Saturday, April 28, 2007

New York

New York during Easter weekend. A constant buzz along 5th and 6th Ave. Times Square is out of control. LED screens jump and flash from every corner. We walk and walk, away from the crowd. Hell's kitchen is an eclectic neighbourhood: boarded up windows filled with graffiti, nouveau chic restaurants and quirky ones where you can eat chicken quesadilla from old vinyl records, or sip your drink surrounded by rhinestone-studded crowns. Hotel rooms are ridiculously expensive. Food isn't cheap either but if you dig around, there are neat restaurants at reasonable prices, and there's this thing about two-for-one martinis you can't escape from. On the sidewalks, vendors peddle at dirt cheap prices, cashmere scarves, copies of Dolce & Gabbana bags, unnecessary accessories one can't afford at Saks. It's a city that thrives on people, intense, stimulating, a city for all.

The highlight at MoMA is a video installation by Pipilotti Rist, Swiss artist: A woman in a diaphanous pale blue dress and red shoes walks in slow motion along a street while a field of flowers is projected on the adjacent wall. A soft, plaintive music sets a sensual mood as she moves her legs and holds in her hands what looks like a stick with a flower-shaped tip. She smiles happily. Then she smashes the window of a car, clearly enjoying it, the naked release of emotions on her face kind of compelling. The complexity of human nature in full action. The video taunts us into looking at the moral dilemma within us, shattering our preconceptions. What line can we cross? This man looks on, thinking, wondering ...

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