April 30, 2012
April 28, 2012
April 26, 2012
A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.
Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities.
The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit
to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.
It is the source of all true art and all science.
He to whom this emotion is a stranger,
who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe,
is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.
Quotes by Albert Einstein
Art by Edward Hopper
April 25, 2012
Pleasure is often spoiled by describing it.
Beauty is the promise of happiness.
A very small degree of hope is sufficient to cause the birth of love.
The pleasures of love are always in proportion to our fears.
Power, after love, is the first source of happiness.
Photographs by Roberto Badin
Quotes by Stendhal
April 21, 2012
April 18, 2012
And so it is, and so it has been that this blog has become a diary of sorts. It is a refuge, an oasis, a sacred space where I have found the integrity that had been stripped from me. It is an exploration of the dark and the light, the sick and the healing, the curses and the blessings that have surrounded me since I was born.
It is this blog that has given me a new sense of understanding of the Digital Age, not just what it means to speak freely to the world, but the courage it requires to sign my name to my word. I have no aliases, I play no games, I hide from nothing because I no longer fear my pain.
Once this blog became my diary, I discovered something I didn’t understand—that in being me, I do not need to do anything else. As this blog has taken hold, I have released myself from the illusions and lies that held me prisoner, and in pardoning myself of crimes that I did and did not commit, I have discovered that freedom is the only way to live.
I live to write. I write to live. I live for photographs. I take no photographs except those that I find. I am horrified by the idea of documenting my life as that which lies in my immediate purview for what I experience is so much greater than the small scope of my travels on earth. And to that end, the Internet has become my Oracle, guiding me to images of life that I know, even though I did not live them until the moment my eyes cast upon their form. The images I select tell as much about me as any words ever could—perhaps more in that they speak all languages. And, as you know, or shall soon discover, we are moving into a post-literate society.
Isn’t it beautiful and ironic and amazing to realize that we are returning to our essence, to a world of signs and symbols and oral history. Granted, that oral history is now video, but it remains worth noting that the death of print is the harbinger of this brave new world.
And yet… I could never give up words, nor give up print, even though I fully embrace the Digital Age. I have always felt that I was born at the turning point, and that I at once live in two worlds, the old and the new school, and I love them both for all their beauty and critique them both for all their arrogance, and I benefit by virtue of all that is possible because at no other time in history could I live on my terms and no one else’s.
I answer only to myself, and that is a blessing, for I know the curse that was implanted in me at birth, and I fear it not because my powers are granted by the Universe.
And one of those powers has been and shall always be the desire to communicate, to share, to connect, to create community. And I did not know, until I began, that what you seek is seeking you, and so it happens that I am.
As I consider the future is now, and now is the time, and time is an illusion, I create the world in which I choose to live. And that world is the world of my heart and mind and soul manifest. And that creature is both an essence and an existence, and they are complementary because what was done unto me is very dark and heavy.
And this darkness weighs on me and I accept it. For we all have our demons, and finally, now, I can give mine a hug. Because, two years ago I drew a card and the lesson was “Dealing with Demons” and the first thing I realized was that demons were sick energies that need love in order to heal. And I was disgusted and charmed and confused by this, because I couldn’t so much as wrap my arms across my chest and give myself a hug, let alone love the demons that dwelled beneath my breast. But I never forgot that lesson, even though I had no idea how it would become expressed.
It is both this blog, which is my daily meditation, and my novel(s) which have allowed me to express and accept and make peace with the darkness and to accept that who I am is not for everyone, particularly not those who are afraid of themselves. And that makes me sad, partially because I still possess the pathetic desire to be loved by all, but more than that, it makes me sad because I hate to see that kind of self hatred in anyone else. I feel it, with a kind of empathy that has no boundaries, in the way that spirits can enter my space without resistance. Because the boundaries around my ego were so completely violated, first by a shocking proximity to death, second by predators masquerading as parents, but no matter anymore.
All blessings are curses and vice versa. And the curse has blessed me with the ability to know things very few people wish to talk about. But then I realize, if only one person wishes to speak with me, I am a lucky girl. And there is at least one person, Miss Fitts, and she rocks my world. To imagine that we speak about suicide so calmly, so clearly, so deeply, so much so as to come to the knowledge of parallel universes, other dimensions, and things which mankind cannot prove but the brain can experience—ahh, this is why I am here. This is why all of this happened to me. This is why I don’t ever need to ask why—because I live in faith. I live fearless. I believe.
And so it is that something has happened and things have changed and I see that there are two forces working together at this time. There is the darkness and there is the light and both need to be expressed, but in order to become manifest and pure in their essence, I separate the two to develop in their own space, and perhaps the day shall come when they unite. But today is not that day.
Today is the day that I introduce my other half. The Kingdom of Eternal Night, my new blog, and the future of Miss Rosen, Sara, and me. Is that like the trinity? The Mother, the Daughter, and the Holy Spirit? God is so Good, there are no words for it.
April 13, 2012
April 12, 2012
I tried to drown my sorrows, but the bastards learned how to swim,
and now I am overwhelmed by this decent and good feeling.
La novia que se se espanta de ver la vida abierta.
The bride frightened at seeing life opened.
I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone,
because I am the person I know best.
I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.
I used to think I was the strangest person in the world
but then I thought there are so many people in the world,
there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre
and flawed in the same ways I do.
I would imagine her,
and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too.
Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that,
yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.
April 12, 2012
May I kiss you then? On this miserable paper?
I might as well open the window and kiss the night air.
From a certain point onward there is no longer any turning back.
That is the point that must be reached.
Anyone who cannot come to terms with his life while he is alive
needs one hand to ward off a little his despair over his fate…
but with his other hand he can note down what he sees among the ruins.
Not everyone can see the truth, but he can be it.
If I shall exist eternally, how shall I exist tomorrow?
Quotes by Franz Kafka
Artwork from Six Glasses of Water
April 10, 2012
On June 6, 2012, Allegra La Viola will open The Invisible Line, the first New York City solo show by Ellen Jong. The exhibition, which is curated by mr. and mrs. Olu, will feature photographs from Jong’s self-published monograph, Getting to Know My Husband’s Cock. It features 25 framed works, a mixed media installation, and will be accompanied by a Happening, which invites participation from one and all to cross their own Invisible Line.
The Invisible Line is the demarcation between fear and fearlessness. It is that thing that holds us back, or thrusts us forth into the great, wild, unknown space where possibility that makes every life so perfectly unique. To cross or not to cross, that is the question. But who could be an artist if they allowed fear to dictate their creative process?
As Jong observes, “There is an invisible line that lies between my body and my mind. It withholds my deepest beliefs, fears, curiosities and desires. It is there to protect me. It is there to tell others where I stand, what is mine and why I am. In falling in love, I lost sight of my invisible line and I let it go. Love breaks down walls and sets you free.”
For Jong, the creation of her monograph echoes the process of falling in love. She had to face her deepest fears and release them into the universe. The result was not just the success of having her work well received, it was the commitment every artist must make to themselves—to persevere by every means….
April 2, 2012
There is so much we take for granted in this life, like knowing the date of our birth. Like knowing our parents. Like knowing who we are. And where we come from. Because, we can use this as our path, or we can choose to let this go. But what if you never had this? What if you never know?
Somaly Mam does not know when she was born. Or to whom. She was orphaned in Cambodia during the war, and she grew up in the forest, without a name. Until a family took her in, and gave her the name she carries today. And of all names, it would be Mam, because she is mother to thousands of girls. And to me, a saint.
Her story is not pretty, yet she is beautiful. Radiant of heart, light, spirit eternal. Never have I known such a person was real. Never did I believe one person has the power to change the world. No matter what their circumstances.
Never let anyone tell you otherwise. Never let them steal your shine. Somaly Mam is a saint and a goddess and a heroine and a mother and she is divine. And, ohh, did I mention? She is totally down to earth. I don’t know her very well, but in the few moments in which we have shared, I felt this feeling that a saint is someone who is as real as flesh, as human as blood, and what makes her special is that she not only speaks the truth but she puts her life on the line.
Happy Birthday Somaly. Although I cannot be with you this evening, I am with you in spirit. You have changed my life in ways I do not understand and it is my dream that one day I should be able to give back to the world what you have given to me.
April 1, 2012
How manifold it is, what thou hast made!
They are hidden from the face (of man).
O sole god, like whom there is no other!
Thou didst create the world according to thy desire,
Whilst thou wert alone: All men, cattle, and wild beasts,
Whatever is on earth, going upon (its) feet,
And what is on high, flying with its wings.
The countries of Syria and Nubia, the land of Egypt,
Thou settest every man in his place,
Thou suppliest their necessities:
Everyone has his food, and his time of life is reckoned.
Their tongues are separate in speech,
And their natures as well;
Their skins are distinguished,
As thou distinguishest the foreign peoples.
Thou makest a Nile in the underworld,
Thou bringest forth as thou desirest
To maintain the people (of Egypt)
According as thou madest them for thyself,
The lord of all of them, wearying (himself) with them,
The lord of every land, rising for them,
The Aton of the day, great of majesty.
March 30, 2012
The forms may change,
yet the essence remains the same.
March 28, 2012
I don’t believe in dogmas and theologies. I just believe in being a good person.
When I work, and in my art, I hold hands with God.
I see things like they’ve never been seen before.
Art is an accurate statement of the time in which it is made.
I need somebody who I can really communicate with.
When I have sex with someone I forget who I am.
For a minute I even forget I’m human.
It’s the same thing when I’m behind a camera. I forget I exist.
Quotes by Robert Mapplethorpe
Photographs by Lilla Szasz
March 28, 2012
The Biggest Cat on Earth: The Siberian Tiger
by Clara Lehman
The Panthera tigris altaica, Siberian Tiger, or Amur Tiger as it is also known, is matched in size by no other wild cat. The Tungusic people of North China and Russia regarded the animal as a deity, and gave it names such as ‘Grandfather’ or ‘Old Man.’ There is no denying the majestic nature of this special animal, and even when looking at contemporary Chinese culture the Siberian tiger is seen again and again. Adult Siberian tigers can often reach lengths of 3.3 metres long, and a weight of 300 kilograms, but there have been recordings of animals larger than this. One Siberian tiger, called ‘Jaipur’, who was kept in captivity, reached a staggering weight of 465 kilograms.
Their Natural Habitat
Right now the Siberian tiger is mostly confined to the cold birch forests of eastern Russia, but they can be found in China, and also Korea. In centuries past these magnificent creatures were much more prevalent across a large area cutting through Russia, China and Korea, but in modern times their numbers have dwindled. Siberian tigers prospered in the isolated habitats away from human settlements, but as the human race grew and spread, the Siberian tiger began to lose its territory.
In a rare instance of the natural world, these animals sometimes engage in a losing battle with humans, often after being provoked or from an attempt to capture them. While they are not considered to pose a specific threat to humans, they have been known to defend their territory, and are more than capable of killing a man. These wild cats are so strong and powerful that they can successfully hunt brown bears, and make it difficult for wolves to exist in the same environment because they dominate the food source.
They hunt alone, without a pack to help them catch prey, and their technique is to sneak up on their next meal. They hunt a variety of different animals, but their usual diet consists of deer, wild boar, fish, and birds. Their habit of occupying areas with the lowest human density is a great advantage, because it offers them the most complete natural ecosystem where they can reign supreme.
The Strive to Protect
The Siberian tiger is currently in the endangered bracket in terms of conservation. There are no definite figures as to exactly how many still exist in the wild, but it is estimates from 2005 put the figure at between 300 and 400. There is a large effort to protect these now rare animals, but still they succumb to the poachers and deforestation, especially in China. The extent of poaching is surprising considering how dangerous these animals can be, and the damage they can inflict. Opportunist poachers with cheap van insurance really are risking life and limb when attempting to capture and transport a Siberian tiger.
One instance in 2002 saw a man from Jilin province in China survive an attack by a Siberian tiger. He claimed the tiger attacked him without any provocation on his part, but his story raised suspicions, mainly because Siberian tigers very rarely attack humans. It was later revealed that the man had actually set traps to catch the animal, and he was only attacked once the tiger in questioned had a snare around its neck, causing it untold pain. The damage and infection caused by the snare eventually killed the tiger, even after desperate surgery to try and save it.
Rarely thought of as a man-eater, the Siberian tiger now benefits from a large conservation effort that strives to protect the animal and ensure that their numbers stop declining. The majority of Siberian tigers, maybe as many as 95% of the wild population, live in the Russian Far East. The World Conservation Society Russia has a Siberian Tiger Project that focuses on collecting scientific information connected to Siberian tiger ecology and using it to help conserve them. They have been tracking the animals through the use of radio collars since 1992, and are building a complete understanding of how Siberian tigers live, their eating habits, preproduction rates, social structure, and use of territory. From their research they have concluded that around 80% of Siberian tigers die because of human influence. It seems that only increased efforts to keep deforestation and human expansion away from the environments that Siberian tigers inhabit, along with stopping poachers, will stop their numbers decreasing.