In autumn of 2018 Switzerland voted on a proposition to subsidize those farmers willing to let their cows and goats grow horns. For decades their horns have been welded at very high temperatures at an early age to prevent them from growing. It is very painful as you can imagine. The reasoning behind this treatment is to protect the animals from hurting each other with the horns when grouped together. It also saves space and thus money.
As a newly minted Swiss citizen, I voted in favor of the proposition.
2016 marked the 100 anniversary of Dada, my favorite art movement.
Petra (a psychologist) and I (a filmmaker) were chosen to show our “joint venture”in Manifesta 11, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art that took place in Zürich from 06 June to 18 September, 2016. The concept developed by Christian Jankowski, Manifesta 11’s curator, was to pair an artist and a worker, while focusing on the fields of work found in Zürich and asking the questions “What do I do for money?” and “What does my work do to me at the same time?”
So we made a film -the ideal medium to combine dreams and storytelling- to celebrate the 100 anniversary of Dada, an artistic movement that was born in Zürich, Switzerland in 1916. The film is titled “Le roi cherche une toilette à louer”: Hand printing, cutting words, mental sounds, and random acts of poetry can lead you to unexpected places where the mundane blends with the sublime. The film is inspired by a poem by Tristan Tzara, one of the main founders of Dada, titled “L’amiral cherche une maison à louer.”
I was a fan of dolma for many years, but stopped eating them because I found them so acidic they sometimes provoked reflux. That’s because I had only eaten the canned or pre-packaged versions from stores and restaurants. “Known since antiquity, dolmadaki or dolma are grape leaves wrapped around a filling. They are common in Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East.”¹
In February, a neighbor moved out and gave us a grape bush they had planted in a large pot. Now, in summer, the bush is back to life and producing healthy tender leaves. I cut a bunch, blanched, cooled, stuff, hand-rolled, and steamed them. We tried two fillings: the traditional one of rice, garlic, onions, pine nuts, mint leaves, parsley, raisins, and cinnamon; and our own version of quinoa, fennel, scallions, mint leaves, and raspberries. They are delicious, healthy, and with a very subtle tangy flavor, far away from the acidic commercial versions. I am a fan again.
Enjoy the photos of the grape bush and the steamed dolmas. ¡Buen provecho!
Living only 31 Km from the oldest nuclear plant is not comforting. It is an inconvenient truth that the Beznau AKW is so close to us. Greenpeace informs citizens in my area using street signs in a very clever way. The sign says “the oldest atomic power plant in the world is only 31 Km away”.
On 5 March 2014, Greenpeace activists broke into Beznau, urging European governments to close down the reactors on safety grounds. Some 100 protesters dressed in orange jumpsuits scaled the boundary fence and hoisted large banners with images of cracking reactors and announcing “The End” of nuclear power at the 45-year-old Beznau nuclear plant. 40 activists were arrested and 58 activists were reported to the Public Prosecutor for trespassing. Newspaper Tages Anzeiger commented in October 2015 that two independent sources have confirmed that the reactor 1 pressure vessel contains around 1,000 cavities of half a centimetre in diameter. (From Wikipedia)
After almost 5 years of living in Schwamendingen, Zürich, Switzerland, the neighborhood council surprised me by naming the street that runs behing our building complex after me. I was speechless. Needless to say, I am humbled by their gesture. Of course I had to take a picture of the street sign.