Category Archives: Arts

Chasing the Romantic Sublime in Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2

The lone voice of the piano unveiled Sergei Rachmaninoff‘s Piano Concerto No. 2, starting with a series of powerful, brooding chords. With each play, a heightened sense of foreboding, and the tension quickly escalated into a breaking point that erupted into scaled musical statement that reverberated throughout the concerto.

The passion, whether uttered through powerful arpeggios or sweet romantic melodies, came rolling like waves unrelentingly, leaving one breathless with the distilled essence of love—both the pleasure of love anticipated and the pain of love unfulfilled.

The performance, performed by pianist Boris GiltburgPacific Symphony and guest conductor Ben Gernon, was a pursuit of the Romantic conception of the sublime. The state of being, a Romantic ideal, believes that the most memorable experience is not made up of pleasure alone, but also suffering.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts
May 31—June 2 2018

Sergei Prokofiev Russian Overture Op. 72
Sergei Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 2
Igor Stravinsky Petrushka (1947 version) 

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Not just a pretty facade, Highline illuminated “Blood Mirrors”

“Up Late,” a two-hour after-dark event from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., brought together music, immersive theater and installation art to the High Line located in Manhattan’s Far West side last Thursday. Arguably one of the most eye-catching exhibition was New York-based artist Jordan Eagles’ High Line projections.

The mechanics behind the display was simple, requiring only overhead projectors and transparencies. Operating on the principle of which a focusing lens projects light from an illuminated side onto the glass top, the rich hues from the transparencies were superimposed unto the High Line.The allure, however, was not in the sheer magnitude of the installation, but its constant fluidity. If someone happened to stand in front of a projector, a shadow was cast; if someone came across the path of a projected image, his or her face instantly changed into something alien, tribal even.

Indeed, High Line projections extended beyond static frameworks of traditional paintings, Instead, the artwork’s preexisting state of being continue to morph and transform in reaction to the passing onlookers. Attendees turned from passive lookers to active participants. Actions, whether standing still or moving, reconstructed the projected millisecond by millisecond.

chelsea-highline-art-jordan eagles

New York-based artist Jordan Eagles added another coat to The Highline, that of preserved and suspends blood.

Eagles’ work was pretty, interactive and selfie-worthy. But what if I were to tell you the transparencies were reprints from blood? Continue reading

Spring into spring with pink, purple and something black

To buy a bouquet of flowers, from a return on equity point of view, is bad investment. Flowers start to die the moment they are removed from the stem, and as they loose their freshness, their value depreciate. But we adore flowers nonetheless.

As Michael Pollan pointed out in his book, The Botany of Desire, attractive flowers have a higher chance of being noticed by insects and animals (acting as agents of pollination), and thus bearing fruits first. Humans are also susceptible to this attraction.

Of the humans, Sherry has been most fatally afflicted. In addition to pink calla lilies and yellow daffodils in my office, there are also a variety of blossoms in my apartment, including snapdragon, forget-me-not, pansy, zinnia… You get the picture. And to top off my flower frenzy, a seminar on flower arrangement!

(image credit: Web/Ashley Kate HR)

(image credit: Web/Ashley Kate HR)

Word of the Day: Flower 
Flower 花(hua/ㄏㄨㄚ)

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