Sunday, January 29, 2006

fomenting (my) creativity

Each weekend I try to do something which will serve to feed my creativity and in effect feed my soul. What I do then is try to engage with some expression/instantiation of the arts. Three weeks ago I saw a documentary on Araki Nobuyoshi ( quite co-incidentally in that I had not planned nor chosen any movie to watch at the Fine Arts cinema beforehand. It was happenstance. It was like a discovery. I like his innovative approach to web site navigation on the abovementioned Web site. Then, as I´ve already mentioned in a previous blog, I´ve watched a number of movies. Yesterday I went to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and popped in to catch the temporary exhibit. Again unplanned in the sense that I had not read any reviews beforehand about whose work was on show. I prefer doing the latter so that I don´t have any preconceptions when I enter. Yesterday the work of one Harun Farocki was in the temporary exhibition hall. An installation, consisting of two juxtaposed video displays, titled Ich glaubte, Gefangene zu sehen/ I thought I saw Prisoners (2001). It dealt with, in effect, the treatment of prisoners in a maximum security prison (that it was a prison in the US might or might not be important, but let´s leave that question aside for now). The prison inmates are mainly dressed in shorts, and sneakers only (no sweaters). They spend their days training (working out) and hanging out a lot of the time in a concrete yard. If a fight breaks out (and that happens often enough), the guards on duty open fire over the crowd, sometimes with live ammunition). The way for the prisoners to avoid assassination is to fall face down on the ground, hands behind their heads. Of course, often enough someone gets caught in the hail of bullets, if not a perpetrator then a bystander (all prisoners). At some point the guards changed from using live ammunition to water cannons (the water has some mixture of a stingy substance). What one is left with after having watched the installation is a sense of the futility of sending someone to prison. And of course questions around the possibility of rehabilitation in such an environment. Yes, in principle people are sent to prison for crimes in a bid to deprive them of the freedoms that regular citizens enjoy; that is acceptable. What is not acceptable is the inhuman environment and conditions prevalent in prisons.

I also went for a walk in Parque Retiro. It was sunny, though very cold (ponds frozen over).


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