Monday, June 30, 2014

annecy - chateau and st felix - folioscope.

another day spent in annecy - it's difficult to stay away. we had lunch with my friend sidonie, who I first met in 2005 at the first annecy workshop. she was one of the group from the aaa who befriended us. it was good to see her, and she had a fair number of things to say, from school/teaching foreign students to speak french, life living abroad, kids, animation...

the chateau d'annecy is not an architectural marvel. rare is the savoyard church or fortress that enthralls the eye of your typical art historian, it seems. but although they are not noted for originality, sophistication, or other aesthetic terms of endearment, the solid, simple forms, the wood and stone, and their counterpoint really speak to me - the annecy chateau is probably my favorite - versailles can keep its majesty.
my friend alex showed us around the folioscope studio in st felix. the man is hard-core about animation, and in addition to giving workshops with his cohorts, works on his own films, collaborates with other animators, and somehow, along with cecile and meike, his colleagues, manages to fit a prodigious pile of equipment into a small, un-air-conditioned room, with as many as three films in production at any given moment.

if I could buy them an animation castle to work in, I would...

the drive back to bourg st. maurice from annecy was about 2 1/2 hours in the mountains...a bit of a haul, especially at night. but tomorrow will be another day, and this one was full. thank you to my friends sidonie and alex for spending time with us today.

Friday, June 27, 2014

holes in the road

this journal has been neglected, but not because of lack of activity. the days after the workshop have been spent in the mountains, driving, hiking, going to the Super U, and talking to immobilier agents.

this is part of the hiking. it's a trail through forest and ski slopes towards a chapel in the next valley. the trick has been trying to avoid the main road, which is dusty, especially when trucks and other vehicles roll by. good exercise, a little like stair-stepping I would guess, and the shade and smell of the pines makes everything worth it.

every day has its challenges - getting into the right attitude to talk to the immobilier agents, because in order to know what's going on, one needs to talk to people. even poorish artists with no bank accounts to speak of need information in order to progress.

so far everyone's been friendly. the mountains are expensive, a part of the country that lots of people have already figured out is an attractive place to be - trees, mountains, clean air and water, and for many, sports - skiing, hiking, mountain biking, boating...

I'm not one for taking the view of nature that it is an outdoor gym, however. on the trails where hikers and mountain bikers huff and puff, it seems there would be room for philosopher walks, with little coffee tables and chairs strategically placed at intervals where, when one wants to discuss ideas while making physical progress on the path, it would be possible to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. how can you look at nature while you're trying to conquer it...

this is the valley, next to the ski "village," where the chapelle des vernettes serves as a trail goal. the atmosphere changes from winter and summer sports mania to peaceful calm and a less aggressive approach to one's surroundings. 

finally, here's an image of the place we are staying at. my first impression was that it must have been a leftover set from a stanley kubrick space odyssey sequel, with its 1970's-themed colors, bizarre 1970's design (the main corridor looks like an abandoned ski lodge prison), and, at present, vast emptiness. kinda spooky. but I've grown accustomed to its face, and in spite of what it seems to represent in terms of aesthetic perspective and relationship to place, it's pleasant enough when one considers the beauty of the mountains at your doorstep and the lack of ski and mountain biking freaks that will invade the building just as we leave.

time is always passing. it didn't matter so much as a child, but now, one feels as if it is a tangible breeze, made of wisps that one tries to grasp as they slip through one's fingers...another day has vanished into night. none of this makes sense, but our brains are always seeking patterns, trying to impose a logic onto experience, something that allows us to function instead of going crazy. the beauty of the mountains is real. Time to take the time to sit on the side of one and not move forward, not hike, not consult the iPad map, and just watch the clouds. but how to get rid of those darned flies - I am apparently a fly magnet. maybe just find a windy enough spot.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


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