Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September 17, 2010: New York City - The Met And Big Bambu, Tunnel People

While Jenn was at work I spent the day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I revisited some old favourites, and some some new work. On the roof was an installation by Doug and Mike Starn - Big Bambu. It was a conglomeration of bamboo poles tied together to create spiraling ramps through a thicket of sweeping patterns. They're constantly working on it, adding pieces and reshaping. There were also tours to walk up on the ramps, but they required advance reservations and large-ish quantities of money, so I just bought a sandwich, sat down on a bench, and enjoyed the sun while watching others troop through.

After work Jenn and I went to a talk by Teun Voeten, on his book about the Tunnel People of New York. It was surprisingly non-sensationalist - he really approached the project as an anthropologist, living with them for months and learning about their sub-culture. At times he almost made it sound pretty good - far better than living on the streets or in some dismal shelter - the tunnels had a fair amount of space, had easy access to parkland above via the emergency exits, and the danger from passing trains was quite manageable. But then he talked about the rats, which made me rethink things.

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