Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Two Province Blacktop

1200 km from Toronto to Métis-sur-Mer

We drove 12 hours over 2 days to install a sonic potato battery for the 2008 International Garden Festival at the Jardins de Métis, Quebec. Unfortunately, we hit an impenetrable wall of rain and cold that lasted for the whole week. Then, just when we thought we'd enjoy a day in Quebec City, our car decided against it. The car alarm went haywire, reversing itself by being armed when the doors were unlocked (think about that for a second; unlocking the doors armed the alarm). We solved that problem with a cunning duo-key-cum-security-deposit-box solution. All that crap aside, it was still worth the drive, if not for the potatoes then for the memories. I don't recall them at the moment, but I'm sure it will come. Mostly because I recorded everything.

Pomme de parterre
International Garden Festival

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

When Potatoes Talk

How to Make a Potato Talk from rowdyman on Vimeo.

This is a "behind the scenes" look at the Pomme de Parterre installation in June 2007, as part of the International Garden Festival at the Jardins des Métis/Reford Gardens in Grand-Métis, Quebec.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008


'Cinema is the ultimate pervert art. It doesn't give you what you desire - it tells you how to desire'
- Slavoj Zizek

Philosopher, film critic, raconteur, Slavoj Zizek presents his ideas of film and philosophy in this engaging and eye-opening film by Sophie Fiennes. Fiennes embeds Zizek, the Slovenian pyschoanalyst, directly into some of his favorite scenes which he uses to illuminate the ideas and concepts of pyschoanalysis.

Not only is film the perfect medium for criticism of itself, but also the perfect forum for Zizek and his particular talent of constructing and explaining his ideas in a seemingly free-flowing, unscripted style. When Zizek pops into the Matrix we can't help but laugh when he demands a "third pill". Also, I can't help but notice that the blue pill looks an awful lot like a fast-acting Advil gel capsule, of which I have consumed far too many. I guess that's my subconscious desire to stay within the Matrix and refusal to awaken to the reality of my existence. Or maybe I just had a headache.

To find out more see the film's Web site.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

By the People, For the People

In honour of Mr. Bo Diddley, I would like to draw your attention to this article by Burkhard Bilger from the New Yorker about field recordings of American Folk music. I'm not talking about Pete Seager or the Kingston Trio or Bob Dylan, this is music by folks; just regular folks. While some say this tradition of people creating their own music to be passed down through generations is dying, it's also been said that we're witnessing a new YouTube/MySpace tradition of "amateur field recordings". Still, this story and the recordings mentioned are more about the often elusive "authentic". More and more, "authenticity" is what we seek. I'm sure it's one of the reasons so many people travel to destinations like Newfoundland. The only way to eschew packaged tours where thousands of other tourists flock to buy tchotchke made expressly for them is to take a packaged tour where no one cares to make tchotchke (though woolen sweaters can be purchased at the gift shop).

Listen to Burkhard Bilger discuss his article: Click here.

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