If you’re looking for some mild amusement, and you have an Apple computer, check out the Faces option in the ‘Apple Photos’ application. It collects images of faces, that is, anything that resembles two human eyes above a nose above a mouth. It doesn’t always get it right. Sometimes it finds sculpted faces, though they can look real enough, like these resting on top of the pond in the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery, faces that produce a physical reaction in passers-by:
It’s not just 3D images it finds; even 2D painted faces are thrown into the collection with photos of real faces. Here it places two faces from For of Such is the Kingdom of Heaven by Frank Bramley (1891) hanging in the Auckland Art Gallery, New Zealand, next to my beautiful daughters-in-law:
How about this image of a sun sinking into the sea? I do love a good sunset, but if I’m looking for the reassurance of a human face, I prefer my son, not the sun!
But even more mysterious, curious and ridiculous, a photo of a kangaroo’s tail and back legs, sideways. I’ve looked at this circle with my glasses on and glasses off. I can’t see any face. But it’s good for a laugh!
It was truly surprising to see all the faces (recognised by Apple) from my photos. There were even some I had previously ignored for being too small or blurry in the background of another subject. As I was scrolling through them all, another son walked into the room and exclaimed his delight at all the faces of our family and friends appearing in a long stream across my screen. It was a bit of fun, and was fit fodder for the photo challenge this week.
Some months, rather than leave town, I go tripping around my local area and have just as good a time as if I’d taken a trip to the sea. This weekend, just by walking and riding my bike around the suburbs and by the lake, I’ve seen a few odd things that make me appreciate this beautiful unboring city. Yesterday, for example, I knocked on this door. Clearly the resident is not afraid of anyone:
Then I went to the lake to watch the weekend sailors. Let me give you a bit of the history of this central ornament of the nation’s capital, in honour of its 50th anniversary this week. Lake Burley Griffin is an artificial lake formed by damming the Molonglo River. The capital’s designer, the American architect Walter Burley Griffin, is immortalised in the name of the lake. He had included it in his original design in 1912, but the lake project didn’t begin until 1963, and finally the formal opening came in 1964. Residents and visitors have flocked to its shores ever since.
For me, it’s a body of water which is neat, if unnatural; it invites us to sit beside it but not to enter it. The water quality is frequently reported as unsuitable for swimming, and therein lies the disappointment. But I must remember that the Molonglo River is narrow and unspectacular, hardly a suitable river for a nation’s capital, unlike the Brisbane River in Brisbane or Sydney Harbour in Sydney. Here’s a photo taken earlier this year as I was walking beside the part of the Molonglo which still exists where the lake ends (begins?); you can see it opening up into the lake on the right:
Thanks to Walter Burley Griffin, instead of a stream that even I could swim across, we have a nice big lake. Yesterday I went to watch sailboats sail on it, an excellent antidote to the busyness of life. The weather was heavenly, an ideal spring day; blue sky, warm air, light breeze. If you were fishing, which I wasn’t, there was no need to hold on tight to the rod. No need to hold it at all, in fact:
Many of the national institutions are situated lakeside, including the Australian National University. One of the university’s sculptures by the water caught my eye with its aluminium birds roosting on the dead branches of this old gum tree. From a distance they give the impression of a flapping flock of sulphur-crested cockatoos, a familiar sight around here. But a closer look reveals the metal birds also resemble hands reaching up to the sky. The commissioned sculpture, called Witness, is by Indonesian artist, Dadang Christanto.
After seeing unreal birds in a dead tree, I turned round and saw real plants in a dead car. Another piece of ANU ‘art’.
Back in my suburb, I was riding my bike past a neighbouring house where a sheep is both pet and mower. She was very happy for me to take her photo but didn’t understand the concept of standing back from the lens.
And then she smelt my leather bag and began to nibble it…
Check out the reflection of me in her eye! Now that’s odd.
All in all, a good spring weekend tripping around my town.
Marianne sends out the challenge to take one trip EVERY month. If you’re reading this, Marianne, I say a big THANKS for the inspiration!
For a couple of hours every afternoon in the sculpture garden at the National Gallery of Australia, an artistic mist drifts over a pond, hiding the water and reeds and reflections and ducks and sixty-six sculpted heads.
When the mist clears it’s an uncomfortable experience to circle the pond, looking at the heads facing in many directions.
Dadang Christanto, an Indonesian-born sculptor now living in Australia, created Heads from the North in 2004 as a memorial to an Indonesian military coup in which his father died.
Beside the pond there’s a restaurant in a marquis. I couldn’t eat there.
Though I frequent the sculpture garden, I have, until today, always skipped quickly past this pond and over to the sculptures I understand, those I would have in my own garden (if I could), like Rodin’s Burghers of Calais. But this afternoon I twisted my own arm and stopped to look into the eyes of these drowning men. Now I see, in a small way, what a task it must have been for Dadang Christanto to create this work of art to honour his father.
Ailsa came up with this great theme of Sculpture. Take a look at her photos here.