Friday, November 15, 2019

Bordeaux Beauty Remembered -- Street Art and Slowing Down and Other Sundry Messages

My puttering toward creative traction this week (see previous post) has included sorting through the "random abundance" of digital photos in my files ("ridiculous abundance" might be a more fitting description).  I was doing this primarily to tidy up, but I was also realizing, as I prepare to visit Paris again briefly next month, that I still have photos I'd meant to share with you from my visit there with Pater this past spring. A few anecdotes to share as well.

But so far, I haven't made it back to the Paris photos, having been delayed and detoured and outright stopped-in-my-tracks by recollections of Bordeaux.

I'd forgotten about this mural on the municipal Gymnase de Chartrons, and obviously it's too magnificent to be forgotten. Which makes me very conscious that even slowing down our travel as deliberately as P and I do, we're still moving too fast. Or perhaps to really benefit from slow travel, it's important to spend more time afterward, integrating what we've experienced.
 As well, I'm making a "note to self" about the kind of journal I want to keep while I'm travelling. This last trip or two,  I've switched the focus, tried to sketch and/or collage, let the handwritten journal become a weak auxiliary, an adjunct to photographs and sketches and collaged memorabilia and blogposts. That's okay -- it's good to switch it up regularly, I think, and I readily acknowledge that part of memory's richness is that it is elusive. No matter how many media and technologies we use to try to capture it, most escapes through the holes in our net. . . . rendering what stays both more significant and more suspect. And then the wonderful surprise--or disturbing shock--of those memories that arise unbidden with astonishing textural complexity . . .


So I'm thinking about that this morning as I load these photos into this post, planning some tweaks to my travel journalling, and also thinking about how to use my personal archives as a resource to prompt some travel memories, and then some thinking about ways I'd like to integrate those memories, to see their value and their relevance to my daily life right here, right now.  You know, just the old "maundering and wittering" again.

But maundering and wittering with some great images, no? 
 These were snapped on a warm day in Bordeaux, walking to the Sempé exhibition. If we hadn't had a pretty firm commitment to that destination, I'd have lingered longer with this gorgeous fresque murale. I've seen -- and shared here -- some amazing art on exterior walls in a variety of locations, but this has to be one of my top Wow!!s The piece is called "Le Message Sécret" and it's a collaboration between Said Dokins and The MonkeyBird Crew, sponsored, if I understand correctly, by Pôle Magnetic.
 Looking at these photographs five months later, I regret deeply that I didn't spend more time with this mural. . . .
 I suppose that's "Le Message" for me. . . .

 I've spent much more time loading the photos, peering at the images, trying to pick out text, translate words, find meaning than I did when I had the chance to look closely at the original. I'd already been sitting at my desk for a half hour or so when Paul stuck his head in the room to say he was heading to the gym for a workout. When he came back ten minutes ago, I wondered why he was back too soon: had the gym been too busy? He was puzzled. "No, I was down there for 50 minutes." And I looked at my phone for the time, realized I'd completely lost track of it working on this post, going back those five months to the few minutes I'd stood on that hot sidewalk, snapping and snapping. . . .

And having pulled some of that moment from Bordeaux, June 2019 into my here and now, I offer it to you from a Vancouver that's doing its November thing. Grey and raining. . . .

Weekend plans you care to share? Thoughts about processing memory? About remembering your travels? About the surprising beauty of street art? About slowing down? Any or all of the above?

10 comments:

Coastal Ripples said...

Sometimes when we view thing for real there are other distractions around, in the street or gallery and there is only time to snap the photos. Later in the luxury of home the images can be analysed, enlarged and marvelled at in your own time. We are so lucky today in this digital world of ours. Just imagine how difficult to capture memories in the past . Mind you your sketch books and journals mirror that too. Fabulous images. Thank you. B x

Lorrie said...

I think that it's only after I return home from a trip that I can really digest the experiences, sights, sounds, smells, and tastes. I keep a written journal and am taken back into those different worlds when I read the words. Perhaps it takes returning to the familiar to be able to absorb the new. Wonderful images with much detail.
This weekend we are going to Cirque du Soleil in your city! Hope the ferries cooperate.

Anonymous said...

Stunning photos of a fascinating mural. I can see how you could easily lose yourself in it. Do I detect some German and English words there?
Right now I'm trying to put together a photo book of a cycling trip we did in Germany. It's meant to be a Christmas present for my husband but I'm finding it hard to capture the essence of what made the trip so memorable. Photos alone don't do it justice. So often it's the casual conversations en route, the meals, the unexpected events that stand out. Capturing that is always a challenge.
Frances in Sidney

Annie Green said...

Recently I have been going through all the old family photos, a task I decided to volunteer for after my mum died. It has been fascinating in all sorts of ways. The box of photos was always my first port of call as a child because I loved to see my dad's wartime photo album, my parents'wedding photos and pictures from those years before I was born. Having the lot in my own sitting room felt quite odd. But it was a great exercise in selectivity - you really can't keep everything so a large edit took place and then the job of dividing them up into three - me, my two brothers. And then realising that some just needed to be thrown. Now they sit neatly catalogued and labelled, ready to go off in the post. Not at all upsetting but very satisfying, a real sense of tying up all the loose ends. There remains a large pile for me to organise, as well as all the photos I have accumulated in the last forty-odd years but it is about time I did that properly. It reminded me that the memories are in my head, not hiding in a dusty box. All things considered, I think I prefer the modern way of digitally archiving.

Anonymous said...

Magnificent-Albrecht Dürer of the street art! Thank you for sharing it with us
Life is too short,we have a plethora of everything we want to see,do,listen,go,read,watch....
I've visited Dürer's (the original one 😊) exibition in Vienna this fall-the man is a genius and one has to spend days studying all the paintings and sketches...and I didn't
Lately,my trips are slow and all about experience,feelings,"gusti e sapori".....
Dottoressa

materfamilias said...

B: Yes, there were just such distractions that day, and I was glad to be able to snap those photos to process later. But I need to remember to build that time in afterward, I think. To slow down after the trip, as well as during. . . .But maybe that time will come later, when I find the physical travel too difficult . ;-)
Lorrie: I'm curious -- do you make a point of taking time, once home, to organize your thoughts about your travel, or even just to sit with those experiences. I think I could do more of this. . . .As I write this, you'll be heading out to Luzia. We enjoyed it very much a few weeks ago, and I'm sure you'll have a grand evening. Just wish you didn't have to tromp through rain to get there.
Frances: I see some German words in there as well, and French. . . I found an artist statement and some great video of the "making of" this mural, and I'll link to that next post -- he names the source material there. I would like to say that I'm inspired by your photo book gift, but I'll admit I've been inspired by others in the past, and my own photo books haven't yet materialized. I'd love to hear how yours turns out though. Perhaps that will be the push that turns to shove.
Annie: You have sounded so organized in your approach to going through your Mother's artifacts (I sigh with admiration and a touch of envy for a family of three siblings, much more manageable division than in mine, although we did pretty well). As for the modern way of digitally archiving. . . .let's just say I'll probably be taking most of my memories with me, unless anyone else knows the password to my computer ;-)
Dottoressa: Gusti e sapori, si, si, si!!! I don't much care to see much-touted tourist Musts anymore (and never did, terribly much) but I happily go to art exhibitions (Durer -- you lucky woman!!) and sitting over a glass of wine and people-watching!

Taste of France said...

Actually, your photos whisked you back to Bordeaux for a bonus trip. Even after more than 15 years here, I sometimes get more out of something afterward, when I'm looking up the details about a place I've photographed for my blog. The only way to get both the information and the experience in the moment is with a guide, but then you're on a schedule. Nothing is perfect.
I hope you've written down your passwords somewhere! The likelihood that someone will break into your house to hack you is nil.

Sue Burpee said...

Oh, that’s magnificent, Frances. So much detail... everywhere. Amazing. I’m sitting at my mum’s this weekend feeling sorry for myself because I irritated the “slippy” disc in my back yesterday trying to help Mum into her chair. Not sure how the rest of my visit will go since I am walking slower than she is right now. Whine, whine. Hope you’re weekend is going better than mine. 😩

Mardel said...

I love this image of you sitting and working, and of loosing track of time in the process. Increasingly, I think this is important in life, part of what makes us human, makes us what we are. We try to save moments, but there are too many distractions. And time with family, time with art, all of it is important, but so is that time spent with reflection, time when we can begin to truly see what was there but we were too distracted to notice. I love the way this happens. I always intend to eat back to photos, to schedule time to reflect, but it seems life does not work that way. Learning to accept that it may be months, or weeks, or years, is both enlightening and sobering. I am too quick to shove things into the dark.

materfamilias said...

Taste of France: Good point, and it's very true. It might have taken me five months from those few minutes of snapping the photos, but I've spent the time now, back at home, remembering and thinking and researching. The big problem with passwords is that you still have to remember where the written record is! (Insert eye-roll)
Sue: I'm so sorry -- you'd finally been enjoying the pay-off from the physio, etc. I hope the irritation subsides soon.
Mardel: "too quick to shove things into the dark" Yes, although I don't even think it takes much shoving. Just putting into a box (virtual or physical) in a closet and closing the door. Every intention at the time of returning to sort, but . . .

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