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Archive for April, 2012

It all started with this stamp.

Last week, we threw a party to celebrate the launch of this blog. The project is still new and its intentions a still unfocused, so as much as wanting to celebrate I think we wanted to catalyze more action, and propel ourselves to keep developing it. (Also we just really like parties.)

a temporary tattoo, sorta.

So the three of us got together and made jello shots and hand-made business cards, and invited everyone we liked from our respective lives/phonebooks.

jello shots jelling.

Wall People cards, stamped and ready for battle.

The result was an exuberant and unusual mix of people from different walks of life, all of whom had interesting things to say about the direction of this project, and all of whom we enjoyed drinking with until the wee hours.

the party begins, and Alyx wears our insignia on her shoulder.

friends and strangers, all hanging out at Alyx’s place as the party gets going.

Emily and an old high school friend, catching up in the kitchen.

Alison camped out by the snack table.

Contributions to our “wall” came in fast and furious.

jello shots = destroyed.

It was lovely. A big thank you to everyone who came, and keep your eyes here for future developments!

All three wall ladies, basking in the glow of a successful launch. More to come soon!

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[photo of Salvador and Gala Dali by Brassaï, found via Vic]

“What I feel about these photographs derives from an average affect, almost from a certain training. […] it is studium, which doesn’t mean, at least not immediately, ‘study,’ but application to a thing, taste for someone, a kind of general enthusiastic commitment, of course, but without special acuity.” (p 26)

“The second element will break (or punctuate) the studium. […] it is this element which rises from the scene, shoots out of it like an arrow, and pierces me. […] I shall therefore call [it] punctum; for punctum is also: sting, speck, cut, little hole – and also a cast of the dice. A photograph’s punctum is that accident which pricks me (but also bruises me, is poignant to me).” (pp 26-27)

Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida, Hill & Wang, 1981

I have already on this blog made fun of my own tendency to refer to people such as Roland Barthes, so I am either demonstrating or completely undermining my earlier point. But people are complex and that’s what makes us interesting etc., etc., and the real point is that I love this photograph.

There are many things in the studium of this photograph that I love: Salvador’s steamy appeal, Gala’s timeless chicness, their closeness and confidence oozing out of the picture, the various pieces of artwork cropped by the framing of the photograph, the composition of lighter and darker areas in the image, and so on.

But the real punctum, the thing that pricks me, bruises me, keeps me begging for more, is the reflection of the photographer in the mirror on the left. He is out of focus, face bent into the camera, hand ready to make any adjustments to his machinery. He is maybe the third or fourth thing you notice about this image, but he is the part that stays with you.

To over-elucidate the punctum is to repeat a punchline or explain an inside joke; the re-articulation weakens or even ruins the magic of the thing. Instead, I hope that you are similarly pricked and bruised by this photograph.

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Every Monday we’ll post a round up of the things that got our creative juicing flowing. Have a tip for The Mondays? Tweet it to us @WallPpl 

“Animated gif of an elephant on a trampoline. What could be more inspiring?” – Alyx

“Photographs of a hanging wisteria garden in Kitakyushu, Japan. Gorgeous.” – Alyx

“The work of Aganetha Dyck, who makes sculptures in collaboration with honeybees.” – Alyx (clearly I’m having a visual week)

“The poet Adrienne Rich, “distinguished by an unswerving progressive vision and a dazzling, empathic ferocity,” died last week at eighty-two. I had heard of her, but never read her work until now; I’m so glad to have started.” – Alison

Song

You’re wondering if I’m lonely:
OK then, yes, I’m lonely
as a plane rides lonely and level
on its radio beam, aiming
across the Rockies
for the blue-strung aisles
of an airfield on the ocean.

You want to ask, am I lonely?
Well, of course, lonely
as a woman driving across country
day after day, leaving behind
mile after mile
little towns she might have stopped
and lived and died in, lonely

If I’m lonely
it must be the loneliness
of waking first, of breathing
dawns’ first cold breath on the city
of being the one awake
in a house wrapped in sleep

If I’m lonely
it’s with the rowboat ice-fast on the shore
in the last red light of the year
that knows what it is, that knows it’s neither
ice nor mud nor winter light
but wood, with a gift for burning.

Adrienne Rich

“I have been drooling over Rodney Smith’s photography today. Here, have some drool:” – Alison

“An article about a war between two pizza places on 6th Ave, fighting to have the cheapest slice. Tempers are raging, and each is trying to outlast the other. Who started it? How will it end? It’s all so exciting, and there’s cheap pizza in the process!” – Alison

Read about the study of gesture and body language, and attempts to distinguish how much is innate, and how much is learned/cultural. When does gesture stop being a rough universal symbol and begin to have specific meaning?” – Alison

“So, all of those youtube commenters, the yahoo answers answer-ers, the various trolls, haters, flamers — what do they DO with their lives, besides write awful things on the internet? Here is your answer.” – Alison

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