Poetry in motion

Poetry in motionThe title of this post was not chosen lightly in view of the fact that this expression has been used for many years to describe the artistic and emotional sensations associated with human motion. Fair to say, it should not even be regarded as a cliché because it remains relevant to our everyday lives. The use of poetry has been with us since the beginning of time. Think how the ancient scribes composed their verse when witnessing scenes of war and bravado, watching soldiers clash with each other with their swords and bows. In spite of proxy wars being fought mainly in the Middle East today, the rest of humankind has moved on from their predecessors’ early, blood-curdling days.

Art in nature

Today, most men and women challenge each other on the playing fields. Not only do men and women battle it out with each other, they also challenge themselves quietly on their own. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner tells the story of one delinquent man’s battle with himself. Incarcerated for petty theft, the protagonist discovers the sport of cross-country running by chance. Much to the disappointment of the prison authorities, this young man, blessed with above-average levels of stamina and endurance, decides not to race against other athletes that he would surely beat, but against himself.

In the process, this young man encounters for the first time the joys of being close to nature, running through green forests and over muddy hills. While running, he sees the artistic beauty in his natural surroundings. The playing field may not be entirely natural but there is a good reason why soccer (football) is called the beautiful game. This term was first associated with the adored Samba Kings, five time soccer world champions, Brazil.

Expressing yourself

If you have not had the privilege of taking part in one or another sport during your lifetime, you ought to give it a try. You won’t have to test your body to the limits. Rather, you can take time out to truly experience the beauty of using all parts of your body in strategic ways, combining it with cognitive thinking skills. Also, a lot of artistic expression and engineering skills go into the manufacture of the equipment that sportsmen and women use.

Long-boarding enthusiasts appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into building their custom-designed boards from natural fibers such as bamboo and maple. Granted, synthetic fibers are being used more nowadays in order to enhance and streamline the performance of top athletes. Ultimately, sport is more than competing with foes. It is a means of expressing the individual self and reacting to one’s surroundings, much like poets have been doing for centuries. Even if you are just taking a leisurely stroll through your favorite park you can take a moment to observe how your body responds to undulating paths.

More importantly, you should take time to absorb how it makes you feel inside. It feels beautiful, doesn’t it?

The Art of the Motorcycle

harley davidson motorcycle closeup photoAs you know, I love all things related to art. A few days ago, I was researching the Guggenheim when I came across an interesting review for the exhibition “The Art of the Motorcycle” that ran there in 1988.

I was intrigued so I did some research, and here is what I found out.

The Art of the Motorcycle was an exhibition which featured more than 100 exceptionally interesting motorcycles. The motorcycles were chosen for their exceptional design and features, and their historical importance in the development of design.

An interesting detail is how the exhibition ended up in such an esteemed place as the Guggenheim. The director of the Guggenheim at the time was Thomas Krens, who was a real motorcycle lover. He chose some of the bikes himself, and was helped by other experts such as Manon Slone and Charles Falco.

Another interesting fact is that this exhibition came at a time when motorcycles had a stigma attached to them, and riders were seen as low-lives. This exhibition marked the transition from that – an end of the period of demonization and social rejection of riders.

It helped along the cause of accepting and reintegrating motorcyclists, and moved along the representation of motorcycles as something desirable and fashionable. It also celebrated the sport of riding motorcycles.

The end result is what we can see today – countless people riding motorcycles, numerous sites, shops, gatherings and expositions dedicated solely to motorcycles. Today the market for motorcycles is so big, there are even whole websites dedicated to motorcycle helmets such as this one.

The Art of the MotorcycleWhen researching the exhibition, I also came across the catalogue for it which showed amazing motorcycles all the way from steam powered velocipedes to iconic Harley-Davidsons like the ones we can see cruising down streets today.

As far as the rating of the exhibition, it was deemed a complete success. Enormous numbers of people came to see the exhibition, and the Guggenheim recorded highest ticket sales ever with more than 4 thousand people coming to see the exhibition every day, and over 5 thousand attendees on the weekends.

The total number of people went just over 300 thousand, which was a record attendance when it comes to exhibitions at the Guggenheim. Seeing how popular it was, many other venues started basically copying the exhibition, for example the Orlando Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Bilbao.

The exhibition also travelled, so when the total number of people who visited it is added up, it comes to well over a million, making this exhibition one of the best viewed in history. It was so popular that, for many people, this was their first and only visit to a museum.

The catalogue which I mentioned was also sold, and in remarkable numbers – until 2005, over a quarter of a million copied were printed which is the most of any museum catalogue ever. That’s additionally impressive since the catalogue is pretty large. It has over 400 pages of quality color print. It would definitely be interesting to get a chance to see something like that now!

Style and the Art of Motorcycle Boots

Style and the Art of Motorcycle BootsI am going to talk about fashion for a bit in this post. Fashion is one of the greatest expressions of creativity and useable art that there is. Every person defines their individual style and, in so doing, produces himself or herself as someone to be viewed aesthetically. Some people are more aware of this than others, but everyone does it to one degree or another.

I find this entire process really liberating and interesting. It is incredible the different style senses that people can have. This is true of even the same person from day to day. Style can range from cardigans and pearls to lace and stilettos to studs and leather.

One of the most distinct types of style, however, is the style associated with particular sports and activities. I think that this is because style has to conform to not just personal taste but also meet some pretty stringent functional requirements. Even more, sports are often really associated with particular groups, teams, brands etc., which shape how we perceive them and make us identify them (and ourselves) with a particular group.

I think that some of the reason I am thinking of this is that I have been on the market for a new pair of boots lately. I know that this is pretty banal sounding, but it is what brought me to this line of thought. I was considering buying a pair of motorcycle boots because they look “edgy” and I came across a site called http://motorcyclebootshero.com/, which has some amazing styles.

What I noticed though is that they “edgy” boots I think of are the black, studded, leather boots, but there is also a far more graphic style of boots that are used in motor cross and dirt bike riding.  I was not at all aware that other types of riding had such different styles of gear. A good example of this different style can be found in these O’Neal Motorcycle boots.

I got to thinking about what the different styles of boots mean to how different types of riders use their equipment. Even more than that, these boots seem to represent a different self-perception in the wearer than I was expecting. They are taller and more overtly protective. They are also bright and bold and youthful.

I really find the design of sports gear. It is fascinating how a good designer or company can merge form and function and these brands are often at the forefront of fabric and construction technologies.

I still haven’t decided on which pair of boots to buy, but this was an interesting topic to explore for a bit.