Democracy … rambles

BanksyPhoto: Unknown, image Banksy

Britain, the heart of democracy? … don’t make me laugh!

First, let’s take a look at a few things, while we ponder the present confusion surrounding us.

I am sick of hearing the phrase, ‘this is what the British people voted for’ in regard to Brexit from the likes of Boris and Mrs. May clan.

Almost half the country did not vote for Brexit. It has since been alleged that the Brexit parties lied, misused EU funds and broke electoral law… and many of those who did vote for Brexit feel they made a mistake and would now vote Remain.

There are millions of Britons living in EU countries who are directly affected by Brexit yet have no say in the matter because having lived outside the UK for more than 15 years they have no right to vote. Meanwhile, Americans along with many other civilized countries have a lifelong right to vote in their own political systems regardless of where they live. Who came up with this arbitrary 15 year cut off for British expatriates and WHY ?

Had those Britons voted it may well have changed the referendum result.

As for Britain’s relationship with Saudi Arabia that is a whole other can of worms.

How did a buffoon like Boris become prime minister … he went to public school and can quote Latin, which he thinks makes him look cool and intelligent. Dream on Boris.

Women in Britain only finally got equal rights to vote alongside men in 1928! Long after the British empire had dominated the world and the industrial revolution had already been going for two centuries.

The majority of conservative MPs now governing the country are privately educated, went to Eton, Oxford or Cambridge and live in a world remote from your average Briton.

The UK is the only undisputed democracy in Europe to use ‘First past the post’, others use systems that better reflect the overall proportion of votes cast, rather than who wins in each constituency. This is why the UK Green party has only one MP and the German Green party has 21 MPs!

As to the Banksy artwork. I was very impressed that he could paint so well. I have long been a fan of his work but saw him more as a political spray can artist. This painting, if it really is from him, puts him in a whole new category of genius.

 

 

Reflections

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A visit to Karlsruhe for their spectacular ‘Schlosslichtspiele’. This is an annual light festival event lasting for several weeks from August till September. Many artists and companies are involved in putting together a light show projected onto the impressive baroque facade of the palace.

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The setting was perfect with a warm summer evening and clear skies. The event is free and there was plenty of space in the enormous grounds to find an ideal viewing spot.

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After a weekend in Karlsruhe it was back to Pforzheim and time to reflect on how different the two towns are.

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Pforzheim suffered greatly during WW2 and I took time out to visit the memorial, which stands high on a hill where the debris from bombed building was taken and now over looks the town.

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It’s a bit of a slog to get up to but well worth it just for the views over Pforzheim and Baden Wuerttemberg. The shiny metallic memorial sculptures reminded me of a mix between 911 and 2001 and below this plaque explains the event:

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Which roughly translated reads as follows:

Debris hill 23rd February 1945

This artificial hill was created on the Wallberg (hill) from the debris of Pforzheim.

It reminds us of the horrors of WW2, particularly on the 23rd February 1945. In less than 20 minutes the town was completely devastated. More than 18,000 people died.

The total war – started by the National Socialists, Germany – aimed now also at our own town.

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A beautiful mix of wildflowers alongside the Enz riverbanks.

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A duck on the River Nagold, which also flows through Pforzheim. The two rivers intersect in the town centre and this made it attractive to the Romans who first settled here. In fact for all I know I would not be surprised if the duck was standing on old Roman ruins.

The Zone

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Have you ever noticed how little animals and birds do. Look at your average dog or cat, they sleep all night and then for much of the day. Notice a field of sheep or ducks beside a pond, they too spend much of the day sleeping and I am pretty sure they are not suffering from insomnia.

You have to ask yourself what are we humans doing wrong. We dash around the world polluting the environment, provoke wars or else we spend hours frustrated waiting in traffic queues, checkins and such like.

Is it not time to rethink what we are doing and where we are headed. Why are people working their butts off just to buy things that give a momentary buzz. What’s with all these famous, rich, celebrities living in those huge mansions you see on YouTube. Empty mansions, spotless, sterile, never lived in. Too big even for three generations of one family. OK, so some are investments and some are historic buildings being preserved. However, even your average middle class family own a large house that will soon only echo to the hollow sounds of the children who once lived there.

I read that algorithms will soon replace most of what we humans do. No profession is untouched. Even art! A computer that composes music has already dumbfounded music critics. They could not tell the difference between real Bach and this computer that had been programmed to create Bach style music. The speed of change is so great now that even educating youngsters for specific professions is rapidly becoming obsolete.

Never mind, there is always Weezer.

Weezer – Islands in the sun.

Egrets

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… a change of scene.

This is an old composite image of egrets I photographed mainly in Spain some years ago. I felt a short break was needed from nature walks, Boris and 3D modeling. What with Boris getting his just deserts, Rhino 3D software update costing me 1000 euros and with the summer being all but over, time to reflect on where I am going, what I am doing and what in the world is going on.

Pompidou

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The Pompidou centre in Malaga is well worth a visit. These photos taken a few years ago show some of the interesting works on show at the time. I particularly liked these aluminum foil sculptures.

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A very poignant work I thought. Although you do not know for sure who these people are, most people will realise the significance of these departed spirits. Even the museum’s boundary line for visitors unwittingly adds to the effect.

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Still, it was not all doom and gloom. There was also a good mix of sculptures, installations and artwork and a pleasant cafe too.

Niki de Saint Phalle

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Sorting through my stuff today I came across an old sketch/doodle book of mine. I was about to throw it away but some of the drawings I quite liked and it seemed a pity to do so without at least recording some of them. So I photographed 16 pages and 6 pages reminded me of Niki de Saint Phalle whose work I had always liked. I picked out four which I will name: ‘fighters’, ‘lovers’, ‘players’ and ‘dancers’ as a homage to a great female artist. I will leave you to decide which is which.

When the levee breaks

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I gaze mesmerized at the river as it cascades over a concrete levee on a glorious blue sky day with mild temperatures. Nevertheless the calming effect it has on me does little to temper my despair at the way we ‘citizens’ are treated by bureaucrats the world over.

Beware, when the levee breaks …

 

Blender 2.8 beta

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Still waiting for the snow, but tonight could be the night…

In the meantime I have been trying out the yet to be released final version of Blender 2.8. The last two years I have been using Blender 2.78 mainly for rendering models that I had built in Rhino 3D. Building models in Blender I have yet to master but I may well move in that direction in the future as my Rhino modelling skills seem to be fading.

So first impressions. WOW! Blender was always an incredible program but most of it was way beyond my comprehension or skills. I used it mainly for rendering and animation. I had tinkered with other bits, like physics and modelling but found it was just too much to learn.Too much information.

Version 2.8 is really a completely new program with a new Interface and new functions. The Beta version worked fine on my laptop and I used this old Alfa 8 Rhino model to try out the rendering function. The new user interface is much easier to use once you have found where all the old functions have been placed and it seems to be much quicker at rendering.

What really impressed me however were the animations I saw on YouTube using the grease pencil function. I had briefly tried grease pencil on v2.78 but never got very far with it. If I was 20 again this would be my go-to function and it looks like it could change the way animations will be made in the future. It seems to be great for quickly creating 3D cartoons and because of its design it has a unique style of its own, which I am sure will soon be seen in Cinemas and on Netflix or whatever medium is presently in favour, that’s if it has not been done already. I am not that up-to-date.

Anyway, all I can say, after two days of testing it, is: What an amazing program! Not only is free to download (open source) and managed by just a few people but it has more functions than almost any other comparable program and unlike some companies I could mention, you don’t have to pay ripoff prices for half-baked software.

Created with GIMP

Maman

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Louise Bourgeois – Maman, 1999 – Bronze, marble, and stainless steel – 927 x 891 x 1023 cm – Cast 2001 – Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa.

I took this photo in 2015 on my Interrail trip through Europe that included Paris, London, Berlin, Vienna and Barcelona. In many ways this sculpture was the highlight of the trip. The spider has to be seen close up, despite its enormous size, as the details are quite staggering. The Museum architecture is also breathtaking. In fact I only decided to visit Bilbao after reading a Jeremy Clarkson book where he wrote that the stuff outside the museum was more interesting than inside. I think he may have been right, although I did not have time to go inside to check on his wild claim.