Sunday, November 06, 2005

M&M: I wore my Macedonian flag scarf to the airport. Bibi thanked me. Everyone should be a nationalist for a country other than his own.

Friday, November 04, 2005

M&M: Some German dance authority decreed that at 2 million, Macedonians do not have the critical mass for a national dance form, Bibi said. That he was German seemed to add to the authority, her tone implied.

But Manipur has less than that yet has a dance form. And 15 films a year to Macedonia’s one or two. Sure, they are junk. But genius can spring anywhere; only a discrete culture can produce junk.

I realized during my travels that Manipur is an extraordinary place. I know of no smaller culture that has all the defining expressions of a culture. I tried saying it is culture that keeps people going in hard times but it sounds too sentimental, though it may have some truth to it.

Manipur has a culture of culture.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

M&M: Nicola’s Tour

The City Castle's open air stage is dramatic, with a picturesque ruin as the back drop just so. Wonder if it might make too much of a visual statement for Yoshiko. A stray dog with a cataract in one eye befriends us. He hungers for affection but the guide books warn us against petting him. He looks much too dirty anyway.

We walk down back towards the Old Bazar, drop into a generations old shop where they still make guitars by hand. Then to the national gallery and to an old courtyard house that had become the city’s art school. The old nude model was a bit startled and I definitely crossed a line there with my video camera. But I have started my documentation of Yoshiko’s journey.

Not sure what Yoshiko is thinking. Her thought process is different. I worry how far this project will take her art as I think I am more ambitious in my goals. It is just as well she does not quite understand it anyway; it is evident she has not read my articles on re-mapping.

I would like her to develop her own creative process without getting a lot of my inchoate ideas. I guess what I am seeking is a collaborative process than the artist/producer one she has with Bonnie. I keep asking her where she thinks she is in her career as an artist.

On one hand, her integrity as an artist must be preserved; on the other, On some level I feel she needs to find her own way to appeal to a larger audience, a mature one that goes beyond the heroic challenge that artists necessarily make to established art forms. That by itself is more becoming to youth. Maturity comes down more to craft and having something specific to say, Too often is the modern artist either a propagandist or a navel-gazer. Where is the delight, wit and beauty?

I thank the Intelligent Designer (whom I’ll call Bob) I am not an artist.
M&M: To the Old Bazar with Maria

Maria and I crossed the old stone bridge into the poorer Albanian part of town. Gypsies strewn along the way. Smoky kebab stalls on either side of the twisty, cobbled streets. Not quite yet the tourist haunt this may well become. I suppose it depends on how the Islamic schools do their job. Money comes in from the Arab countries I am told and trouble is brewing. But for now, there is mere suspicion and hostility but at (the contested) 35% of the population, the Albanian problem has spilled into Skopje from Kosovo, from Greece and of course from Albania itself.

Bought a Tito-era army surplus jacket whose multiple pockets, if not the cartridge holders, will come in useful on the flight back. And a woven leather bracelet that looks like a cock-ring for Kieran.