About Isaac

Curious photographer, blogger and aspiring teacher. Likes sci-fi, retrogaming, 80s music, coffee, crows and crispy bacon.

Anything to say?

Davide Dormino 2

There’s a buzz going on at Geneva’s Place des Nations. I go and snap some photos of Davide Dormino‘s powerful bronze installation entitled “Anything to Say?” It’s only here for a few days. Do you recognise these three beautifully sculpted figures with their calm and determined faces?  For sure, you’ll know their names! They are the three most widely known whistle-blowers of all time: Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning.

Davide Dormino 3

They stand on chairs facing their fate. They wear impersonal one-piece suits. Does this mean they are in prison? Maybe you think all three should be in prison? (Manning already is.) Maybe they are modern-day knights in shining armour come to save us all?

Dormino says the installation “is a monument to the courage of three people who said no to the establishment of comprehensive monitoring and lies, and have chosen to tell the truth.” His work is placed in front of “Broken Chair.” An empty chair on the right of the whistle-blowers transmits a challenge: “Come and stand up here with us! Do you have anything to say?” I’m reminded of the scene in “Dead Poet’s Society” when the pupils, by standing on their desks, show solidarity with their unorthodox teacher whose mantra is “make your lives extraordinary.” I really want to stand on that chair and shout what I think. But then…. Am I brave enough?

Student of “art” or design? Writing about beautiful stuff? Contact us!


Do you write about beautiful stuff? Want to publish it? We’d be pleased to take a look with a view to posting it here on Talking Beautiful Stuff.

We love anything that involves the great human impulse to create. We focus on creative people, what they do and how they bring their work to others. We try to avoid the word “art” and art-speak.

There’s a formula based on the narrative of any beautiful stuff. It’s simple: Who is creating What, for Whom, When, Where, How, and What it means for you. Can you talk about beautiful stuff in these terms? We’re looking for about 700 words and three or four photos.

To give you an idea, take a look at these posts:

Ai WeiWei says “Think Different”

OpenArt in Örebro, Sweden is the 2008 brainchild of locals Mats Nilsson and Lars Jonsson. They dreamed of cutting-edge “art” on display in public loca­tions. And guess what? Their dream came true…. and rapidly. Now in 2015, it is the biggest such event in Scandinavia. This year includes a focus on Chinese artists so no surprise that it features a major work by Ai Weiwei. It blows in the wind and blows me away!!

Ai Weiwei 1

Ai WeiWei is known for confronting – and being arrested by – Chinese authorities. He questions everything about the culture of imposed conformity of his own country. This work, “Think different (How to hang workers’ uniforms)” consists of 375 coveralls in six different colours hung well above head height along Köpmangatan, an Örebro street. These are workers’ uniforms used in China in the massive electronics and computing manufacturing industries. The coveralls flap and flicker in the wind casting disconcerting shadows on the street below. Western people stroll beneath. I wonder if they are thinking differently.

Ai Weiwei 2

So who is Ai WeiWei telling to think differently? Is it me, the Western viewer? Is it Chinese people? Is it the Chinese authorities? In fact, thinking about it, “Think Differently (How to hang workers’ uniforms)” does make me think differently. Here are some questions that run through my head when I look up at these rows of coveralls. I am reminded of assembly lines. How many Chinese people work to make products destined for the western world? Are they paid well? Are they aware of workers’ rights? What are they interested in? What are their home lives like? Or is Ai WeiWei telling me that the real price of western consumerism is paid by Chinese workers? This work is brilliant and provocative. I’m pleased I went back to Örebro!