Friday, December 31, 2004

The Hedgehog and the Fox

We spent couple of days in NJ. First there was a wedding then a get- together, after that visiting some relatives and then we were counting down to midnight and waiting for the New Year.

Yesterday, while walking around Princeton campus, next to the massive area of construction work, I saw three huge metal sheets which reminded me of Richard Serra's work. I asked and it was Serra's. We walk through it. It was my first close experience with the Serra's art piece. It was strange and mysterious to walk around it, through it and by it. I like it the most when I waked through it, looking up at the sky is suddenly became the most hopeful activity.

Serra is considered one of the most important sculptors of the 20th century, and perhaps the most significant American sculptor to emerge since the 1950s. His work, standing 94 feet long and 15 feet high, was erected between Peyton and Fine halls on the Princeton campus and is a major contribution to the university’s well-known collection of modern outdoor art. Three vast ribbons of rust-colored steel, is named
"The Hedgehog and the Fox"

It refers to an essay by Isaiah Berlin, who quotes from the Greek poet Archilochus: "The fox knows many things but the hedgehog knows one great thing." Serra explained, "It points to how scholars either become free thinkers and invent or become subjugated to the dictates of history. This is the classical problem posed to every student."*


Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Day After Day

Thursday: Pain in throat, finals over, painfully happy, applying for 3 programs

Friday: Sore throat, shopping, cooking, people over for dinner, no washing dishes for me

Saturday: Fever, angry, more fever, more angry, I wish I had exams, I hate everyone

Sunday: Pain & fever, miss my mom, my brother’s exams, people over for tea, painful sleep

Monday: Freezing, library, library, library, library, freezing cold, why I am not dying by my sore throat

Thursday, December 23, 2004


Last night at 8:05pm I handed the Blue notebook to Prof. M. Then I grabbed my research paper from the table next to him and in the darkness of the slide room I opened it to see my grade. It was A-. I looked around, 6 other students were still struggling with the last slide one of them asked me with an expressive face what is it? I analyzed the situation:

If I answer him it will be morally wrong, against the school’s principles and law, if I don’t respond, it will also be morally wrong, against the friendship principles and human-relation’s law! Trouble in both cases! I whispered Louvre. He wasn’t satisfied yet; he asked WHO? Oh God more trouble: Louvre, the famous museum, and before, the palace of the kings of France, has passed more than 800 years of history; more than 3 architects worked on it only in the Baroque period. I moved toward my seat to gather my stuff and with my fingers I showed 3 and with my face I showed devastation. (It is my famous face when I get devastated).

I packed and left the Slide room. Outside, I waited a little bit. I was thinking and realizing that it was my Last Exam. I got happy, and then I saw a coffee machine at the end of the corridor; so I got happier. While I walked toward the machine I was choosing between Tea and Coffee. Tea won. I got my cup of tea and I thought:

Do I love tea or I got used to it? This question came out about other things like:
Did I love my boyfriend or I got used to him? Am I going to love my kids or I will get used to them? Do I like my outfit or I got used to it? And so on.
It was horrible and scary. After a while I couldn’t feel a difference between them:

“Loving something or getting used to it”

By the time I came out of the train station in New Haven, and I saw my husband I knew that I know the difference.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Halfway through...

Somehow, I finished my paper for "Art Theory and Criticism" class on "Orientalism: Edward Said" and I gave a presentation yesterday for another class about "Racism in Early Cinema: Study of two Asian actors".

I still have one more paper and my Final exams to go. After that I really don't know what to do: It is going to be a long-time vacation; it seems so faraway right now. I'm getting a headache.

Friday, November 26, 2004


Today is Black Friday. We have a new baby in our family; my cousin's son was born last week. I am siting in Panera Coffee Shop and good for me, they have wireless here. I have to write 3 papers in the coming week and I have only chosen the topic for one of them; so you see, I should be nervous, but surprisingly I do not have any feeling of such kind. I'm ahead of my reading for the book club, which I'm part of, and I had 10 people over last night. Maybe I am dreaming or ... Please wake me up.

Thursday, November 11, 2004


When I was in third grade, our teacher asked us to compose an essay as usual for the end of the week but the subject this time was challenging: assume that you have to go to a trip and you can only choose one thing to carry; what would you choose? Well I chose “Takhte” which is backgammon's board. (In Farsi the game is called “Takhte Nard.”) Well, I got into trouble, because it was a forbidden game (not a big trouble though). Any way, I learned it from my grandfather, when I was 7. Then for a long time after my essay, I could not play, simply because we had to hide it. My favorite game today is still Backgammon and I take my board with me, wherever I go. So if you have bothered to read till here, please take a look at the rest; it is intresting to know where Backgammon, the oldest game in the world, came from.

Backgammon is believed to have originated in Mesopotamia in the Persian Empire or the present day Iran, Iraq, and Syria and it is the oldest known recorded game in history. The game was typically played on surfaces such as wood, using stones as markers, and dice made from bones, stones, wood or pottery and it can be traced back thousands of years BC to board-games played by the Egyptians, Sumerians, Romans, and Persians.

The name Backgammon became known around the mid-seventeenth century when the Saxons called it the "bac" (back) "gamen" (game) since the checkers when hit go "back" and have to re-enter the "game".
In certain societies, backgammon was outlawed. In Japan, during the reign of Empress Jito, it was illegal. In England, in the time of Henry VIII, Cardinal Wolsey commanded all boards to be destroyed by fire. To continue playing, the English crafted backgammon boards inside hollow books to look inconspicuous also in Iran it is illegal because it is considering as a gambling tool and gambling is forbidden in Islam.

Finally, today, the history of backgammon is taking yet another turn. With the invention of the computer and subsequently, the Internet, people from all over the world can meet and play with each other from the comfort of their homes on a number of commercially available backgammon servers. Computer programs such as Snowie and Jellyfish, often referred to as robots or 'bots', can now be used by every level of player to learn and practice with.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Helen Cixous and Woman's Writing

I was reading Feminism Art Theory and browsing some articles and I found Helen Cixous’s writings so interesting. Although I do not agree with her in many parts, I can not avoid the power that her writings give me as a woman. Here is her biography and some small parts filled with The Power of her thinking:
Censor the body and you censor breath and speech at the same time. Write yourself. Your body must be heard.
-- "The Laugh of the Medusa"*
Writing: as if I had the urge to go on enjoying, to feel full, to push, to feel the force of my muscles, and my harmony, to be pregnant and at the same time to give myself the joys of parturition, the joys of both the mother and the child. To give birth to myself and to nurse myself, too. Life summons life. Pleasure seeks renewal.
-- "Coming to Writing"*
Myth ends up having our hides. Logos opens up its great maw and swallows us whole.
--"Coming to Writing"*

Cixous was born in Oran, Algeria in 1937, which was a colony of France, and was raised in a German-Jewish household. She received her agregation in English in 1959 and her Docteur en lettres in 1968. Cixous has taught at many different universities throughout France including the University of Bordeaux (1962), the Sorbonne (1965-67), and Nanterre (1967).
In the 1970's Cixous became involved in exploring the relationship between sexuality and writing, the same kinds of work being done by theorists like Kristeva, Barthes, Derrida, and Irigaray (Shiach). In this time period she composed such influential works as "Sortie," "The Laugh of the Medusa," and "Coming to Writing."
Since the authoring of these texts in the seventies, Cixous has become even more mysterious and complex, but has somewhat lessened her radical ideology for a more inclusive exploration of collective identities. She is currently an English literature professor at the University of Paris VIII-Vincennes where she has established a center for women's studies and is a co-founder of the structuralist journal Poetique*.


Thursday, October 21, 2004


It was just one thing that could make me so happy to forget my miserable week, and it happened.
I found an old friend. I owe the best times of my college years to him and I just have to say it loud to everyone. So I decided to write about it here, and it is relevant to Tameshk, because we both share the love for picking and eating Tameshk.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Not Smart Enough !

Is there any "Smart Viewer" or "Not Smart Viewer" in Art as a Subject of View? Is Art in its general sense supposed to be understandable for everybody? Is there any responsibility for artist about the viewer and his/her understanding?
This week, which was filled with readings (because of midterm exams), was full of these questions for me. I was studying about Primitivism and the famous debate of 1984, oh Boy- (lets be feminist)-Oh Girl, it is amazing how every body could react to a thing which was a fact until yesterday and today there are some doubt about some parts of it? Oh wait a minute Art Theory is created this way, I believe. Maybe I'm just fed up with my readings and that's why anything can ridiculously amaze me!
Back to the first paragraph, I really didn't want to talk about the artist's responsibility but the viewer's understanding is the important point for me. As an Art History student I have experienced that when I learn about the history of a movement or a style, I actually can understand it better. Often I feel the piece better; the thing is that I think we first feel something and then later understand it, especially when the art piece is Abstract. Sometimes we even think art has nothing for understanding and it just expresses a feeling and we are lucky enough to just feel it. Well, many times a particular painting or sculpture meant to be that way -expressing a feeling- but not always. It is certainly important for studying the history or process of a movement (mostly Modern Movements). I believe that by knowing the history of a movement better you actually know (feeling and understanding) the art piece better. I don't know really how to connect these to the notion of a Smart Viewer but I don't like it when some easily say that oh, you are not smart enough to get it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


It is very strange that people,we all, want to know the meanings of things, Paintings, Sculptures,... especially if the particular piece is abstract. (For the realistic art piece everybody wants to know what is the story) It is not just in art that "the meanings of things" or "The Concept" has a heavy weight. Often people ask about the meaning of names or they want to know what dose your name mean. Again my basic questions Why and How!
I keep thinking that what differences does it makes when one knows the meaning of something? Is it a bold question? or the answer is too obvious! I am not going to value this question in terms of saying that having the knowledge about the meaning of something is positive or is negative, I just want to know why it is important, why it is positive or negative or ... !?
In central Africa people don't tell their names to strangers and only the members of family have this knowledge, They believe Name is carrying your soul, and if your enemies know that they can take your soul by calling you.
Long-story-short it all came to my mind after someone asked me about the name of my blog, Tameshk. Does it really matter or does it make any difference if this blog has other name such as Lio, Bloor answer is No. If you are interested to know what does Tameshk mean, it means Raspberry in Persian or Farsi.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Good Eye and Vasari's Tradition

I was thinking today about the concept of a or the GOOD EYE in art (painting, sculpture, architecture, film making probably not music). I can hear it so often that someone says he or she has a good eye for Art. It is complicated, the fact that what is the standard for having a good eye and it has a great tradition in art texts, art books and art magazines. WHY!? I start to look in art history sources and I find this: One of the First and the most important characters of History of Art, the one who actually wrote the first Art History book is Giorgio Vasari. His book "Lives of the Artists" is a biography of those artists who were important in Vasarie's belief in history. None of them are woman of course. His idea about Art is very important, interesting and influencing.

"Vasari was Italian painter, architect and biographer. Vasari wrote with a definite philosophy of art and art history. He believed that art is in the first instance imitation of nature and that progress in painting consists of the perfecting of the means of representation. He accepted the belief of Italian humanism that these had been taken to a high level of perfection in classical antiquity, that art had passed through a period of decline in the Middle Ages, and that it was revived and set once more on its true path by Giotto. The main theme of the Lives was to set forth the revival of arts in Tuscany by Giotto and Cimabue, its steady progress at the hands of such artists as Ghiberti, Brunelleschi, and Donatello, and its culmination with Leonardo, Raphael, and above all Michelangelo, whom Vasari idolized and whose biography was the only one of a living artist to appear in the first edition* of his book (the second edition includes accounts of several artists then living, as well as Vasari's own auto-biography).
The idea of artistic progress Vasari promulgated subsequently coloured most writing on the period. Although Vasari's testimony has often been impugned on particular points (see for example Andrea del Castagno and Andrea del Sarto), he gathered together an enormous amount of invaluable information and presented it in a lively style, full of memorable anecdotes. Moreover, his qualitative judgments have generally stood the test of time as well. His book became the model for artistic biographers in other countries, such as van Mander in the Netherlands, Palomino in Spain, and Sandrart in Germany."*

The question is still remained unanswered for me, although I realize that I was not the first one who thinks of this!

* The Lives was published in florence in 1550 and enlarged in 1568

Monday, September 06, 2004

The Beginning

It is not the first time that I'm writing my thoughts about anything and everything which is going on in my days, although by sure it is the first time I'm writing them in another language other than Farsi (my native language). Many times I asked myself if it changes anything or at least is it going to be an interesting move in my life !?!? but the answer was never clear.

I am persian. New Haven ,the city, which I've been living in since 2003, compared to Tehran, my Home Town, is a small clean town these days (near to 7 years ago I have heard that it was a dangerous little hell). I commute to New York City twice a week by train (Metro North) to get to school there. Near to eight hours a week I sit on the train and I freeze because of the train's air-conditioning system and the only thing that it is good for is writing these lines. I need to clear my thoughts, to sort them out; being able to do that, I need to write them as they come to my busy mind.