Archive for July 13, 2012

I Had a Hippopotamus

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , on July 13, 2012 by telescoper

I had a hippopotamus; I kept him in a shed
And fed him upon vitamins and vegetable bread.
I made him my companion on many cheery walks,
And had his portrait done by a celebrity in chalks.

His charming eccentricities were known on every side.
The creature’s popularity was wonderfully wide.
He frolicked with the Rector in a dozen friendly tussles,
Who could not but remark on his hippopotamuscles.

If he should be affected by depression or the dumps
By hippopotameasles or hippopotamumps
I never knew a particle of peace ’till it was plain
He was hippopotamasticating properly again.

I had a hippopotamus, I loved him as a friend
But beautiful relationships are bound to have an end.
Time takes, alas! our joys from us and robs us of our blisses.
My hippopotamus turned out to be a hippopotamissus.

My housekeeper regarded him with jaundice in her eye.
She did not want a colony of hippopotami.
She borrowed a machine gun from her soldier-nephew, Percy
And showed my hippopotamus no hippopotamercy.

My house now lacks the glamour that the charming creature gave.
The garage where I kept him is as silent as a grave.
No longer he displays among the motor-tires and spanners
His hippopotamastery of hippopotamanners.

No longer now he gambols in the orchard in the Spring;
No longer do I lead him through the village on a string;
No longer in the mornings does the neighborhood rejoice
To his hippopotamusically-modulated voice.

I had a hippopotamus, but nothing upon earth
Is constant in its happiness or lasting in its mirth.
No joy that life can give me can be strong enough to smother
My sorrow for that might-have-been-a-hippopotamother.

by Patrick Barrington (1908-90).

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Olafur Eliasson: Space, Art and Little Sun

Posted in Art with tags , , , on July 13, 2012 by telescoper

I recently found a report about a new project by Olafur Eliasson at Tate Modern called Little Sun which seems very intriguing to me. Basically the Little Suns in question are solar-powered LED lamps, with a running time of about 5 hours. Similar, I suppose to the things some of us have in our gardens that charge up during the day and light up at night. Anyway,  the idea is that on Saturday evenings from 28 July to 23 September  the lights at Tate Modern will be switched off, and each visitor given a Little Sun so they can wander around and see the exhibits in the dark. I can imagine that this will a fascinating experience, changing as it will the usual relationship between the viewer and the viewed, and the space enclosing them both. During the day there will also be a gallery open on the building’s third floor, where visitors can learn about solar power, global energy problems, light and its importance to life, as well as create light graffiti, as demonstrated on the little video here:

I’m not sure I’ll the chance to see Little Sun but I hope this encourages at least a few of you to check it out.

I also found this talk by Olafur Eliasson at TEDX some time ago, called Playing with Space and Light. A while ago was invited one of the gatherings of artists and scientists he mentions at the beginning, and found it absolutely fascinating…