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.
I’ve been walking about a bit. I’m tired and I’m sweating. Whether it’s measured in miles or degrees of humidity, Portland is a long way from Barrow. Southitude brings with it many wonderful things, but I always find the transition just a little jarring.
I enter a wine bar and sit down. I soon have a number of glasses in front of me, each filled with a taste of a different red wine. The owner begins to tell me about the first one.
…and quickly loses me.
The features of each sample are quite lost on me, though the friendliness of the people here isn’t. I eventually settle on a glass of something red. I don’t know which it is and I can hardly tell it from the others, but I like it. “It’s good.” That would be the extent of my tasting note. My tongue is a bull in this china shop. This is a good place, but perhaps it’s a bit better for a different kind of customer. Luckily, I think there is one more mural somewhere down the block, something to look forward to after enjoying my glass of something red.
Oh look, Street Art!
(Click to embiggen)
It’s been an odd year here in Barrow, rather warm in fact. Still, a bit of snow did manage to stick to a wall or three, and in due time a few creative individuals took the time to do something clever with it. I don’t have a huge batch of snow-graffiti this time, but a few of these are really cool.
In related news, I actually took the time to tweak a couple of these photos, nothing special. just enhanced the contrast and shifted the color a bit in an effort to make the art come through better. I wouldn’t say that I accomplished anything brilliant, but at least you can read the writing. This is, I think, the first post where I have actually done any post-production on a photo. Sometime, I may have to go back through my old pics and see what I can do to improve a few of them.
Click to embiggen! …come on, all the cool kids are doin’ it!
Photojournalist Ruben Salvadori started out with the intention of filming riots in East Jerusalem. In time, he came to shift the focus of his own camera to include the photographers around him. The resulting shift in perspective can be quite startling. It’s an ongoing project for Salvadori, and one that certainly seems quite promising.
It isn’t entirely clear to me how Salvadori’s own intervention will play out in the Palestinian crisis. He seems to be suggesting a layer of collusion between the Palestinian protesters and the photographers who cover them, but it isn’t clear that Salvadori means to limit his critique to such a partisan angle. One can as easily address the questions he raises to photojournalists embedded in conventional forces.
The simple inclusion of photographers in the field of vision provides a stark reminder that the images of world conflict do not come to from on high, or even out-of-bounds, but from people who are very much a part of the events they are filming. The stories told in these images are in some sense reflexive, they are also part of the violence itself, but realization of this fact seems to require a little extra work, an effort to shift our attention to this fact. Joshua Oppenheimer’s film, The Act of Killing, helps to reveal that. Salvadori’s project does this as well.
We get a glimpse into the role that media plays on the scene of a conflict every once in awhile. I remember Gerald Vizenor‘s comments about the American Indian Movement helped to break the fourth wall in stories about Wounded Knee and similar events, at least for those who read his works. For many Americans, I suspect the most unexpected (and apparently unwelcome) peek behind the journalistic lens came with the landing of U.S. marines in Mogadishu. The image of combat-ready marines surrounded by photographers caused quite a stir back in the day. I recall quite a few folks lashed out at the photographers for endangering the landing forces with their presence. Few seemed to question the process by which a marine force had come to storm a beach guarded by scores of photographers in the first place.
It’s been some time since that shocking moment when Mogadishu queered the whole subject of war, and it’s good to see someone else tugging at the curtains again. The short clip Salvadori has presently made available (see below) raises more questions than it answers. It will be interesting to see where his project goes.