Monday, August 23, 2010

The tide is high

Enjoyed the opportunity this past weekend to celebrate my 40th birthday (!) with a whirlwind visit to the city, which I called my home in my 20s. I am happy to report that as good as my 20s were, I am glad to be where I am now, metaphorically and literally. Midlife need not be a crisis.

I figure this is not a bad start to the next half of my life :)

However - and you knew that this was coming - there are more than enough crises brewing around us. Climate change is one, with attendant other crises like the rising of sea levels.

The Museum of Modern Art currently has an exhibition called Rising Currents: Projects for New York's Waterfront that I highly recommend viewing.

Five interdisciplinary teams were assigned to design projects for five sites around New York City, including lower Manhattan. The projects addressed ecology / environment in terms of biological, social, and economic concerns - an approach that an anthropologist might call holistic. They considered humans, other animals, plants, water, and other elements. They considered history and future.

Here is a link to the Rising Currents blog.

Still recalling the fresh taste of Wellfleet in my mouth, I have to say, I found a favorite in the Zone 4 oyster-tecture project.

Here is a link to a Bloomberg new service report on oyster-tecture.


As an aside, visiting the MOMA, along with visits this summer to the Clark Art Institute and the Corning Museum of Glass, reminded me that the role of museums is not only to preserve the past (even were that possible to do in the first place).

Museums provide us with spaces (and times) where we can imagine. That is the delight and thrill that I first experienced when my parents took me, as a grade schooler, to the American Museum of Natural History - I liked looking at the gems - and the Metropolitan Museum of Art - I liked the arms and armament, the musical instruments, and the rooms of period furniture.

Some parents instill in their kids a love of sport or craft or the great outdoors. Not being athletic or skillful myself, I suppose I might be handing along, at least, a love of museums and the recognition that they ought to be places where possibilities become re-presented to us (and not just go there to die)...

I think E.L. Konigsburg captured what is wonderful about museums so well in a book that I especially loved at that age, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, which I plan to share with Beanie. When she is finished reading that classic horse tale, Misty of Chincoteague.

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