! Some nice things that I've liked from New York fashion week:

From Me to You's amazing Grace Kelly-inspired outfit

Refinery 29's photo journal of a day in the life of model Monica Sawicka- I LOVE her messy ponytail in the first picture! Which can be paralleled with the messy side ponytail in the J Crew Hollywood series I posted last week... I see a trend developing.

On that note:

Joanna Goddard posted a tutorial on how to recreate the messy side ponytail look! Which I will be attempting to try...after my nonsense week of midterms/ papers/ presentations.

Okay I realized that the header for this section of the post is incredibly misleading as there is NOTHING about New York Fashion Week at all, just some auxiliary incidents related to NYFW that I liked. To remedy that, I direct you to some adorable pictures from kate spade ny's FW 2011 presentation here. I love the chirpy colors, bangs, happy smiles, and all round kate spadeness of the collection! Perfect styling for one of the most brand message-aligned brands.

Hope everyone's keeping dry/warm/safe! Yes, I mean all 50 of you daily readers. Where do you come from???? I don't think I even know that many people... haha.

February 16, 2011

BHLDN jewelry

Anthropologie's new wedding line, BHLDN, has been garnering loads of press online lately (Anthro, can you do no wrong??) but I just saw pictures of their jewelry collection, and they are absolutely gorgeous.

Images via unruly things
I really want the pyramid studs (second row, right)!!
Onward day!

Death Cab-

So exciting it deserves an entirely new post:

Announces that their new album, Codes and Keys, is due out May 31st!!!
Potential new song here:

To me it sounds quintessentially Death Cab, but more like Plans rather than Narrow Stairs (the only song I really like on Narrow Stairs is The Ice is Getting Thinner; the whole album is just so sad). "I think there is more light in this record" (thank you, bassist Nick Harmer) is just the most exquisite line to describe an album.
Devastatingly, they aren't coming to Berkeley, but they did come to the Greek Theatre when on tour for Narrow Stairs, so I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed.

February 15, 2011

My valentine!

For some reason, we always get screwed over by SF traffic on important coupley days (for our first anniversary, D had an interview in San Francisco and couldn't make it back in time to pick me up for our dinner reservation in SF ...so we went to Chez Panisse. Haha.); this time he took nearly 2h to get out of the city and I was grumpy and hungry at home (after taking more than an hour to escape the city- East Bayers are serious about their valentines, clearly)

And because it was raining... we had a Valentine's day picnic on my bed (instead of Golden Gate Park, the original unsecret venue) in our PJs instead.
(well, I was in my PJs. D was in his work clothes)

Crepevine, vitamin water, and strawberries from Andronico's YUM.

And the prettiest flowers ever (I have no eyes)- the most gorgeous lilac flowers, the grassiest, mossiest ferns and little wildflower-looking filler flowers, small clustered peach roses, and 2 red roses "because it's our second valentine's together" (:
This comment in response to my, "red roses are so boring why do you always include them in my bouquet!" yes I am super picky /annoying about flowers! My mother does floral arrangements. Clearly I have inherited her discerning taste.

(Also check out my light yellow with purple elephants PJ pants- my mother chose the fabric for me and sewed them for me. It's this amazingly soft flannel, and my mother proudly triumphantly exclaimed when I received them, "the fabric's from the baby section!!! I knew you would like it!!!!!")

Chocolate. In a cardboard pink polka dotted heart box- so adorable and perfect. All the chocolates sound so yummy that I feel like I'll never eat them!

The best (:
(No matter what happens tomorrow! ):)

Berkeley is dreary and rainy, and will remain so for the next few weeks. I remember how sad and upset I was throughout freshman spring because of the rain, but this time I will not let it defeat me!! I have polka dotted rainboots and strength of spirit! Though the long, longgggg day tomorrow (work at 8am, internship at 11am, case prep workshop 5pm, TBG 7pm-10pm; collapse) is making me a little sad.
I also think I need to get a new camera- the focus on this camera is ridiculous. Any suggestions? Legit camera or Mexico for spring break? US or Singapore for the summer?

Wow, life's most important questions distilled into a single line.

February 13, 2011

Retreat and love

I feel indescribably grateful to be a part of this school and this organization. Yesterday morning I woke up and the sun was pouring in- people were rustling in sleeping bags, thumping through the rickety house, quiet sniffles and snores. Bolinas is beautiful- a crazy medley of forest and sea; shrub and person and absolute winged delight. I am constantly amazed by California and how transcendently gorgeous this state is.

This morning when we drove home, back to Berkeley, it was a little sad yet incredibly peaceful. I was a little in stunned awe- we drove back at 8.30am, so the clear morning sun illuminated Highway 1, which had been shrouded in darkness when we were driving up (all I remember of the drive up was the excruciating turns and winding road, and feeling about to throw up, and the comforting weight of Amy's duffel on my lap, and the excited chatter about what was to come). The highway was right by the water, and the small embankment of rocks literally spilled off the paved road and into the water; we passed through Stinson Beach with its collection of aged houses companionably leaning against each other in this winter-weary way; then we passed through Muir Woods. It was foggy and we could barely see the road, but the trees loomed over us and it was so silent, so peaceful; we had Jason Mraz and John Mayer in the car, and then Grace chose a Backstreet Boys song, and our car burst into boyband harmony, but the outside was dark and misty and yet the sunlight fought to come into our space.

I do want to go back, and sit by the sea and lie on the fallen tree, and listen to world awakening. Yet through all of retreat I felt this sadness, this disconnectedness- I am not yet invested in these tenuous relationships, I am not yet invested in spirit of this club, I am far away and distant. I feel like places like Bolinas may require a maturity of relationship in the sense that you can sit, and stare into the sea with someone beside you, and the two of you can be absolutely quiet without any awkwardness or need to fill the silence with a jumbling of interesting facts about yourself/ biographical information. That is really what I miss most about home (and not Singapore, but the feeling of BEING at home, with people or family or place)- the quiet, comforting knowledge that this person has seen you through your best, and your worst, and that you can trust these people with your heart and your words. Sometimes I feel such an uneasiness of relationship in this place, to this place. It is home, for now, and yet it is not, because I am not truly comfortable with the people here, I speak in a different accent, sometimes I am a different person.

Friends back home and abroad, I miss you. These are the valentines that I would have given you:

Sonia- there are no words. One of my favourite memories before leaving for Berkeley is of us watching Shakespeare at Jubilee Hall at Raffles Hotel (I don't even remember what play it was- Romeo and Juliet?) and then sitting at the McDonald's at Bras Basah complex for like, five hours, just talking and laughing and eating copious amounts of fries. That is what I miss the very most about you- that we have gone through all the childish, petty, jealous fights in secondary school and have moved past that into one of the deepest and truest friendships that I cherish; that I know that I can tell you anything, and that you will understand, and will never judge me in my immaturity. I haven't seen you in what, two years? Yet I know when we next meet again it will be like picking up where we left off, and I really am incredibly grateful and blessed to have a friend like you.

Belle, Lydia, Ems, the 13A girls like Betsy and Rachel: you guys made RJ two of the best years of my life. This is such a talented group!! NTU Sociology, SMU law, LSE IR, UCL law right in this picture guys. But with the biggest hearts and best shopping capacities I know ;)

Chorale has spoilt me. I have so much love and respect for everyone in this picture (this is why I'm at a loss with Bonner right now- I know what it's like to grow -and grow more in love- with an organization through the years, and be continually challenged to do better and be better, and that makes me not want to give up on the loyalty I hold towards the Bonner program, and yet.) We created the most beautiful music, but the best friendships. Wenny, Jorel, Kialiang, Cat, Lois; Geof, Bennett, Joseph; I could name everyone in chorale and all of you would have a special memory, and I wish we could still sing together, but now we are so dispersed. I don't know if we'll ever be a chorale group again, and that makes me really sad sometimes.

My favourite St Nicks girls (: We've been through almost everything together- crappy relationships and disillusioned crushes, school politics, the dumbass O' Levels. You guys are the best and I can't wait to celebrate our New Year's Eve Eve together again this year!!

I'm excited for Valentine's tomorrow (: It's such a good opportunity to tell everyone you love how much you love and appreciate them- and I appreciate you guys so much, that we're still hanging on to our friendships despite being so far away from each other. Sometimes I wonder if love has a limit, or if we break ourselves up each time we give something of ourselves to each other. If so, then I am all ascatter, never wholly mine.

February 11, 2011

More covetousness from J Crew

If you have seen me/ my wardrobe, you probably know I love stripes.

Even better if it's stripes AND belted with a thin long belt with its ends tucked in.

Also that I love long skirts.
(and actually, am in fact wearing a dress that looks like this right now except for the fact that it is a mottled grey jersey and cost 1/10th the price of the one featured here)

And silk shirts in neutral colors and cute guys in suits.

I also like messy hair, impeccable makeup, and coral lips. And J. Crew. So it should come as no surprise to anyone how much I love this shoot and would like to have a starring role in it.
(Also because today in Wealth and Poverty we discussed how the Cal head football coach's salary was 2 million a year. Out of a 5 million athletic budget total. For a team that lost almost every game last season. Yes, I would like to be a star indeed.)
Images from J. Crew.

Off for retreat this weekend so see you all on Monday, and hopefully I will come bearing gifts of pictures of lovely Bolinas, California!

February 9, 2011


There are times when you want something so much you would do anything to get it. And then there are times when you just say, okay, I've had enough, I'm just going to go in and be silly and be normal and if you like me, you like me. I can be serious and I can be stupid, and now looking back and dissecting my conversations, I was more often stupid than serious- but that's really who I am. I love the work that I do; I actually like the person I've become and how much I have learnt and grown this year. Maybe this is part of being "chill"

Hmmmm. But anyway, the upshot of this post is: today I wrote a kickass email at work (yes, we have to celebrate the small victories), today I was utterly myself with all my diverse interests and dreams and opinions, and while I should have been more serious/ intense, I wasn't, and that's that. Moving on~

February 8, 2011

Cute Valentines

Some seriously cute shit that I've been seeing in the blog world lately:

SO self-explanatory. 9spotmonk via ohsobeautifulpaper

I have always been a huge fan of Rob Ryan (I think he did a couple of book covers which are absolutely covetable, but he also has a new line of home stuff out now and there's lasercut BUNTING. How freaking adorable is that.) misterrob

Zooey Deschanel wore this in a magazine photoshoot and I totally died. My favourite thing in Tiffany's right now (I have become exceedingly anti-Tiffany's as I become older- I think it's because of the proliferation of Tiffany's cheaper jewelry in the hands of my peers that has made me dislike Tiffany's. Though I love the Frank Gehry collection!!!! Loved it since the beginning. Frank Gehry is such a genius.) Tiffany's

THE most adorable Valentine's downloadable stickers. How freaking adorable are these? Big plus that I love stickers and polka dots and so these are perfectly designed for me. I'm going to print out the apple ones for D and stick it on an apple so that hopefully he will cut more apples for me :D Hee. Twig and Thistle (I love this blog so much- they consistently produce such creative downloadables and ideas)

Aren't these flowers amazing?? I love these kinds of arrangements- rustic, untraditional, muted colours, cloistered flowers. I think I share a lot of the same aesthetic that my mother has- I remember her buying these furry purple flowers once and my father was like THAT IS THE UGLIEST FLOWER THAT I HAVE EVER SEEN, and my mother and I were like THIS IS THE MOST UNIQUE AND INTERESTING COLOUR IN THE WORLD.
But I digress. I love flowers, and now I find that I love flowers like peonies and ranunculus more than gerberas/ roses (though the big fat English roses will always be a favourite)/ tulips/ lilies. So fat and full of texture!! The Makers via the thinking tank

I forgot my organizer for the second day in a row and it really is like not having a head. I have no idea what I'm going to do next, can't plan a to-do list, feel very confused all the time (while feeling that I should be doing something...). I don't really like my light green organizer though, it's so dirty now. Back to my trusty black Moleskine next year for sure.

I feel like squishing everyone with love now. Valentine's Day is so fun but in the US it's so sexualized and the emphasis really is on a romantic love, not so much a platonic love which is a little sad. Love all of you back home/ in the UK/ in Australia xxxx

February 7, 2011


I was formulating thoughts for a post today while walking home from Pier 24, but never really came up with a cohesive compilation. The YBCA staff went on an outing today to Pier 24 Photography, which houses one of the largest photography collections in the world. The exhibition currently on now is from the collection of Randi and Bob Fisher (son of Don and Doris Fisher, also known as the founders of Gap and the benefactors of the archway at Haas). To be really honest, I have never really thought of photography as "art" in the traditional way, because the traditional concept of art somehow seems to encompass the interaction of human hands as parallel and necessary to a medium of expression (this is why I have don't think I will ever consider Duchamp as an artist, which may be an extremely ignorant place to come from, but I really honestly cannot think of a urinal in and of itself as a piece of art.)

But I think to some extent I have come to change my mind. Maybe it was the setting (Pier 24 is this beautiful, calmly austere place with bare walls and brilliantly positioned framed photographs) and the seriousness to which we were asked to examine each photograph- whether it be 24 reiterations of a water tower or 16 pictures of models backstage at the NY fashion shows. To some extent it was disturbing to be asked to look at certain things in altered perspectives (kind of like the world tilting under your feet in this very disconcerting and constantly shifting manner), but so very very interesting to compare how size and positioning matters even in something as seemingly objective as a photograph.

Diane Arbus' photographs were particularly disturbing:
Albino Sword Swallower at a Carnival, Maryland, 1970
This was just incredibly painful to see. The perfect arc of her arms, the cross of the sword...you can't really tell that she is albino just from the photograph (even in real life), but the identification of the woman as an albino frames the photograph in this extraordinarily creepy way. There were also a couple of extremely disturbing photographs on 3 Russian midgets and twin girls and it all reminded me of a modern-day psychological thriller. Plus the aging of the photograph just adds to its weirdness and it's just incredibly disconcerting.

Jewish Giant at Home with his Parents in the Bronx, N.Y., 1970

One of the photographs that absolutely captured me (I literally just stood in front of this photograph for 5 minutes just STARING at it) was Hiroshi Sugimoto's Colors of Shadow C1025 (2006)

In real life, the angles are much sharper and more distinct. And it is just minimalism at its sleekest, finest, most interesting. The way the corners intersect each other and create shadows that delineate the presence of a new wall is just breathtaking. Okay I'm a super fan of the minimalist movement so I'm not exactly the most objective person to be making comments on minimalism, but it was so incredibly gorgeous! And just so calming in the middle of all these disturbing scenes of suburbia and the like.

This was the first photograph I took a picture of in the gallery (oh the irony!!!!): Walker Evans' Truck and Sign. It was just...really sad. And it reminded me of what we learnt last semester of the distinction between sign and signifier (oh White Noise, you continually haunt me), the difference what a word is and what a word says.

This is Richard Misrach's Untitled 19-2003.
(photo from the gallery's online walkthrough)
It is absolutely massive in the gallery, and stretches across an entire wall. It is ABSOLUTELY BREATHTAKING in real life. The criss cross of the water currents and the little people getting out, the sunlight hitting the water and the shadows that hover at the bottom of the picture...it is just spellbinding. The gold of the sunlight on the water is just absolutely incandescent, even in a photograph.

I guess the thing that really struck me was how this was really a collection of simulacra and how people like me (who take crappy photos with their Blackberrys- p/s all the images here are from Google Images) are merely reproducing an image of an image. How can we capture the real thing, the true emotion, through a lens? I think something else that really struck me was how the glass frames were super shiny, and I kept seeing my face reflected in the photographs. And this just reminded me of how we constantly seek for ourselves in the things that we view/ the absolute selfishness of needing to find something to "relate to", either in a photograph/ piece of artwork/ novel. It reminded me of what Mr T said about Song Without Words when we were complaining how boring and stupid that song was, that we just couldn't appreciate the song because we could not find it within ourselves to connect with it, not that the song was objectively without merit. And that has always stopped me from making judgments about poetry
(okay, except Neruda. I REALLY DISLIKE NERUDA. Especially during the Valentine's Day period. And also- no more (i carry you in my heart)s. I love that poem, but if I see it again about true love and Valentine's Day I will injure that person violently.)

Hmm okay. I take back what I said about being judgmental about poetry haha.
Anyway, if you're visiting/ if you live in San Francisco, you should really check this space out. It's free to the public, but you have to contact them and schedule a viewing (they only let 20 people into the museum at a time). It's also almost right under the Bay Bridge, so it has gorgeous views of the bridge, and there's a very odd train track out into the water right by the entrance. It is very beautiful, but pretty damn weird.

I think after living in the Bay Area for approx. 1.5 years I can safely say that the Bay Area is beautiful. I didn't think so at first, but I walked around really randomly today while waiting for D to be done with work- along the waterfront into the ferry terminal building, up to Union Square, down to the museum (YBCA/ SF MoMA) area, then to the temporary bus terminal (that is a lot of walking in case you don't have a map of SF and are not tracing my route with your finger). And it is stunning. So much gorgeousness encapsulated in this tiny city of San Francisco.

Huge caveat to this post: I am an entirely uneducated art history girl and so this is truly the visceral response (// to I.A. Richards and the initial project of practical criticism, just to show off some modernism knowledge) that is utterly unmediated by knowledge and learning. Okay I'm going to read my marketing case now; writing about art makes me really happy! It's like purifying. Because today I was feeling this incredible sense of overcaffeinated zombie-ness, and then a very angry and infuriated selfish competitiveness, but now after thinking about the photographs I feel like my SOUL is cleansed. Capitalized because I know how cheesy I am.