Saturday, July 13, 2013

Rotating Eyes of the Falling Tree Monkey Face 43.35

According to Ben Franklin, "lost time is never found again", even if you know where you saw it last. I saw it last on the bus to and from Washington DC. Once in DC, we had to decide what to do. I have been to DC before, so I didn't want to see the monuments as much as the museums. Unfortunately, we only had about 3 hours. We spent the first hour or so at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. We saw a few dinosaur skeletons. While interesting, I liked the giant ground sloth far more. We then went upstairs to see the Hope Diamond. It was decent, but not, in my opinion, worth the estimated $200 million. We saw some other minerals and gems. The display with gold made a nice reference, saying "In this case, all that glitters is gold." We passed through the genetics exhibit as well. They had an interesting statue, of a person with ATCG painted across it. 

We spent the remaining time at the Hirshhorn Museum, which has modern art. I love modern art. It makes me look at things in different ways. The museum itself was fascinating. It was a torus, around a fountain slightly offset. It was somewhat disorienting to look out the window, as it felt like you had not walked around very far at all. On of my favorite exhibits was a room covered in handwritten notes. These notes reflected upon life. In the center of the room was, predictably, a glass container with snails eating lettuce. While I felt that this piece was about varying perspectives on life, the sign outside claimed that it represented the degradation of the human mind. The other piece I really liked was also somewhat immersive. There were abstract paintings on the wall. Music played, and various patterns or images were projected on the walls and paintings. In another area of the museum, there were various pieces about color. There was one that was varying shades of blue. There were ones with multiple colors. Music played occasionally, setting the atmosphere. There were a variety of sculptures. There was one piece entitled "Untitled (Rotating Eyes of the Falling Tree Monkey Face 43.35)". It was a bunch of colored lines that were vaguely reminiscent of a peacock feather. There was another piece which was one of my favorites. It was a film, described as what a fly would see, from life to death, if black was white and white was black.

We then went outside to see the sculpture garden. I am proud to say that I immediately recognized a version of "The Burghers of Calais." While the sculptures were mostly interesting, some more abstract than others, none particularly caught my eye. Seeing this art museum has really helped me think of what I like about modern art. I like 3d works. I like works that are immersive. I particularly enjoy works that make me think in new ways. I wish I had more time to visit the museums. I thought that the bits of the NY MoMA that I saw were a bit better. The MoMA seemed to define more things as art, which I really liked. I certainly want to go back.

Unfortunately, we soon had to leave to go to Georgetown. I thought that the campus was fairly nice. I like that it wasn't in the middle of nowhere, but not in the middle of a city either. Unfortunately, I did not get a sense of the academics. We (Connor and I) went to explore the area with a few other people. I had a scone at a small shop. We went into a bookstore. I was enjoying the quiet feel of it, when a group of other Summer Discovery people came in. While individually most of them are quite nice, in a gaggle they become obnoxious. We decided to escape, and wandered around town. We asked some locals if there was anything interesting to see. They recommended the river. There was a small park just inside the area we were allowed in, from which we could see the canal. We talked to a local there. He had been in Georgetown for two months. He did research. After relaxing in the park with conversation, we went back to campus. We explored a few of the buildings, but it was soon time to go.

The bus ride back took ages. There was traffic, and a while of sitting on a bus can become extremely uncomfortable. We left at about 6:00, but only got back at about 9:45. I would have preferred to have spent far more time looking around museums in DC, as that felt rather rushed. I could have easily afforded to spent far less time in Georgetown, perhaps even skipping it entirely, cutting down on transportation times. All in all, it was a fun day.

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