Monday, January 26, 2009

Unexpected Recognition

Each evening after work I check my mails. I have quite a few different email addresses, for different purposes, but basically they all go to two accounts.
So today I’m about to check my “spam account”, but when I see their front page I stop dead. “Someone stole our idea!” is my first thought. But it doesn’t linger long because I realize that the photograph shown there is not an imitation, but indeed the one I took with some fellow students years ago.

The headline beside the picture says “Old masters in new splendour” and a small text says something about a project at a university. One click and I get to another page where the picture is shown bigger. No doubt – it’s ours. With me sitting there in the background.

The picture was made a few years ago. During studying I took a course in photography. We worked in teams of four, and the professor gave us several tasks. It was really mostly about learning the handicraft, not so much about artistic expression. We had to imitate pictures or scribbles he gave us, mostly. Some of it was more freestyle work. One of those was re-enacting a painting.
I can’t recall who had the idea, it wasn’t me because I’m not an art expert and I didn’t know that particular painting. Apparently the green party had already used a re-enactment of it on a poster once. Gabrielle d'EstrĂ©es et une de ses soeurs. It shows two naked women in a bath, with a servant in the background. Of course me and the other girl in the team did not mean at all to get undressed for it. The idea was to make the two guys do it. They weren’t particularly thrilled. One of them was a (nearly) nude model for the drawing lessons of the same professor, so at least for him it wasn’t about showing a naked breast, I guess. Of course the problem was that it might “look gay”, especially since he had to pinch the other guys nipple. But somehow we managed to convince them. The actual photo was taken by the other girl. We took the picture of me separately and photoshopped it in later.

Upon reading the actual article, it turns out that our professor has published a book with more re-enactments of old paintings. Probably he assigned this task to every course after ours (we were the first). Our picture is on the cover.

So… I’m on the cover of a book. Not bad, I guess.
Also, something I made (together with others) is published. Not bad either.
I admit I am only small in the background of the picture and also I only had a medium share in making it. But still.
And not only the book. The article was teasered on the front page of two of the major German freemail providers. I’m really glad it wasn’t me who showed their bare breast!

Of course I’ll have to buy the book, it’s not expensive, 10€.
I’ll also have to deal with the negative comments on it. There are already a few in the website. But it doesn’t bother me much. You can hardly see me, the picture is years old and it was never meant to be published. I never considered it as an attempt at art either. IT was just a fun thing to do for a good grade. Actually, I can’t remember the grade we got… Read more on this article...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Just Pray. Can You Do That For Me?

I've been a long time defender of the right to practice whatever religion one wants, supposing no one tries to impose his religion on me. I don't preach not to preach to the loyal followers of Jeziz and whatnot (mostly) but in return, I do expect the same courtesy. Of course, in this instance I can't really blame them. I walked straight into it.
 A few months ago I was talking to a Mormon acquaintance about his religion and it ended with an invitation to go with him to speak with a few missionaries from Utah (big surprise there.) I walked into a small, bare classroom, sat down with Ben (said acquaintance), and waited for the missionaries to arrive. Twenty minutes passed and they hadn't answered their cell phones after numerous calls, so Ben bent his head and prayed that they would arrive safe and not get into a car accident or be murdered or fall into a ditch or trip or fall or die. About five minutes passed and the missionaries arrived.
"Elders! I prayed you would arrive safely!"
"Ben! I thank God everyday for you! You've saved our lives, I'm sure!"
Uh, what? This exchange was enough to imprint a clearly confused look upon my face. Regardless, I sat down and we began our talk.
"Katharine, would you like to open the discussion? You must start and end with a prayer, and if you feel particularly close to God during it you must pray then, too. Begin with 'oh heavenly father' and close with 'in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.'" Of course, being raised by atheist parents has left me with little knowledge as far as prayers go, so I asked if I could pass.
"No. Thank the Lord for all He has given you. He's given you life, he's given you a wonderful friend who cares enough about you to give you this opportunity to be with us and learn about everything you don't know, being raised by atheist parents, God bless them. Just pray; can you do that for me?"
I said my prayer. Thank you for this or that or whatever nonsense they told me to say.
We then continued with our discussion about various subjects. The only real memorable phrase that comes to mind is at one point one of the Elders mentioned that on some days he just sits at home and reads the Book of Mormon all day and it gives him this warm, indescribable feeling. I asked if it was like an orgasm. He never answered.
Eventually though, we came to the following conclusions:
1) God does not hate homosexuals. These are good people, they are just tempted by the devil to do evil deeds and therefore need to be saved in order to get a place beyond the pearly gates.
2) The point of life is to learn so one can become perfect in the afterlife and be prepared to serve God unconditionally.
3) One will only be admitted to Heaven if he follows the Mormon religion. It is not acceptable to simply try to be a good person; if a person ignores the prophets, even though they cannot give substantial proof of being sent from God aside from a mark on his record of being in an asylum, he will go to Hell.
Then they made the mistake of bringing up sex.
At that point, I'd had enough of this. I simply said, "Well see, I'm not against premarital sex. I've even had an abortion this year, but hey, at least I took the proper precautions, right? I mean, I hate kids and killing off one or two isn't so bad, is it?" At this point, I received such a look of immense disgust that I had to leave before my skin started to sizzle or something of that nature. "Well I've got to go, thanks a bundle!" I swear I felt a flame beneath my feet as I walked out of those doors.
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
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Friday, January 9, 2009

My morning.

I wake up at 4:50am. I get up and sit on the edge of my bed. Contemplate about nothing at all. Getting ready to face the day. I rise, cold parquet floor, creeking with each step I take and soon I’ve found my way to the bathroom. I shower in a stream of water much too hot for me. When I am done with myself I am completely drained. I stumble out of the shower with less energy than when I entered. I have to sit down, have to drink water. I park myself on the toilet cover and help myself to a glass of cold water. Regain myself for a few minutes. I say “Dear God” to myself, my body is dripping. I think about getting up for a while before I actually do so. Gather some energy and put my clothes on. I shouldn’t have showered in water that hot.

Deodorant under my arms, a quick spray of perfume and I head to the kitchen. The fridge sounds like a distant fishing boat. I loot the fridge of all the yoghurt I can find and down it all in 4 minutes and 20 seconds, give or take. I impress myself. A quick glance at the clock. I panic. I rush to put on the remaining pieces of clothing on me, open the front door and off I run, not bothering to lock it. I am very close to missing my bus but as luck would have it, the driver manages to see me running and doesn’t take off without me. I inform him that I am very grateful. He offers me a smile.

I arrive at work 06:05am. Good morning!

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