Tag Archives: tri-x

Memories of Paris

We have started a tradition of traveling to Paris in the fall. It’s my favorite time to be there. The saturation of colors, the excitement of light layering and new autumn jackets, the light of the day is still long and the temperature is perfect for endless walks. This time in Paris we were guests of Ralph Lauren, to bring light to the new renovation project at the L’École des Beaux-Arts, experience “An American in Paris” and celebrate with a gala as sparkling as the Eiffel tower at night… but the other nights we sat at Pont Neuf and drank wine while watching the sun set, we walked the cobbled streets to film the city as she is today - still so timeless and beautiful -, we picked up treasures for our new studio at the flea market, and we had many amazing meals with friends we have made, friends who call this place home and open their life to us so that we can dream the dreams of Paris….

we are safe to

tell our story here.

(for a week spent floating in Paris,

every year.)

structure,

she has structure,

tough as any skyscraper

though no building here

is more than a few stories.

she has lore. 

she has a spirit

thousand of years in the making,

has a romance older than anyone’s memory,

anyone’s happy, lifelong marriage.

she has courage – our word that comes

from “coeur”, from heart.

she has dozens of parts,

arrondisements that speak to one another,

making something like a whole.

she has words

to spare.

she has

our complete trust.

~ Allan Andre

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Beauty & Truth

This week, I’ve been talking to you all about the ancient Egyptian idea of maat, which dealt with conceptions of balance, order, and truth. As with all the stories I tell, I’ve strived to come at it from a place of celebration, a love of beauty, and a simplistic honesty.

The quest for truth is a challenging thing. It’s been difficult for me to claim in this medium called blogging, especially as I have tried to redefine what this site means, making it about something greater, more important, and more interesting than simply myself. I’ve been writing from China this week, where censorship has made posting unbelievably challenging. I have to switch IP addresses with every paragraph, as I keep getting booted off each new server. Is aesthetic expression really such a threat? Well, personal truths do not seem to carry much weight here.

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Beauty & Truth

Our story began with three women, three mythical beings: Maat and her handmaidens, Beauty and Truth. In mythology and Egyptian heiroglyphics, Maat was represented by an ostrich feather. The equal-sidedness of the feather, with its division into halves, rendered it a fitting symbol of balance.

 

Feathers recur as a sacred talisman in many cultures, from the Egyptians to the Greeks, by Mexicans and by Native Americans, who used them in headdresses and in dreamcatchers. Just as Maat was trusted to control the daily path of the sun, so the moon controls the tides ~ and so people have believed for centuries that we can control our dreams.

Dreamcatchers originated with the Ojibwe nation, who believed that, when hung above the bed, only good dreams would be allowed to filter through their sinewy webs; they would pass through and slide down the feathers to the sleeper, while bad dreams would be caught and trapped in the net. The tides of today bring both nightmares and dreams, for along the shore we find countless cigarette butts and plastic bottles mixed in with natural treasures like seashells and driftwood.

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Beauty & Truth

In the ancient world, myths were used as a means to understand the inexplicable, as a way to make sense of the great wonders and mysteries of the earth and to give meaning to humanity. Inspired by the cycles of nature, the mythology of ancient Egypt still holds our imaginations in its sway today. Ancient Egyptians saw time in the present as a repetition of the linear events of their myths; to them, this mirroring served to renew ma’at (or mayet), the fundamental order of all existence.

Myths were a way of passing down behavioral expectations, codes of conduct, and moral obligation. They were reminders that the actions we take today create the context for tomorrow. Today’s decisions are the gifts and curses we bestow upon our descendants.

Ma’at was the Egyptian concept of truth, balance, and order. Ma’at was personified as the goddess of the stars; it was she who conducted cosmic harmony out of the chaos of creation, she who maintained the equilibrium of the universe ~ the setting of the sun, the rising of the tides. She was justice and she was reason.

Ma’at was the central principle of Egyptian cosmology and ethics, and so the primary duty of an Egyptian king was to be the champion of ma’at. All the daily rituals and sacrifices would be deemed meaningless unless the king and his people were living righteous, balanced lives. The word itself indicated ‘that which is real’, and so for the ancient Egyptians, ma’at came to imply anything that was true, genuine or harmonious.

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