Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Day 3 - Who let the dogs out?

The image is another stencil graffiti I spotted on the walk home last night. Copied or inspired by the grid patterns on recent Pepsi cans, but I also liked its connection to embroidery charts and in terms of sampler to the pattern drawings we did in one of our workshops. See previous post Patterns from Dec 08.

Sleepless night. The local dogs spent all night barking - at what? I didn't find out. Maybe at each other? You know that theory where one dog barks and suddenly there's a chain reaction until all the dogs around the world have had a go.

There are three main sounds of bucharest so far.
1) traffic
2) car horns
3) dogs barking

Had a brief introductory meeting with Gabriela Vasilescu from the British Council. It's always good to finally meet people after all that time e-mailing. Gabriela was very supportive. It's interesting seeing how different people respond to the project and how they start to make connections and offer different suggestions.

Spent the rest of the afternoon drinking coffee and reading some of the book Romania by Lucian Boia - a personal interpretation of the history of Romania, which includes a tour of Bucharest. The book was first published in 2001, so some of it is already dated. But it's an educational and thought provoking read so far.

Sampler-cultureclash is essentially about people, the past, the moment, traditions, place, customs, language, connections, the contemporary, and the yet to be created. Considering these whilst being in another country and city, about which I know very little...well my head is spinning.

I thought this was an interesting point to reflect upon and to examine further from the first chapter in the book where he's discussing the many theories about the origins of the Romanian race and how they have been used and adapted for political reasons - whether for regionalism, nationalism, communism or europeanism.

" A people does not remain fixed over time. It is a fluid synthesis and in any case a cultural, not a biological one. Ancestral inheritance is continually dilluted, and contemporary connections are more important than origins. Ancestors end up counting less for themselves and more for the ways in which we use them to mark our identity. It is certain that the Romanians of today resemble the British (different as they are) more than they do the Dacians and the Romans. In fact they do not resemble the latter at all: they lived 2,000 years ago, and had quite a different mentality and way of life then we do. Marc Bloch's remark quoting an Arab proverb is very apt: "People resemble their times more than they resemble their fathers.""

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