Through - Ai Weiwei

Through – Ai Weiwei

Hi Folks,

Pillars penetrating tables is Ai Weiwei’s (艾 未未) comment, or even criticism, on structures of power. The art piece is titled Through (2007). Weiwei is a super star in contemporary art and he is known worldwide for his art and his political activism, which are often a combination of both. Weiwei has especially criticized Chinese Government’s stance on democracy and human rights and you bet it has not made his life any easier in China. It is also common knowledge that he is a hard rock fan but you are mistaken if you thought that Chinese Democracy (2008) is his favorite album. He is actually more into older psychedelic rock. The release of the Door’s first single Break on Through (To the Other Side) in 1967, changed Weiwei’s life permanently. The baseline that Ray Manzarek summoned probably on his Fender Rhodes PianoBass and the deep, magical voice of Jim Morrison influenced 10-year-old boy’s take on life and he absorbed the perfect rock n’ roll attitude that only his peers on Sunset Boulevard, in L.A. were aware of in the 60’s. And against all the odds, Weiwei has been able to break on through despite all the obstacles the infidel authorities have laid on his path. And this is my and Neil Young’s  message to you, Ai: keep on rockin’ in the free world.

– Gart

Arlington National Cemetery - Virginia

Arlington National Cemetery – Virginia

Hi Folks,

Not since World War II have there been so many refugees or IDPs as there is today. The crisis is huge and it’s global. People leave their homes for different reasons. For some, it’s the global warming that’s forcing them to seek for safety. For many, it’s the usual reason – wars and violent crisis – that leaves no option but to flee. During the past few months the Syrian refugees have been in the headlines on several occasions as they try to sail across the Mediterranean Sea in unstable rafts to get away from ISIS’ territory. And many of the unfortunate ones have met their death in the royal blue waves.

The EU seems to be too lost in the political quarrelling to do enough for the people who are in need for immediate help. EU’s member states argue on refugee quotas and the right-wing populist groups mess up the debate in a way that it’s sometimes difficult to know what we are talking about here: (i) defending of “national interests” defined by some pinheads OR (ii) helping people whose life, health or human dignity is in threat.

So what are we left here with. Do we have to call USA for help, again(?). I guess we do eventually. The rows of white headstones in Arlington National Cemetery already continue as far as an eye can see, so a non-military solution would be greatly appreciated. Arlington, United States military cemetery is located in Virginia and it is not the most cheerful landmark. But it’s certainly worth a visit. Arlington National Cemetery is a convincing reminder of the costs of a war. Could the troops stay home this time?

– Gart

St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter’s Square – Vatican City State

Hi Folks,

In The Big Lebowski (1998) the Dude himself asked: “Does the Pope sh#t in the woods?” The Dude is a pretty sophisticated guy. After all, there’s a fairly large group of people who follow Dudeism, which has grown from an underground cult to a world religion. But he clearly does not know where the holiness does his business. Or could it be that the Dude says open questions intentionally in order to encourage his followers to find out for themselves. Well, I was a little bit spontaneous and I did travel to the Vatican City State. I did not meet the Pope (he was not home), but I found out this: there are no forests in Vatican City. There’s St. Peter’s Square (photo above), St. Peter’s Basilica (photo below) and some gardens, but no woods! So there’s the answer to the Dude’s question.

While in Vatican, I realized something quite peculiar. Both the Pope and the Dude know this guy called Jesus. Small World, not to mention Vatican City Sate which is super tiny (110 acres, population c. 850, smallest internationally recognized independent state by both area and population). Anyway, Jesus is one of the most quoted men. Thereby, I feel that quoting Jesus Quintana is the only proper way to end this post:

“Nobody f###s with the Jesus!”

– Gart


Vatican City State, St. Peter's Basilica from inside