Friday, December 30, 2005

Camera as Paintbrush

At the end of the summer, I wrote a blog entitled, Playing with Light. At the time, I took images of moving cars. I mentioned that I would return to this work where I used the camera as if it were a paintbrush.

My partner, Harry, put up some Christmas lights, and I took the opportunity to work with this colourful material.

Browse my Camera as Paintbrush Series website where you can find 12 of over 40 images from this body of work.

Other Lights

There are a number of people who have brought light into my life during the past year, and I am delighted to share with you their Web presence. Anne Charlotte Riley is a creative SEO (Search Engine Optimization) specialist, editor, and writer. Browse her site to see the success she is having in refining and improving a wide range of websites. She works with the brilliant Web designer Kathryn Presner of Zoonini Web Services.

I have known Fred Herscovitch for over 30 years. Fred is a talented artist and writer who resides in Toronto, and when he comes to Montreal for a visit, we usually have an interesting get-together to discuss our work and to catch up. His wife Mara is also an accomplished artist. I recently had the chance to view some of her exquisite paintings on leather. I hope to see her work online one day.

Dr. Evelin Gerda Lindner is an amazing woman who heads Human Diginity and Humiliation Studies, anchored at Columbia University. She has just been named recipient of the 2006 SBAP Award for Applied Psychology for her unique research and independent project management skills, as well as for her international presence as a well-known, committed, and multidisciplinary advocate for humanity in a global society. Her work on the effects of humiliation on individuals and communities has made a significant contribution to the study of peace.

Dr. C. M. Yogi is the principal of Hindu Vidya Peeth-Nepal, founder of the Shanti Sewa Ashram, and patron of Youth Society for Peace. He offers youth programs that nurture humane respect for all life, human and non-human. I am impressed with the quality of consciousness that he instills.

I met Zsolt Szigetvari and John Connolly this year. They are founders of a new human-edited Web directory called Zenome. Not only can editors and referrers develop a knowledge base in the directory, they can also transfer their commissions or Zenome Points to a charity. It is this synergetic business application that appeals to me and demonstrates their insight into doing good in the world.

When I mentioned my Guide in Humane Awareness to Dr. Paul P.T. Wong of the International Network on Personal Meaning, he kindly and immediately offered to publish the eBook. Browse the INPM site to find research and resources related to advancing health, spirituality, peace and human fulfillment through research, education and applied psychology with a focus on the universal human quest for meaning and purpose.

I wish my readers a prosperous, healthy and happy new year. Shabbat Shalom!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Winter Solstice - Chanukah

As we reach this time of year, I begin to feel delight in the fact that the days are starting to get longer. I wrote a small composition called, December Ballad that expresses the simple joy I experience. Have a listen!

I created the artwork Dreidel Magic in celebration of Chanukah, which is a special occasion when a candle is lit for each night of the eight-day holiday, commemorating Jewish struggle for religious freedom and the miracle of one having the freedom to bring light into the world.

Oily foods are eaten, songs are sung, and children twirl their dreidels.

In this work, I scanned four dreidels on a flatbed scanner and then used PhotoShop to filter the images.

To play the dreidel game, each player starts off with 10 tokens. Players put two tokens in the middle. The first player spins the dreidel. When the dreidel stops spinning, the player follows the instructions associated with the letter facing up:

Gimel - Take all the tokens
Hay - Take half the tokens
Nun - Do nothing
Shin - Put two tokens in the middle

See Scanned Chanukah Series to view individual images!

May light be abundant in your life!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

World AIDS Day - Africana Cry

AIDS Antiphony : The Call - Kenneth HemmerickToday, December 1st, is World AIDS Day. It is a day when people throughout the world focus on bringing an end to this scourge upon the earth.

Today, CBC News reported that the country believed to have the highest rate of HIV infection, (about 38.8% of its adult population) had cancelled all AIDS Day events. A royal decree was issued, saying that the events would interfere with a month-long traditional ceremony. What a shame that not a single day could be given towards increasing HIV awareness, AIDS prevention, and safe sex, when day after day after day, thousands are dying.

This country is Swaziland. According the to the CIA World Factbook, Swaziland's population is 1,173,900.

This means that 455,473 people are infected with the disease. That is 455,473 individual souls. This also means that hundreds of thousands of children are facing the prospect of becoming child parents, forced to look after younger siblings when their parents succumb to AIDS. It's a crying shame.

AIDS Antiphony: Response: Tears of Aids in Africa - Kenneth Hemmerick

Many years ago I was mistakenly diagnosed with having HIV. It was a terrible, lonely time of my life. I read everything I could about the disease. The more I read, the more symptoms I seemed to acquire. Finally, after many tests and months, the results came back negative. (Which is good.)

This experience has made me more aware of what people feel like upon hearing that they have been exposed to the HIV virus. I drew upon the experience when I created a work called AIDS Antiphony: Call and Response. This work was featured in the eZine Spoonfed : Amerika.

The Call is composed of images of myself which are reflective of the sense of isolation I witnessed, and suggests the notion that life is indeed temporal and yet, utterly ephemeral.

The Response
, in this work, is evident in the titles of these collage works: "Tears of AIDS in Africa", "When Babies Die of AIDS", "Waiting For Results", "Death Leaves Me Cold," and "Homophobia is a Killer Disease."

The CBC also reported that:

"The United Nations says more than half of the 40 million people with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, live in Africa.

The spread doesn't appear to be slowing down, either, with 3.2 million of the 5 million new HIV infections recorded in 2005 showing up in Africa."

It is a human disgrace that there is not enough political, corporate and humane will to wholeheartedly and fiercely face AIDS and HIV in the so-called Third World, although some people, such as Stephen Lewis, are helping to bring the Western world's attention to the problem of AIDS in Africa. His book, "Race Against Time" is a must-read.

I wrote the composition Africana Cry as an outpouring. It is a plaintive cry because what is happening in Africa is a crying shame.