I Want to Feel Its Wetness

In a previous post I described the Future World exhibit at the Art and Science Museum.

Its centerpiece is the “Universe of Water Particles” – a seven-meter virtual waterfall. It is serenely beautiful, hundreds of thousands of water particles cascading gracefully down a virtual rock, following the laws of physics. And with a backpacker’s silhouette, it’s picture-perfect.

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But I miss the mist, the unpredictable gust of wetness on my face as the wind blows the water away from its normal free fall. I miss the rustling of the leaves and the way my feet slide on the slippery banks. I miss the smell of decaying trees along the river, and the greenness of young shoots rushing to rise above the rocks and catch the sun.

I like my waterfall to be raw, with the water falling down in complete abandon, daring to defy the laws of physics.

I want nature’s embrace to be sensual. I want to feel its wetness.


Focus

Black Waves in Singapore

Black Waves is part of the Future World exhibition at the Art and Science Museum in Singapore. It is a collaborative work with teamLab, an interdisciplinary creative group.

Black Waves is “an expression of nature, rendered entirely in digital technology.” 

The effect is created by “calculating the interaction of hundreds of thousands of individual water particles, and then representing the movement of waves in a crescendo of white foam.”

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Computer animation is not new, but what is intriguing about this work is that it depicts the seascape in the style of traditional Japanese painting.

There is some kind of formality, a sense of order in what appears to be random, and yet it seems so realistic. Science capturing art capturing reality.

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The artwork invites the viewers to immerse themselves in it. One can literally “step into the waves” or simply watch them from a bean bag on the floor while listening to the soothing background music.

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By blurring the separation between viewer and artwork, it expresses the idea that we ourselves need not be separated from nature.

This vision of the future world is intriguing indeed.

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Order
Volume

Are We Closer to Solving the Mystery of Stonehenge?

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Why was Stonehenge built?

This monument dates back 5,000 (!) years, though it is now established that it was built in phases over several thousand years up until 1600 BC.

Scientists have also determined that the stones were quarried as far away as 225 kilometers in present day Wales. This has led to a recent theory that it was built in Wales and transported to the present site.

There are varying versions of how it was built, some involving aliens. Even more theories abound on why it was built, the most common it being a burial ground. And yet new theories come up, such as it being a two-story concert hall. New discoveries reveal more information yet raises more questions.

It seems like the more we know about it, the more its mystery deepens.

Perhaps we will never know. What is clear is that people 5,000 years ago started putting order into a bunch of large stones lying around. Perhaps it is a primeval desire of man to seek order in his world and Stonehenge is a symbol of that.
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Order

Hachiko Shows the Meaning of Loyalty and Friendship

Loyalty is the foundation that makes friendships endure. It’s the difference between ordinary friends and true friends.

Dogs are called “man’s best friend” because they can show unparalleled loyalty.

One of the most famous stories of loyalty is that of Hachiko, an Akita dog whose owner was a professor at the University of Tokyo. Each morning they would walk together to Shibuya train station for the professor’s commute, and at the end of the day Hachiko would wait at the station for his return. Until one day the owner did not show up for he had a stroke while giving a lecture. For ten years — rain, shine, or snow — Hachiko would wait at the station every afternoon until his own death in 1935. This happened long ago and still the story is being told, including a movie with Richard Gere in 2009.

Hachiko became famous as a symbol of loyalty in Japan that a bronze statue was erected at Shibuya station in 1934, unveiled with Hachiko present!

Hachiko is still waiting after all these years.

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His statue is now a popular landmark in Tokyo and a favorite meeting place among young Japanese friends.

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“If you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.”
– Muhammad Ali

Let me hasten to add, if you haven’t learned the meaning of loyalty, you really haven’t learned the meaning of friendship.

“A good friend is like a four-leaf clover; hard to find and lucky to have.”
– Irish proverb

True friends are rare because loyalty is rare. Treasure them, and be one.
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Friend

Remnant of York Castle from the Time of the Vikings

York Castle was built on the orders of William I to dominate the Viking city of York in Northern England in the year 1068.

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Clifford’s Tower, the keep (strongest and most secure part) of the castle, survives to this day and is one of the most distinguishable landmarks of the city.

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It has gone through a tumultuous history involving massacres, fires, explosions and wars.

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It has been used as an office, an armory, a prison, and even a cattle shed over the centuries.

The tower has a commanding view of the city, perhaps only matched by the more famous York Minster in the distance.

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Going down the spiral staircase, one is reminded of how lonely it must have been for the guardsmen as they kept watch over Clifford’s Tower.

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“Human says time goes by –
Time says human goes by.”
― Anonymous

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Heritage
Not quite Evanescent
Survive

Unmoored But Not Adrift in El Nido, Palawan

El Nido is a “managed resource protected area” in the province of Palawan in the Philippines. It is 420 kilometers or about an hour’s plane ride from Manila.

It has 45 islands and islets, each one a quiet corner to get unmoored from the hustle and bustle of city life.

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One can while away the day on a boat, not to go adrift, but perhaps get back one’s bearings.

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Or, when the day is done, simply enjoy the sunset, in a place where no one is in a hurry, not even the sea turtles that come to lay their eggs on the shore.

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The day is long, as it should be, because when the days are long, then life is long too.

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Unmoored
Adrift
Natural Heritage

A Thatched House in the Cotswolds

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Though thatched dwellings date back to primitive times, they became popular in nineteenth-century England when “the gentry wanted a taste of the good life and the simple pleasures of cottage living.”

I can understand if this longing for the simple pleasures of an idyllic, if idealized, life resonates even louder today.

Fortunately, some people have continued the tradition of thatching and it survives to this day in England.

I guess part of preserving heritage is not just to remind us of what has been but also to inspire us to see what might be.

Heritage