December 13, 2007

Instant dose of culture – The Refill

Thanks to an airport strike in Athens, I got to spend an extra night in Paris. Luckily, it’s on a Wednesday, when the Louvre is open until late (10 PM according to the tourist guides, more like 9:30 PM in real life, when le-guards start to kick you out)

This night was a treat. I had just come from two mind-guzzling days where “dudes” and a few “dudettes” from 40 countries and inflated egos spoke about collaboration, communication, design, and technology - and I needed to get away from WiFi and let it all start to sink in. My first encounter with hieroglyphics and a Sphinx and the Venus de Milo (and yes, Raphael and Delacroix and the others again), finally drove home the point:

I can relate to this. This object is trying to engage me, to have a dialogue, to have me participate (or reject it). It goes well beyond the artistry and tools (the technology and skills). It’s –you guessed it- trying to tell me a story.

After walking up and down Denon (and Sully too this time!), I went back for a final dose of chic from the Gioconda. Unlike my visit Monday, the crowds around her were gone. I followed the famous gaze, reminding myself that it wasn’t enough to just stand there and listen to the audio guide or take another pic. Perhaps there was something I could understand about the Mona Lisa by myself?

And then her smirk turned into a full blown smile.

Thank you Paris.

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