Human Flower Project
Saturday, September 25, 2010
The magus of modern physics accepted a big academic promotion with a display of flowers. What did they say (or withhold) that made roses better than a letter or a handshake?
Albert Einstein, a poor gardener, used roses to accept
a job offer from Max Planck, 1915
Image: Meet the Germans
Are floral meanings relative?
Yes and no. We base that on our own reading and experience, and now on the pronouncement and the behavior of Albert Einstein, too.
His general theory of relativity is beyond the scope of the human flower project (or at least beyond our own analytic powers) but the chronicle, spare though it may be, of his personal floral interests and neglect certainly falls within our sphere.
In his early days as a scholar, Einstein worked as the equivalent of an adjunct professor in Bern and Zurich, Switzerland (one early physics paper concerned the capillary force of a straw). He landed a better appointment in Prague in 1911 as his ideas about the structure and behavior of subatomic particles, the effects of gravity on light, and other philoso-physical theories gained ground in the international community of science. The mighty theoretician seems to have enjoyed his teaching duties except insofar as they interfered with his own research.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Chiltepin - Tongues on the Scales
Each of the Southwest’s native chilis has its day in the sun; pull over for chiltepin.
Jack Tobar collected tiny, jolting chiltepins after work
September 18, 2010, Austin, Texas.
Photo: Human Flower Project
A gentle knock.
Two passers-by had come to the door asking permission to pick the tiny chilis from bushes on our corner, just what happened a year ago. Chiltepin season is upon us in Central Texas. Jack Tobar and a friend had knocked off work and caught sight of the tiny “bird peppers” (so called because birds like them and sow them, too). With our blessing, the two men spent a good half hour harvesting from five Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum plants and were off, we hope, for an evening muy piquante.
This spice is a favorite among lots of Mexican, Mexican-American, and South Texas cooks, though Tobar’s pickin-partner, who declined to give his name, said the chilis don’t taste good alone. He recommended making a simple salsa by crushing the chiltepins in a mortar with red and green tomatoes and a pinch of salt. It’s delicious, he said, on tacos, eggs, meat – just about anything that could use a bit of a kick.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Murakami Arouses Versailles
A Japanese pop-artist sends 50 squeals of comedy and commercialism through the palace of the king.
Artist Takashi Murakami dressed as his sculpture “Flower Matango” at Miami’s Art Basel, Dec. 2008
Photo: via Hypebeast
“Don’t touch my palace,” a group shouted outside the Château de Versailles on Tuesday.
The gathering, only about 20 strong but with a petition of some 5300 names in support, had come to protest an exhibit of Japanese artist Takashi Murakami that just opened inside the former palace of France’s King Louis XIV.
Fifty of Murakami’s sculptures have been installed in the rooms, hallways and gardens of the palace. Curators solicited these pieces with their plastic-easter-egg colors and cartoon imagery as a blast of pop, their humor and grandiose-triviality a wonderful counterpoint to all that heavy history and regal authority.
We were, of course, especially enchanted by Murakami’s Flower Matango, an immense bulb of floral smily-faces balanced on a pedestal and sprouting vine-like appendages. The piece looks especially striking here, wriggling its limbs into the stratosphere of Le Roi Soleil’s Hall of Mirrors. In fact, from what photographs can convey, Versailles’ setting does wonders for Flower Matango. In other installations, like this sensurround of Murakami-ana (right down to the wallpaper), the sculpture seems to disappear; the art of it falls asleep inside a thumb-sucking nursery.
Art & Media • Culture & Society • Gardening & Landscape • Permalink
Thursday, September 16, 2010
What’s in Sarah Palin’s Garden?
Probing behind the soccer jerseys and handguns for the real Sarah Palin, the one with dirty fingernails.
The former governor of Alaska says she has a ‘little garden’—of what?
By Allen Bush
I don’t know why you didn’t strip the bark off of Joe McGinniss when he moved in next door this spring. McGinniss came to Wasilla, Alaska, to dig-up dirt for your biography. Your Facebook response—uncharacteristically feeble and whiny – was, however, revealing: “Wonder what kind of material he’ll gather while overlooking Piper’s bedroom, my little garden and the family’s swimming hole?”
Besides the gossipy intrigue, the magic words “my little garden” caught my eye. I hadn’t imagined before, but now it seems possible that you might be one of us. May I welcome you into our big tent? Any gardener’s sin can be forgiven. Redemption is one glorious growing season away. (I have to confess, I don’t get your politics, but I don’t see any reason why we can’t be gardening pals.)
Fence at the Palin home in Wasilla, Alaska: good for butterbeans
Do you grow butterbeans? I love them. (John Collins, a spokesman for Kentucky Attorney General and Democratic Senate candidate Jack Conway, called you and Conway’s Republican opponent Rand Paul “two peas in a pod.” Why argue the point unless you know Rand Paul doesn’t know beans.) My favorite butterbean is an old-fashioned pole lima bean called ‘Dr Martin’s.’ It’s an heirloom that I got years ago from a gardening buddy in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I should have saved some seeds. It’s scarce as hen’s teeth and it’s the best tasting of all butterbeans.—spare the butter! It’s too big for my small city garden. It’s meant to be grown on a tall 14’ fence like the one the First Dude, your husband Todd, put up to protect you from the prying eyes of your pesky neighbor.
I’m getting ahead of myself. I just learned you’d be coming to Louisville.