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Spring color quest (2): Pluralistic color

1 Jun

(Read the first installment, “March flowers brought May showers.”

My next ventures in search of color tended toward more pluralistic sources than Macy’s or Merriam-Webster, 3M Post-it Notes or an educational institution the size of New York University.

For a more heartfelt depiction of Brazilian color than the Macy’s flower show could offer, the next day (March 31) I finally checked out of the library a DVD I’d been seeing on the shelf for many months, Colors of a Creative Culture, by David Zucker.

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Spring color quest (1): March flowers brought May showers

31 May

“May flowers” came in March’s near-record warmth here this year, and long before Memorial Day, New York’s flora had replaced much of its flower color with leaf green in shades of spring and even summer. Combined with the stretches of gray overcast we’ve had since March, the weather left me longing for more color at times, although I didn’t realize it until I noticed that color was on other people’s minds, too.

Around March 6, looking something up on the Huffington Post site for a NYC client, I stumbled upon an article about a Hindu festival of color called Holi. It looks like a a holiday I would happily embrace. I went to one of New York’s Little Indias to see what I could see, but I was too late.

Coloured powder cakes Hindus celebrating Holi (photo from The Huffington Post)

Coloured powder cakes Hindus celebrating Holi (photo from The Huffington Post)

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Stickwork

18 May
Stickwork, by Patrick Dougherty

Stickwork, by Patrick Dougherty

Saw this book. Stickwork, by Patrick Dougherty, when I stumbled upon a Dick Blick Art Supplies store on Bond Street between Broadway and Lafayette recently. I don’t know how long it’s been there.

The book caught my eye because I’d seen one of Patrick Dougherty’s installations in, I guess, 2010. He created it for the Brooklyn Botanical Garden’s 100th anniversary. I love this, although at first I was ambivalent: Continue reading

From a quilt to a dream: Double image

30 Apr

My most recent post was about a quilt by Luke Haynes that depicts, in a single image resembling a double exposure, both Jay-Z and Kanye West. I wrote the post on 4/27 and yesterday added the observation that this effect is “so like a phenomenon that’s common in dreams—the conviction that something is both this and that. An apple and a tomato. Daytime and nighttime. Jay-Z and Kanye.” Here’s a slightly different view than what I used in the previous post; this one shows the double-image effect better.

Luke Haynes's quilt, different view

Luke Haynes's quilt, different view
(image from LukeHaynes.com)

(FYI, I’m confused about the title; on the other view, it’s given as “The Throne,” but on this one it might be “Rags to Riches.”)

This morning my dreaming mind provided me with an example, in which the person I’m talking to is two ex–significant others from waking life in one dream person. It can be difficult to get this type of double exposure down in writing, because the image and identification get slippery: At any given moment, is the dream character K. or is he L.? He’s both.

After-Sick Coastal Drive (4/30/12)

At home: a many-story, crystalline atrium. It’s gently lit throughout; the effect is uneven, because of its crystalline angles. For an atrium, it’s relatively narrow. It’s nighttime. Continue reading

Remembering Nicole Carstens

26 Jun
Nicole Carstens, 1958–2001

Nicole Carstens, 1958–2001

Over in Kerkrade, Netherlands, the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) will have completed its second day of annual conference workshops and symposia today.

And here in New York, the Blue Note Jazz Festival is going on throughout June, mainly at venues such as the Blue Note and B. B. King’s.

So it’s a fitting day for me to continue my dream-related appreciation of Dutch New York by writing about my late friend Nicole Carstens. I met Nicole, who was from the Netherlands, in an eight-session dream “class” / dream-sharing group here in New York in 1996. She died in the spring of 2001, while in her early 40s.

Looking back at several letters we exchanged and some notes from various conversations, I realize just how few actual contacts we had in those four and a half years. It seems otherwise, because Nicole and I quickly noticed that the dreams we shared in the class each week had surprisingly—spookily—similar imagery. This gave us the opportunity to delve into some difficult issues we had in common, despite their differing waking-life manifestations in our personal histories.

Nicole was an artist; she supported her art by working as a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight attendant (so was frequently out of town), and as a translator. Exposure to her art, in juxtaposition to doing dreamwork together, gave me another opportunity: a rather large leap forward in my level of art appreciation, given my relatively scanty art education. Continue reading

Spatial experiences in dreams

24 May
Elephants Dream

From the movie Elephants Dream.© copyright 2006, Netherlands Media Art Institute / http://www.elephantsdream.org

In the better late than never department (I’ve been preoccupied away from the blog for a while)…

In the book Black Elk Speaks, the Sioux holy man recounts a dream he had at a young age, in which the Powers of the World—of the West, the North, the East, and the South—appear to him.

New Yorker Susan Tyburczy holds that story dear to her heart. She enjoys standing at the ocean’s edge and imagining what transpires in the vast space beneath the surface. Being a young sleepwalker and sleeptalker were also precursors to her choice of dissertation topic. In earning a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Saybrook University, she studied the spatial experiences reported by dreamers.

Susan Tyburczy

Susan Tyburczy, Ph.D.

Dr. Tyburczy, a Staten Island psychotherapist who’s a member of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, described her research on Sunday, April 3, for IASD’s New York Metro Area group. In the audience were a number of the dreamers from among the 28 she had interviewed for her study. Even the settings of the interviews had had spatial variety—places that ranged from her home to theirs to parks to restaurants (she and I sat in a corner of a diner for hours when I told her my dream). Using the method Susan devised of arranging items to represent the characters, objects, and movement in their dream, one dreamer even laid his out in the trunk of his car. Continue reading

Taiko & dance, and then a tsunami dream

3 Apr

Two weeks after the multiple disasters in Japan, they finally began seeping into my dreams, although mildly. The first was the 3/30/11 dream that was the subject of my most recent post. It was essentially a snapshot of a small-scale (sort of miniature) nuclear plant with spherical towers (more follow-up on those in a later post).

This morning (4/2, that is) I had another dream reflecting Japan’s disasters. I don’t suggest that it has any meaning for the situation in Japan—it certainly doesn’t seem on the face of it to be a healing dream; much more likely the meaning is entirely personal.

This dream was clearly influenced by the performance I attended Thursday night (3/31) by Tamagawa University Taiko & Dance. It was a fabulous performance of traditional Japanese drumming and dance inflected with the students’ modern affinities, including jazz and hip-hop. More visibly, the style turns drumming into aerobic exercise. Continue reading

Nuclear power dream and Tokyo workshops

31 Mar

Had my first nuclear power dream this morning, Wednesday, 3/30 (my first remembered dream of any type to do with the ongoing earthquake/tsunami/meltdown disaster in Japan). It was extremely vague—two spherical towers with a dark gray waffle pattern, appearing how the Indian Point plant 40 miles of New York City seems to look in recent TV news stories about its safety or lack thereof.

Indian Point nuclear power plant—Joe Larese/The Journal News, on LoHud.com

Indian Point nuclear power plant—Joe Larese/The Journal News, on LoHud.com

Except that in my dream, the plant fits into my bathroom and the towers are truly spherical (which I thought they were, until looking for an image); in waking reality, they’re cyclindrical with spherical tops. The feeling in the dream is a sort of dull resignation: “Of course this was coming, but now that it’s here, it’s hard to take in.”

My friend Misa Tsuruta, who lived in Manhattan and then Brooklyn for much of the time I’ve known her, returned to Tokyo a couple of years ago. She’s the International Association for the Study of Dreams’s regional co-representative for Japan. She returns to New York City a couple of times a year, because she’s pursuing a Ph.D. in cognitive, social, and developmental psychology at the New School. Last May, she gave an informal talk for IASD-NYC about dreams in Japanese culture.

Misa is putting together  a series of art therapy workshops for children traumatized by recent events in Japan. The World Dreams Peace Bridge has a PayPal button for donating toward Misa’s workshop supplies and expenses. Please consider supporting Misa in this effort.

The Rubin’s Dream-Over

7 Mar
Medicine Buddha. © The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation

Medicine Buddha. © The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation

It was sold out early,  so I didn’t get to go to the adult sleepover last Saturday night (March 5) that was part of the dream-themed Brainwave 2011 series at the Rubin Museum of Art. Fortunately, WNYC reported on it. Read and listen here.

 

Getting into a Nieuw Amsterdam state of mind

21 Jan
GezichtOpNieuwAmsterdam (Memory of The Netherlands), by Johannes Vingboons (1664); from Wikipedia Commons

GezichtOpNieuwAmsterdam (Memory of The Netherlands), by Johannes Vingboons (1664); from Wikipedia Commons

The obsessive reading-up I’ve been doing about the New York area’s Dutch roots has me in high anticipation of Robbie Bosnak’s January 30 talk on “New Amsterdam and the Dream of the Golden Age: An Alchemical Perspective.” (Download a printable PDF of the flyer for the talk.) I’ll be getting a lot more out of his talk from this preparation—and from out of the 2011 annual conferece of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) in June in Kerkrade, the Netherlands, if I get to go to it.

Whether you’re planning to attend either of those or not, you may find a browse through this post and its links helpful in understanding the mindset of this area’s first European settlers and the lasting Dutch influence on New York’s character. (See the St. Mark’s Church item in the Self-Guided Tours section for a particularly convenient adjunct to the Bosnak talk.)

You can also easily get to all this blog’s Dutch-related posts, past and future, by going to the navigation panel at the right side of the blog. In the Topics drop-down list, choose “Dutch.”

The Dutch Golden Age

__  Wikipedia has a succinct but enlightening description.

__  The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age, by Simon Schama

I bought this book soon after it was published in 1987; I started reading it last week! Already it’s given me a lot of insight, and I’m only in the introduction…but it’s 720 pages, and I was glad for an assist from a New York Times book review.

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