Où et Quand?

Half up winter wonderland ferris wheel, originally uploaded by oladybug0.
'Winter Wonderland' -- Cardiff's attempt at mimicking the season that most Canadians dread. In the above photo you can see a partially erected Ferris wheel that marks the spot that will soon be host to this great seasonal celebration. In addition to the Ferris wheel (an object that they seem to use here to mark every occasion big or small, usually along side a merry-go-round) there will be an ice skating rink, free 'festive' entertainment and an ice bar. At some point they also officially turn on the Christmas lights, which can't be too soon as currently they cover most surfaces in the downtown like natty vines. I have to admit that the pictures here do make it look pretty. I am from the Canadian prairies however, and I can't help but feel a little cynical about a place called 'winter wonderland' that still has lush green leaves on its trees.

Today I enjoyed reading this article about artist Sophie Calle. She is famous for using intimate details of her personal life in her work and recently used an email sent to her by a boyfriend as his way of breaking up with her as fodder:

I received an e-mail telling me it was over. / I didn’t know how to respond. / It was almost as if it hadn’t been meant for me. / It ended with the words, ‘Take care of yourself.’ / And so I did. / I asked 107 women (as well as 2 hand puppets / and a parrot), chosen for their profession or skills, / to interpret this letter: / To analyze it, comment on it, dance it, sing it. / Dissect it. Exhaust it. Understand it for me. / Answer for me. / It was a way of taking the time to break up. / A way of taking care of myself.
It's a pretty fine revenge plot to use the bad behaviour of an ex as very public material for your art practice. Remind me not to mess with Sophie Calle.

In addition to catching up on my Google Reader today I've been watching Stephen Fry (a UK television personality) on his cross-country journey of America. I feel such mixed emotions watching it. On one hand it is beautifully shot and makes me feel a little homesick for North America. Like the landscape, the people and the politics are so polarized and there is so much tension between what is the most beautiful and what is the most dangerous about the climate. Occasionally Fry irritates me as he waxes poetic about North America in way that only someone who had never lived there can do. At one point he is interviewing some homeless people who were no doubt equal parts starving, freezing and mentally ill. Instead of really looking at the crises of the homeless in America or questioning the fact that somehow one of the wealthiest countries in the world has such a gap between the rich and poor, Fry goes on about the promise and romance of being a drifter on the open American road. Yes, the homeless man told him it was a choice but for how many is that really true? It made me roll my eyes a little.

Still, when he drove through the golden wheat fields of Kansas I couldn't help but say excitedly, "that's what Saskatchewan looks like, only flatter." There's really no place like home.

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