Monthly Archives: June 2011

anonymous public art and a change of scene…

Arrival in Italy…i walk through Malpensa airport and find a large scale installation in a public space, no idea who did it, there was no title and i can’t find anything online…

…but i digress, am on my way to Biella again, to work as collaborating artist on the UNIDEE 2011 residence (am also authoring the official blog for them). 14 new people to live and work with for the next 4 months, let’s see how it goes…

…i like this part, the empty space and the anticipation of bare desks waiting for their occupants and i love to watch the gradual occupation of the space as the projects start to develop and the space starts to become a temporary home…

my desk!!

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galician miscellany #2…

Before leaving Galicia here is some random photographic miscellany…

Traditional raincoat made from straw – i dont know how i spent my whole life going to and from Galicia and i never before saw a thing like this…i think it is INCREDIBLE!!!

Beautiful coat of arms from a ruined pazo or grand house in Mugardos, its got lighthouses, fish, a mermaid…what’s not to like…

Pulpo a la Mugardesa (octopus Mugardos style) in a sauce of peppers and fragranced with saffron…yum

local way to drink wine – in a jarra y taza (jug and cup)

church in La Coruña

church in La Coruña


…run down gym in La Coruña – i cant imagine anything healthy ever happening here…

beautiful nets in Curtis

for an earlier post on galician miscellany click here

city of culture of galicia…

High on a hill (Mount Gaìas) stands the building site of the Cidade da Cultura de Galicia (city of culture of Galicia). Concieved as a large scale cultural centre devoted to “knowledge and contemporary creativity”, it still has another 11 years before completion and several more huge buildings to be constructed.

To say it is controversial in the region would be an understatement. The regional paper La Voz de Galicia criticizes the folly of its cost and construction on an almost daily basis (Scottish parliament anyone?). This city of culture is the original brainchild of former head of the galician parliament, Manuel Fraga (who himself was once a minister in the Govt. of the former dictatorship under Franco…).

The vast spaces and sweeping curves bring to mind Niemeyer’s Brasilia…

The architect of all this:…American architect and purveyor of “modern deconstructivism” Peter Eiseman who stands elevated in a pristine room full of maquettes of the future complex and talks about the concept behind the construction, see below:

mexa cas…

In the middle of nowhere…again…definition of the galician countryside. Am struck by the beauty of these large structural weeds.

The local gallego name for them is “mexa cas” (literally – dog piss, they don’t smell, it’s just that dogs like to pee on them!)…nice…I think maybe it’s some kind of hogweed/cow parsnip (maybe Heracleum sosnowskyi) ANYWAY regardless of the ugly name i find them beautiful, like fractals or snowflakes, no two plants seem to be the same…

horreo – indigenous structure, originally used as grain stores (see previous post)

all roads lead to the camino de santiago…

All roads lead to Santiago, at least metaphorically and at least around these parts. Last year in Santiago de Compostela was some kind of super holy year (there is a “normal” holy year every 4th year, but even HOLIER years occur at longer intervals). I never go near the place when it’s holy year, it’s a crazy pilgrim nightmare! however, this was a quiet period so i got to have a good root around the cathedral with no queues or crowds…


There are many rituals to be performed in the cathedral of Santiago as obviously it’s the culmination of the whole camino (road) to Santiago. Among the many things the weary but presumably ecstatic pilgrim must do is to queue up, kneel at the centre piece to the amazing (but unfortunately under scaffolding – so i can’t really show you it) “puerta de la gloria” as seen above, they place their hands in the holes and rest their heads on the stone head. High above them holding the scroll stands the man himself, Santiago (St James).

Right inside the altar, the focal pint of the cathedral. Last year folks queued up for 4 hours just to get inside here. I had the place to myself. Not supposed to photograph this, but am on my own and not using a flash so…


Those architects knew what they were doing – a shaft of sunlight suddenly illuminates a statue of Mary…


Outside the cathedral, a small but hardy contingent of the 15 May movement have been camping in the plaza all week…

“there is not enough bread for so much salami”


Meanwhile…same city, same day, different kind of angels…