Thursday, February 28, 2008

Frida Kahlo and Darth Vader

While it seems that Frida Kahlo and Darth Vader have little in common, they are together in a geographical way this month in Philadelphia. Kahlo is at the Museum of Art and The Star Wars exhibit is at the Franklin Institide. We had thought about going to Philadelphia for a long weekend, but as it turned out, we got tickets for both events on the same day. It was a long day. The kids had a snow day the day before, but somehow we didn't turn that day of immobility into reserved energy. Even now, writing about the adventure makes me want to take a nap. But there were highlights. I was completely inspired by Frida Kahlo. Knowing that a great deal of her life was spent in bed, feeling lousy--I had a new appreciation for her accomplishments. She is feted in both the feminist and chicana communities. From the audio tour, I was led to believe that she is seen more as a victim in the feminist community and a strong woman who overcomes adversity in the chicana community. I was surprised by that assessment. I haven't seen her as a victim, but perhaps that has to do with the powerful film of her life starring Salma Hayak. To say I was reinvigorated by this show is an understatement.

My son is writing a sci-fi novel. I told him that he should try to find influences for his book in both exhibits. Star Wars was a no-brainer, but I am sure he was confused as to how to incorporate Frida into his work. At the Star Wars exhibit we saw a blurb that explained how pictures of Einstein's wrinkles were incorporated into the Yoda puppet. It was easy to see from that example how two disparate ideas could come together. Then we went to a Science demonstration about the questions scientists are asking based upon science fiction movies. In the movies, writers dream up possibilities that don't exist. Later scientists ask, "How could we make them exist?" For instance, how could we make a weapon like a light saber? That's what I love about art. It makes you think outside the box. That's what I like about being an artist--you have to look at the world differently and make unusual associations. Even now I am thinking about how I can include influences from both these exhibits into my work.

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