17 November 2009

basel + liminality

basel01although i got a not-so-good grade from an art history class on roman imperialism two years ago, there’s a concept i learned about that i’ve never forgotten. why, i don’t know, but i just know i’m in love with the concept of liminality.

essentially, a point of transition. such as all the triumphal arches. doorways. windows. rivers. borders. train stations. places where we move through, but never actually stay – but in these points, we change. we become slightly different. you can never go through these spaces without coming something happening.

and for me, basel is a liminal city. above, on the left, the swiss SBB CFF FFS train. and on the right, the TGV from france. at the same spot, transporting people between different countries, cultures, and languages.

basel02just a little over an hour by train from strasbourg, basel was a perfect daytrip for me. after all, the idea of being in a different country in less than two hours it never fails to amuse me, seeing as i could drive for nine hours in texas and still be in texas.

basel03basel is full of contemporary art museums. i was craving contemporary art. craving. there’s so much old ancient stuff in europe, and i was getting a bit sick of it.

but. one word distracted me and destroyed any plans for contemporary art. paper.

paper museum. there’s no way i could resist. i love love paper, stationary, pens, communication, letters… and paper making museums are my weakness in life.

*official name = Swiss Museum for Paper, Writing and Printing / Schweizerisches Museum für Papier, Schrift und Druck also known as Basel Paper Mill / Basler Papiermühle

basel04as usual, it was a pretty interactive museum. every paper related museum always covers how paper is made, but this museum offered something new in that it also covered printing, binding, and stamping techniques.

*other museums i’ve visited: vallis clausa in fontaine de vaucluse (france) and su ho memorial paper museum in taipei (taiwan)

basel05you can even write a letter using quill and ink, and then seal it with your choice of wax and stamp.

basel06tons and tons of ancient presses here. also, i can’t stress enough how much i love museums where you’re encouraged to make things. like your own print. where you roll out the ink, coat the plate, and print. you learn so much more when you do instead of just looking.

basel07but what i loved most was the map of the museum. not only was it planned out beautifully and different from any other museum map i’d seen before…. later on in my visit i saw the plates (?) that are used to print them. of course they’d print their own maps! love it when things are fait à la maison.

basel08i also have a hard time resisting cultural history museums. yes, i know i said earlier i was tired of old stuff…. but i’m just tired of old paintings and old sculptures… not old toys, clocks, watches, clothings, living spaces, etc.

so off i went to Haus zum Kirschgarten, or the House to the Cherry garden, a museum dedicated to the daily life of swiss people in the past. *also i thought it was literally a garden full of cherries… but i did not just admit that.

basel09miniatures = also a big weakness. why is it when things are shrunken or blown up, i become enamored?

basel10just too perfect.

basel11old paper dolls. a red and white curtain. miniature patisserie for a doll house. a knitting basket.

basel12you know that i am obsessed with carousels, but did you know i also love chandeliers? and why? easy enough answer –> they give me gorgeous blurry photos!

*ps note the turquoise colored walls. love love love.

basel13and portable carnivals, which all of europe seems to love. at night. their gawdy lights are gorgeous once they’re blurry.

basel14 i can never never get enough of the pink glow at sunset.

basel15pink ferris wheel? sunset? river for reflection? yes please!

basel16i’d also like to thank the people of basel for being so pedestrian friendly. every driver and biker yielded to me, even when they had the right of way. and they smiled and looked happy to let me cross. i just find it really funny that in my small french town my chances of getting hit by a car are much higher than a big international city like basel. but i suppose that’s the difference there… french. french drivers are in a class of their own. but i still love them.

basel17bridges + light + river + sunset = happy cathy. and then, a train back to strasbourg.

and back on the topic of liminality…

i also love it so much right because that is exactly where i am. in between. finished uni, and not doing any “real” work expect exploring, eating, observing, making, talking… i’m transitioning, but i’m not sure where to – art, baking, languages…? only time will tell.

and, very soon, there’s that liminal point once a year when the clock strikes midnight and in a franction of a second you become a whole year older!


Lizounette said...

tres belle photos. Cathy, have you been to Lyon? If not, I'm sure you would love it at nighttime for photos (as well as the food!). They have a large lighted bridge with a river dividing the city, so there are two waterfronts that are also both all lit up, making for lovely reflections on the water.

cathy said...

@lizounette: thank you so much :) i haven't been to lyon... yet! but its definitely in my list of "to visits" thank you for the idea!

Amanda said...

Such a beautiful blog! Love your pictures and adventures...