Posts Tagged “Buddhism”

08w02:4 Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

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Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche | CBC Radio 1’s Tapestry
“Mary Hynes talks to Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche; athlete, author and teacher, and the leader of Shambhala, a network of Buddhist meditation centres around the world.”

07w51:3 Jesus was a tulku

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Myself, I like the idea that Jesus was one of the first Jewish Buddhists, and that the so called ‘Jesus Cult’ was actually an attempt to create a sangha in Roman occupied Palestine; but unfortunately, it go so fucked up that Christianity evolved into something narrow-minded, power-hungry, and violent.

Merry Christmas everybody.

07w11:1 The Fantastics

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The Fantastics of Ignorance

This Goodreads is in part of confession of ignorance, and how wonderful things can be when you don’t have the full picture. Which is to say, they’re fantastic when not dulled by the acquired cynicism of ‘an inside story’. And perhaps it is by coming to the experience initially ignorant, having that wonderful first impression, that the further nuance associated with it doesn’t diminish its glow.

Two of the items discussed here refer to art exhibitions on in Toronto presently, which is to encourage any of you for whom it is possible to visit them.

These four fantastics are presented in the order in which I experienced them.

I. Fantastic One | Darren O’Donnell at CCL1

Darren O’Donnell’s work over the past couple of years has been fantastic. His Suicide Site Guide to the City wowed me when I saw it in 2005, and apparently this was because of the ignorance mentioned above, as Kamal Al-Solaylee wrote in his review at the time ‘…only audiences who haven’t been to the theatre in say, a few decades, are expected to be dazzled by the presentation’. I admitted in my review that I was one of such an audience. Yet, how could we not appreciate Haircuts by Children or Ballroom Dancing for Nuit Blanche?

In an arts scene riven by competition and jealousies, Darren’s work is something that we all seem to appreciate without such pettiness. I recently attended the latest production from his theatre company, Diplomatic Immunities: THE END and was genuinely touched: Ulysses Castellanos singing Queen’s `We are the Champions` at the end of the show almost made me cry. This was the song voted on by children at a local school to be that which they wanted to hear at the End of the World. (My vote at the present time is either The Beatles’ `Tomorrow Never Knows` or `Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)` and as I listen to them nowadays I imagine it playing over the footage of this video.)

But what is it about Darren’s work along these lines that is so generally fantastic? For me it highlights what is perhaps a greater shift in our culture, which is a movement toward an interest in ‘real life’ (and to that end, reality-tv represents this transition, by using non-actors but still tying them to some sort of narrative structure). The work of Darren’s theatre troupe, Mammalian Diving Reflex, forgoes an explicit narrative structure and seemingly let’s that emerge on it’s own.

Here, I’m most inspired by a snippet of dialogue from a Star Trek show. In the Enterprise episode ‘Dear Doctor’ which first aired in January 2002, there’s a scene depicting movie-night on the starship; while watching ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ a 1943 film being shown in that time-frame of 209 years from its creation, the character Ensign Cutler asks the alien Doctor Phlox, ‘They don’t have movies where you come from do they?’ He replied, ‘We had something similar a few hundred years ago, but they lost their appeal when people discovered their real lives were more interesting’.

Now, imagine living on Phlox’s planet during that time of transition, when people were discovering their own lives were more interesting. Wouldn’t that time resemble our own, with diminishing box office returns, reality-tv programing undermining celebrity culture, a global communications network allowing for unedited dialogue within varying degrees of privacy, and the rise of the documentary genre in popularity?

This statement was typed out initially by a scriptwriter in Los Angeles at the beginning of this decade and perhaps was meant both as an inside joke to Star Trek‘s fanbase (Shatner’s ‘Get a Life‘ skit from his 1986 appearance on Saturday Night Live) and reflecting the concern of Hollywood that they would lose their market. Three years later, Enterprise was cancelled, the only franchise since its resurrection twenty years ago to not last through seven seasons.

Leaving DI: The End four weeks ago I was convinced that our own lives were definitely more interesting. The performance incorporated an element of chance in its selection of two audience members during the course of the evening for interviews by the cast and attendees; on the night I was there, I was stunned by the answers given by the second girl chosen, who told us of saving the life of one of her friends during a climbing accident years before. Also, when asked a question along the lines of ‘why are we here’ she gave such an unexpectedly Buddhist/Eastern Tradition answer that I found myself saying ‘wow’.

The point made for me was that this girl, who had simply been someone sitting in the aisle in front of me, had a much more dramatic world inside her than anything I’m ever offered by fictional constructions, and I took this knowledge onto the street, walking with my companion who was someone new in my life and hence still full of mystery, and saw everyone around me with a new appreciation for our variety, our potential, and of the unknown masterpieces of real life.

This past Thursday, I attended Darren’s opening at The Centre of Leisure and Culture No. 1, Video Show for the People of Pakistan and India which consists of an approximately twenty-minute video and chapbooks of the blog Darren kept while on tour in Pakistan and India late last year. I’ve prompted Darren to place this video online eventually, and if and when that happens I’ll follow through with the link.

At the time of Darren’s trip, I was moved to contact CBC’s The Current because I’d recently heard an interview (begins at 7:45min) with the 24 year old Afghani woman Mehria Azizi who was doing a tour through Canada showing a documentary she’d made about women’s lives in her homeland. This had been one of the more insightful things I’d been exposed to with regard to this part of the world. I imagined Anna Maria Tremonti asking Darren about his conversation with Mike the soldier on the plane, or asking for stories from Darren’s experience with the humanity of these people. I figured it would have fit into The Current’s mandate as I understood it: to educate, to inform, to bring us perspective. Darren’s work deserved this national audience. There was a bit of a followup from someone who was going to forward the info to a producer but in the end nothing came of it. Meanwhile, due to the unreliableness of the CBC’s internet stream, and what I see as too much focus on Canada’s military presence in Afghanistan, I’ve avoided listening to The Current at work for the past couple of months, preferring instead France Culture or the BBC. I did catch the broadcast the other day of their self-flagellation on under and mis-reporting the story of Global Warming. Anna Maria was somewhat bothered by a statement of one of the scientists: ‘never underestimate the illiteracy of reporters’.

The following morning, (that of March 9th) the CBC included in its news roundup the visit by Canada’s Governor General to the troops in Afghanistan, and there was something said about ‘putting a human face’ on the story (mov and realmedia). What’s unfortunate is that Michaëlle Jean, who in the past has seemed an intelligent, well informed woman, was responsible for the stupidest statements in the report. ‘There’s no future without women …’. No shit. But perhaps the real fault lies with the editors of the video, or the fact that she used to be a reporter.

The evening before I’d been to Darren’s show to see the Pakistan video, the talk of putting a human face struck me as more this meaningless political rhetoric. Why are all these human faces those from Canada? Where do we ever see the human faces of the people we’re supposedly helping? How is their humanity ever brought to our attention? The fact that Darren could undermine the agenda of Canada’s national broadcaster with a 20 minute video perhaps suggests just how under-served we are by photo-ops, predictable rhetoric, focus on soldiers, and all the other regular bullshit. My understanding of the situation and of the people involved has been greatly enhanced by Darren’s first-person and personal reporting and the fact that the CBC found him fit only for their hipster-oriented Definitely Not the Opera kind of suggests how little they take his work seriously … something silly for the kids right?

II. Fantastic Two | Monks in the lab

I watched/listened to this video on Friday at work, and it was fantastic. I especially liked the idea that the effect of mediation was to practice (and thus grow new neurons) paying attention to autonomic processes, which allows us to have greater awareness of our emotions and perceptions, so that we do not need to find ourselves ‘out of control’ or ‘swept away’ by strong impulses. In my dream of the future, I want children to be taught meditation in kindergarten, as an essential life skill, just as much as doing your physical exercises and learning your maths.

Monks in the Lab | Buddhist

( Real Player Broadband Link)
( Real Player Narrowband Link)
( Windows Media Player)

III. Fantastic Three | Zin Taylor at YYZ

As I’ve noted about Darren’s work, that it seems to miraculously inspire more admiration than jealousy, the work of Zin Taylor could be accused of inspiring more jealousy than admiration. Consider the facts as they appear: part of the Guelph university educated elite clique, he gets to be in show after show in prestigious galleries with work that is sometimes weak (the piece at The Power Plant in 2005 for example) and Taylor’s continual presence in the Toronto art scene PR seems to be attempting to break the record established by Derek Sullivan. Both artists appear to have been elevated to that collection of what seems like the less than ten artists who are overexposed in Toronto and who are continually asked to ‘represent’ this city of millions to others and to itself.

And so it was with ambivalence that I went down to the YYZ opening on Friday night; a chance to drink beer, be social, see some people I like to talk to and consider friends, and be ignored by those who used to say hi to me but now just think I’m an asshole or something. I wasn’t at all expecting Taylor’s video to win me over as it did, and it is now on my highly recommended list.

And yet, my appreciation for this work was based on my ignorance of its subject matter. I recall seeing years ago the call for submissions from the Yukon asking for artists to come on up and be inspired. I also recall hearing that Allyson and Zin, two artists I’d recently met through a friend, had been chosen to go. And so I knew over the past few years that Allyson and Zin had a connection to the Yukon and that they were making work about it.

With Put your eye in your mouth (which a friend suggested meant ‘digest what you see’) Zin has made a sort of fake documentary on a fake thing: Martin Kippenberger’s metro-net station in Dawson City. Now, my ignorance here was based on being familiar with Kippenberger’s name but not his work, so when watching the video, I thought Zin had seen this structure and made up an elaborate history for it, tying it to some art-star’s name in order to get in the trendy props to the masters. Turns out the Metro-Net was legit (also here), and yet this only diminishes by a bit the overall video, which is still fantastic. It is this type of elaborated imagination that I want to experience with art, and in as much that conceptual art usually goes for obscure one-liner cleverness, I hate it for its denial of the imagination. Now, considering Taylor’s background from Canada’s new conceptual It-School, I suppose I can say he’s showing that you can be both conceptual and imaginative, and the product is better for it.

IV. Fantastic Four | Kuchma’s Thrush Holmes reviews

The suspicions I had of Zin Taylor’s elaborate imagining of what could have been ‘the mine-shaft entrance’ follows on January’s suspicions that the opening of Thrush Holmes Empire was part of an elaborate joke.

There’s been talk in the scene of it being some kind of hoax, and personally I thought this was the case. I was trying to keep my mouth shut about it all, not wanting to ruin it, but now that I’ve been assured that this is not a masterpiece-parody on the art world constructed by Jade Rude and Andrew Harwood (the co-directors of the Empire space) (‘they’re not that clever’ I was told), I guess I share my disappointment that this really is the work of a presumptuous and pretentious young man who makes terrible work. As I said at the opening in January, ‘if this work is a parody, it’s a masterpiece, but if it’s legit I feel sorry for the guy’. In other words, in my ignorance, I imagined a fantastic scenario in which Jade and Andrew had collaborated on making quick, easy, and lazy work to fill up wall space in time for the opening, and hired an actor to play Thrush Holmes (which plays too close to the great 90’s indie-rock band Thrush Hermit). No mother names their son Thrush, so whoever this guy is, his wallet certainly doesn’t contain ID linking him closely with Joel Plaskett’s 90s project.

(A Thrush Hermit Aside

Seeing Ian McGettigan cover The Wire’s ‘I am the Fly’ in 1999 was part of the reason I gave up watching live music once I moved to Toronto – nothing would ever top that, and I prefer to have my indie-music memories packaged around my experience in Halifax rather than have continued on with the ringing ears of today’s stuff. Even though that meant I missed out on seeing the shit like this live).

The only person who seems to be addressing this Thrush Holmes issue is Michael Kuchma.

As I mentioned in the last Goodreads, I was part of a panel discussion at Toronto’s Gallery 1313 on art criticism. I had a good time and it was well attended despite being both a Monday and the weather being less than conducive to a social gathering. (The event was recorded and will potentially be made available as a podcast, and if/when that happens I’ll send out a link). During the Q&A, I was asked a question from a fellow in the audience who later identified himself via a comment on the BlogTo blurb writen by fellow panelist Carrie Young the day after.

Michael Kuchma is trying to write some thoughtful criticism about the Toronto scene and I glad that I was able to learn about it through these circumstances. I appreciate his take not only on the Thrush Holmes stuff but also on the Toronto scene in general, and I also appreciate seeing the influence of the panel talk in his writing: I guess it was worth something in in the end.

In the second link (‘why we Should…’) make note of point number 3:

Perhaps some fear that Holmes is orchestrating a brilliant art-stunt, and that passing judgment right now puts one in the vulnerable position of looking stoooopid and hasty on the day when Holmes comes clean with his Machiavellian master plan.

This is pretty much why I’ve kept quiet for this long, not wanting to ruin for everybody, and wanting to see Garry Michael Dault embarrassed for ‘falling for it’ as he had a positive review in the Globe & Mail on the day after the opening. (Why would I like to see Dault with egg on his face? Because Dault’s work as a critic is worthless – his reviews are almost always positive, unless he dares insinuate that someone has skills, at which point they are dismissed as being ‘illustrative’). A hoax or not, Kuchma’s thoughts on the whole matter are the most substantial I’ve come across and I’m glad he’s putting them out there.

Seenster | Michael Kuchma

Thrush Homes Walks a Razor Thin Line | Michael Kuchma (Feb 28 2007)

Why we SHOULD talk about Thrust Holmes | Michael Kuchma (March 7 2007)

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06w05:1 Good Audio

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2006 week 05 number 1 (good audio)
I’ve been listening to my iPod at work for the past month, so I haven’t been able to spend as much time in front of the computer finding good reads. What I present here then is the result of finding good podcasts. – Timothy


Not Self (Week 1) | Gil Fronsdal 2006-01-16

John Ralston Saul speaking on the Collaspe of Globalism | SBS Radio (Jan 06)

and on ABC Radio (Aug 05):

The Leonard Lopate Show:

The Wal-Mart Effect 2006-01-23
“70 percent of Americans live within a fifteen-minute drive of a Wal-Mart. Charles Fishman looks at how Wal-Mart got so big, and how it’s changing America’s economy, in The Wal-Mart Effect.”

Covering 2006-01-20
“In Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights, Kenji Yoshino explores the ways in which the law, civil liberties, and self-identification intersect. A Yale Law professor and a gay, Asian-American man, he describes the prejudices that he sees written in America’s civil rights legislation.”

Open Phones: Fact or Fiction? 2006-01-19
“We’ll take your calls on the recent revelation that James Frey made up some of the incidents he described in his best-selling memoir, A Million Little Pieces.”
Note: Personally I think this whole controversy about this book is a little pointless. Saturday night at my birthday dinner my Mother and Sister got into a discussion about it and I had to pipe up to say, “Imagine if you used all that brain power to think about better things; we’d have a beautiful world’. I mean, the book’s cover alone should be enough to clue you in it’s bullshit: all those tiny little coloured specks on the guy’s hand. Honestly, I always thought it was some book about viruses and illness, and noticed everyone reading it on the subway and train and thinking, ‘why would they want to read something so sad?’ Turns out its about drugs, debauchery, and the cheating ways of a trust fund brat. Perfect book for American society don’t you think? Ah well. At least America’s citizens aren’t paying attention to the war in Iraq. This episode of the Lopate show tried to equate the outrage of the book’s falsity with being lied to by the government, which I found crazy and thus fascinating.

Melville: His World and Work 2006-01-18
“Herman Melville wrote one of the most important American novels of all time: Moby-Dick. But he wasn’t recognized as a towering literary figure until 40 years after his death. Andrew Delbanco, the Julian Clarence Levi Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University, studies Melville’s life and works in a new biography.”

Fast Living 2006-01-12
“Renee Price is the curator of the current Egon Schiele exhibit at the Neue Galerie. She revisits the significance of the Viennese artist’s highly-sexualized work, and his very short life.”

Animal Insight 2006-01-10
“Last year, we interviewed animal scientist Temple Grandin about her latest book: Animals in Translation. In this book, she describes how her autism helps her decode animal behavior. She joins us now with an update on her work, and on new developments in autism research.”

This link on autism and it’s relationship to not only the way animals think, but to representative art, reminded me of Nicholas Humphrey’s paper Cave Art, Autism, and the Evolution of the Human Mind:

Cave Art, Autism, and the Evolution of the Human Mind | Nicholas Humphrey
“The emergence of cave art in Europe about 30,000 years ago is widely believed to be evidence that by this time human beings had developed sophisticated capacities for symbolization and communication. However, comparison of the cave art with the drawings made by a young autistic girl, Nadia, reveals surprising similarities in content and style. Nadia, despite her graphic skills, was mentally defective and had virtually no language. I argue in the light of this comparison that the existence of the cave art cannot be the proof which it is usually assumed to be that the humans of the Upper Palaeolithic had essentially ‘modern’ minds”.

From IT Conversations:

Laughter in a Time of War | Tim Zak talking with Zach Warren
“In the Fall of 2005, Zach Warren set the World’s Record for running the Philadelphia marathon–while juggling! […] In this second installment in his series on Play, Globeshakers host Tim Zak asks this World Record holder to describe what gives him the inspiration to pursue these feats of extreme endurance. What role does ‘play’ have in the health of the planet? And ultimately, what has he learned about what it takes to re-build an entire country? ‘One of the first casualties of war’ says Zach Warren, ‘is imagination.’ In one of the most war torn regions in the world, the Afghan Mini Mobile Children’s Circus (MMCC) serves as a child protection program to help Afghan children recover from the traumas of war. The MMCC, a Danish-registered NGO, is run by native Afghans. It helps children to be more self-directed in creating their own dreams for the future through theatre and the arts. So, what is the role of the jester in a time of extreme danger? ‘If we’re really serious about building a democracy in this country,’ says Warren ‘then we need to protect their imagination.'” Note: I found the questions asked in this interview to be really boneheaded, but Zach Warren was almost inspiring, making the case rather well that his admitedly silly contributions do in fact make a difference.

The Future of Blogging | Joichi Ito
“The internet is truly becoming an open network with the rise of amateur content and open source software. In this talk, Joi Ito takes us through the growth of the internet as an open network in layers to the point where the killer app is now user generated content. Earlier, it was the little guys around the edges of the internet who created the open standards which made the web work, and today it is those same people who fuel it with their creativity. He also shares with us his observations of the remix culture seen on the net.Joi notes that it is futile to make any attempts to change user behaviour. It is better to observe it and then make a business out of it. He also talks about how people on the internet do not want to be fed content from a handful of sources – they want to create their own content and have a conversation with others at the same time, and that is the revolution we are witnessing today.”

What Do We Know | Robert Trivers
“The capacity of humans to deceive each other is well documented by history and personal experience. Less well known, however, is the capacity of most living things to deceive each other – species deceiving other species, members of their own species and themselves. We are, it seems, not that different from parasites, insects and bacteria in this regard.Dr. Robert Trivers talks about the evolutionary basis of deception in this address from Pop!Tech 2005. The first half of this talk focuses on the biological examples of deception in the natural world, with explanations for the evolutionary advantages of deception and self-deception.Later in the talk, Dr. Trivers supplies easily recognizable examples of common human self-deception. He then delves into an overtly political criticism of human deception and self-deception, with an emphasis on current events.”Note: This was really good. I love how he expressed his anger with the Bush Administration. You know something’s worth listening to when it comes from a geek website and has a language warning at the beginning of it. (Because geeks of course never say the word fuck, especially when dealing with Windows software). And speaking of the Bush Administration:

State of the Union Address 2006 | James Adomian
“This year I’m submitting to congress a plan for a 400 billion dollar education plan. Because our children must be literalized. Children that don’t read will not grow up. I’m against hunger. I’m against that. For all our small businesses out there I want to make sure that they have clothings. For every old person out there dreamings, I want to make sure they have the pills to make those dreams happen. For every college student out there, I will make sure that they will be able to take the loans to go to college to be able to pay back those loans with interest. That’s why this year I’m proposing a 400 billion dollar tax cut on our upper income earners.”

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emailed by Timothy on Sunday 29 January 2006 @ 7:01 PM

05w10:1 Robert Thurman on Anger

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 10 number 1 (Robert Thurman on Anger)

Now that winter is beginning to fade, Renaissance (that is, re-birth) metaphors begin to seem appropriate. In Michael Ignatieff’s speech to last week’s Liberal Convention (upcoming on Goodreads) he spoke of Canada being a ray of light to a gloomy world. The world, immersed in a metaphorical winter of cold hearts, gloomy and dark, seeks the light of a metaphorical summer. But we’re all awash in various forms of anger, anger that’s broken down into a discussion of Us vs. Them, and everyone, always and everywhere, sees themselves united through blood, culture, skin colour, and common dreams into some kind of Us. All the anger in the world towards injustice certainly exists for a reason, but let’s consider how we deal with our anger.
To this end, I want to bring you this link to a conversation between Michael Enright and Robert Thurman, the Buddhist scholar, that aired last month on CBC1’s The Sunday Edition. – Timothy

Robert Thurman on Anger | The Sunday Edition
Enright: You say that, especially in the West, that our mythology, our culture, our movies, television, whatever, we valorize anger. Why do we do that?
Thurman:Well, my reasoning there is historical- that we, unfortunately became, especially lately, the past 500 years, we’ve become very addicted socially to militarism. Ever since, in Northern Europe, monasticism was rejected in the Protestant Reformation, and all of human life energy and male life energy was therefore devoted to some form of conquest and aggrandizement, either industrial conquest of resources to develop endless wealth or the physical conquest of other countries, or you know, colonization, imperialism. We became militaristic, like the American ‘superpower’, right, that whole thing. Therefore, a culture that is very dedicated to materialism upholds military virtues. You know, we forget that the Illiad and the Achilles story is a kind of Rambo story and elevate Rambo and Arnold, you know, this kind of Terminator and things like that in the violence of our media, we play football in our colleges, you know team work and crush the enemy. All of this is part of a conditioning to militarism… “
Real Audio file, 27:24 min

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emailed by Timothy on Monday 07 March 2005 @ 8:00 PM

04w15:2 Pico Iyer

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2004 week 15 number 2 (Pico Iyer)
“I saw Pico Iyer in Pages today, ” I said.
“So?” she said.
“I thought you’d find that interesting,” I said.
“I don’t see why I would,” she said. “I honestly don’t care.”
“I think you’re just saying that,” I said.
“My god, no! What is the big deal? It’s like at the Rodney Graham opening, everyone was oooing and aweing, ‘look, it’s Margaret Atwood…”
“Margaret Atwood was at the Rodney Graham opening?”


Leonard Cohen Unplugged | Pico Iyer
“And so, as time passes, I really do begin to feel I am watching a complex man trying to come clear, a still jangled, sometimes angry soul making a heroic attempt to reduce itself to calm. As day passes into night and day again, he comes into focus, and out again, like the sun behind clouds, now blazing with a lucent high intensity, now more like the difficult brooder you might imagine from the records. ‘He’s a tiger,’ I remember a women in New York telling me, ‘a very complicated man. Complicated in a very grown-up way. I mean, he makes Dylan seem childish.’ The first time she met him, he congratulated her on a book she’d written. As their meal went on, he added, ‘Your writing is a lot more interesting than you are.’ ”

The last refuge: on the promise of the New Canadian fiction | Pico Iyer
“The English Patient captured me, as it did many others, with a language at once precise and ornamental, and with love scenes that throw open the windows of the stuffy house of English letters to let in a new, exotic light. But what made the novel most resonant, as well as popular, was its meticulous and highly self-conscious attempt to chart a new kind of identity outside the categories of the Old World’s order. ‘We were German, English, Hungarian, African–all of us insignificant to them,’ says the title character, as he thinks back to an ‘oasis society’ before the war in which people from everywhere assembled to map the North African desert. ‘Gradually we became nationless. I came to hate nations.’ His closest associate among the explorers died, he recalls, because of nations. And as he reminisces about the tribal flow of post-national souls coming together in the desert, he–and we–cannot fail to notice that the people around him in the villa, too, are ‘international bastards,’ in his phrase, moving around one another, as the novel repeatedly puts it, like separate planets, ‘planetary strangers.’ ” | A response

Pico Iyer’s Mongrel Soul | Dave Weich
“Dave: You do like Toronto a lot, though. It’s not perfect, but Toronto seems to represent the hope you have for how cities might develop.”
Iyer: Yes, partly because the government is very self-consciously and earnestly trying to draft what is essentially a multicultural bill of rights. Canada, in general, and Toronto, in particular, is small enough and malleable enough to be shaped into a workable international community. The other reason why I was drawn to Toronto initially was that every few months I’d get a book through the mail, and it would be the most exciting and unprecedented book I’d run into. When I looked at the back, it seemed the author was always from Toronto. Michael Ondaatje is the obvious example. But Anne Michaels and so many others who are making this new Canadian literature – and Canadian literature is as resurgent as any, though it’s being made largely by people from Tanzania and India, Sri Lanka, The West Indies, and other places – many of these authors are imaginatively trying to construct new notions of a community beyond nations, as in The English Patient […] Toronto seems in certain small, practical ways, to be trying to fashion a new sense of order, how to make a peace between cultures, and its writers seem to sense that they’re living in the midst of something very exciting. Also, of course, Toronto is the birthplace of the Global Village – that’s where McLuhan wrote about it. […] Toronto provides a counterpoint, in my prejudiced opinion, to Los Angeles, for example, or Atlanta. ”

Flying to the Global Village | What is The Message? – The McLuhan Program
“But instead Toronto exemplifies that, of any physical space, airports represent a lack of placeness (and occasionally time) quite analogous to the electronically-induced global village conditions that we all now experience. The fusion of global cultures demonstrated in this collection of artists’ work from Spain, Germany, the U.S. and Canada exemplifies that, ‘the artist is always engaged in writing a detailed history of the future because he is the only person aware of the nature of the present,’ as McLuhan said. The future is the creation of a new global culture that is not necessarily tied specifically to geographical location, but rather linked to creating trans-cultural shared immediate experience. This is what the GTAA has accomplished. From the Times article, we learn that the customary ‘Welcome to Canada’ sign was removed from the arrivals gates so as not to interfere with the art. ”

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emailed by Timothy on Tuesday 06 April 2004 @ 10:38 PM