I finished (sort of) a 3.5-minute video during the tutorial. The video is comprised of shots of the weird concrete park across from the Javits Center, over which I inserted an improvised voiceover about some vague time and country where traditional religion is outlawed and human sacrifices are performed regularly in a concrete outdoor temple. I cobbled together some abstract footage I’d already had, and shot a little more during my stay, and the voiceover was an attempt to give a kind of narrative linkage. C and I read the narration and we’re seen in silhouette a couple of times. It’s crude, but it IS a little piece, so I’m pretty thrilled. On the last day I learn how to do little titles and how to output the “finished” piece. Good timing.
After four or five days of continuous snow — which kept the airport here closed — the sun comes out and we leave on time. We arrive in LA in the early afternoon and I text Malu who is anxious to meet up. She’s way downtown at her dorm, so I suggest that as our time is tight, she meet us at the hotel where I’ll order her some room service lunch, and then we can hang out.
We all head off to the Museum of Jurassic Technology, and M loves the room with 3-D images of X-rayed flowers (i.e., The Floral Stereoradiographs of Albert G. Richards). Neither she nor C has ever been here before, so the mixture of the real (the stereoradiographs are comprised of a single image and don’t require the use of a special viewer) and the imaginary (dioramas and letters regarding an imaginary opera singer’s spectacular exploits, for example) is a bit of a head twister at first. “Wait, THAT is real, I’m sure, but does that mean THAT might be real too?” The answers to such questions are never given, and the succession of dark Victorian rooms with eccentric, spotlit displays creates a mood of time warp and possibility.
One room has a new exhibit of paintings of all the dogs that the Russians sent into space. Are these real? Yes, I think so, but I’m not sure if they are mid-century Russian paintings, or more recent ones. Laika is given pride of place, or course, but there are a whole slew of them, all mutts, posed for their heroic portraits. They were gathered from the streets of Moscow, we are told, and trained to wear doggie pressure suits and to withstand the G-forces during the launch. Many of them returned as well, one of whom later sired a litter of puppies. She had company on her voyage — another dog, two rats, forty mice, and some greenery.