Monday, September 29, 2008

"I like the piano...
The piano doesn't know you're blind,
so it does not make it easier for you."
From Saboteur, Film by Alfred Hitchcock

Two birds with one stone

Recent events in Orissa and all over India with regards to the treatment meted against Christians only prove a point. No matter how hard you step on a spring, saturated with momentum and rhythm, you only fuel the energy and the force that it gets to strike back.

Burning down churches and killing people only parades the martyr's faith. Deaths that wouldn't have been even announced on the Obituary page of the local paper get headlined on International newspapers. Thanks to the mindless violence and raising of the fist. And what does the dead care anymore? They are already where they should be the moment they left their mortal bodies. And the violaters only get to clean up the mess they made. Yes, no matter their associations and support from those at the earthly 'high places'. Justice is always at the end of the road, whichever street you are on.

Christians are being pushed into the limelight. At this instance, even unknowingly. A testimony of an unknown faithful is given a space on Internet or newspaper. He/she blurts out a personal belief, unknowingly, and somewhere across the face of earth, a soul is stirred through it. I read an article written by a journalist from Calcutta titled Faith Accompli for The Hindustan Times. Soumitro Das writes, 

Then, [a person] finds a God who, like him, suffered excruciating pain, who chose his  disciples among the poor and the wretched and gave his own life  so that others could find  salvation through his  suffering.  The Dalit also understands that, in the light of Jesus' story, the Hindus do not seem to have a moral order, that the only thing that counts for them is ritual purity and impurity. Instead of good and evil, Hinduism deals in the categories of ritual cleanliness and uncleanliness. The community, fortified by its realisation that the Hindu world view is only one among many others and not even of the most superior kind, gradually revolts and crosses over to Christianity. 

I am sure that it is not meant to be an attack on Hinduism. The writer himself could very well have been a Hindu. But my point is that events like the church burnings and killings give reasons for intellectuals and people who have influence in society to think about Christianity, to find out what is real and what is farce.

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Organisations also chose to voice their opinions and grievances to the Government of India by organising a Seven Days Sit In Dharna at the National Capital of India, Delhi. There were groups of even Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist communities who took part. Talk about unity in diversity against what is wrong.

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That's killing two birds with one stone.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Stawberry Fields and drawings

The song Strawberry Fieldsby The Beatles, was stuck in my head for the whole day. I think after reading Akash's blog. And another song Sunshine On My Shoulder by John Denver. It is a bright sunny day. I just had the most amazing drawing class. At the Botanical Garden.
Did drawings with apple twigs (literally twigs taken from an apple tree) and black ink. They look pretty depressing, but it was a bright sunny day. Just my interpretation and technique made it dark and gloomy. Almost looks like its snowing...

Last of the winters


Two men on a boat

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Feeling in my bones

I have a faint feeling in my bones that I have completed my assessment project, braving a computer network failure all across the Graphic Design Floor, boredom, hunger and inability to follow set rules and process.
Check out the design:
It's a logogram (logogram |ˈlôgəˌgram; ˈlägə-|nouna sign or character representing a word or phrase, such as those used in shorthand and some writing systems) that is supposed to represent myself. After much brainstorming, I came to the conclusion that there are three things that define who I am and who I have become.
Freedom, tea and spectacles



How they define me is another story. But this logogram is an incorporation of all three elements (of which we had to make ATLEAST fifty sketches all different from each other. It represents a tea cup (for tea), the extension at the lower part is for freedom to break from the circle of normalcy (not that I claim to be different, just that I have the freedom to do what I want to) and the curve at the upper part is meant to have come from the spectacles frame but hardly recognisable because of the stylised look.
Its not as easy as it looks. For one, the tutor who approves them is very very hard to please. And second, they should conform to the norms of type faces (which means type letters) with all the anatomy of type taken into consideration. Yes, there is such a thing as anatomy of type. Not easy. You sort of learn to appreciate the beauty and form of a good font after knowing them. 
(And for your information, never ever use Arial font. Its a cheap imitation of Helvetica font and its ugly to say the least. It speaks a lot about your ignorance and no sense for form and style if it happens to be the font that you use all the time. You can just see it. They are like an unorganised troop of army crashing into one another, whereas a font like Georgia, the font that is in use presently for this blog, and Bodoni, the one i used for the project, look beautiful and uniform. For example: Arial: 
what is your name? My name is whatever. 
Squint your eyes and look at it from a distance. You'll see what I am talking about.)
Oh. I wasn't planning to give a whole lecture on typefaces, but yeah I did it.

untitled post this is

Who thinks Wagner was a genius of his kind?

I do! I do!

After a long time I tuned myself to Wagner's orchestras again. Its a Floo powder into a whole new world. Vast lakes and soaring horse with wings (not a dragon) and elegant towers. No, actually it is Shuffle mode on my iTunes so its also playing Schubert, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Beethoven and Schumann after Tannhauser Overture by Wagner.
I give it respect by not listening to them everyday. Thats what I do to very good songs and all classical pieces on my computer.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

typeface

Little Indian Towns

I am so happy that little Indian towns are never taken seriously, that no books have been written about them so extensively as they have for the cities. The town remains the strange non-explainable unit, with people obssessed with labels confused about what to label them. You just cannot explain what it is to a scientist. Its beyond geography.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Inspired by rejection

Today is a very depressing day. 
There's a guy in my class who's been playing the whole album American Idiot which is not making it any better. An online writer's community (101 Suite) rejected my article saying they are too subjective and not upto what the readers want. And what do readers want? Information. Data. 
Where is opinion anymore? Where is the interpretation of our worlds anymore? Where is the ability of the human reasoning to see things and let their past and experiences interpret them?
Our memory has grown. Our ability to register data has grown. Great. But so have computers. There is nothing human about learning. There is nothing human about knowing what's the best technology in the stores. There's nothing human about knowing who's leading the Presidential race. There's nothing human about knowing who won the most gold medal at the Olympics.
Human beings find meaning in the little they know. I think there is an addiction for knowledge rampant.
There is nothing human about spending a weekend by the sea, smiling, telling oneself that this is life, the best that life has to offer. Human beings live by the sea and the mountains, fighting hard for survival and keeping food on the table, and learning to find meaning because of what we lack, not because of what we have in abundance. Abundance is sweet but murderous.
Every so called 'revolution' had bad consequences that showed up in time. The Industrial Revolution despite all its benefits brought about the Second World War. The Information Revolution will bring about the downfall of humanity, I am sure.
--
And all this talk, because somebody rejected my article. har har.

Monday, September 22, 2008

From Deirdre of the Sorrows

NAISI (on seeing Deirdre) -- transfixed with amazement -- And it is you who go around in the woods making the thrushes bear a grudge against the heavens for the sweetness of your voice singing.
--
DEIRDRE -- softly -- This night I have the best company in the whole world.
NAISI -- still a little formally -- It is I who have the best company, for when you're queen in Emain you will have none to be your match or fellow.
DEIRDRE.  I will not be queen in Emain. 
NAISI.  Conchubor has made an oath you will, surely.
DEIRDRE.  It's for that maybe I'm called Deirdre, the girl of many sorrows . . . for it's a sweet life you and I could have, Naisi. It should be a sweet thing to have what is best and richest, if it's for a short space only.
--
Are you thinking I'd go out after hares when I've had your lips in my sight? (Naisi to Deirdre)

Friday, September 19, 2008


Thursday, September 18, 2008

ditched and hungry

Ditch #1 Today I woke up early (7:15am, as opposed to 8am) hoping it will be a good sunny day. It was raining. The basketball plan for the afternoon will have to be cancelled, says Ran Jing (AKA Tony), and it was the second time this was happening. Last few weeks our plan to play basketball at New Brighton beach was also cancelled due to sudden unexpected rain.
Ditch #2 And as though it had to be worse, when I got to school, I got mail from Whitcoull's about a job application I put in. They had better applicants that they accepted instead of me.
Ditch #2.5 We are still at the beginning stage of our present design project where we are still scribbling our 50 sketches on paper. I was doing it on a4 when the tutor (Belle AKA Ghanti, as we Indians in the class call her) told me in her chewy Kiwi accent, "you need to do them on a3 sheets." I nodded not in the mood for opposition or agument. It was just that I was being a little more economical.
Ditch #3 Last night, I had a Chinese Hakka Noodles Indian Style that I got from the Asian Warehouse, Madras Street (don't you hate how these people STEAL names like Madras, Colombo, Manchester, et al. I will address that issue later) and it was a pre-cooked packet that I had to just microwave heat. It turned out to be the worst sort of noodles I have ever tasted. I almost threw up at just the smell, but I ate most of it anyway (credits to my conscience and economic logic) because I didn't want to waste it. Right after that I washed my hands with lime squeezed from fresh lemon to keep away the smell and headed to bed before my house mates find me and ask what I ate.
Tomorrow is SALT, creative convergence, at church. A creative arts conference. So its class bunking which means extended weekend. Golly!
My plans to buy a bass guitar, from the second hand shop, I guess is not to happen until I get a job. I first need to buy a DSLR camera. Now its past lunch time and I am so hungry. KFC? I detest the smell of KFC. But its most convenient. I think I might just end up there today too. I am so mundane. Same places, same routine. (haha)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

on art

What is art? Art began with a problem. Art is always associated with problems. Art is sinful man trying to create a sinless literature. Art is an escape from trouble. Or art is facing the trouble head on. The purpose of both efforts is to find solution to that trouble. Jealousy pulls my heart to strokes of creation. Loneliness drives my pen. My pain drips onto my paper. I create a friend to talk with because no one hears me.
Problems add fuel to the fire that bakes art.
Art is not pretty picturesque adorning of walls, or scatterbrained attempts to create something uncanny. That is creativity or innovation.
What if man never sinned against God? What if the forbidden apple never happened? What if we live in an utopia, a perfect world? Would there have been the art? What would fuel the fire? What would press the hearts of people so much so that they find it necessary to escape. If the world we live in was perfect, what would be point of dreaming for a better world.
Art tells us that there is more. Art seeks God, even unconsciously.
--
What does it mean then? Heaven will be the end of art?

freedom, tea and glasses

freedom, tea and glasses

the title for a book idea that I just came up with.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Weekend of Rashomon, Masquerade Ball and Mozart

What a weekend. The sun came out. Though its still quite cold. I had another trip to the library. I didn't get too many books. The library was closing down 20 minutes after I came in. So all I got to read was Book Of The City a collection of short cities inspired by cities all over the world. And there's Salman Rushdie in it too. 
I also got 5 dvds, the one highlight (of the two) of this entry. Two of the best films I have seen so far. 
Rashomon, that I saw when I was just a dazed first year in my previous college (St. Anthony's College) for Mass Communication Theory and Research. 
Casablanca, seen in my second year at St. Anthony's as part of my Film Appreciation. I haven't loved a film as much as I remember loving Casablanca. It suits my temperament. Unpredictable, especially the way it ends. 
Then, I have In Search Of Mozart, a documentary, 'a detective story that travels to the heart of old Europe... and the heart of the genius itself.'
Spirits of the Dead, three tales of macabre by Edgar Allan Poe
and Deepa Mehta's Water
So I have reasons to look forward to this weekend.
AND
There is a Masquerade Ball tonight organised by some group from Canterbury University!
And of course, its Roy's birthday tomorrow, the carefree Bengali guy, who drives a flooded car (yes, flooded, literally, with water) without the windshield at the back, who is also my classmate and is always on the lookout for the cheapest cigarette deal.
Quite a weekend, eh?

Friday, September 5, 2008

of type face and New Orleans Jazz Band and canterbury old campus

There was something horrendous about the way that I kept hearing the term 'type-face' resonate in my head. It only got better during lunch. I think it happened because I didn't sleep well. Then to add to it there was a major brainstorming session for three hours or more, with a coffee break in the middle (without the coffee because I didn't feel like it), for the next project that we are embarking, which concerned type faces.
Lunch time was a redeemer. We discovered a jazz band playing at the cathedral square. Like a warm blast of air in South Pole their music was in that cold air. We aborted our KFC plan, three of us and decided to bask in the music.
It was New Orleans Jazz Band performing at Lunchtime Concert just a little ahead of the cathedral entrance in the middle of the square, all of them dressed in black, with a necklace of red and orangey beads hanging from the lady vocalist's neck. My friend Raj remarked, they're from New Orleans, probably fleeing their home with the threat of Hurricane Gustav around.

Anyway, my love for jazz is re-kindled. I ditched the classy genre of music when I was in India, being too cheesy for the summer Indian air. But now that I am in Christchurch winter air, I might have thought about giving jazz another chance. Well now I have. When I get home and am in a mood for music I will fish for my cd collection of jazz music...
Drawing class was at Canterbury old campus. What can I say about Canterbury old campus? I think it is by far the most beautiful set of buildings I have ever seen, maybe not as awe inspiring as those in old Bombay, but beautiful in its own way, neat, cosy and quite solid.
Too bad the campus moved to the newer one in the 70s. Otherwise I would have definitely gone to study there, no matter what subject, irrespective of my D&A design diploma.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Pictures of Christchurch and D&A and so on...


Here is the first batch of books that I took out of the library. 
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Public artwork, just outside my window. The area where the string on which the man is placed on is just below my window in my former room and house.
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The car on the wall. Crazy people.
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3-D works with wires of four men, suspended over bars and food places, Lichfield Street
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Tea from an Indian food place at Food Court, Colombo Street (or Manchester Street)
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The Life Drawing Class. It was easier for us, we just had boxes. For Foundation and Fine Arts, nude people actually pose for students to draw. Haha. I cannot imagine that. Not an old man or woman or something. You know what? I don't want to imagine. (:<*&*@^#&> wak!)
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Christchurch Art Gallery or something
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I like  this shot because it captures what Christchurch is pretty well.. cycles, elaborate street furniture, vintage buildings, kids and brats and lazy sunshine
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Drawing class in action, Michael's American english bouncing off Sunil's head and Agus and Lina
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Bird bench
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Scouting into Fashion Design Room, with Sunil hot on his tracks
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Cardboard Robot just at the Entrance of Graphic Design and Contemporary Photography Floor
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Contemporary Photography wall
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View of Christchurch Cathedral from Students Common Room Floor
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Another view
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Of people and their antics

A list of people I have befriended on my stay here:

(to be filled in later)

Of Design and Ordered Christchurch

Figure: The last project I was working on, making four sets of two playing cards based on theme 'anger' with self-created alphabet also based on theme 'anger'.

Its a lot warmer today. It is overcast but isn't as chilly as two days ago. I might sound stupid, but 1st September is the official beginning of Spring in New Zealand, and since yesterday, the air got heaps warmer. Seriously. It is a crazy place. The weather follows routine. Even the big clocks on bell towers work! 

Everything is so orderly in a very annoying way in Christchurch. (see, I don't like my negativity)

"A human soul needs a little disorder in its symmetry."

Cars actually wait for you to cross the road no matter what the colour of the traffic signal is. That you are obligated to grin back in a polite way at the drivers. Not so in India, as more than 1/6th of the world's population know. Maybe it is a little too much disorder (in India) that will do more harm than good to a human symmetry, but then, when one has spent twenty years in disorder and gets a brief stint of a little bit of order, the transition is sudden.

--

We are embarking on a new project today.. about type face. And now we're looking at demos by some of the world's best designers for types.

Amazing. Blows my mind. Blows my mind. My mind's still sore from the explosion that happened in my head.

I stare at my eMac screen. I have a desktop screen of a European guy, with cool dreadlocks standing with the background of Kanchengjunga. And some random illustrator and photoshop files littered all over the screen.

I just completed my last project. As I said we are embarking on something more to do with a publications design, something that I really really love.

The previous one (Figure) was good. I liked it a lot.