A by-product of the cordonning of buildings and things in the Wellington CBD after last Monday morning's severe earthquake - a critique of a public artwork achieved in less than one word. My feelings precisely.
I attended an event at Te Papa this morning - 'A Bold New Direction' - in which Charlotte Davy, Te Papa's Head of Art, announced plans for a new art gallery space to be created within the Cable St building, replacing the gallery space currently available and much enlarging it. There was a good turnout of arts-type people at this 8.30am function, many from out of Wellington and probably here for the Cindy Sherman exhibition opening, starting about now. (Denise and I are headed over there in a minute, so this will be brief.)
The news media was conspicuous by its absence this morning. No journo from the Dominion Post (as far as I could see, and there's no mention on Stuff), no TV camera crew. But isn't this news? Oh, no. I forgot - it's the arts. Maybe they could've arranged for a couple of second-string Warriors or non-selected All Blacks to be present, then it'd get coverage.
Earlier this week there was several minutes TV news coverage of an event at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. My jaw hit the floor in surprise, and stayed there. Maybe that was enough arts for one week.
So, how about one day a week, instead of 20 to 25 minutes of sports news, the time could be spent covering arts-related events. Wednesdays would be good, I mean, WTF happens in sports on a Wednesday that couldn't wait till Thursday?
Just putting the idea out there. What about it.
(Please pardon the crappy phone photos. I wasn't there in my capacity as a photographer.)
Walked along the Wellington waterfront this morning. It was still, calm, misty, warm and somewhat womb-like. You could see several metres down into the water.
Swimming slowly near the wharf was the largest jellyfish I've ever seen. Its orange crown was 25-30cm across and below that was a dense mass. In the water around it were what to my untrained eye appeared to be hundreds of its spawn. They were almost transparent but with a small opaque centres. They were elongated, a few cm long, and some were joined in trains of 10 or so and swimming with a snake-like motion. There was a trail of them close in for some distance along the waterfront.
It was all rather beautiful and entrancing. Alas my attempt at photography with my phone was unproductive. Here's a couple of seconds of video.
I wrote this as something of a respite from last night's US election result, but now I am struck by the thought of this jellyfish being approximately the same colour and size as Donald Trump's head. Dammit!
NZ used to have the same problem with the old 'First past the post' electoral system, which was unfair because a minority of voters living in marginal electorates (read Swing States) would determine who would govern. Meanwhile, safe seats would be won by majorities of 10,000 or more, which meant your vote didn't much matter if you lived in a safe seat.
Our proportional representation system is not perfect but it can be tweaked to iron out most of its wrinkles. It is inherently fair because each person's party vote counts equally regardless of where they live.
The USA needs to move (with the rest of the civilised world) to a proportional representation voting system. However the probability of this is close to zero, for the same sort of reason they've failed to adopt the metric system - innate conservatism mixed with pig-headedness. There are just too many forces preventing change for the better in the US, as President Obama found out.
Today may turn out to one of those days when you remember where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news.
For posterity, here's my Facebook post from 21st January, 2016:
"We can mock Donald Trump and his supporters, like Sarah Palin, all we like, but for all that it's starting to look dangerously like he could actually become President of the USA and thus the most powerful person in the world.
What kind of world will we be heading for if that prospect eventuates?
This is no time for complacency of the "surely the voters couldn't be that dumb" variety.
So if you're a US voter with an IQ over 70, the rest of the world is depending on you to do the right thing. We outside the US will all be affected by your choice of President."
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