04 December 2009


viewed from my Harley-Davidson

Melbourne - Wangaratta - Buller - Hotham - Dinner Plane - Omeo - Sale - Yarram - Port Albert - Inverloch - Melbourne

Bucolic Victorian landscape - the garden state. I can't get enough of it. Mount Buller and Mount Hotham: Encounters on my Harley-Davidson through my Leica lense. Copyright © 2009 Guillermo Aranda-Mena

Photos from top to bottom:
1. Hitting the road: from Mount Hotham to Dinner Plain.
2. Mount Buller: deserted ski lifts.
3, 4 and 5. Views from Meki, Mt Buller area.
6. Mt Buller by the clock.
7. Working cast iron swing bridge. 1879. Sale, Victoria.
8 and 9. Returning to Melbourne: Great Alpine Rd. and South Gippsland Hwy. Port Albert.
10. Omeo service station: "I am not as good as once I was but I am as good once as I was".

04 November 2009


"Our earliest literature - the Iliad and the Odyssey - is about journeys between places, and scholars today still dispute the location of Ithaca, the site of the homecoming in that earliest of epic journeys, just as for so long the disputed the location of Troy, the besieged and then destroyed city that was the destination of the outward journey, and the departure point for the return. These 'journeys', whether accounted for by Proust or Homer, resonate with us because we are disposed to think of our lives as journeys on earth, with starting points and finishing points. Not that we are agreed that these journeys end on earth.... If we are to grasp what our what our spatial intelligence does for us and could allow us to do, we must heed Bechelard's injunction: 'Each on of us then should speak of his roads, his crossroads (and) his roadside benches (for) thus we have covered the universe with drawings (that) we have lived."
Leon Van Schaik,
Spatial Intelligence: New Features for Architecture (p.p. 39 second paragraph)
Publisher John Wiley & Sons 2008

It is nearly 10 years ago since I last spent Christmas and New Year celebrations with my parents and sister. December 14, 1999 I landed in New York taking a break from my PhD research days at Reading University. At my arrival I met my Folks and sister who drove all the way from Guadalajara (mid-west Mexico) in order to continue on a road trip across New York state and up to Toronto, Ottawa (Ontario), Motréal, Québec (Québec) and considered driving as far as Halifax in Newfoundland but the plan resulted unworkable as roads were closed as result of extreme temperatures exceeding -20ºC. After spending Christmas in Toronto and back in New York state we made it to Ithaca on the last day of 1999. We received the new millennium in the pleasant company of our close friends Kay and Alan Friedlander who live by one of the 'Finger Lakes' across from Cornell University and its wonderful architecture. If you ever see the region from the sky, GPS or Google Earth you will see what I mean by finger lakes. It seems like if God scratched the earth in despair resulting in a number of very long and very narrow lakes all perfectly aligned. Some towns and county were named after the Greeks including Seneca, Homer, Syracuse.... and of course, "Ithaca"! How to forget my "freezing-warm" home for the winters of 1997/1998 and 1999/2000. Ithaca, thank you for showing me what Itha(k)a means.

"When you set out your journey to Ithaka pray that the road is long, full of adventure, full of discovery. Laistrygonians, Cyclops and the angry Poseidon - do not fear them: you will never find such as these on your path, in your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine emotion touches your spirit and your body. Laistrygonians, Clyclops and the fierce Poseidon - you will never encounter, if you do not carry them with your soul, if your soul does not set them up before you.

Hope your road is a long one, that the summer mornings are many, when, with such pleasure, with such joy, you will enter port seen for the first time; may you stop at Phoenician markets, and purchase fine merchandise, mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony, and sensual perfumes of all kinds, as many sensual perfumes as you can; and may you visit many Egyptian cities, to learn and go on learning from their scholars.

Always keep Ithaka in your mind. Arriving there is your ultimate goal - is what you are destined for. But do not hurry the voyage at all. It is better to let it last for many years; and to anchor at the island when you are old, wealthy with what you have gained on the way, not expecting that Ithaca will offer you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey. Without her you would have never set out on the road. She has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca won't have fooled you. Wise as you have become, so full of experience, you most already understood what Ithaka mean."

Poem: Ithaka by Constantine P. Cavafy ©1911
Photo: Port Albert, Victoria by Guillermo Aranda-Mena ©2009

23 October 2009


A DEAD language called RAMMAYTUSH is a language which existed for more than 1,500 years in San Francisco bay area. Only 104 words have been discovered - with certainty. The above translated words are embedded on King Street, Embarcadero.... the above words bordered a bluff when I was overlooking Mission Bay on a drizzly December day. I assume they exist for pedestrians to consider as they step on them over and over again, strolling along and above knowledge long time gone. Perhaps a desperate attempt to materialise the ethereal nature of our existence.

For this blogpost I asked to few friends - from different walks of life and corners on earth to shortly describe what "LANGUAGE" means to them. Saludos, GUILLERMO

Milena Prajzlerova, Zdice, Czech Republic:

"Dorozumívání ~ neboli komunikace ~ je sdělování informace informaci,myšlenek,názorů a pocitů mezi živými bytostmi,lidmi i živočichy obvykle prostřednictvím společné soustavy symbolů. Zvířata se dorozumívají různými signály ~zvukovými,pachovými,tancem ap ~ tzv.první signální soustava,což platí i pro lidi. Hlavním dorozumívacím prostředkem člověka však je verbální komunikace ~ jazyk a řeč, tzv.druhá signální soustava. Kromě mluvené řeči a písma se používají i další systémy ~ notový záznam hudby,chemické a matematické značky, dopravní značky,vlajková a prstová abeceda, Morseova abeceda ap. Pro dálkové dorozumívání slouží média a telekomunikace. Pro dorozumívání v mezinárodním měřítku je překážkou různost jazyků ~ což se řeší pomocí světových jazyků ,překladů, tlumočení nebo strojovým překladem. Spřáním krasného dne, Milena.

John Hollinshead, London, England:

"My dry view of language: We make our own world and everything in it through language, so language makes me human (homo sapiens – the thinking animal), able to interact with other people, and the world around me, and to understand and conceive ideas. However, to badly paraphrase an Austrian philosopher: if one cannot speak about something, one can only be silent [and will never know what one missed!]. My romantic view of language: There can be a very beautiful and sensually exciting recognition of artistry in language. For example in haiku, or the poetry of a connoisseur of language such as Wallace Stephens, (emphasis added, as it captures what I struggle to convey:

“Ramon Fernandez, tell me, if you know,
Why, when the singing ended and we turned
Toward the town, tell why the glassy lights,
The lights in the fishing boats at anchor there,
As night descended, tilting in the air,
Mastered the night and portioned out the sea,
Fixing emblazoned zones and fiery poles,
Arranging, deepening, enchanting night.

This linguistic phenomenon can also be found in the adept presentation of ideas, exemplified by Plato in his dialogues, by Camus in ‘The Myth of Sysphus’, or by Sartre in ‘No Exit’.
Sadly this response to the power and beauty of language can be manipulated by sophists and rhetoricians, and their modern day equivalents in media manipulation. Cheers, John."

Liyan and Alfonso: " 我冰封我的心很久了,在你的爱中...我融化。和你在一起,快乐来自心灵。"

Paulina Aranda-Mena, Guadalajára, México:

"Hola Fratello, ya ví tu blog, me encanta la idea. Justo hace un par de semanas leí en la BBC un artículo sobre la muerte de una mujer que hablaba una lengua llamada BO y con su muerte se extingue esta lengua.

"The death of an 85-year-old woman in the Andaman islands, part of India but physically closer to Indonesia, has marked the death of an entire language. 'Boa Sr' was the last speaker of the Bo language thought to have been spoken by the Bo tribe for up to 65,000 years. The story of her language is not an unusual one. Out of the roughly 6,000 languages spoken in the world, about half of them are in danger."

BBC broadcast 05 February 2010

Para mí la lengua es el alma de nuestra personalidad, lo que nos hace humanos, lo que nos mueve desde que somos pequeños a ser inquisitivos, a apropiarnos de los objetos mediante su nombre. La lengua es un instrumento mágico porque tiene infinitas posibilidades en el abra cadabra de sus letras que forman signos y significados. La lengua nos hace únicos.

Esta definición muy personal y nada académica, encierra mi sentir respecto a la Lengua. Por ejemplo, cuando hablo en inglés extraño muchas veces las palabras y expresiones que jamás tendrían una traducción exacta; claro que uno se las averigua, pero es en esos pequeños titubeos, en esas partículas de tiempo, que puede caber todo un universo. La Sorella."

Victor Ganes: "language" in Romanian - "limba".

Matthias Pfender, Biberach an der Riß, Baden-Württemberg, Deuschland:

"Sprachen ermöglichen uns Menschen uns zu artikuliern, mit anderen Menschen zu komunizieren und Gedanken auszutauschen. Sprachen bringen Kulturen und unterschiedliches Gedankengut zusammen und ermöglicht den Austausch. Einer fremden Sprache nicht mächtig zu sein, kann für Menschen aber auch eine gewisse Unsicherheit und das Gefühl der Ausgrezung vermitteln."

Reid Senescu from Stanford University said: "Language is a lens through which I comprehend the world. The world creates my lens through which I comprehend language."

Babette I. Ferrer from Barcelona, Catalunya said: "EL LENGUAGE ES EL MEDI DE COMUNICACIÓ MES SONOR", es medio en broma pero en realidad es el más real, no te parece?, tambien la musica es un medio de comunicación sonoro pero no todo el mundo lo interpreta a la primera. un fuerte abrazo. babette

Miss Phuong Pham from Sa Pa, Vietnám said:

"Trong tiến trình phát triển nhận thức của loài người, đầu tiên, các từ có nội dung nghèo nàn và mờ nhạt. Nhưng do ảnh hưởng của tiến trình văn hoá nhân loại mà các từ dần dần được cấp thêm những nét nghĩa tinh tế hơn cho phù hợp với tư duy của con người về sự vật mà từ phản ánh. Trong tiến trình này, từ chỉ còn là một cái vỏ – nơi để đổ đầy tư duy của chúng ta về một sự vật cụ thể.

Mối quan hệ giữa tư duy và ngôn ngữ thường được các nhà logic học hình dung theo 3 cấp độ sau đây:

Tư duy
(HT ý niệm)
Ngôn ngữ
(HT tín hiệu)
1Khái niệmTừ ngữ định danh (từ)
2Phán đoánNgữ, câu/ phát ngôn (câu)
3Suy líTập phát ngôn, đoạn (văn bản)

Forse perché sono appena stata in India, un paese con 18 lingue ufficiali e più di mille dialetti, forse perché vivo in una città in cui non si parla la mia lingua madre pur non avendo lasciato il mio paese – che pur essendo molto piccolo conta quattro lingue ufficiali – o forse perché i membri della mia famiglia parlano lingue diverse, ma non ho mai considerato il fatto che qualcuno parli una lingua diversa dalla mia un ostacolo che impedisse di comunicare e di conoscersi. Probabilmente anche perché ritengo che non ci si esprima solo o principalmente con il liguaggio, ma anche attraverso le proprie azioni, le proprie preferenze, i proprio gusti. Mi piace il fatto che nelle lingue latine "lingua" stia ad indicare sia il linguaggio sia l'organo del gusto. Non sono forse il cibo, ma anche le emozioni come possono essere quelle suscitate dalla musica o dall'arte in generale una lingua bellissima se non la più bella perché così immediata e accumunante al di là di possibili barriere linguistiche?
Carla, Zürich / Lugano, Svizzera

Copyright © Guillermo Aranda-Mena 1978
"... there was a slience; then, clearing his throat, once upon a time (the Director began) while our Ford was still on earth.... Ruben was the child of Polish-speaking parents... (the Director interrupted himself) You know what Polish is, I suppose? Yes, A DEAD LANGUAGE! Like French and German, added another student...." 632AF (After Ford-T)
[Aldous Huxley, Brave New World 1932]

29 September 2009


I often refuge in the primitive act of drawing. Triangulating sight, hand and hart on a piece of paper is quite relaxing and at times exhilarating perhaps because I am imagining spaces, people and all sort of patterns and scenarios. I think I will always find pleasure in exploring the possibilities of drawing on the 'tabula rasa' (blank paper) including sketch books, paper mats, back of coasters, 'servilletas' or any other receptive surface to ink like soft skin.

I tend to stick my sketches on walls and ceilings to create some sort of 'homeness' and 'territoriality' some times in minimum living spaces. I love the idea of cave-painting... perhaps mine is a more ephemeral type of cave painting. I doubt that any of the very many "caves" I have inhabited over 4 continents in the last 15 years would still host my strokes today. Africa remains 'la última frontera'.

Sketching takes place in time and space and is a constant reminder of one's dreams and actions. As meaningless as they might seem or look like, they really are visual testimonials in some sort of 'figure-ground' code no to be taken at face-value.

You will notice plenty of faces and eyes. I got an obsession for the human eye - such fascinating, beautiful yet complex structure really intrigues me. I enjoy drawing the eye as the center of things and then surroundings. The sight of a female eye, the eye as a window to the soul, the enquiring eye, object and subject for introspection, mysterious asian looks, piercing spanish eyes or "I will kill you!" sort of 'mirada'.

This last addition to the series [30 April 2010] include sketches from my early 20s while doing architecture (90's Series) and travel drawings Asia and the South Pacific Series. The page displays a sample randomly taken.










9o's SERIES:


Copyright © Guillermo Aranda-Mena 2010