Saturday, January 9, 2010

'the cluster of possibilities' - taking a leaf from La Dolce Vita

from the snow storm - December 8th Post image by Caterina at La Dolce Vita which is accompanied by text from Ralph Waldo Emerson's poem The Snow Storm.

following are 2 images from Cat who works with found materials gleaned from all over.

 The wonderful Caterina at La Dolce Vita has been posting from her home in Colorado some wonderful snowy images of late and today I thought I would share her Jan 7 post with you on thrifty living as it is a timely new year musing! Cat suggests that no matter what the motivation behind thriftiness is its a noble pursuit that brings VALUE to the fore. 
I am reminded of a wonderful french doco by Agnes Varda 'The Gleaners and I' that I saw a few years ago which travels through city and country-side in France, includes interviews with various people including psycho-analyst Jean Laplanche and French collage artist Louis Pons who calls his "cluster of junk.... a cluster of possibilities". This small painting titled 'The Gleaners' by Jean-Francois Millet (1857) refers to the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers' fields after they have been commercially harvested or where it is not economically profitable to harvest. Some ancient cultures promoted gleaning as an early form of welfare system.
Below are 2 examples from Louis Pons work - his beautifully named "cluster of possibilities"

Jouet pour adulte
Joute Pour Adulte 1961 Assemblage
Le Point sublime
La Point Sublime 1970 Relief

Also found at La Dolce Vita: 
One artist saw a New Year opportunity in setting up this this new blog to encourage purchase of 2nd hand goods and exchange and barter. read about Debrina's initiative at the - which lends itself to replication elsewhere.

Creative people often thrive on being great finders and foragers and it is timely we all have a think about the cluster of possibilities that are there waiting!


Lorena said...

Nice post,there's a big resourceful barter community here in Idaho

Sophie Munns said...

Thanks for dropping by Lorena.
It sounds like you are well aquainted with this great system of exchange. I must say I have not participated in an ongoing formalised project but have always liked swapping, giving away, receiving the unexpected bounty of shared goods!

Altoon Sultan said...

hi Sophie, thanks for this lovely post. An Australian blog friend recommended The Gleaners to me; it's a fantastic film. Gleaning in New York City consisted of "dumpster diving" (going through large containers of trash) to find useful items. My well used copy of The Joy of Cooking came from the streets of NYC. Here in Vermont we have a swap shop at the recycling center, where everything is free.

janis said...

Yes, yes, yes! "Cluster of junk... a cluster of possibilities"... so well said! ...And the painting, "The Gleaners". I see that image a lot in my mind, I have a connection to it somehow.

This is a wonderful post Sophie - like all your post - thought provoking, interesting, timely ...
xo, j.

Sophie Munns said...

Hi Altoon,
glad to hear you also know this wonderful film.
One often remembers precisely where treasured finds come from - thinking of your cook book.
Years ago I had to teach music in a school for a few days. I found a rather wonderful vase in the bin next to the piano - so I pulled it out and placed it on the piano. Twice more I rescued it from the bin... then took it home. Later I found similar ones in an antique store noting it was from Czechoslovakia in 1928 and worth a tidy sum!
So I am not surprised you feel affection for your copy of The joy of cooking -- the value is increased by the memory attached.
The Swap shop is a brilliant idea! We need this option as I have noticed people now dump stuff in huge piles outside thrift shops....with waste and the most appalling rubbish.
Last move I was very determined to declutter and found homes with friends for precious things I loved by decided to let go of!

Sophie Munns said...

Interesting about the painting Janis - how the image lives with you!
Its quite bizarre to consider that a huge population of the world has never been able to exist without foraging and gleaning on a regular, if not daily, basis - whilst some of us live in places and situations where we are so careless and so unthinking about what we haul in our front doors, what we do with it then and what happens later!
Its a nightmare to think there is such a disparity on this planet. We just had a news announcement before Xmas that Australians are now building the largest homes on average than anywhere else on the planet.
We are supposed to think what about that news... A national day of morning I reckon!

Its great as you say Janis to think about the "cluster of possibilities" though - now thats a thought that goes somewhere!
I'm very glad that I was prompted to get thinking on this tangent by Cat... the blog community is full of great ideas and industrious people...people who think we are here to share something with each other I would say.
And that is such a tonic - a force really - against the wave of apathy I must say!
Good to hear form you this morning Janis!
S xo

Mlle Paradis said...

Hi again Sophie. Love that: cluster of possibilities. The Gleaners is one of my all time favorite FAVORITE movies. It all makes so much sense to me. And A. Varda presents it all in her charming way. I have to admit too that my husband and I are embarassingly committed inveterate gleaners. Our neighbors' passion fruit vine provided us many a happy harvest for 2 years in Hawaii and now that we've left, they've torn the vine down. Passion fruit souffles anyone? Oh baby!

em said...

hi, just what are those items in the la point sublime relief? interesting!

Maggie Neale said...

Cluster of possibilities! love it, the thought and the piece. I have a copy of the gleaners which I gleaned from the attic of an old house I bought years ago. I'm familiar with making do with what others have left behind...suits my way just fine. Thrifty works. Great post! Thanks.

Sophie Munns said...

Hi Mlle Paradis,
Yes... passion fruit souffle... yes please... when ...where... I'll be there... in my dreams for sure!
I'm not surprised you are a good gleaner...your blog oozes potential gleaning opportunities and and a good eye for gleaning!
ciao bella!

Sophie Munns said...

Hi Em,
good question...have not figured that out...
I'm 30 mins form getting in my car and going up the coast wanna come with?

Sophie Munns said...

dear Maggie,
Lovely words from you... how wonderful to find a copy of the gleaners.
Its a venture often spurred by necessity that can be surprisingly fulfilling on a number of levels - it feels good not to see things go to waste!
thanks for dropping by.
Unfortunately I have not been home of late to blog so I am out of touch with blogging friends...and next weeks going away for 12 will be back on board after that!

La Dolce Vita said...

Dear Sophie,
thank you for this, it is wonderful! so glad you shared so much of my posts and thanks for the shout out!
I will email you personally! xo cat

Sophie Munns said...

Hi Caterina,
lovely to hear from you!
I thought you may have missed this direct link to your blog this past week - which is why I made contact. I had emailed to say have a peek but it went astray.
Not to worry! it was such a lovely post you wrote and it just opened a whole room up in my mind and brought out that memory of the Gleaners and was such a timely reminder for us all at the start of a new year!
Sophia xo