Monday, June 19, 2017

Urban Jet Setting

It's been a busy time here, organizing travel within Europe, meeting new mostly-art-related people and staying in somewhat of a daily routine, which includes a hell of a long commute to Kodiak's school every day. The school is a bit out of the city, but it's a good fit for him, so for now it's what's happening. My ideas about walking around the block to school where shattered by the reality that Catalan public schools are a tough sell for a monolingual mountain boy. The school he is in now is based on Montessori methodology and he is liking it, and he is learning Spanish and Catalan...slowly.

We are getting ready to find another place to live as I have way outgrown my rose glasses about living in the heart of the city, which is the tourist mecca of Barcelona. The city is overflowing with humans, and it's pretty impressive that one can squeeze so many people into this area. I sympathize with the locals about the increasing problem with tourism here. Out our front door now, is like walking into a human traffic jam(w/selfie sticks). I have slowly become less excited to go outside and thus feel pretty cooped up in an apartment (with no outdoor access). 

Before we left on this European adventure, my good friend Richard said to me that it would be interesting to see what I learned about myself during this time...and I think of this often, as it really has been a reckoning of my basic needs. Turns out I'm calm and happy in nature, and not so much in the urban jungle. I strongly prefer mountains and way less people. The cultural aspects of urban life are not that intriguing to me, rather something I would be happy to visit. The bureaucracy around everything(especially here in Spain)is stifling, and slow to change. To be fair Spain was under a dictatorship until 1976, and they have come a long way from that since. All these observations make it clear why Taos is my home. 
and...I do find time to go to a remote beach outside the city to play cello with my friend was early morning and we played to the big ocean blue. It was serene and beautiful.

This adventure is a piece of a larger puzzle. The pay off in the long run for growing roots in Europe will be to access new ways of thinking and making art, free universities for Kodiak, excellent and affordable healthcare, and hopefully a progressive establishment to live within. Go EU!

When in Europa...we travel! The Venice Biennale was a recent stop, which has been on my to do list for many years, and it was really fun. The art and the happs are well documented on Christian's blog, so I will only share some of my favorite pictures here. 

Venice is beautiful- the architecture is elaborate, and sinking...

Then we went to Berlin. I had not been there since the 80's, wall up and Checkpoint Charlie! 

Wow... what a difference 28 years makes! 
It's a booming metropolis of international art and culture. Other than the austere German and Russian historical monuments, the city is lively and very green. Berlin has parks EVERYWHERE- and they have rabbits, foxes and squirrels. And lots of bicyclists. The back round noise is techno, playing somewhere, at any time. All of Berlin is a compelling juxtaposition.

The more austere part of Berlin...

We showed the Hand of Man at the Maker Faire and we all had a great time. Kodiak got to play with the Hand with Claire giving tips(and yawning?). The Hand of Man was the grittiest thing at Maker Faire, which we are proud of. 

On the flight back, both Christian and I thought that maybe Berlin has a leg up on Barcelona as far as what we do creatively. It was a refreshing reminder of a city where art and freak community is alive and well. I stress the FREAK, as Berlin is famous for it's expressive diversity. Barcelona after Berlin seems downright conservative.

Next we are going to Nantes, France, for the Maker Faire, hosted by none other than Les Machines- the ridiculously incredible art collective that has built an empire of massive kinetic sculptures. I can't wait to see it all, meet them and show Kodiak!

Just a note on jet set travel in Europe. It's cheap. It's easy. And it works. It's really just an extension of local public transit and they have it down. There is no comparison with the States. Unfortunately with the detrimental decision to invest in cars (thanks a lot Henry Ford), highways and to subsidize gasoline instead of building railways and investing in public transit, America will be stuck in the past for a long time to come. Not to mention the effects this model has on urban development. I digress.

I will end this post with this sweet picture of two happy, grateful people, in Venice. Ciao baby!

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