Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Chocolate Cuttings

Before the Internet came on the scene, I used to collect all sorts of cuttings from newspapers and magazines for use as idea starters for articles.  I still collect these, but of course now they're collected digitally, (even when I first come across them in print), and I use Evernote for this a great deal.  The advantage of digital collection compared to the old print approach is that the items can be searched.

For instance, I was trying to find some items related to chocolate, because I intended writing something about the gifts that available only at Shari's, where berries are covered in wonderful concoctions of white and dark chocolate (with one swizzled on the other) and almonds - see the example on the right.

One of the items that came up in my search under chocolate was this daft statement from a Facebook friend of mine (he used to live here in Dunedin with his family, and go to our church): French is just English spoken with a mouth full of chocolate.   It's the sort of statement he's prone to at times, but this particular one stuck out as saying something surreal and poetic.

Another item was about the artist, Viz Muniz, who hails from Sao Paulo, in Brazil.  In the home page statement about him we're told that he has used dirt, diamonds, sugar, string, chocolate syrup and garbage to create bold, witty and often deceiving images drawn from the pages of photojournalism and art history.  A slightly different approach to using chocolate, one might think.   You can see his work on his website, but the reason I originally kept the information was that he was involved in the making of a documentary called Waste Land, which was filmed on the world's largest rubbish dump where an eclectic band of “catadores”—self-designated pickers of recyclable materials - live.  Muniz collaborated with these inspiring people as they recreated photographic images of themselves out of garbage. The documentary reveals both the dignity and despair of the catadores as they begin to re-imagine their lives. 

A further item was a series of quotes on the addiction to acquiring money.  John Cleese was quoted as saying: If I like chocolate it won't surprise you that I have a few chocolates in my fridge, but if you find out I've got sixteen warehouses full of chocolate, you'd think I was insane. Unfortunately I have no idea where this quote came from.  

Finally there is an interesting blog post by Richard Beck, a sometimes provocative blogger I read all the time for a while, but haven't caught up with lately (mostly because he doesn't use Twitter!).  In this post he discusses the Chocolate Jesus, an anatomically accurate depiction of Jesus hanging as though from the cross, but made entirely out of chocolate.  It's a work by Cosimo Cavallaro.  When originally exhibited, it upset a number of people, but Beck asks the question: why chocolate?   His answers are worth checking out.  Cavallaro is a Canadian-born artist, not a little given to provocation himself.  You can see the Chocolate Jesus on his website (the link is under his name above) along with a number of his other works.


Lydia said...

This was such an interesting post. I'd never heard of chocolate Jesus before.

Mike Crowl said...

Me neither, but Beck's comments were certainly helpful in not immediately jumping to a conclusion about it.