23 July 2008

Empty dumpty

I'm exhausted. I still haven't found the right balance between my work life and the rest.
My work is great but it's sucking up all my energy. I spend around 9 hours a day at my work place - 9 hours in a fast track of a Tresor compilation, not quite the Buddy Holly deal: no time to stand back, no time to stay still, no time to do anything else but to focus on my daily tasks.
Thankfully, I can walk home at the end of the day - I don't have to take the nasty subway. But by 7pm, I'm more often than not brain dead. I manage every week to go to a yoga class, to the swimming-pool or to see people but I'm in fact secretly tempted to just do nothing, to sleep.
Week-ends are always too short to get a life back. Last Saturday, I went shopping for Japanese ingredients. That's how I get my fun. And it's a lot of fun because it means cooking. So Sunday, after the market, I spent most of my day cooking. We got a dozen of cute red peppers for €1,50 and as we were wondering what to do with all that, I decided to make some sort of relish/chutney that turned out to be quite amazing. I also cooked some tofu panned in kuzu, with carrots in a sweet shôyu-pine nut sauce. But my final treat was the most playful of all: making my own seaweed gomasio with the Muji mortar and pestle I bought in Japan 2 years ago. All it took was sesame seeds, some Nori shreds and a pinch of salt but the smell, the taste, the look make it one of the most delicious ingredient to have at hand, one that can turn your out-of-the-box fried tofu into a first class meal.

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05 January 2008


The fun of New Year's wishes has started for few days, and I receive all kind of nice things, by SMS, email or in Facebook... Hardly with postcards anymore, although there's always one or two that manage to survive the electronic way. I saw on TV last day an archived news report from the Seventies that was mentioning the booming industry of Xmas / New Year's wishes cards in France, following the success of Hallmarks and the sort in the States. The illustrations on the cards were particularly over cute and way too sweet, with cats or littles girls and boys or flowers... I don't think I miss them too much. But it was interesting to be able to compare the old connection modes with the new ones.
I got a really nice card last year from Yaeko, a woman I had met randomly in Kyoto (a bike story). In Japan, indeed, there's still a strong tradition to send your wishes by way of cards and available for that are amazing designs, sometimes using origami, paper cuts, depths and embosses.. a beautiful selection can be found at Ito-Ya in Tokyo Ginza, the temple of paper products.
But with the expansion of means of communication and the number of possible contacts that come with it, it's time consuming - and expensive - to write and send letters to hundreds of people. Yet, electronically, I have a lot of fun trying to come-up with something creative. I think it's Anne with her look at that kind of work, which for her sets the tone of her social communication, who made me want to have a go at it.
So there it is, with a mix of two pictures I took with my Lomo camera in september 2001 - one was in the fields of the Fontevraud Abbey and the other one at a party in Karlsruhe. I wanted to get across the idea of lights for this year, in a peaceful and vivid reverie setting, in a way to wish to my friends peace of mind and freedom of imagination.

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05 November 2007

Photos from Japan and Scotland

This year I mainly traveled to Scotland and Japan.
Here are selected pictures of those two trips.
"You got the look" shows digital color pictures from Scotland, my vision of the RockNess festival that took place last June near Inverness (I still have a folder of black and white pictures I took with my Contax throughout my stay earlier this year but I didn't have the time to make a proper selection - will take care of that soon).
"Summer stroke" is a look at the first part of my stay in Japan with hints at beach time in Kamakura, a beautiful day-walk in Fushimi-Inari temple in Kyoto with Julie and a short visit to Manabe-Jima.
"Looking for the shadow" shows the last days I spent in Japan between Takayama in the mountains and saying goodbye to friends in Tokyo.
For those 3 sets, I used the flash automated gallery from Photoshop CS3 for a change, it's quite a time-saver, but probably less satisfying because I couldn't really annotate the pictures as I usually do.


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24 August 2007


The opening of "Abstract" took place just about 3 weeks ago. It was an incredibly rewarding moment.
First of all because I thought it would never happen. Again a couple of days before I was still getting crazy over Windows Vista, then Windows XP trying to make the pure-data program work. From Paris, Vincent would try to understand why it wasn't working on the Japanese PC while it was rolling on his machine. But with the time difference and the distance, it was taking a lifetime and if it wasn't for Carson's precious debugging help, I would have sunken deeper than the sunken ship in my sorrow.
It was also rewarding because all the people who attended the opening praised the work and I felt quite happy that they got the intention in the piece without any particular explanation.
In particular, I remember Ikuko, that I met that evening who came by chance at the gallery, not knowing what was going on and wrote me an email later telling me that the installation gave her the opportunity to take the time to face herself and her life and get "subtle reminiscent feelings, recollecting memory from childhood, school days, travel etc.."

Izumi, the curator of gallery éf, also got a beautiful idea: she invited Ouchi, a Japanese chef to present her summer sweets to be served with tea, in the gallery space. So people would sit on the carpet where the projection was happening and proceed to an informal tea ceremony. I managed to taste some of the confectioneries she made and got from that a delicious food experience.

All together, I felt people were very at ease with the experience, taking the time to enjoy it and to discover its different layers. My initial intention related to time length and expectation felt clearly embraced. And along the way, as it always happen, I noticed that people put emotions in it or other intentions that I didn't foresee.
Izumi keeps on letting me know how it's been going and for 3 weeks, swell and beyond.

I already named the people who helped me for this piece in a previous post - yet I feel the need to mention again some people whose support was an amazing gift: the team of gallery éf, Izumi and her mother, her aunt, her brother and Takeshi who, among others, managed to get Sanyo to lend a videoprojector; Carson who made a computer from his lab at the University of Tokyo available for the duration of installation and hosted me at his home in Tokyo; Julie who came with me to Japan, to make some shootings for her own project but who took the time to stand by me in the darkest hours, always up for some good laughs; and of course, David who I met everyday on Skype so I could share with him all the emotions of this profound experience and who at a distance provided me with his comforting and uplifiting presence.
As well, just before my departure, during the last Dorkbot Paris, Stéfane offered Vincent and I the space needed and all kind of materials to test the piece one last time and Jean-Baptiste who was around helped us on more than one occasion.
And I also forgot to mention last time another Jean-Baptiste (Verguin) whose feedback I always enjoy.

The installation is on in Tokyo for another week. It will also be exhibited in France, at the Nuits de l'Ososphère in Strasbourg at the end of the month of September.
I'm currently editing a short video for demo but in the meantime, here are some pictures. More of them are available at the gallery éf website, in the Abstract project section, along with an interview Takeshi made of me, with unusual questions...

-- Joelle.

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21 August 2007


Last week, during one of my last night in Tokyo, I felt an earthquake. For the 1st time in my life.
It woke me up, and I must admit, very gently.
A couple of weeks before, Yoshiko had explained to me how to acknowledge the dangerous potential of an earthquake. Turns out, there are 2 successive types of movements: an horizontal one followed by vertical one.
If the horizontal one goes on for few seconds, it means the earthquake is not happening where you are and you can feel safe, because the vertical movement won't be very strong - indeed, it's the vertical one that is dangerous..
If the horizontal movement lasts for a very very short time, then the vertical one will be longer and it means: get under a table.
The same night an earthquake hit Peru, one hit Japan, north of Tokyo, near Sendai, 7.2 on the Richter scale. It didn't cause any victims.
At that moment, it was maybe 4 or 5 am, I was laying on my futon bed and as soon as I felt the horizontal earthquake, I knew what to expect, the vertical movement lasted maybe 3-4 seconds, and then, nothing and then again, a quick horizontal afershock. All together maybe 10 or 15 seconds of an incredible physical sensation that I had never felt before. It was an intense experience, actually very enjoyable, maybe because I was asleep, maybe because I was lying on a futon, hence very close to the floor. I can't describe exactly what my body felt but I was surprised to discover there were unfamiliar types of physical sensations. I felt naive and excited at the same time.

-- Joelle.

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16 August 2007


Yesterday, I had the 4 film rolls I made in Japan processed and digitized on cd-rom. It's always a bit disappointing to check out the result of digitized film photography. it's clearly not meant to be scanned, or maybe it shouldn't be done in an automatic process, but then here we talk about a different kind of costs.
Before I take the time to put a larger selection online, I picked a sample of pictures to illustrate the different moments of my journey.

Kamakura beach

Fushimiinari temple, Kyoto

Tomoko and I in Pontocho, Kyoto - photo taken by Julie

Namba district, Osaka

Santora youth hostel beach, Manabe - Jima

Hida Folk Village

Interior of a house, Sogen-ji temple, Takayama

Hirayu Onsen


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13 August 2007

Mastercard and life adjustements

Osaka is like a giant Shibuya - except people are essentially looking for fun, not for commuting.
My first impression when I visited last year is confirmed: young japanase people with a twist and bleached hair come to party in Osaka.
You could think it's therefore not the place to go when visiting Japan - well, it's actually so friendly, and crazy and smooth that the town makes a pleasant stop on your way to the south or back to Tokyo.
I hadn't planned to go back there but I don't regret it came up in my adjustable travelling plans. I could stay at the Hotel Chuo I mentioned in that blog before: it makes your life easy at around 15 euros a night for a private room, connected to a high-speed internet access that your laptop has been craving for, and 2 subway stops from the liveliest district. I also appreciated the one night-break that was the western-styliness of that room. It made a big contrast with my stay in Kyoto where I traded comfort, privacy and air-condition for a bargain that came along with mosquitoes, tropical heat, and... travellers. But then it was just for 3 nights and it meant more pocket money for shopping. Some times in life, you gotta know what you want.
My first plan was to leave Kyoto to head north for the Noto-Hanto peninsula. But then that's just the day when somebody somewhere decided I couldn't withdraw money until the day after. My plans were set back for a day, so Noto-Hanto was out of the picture as I wouldn't get the time to enjoy it properly. I rearranged my plans by way of Osaka, and headed south instead, to the Inland Sea.
Manabe-Jima is the name of the island where I arrived with the ferry, the only gaijin, to discover a small paradise, with the nicest people, and a beautiful beach almost to myself.

-- Joelle.

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17 July 2007


The exhibition date of the installation Abstract on which I worked for the past year is getting close.
I'm flying next Thursday to Japan with Julie to set it up at Gallery EF so we can open on the 2nd of August.
Stressful and exciting are the 2 words that have been taking turns in my mind lately. I've been thinking about this project since late 2004/early 2005. It took me then 1 and a half years to find the financial resources to get started and then almost another one to develop the 1st version. So now it's a mix of pleasure and frustration.

On top of the help from the Dicream, I got the most precious collaborations from those talented one: Vincent Roudaut who did all the programming, Ailadi Cortelletti who made beautiful drawings and Rupert Huber who did the music.
And while I'm at it, I might as well list all the people who helped me along the way - with a computer or a tripod or a videocamera or a flat or a workplace or advices, contacts, ideas, travelling company.... very Cool people...
Carson Reynolds, Yoshiko Sakuma, Julie Morel, Yugo Minomo, Raphaël Meyer, David Krutten, Philippe Moya Lazaro, Jo Kazuhiro, Tomoko Hayashi, Naomi Hamaguchi and Daï, Alvaro Cassinelli, Dominick Chen, Matt Karau, Stefan Agamanolis, Jocelyne Quélo and la Maison Pop, Christophe Leclerq and Paul Girard and le CITU, Vincent Rioux and Confluences, Izumi and Takeshi Yamaguchi at Gallery Ef.

If you're in Tokyo in August, please come have a look.


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06 July 2007

For Sale

Last time I went to Japan, I brought back with me beautiful deco objects, that I found either in Tokyo or in Kyoto.
I'm travelling there again in 3 weeks to exhibit an installation.
I will also shop again for striking singular objects and I decided this time to take orders in advance to see if I can make a revenue out of my numerous trips around the world.
Here's a sample of different objects I got last time from amazing handcrafters: very thin porcelain hand-painted sake glass, ceramic cups designed after flower shapes, sake set, glass bottles, worked-metal plates and utensils, dyed textiles to hang on walls or use in the kitchen, genmaicha or hojicha teas... To give you an idea, prices varied for these between 10 euros and 100 euros.
If you're interested in details, let me know: joelle |at| superficiel.org


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10 May 2007

Some photos and then some more

Last fall and last winter, I traveled to Japan and to Israel, along with small trips here and there.
It took me some time to develop the pictures, select them, put them online. Now it's done.
I hope you'll enjoy the 3 different sets, without music this time. I invite you to set your own mood and let me know what fit well according to you.
The first set, In the garden of light and dark, follows some of my paths into the Japanese gardens I went to film for my Abstract project.
The second set, Faces and shadows, introduces you to some of the incredible people I met in Japan, along with faces of strangers I just glanced at.
The third set, Color me good, starts in the Sinaï where I went to spend holidays with Bertrand and Martin and back in Israel where the Mitzpe Ramon crater and the Dead Sea offered strange colors to catch.
All pictures were taken with my Contax T2, except for the pictures taken in Normandy from the last set that were shot with my Lomo camera.

Finally, I chose to use my Flickr account to only host the pictures I take with my camera phone. It's not always significant but I find some of the results interesting, especially the ones with light effects.


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