January 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

years and years ago I saw a film about Niki de Saint Phalle at the Castro theater in San Francisco. I wasn’t as much into her gardens and whales as I went in expecting, even if one of my dreams is to make a really big insane garden. All I wanted to know about was, who made that war machine? Who made those gears and wheels in the park? I’m sort of a numb-nut. It wasn’t until a trip to Europe after Katrina, to look for friends who’d left afterwards, either back home or just to find new roads, that I ran smack into the guy, in Basel, where a few living friends also happened to be, some to work the art fair- I’d just gone to see a friend who lived there, and the art fair is another story.

“There is a famous Swiss scultptor… artist.. uh, let’s go to the fountain, you’ll see.” Tinguely. My friend said his name a few times in ways that different people prounounce it, so she could make sure I knew how to pronounce it right, not like “tingly.”

“Well, that’s him,” I said, and stared at the fountain for as long as my friend let me, before she took my coat sleeve to show me where Erasmus was buried.


Basel, Switzerland, and Tinguely, ended up a zeitgeist for some of us. The New Orleans Airlift formed there, and collaboration with Swoon began there, and so did Automata and all things that intersect.

Tinguely Museum



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