i colori brillanti di Burano

Out in the Venetian Lagoon, around 4 miles north of Venezia,  lies the tiny island of Burano or rather the archipelago of four islands connected by bridges, with a population of just over 2,500 people.

While the nearby island of Murano is known for its centuries’ old glass-making craft, Burano boasts a reputation for lace-making. But the more fascinating feature of this little Italian island is the vivid vibrant colors of its brightly painted houses. 

The buoyant, brilliant colors of Burano seem straight out of a surrealist painter’s dream. Certainly, every proverbial crayon in the box has had a chance to shine here!

Here are a few from many photos I took during my last trip there a short while back. These are untouched and unfiltered and only two have been mildly rotated to straighten them. Like most places in Italy, Burano is yet another effortlessly photogenic one.

The hues of Fall will soon descend in the northern hemisphere as another September seeps in today. Here’re some more colors to warm up the cooler seasons.

(Click on any photo to start the slideshow but please do not download. These are for viewing purposes only. If you need to use a photo please email me at gipsygeek at gmail dot com for permission.)

Junipers in June – 2

JUNIPERS IN JUNE – 2

Mad scars o’ Madagascar

For Junipers in June – 1 click  here.

This blog has mostly been my escape from work, but since last month, I’ve decided to place certain stories from times related to travels due to it. Through my years both as an architect and landscape architect & planner in the last decade, I have been lucky to work in over 80 projects spread across over a dozen countries in five continents. I thank my lucky stars for the exposure it provided me to so many different countries and cultures, landscapes and urban realities, the textures of myriad earths, the scents of many-splendoured forests and the colours and chaos and calm of lands distant and warm, as well as close-by and pristine. There are so many stories, too many tales, so many tears and smiles…..life, despite its ups and downs, has been full, for various reasons and in myriad ways.

As I mentioned earlier, June is my birthday month, so I get to write more as an indulgence. No-holds bar ricocheting pen-prose for pleasure. So – yet another.

One of the most educative and adventurous projects I worked on (albeit the one in Kabul, Afghanistan takes the cake) was building a school for children in the African island of Madagascar, in 2002, in its capital city of Antananarivo, funded by the Aga Khan Development Network. Madagascar has a very unique one-of-a-kind flora and fauna system. An excerpt of its unique disposition in the natural world (from wiki):

The prehistoric breakup of the Gondwana supercontinent separated the Madagascar-Antarctica-India landmass from the Africa-South America landmass around 135 million years ago. Madagascar later split from India around 88 million years ago, allowing plants and animals on the island to evolve in complete isolation. Consequently, Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot in which over 80% of its plant and animal species are found nowhere else on Earth. These are dispersed across a variety of ecoregions, broadly divided into eastern and south-central rain forest, western dry forests, southern desert and spiny forest. The island’s diverse ecosystems and unique wildlife are severely threatened by human settlement and traditional slash-and-burn practices (tavy) which have denuded Madagascar of 95% of its original forest cover. Under the administration of former President Marc Ravalomanana, the government of Madagascar partnered with the international community to implement large-scale conservation measures tied to ecotourism as part of the national development strategy. However, under Rajoelina’s caretaker government there has been a dramatic increase in illegal logging of precious woods and the poaching and sale of threatened species such as lemurs in Madagascar’s many national parks, several of which are classified as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Below a few images from the conceptual design stage of the school….

For projects like these, I like to take inspiration from the land itself, its colors, smells, history, stories, unique constraints and opportunities, the dreams of the local people, their reality. And the contours, the climate and the specificities of the site itself. While I worked on both the architecture and landscape architecture, the following images are from the latter. The panels on the colors and patterns were made from images of the island’s unique endemic and often endangered species. The intention behind finding connections between shapes and patterns placed in the entry courts was to make the school into a literal ‘learning ground’ for the island’s future generation so they could appreciate the ecologic heritage they had inherited and stop the present slash-and-burn techniques of destruction. Each courtyard and school subset had its own theme – inspired by the island’s flora and fauna and its local handicrafts, woodwork and art, as well as the sentiments expressed in local folk poems. The connections seen in the various natural and man-made motifs of the island were incorporated into the design.

Click to enlarge, to read the text, and soak in the colors of this unique endangered island.   .

Colors and Patterns of Madagascar

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Landscape plan for the school, plant species selected and the reasons behind the selections. (Click to enlarge and read.)

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Sketches depicting the internal larger courtyards of the school (click to enlarge) In tropical / equatorial climates courtyards act not only as thermal insulators but as convenient linkages of connected safe open spaces between buildings.

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Entry court concept for the Nursery School (click to enlarge)

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Entry court concept for the Primary School (click to enlarge)

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Entry court concept for the Secondary School (click to enlarge)

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Principal court concept between the Administrative block, recreational facilities and the High School (click to enlarge)

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Barter

“In the Dionysian dithyramb man is incited to the greatest exaltation of all his symbolic faculties; something never before experienced struggles for utterance – the annihilation of the veil of Maya, Oneness as the soul of the race, and of nature itself.” – Friedrich Nietzsche in “The Birth of Tragedy.”

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BARTER

(Sap-Alert! somewhat sappy, mushy stuff, written during a bout of metaphorical madness in 2009; the predicament when logical Apollonian souls get bewitched into loving Dionysian frenzied chaos, and get churned into inspired innuendos and dancing hearts. Any similarity of characteristics outlined here, with persons alive or dead, is purely coincidental.)

“Dionysus and Artemis.” Pen, ink and water color. Completed in 3 hours. (c) Maddy, 2004. “The Greek God of chaos, madness, wine and dark ecstasy Dionysius claims Apollo’s twin Artemis (the Light Bringer and goddess of the wilderness, of mountains, animals and virginity) in her own forest.”

For the poem “Barter” (2009): Wholeness within a single person can be conceptually attributed when one has been able to identify, struggle with, embrace, incorporate and balance both one’s lighter/logical and darker/emotional realms – or in other words – the Apollonian and Dionysian aspects of one’s psyche and state of being. Generally (as in the works of most philosophers as well as Camile Paglia’s book Sexual Personae) Apollonian logic, intellect and reason is seen as the masculine aspect, and Dionysian emotion, enigma and creativity as feminine.

Nietzsche for the first time presented Dionysus as the raw, wild, engulfing, destructive, angry, chthonic, impulsive, creative, powerful, sexual alpha-male and Apollo as the structured, calm, orderly, organized, rational man.

So what happens when completing the duality constitutes of finding the Dionysian within a “logical woman” instead, one who has more Apollonian traits and is awakened to the dark mysterious emotions of womanhood through the injection of the whimsical, sexual Dionysian within her? Hence I chose Artemis as the female anima of Dionysus – one who is an Equal Opposite – and where neither one can annihilate the other, but combine to make a balanced Whole. This resilience of Artemis (and her self-reliance) is necessary, because in philosophical texts – wherever Dionysus unleashes his turbulence, Apollonian qualities are completely destroyed. But not here – due to Artemis’ innate strength.  It is through the willful subjugation at the hands of the primitive, dominating male Dionysus that Artemis (hitherto stubborn, strong, virginal, reserved) finally learns to evoke her repressed passions and sensuality and show a vulnerability and softness of deeper womanhood, first losing herself to his pain, darkness and ecstasy and then regaining herself as an individual but more complete than before. And unlike the usual victims of Dionysus – the screaming maenads who lose control and become mad – Artemis’ intrinsic Apollonian logic and rationality keep her in balance, despite being able to experience fully YET withstand Dionysus’ intoxicating chaos and frenzy. What drove the maenads to madness, only makes her laugh. Because she willingly seeks his darkness as “the fuel for her light” as well as the space for her repose.

The no-man’s land where the overlap, their meeting occurs is a neutral territory where the union of the two opposites results in the balanced expression of art, and it is in this fertile overlap that the architect dwells and shapes his/her Will in line with a Nietzschean quote. (Architecture and Music are the two art forms since ancient times viewed as the balance of Apollonian & Dionysian qualities. It is also worthwhile to remember, therefore, the mention of Hesse’s humorous “immortals” – Pablo, the theater-designer and Mozart, the musician/composer – in Herman Hesse’s symbolic novel Steppenwolf – who are presented as those capable of living and creating in that fertile yet rare overlap, through the strength of their Will, their understanding of the facades (illusions) as well as the Reality of the world, and yet be able to create and live life fully due to their advanced sense of humor. Laughter and Love are the catalysts that can make individuation possible.)

Barter

(a spontaneous silly poem written in the spur-of-the-moment in the very early springtime of 2009, as I stood looking out into the beautiful maple forest outside my bedroom widow, on the top of the Summit Forest of Mount-Royal, Montreal, Canada. The last verse at the end was added more recently, in 2011, after a solitary walk in Central Park, New York.)

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In the twilight hour
of no-man’s land
where dreams and nightmares
blend to one
On a narrow ledge
where both collide
and turn to mist
where secrets hide
and compress to form
an even narrower strand
on that strip that comprises
no-man’s land:

Light becomes an illusion to you
elusive, beyond a darkened tunnel
But light is where I’m doomed to live
till I’m scathed by brightness,
Scorched
and blinded.

A child of light
I long for darkness
It’s mystic calm
and sensuous madness

A child of darkness
you seek the light
to laugh and play
take off in flight

Freedom to you beckons
like a sunlit sky
But to me –
freedom’s the starlight
of a blackened night

Exhausted by light
I crave to rest
and close my eyes
in your mysterious cave
of satyrs and suffering
bogs and waves
guffaws and cries
of mirth and hate

My world is joyful
Too bright and blithe
Like constant daytime
of a thousand lamps
It burns the ones
who cause me harm
And wish I could cry
to brave the storms
But ‘stead of tears
only laughter forms
for I’ve learned to
just not give a damn.
I see too well
through social masks
and senseless rituals
of a blinking mass
I prefer the madness
of those who dare
to reveal anger, sadness
feel real pain and fear
Unlike the pretenders
who dwell in
Apathy
Or hide behind banal
hypocritical
Duplicity.
So I seek the truth
of unpredictable flights
of those who truly know
The ups and downs
The highs and lows
of Intensity
The breathless turbulence
of shifting soil
The flowing caress
The ebb and tides
The whimsicality
of roller coaster rides.

You have the gift
of forgetfulness
to hold memories
like an ocean’s
fleeting waves.
But I’m Doomed to hold
every memory
like consistent earth
in solid constancy
And etched in stone
is every image I have
from adult responsibility
to childhood’s laughs.

Will you teach me how
to be like ocean waves
So I can skip my stones
on the water’s surface?
Will you take my light
When I’m tired of it?
Will you share your night
When it swallows you?

I need the dark
to recharge my light
and if you want my laughter
my genuine joy and smiles
take them in lieu
for the dark I desire
for I need it to relight
my innate fire

So when the sandman
sends your eyes to sleep
or when on grey days
you’re a dead man walking
I’ll take your grey
should you want my yellow
or I’ll learn to live
in that soothing mellow
If you’re the thundering skies
of black and grey
I’m the autumn leaves
of golden glades
that get blown off by your breezy rage
only to renew in brighter shades

I need to die
so I can Live again
a child of Light
that found its fuel
I was frozen once
and forgot to die
but you killed me
so I could resurrect again

Now addicted I am
to the thrill I get
of cyclical resurrections
I seek my death
I seek a hollow
like you seek your life
Here – take my life
till you’re whole again.
My cup keeps filling
till it cannot contain
it runneth eternally
with warm summer rain

So when you need authentic joy
and I need authentic pain
a life-blood to both
We shall exchange;
please take my smiles
for I need your screams
to feel alive
like I’ve never been
I’ll enter your nightmares
and you’ll enter my dreams
of peace and love
and tender streams

So I’ll wait for you,
Barter my joy for your sorrow
on that narrow
ledge
to lend and borrow
Each twilight hour
when the sun is low
and the glow of day
sinks in shadow
When the night descends
and takes our hands
into the scarlet hollow
of no-man’s land…..

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Forbidden words,
Forbidden lies
Forbidden glances
From your eyes
And yet your madness
Set afire
And freed
the myrrh
of desire
But like all else in that overlap,
that ledge where our two worlds briefly met,
I sank again,
like you knew I would
You watched me fall
To
A
Newer
Death
The Woman arose,
For the girl was dead;
And the Man subdued
her boyish ways.
He conquered her
not in weakened state
But in all her strength
Transformed to Love, not hate.
Yet unsatisfied,
He struck again
For Dionysus maenads
are maddened dead;
He forgot though, this
was Artemis
His equal opposite
With no fear of dread
And her spirit
would never give up on Life
‘Stead she
Laughed at the follies
Of his reckless youth,
And
happily shouldered
Responsibility
And
laughed and braved
his every mood.

For it is not perfection
One must seek,
But the perfect balance of the Light and Dark
And all Re-newal leads to Spring
Be it summer heat or winter stark.
If the detritus on the forest floor
Was not removed by Bacchic rage
How could the sunlight from the skies
Re-birth the saplings, Re-verse the page?
Re-write amidst the thunderstorms
A hymn of wisdom well worth singing:

The simple secRet of Re-surection is –

The Will of
Springing
Back
To

A
New
Beginning…..

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(c) Maddy. The Gipsy Geek. 2009.


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*“The architect represents neither a Dionysian nor an Apollinian condition: here it is the mighty act of will, the will which moves mountains, the intoxication of the strong will, which demands artistic expression.” –  Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche.

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The Apollonian & Dionysian here (Wikipedia link)

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A video celebrating an entwining of the two (The Apollonian science that created NASA’s satellite images, and the Dionysian sensuality of the composition of one of Chopin’s best nocturnes, yet each entity within itself – the music and the images- already have a perfect balance of the Apollonian-Dionysian duality) http://www.youtube.com/Chopin for EROS

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The ‘forest’ or rather stills of it that I stared at through the seasons and a log that held witness to a promise that I held on to with the naivete of the belief in words:  http://www.youtube.com/Memories of Montreal

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The literal meaning of ‘Re’ – http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/re-  

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Love and the Red Balloon – an ode to love :  https://gipsygeek.wordpress.com/2010/12/24/love-and-the-red-balloon/

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A ‘Colourful’ Message

A TEMPORARY MESSAGE:

This is a post I’ve temporarily placed due to all the hullabaloo about the  xkcd colour survey. Please note that I am writing this purely from the point of view of an architect/designer  who has dealt with colour schedules and graphic presentations for many years. It is not about the X and y chromosome controversy Randall faced.

And the following is from the perspective of colour ‘verbalizing’ vs. colour ‘perceiving.’

Just so you know, I’ve been a big fan of  that site for a long time. But I will still question the accuracy when certain conclusions of colour and gender are claimed on softer-data without a background in neuroscience or genetic sex studies.

Another blow in the girl-boy stereotypification by the Doghouse Diaries.(click to enlarge) And you wonder why so many engineers later turn up on the 'Shrink for Men' site after hooking up with BPD/NPD women? When you think 'all women are the same' you end up with the manipulative ones, 'cause you can't decipher the good-hearted ones. Oh, the naivete of geeky men!

Perhaps it’s best for techno-geeks to not give stereotypical qualities to ‘girl’ and ‘boy’  and ‘girl-brains’ and ‘boy-brains’ without a more balanced-across-the-population-cross-section study, though I do understand that the mistake here was made by the DD strip, which was not even scientifically based. If you are stereotyping for fun, then great, and I certainly enjoy the humour – but remember that  non-mushy girls (like myself who have more technical brains and are not too sappy even though we may look quite feminine) are really SO underrepresented in our world that we are really sick and tired of the giggly, vacuous, hyper-materialistic cosmo-girl types representing ‘womanhood’ to the media  or even how girls and boys view ‘colour’. Although, compared to the enforcement of cliches by the D – Diaries, at least the xkcd survey debunked some of the gender-polarity differences. Let me give here my two cents based on a discussion on colour and gender with a real neuroscientist. And why you cannot base ‘expressions and perceptions of color’ solely based on the X and Y chromosome but more on ‘brain – wiring’ and the ‘language-function’, regardless if you are a boy or a girl. Because ‘conclusions’ drawn like that only succeed in leaving out women with technical brains in its quest for girl-boy generalizations.

While the xkcd comparison lessens the gender divide, some stereotypical color names still pop up in the written results by the author (not shown in this graphic), attributing cliched ‘blush’, ‘buttery’ adjectives for women and men ‘stoically’ choosing more ‘macho’ adjectives though these were from the survey. The ‘girly colour-naming’ in his write-up are doing more rounds in countless male sites now than the above graphic. But since the participants included a far larger no. of male geeks, can ‘visual color perception’ be measured on the same barometer as color ‘naming’? Data by those who for instance named various bluish shades as ‘blue’ without naming a variation were not considered. Isn’t there a difference between ‘perceiving differences’ of hue vs. ‘naming’?

Having worked in the design industry for 10 years, the ‘color survey’ Randall Munroe has done is truly a HUGE and very detailed amount of work  (if you see his actual survey on his site.) Of course, all types cannot be accommodated when results are based on averages and/or extremes. I had a fascinating talk on this survey with a social cognitive psychology grad and a Harvard neuroscientist – and we started concluding that the ‘naming’ of colors (and the differences you find amidst the way men and women name) is quite different than actual ‘perception’. And this has to do more with brain wiring and the LANGUAGE-expression vs. hue-saturation PERCEPTION. So while a man (and women with-‘male’-aspie-type-brains, or INTJ on the Briggs-Meyers, like myself) DO see the shade difference, we don’t use the effeminate adjectives like ‘blush’, ‘dusty’ , ‘buttery’etc. to name the shade. We’ll just put them under a ‘red category.’ Similarly women (the more ‘expressive’ types) and gay men – and I do have many dear gay designer friends – will be more creative in the NAMING of the colors – even though the latter have a Y chromosome– although both the more systematizing men and women AND the more verbalizing men and women might or might not be seeing equal variations of the shades and hues. If this survey had been done by 50,000 gay designer men (XY) and 50,000 technical-brained-geek-girls (XX), the results might have been quite something different! And a result that would have put the DD cartoon to shame.

Hence language and hue perception cannot be measured on the same barometer as true ‘color  recognition by the brain’. Basing colour ‘perception and naming’  by individuals also purely on their X or Y chromosome is reductionist if this is seen from a brain scientist’s point of view. Women whose brains are wired more like mathematical men’s even if they have XX will not be as ‘effeminate’ in their expression much like men who do see the hue differences but don’t use too many sappy adjectives. So the ‘non-sappy girl’ (or women who might think in more technical terms and spend less time obsessing about matching-designer-purses) have been dismissed off as ‘noise’ in the rush to prove that ‘women name colours in flowery ways’ (blush, dusk, buttery etc.) and ‘men give macho names’ (penis, gay, wtf. etc.) Oh, the reductionism! But on the other hand, which probably also explains why the readers who are largely geeks – both male and females in the survey results had more equality than the DD strip (which makes me sigh at the latter’s stereotypification).

Since the paint industry is a HUGE one, I wondered what would happen if a similar laborious and exhaustive survey is done in the design and construction industry….since I’ve often pondered on the paradox of choice. And since I’ve seen more women to be ‘sensitive’ to color with their moods. (Or who knows – they might be women with mood swings.) The way that works I find amongst architects and interior designers is: when we choose a color – we generalize the shade when we name it but are completely anal about the NUMBER that each paint company designates for a shade and specify it on our drawings. Then I realized that’s exactly what I do too due to my abnormally high brain systematization quotient (brain-maleness if Simon Baron-Cohen’s tests are taken into consideration). I like naming colors by their number rather than inventing mushy adjectives.

In the architectural world too we all say that we’ll give the numbers to the painting contractor and the flowery names to the lady of the house/ museum curator et al. That’s how we reach a middle ground and everyone is happy. A painting contractor and/or site engineer will understand BM06754 much better than ‘morning pink’ (as a hypothetical example) Or – as in the survey, the RGB values under the shades.

Conclusion: At the end numbers and not ‘words’ turn out to be the most accurate description to depict shades. Regardless of sex or gender-based perception of color. Or color blindness. (Because believe it or not, there are quite a few color-blind architects and interior designers too.) Also when I color plans and  elevations in Photoshop I always make a note of the RGB number for the shade that is being used for consistency. And numbering comes out as the objective resolution. When a client’s wife argues that was not the shade she wanted, we say – but m’am you did pick up BM 03356 and not BM 03357 so that’s what we gave you  ; -) And if the complaints continue – we politely do Rhet Butler’s closing line. You can’t please all the people all the time, as they say….

But regardless of errors in the survey, one of the best results Randall has provided is this uber-geek range of colour names on the screen for colour-blind people, which had been one of his tertiary aims of the survey (and because of which he unfortunately ended up with the x, y question.) With this map and the color pick, you can confidently select shades without having to refer to numbers. Ok – it’s been done before but when you have the cult-leader-of-geekdom do it, it just has far more accessibility. Cheers to that! (P.S. I am not colour blind, but have a couple of friends who are.)

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The geek-guy version of the stereotypification of ‘women’. Darn! Hilarious. And no – all women are not like this.

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(1) For THE “ART’ OF COLOURING THROUGH RGB COMPOSITES OF LANDSAT7 & TERRA SATELLITE IMAGES click  here

(2) The ‘search’ for the rare women who combine beauty, ethics, intellect and femininity with feminism – Racqueting on a grass court

(3) Sex & the Starchitect (A look at how ‘sexiness’ is sadly seen only as the domain of the male architect.)

(4) Thoughts on the relativity of happiness….This too shall pass.

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Thinking in Pictures

Various Places – 2009.

[Travels from last year. Not quite as off-the-beaten-path as some other places I have been to. Last year was safer. No photos have been retouched, only three have been cropped and one has been desaturated. Click for zooms, should you fancy.]

The world's second longest town name. In Wales. (The longest name is in the Maori language, in New Zealand.) I took this photo while on a train and ferry ride from England to Ireland via Wales. For the pronunciation,go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cy-Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch_(Welsh_pronunciation,_recorded_17-05-2012).ogg

On a train and ferry ride from England to Ireland via Wales. The world’s second longest town name. (The longest name is in the Maori language, in New Zealand.) For the original Welsh pronunciation,go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cy-Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch_(Welsh_pronunciation,_recorded_17-05-2012).ogg

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The rugged 700 ft. high Cliffs of Moher (Irish: Aillte an Mhothair, lit. Cliffs of the Ruin) more than 300 million years old, on a rainy foggy day. Western seacoast of Ireland.

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A structural detail from the Quadracci Pavilion of the Milwaukee Art Museum, designed by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava, Wisconsin, USA.

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Two separate art installations at the MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) in the Berkshire Mountains, North Adams, USA

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Dublin, Ireland, an evening in July 2009, before a U2 concert (which I did not attend). Photo uploaded here exactly as I clicked it – no retouching. Really.

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Now THAT’s a first! A memorial in a prime location (under the London Eye) for its Technical Director & Senior Site Engineer Peter Koorevar. London, England. (Did you know that Clifford Milburn Holland died of overwork just days before the opening of the project for which he was the Chief Engineer – hence named the ‘Holland Tunnel’?)

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A billboard for the decades old annual Jazz Festival, Bombay (Mumbai), India. The recession in America has increased the number of western musicians and actors working in the Bombay music/film industry.

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Three time runaway bride Maria finally gets married. At a church in little Italy to the reception in a lake Ontario pavilion. August 2009,Toronto, Canada.  This is the youngest guest at the event – who knows that the best part of a big Italian wedding is the food, and not the protocols. The un-inhibition of innocence.

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I still like sitting on the upper deck right up front in London’s local buses. The best way to view the street. A used book store I long liked. No – it’s not the movie one. At Notting Hill, England. After a rain shower.

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The front view works for canoeing too. Calm waters in the everglades of the Florida keys, USA

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Kanchenjunga range of the Himalayas in Northern Sikkim, India. My favourite for mountaineering, apart from the Kumaon range. Its highest peak has a 28,169 ft elevation. The 2.75 sq. mile state of Sikkim has 11 official languages and is home to the red panda.

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Yep! THE original Starry Night of Van Gogh. Close up taken at MoMA, New York City

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Sculpture in front of the Salvador Dali Museum along the Thames river-walk. London, England.

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My father playing his Stradivarius. My first memories of him, perhaps even from the womb, are of him playing his violin. The Dad with the Strad. When I saw my parents in 2009 I made them tell me their entire story of love, courtship, elopement, marriage, trials, tribulations, togetherness. And it was beautiful how happy and excited they got as they narrated their tale full of plot twists and turns. He had wooed my mother by fiddling music for her when he first met her some fifty years ago. It was love at first sight, he said.

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After years of unnecessary bureaucratic squabbling, politics and red tape, the McGill Law Library (designed by architect Dan Hanganu) finally gets all its new renovations and design & structural revisions taken care of. 6 years of backlog politics solved in one year. It remains the only contemporary building in Montreal with red sandstone cladding. May 2009. Montreal, Canada.

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Marley the dog. Age 10 years; looking up from the floor of a cafe in Brooklyn, New York. Marley doesn’t do politics. She just eats, plays, sleeps. and loves. unconditionally.

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The Indo-Gothic spires on the building of the Baroda School of Architecture (the second oldest architecture school of that country), western India. November 2009.

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Elaborately decorated hand-crafted kiln-baked clay pots made on a potter’s wheel sold by a street vendor in a traditional art market in Gujarat, India. Pottery is the oldest export of the state, after textiles, for centuries. The pots are used for decorations in weddings and festivities. Each costs around 50 cents. In an upscale NYC boutique each would be priced anywhere from 50- 100$ upwards.

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Christmas decorations in front of the Apple Store on 5th Avenue, New York City.

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Sugar maple tree in early autumn, 2009, outside the MASS MoCA building, North Adams, Massachusetts, USA. The museum is the largest center for contemporary visual art and performing arts in the country and has 100,000 sq.ft of exhibition space.

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“The Magic Theatre. For madmen only.” A corner in my former apartment at the edge of the forest on the summit of Mount Royal, Montreal, Canada, early 2009.

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“To love. To be loved.   To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you.  To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair.  To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple.  To respect strength, never power.  Above all, to watch.  To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget.”

Arundhati Roy

More pictures: Thinking in Pictures – part deux : 1.1.11