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Thursday, June 16, 2005

this landmark is your landmark, this landmark is my landmark, this landmark was made for you and me 

i have had a lot on my mind lately, increasingly, in fact since the last time we all posted on this blog. i feel like it's sort of been one long down hill since last september - the election, the tsunami, the continuing quagmire that is our foreign policy, the terri schiavo rouse to disregard separation of church and state, the increasing attacks on same-sex couples, non-believers, independent thinkers, medical marijuana users, and in general everyone who still believes that our personal freedom and choice is a given. i've felt mad, i've felt lost, and i've even felt radical, and mostly i've just tried to remember how lucky i am to be in portland and surrounded by friendly free thinkers like me. all of this is getting to a pica-relevant point.

this past weekend's opening festivities for LANDMARK and kick-off of the TBA anticipation season had a simultaneously calming and jostling effect on me. the calming came in the form of expression. this city has a lot of art to offer, and maybe i just don't get to as much as i should, but i can't remember ever feeling so embraced by work that was vaguely unsettling but just plain pretty at the same time. every piece evoked such beauty and balance (even when it was being spewed) and i felt lucky to be in its company. it felt like a family reunion, every piece knowing just how to communicate with you in a way strangers don't, knowing just how to make you feel at home. from mike slack's polaroids to hans weigand's tapestry, each work spoke my language, or at least the language i want to speak. a language without reservation, without injury, without shame, with confidence, with revelation, and with insight. a language that to me feels threatened and that i no longer feel like we can take for granted. this was my jostling, my activation, my surge.

part of this motivation in me is inspired by my thoughts about kristy edmunds, as we approach the eve of her departure. i wasn't here when PICA began, but in my head i imagine that she got this language started or at least engaged here and that she put the vocabulary in place, and at that time, i doubt she could ever have imagined correctly what her life would be like personally and professionally 10 years later. i know that melbourne's gain doesn't mean our loss in terms of PICA and the impact it's had for our arts community in these last years, but to me it is a warning. while this nation's open door and open mind policy seems to be closing at the speed of light, melbourne seems to offer kristy, her family, and her career an easier and more universal acceptance.

this landmark is not just about pieces on a wall or projections on a screen. kristy and PICA and portland itself have been the architects of this, but their design is not set in stone. what we build from now on and how we preserve what we've built and keep it from being bulldozed is the landscape we must protect. for now, let's celebrate these last 10 years and anticipate the approaching 10 days, and let's not take one minute of it for granted.


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