Friday, August 03, 2007

Thinking about Minneapolis

I've heard from most of the people I know in the Minneapolis area, all so far are safe and well. Earlier today when I still hadn't heard from as many, I was put in mind of what a vibrant arts community thrives in that Midwestern hub. (pictured left, exterior shot of Walker Art Center) If it weren't so cold there in the winter (some parts of the city have heated underground walkways for this reason), I might think about living there (it's got a growing international community, and black folks smile at each other). But I just can't do it. The Nation's John Nichols writes here about the nationwide issue of decaying infrastructures and the responsibility of the federal government to keep its citizens safe. He sites last month's explosion of a steam pipe installed in 1924 near New York City's Grand Central Station that resulted in the death of one person (from cardiac arrest) and injured 20 others, as well as, of course, the levees of New Orleans. (pictured right, exterior shot of The Soap Factory Gallery; photo Tim Burlowski)

BTW, that steam/water pipe issue can occur in a residential situation as well. It sounds like a hammer or a heavy weight being dropped above you or underneath you, depending on how your plumbing system is set up. Hence the terms "water hammer" or "fluid hammer." If you hear such a noise, call a plumber or your building's maintenance person immediately. Fatalities don't occur often, but sustaining an injury, and/or loosing much of your belongings to a pipe explosion or implosion is not something to take lightly. Unlike typical plumbing problems, water hammer occurs when the water isn't flowing. Pressure or a shock wave gets sent down the pipe faster than the speed of sound, exerting great pressure and causing the resulting loud bang. (Yes, had an experience with this recently which was safely resolved).

With my thoughts still on the people in Minneapolis from whom I still haven't heard, those folks who are dealing with the loss of loved ones, and those who were injured in the collapse I wanted to post two links. The bridge, a thoughtful blog entry by one of the many people who work close to the bridge (apparently a lot more people would have been on it, but the on-ramp closest to the university was closed due to construction). The other is to an interview with one of the many thought-provoking artists that make up that diverse community. Mankwe Monika Nkatuati Ndosi (pictured left, but there are better and more recent photos here) is a vocal and multidisciplinary artist of Tanzanian and Midwestern U.S. descent, and Artistic and Managing Director of Center for Independent Artists in South Minneapolis. Her thoughts on arts practice have inspired me to contemplate what I mean by "performance" as well as different ways to work with the body as a performance instrument. This 2005 interview with Ndosi is part of Radio mnartists, an on-going project of web and radio interviews with Minnesota artists initiated by KFAI ("Radio Without Boundaries") producer Marya Morstad. (pictured right Ndosi performing during the 2004 Shoebox Biennial/Performance Festival--click on image for a better view)


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