“Voice for 2020″ installation at SIKKA, March 2014

I know, I know. As it’s a year late, though I hoard a lot of art show brochures, I eventually throw them out or it gets recycled to a gift wrapper or something else. Since previous SIKKA shows aren’t archived, I’m using only scraps of notes and what little I can remember. Excuses aside, this is one of the exhibitions that resonated with me.

“Voice for 2020″, Voice of Wish, By People of Dubai, For 2020, year of EXPO, Connecting Minds, Creating the Future

Located in House No. 16, Voice for 2020, started as a live art installation encouraging passers-by to express what they love about UAE and wish for in 2020 (the year Dubai would host the World Expo), it turned to a space where the wishes and dreams of locals and expats alike hung from threads of paper.

“All I wish is PEACE”, “Want to explore the world”
“In God We Really Trust” MAH

It’s pretty cool to see how diverse everyone’s desires were, yet they all lead to the universal yearning for peace, love, happiness and success.

“Love and peace for Syria”
“Ang dami kong pangarap, Mapapansin kaya, Maririnig kaya, Masasakatuparan kaya, Sa pinakasulok ng kwarto.” Translates to: I have many dreams, will they notice? Will it be heard? Will it come true? From the corner of the room.

This year’s SIKKA15 art fair will start from March 14 till March 24 at the Al Fahidi historical neighborhood/Al Bastakiya area. Showing Emirati and Dubai-based artists’ talents alike, it’s always my favorite from the month-long Dubai Art Season.

Apart from that, I’m also going to Art Nights at DIFC on March 16, which is, alas, happening at same night as Galleries Night at Alserkal Avenue. Both opens more or less, the same kind of galleries, but it gets you curious, “What’s happening on the other side?”

There’s also Art Dubai at Madinat Jumeirah from March 18-21 which exhibits more than 50 galleries from around the world (they’re not kidding about this, I went in 2013 and it took me two trips to see half of it!), and Design Days Dubai at Downtown Dubai from March 16-20, which I would definitely recommend to interior and product designers, architects and art students . Both of which I don’t think I will be going to, but hey, if you can, go for it.

On remembering David Carr and his words

Back in university, I remember coming across David Carr’s Twitter account when I was looking for journalists and editors to follow online. From being a former drug addict to advocating for and being known as an early adopter to all things tech (which, in a way, made me feel better about my tendency to try out new platforms), having an innate love for pop culture, speaking at journalism classes to mentor aspirants in and out of the newsroom, he was one of those media reporter and critic I looked up to. In the documentary Page One (a must-watch for any media student, by the way!), he defended the future of newspapers, and you could clearly see and love his commitment to journalism, in whatever form or medium.

His writing exemplified the kind of writing analysis on culture, television/films and media that I want to (and try to) tackle, a few examples are his articles about ethics, selfie sticks and more on his Media Equation column. It’s ironic, sad and equally heartwarming that he died what he loved best- in The New York Times newsroom. Thank you, David Carr for your epigrams of encouragement.

Selected from his AMA at Reddit and NY Mag , here are some of his advice on different topics that has pushed and inspired me to be better:

On doing and creating things on any platform:

You have to make stuff. The tools of journalism are in your hands and no one is going to give a damn about what is on your resume, they want to see what you have made with your own little fingies. Can you use Final Cut Pro? Have you created an Instagram that is about something besides a picture of your cat every time she rolls over? Is HTML 5 a foreign language to you? Is your social media presence dominated by a picture of your beer bong, or is it an RSS of interesting stuff that you add insight to? People who are doing hires will have great visibility into what you can actually do, what you care about and how you can express on any number of platforms.

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On the changing media landscape:

“A bunch of old crusty white guys who looked a lot and talked a lot like me, they decided what the news was. It’s not really up to us anymore. It’s up to you. It’s up to your audience.” — 2014 UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism commencement address

When asked, “What is the best piece of writing/journalistic advice you’ve ever received?”

Keep typing until it turns into writing.

“Modern” love

Back then, there wasn’t Facebook to stalk ex’s, dating social apps to meet random people, platforms to talk to people across the world, and the like. Technology and culture has influenced the concept of romance.

The New York Times has a Modern Love column, a series of hilarious, sad, strange and happy stories of people chasing or finding love. In an article called ‘How We Write About Love‘, I found this to be true- that while women think their ideal relationship is in the future, men romanticize the past.

“A woman is more likely to believe her romantic ideal awaits somewhere in the future, where her long-held fantasy becomes a flesh-and-blood reality.
A man’s romantic ideal typically exists somewhere in the past in the form of an actual person he loved but let go of, or who got away. And he keeps going back to her in his mind, and probably also on Facebook and Instagram, thinking, “What if?”

In their multimedia section, there’s a video called ‘Breaching The Seawall’


Sweet and fleeting; it’s a story of a Filipino-American in the Philippines finding love on a visit unexpectedly. Two things that stood out for me. First, is the prose itself, wherein, the writer of the article –‘In Manila, Two Seasons, No Regrets’– where the video is based on takes a conversational-like approach to telling the story, like it was just a story I was hearing from a friend. That was lovely, and a smart/reminds-me-of-Serial approach.

Second is how the story was told in illustration on the video. I love the metaphoric implication of the bicycle and her heart. Khumo Sebambo said it nicely in Design Indaba:

“..the characters have no faces. Instead, squares and cubes represent Fantauzzo, and circles and cylinders represent the woman with whom she falls in love.
The blue and orange colour palette creates a surprisingly effective contrast. The geometric shapes and angular figures are key to Wells’ contemporary animation style – one that handles a challenging narrative in inventive ways: tears are illustrated with a cascading waterfall; the shapes interlocking into one another like toy blocks represent intimacy.”

Though they’re two different mediums, the ending in both video and text were poignant, and even sounds like a nice ending for a short film.

Before I forget: loving God in busyness and stillness

This is my cry, my one desire
Just to be where You are Lord
Now and forever it’s more than a song
My one desire is to be with You
Is to be with You Jesus

During an evening worship at SHOUT, as we were singing this song, I paused.

You see, I had to remind myself to not just sing for the sake of singing, and actually pray. Too often, after being spiritually high from an encounter or experience, reality sets in, old sins come back and weeks can go by without prayers. There would be days when His words would fail to resonate with me- no realizations or affirmations. God seems quiet and far, and I understand what St. Augustine meant with, “Our heart is restless until it rests on You.” I yearn and long for the blazing fire, when only a spark is present.

This time though, God revealed a few things to me. Maybe He seems silent because He is so close, and I’m too caught up with my daily life that praying has become a chore. The daily Bible readings turns to a skim-through, I rush the Our Father’s and stumble hastily on the Hail Mary’s.

Before I forget: loving God in busyness and stillnessPerhaps, like tea, it’s better to let it simmer. Reflect and ponder, as I was constantly reminded this year. Remind myself that this -whether worship song or one of the prayers- is a prayer. Otherwise, it turns to another task we can tick off on our to-do list, when praying is not supposed to be an obligation but a consistent act, done out of need and love for Him.

Loving Jesus is not like loving a person, wherein people and emotions can come and go. His love is constant and unconditional. Just because He hasn’t been loud or, to put in Tagalog terms, “nag-paparamdam“, doesn’t mean He isn’t there. God is with us when He is at the center of our hearts, He is with us in times of hurt, when we fall back to our sins and yes, even during the tranquility and daily bustle of life.

So, before I forget, remind me to not be defined by whatever it is that is hindering me from reaching out to You. To welcome God in my busy and mundane life. To seek God in His silence and stillness.

Another relevant link: Believing what we sing on Sundays

Current Stuff I’m Geeking About No. 1

I’ve always seen the Currently lists on blogs, but felt they’re not enough or boring, so I decided to start my own. Something less formal and I can relate to. So, here’s some recent interesting things worth a mention:

Books
#GirlBoss has been my go-to book for metro rides and something I try to read in the morning to give me a motivating push or, when I’m too sleepy and can’t be bothered to sleep in the mornings, on the way home from work. I’m not yet done, but I feel it’s a do-something-with-your-life book that could be kick in the butt 20somethings need.

On to spiritual reads, I’m trying to continue Youcat: Youth Prayer Book. It’s really lovely and I’ve tried to subconsciously motivate myself by putting it on my bed as a reminder to read a chapter a day (as they’ve suggested). But oh dear, my body is so stubborn. When I see my bed and covers, khalas, goodbye world.

Next on my reading list is the last from the Maze Runner trilogy: The Death Cure by James Dashner and then hopefully, Rick Riordan’s The Blood of Olympus which I’m hearing good things about. Veronica Roth’s Allegiant is also on my list. I’m actually at the end of it, but I just refuse to finish the last chapter because I accidentally found out the ending. Curse spoilers! So, when I’m emotionally ready for it, maybe I’ll finish it. Maybe.

Internet finds
I came across Start Something: The Power of Side Projects when I was discouraged and overwhelmed by the projects I want to pursue and it’s been helpful. I am so in awe with @swimiss and how her enthusiasm for solving problems led to companies she’s built. Here’s a talk she gave: Continue reading

The warm up

Honesty time: I wanted to delete this blog. I cringed at my previous musings.

So for months, I’ve stayed away, though I knew I just wanted to write. I enjoy what I’m writing about at work, but I just want to write for the sake of having something written for myself. For an introverted person about my feelings and opinions, it’s gratifying and scary at the same time. I’m still working on that part of myself.

I’ve been going through some changes for a while. And change is good. But at the end of the day, there are some things I just want to get all out of my head. Remember the pensieve in Harry Potter? In muggle terms, it’s a magical vessel filled with thoughts and memories. I want my pensieve back.

I want to write, but my own perfectionist side screams, “Really? You want to write about that? Who cares?” I try too hard and think that everything should only be the best. Nothing mediocre.

There are days when I wish I could finish writing essays about how the current state of selfies is ruining our culture, how I think the graphic novel Saga is a mixture of Romeo and Juliet and Game of Thrones with a bit more spunk, about how I’m okay with being an introvert and even though it’s universally accepted I’m still shamed for it, how Once Upon A Time is doing something really exciting with giving fairy tale characters their own modern take and twisted back story, and how #GirlBoss is the book I wish I had after graduating.

No, really. I wanted to go on about the struggle of trying to dress somewhat stylishly easy-going and sometimes, work-appropriate while still being thrifty and ready for the blistering heat of Dubai, how cool it is to find pastors, priests and nuns interacting with new media to spread Christianity and how we can learn from them, the current exciting state of the Dubai art scene and actually post pictures of exhibitions I go to, about the awesomeness of the Pocket app and how it feeds my reading addiction during metro rides, why I like the 13th Doctor but still miss Amy Pond, how watching Gilmore Girls again makes me wish for a better mom-daughter relationship, and so much more. I just want to write. But for now, they are just drafts and mere thoughts.

In the meantime, I suppose this warm up is enough for the days-with-blog-entries to come.

Photos from my also seldom updated photo blog, by the way.

On My Messy and Organized Information Consumption

For a few years now, I’ve been on an information limbo with my Internet content consumption. I love falling into the rabbit hole of the Internet abyss to read content and stories, in an effort to be well-read in almost everything and anything. I’ve always wondered how Internet curators, like the awesome Brain Pickings managed to read through so much content to find the most interesting things and ‘cross-pollinate‘ ideas creatively to process it to ideas and concepts.

It’s taken me a few years and I’m just a beginner. But I think I have a system.

Back when Google Reader was still alive, I categorized RSS feeds to how I’d like to ideally read. Sometimes I get through them, often I don’t. I would go for months having more than 100,000 articles unread.

When Google Reader stopped, I was partly relieved because let’s be honest, I will never be able to finish reading all that. But there was Feedly, so after filtering out sites I rarely visit, I shifted to Feedly. The design and keyboard shortcuts were a plus to lessening the unread article counts.

Having an iPad and an Android phone was an advantage too, it proved easier to read during my downtime or when I wanted be away from my laptop. I say so, because at the moment, I’m really enjoying Flipboard.

I love its magazine-like experience and the topics aren’t bad as well. It’s quite interesting to see what others curate to their own ‘magazines’ too. My only peeve is not being able to add personal preferences of websites in the topics. I’m not quite sure how the algorithms of how a website gets chosen to appear in a topic gets chosen, but I’m a bit skeptic that I might be influenced.

I love the feature of being able to add feeds from Google Reader, Twitter and other social accounts though, especially since I have the tendency to favorite articles on Twitter I’d like to read later.

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“An ideal state far in the horizon to where I put stories and ideas and information for me to consume and synthesize to make myself a better, more informed person.”

–  Cheri Lucas from Writing Through to the Fog.

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