Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Post 70: 260706 9th World Tantrix Champs

Check out the list of current entrants in the 9th World Tantrix Championships. It kicks off next month and despite winning the Asian Champs i have little confidence of progressing far. There are alot of very serious players out there.

This year they are hoping for over 200 entrants from at least 30 different countries. Not bad for a little game that started in New Zealand.

Post 69: 250706 The Photo at last

What is up with this site, when sometimes it won't let me upload photos. Anyways here is the crappy photo of a few of the guys i played football with on Monday night. I must have been at least ten years older than them but i still wasn't the oldest out there.

There will hopefully be five of us heading down tonight. We might even make our own team. Ah i've missed this for far too long.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Post 68: 250706 Indoor at last

I came to South Korea in April of 2003 I think it was. Not long before I left I played a game of indoor football with a team I had been with for some years. When I got here I was hoping to find, start, play indoor football with little or no break. As simple as moving from one field to the next. I’ve been waiting and hoping that long. Well tonight my waiting came to an end.

Last week as my girlfriend and I were walking along the back roads of the town around us I stumbled upon not one but two indoor football stadiums. How excited was I? I waited over three years to play football here, to pass a ball, to save a goal, to cheer and dare I say it, even to yell. Tonight I got to do all that. Not so much of the yelling I suppose, there was no ref to yell at nor was there my brother to fight with as we played.

The field itself is smaller with goals about as wide but coming up to around the chest. There’s no height limit on the ball but it doesn’t do much good with the goals so low. You can’t score from outside the half and you can only kick with the inside of the foot, so no taking the opponents head off. But it’s just as fast and as with everywhere, there those one or two players who can run rings around you and score from anywhere.

There were three of us who went down, Steve, Trevor and myself. As of Wednesday there will be five. At first we weren’t sure how it would work, us not having a team and all. As long as you pay your 6 bucks you can play the whole night should you still be standing. Games are an hour long with a single half time, no quarters. Basically if you’re there and keen to play, you jump on a team and start messing around.

I certainly felt the year since my last game, if truth be told I was feeling it after the second minute. That didn’t stop me from tearing up the field in search of the ball occasionally. I was admittedly slower but after spending a bit of time in the goal got the feel for it again and managed to make a few decent saves and when out in the mix of it, managed to send up a few decent through balls for others to score. I didn’t find the back of the net myself, mind you I rarely found it when I was playing every week.

I have no idea what the score was as it wasn’t kept but that didn’t matter in the slightest. Not having a ref meant there were few stops, just a constant peppering of the goals, a constant hunt for the ball and a constant sweet. I loved every minute of it.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Post 67: 170607 Photos from the Opening

A view of seven of the eight photos. The eighth stood apart on a central pillar.

The reason I put my photos in rooms of white walls, so folks can have a look at 'em.

To give you some idea of prevailing factors. At the top of the stairs before you enter the first gallery a pile of umbrellas greeted newcomers and waved at those who have supped their full.

Part of the plethora of entertainment the evening contained as well as a fractioned view of the artwork covering the walls.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Post 66: 160706 Opening Night

As the rain continues to pour from weary skies I sit at my computer with the fond memories of last nights slow dancing in my weary mind. I did not go as early as planned but it seemed that everyone else was of the same mind. All the artists came in drips and drabs and I did not get to meet them all like I had hoped. But brief conversations were pleasantly shared with the few I did meet.

There is a thrill in having eyes move along the walls and stop at something of your own creation, have them linger and joined by voices raised to express a point of view. I was amply pleased with how my images appeared. Due to the constraints of wall space I originally thought that I would have to have them arranged in two rows but a single row adorned half of the longest wall on the first floor.

The evening itself was filled with the sound of excited conversations that were soon engulfed or perhaps answered by a four string violin bass strained though several peddles so the sound produced was more like a single dialogue from a distant giant rather than the happy strumming of a mop haired Beatle. His solo voice was soon joined by bongos and a small pink idiophone and the tempo picked up. Other voices came in the form of expressionist dance and angst rap that drew applauding ears despite the drawback of not having a mic due to uncontrollable feedback. All this was just on the first floor, up on the second a keyboard and lyric ladened songs were proffered then as the tone changed an acoustic guitar was folded into the mix.

It was easy to be entertained with the diversity of musicians, of audience and the staggering diversity of images that adorned the walls. A good sized audience came to share in our night and orange cheesecake. For me a pleasant surprise came when I was able to add a small red dot to the corner of one of my photos. My very first.

I found I had to ask myself a question, do I create for the sake of it or do I put too much hope in the sale at the other end? The answer is, the sale is fluffy icing I can delight in but do without. If my cake remains un-iced I still take pleasure in its consumption.

Without a doubt it was a successful opening to which a lot of effort was put in by Chen Lie, our curator and all those she found to help her. As I slunk away into the slight drizzle of a warm summers night I found myself quietly glowing from the pleasure of being involved and the growing expectation of ‘Next’ time.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Post 65: 140706 Poetry and Orange Trees

I left for work a little after one this afternoon. As I walked I wrote a little poem.

“What is more hideous than a toad?” the toad asked.
“A slug.” replied the slug.
“How is a slug more hideous than a toad?” the toad inquired.
“Just look at me.” the slug replied in an off hand manner.
“I am.” licked the toad. ”and you look delicious.”

Oh and some good news. Of the back of the current exhibition in Insdaong I have been asked to contribute to another joint exhibition that begins on the 5th of August. This time at the Orange Tree gallery.

The fear I had about the short life of my photos has been eased. As yet I have few details but when they come to hand to will happily report on proceeding. This will be my third exhibition. Does that make me an artist? Or is it when you sell your first piece?

Post 64: 140706 Why i'm a Veggie

One wonders why anyone would actually eat meat when you read stuff like this. It was taken from The Humane Farming Association website. I hope they don't mind.

Animal Suffering

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service, each year about 10 percent, or 900 million, of the animals raised for food never reach the slaughterhouse. They die on the farm due to stress, injury, and disease. The on-farm death rate ranges from a low of 4 percent for cows and calves to 12 percent for turkeys, 14 percent for hogs, and 28 percent for some types of chickens.

Agribusiness corporations claim that animals in factory farms are “as well cared for as their own pet dog or cat.” Nothing could be further from the truth. The life of an animal in a factory farm is characterized by acute deprivation, stress, and disease. Industrialized agriculture has made the determination that it is more “cost effective” to accept some loss in inventory than to spend money on treating animals humanely.

Farm animals, by the millions, are forced to live in cages or crates just barely larger than their own bodies. While some species, like hogs and veal calves, may be caged alone without any social contact, others, like egg-laying hens and chickens, may be crowded so tightly together that they fall prey to stress-induced cannibalism. Unable to groom, stretch their legs, or even turn around, the victims of factory farms exist in a constant state of distress.

If a private citizen confined a dog or cat in a manner common in factory farms, or subjected an animal to surgical procedures without anesthesia, the individual could be charged with cruelty to animals. Farming is an area, however, that federal and state laws protecting animals barely touch. The powerful agribusiness and pharmaceutical lobbies have seen to it that farm animals are specifically excluded from welfare laws.

There are virtually no federal laws that protect farm animals from even the most harsh and brutal treatment as long as it takes place in the name of production and profit. The federal Animal Welfare Act, which regulates the treatment of animals for commercial purposes, does not apply to farm animals unless they are being used in research or for exhibition. Moreover, a majority of states have specifically exempted some aspect of the treatment of animals in agriculture from their cruelty laws.* It is left entirely to the preference of the individual company how many egg-laying hens are stuffed into each little wire cage, or whether an artificially inseminated sow must spend her entire pregnancy chained to the floor of a cement-bottomed cage.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Post 63: 130706 Article in the Times

Here's a grab from the Korean Times yesterday where an article on our show appeared. As of yesterday the doors opened and by all reports the show looks "fab". The team that spent the night hanging the photos are fantastic and regarded as saints. Many thanks. I can't wait to see it.

Follow the link under Current Escapes to the right to read the full article.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Post 62: 120706 Seven years

Seven years they say. Who are they? In this case it is a bunch of scientists backed by Tony Blair. Those pesky scientists and their crack-pot ideas. Why can’t they keep their traps shut. Isn’t that what most people think?

If I walked into the nearly full office of teachers in the next room and announced that the world would be beyond redemption within the next seven years, they would give me blank looks, put what I said quickly from their minds and return to their conversations of what to do tonight or all this rain we are currently having.

On Wednesday the 14th of June top scientists urged The G8 not to ignore climate change during their July summit and to follow through on commitments made at last years summit in Scotland. Yet already it is being reported the topic has all but slid from view in the upcoming Russian summit. What takes over as the leading topic is Energy Consumption.

Seven years they say before we can’t turn back the clock. Excuse me for getting a little shocked at people’s stupidity but surely it stands to reason that once momentum it gathered on a downward slope then doesn’t it follow that momentum increases. This thought drums through my mind when I hear that they are now saying that the degradation of the environment is escalating. Well duh!!

I watched an interview with Hunter Lovin on New Zealand television and got all riled up. Most of all because the interviewer was a right wally and claimed he was "Sitting on the fence" about the environment. How is this possible? The only reason i can see for someone claiming such an act was that they stood to loose a great deal of money with a move to Cleaner Greener consumption. As an interviewer on an early morning television show i fail to see how he would loose that much. Unless of couse he has millions invested in Oil. Not to mention, he pissed me off when he interupted her answers with his inane questions.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Post 61: 100706 Italia

Just so there's no confusion. How happy am i right now? Perhaps not as happy as the Italians but pretty damn happy. They hold on for their forth World Cup title.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Post 60: 090706 The Gallery

I went and checked out the gallery today. I was hoping to pick up some posters for the show but that wasn't to be the case. I did pick up some snazzy postcards however. The gallery is situated at the end of a long paved street which is plonked smack dab in the middle of tourist central. From the street not a lot can be seen as the gallery itself is on the second and third floor. I have this sinking feeling about the space, there are 12 of us and the rooms aren’t big. Sacrifices must be made. I plan on mapping out how I want my photos set up as I won’t be able to be there to do the setting up.

I will return on Tuesday morning with my photos and then it’s up to fate to see how things pan out. Anyways, here is an image from outside so you get the idea.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Post 59: 070706 Arrival Day

Today is arrival day. For the last four days I have been excitedly awaiting this morning. In just under a few hours Sukhee and I will be driving out to the shop where I dropped my photos off to pick up them up in their sparkly new frames. After stalled attempts at getting them printed (nothing is ever easy it seems in this country) the end result comes today.

The exhibition begins on the 12th of July and the photos need to be in the gallery and hung by the 11th. Unfortunately I will not be able to do the hanging as the time allocated for that is from 2pm, I have this annoying thing called work to be getting back to. When will the time come when all these other things I do take over from the mundane task of earning money?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Post 58: 020706 The dream I covet

The following images were taken in 2003. They are of a building I have come to covet and the land it sits on. The dream has grown in me of possibilities for this place. If money were water then a theatre I would build. A center for arts I would conjure and space I would forge where all those creatively inclined could come together and do what it is we do in a like-minded atmosphere.

Post 57: 020706 The chapter closes

And thus ends another chapter. Last night was the cast party for ‘Never Swim Alone’ and ‘This is a Play’. We began at an Italian restaurant, enjoying good wine and great pizza and of course fine company. That was followed by a stop at a bar called ‘Hollywood’s’ which was in fact where a few of us began, being the early sorts and wanting to get the evening off to the right start.

We stayed there until just after midnight playing darts and continuing our drinking. The fist world cup game of the night kicked off at that point and the darts were overhauled by cheering English supporters. That was when we went in search of a more accommodating location. It was found in the form of a cocktail bar up a flight of stairs in the back alleys of Iteawon. A place where you had to not only remove your shoes as is tradition but your socks as well because the floor around the seats was covered in sand.

Our numbers had dwindled somewhat by then, from the 12 or so we began with to about six. We stayed there long enough to down a couple of quick cocktails and the time was ripe for dancing. Up ‘Hooker Hill’ we went and found room in a pub slash night club with a video DJ playing a mix of old classics like the ’Proclaimers’ and newer rap artists. By this time I had no choice but to stay on as the subways were closed and there was no way back to Uijeongbu.

Unfortunately the numbers dwindled yet again and I was left watching Steph and Mac being picked up on the dance floor. Time rolled on and 5.15 am meant the subway would be opening soon and my ride home would avail itself. Of the three of us went into the light of a new day and we said our goodbyes. The cast party was at an end and the chapter was closed.

Here’s a couple of picks from the night, both taken in the cocktail bar. The first of Krista sifting the sand and the second of the empty chairs further back in the bar. Note the beach embracing the chair legs.