Friday, February 21, 2014

Thinking with Things, at the Rijksmuseum:



Today I walked to the Rijksmuseum, you know, to stretch out my legs–walking is my new favorite pastime, now that my bike is currently locked away in the storage area on the ground floor of my house; flat tire. Bummer. Having not cycled through this fine city for about the past two weeks (note to self: get bike fixed), I've taken to walking as of late. The sensation of gliding through this city's streets (or bike lanes); sensing its luscious colors; feeling the twinge of a winter-spring gust of wind chill any exposed skin; all whilst being surrounded by everyone, and yet confined to my own little world–the one at the seat of my bike; these are the sensations of cycling which I now miss. Luckily I plan to get my bike repaired this weekend, and thus there are only a few more tram rides in sight. Though a positive aspect to this pedal-less existence that I current lead, is that I have been able to pour over countless pages of books–a small collection of which I recently ordered. One book is called 'Thinking With Things'; it's about Western cultures' preference for placing enormous amounts of aesthetic value on things–their form, their symbolism, and their pictorial representation of how we would like to see reality–rather than the cognitive functioning that things bring to human thought. We quite literally, think with things. Fascinating. Last week I ventured to the very tip of southern Spain for a photo-shoot at a gorgeous villa located a mere 200 m from the beach; the photographer is renowned, and it still amazes me that I have managed to cultivate my life in such a way, that such people are now within it. How fun. Today while at the Rijksmuseum's bookshop no one–this time–felt the need to have me prove my Dutch language abilities, as my mouth never opened. Instead, the lovely voice of Margaret Lavinia Anderson pleasantly piped through my headphones, informing my about European social developments throughout the latter half of the twentieth century: 'Europeans have never been especially good at pluralism,' she declared. With my nose in many books, my ears at full alert, my head in the clouds, and my heart headed in the right direction, my eyes soon lead me outside the museum and into its garden. Houses, gardens, glamour, and objects of human creation–and specifically those referred to as art in a Western context, whatever their past or present context may be–have seemed to consume my thoughts these past few weeks. Last year my intuition told me that big changes were underway, and that anything enacted in December 2013 would certainly lead to larger changes in the following year–2014. Changes are indeed occurring, within my own mind, within my views toward my own material outer and inner visceral worlds; all are slowly but surely, once again, talking expansive leaps forward. My life will take an uptick in intellectual productivity this year; I've already enacted the behind-the-scenes changes in order to be able to do so. And so it's with immense joy that I go forward, both into this upcoming weekend, the week ahead–which is reserved for six days of sensory stimulation in Istanbul–and the months and years still yet to come. Another book recently arrived within my collection of new reading material–The Journal Keeper–and my processing of its pages is now complete; its closing line delivers the most wondrously uplifting advice: 'Use your life to illuminate something larger.'