It has been so long since the last time I wrote here.
One of things that changed in my life since the last time wrote here is my mailing address. Only those who have lived in the US may understand what I mean by mailing address in context of mailing address vs permanent address. Not that I have a permanent address any way… But I almost need to invent a new English word that signifies the city where one is residing at the moment, opposed to what is signified by hometown or home-city. It should imply temporary-ness, but the temporary address is not right either. It is something in between temporary and permanent. Well. Let’s say I am living in Berlin at the moment, to make it simple.
Now I can elaborate on another issue, which is the fact that I am learning German. The former paragraph is important to lay the grounds of why I have embarked on this journey of acquiring another language. Having a new address that is somewhere between temporary and permanent should explain my urgency of learning the language of this city.
Today in my German class, we learned about Konjunktiv II and the verb würde. The teacher wrote on the board the three situations when the Konjunktiv II form würde would be used as such: 1) when asking something politely 2) making a suggestion 3) when talking about an unrealistic wishes.
On the side of my note I wrote würde = “would like to” and “wish one could.” Then I thought how strange the same word would be used in two seemingly unrelated situations. Then another English speaker in the class asked the teacher, “Can I use würde when talking about realistic wishes, such as in ‘I wish you can join me at the dinner tonight’?” Then the teacher said no. In that case you would not use würde because it would imply that you know the person you are talking to is not joining you for dinner. The student who asked the question looked baffled, and so did I. For the rest of the class I could not stop thinking about how I have been using the the word “would” in English. So I decided to make some examples with “would” to understand how it is used in sentences.
(These sentences are just examples, nothing too serious… )
I would be so happy if I can make this project work.
Wouldn’t it be nice to work as an artist and be able to support myself and my family?
Would I have chosen to be artist had I known that discouragement was something I have to live with daily?
What would I do if I was an already successful artist?
Would you help me to have just bit more time for me to focus on making this thing work?
Now I put these sentences in DeepL translator to translate to German.
Ich wäre so glücklich, wenn ich dieses Projekt verwirklichen könnte.
Wäre es nicht schön, als Künstlerin zu arbeiten und mich und meine Familie ernähren zu können?
Hätte ich mich für den Beruf des Künstlers entschieden, wenn ich gewusst hätte, dass ich täglich mit Entmutigung leben muss?
Was würde ich tun, wenn ich bereits ein erfolgreicher Künstler wäre?
Würden Sie mir helfen, ein bisschen mehr Zeit zu haben, damit ich mich darauf konzentrieren kann, diese Sache zum Laufen zu bringen?
flowing, between/over/across, intersubjectivity, Edvard Munch, maternal ambivalence
To make sense of what I had come through and what I learned from the experience of intense mothering when my children were young, I made these drawings and poems. I hope they can provide a perspective for someone who may be in this exquisite but can-be-confusing place as I was in, a few years ago.
Cross-curricular lesson- Visual art lesson based on reading Escape from Pompeii by Christina Balit
Themes: Forces, Transformation, Preservation
Visual art ideas: Using everyday objects as motifs, printmaking, Silhouette
Main question to explore:
What would people 2000 years from now make of the objects that we leave behind?
Reflection after reading Escape from Pompeii
Looking at the illustrations from the book and identifying everyday objects that people were using.
Looking at the examples of excavated artifacts that depict the life of Pompeians before the explosion of Mount Vesuvius. For example, this image below shows the objects that were recently discovered at Casa del Giardino. Displayed in Antiquarium of Pompeii.
Discuss what the artifacts that we can see in the museum tell us about the life of Pompeians before the explosion of Vesuvius in 79 AD. Complement the observation with the first few scenes in Escape from Pompeii.
The walls, streets and gardens of their beloved Pompeii disappeared beneath a blanket of ash and stones. Before their very eyes, everything and everyone they ever loved was destroyed.
from Escape from Pompeii
Connecting with Art
Talk about how “Art is Transformation…. “
Making a link to artists who applies different processes of transformation such as flattening, crashing, exploding, melting, or burning to everyday objects.
Ask : What would people 2000 years from now make of the objects that we leave behind?
Material and technique: Gelli Printing (This website contains all the information about the material and process : http://www.gelliarts.com)
Process (Simplified version)
Draw everyday objects in silhouette.
Cut them out. Now you have stencils.
Print the first layer of color using Gelli plate. Use light colors.
Let the print dry.
Print the second layer with Gelli plate, blocking out the parts using stencils. Use darker colors.
Let the print dry and hang it on the wall.
Now we have a museum of objects.
*oops! Spelled example wrong on the above handout 😦
There are several characters for peace in Chinese, and I chose the character this character hé (or hwa in Korean pronunciation). The current form of this character that we use today is composed of a character for rice stalk on the left and a character for mouth (口) on the right. So some interpret it as that peace is when there is rice in the mouth or when rice is evenly distributed among people.
However if you look at the history how the character has evolved, we can see that the older form of the character from the Bronze the left and right side are flipped and instead of 口, there was 龠, the character for flute. In fact of the variant forms和, is the character 龢, the flute. This character for flute 龠 is a picture of a mouth over a pan flute. The tubes of bamboo resonates in response to the air-stream blowing across an open hole at the top, Music is produced as the tubes of different length resonate in rhythm.
Interpersonal peace is achieved when people resonate with each other. In the way way one arrives at the state of inner peace when one’s soul resonates with the creator.
This character has three meanings: music or musical instrument, to enjoy, and to like. Initially it was composed of the tree (木) at the bottom and the silk strings (絲) on top. And later the character in the center (白) was added. Some thinks the character looks like different types of drums and bells on a wooden table. Others think silk strings, wood, and a pick comes from an ancient Chinese zither. In any case the character for music-making-things, whether it is beat or string instruments, came to represent joy.
Another way of looking at the character is to see it as a tree with ripe fruits hanging from it.
I reflected on these two interpretations. Music and fruits, what do they have in common?
They both are gifts of life that we can enjoy!
As the end of the year is drawing near, I tried to remember and chew on the memories of the best moments of the year. One of them is when I was taking a leisurely walk with a friend in the countryside of Geneva. It was near my friend’s neighbourhood and she knew all the trees along the path, especially the ones that had edible fruits. We had so much fun picking a crab apple, blackberries and small grapes as we were walking and talking. The fruits were smaller than the ones from the shop, but I enjoyed them a lot more, not because of the taste or freshness even. I think it is because I was truly experiencing that the fruits are given to us by nature as gifts. (I almost said free gifts forgetting it is redundunt.)
Music works in the same way. How many times we were delighted unexpectedly by a familiar tune played by a street musician, from a radio or a record shop, or at outdoor concerts in the park.
As fruits and music, I believe joy is always available to us and we can be givers and receivers of this gift.
Chinese character for LOVE is 愛. The Chinese, Korean, and Japanese speakers encounter this word popping up everywhere and anywhere, just as often as the English speakers hear the word Love. It is pronounced differently in each of the three languages but it is still the same character 愛 ài in Mandarine, ai in Japanese, or æ in Korean.
I heard that in Greek they have specific words for love depending on the object of love; such as eros for romantic love, philia for friendship, storge for love of family members, and agape for universal love. It is amazing how just one simple word such as love, 愛, or amour encompasses all of them. I imagine each language would have an interchangeable word for love or 愛.
Love is universal. It doesn’t need to be explained or translated. We all know what love is.
Originally the character 愛 was made by combining two characters: 旡(a person kneeling with an open mouth) and 心(a heart). Later the first part was replaced by other characters, but the heart stayed. Accordingly, the character can be interpreted in several ways depending on which version of the character one is referencing.
I looked at the ancient version of the character 愛 and 旡. (The top one is for the former and the bottom one corresponds to the latter.)
For me, it looks like a praying person with a heart at the center. When someone prays, his or heart heart becomes love.
Or love is when a person’s heart is awakened by love… which is also what happens when a person is praying.
When our heart is connected to God, we become our true selves.
(This is the first of the series of the Advent, which is composed of four paintings and reflection.)
On of the Chinese character for hope is 望. Chinese pronunciation for the character is wàng and Korean pronunciation is mang.
望 means hope, or to look toward, and this character, with its variant form 朢, which also shares the same pronunciation, also has a meaning of a full moon.
When we look at the history of how the character was developed, we can see that its origin was a pictogram that involved an eye and a form of a person standing on a high ground. Thus, it came to mean “to look at” and “to look forward to”. When 月(the moon) on the upper right hand corner was added it came to signify the full moon and “to hope”.
As we can see from the etymology of the character 望, hope involves two ways of seeing the moon: to look at (observe) and to look forward to (anticipate). In other words, according to the composition of the character 望, hope is to stand on a hill to see the moon observing how it is at its fullness and anticipating what will come of the future. We all know from our own observation what follows a full moon. The full is destined to wane, at least until it will start fattening up again.
Now with an insight of how the character 望 came to signify hope, we can understand hope with another layer of meaning. To have hope is to take an assessment of the present and to anticipate that the future holds both the blessing and the inevitable hardships. In other words, to have hope is to hold ground—as a person standing upright on a higher ground with eyes wide open toward the moon—and anticipate the good is soon to be realised.