Since I seem to be sharing dumpster art these days, I thought I’d post some pictures from a trip to the village of Atqasuk. I spent some time there last April, I think. It’s a small village of a little over 200 people located on the Meade River.
Naturally, their dumpster graffiti features prominently in my pictures from that trip. This community appears to be a little more interested in public service announcements than artsy murals, but some of the announcements have an artsy side of their own.
(Click to embiggen. you know you wanna!)
I’ve said it before, I know. What do you mean, you don’t remember? Well I have
(And I’m deeply hurt that some of y’all don’t remember this thing that I once said before.)
Anyway, it remains just as true now as whenever it was that I said it before; Barrow has the best dumpsters! Yes, it does. Here are a couple new ones, and one that I think I somehow missed a ways back.
And yes, that’s it, just a brief moment to indulge in a little dumpster-based jingoism, and with that I’m outta here.
…actually, I am literally outta here. Time to fly South for a little time away from the frozen North.
I miss it already!
(click to embiggen!)
It was almost a year ago that I attended the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education, held on the campus of Kapiʻolani Community College in Oahu.
This was a beautiful but rather surreal experience for a number of reasons. First and most obvious, the muggy heat of Oahu was a bit much for me after a winter in the arctic. …not so much that I wouldn’t want to go again, but, yes there was a day or two that had me longing for the air conditioning of my room. Second, I haven’t attended many academic conferences for some time. So, it felt odd to be back in that mix and listening to the sort of papers I remember from days long past and ambitions long since set aside. As usual, the panels were a fair mix of dull to amazing with plenty of kinda-both happening as well, which is exactly as I would expect it to be.
I remember sitting in one of the conference panels and thinking something about the whole conference really bothered me. At first, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but then I realized how much of a hassle it had been moving from one panel to the next. Everyone had been rushing around pretty quickly. They were not quite pushy, but folks had definitely been moving with a purpose, …almost a vengeance. It wasn’t just that this was unpleasant, which would make it a lot like a lot of other conferences. What bothered me was just how uncharacteristic it felt, given the participants. What had bothered me, I realized, was that I wasn’t really accustomed to seeing indigenous people proceeding with such reckless abandon through a schedule. That’s when it donned on me that we were not on Indian time. We weren’t even close. The panels for this conference had been scheduled so tight, you had to leave early or arrive late to a panel in most cases. Being good scholars, people were getting the job done, but the end result was an indigenous gathering with a sense of time better suited to caricatures of German culture than Native anything. This is what had seemed incongruous to me, and I couldn’t help but chuckle when I realized it.
Hell, in Barrow, we don’t even think of it as a native thing, because the rest of us are the same way. What sociolinguists call “Indian time”, we would call “Barrow Time” up here. If an event begins at 8, that’s means 9ish, and even then, don’t be surprised if things actually start around 10. But Barrow Time isn’t just a sense that start times are iffy; it’s also a sense that the people present count more than the clocks. Events proceed when a certain critical mass of people have arrived, said their greetings and settled in comfortably.
…and that’s when we’re in a hurry.
The bottom line is that this conference did NOT have the usual leisurely pace that I’ve grown to expect from indigenous communities. I suppose this could have been a reflection of the limited samples I’ve experienced in my own lifetime. I still think it far more likely that the difference in behavior could be attributed the conference schedule. Left to their own devices, I can’t help thinking some of these folks would have proceeded much more slowly, a lot more deliberately, and in the process gotten to know each other a bit better.
It was outside on the campus of the college where the tone of the conference seemed most fitting, what with people milling around, chatting, and taking in the entertainment. This is where each of the communities present really represented themselves best. At one point, there was a mini-powwow out on the grass, and of course the Maori kept storming the stage to perform a haka. A Sami lady sang a lovely song in the opening ceremonies, but I’m a right bastard for leaving my camera in its case at that particular moment. Ainu held a wonderful round dance toward the end of the conference, and you can almost tell how great it was from the film. …almost.
At some point I snuck downtown to capture some of the street art. A trip to Punahou School and a visit with a friend out on the coast rounded out he trip nicely. Anyway, here are some photos and videos.
Unfortunately, I only captures a small portion of the performances. A lot of coolness just didn’t quite make it through my lens. I thought I’d share what I can here now, because some of it really was kind of fun.
(You may click to embiggen)
Let’s start with a few general pictures.
A Small Selection of Performers.
A Youth group from Australia. (As I recall this dance had to do with the introduction of European honey-bees into Australia. …the most salient difference between them and the local variety being the presence of a barbed stinger.)
Let’s finish it off with that round dance I mentioned earlier.
Last year I was in anchorage in early December, just a bit too early to catch the completed ice sculptures of this annual competition. I still got some interesting pics, but as I didn’t get the final products, what I got never quite found its way into the blog. This year, I’m stoked, because I’m in town later than before, and that means I get to check out the completed work.
So, let’s have a look at the completed projects for this year’s Crystal Gallery Ice Competition.
(You may of course click on an image to embiggen it.)
We can begin with this spectacular bit of minimalism, well placed in front of a colorful tree. It takes courage for an artist to run with an idea like this. Such a simple composition and so profound, all of it beautifully executed.
I really like this one.
Now this piece, here is some real talent. I mean, the symmetry of it all, and I really like the use of color. I mean, you wouldn’t think that would be a factor in an ice-sculpting competition, but seriously, this piece has some real color going for it. Also, it’s very blocky. Yes, it’s quite block-like.
Why don’t these pieces have titles anyway? I would entitled it “Colorful Block of Ice.” The artist should totally go with that!
This array of rough hewn blocks in front of the tree has a definite, um, ethos. Reminds me of Santa’s Reindeer, they way they are all stretched in a line like that. I don’t know who the artist is, but hey art guy, if you’re looking for a title, I would suggest; “Reindeer in Front of a Tree.” It really is an excellent piece, but my one quibble would be that you know there are supposed to be more of them, 8 I think, or is it 9 with Rudolph? I forget the exact number, but I’m pretty sure that you need to add more.
…also, they are kind of blocky.
…for Reindeer, I mean.
These guys over here look kinda lonely. I don’t think they made the cut, really. Better luck next time guy! If you don’t mind a little suggestion, perhaps, you could do something a little more intricate. Please don’t be offended. I’m just, I mean, I know I’m not an artist. I just think, well, you know. Anyway, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t presume. I mean it’s your vision, and I respect that. It’s just.
I think this one is some kind of ironic commentary on the public facilities around Anchorage, which I think is way cool. I mean, I know some people don’t like it when art gets too political, but personally, I like the edgy feel of it.
Yellow on blue? Okay, I just love the way some of these guys work with colors! That really was a surprise here. Maybe some sort of study in contrasts or a meditation on the color green. I don’t know.
I just can’t help feeling the sculpture could have put more effort into shaping the piece.
No, nevermind. That’s just conventional thinking on my part. Who am i to question this guys vision? You rock-on block-carving ice-sculpture guy.
Now this is shear brilliance! It totally has my vote for ‘best in Show’. Do we get to vote? I mean, is the public part of this? Or is it, just professionals? I mean, well I don’t know. You just, you really gotta hand it to this artist. He has the shape of the blocks down perfect. So symmetrical, and so boxy! I mean, others seem to be exploring similar shapes, but I really think this piece nails it perfectly.
I’m also kinda hoping, we can move on to some more ideas here soon, because honestly, how are y’all gonna top this? You can’t really. Once perfection has been perfected, you just gotta go find your own bliss.
…preferably not in a block.
I just, I dunno.
These guys really aren’t listening.
Oh fuck it; I’m going to Humpy’s!
People often ask me about the northern lights. As it happens, Barrow isn’t really the best place to see them. It’s too bright in town, and we are a bit North for the most brilliant displays. I suppose that’s one measure of excessive northitude. …when you are too far north for the northern lights.
Just the same. The sky up here certainly does have its moments.
Many people don’t realize this, but we have palm trees here in Barrow. That’s right. Palm trees. Case in point, these beautiful specimens right here. They can be found in a fish camp just North of the college.
Now you may be wondering how palm trees ended up here in the arctic?
Well, I could tell you, but…
So, I opened the door to head off to work earlier today and this fellow was sitting outside. He stayed long enough for me to get my camera and snap a few pics. Being totally free of superstition and all, I immediately decided this fellow was trying to tell me I have been a jack-ass for letting my blog go like this. One of my students ended up giving me a ride. She figured it was the same owl that’d been scaring her dog and said he was probably in town looking for food.
She’s right of course, but I’m going to commence rebloggination anyway.
…starting with this guy.