Category Archives: Travels

WHERE DOES FIT’S TRASH GO?

As part of Hue staff writer Jonathan Vatner’s Spring 2014 feature, “Where Does FIT’s Trash Go?”, he led three site visits to recycling facilities in the New York City area. Watch short videos of two of the field trips here.

Pratt Industries paper recycling plant, Staten Island. Video by Suzanne Baer, FIT Technology Development Team

Sims material recovery facility, Brooklyn. Video by Jonathan Vatner

FIT STUDENTS PHOTOGRAPH VANISHING AFRICAN TRIBES

Last January, FIT students Trupal Pandya, Photography ’14, and Alexander Papakonstadinou, Photography ’14, visited the Omo Valley in Ethiopia to document five tribes: the Bena, Mursi, Hamar, Arbore, and Ari. Just in time, too: the traditional ways of these peoples are losing ground to the lure of Western, materialist pleasures.

Copyright Trupal Pandya

Copyright Trupal Pandya

The students spent ten days traveling around the valley, living with the tribes and photographing madly. Some of the people they met were naked; others were adorned with beads; still others were painted with ash.

Copyright Alexander Papakonstadinos

Copyright Alexander Papakonstadinou

Of the traditions he watched, Pandya was most astonished by a bull-jumping rite of passage. “The boy has to jump over ten bulls to prove that he’s an adult, to get married,” he says. Now that’s a lot of bull!

Copyright Trupal Pandya

Copyright Trupal Pandya

About 40 of these pictures will be presented in the Marvin Feldman Center lobby from today, March 21, to April 4. And on March 25 at 6 pm, Pandya and Papakonstadinou will preside over a reception to share the stories behind the work.

Copyright Alexander Papakonstadinou

Copyright Alexander Papakonstadinou

Pandya is no stranger to stunning travel photography. The spring issue of Hue, coming out in April, will feature his riveting, brilliantly hued images from the Holi festival in India.

CHINESE POET VISITS FIT, MAKES METAPHOR OUT OF OYSTERS

The Chinese poet Wang Jiaxin came to FIT yesterday to read from his work and discuss the pleasures of versifying, and of translating and reading poets from around the world. Wang has been called “one of the most important contemporary poets in China,” but Hue is happy to note that he looks almost like a regular guy.

He gave talks and readings, and described what it was like growing up during the Cultural Revolution. In the ’80s he was the editor of a prestigious literary magazine in China, but after the Tiananmen Square tragedy he was relieved of that post (the university had allowed some students to participate in the protest).

Wang said to “pay attention to details” because “poets never give you anything directly.” He described the pleasure of reading Emily Dickinson—“I like her much more than [Walt] Whitman,” he said. He described Dickinson’s poems as “the fruit of longing…very deep.” He read a poem about her, and also this one, which Hue liked a lot:

OYSTERS

Party’s over. On the seaside dining table
a few oysters left,
large, unopened.

Heading back in the car, someone says
“The ones you can’t open
Taste best.”
No one laughs,
no one considers what it means.
At night the surf sounds heaviest.
Through dark pine woods
our car weaves onward.

(Translated from the Chinese by Diana Shi and George O’Connell.)

Hue suspects there’s a metaphor there, and is going to leave it in its shell.

Watch a video of Wang reading at Berkeley with poet Robert Hass here.

Wang was invited to FIT by Jean Amato, an associate professor of English and Speech and a specialist in literature of China and the Chinese diaspora. Wang’s visit was sponsored by the department.

WHAT I DISCOVERED IN COPENHAGEN, BY RENEE COOPER

Renee Cooper, Global Fashion Management ’08, professor of Fashion Merchandising Management, taught at KEA, a school of design and technology in Denmark, this spring on a Fulbright scholarship. Here are a few things she learned. (All photos are by Professor Cooper, except the headshot, by  Nikita Gavrilovs, and the bikers in the snow, photographer unknown.)

Students in Denmark are not required to attend every class. When I walked into my first class, there were only five students. Fortunately, they were all very interested and engaged.

Danish food culture is all about rye bread, and smørrebrød, open-faced sandwiches, are the most popular way to enjoy it. Smørrebrød are made with a slice of rye bread topped with meat, fish or vegetables and different spreads. There are lots of understood rules about what to combine and what not to. As a Dane, you just know.

Copenhagen is truly a biking city. There are more bikes than cars!

There are no plastic bags at the grocery stores. You always have to keep one in your pocket. Otherwise, you have to pay for a bag.

The public transportation is clean, convenient, and easy to navigate. I did not get lost once.

In Denmark you can’t find a Starbucks except at the airport. The students told me Starbucks was banned. Instead they have coffee shops called Barista.

My husband and I went to a museum near our apartment. At the end of our tour, we saw this sculpture made of copper pieces. It was gorgeous. We’re sitting there and my husband says, “That looks really familiar.” It was the statue of liberty in pieces. New York is everywhere!

TV is mostly in English! Amazing!

You often see this type of cart attached to a bike. Parents put their kids inside to nap during a journey; when the parents shop, they leave their kids inside! Needless to say, it’s really safe here.

Read more of Professor Cooper’s thoughts on her blog.

DJ SPOOKY HAS DONE EVERYTHING EXCEPT TAKE A VACATION

Hue is ambivalent about the concept of a “renaissance man,” not least because women need not apply. But OK, maybe just this once.

Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid, who guested at FIT’s Sustainable Business and Design Conference this spring, has done a lot that most deejays have not. He is the executive editor of Origin Magazine, an “art and conscious lifestyle” magazine. He composed the score for Downloaded, a documentary about Napster that VH1 is releasing later this year. He served as artist in residence at the Metropolitan Museum, creating compositions based on exhibitions. He released a popular iPad app for deejaying. And he’s got a social conscience: After a trip to Antarctica, he wrote The Book of Ice, “part fictional manifesto, part history, and part science book” about climate change.

The cover of “The Book of Ice.”

Along with that came Of Water and Ice, an atmospheric, brooding symphony based on charts of troubling weather and temperature patterns. The music veritably brims with urgency.

Hue only wonders one thing: When does he sleep?

Paul D. Miller in Antarctica. Photo by Maria Thi Mai.

DJ Spooky