Sunday, 24 November 2013

little lights

Still fascinated with the dramatic change in light conditions in this country. I feel I'm a little better armed this winter than last year.

I finally joined in with the tradition and obsession of lighting candles on the dark balcony at 4pm, and letting them burn in their jar as long as the wick is. In the kitchen the oil lamp is on, and we started to make room on the wall for the string lights. Of course we use our normal electric light fittings, but it's somehow different in effect. Darkness already begins just after 4pm and lasts til 9 in the morning. Its presence seeps thickly into the rooms whether you keep the shutters closed or open. Either way it is quite heavy on the mind. It's really soothing to light little fires outside and in the kitchen in a way that we see it from the living room.

I went to an interesting exhibition recently, and there was a neon installation that captured me with its glow. The two words mean 'I am' in Finnish.

Neon art by Marja Pirilä (I AM/LIGHT)

If you'd like to see what it is like in Finland in the winter and the summer, watch this video if you have a few minutes.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

in two minds

I like being close to nature. In natural nature more, than in a museum.

I like animals better alive. Seeing them stuffed in a Museum of Nature is convenient (for personal safety), interesting and saddening in the same time. We were assured by the staff that they arrived here naturally dead or dead by regulation. Some were donated by a zoo, after the death of an old or a terminally ill animal. Some were donated by a forester whose job is to survey the forests and the seashore, and to cull certain species according to law.

So there. Feeling conflicted, interested, controversed and intrigued, I examined the exhibits in the still life set-ups like a good museum punter, respecting their fragile beauty and deadness by resisting to pat their fur, boop their nose or tickle their paw. Looking at the beautifully preserved dead animals, I couldn't help but wish that all the taxidermy was still alive running around unseen by me in the wild. I got out of there just before those silent, life-like glass eyes started to seem too alive.

No beauty without pain, no rose without a thorn, no museums of nature without dead animals... I'd be lying if I said I wasn't glad to get back home to the little plastic zoo that I keep in a jar.

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