Sunday, 26 December 2010
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
In addition to paying homage to their biblical roots, the Jews of Suriname paid tribute to their Spanish-Portugese Dutch roots. Whilst having a peek around the synagogue, we noticed that one of the finials for the Torah scrolls was an unmistakable nod to the Westerkerk in Amsterdam. You know--the one that Anne Frank mentions? Pretty cool, eh? How many synagogues today would commission, let alone tolerate, a Torah adornment in the style of a church? Pretty remarkable...
Thursday, 29 July 2010
pump to get the water from the holding tank (bin--let's be honest) to the outfeed tank (that giant plastic box on a shelf), sometimes, the water overflows a bit. I usually catch it and it's ok. Today that happened. I caught it, and thankfully left the area, only to hear about 60 litres of water come crashing down with the shelf that was holding it. My floor was flooded, and only as i stood ankle deep trying to open the drain holes to release the water did i become aware that the pump's extension cord and power bar were partially submerged. Everything is (mostly) under control now. So it's back to the drawing board.
Thursday, 22 July 2010
Sunday, 11 July 2010
'Hy Droegh Onse Smerten' (1630 in Over-Ysselsche Sangen en Dichten)
T'en sijn de Joden niet, Heer Jesu, die u cruysten,
Noch die verradelijck u togen voort gericht,
Noch die versmadelijck u spogen int gesicht,
Noch die u knevelden, en stieten u vol puysten,
T'en sijn de crijghs-luy niet die met haer felle vuysten
Den rietstock hebben of den hamer opgelicht,
Of het vervloecte hout op Golgotha gesticht,
Of over uwen rock tsaem dobbelden en tuyschten:
Ick bent, ô Heer, ick bent die u dit hebt gedaen,
Ick ben den swaren boom die u had overlaen,
Ick ben de taeye streng daermee ghy ginct gebonden,
De nagel, en de speer, de geessel die u sloech,
De bloet-bedropen croon die uwen schedel droech:
Want dit is al geschiet, eylaes! om mijne sonden.
In English ( i grabbed the translation here):
He carried our sorrows. It is not the Jews
alone, Lord Jesus, that had you crucified;
betraying you, dragging you to the court,
hating your guts, spitting in your face,
binding you, tattooing you with bruises.
Nor only the soldiers
who with their ready fists
raised the reed, lifted the hammer high,
fixed the cursed wood at the place of the skull
and squabbled, dicing for your coat.
It's me, my God, me who did this to you.
I am the heavy tree that bore you down,
the cord that cut you mercilessly. Me.
The nail and spear. The whip they slashed you with.
The crown of blood you wore upon your brow.
Oh, all this happened on account of my own sin.
And here is of course Donne's Holy Sonnet XI (written 1609-1611?):
Spit in my face, you Jews, and pierce my side,
Buffet, and scoff, scourge, and crucify me,
For I have sinn'd, and sinne', and only He,
Who could do no iniquity, hath died.
But by my death can not be satisfied
My sins, which pass the Jews' impiety.
They kill'd once an inglorious man, but I
Crucify him daily, being now glorified.
O let me then His strange love still admire ;
Kings pardon, but He bore our punishment ;
And Jacob came clothed in vile harsh attire,
But to supplant, and with gainful intent ;
God clothed Himself in vile man's flesh, that so
He might be weak enough to suffer woe.
Monday, 5 July 2010
Monday, 28 June 2010
who but such an Hebrew Jew as you, would, after an honest man hade made so full and voluntary Restitution, not yet have been satisfied without so many pounds of his flesh over into the bargain.This is actually in the context of a debate rooted in Hebraism, so the insults get way more interesting than that (check out Rosenblatt's book on Selden, chapter 5).
Unsurprisingly, in the early modern period, religion was a source of conflict. The English disapproved of the Dutch pluralistic society, which was rooted in Republican sensibilities; this disregard for order and hierarchy was dangerous. The Dutch took the reformist call for personal autonomy in interpreting Scripture too far:
They are generally so bred up to the Bible that almost every Cobbler is a Dutch doctor of divinity...yet fall those inward illuminations so different that sometimes seven religions are found in one family.' (Schama)And finally, here is the poem. Incidentally, if you're Dutch and Jewish, well, Marvell will offend you in one form or another! ;-)
Monday, 14 June 2010
And of course, in his unfortunately-timed 'Brief Notes Upon a Late Sermon' we have an example of a Puritan responding to the charge of being like Korach with a seventeenth-century scholarly version of 'I know you are but what am I?'
Milton also identified Satan's rebellion against God with Korah in Paradise Lost.
The examples are endless--i haven't even thrown in Hobbes!--and would make for an interesting survey, some day....
Friday, 11 June 2010
Below is a CGI animation of the chair:
For Anthony C. Romeo's interesting article on Rietveld's chair and the unification of motion and rest, click here. It's a great, short read. Andries van Onck's site has a very in-depth analysis of Rietveld's chair, including some fascinating sections about the various kabbalistic sephirot; it will blow your mind.
On a personal level, i definitely learnt a lot more about the ideas of De Stijl from building the piece. When all the components were laid out on the floor, it seemed hard to believe that they would eventually constitute a chair (though i must confess, i did have some doubts!). It seemed so...abstract! I wasn't so struck by the design until i started making the piece. Then, and i apologise for the vagueness, i just seemed to fall into the piece; it had some hypnotic effect; the more i looked at it and interacted with it, the more entranced i was. I know that sounds totally fruity, but it's true. I also came away with an appreciation for just how strong the joints are. There--that was a more rational, concrete comment. It was like creating a 3D Mondrian painting. The symmetry of the piece always amazed me; the way the overhang on every intersecting point was the same, and how the piece seemed so mathematically...uniform (I'm easily impressed in maths, since i have little to no understanding of it). Some concepts cannot be conveyed with words, and there is an understanding that you cannot come by through books. Indeed, Rietveld himself regarded his furniture design as experimentation with ideas, as studies. David Pye wrote about this, and for a frequent blog on this topic, Doug Stowe's blog (Wisdom of the Hands) is a must-read. Those interested in the technical execution of the piece can view the building process on this little slideshow:
Friday, 4 June 2010
Each inherited a different strand of the earlier movements--the vitalistic, individualistic strand in the case of the Amsterdam School and the rationalist, impersonal strand in the case of De Stijl. Each movement condemned the other, ignoring their shared aims and origins. (Modern Architecture, Oxford History of Art)
Theo van Doesburg (1883-1931)
Piet Mondrian (1872-1944)--some of my friends had no idea he was Dutch based on his surname. It was originally Mondriaan, but he omitted the second 'a' to make himself sound less Dutch. Mission accomplished, i guess.
Gerrit Rietveld (1888-1964)
In 1924, Van Doesburg published the manifesto of De Stijl in the eponymously named magazine he founded with Mondrian and other artists of the movement in 1917. You can read it here. De Stijl rejected craftsmanship, favouring geometrical anti-naturalism, and, according to some, was a misinterpretation and an extreme form of the abstraction of Cubism. But what was up with all the abstraction? Could they just not paint or draw? What were they getting at? Basically, according to Carsten-Peter Warncke, Mondrian, Vantongerloo, van Doesburg, and Huszar were all trying to get back to the basic principles of art; colours, shapes, planes, and lines. They wished to create a metaphorical language, and create an ideal world counter to reality, transcending language barriers. You can see Neo-Platonism's influence on Mondrian's obsession with the purity of art and spirit, and its aim for the absolute. Style was a manifestation of a particular age's attempt to express the absolute. Therefore, Mondrian felt that the best possible style was one in which 'the individual was most strongly subjected to the universal.'
Indeed the contradiction inherent in the movement is summed up by Mondrian himself:
The universal in style must be expressed by the individual, i.e. the way in which style is formed
It remains remarkable that Mondrian should have succeeded in combining the disparate parts of the painting in such a harmonious structure. Again, he could only have achieved this through the multifaceted ambiguity that pervades the various elements of the painting. [...] a perfect harmony of opposites [...] Nothing is fixed in this system , except for the basic elements and the aim of balancing the different forces. This presupposes that all our seemingly secure assumptions should be questioned again and again. (Warncke, p.20)And, in explaining the differences between Mondrian and van Doesburg, we are surely reminded of different poetic schools of thought:
Mondrian's construction of squares and lines is a process that leads to harmony and rest to the extent that we forget everything that might be reminiscent of processes, while van Doesburg's pictures show a completely different approach to dynamics, with colour squares that border on each other harshly and are right next to each other. This dynamic has the rank of an elementary force which can only be tamed with great difficulty and changed in such a way that the well-balanced painting oscillates in its visual impact, paradoxically demonstrating harmony as vibrating restfulness. (Warncke, p.26)Milton and Donne, anyone?
Jakob van Domselaer was the only musician associated with the movement. Here you can listen to his Proeven van Stijlkunst, inspired by Mondrian's paintings
Dada to Pop--cool essay
Artlex Entry on De Stijl
To read De Stijl magazine, click here
Interesting article (or MA thesis) by Runette Kruger about the integrative tendency of the movement, unparalleled in Modern art, in which the artists of De Stijl equally evoked the technological as well as the transcendent as indicators of humanity's spiritual and cultural progress
James Presley-- Mondrian van Doesburg
Tuesday, 1 June 2010
In the Library is a warm blend of English Novel*, Russian & Moroccan Leather Bindings, Worn Cloth and a hint of Wood Polish
*The main note in this scent was copied from one of my favorite novels originally published in 1927. I happened to find a signed first edition in pristine condition many years ago in London. I was more than a little excited because there were only ever a hundred of these in the first place. It had a marvelous warm woody slightly sweet smell and I set about immediately to bottle it.
I think it's a fair assumption that Ron Burgundy was the inspiration for this fragrance. It seems preferable to his colleague Champ Kind's Sex Panther.
Friday, 21 May 2010
Wednesday, 28 April 2010
For information on Gentius which was well nigh impossible to find online, i turned to one of the definitive books on Early Modern Hebraism: Aaron L. Katchen's Christian Hebraists and Dutch Rabbis: Seventeenth Century Apologetics and the Study of Maimonides' Mishneh Torah. It's seriously one of my favourite books!
Another reader expressed curiosity about Gentius, which i found in Katchen's book. I've (rather poorly) scanned some biographical information that Katchen provides about Gentius, which can read here. Katchen also discusses the Abraham story, which is also available here.
Below is the article by Kohut, published in 1902:
Abraham's Lesson in Tolerance
Sunday, 25 April 2010
Early Modern Hebraism as an Antecedent for Religious Toleration? Jeremy Taylor, John Locke, and Benjamin Franklin
But why did Taylor think that a medieval Persian poet was a 'Jewish doctor'? And what does a German Hebraist named Georg Gentze have to do with it? Stay tuned...
Sunday, 18 April 2010
Friday, 16 April 2010
Thursday, 15 April 2010
Sunday, 7 March 2010
Thursday, 4 March 2010
Tuesday, 2 March 2010
Tuesday, 23 February 2010
Sunday, 24 January 2010
Anyway, i think i mentioned before, we were running to get these dovetails done, so they're a bit split, but nonetheless i wanted to show off my infinitely better set of Bender-pins-first-dovetails that i made Chuck autograph (i told you i stalked him!) with the wenge pen that my mother turned. And Uri caught some of the magic on film, including his commentary.