Portia Placino

Repository of my thoughts and images of art, literature, travel, and life.

Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase

I stumbled into this interesting piece as I was looking for new movies to watch. Since The Artist was such a success, I decided to look for more Academy Award winning films. Watching Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase is a revelation. Youtube people are calling this a 7-minute Art History lesson, specifically, I think this is a 7-minute Introduction to Modern Art History. I can’t wait to show this to my students.

I looked this up further and I saw Joan Gratz’s website. Apparently, she is “An accomplished director, artist, and animator, Joan Gratz pioneered the animation technique known as claypainting.Working with bits of clay she blends colors and etches fine lines to create a seamless flow of images.” The clay painting work for Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase is very impressive. It’s been a while since I saw art as a subject of shorts. I don’t think I’ve seen similar work and technique applied to Philippine cinema. This won the Academy Award in 1992, 20 years ago. But I am yet to see another film technique for the arts such as this one. I can’t believe this is the first time I am seeing this.

I have seen some complaints in Youtube about the title. Is she looking down on modern art? Where is the staircase? When I first read the title, Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase first came to mind. After all, it does belong to the same period. Joan Gratz took modern art and told her own story using her own medium. I truly wish there are more works as insightful and as creative as hers. I am now a fan.

Nude Descending a Staircase, Marcel Duchamp, 1912

As I dig further, I saw an earlier work, but dealing with motion. Eadward Muybridge, famous for his motion photography (earlier incarnation of motion pictures), also has a work entitled Woman Going Downstairs. This is a very interesting take, placed side by side with Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase. 

Woman Walking Downstairs, Eadward Muybridge, 1887

A story of art, indeed, can stand by itself. But it is still interesting to look further, dig deeper. You might learn something new. Today, I did learn. Instead of always looking up, sometimes, you just need to descend and walk downstairs. Its quite an interesting day after all.

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One thing that I have learned so far is that you have to show up for your kid. She is not even 20 months old, yet she can stay on stage and perform with her peers without fear. She basically didn't need us to be up there with her. She only needed us to be there for her. That's the gist of it for the most part. We need to be there for her. I doubt she'll remember the expensive clothes, shoes, toys, and what have you. Of course, meeting basic needs is basic. I will not be the 'I am better than you' kind of parent. Most people struggle financially when they become parents, we are no exception. There are compromises, choices, and sacrifices that parents have to make in the name of parenthood. I know and feel the loss of this personally. But it doesn't change the fact that aside from her basic human needs--food, water, clothing, and shelter... What she really needs are her parents. To cuddle with, to play with, to hold her when she cries, to watch her perform, to sit with her as she throws a tantrum, to accompany her as she digs in the sandbox. She needs us to show up. I am trying my hardest to show up and be there. I know that these moments will be gone in a blink of an eye. As sad as I am for some things that are lost, for some things that will never be the same... I am happy that I did not miss this. #toddlerplay #toddlernarratives
Falalalala lalalala! She enjoyed the stage and wanted to climb it the moment their class was called. Lol. We also left her there because she seemed to manage just fine on her own. Though she attempted to leave the stage once the song was done, while photos were being taken. She also wanted to join the other classes on stage. Lol. She loves dancing and music, definitely. Everybody commented on her participation and attempted singing!#toddlernarratives #toddlerchristmas
It was her second on-stage performance and my second attempt at costume making. Lol. Though technically, I just tried to Christmas-fy her dress that kinda has a tutu fabric skirt. Lol. Vest is nowhere in sight as she screams bloody murder whenever I try to put it on. I'm her Mommy so I'm allowed to say she's absolutely adorable. And she loves performing as well! Tiring day. #toddlernarratives #toddlerchristmas
Pasko sa eskwela. #toddlernarratives #toddlerchristmas
And so the sem ends. Sort of. With loads of new stories. I will try to tell some of them, eventually. My heart learned a lot.
Masarap nga kaya ang gatas at kamatis? Lol. Enjoy talaga siya sa buffet breakfast. Pancakes, rice and egg, watermelon, grapes, tomatoes, milk, and cereal. Solb na solb na eh. #anniversary #staycation
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