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Friday, May 24: Day 32 – The Rain in Spain Stays Mainly…in Bilbao

Bilbao reminds me a lot of Seattle. All citizens anticipate rain and usually are carrying umbrellas. Even the postal carrier is ready…

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

We have our raincoats and think that this is a great indoor day to visit the Guggenheim-Bilbao.

We learned about Lucio Fontana who is known for making holes and cuts on the canvas. Rob questions if this is art. At least, this slasher only slashes canvases!!

Jennifer Holzer artistically uses texts printed on paper, stone, canvas and even buildings. She is also known for the use of moving text on LED lights to evoke emotion. Her topics are often dark and pessimistic such as rape and torture. Through the Freedom of Information Act, she obtained redacted top secret documents about Afghan prisoner torture and even the Mueller Report. It makes one wonder what was blacked out.

We saw a video presentation The Bell, the Digger and the Tropical Pharmacy by Alzora and Calzadilla. This piece had lots of symbolism and made us discuss the definition of art.

  • Is it talent? (How do they do that?)
  • Is it emotional? (Does it move you to laugh or cry?)
  • Is it relational? (Does it remind you of something?)
  • Is it personal or corporate? (Do you join the conversation?)

The topic of the video was about the destruction of a pharmaceutical company in Puerto Rico. On the end of the bulldozer was a large working bell. Whenever it moved to to knock down a wall, the bell would ring. I thought of a death knoll and Rob thought of the Hemingway title For Whom the Bell Tolls. It was eerie and continued for a long time until the property was leveled.

Also, we had the realization that EVERYTHING (including us) has a life cycle of creation and destruction, an expiration date so to speak.

We all agree that there is beauty in creation. Is there beauty in destruction?

Or is this needless destruction of a building that could be repurposed?

I ponder this as Puerto Rico struggles to rebuild factories with their associated jobs after devastating hurricanes…and right in the heart of the tropics where biodiversity is key to medicines of the future.

It is time to walk back to our hostel. I see an elderly couple walking in front of us. They are moving cautiously and slowly. They are holding hands.

I commented to Rob as we hold hands, “That is going to be us someday.”

His reply, “There is a couple behind US saying ‘That us going be us someday’.” And so on….

It only takes a day in a museum to enlarge your perspective.

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