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Proverbial Support

This finals season is most definitely a bag of bricks to the face. When your inner circle is slammed with assignments of their own and your family might not necessarily understand the heftiness of the “Michigan difference,” where do you turn for support? I tried proverbs.

A common misconception is that proverbs are religious. Proverbs are short pithy phrases that state one general truth or a piece of advice. Here are some that felt particularly salient to this dreary day. Feel free to disagree with my projections of meaning.

“If you bow at all, bow low.”

If you’re going to do something, don’t give it any less than a 110% effort. Nothing done is worthwhile if there was no intent in the first place.

“One beam, no matter how big, cannot support an entire house on its own.”

Leaning on others is inevitable. No one is immortal, all knowing, perfect, or fully self-sufficient.

“Every step makes footprint.”

I saw a dual-meaning in this one.

  1. Effort, no matter how small, is still effort. Taking tasks one step at a time is admirable.
  2. Aggression, no matter how small, is still aggression. Think of the one thousand tiny cuts metaphor for micro-aggressions.

“Qui n’avance pas, recule.”

Who does not advance, recedes. Aka, keep on keeping on.

La Fresque

Ballet Preljocaj’s performance of La Fresque showed a surprising amount of variety in an hour and a half. There was ballet, folk dance, modern, contemporary, theater, graphic design, and aerial elements at play. I don’t think all of which were necessary to supplement the intended plot of the choreography, but they were unexpected and interesting nonetheless. The ballet sought to investigate “the mysterious relations between representation and reality, sites at which the dance creates the bonds that link the fixed image and movement, instantaneity and duration, the live and the inert” via a traditional Chinese tale about a painting.

The original story of “The Painting on the Wall” was included in the program to better contextualize the evening length performance. It is as follows.

Once upon a time, there were two travelers, one called Chu and the other Meng. One a rainy, windy day, they arrived at a small temple. In this peaceful place where the silence was disrupted only by squalls of rain, a hermit who lived there invited the two travelers to look at a magnificent fresco painted on the temple wall. The fresco showed a group of girls in a corpse of parasol pines. One of them was picking flowers. She was smiling sweetly, her lips were bright as the flesh of cherries, and her eyes were bright. Chu was fascinated by her long, loose dark hair, the symbol of girls and single women. He stared at the girl so intensely for such a long time hat he felt as if he as floating in the air and was transported inside the painting. The adventure lasted for several years, years of idyll and happiness, until one day some warriors chased Chu out of the world of the fresco. When he returned to the real world, his friend mend had only been looking for him for a few minutes. The two friends looked at the fresco. The girl was still there, but her hair was now in a magnificent chignon, the symbol of a married woman.

Before this show, I’d never seen a story told thoroughly through contemporary/modern dance forms. It felt like a reprise of a story ballet, rather than interpreting the piece’s meta meaning, which is what Im accustomed to doing. The passing scenes onstage corresponded perfectly to the provided traditional Chinese tale, which was beautiful to see. The two men were introduced first then taken to the anticipated painting. The fresque was denoted by stage elements enclosing the space on a vignette of women. They devoted themselves to a dance with their hair before inviting the man inside their world. Before my eyes, a love story unfolded between a young woman and man, just as described in the program. Their pas de deux was tender and grateful, mimicking their growing kin. It was clear that time was passing. The stage darkened, a door smacked the ground out of nowhere, and let light leak through exposing outlines of warriors; the same warriors that banish the man from the painting. Just as quick as he stepped into the frame, he rolled out of the frame: back to his real life. No time had passed outside of the painting, but he’d lived half a lifetime inside the painting. The show ended in that realization, bringing hush and heartbreak over the audience.

I had initial reservations about this performance. Given Ballet Preljocaj’s company ethnodemographics, I was worried that a classic Chinese story was going to be appropriated by Eurocentric culture. Tokenization and exoticism are concepts that I am extremely sensitive to as a Filipino American, and I definitely did not want to see in-genuine fascination with a culture that’s largely unsupported outside of trends. I think the performance was definitely a Western version of the famous Chinese tale, but more importantly, I think it was the concepts within the story rather than the culture that were being examined and used as inspiration. The choreography was less about Chinese elements, and more about the idea of what it means to overcome the laws of time and space and jump between dimensions.

(Image credit: Google images)

lunch culture

An integral part of a country’s culture is its FOOD!! I made a point to take a photo with my lunch in front of the view in front of me to capture the ~flavor~ of the culture and my surroundings. Here is an exhibition of some examples from my food travels.

Jamón y queso: Ronda, Spain

Jamón y queso: Granada, Spain

Jamón y queso: Salobreña beach, Spain

Jamón y queso: Sevilla, Spain

Bratwurst: Munich, Germany

Pastéis de Nata (too yummy to wait for a more notable view outside the shop, though these tiles capture the magnificent colors of the city scape): Lisbon, Portugal

Crepe with bananas and chocolate: Paris, France

Chocolate croissant: Norte Dame Cathedral (photo taken on April 13, 2019, two days before the fire), Paris, France

Jamón y queso: Cabo de Gata, Spain

How Did We Wind Up Here?

Latched into the next wave, here we are trying to keep afloat. We abandoned our small dingy, favoring the next underwater current. Easily, easily we are swept away by the next tide that catches us by surprise, or choice. Are we really ourselves if we keep chasing the sea tides that come and go? Why can’t we stay put for awhile?

New trends come and go. With Juuls, new K-Pop songs and a sudden tide of GoT upcoming episodes  are new fads that find its way into college campuses. “Its really hard for me to become excited because of something” I mentioned to my friend who commented that he rarely finds me latched onto new crazes. “Well, I only like something if I find that it will give me more meaning beyond the superficial oh-since-everybody-is-following-this-so-shall-I”, I expressed.

Indeed, I was seen as favoring different interests than the ‘normal’ person.

Regular artists I follow are Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and The Lumineers plus some cello + piano instrumentals. One of my favorite songs is Yellow from Crazy Rich Asians movie. Besides that, I didn’t really enjoy watching any form of TV series but later, I got hooked to Mrs Maisel. The Office was somewhat entertaining, but I still wasn’t keen on it.

Not to say following mainstream trends are wrong, but being caught up with every new trend certainly doesn’t make you a particularly interesting individual. Like the Arizona tumbleweed, your seeds are everywhere and you take off where the winds blow you. Ungrounded, so where do your roots lie?

If you follow the crowd, you will go no further than the crowd. -unknown

Ask yourself, how did you wind up here? By merely following what everyone else is doing? By taking the subjects or doing things you think will get you to better places just because everyone else says so? Do some investigation (but if you need an easy A ask your advisors/friends for easy A subjects).

Do you, unapologetically. Caution certain advices, especially those who don’t have your best interests in mind, they may just be trying to veer you off course.

Do you, always.

“The Wading Fortune”

For my final project in my Methods of Inquiry(an odd pre-req Stamps students must take to graduate hahahahah.) class I had to create an “advocacy desktop companion”. A weird name? Yes. But, I did not question the title of my project but focused on what I wanted to advocate for and what my individual project would look like. Right away, I knew I wanted it to be on excessive consumerism and/or animal cruelty. I decided to do overfishing because I feel like this topic is not talked about enough or even at all.

When sketching ideas I came to many dead ends but then my friend recommended to look up “Fortune Teller Miracle Fish” to seek inspiration. I found out that these fortune tellers are small envelopes that contain red fish on the inside that will tell one their “fortune”. To find their fortune, an individual would place the fish on their palm and see it move around because of the static it has. Then you would match the movement to a fortune found on the back of the envelope. For an example, if I placed the fish on my palm and it curls up entirely it would mean I am “passionate” according to the chart. After learning about this awesome and ridiculous invention I decided to recreate this into an overfishing advocacy project.

Instead of just any red fish I decided to create three types of envelopes for three different species affected by overfishing: green sea turtle, bluefin tuna, and vaquita dolphin. I drew these species out and then created my designs on photoshop. After, I printed the designs out and folded the paper into envelopes, I then cut the shapes of each species out of red acetate to put inside them. In addition, I created description cards for each species about who they are, why overfishing affects them, what has been done to help, and where someone could find more information.

 

When completing this project I had to do minimal research but after just reading one article, I was sent down a hole of digging up dirt on this world wide crisis. I also came to the realization that to get someone’s attention about this issue, they needed to hear tragic numbers and I needed to share horrible stories in order for a variety of people to sympathize. After I finished my envelopes it made me question how I could spread awareness with not only a desktop companion(lol) but something even bigger. I have begun to watch many documentaries that advocate for an issue and I believe this would be an interesting project to be apart of and I hope to keep this idea in mind for the future. ANYWAYSSS… Below I will include some pictures of my project. Also y’all should go to WWF.com and find out more information about overfishing. All the information is very interesting and good to know.

       

       

 

 

P.S.

Dear people,

I have some news to share with you all. Our environment is in danger. Are you surprised?

Best,

:0