7 Oct 2008

wish jar

i don't think there's any doubt on the reasons why i fell completely in love with keri smith's "wish jar". it's cute, it's inspirational, and it's the kind of thing that simply makes you drop whatever it is that you are doing and run out into the world, explore it in minor detail, and exploit that every detail in as playful ways as possible.

4 Oct 2008


I fell in love with Lego when I was in primary school. I had (and still have, actually) a neighbor (who was also my desk-mate and play-buddy) who had loads of Lego pieces. They were all mixed together and deposited in shoe boxes and we’d get them out of the wardrobe and we’d spend hours and hours building whatever our vivid imagination considered appropriate. (photo below from here, the creation of brick artist Nathan Sawaya)

As childhood gaming faded away and the responsibility of endless secondary school homework took over most of our spare time, we’d often find ourselves in unfortunate circumstances of Math exercises and Geography lessons eroding our relationship with the Lego pieces.

This way, by the time we reached 14, the amazing pieces that challenged our imagination were long forgotten. And they stayed that way until last week, when I spent quite some hours evaluating items in the children’s department of a big retail store.

The long hours of close examination made me draw two main conclusions.

One (and I know I’ve thought about this before, but it just seemed so much more striking): it really is no wonder that kids are getting smarter and smarter, and that’s not exclusively due to computers. It also has a lot to do with the intriguing games one can find nowadays in children’s stores. Games that invite you to discover the world in its various forms and aspects, games that stimulate your ability to form complex constructions and structures, games that challenge your imagination and invite you to make the most out of your creativity. Games that have been developed by physics institutes and art labs and all sorts of other pretentious structures.

Two: my passion for using Lego bricks is slowly finding its way back into my life. Therefore, I couldn’t help buying myself a great Ferrari Lego from the Racers collection, which was followed by several Bionicle acquisitions. And I keep on finding reasons to go check out the Lego shelves almost daily. Anyway.

The thing is that reexamining my own Lego memories obviously made me curious in some different ways: am I the only Lego nostalgic around? was Lego a significant part in more nineties childhoods? are there other 20+ Romanians who have found the joy of Lego once again? or some who’ve never lost it ? is there a local community of Lego-builders? and I could go on and on, but I guess the point is made.

Happily, browsing local blogs and forums started answering my questions. As well as revealing some rather neat realities. It seems that many 20+ (and even 30+) guys have great childhood recollections concerning Lego sets, which they’d mix and recombine and use and reuse according to the free will of their imagination. Moreover, discussions around Lego apparently not only wake up memories, but also stimulate the parental instincts of these people, who are pretty much keen to pass on the Lego flame, rituals and secrets to their kids.

One very pleasant surprise was to come across a young guy in Cluj-Napoca, who is a Lego guru and who is making great efforts to build a strong local community of Lego embracers (he set up a Lego forum here, and you also google numerous other topics opened by him on other ro forums). His name is Adrian Florea, and his own creations are interesting and ingenious enough to have brought him several prizes, interviews, as well as an admirable position of Lego ambassador. the photo below is taken from boingboing.

Until I get to reach great Lego achievements, I must also link to an ArtLab research project that used the bricks as a means of expression and exploration.

3 Oct 2008

my new status

The more days go by, the more convinced I get that I am increasingly fascinated and intrigued by everything connected to people. So it isn’t surprising that I became pretty much addicted to attending all sorts of interesting seminars held within Fundatia Calea Victoriei. It's been an amazingly eyes-opening experience: i gained a completely new perspective on our country and its inhabitans. a perspective i'd never gain, no matter how many advertising researches i'd carry out.

one of the workshops, however, had a particular impact on me. it was an ethnography workshop, introducing some general aspects of traditional life and culture. my mind made a lot of connections, some of my old passionate interests reactivated, and i decided i wanted to dig further on.

So, starting this October, i also am a student in Ethnology (University of Bucharest), as well as hopefully involved in other related stuff. I have no idea where this new thing will take me, but it surely seems like an interesting and challenging path. Especially since the professors that I’ve met so far seem really passionate about sharing their expertise, as well as to listening to our ideas.