08 October 2009

NextCat: ThisCat

NextCat(tm) has arrived and become ThisCat(tm), whom we are calling, for the time being until she reveals another name, Kiwi. She was born July 17th, making her 12 weeks old Friday. The adoption didn't go quite as I had imagined. The woman has a cat she won't spay because she "doesn't like to," so she quite often has kittens in need of homes. She lets them all live out in the garden, so while not feral, they are poorly socialized with people. None of them cared a whit for me, let alone decided to choose me to take one of them away. Two the woman had never caught at all. I watched them play and sat on the terrace until they'd all gone off into the hedge. No, not the scenario I had in mind at all. So, of the ones she could catch, I chose the friendliest and away we went.

It is unsettlin
g to have a stranger move in to our home. It's been so long since Mango and Wordsworth were new that they were part of me, I knew and loved them so well. Now I've chosen to love a bouncy, silly kitten who doesn't have an indoor voice. But she seems to be a quick learner, from needing and accepting further instruction on the uses of sandbox to picking up Craig's games with her to extracting herself from places she shouldn't have gone to begin with; I have great confidence in her.

Kiwi's first visit to the doctor went just fine last week. She is in good shape and behaved quite well. For her age, she has very long legs. We may be raising a panther. I've o
ften bemoaned the size range available in dogs but not in cats. Of course, we can only "domesticate" the cat up to the point where he can stop us. Dogs want to be part of a pack. As long as it's clear who is alpha, they are happy. Cats don't care. If there is disagreement, there is no submission because they believe we are equals. It is with careful thought to that future panther that I am cultivating relationship with Kiwi. Kitten teeth never belong on human flesh, all the more so when the 3 month old kitten is proportioned like a cat already. I forget that she truly is still an itteh bitteh kitteh until I look at her face, see her tiny nose and over-large ears.

For now, she is little Kiwi, dual-phase kitten: on/off. "On" demands constant play, having grown accustomed to siblings and outdoors. "Off" relishes a warm lap. There is no intermediate state. She is either shouting for attention or purring as though life has never been this warm and dry and full-belly.

03 October 2009

Nuit Blanche 2009

It is a joy to return to the City of Light, to the home of good friends, in anticipation of a full night of art, the Sleepless Night: Nuit Blanche. The English language Press Kit was a welcome resource, preparing me for the strong presence of video installations. I like video. As with all art, some is fantastic, some is rubbish. But for me, it is just not as engaging in a setting where the audience is moving, wandering, as other more sculptural media are. But video is the modern form. It can speak with greater breadth and depth than can oil on canvas. I am the first to admit I've had my fill of dark old Dutch Masters, rooms of prosperous men in fabulous hats. But Nuit Blanche lays a lot of ground to cover, stylistically and, more pragmatically, geographically. So I peruse the Press Kit, read the descriptions of the major artists and their works, and do a little planning for the night.

Now, after a decadent meal of crepes and cider (we watched a mountain of butter disappear onto the griddle even as a good and tasty portion of it was disappearing down our gullets), we head off into the night.

We find, by plan, an interesting melange of sound, motion, light, and color. Giant glowing multicolor crystals had grown up inside Notre Dame. A monstrous UFO-like disco ball hovered over the Senate and Luxembourg Gardens, spinning and dancing its lights across the grounds, the pond, the low-hanging clouds. A 40 voice motet was played through 40 speakers in a circle, giving the effect of being in an incredible choir.

Shadows of sweetly frightening figures played across a screen in the park. Imagine the music from The Nightmare Before Christmas. A hillside covered in red umbrellas looked down on a lake, glowing with blue, white, and red lights beneath its surface. These are but a few of the wonderful artworks Paris put out for free, for the night, for the people. If I were Parisienne, I would take that Press Kit well before, find the most auspicious bit of sidewalk or square, and put up my own art. It's quite possible that some of what we saw was exactly that. The whole scene would be enriched by greater density of art, one night of Burning Man distilled, more participants encouraged amongst the audience. And of course, more fire is always good. Like many of the pieces themselves, the Sleepless Nights are growing works in process around the world. Find one near you! Take it it, mull it around, see what comes out, and call it your art. (all photos: cvl)
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