Ascending Museo Soumaya

I spent a few days in Mexico City last week. One of our stops included The Museo Soumaya building in the upscale Miguel Hidalgo district.

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Photos by Wells Baum

Designed by Mexican architect Fernando Romero, the curvy-shaped building contains five floors of European art, including the sculptures of Auguste Rodin.

The above picture shows my older brother ascending the stairs leading into the museum’s main entrance. More images below.

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The cheeky faces of Mexico City

From the masks of Mexico City’s cheeky lucha libra wrestlers to the walls of art in dive bars and parks, to the boyhood fervor of an old man in his special puppet, Mexico City is very much a lived experience. To quote Edward Burnett Tylor:

“Taking it as a whole, Mexico is a grand city, and, as Cortes truly said, its situation is marvellous.”

First stillness, then catastrophe

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Photo by Wells Baum

Transformation can be exciting, but it can also be retrograde.

Change doesn’t mean better. Boredom with the status quo can sometimes beget darkness.

The function of play, a style of art, a kind of government, are meant to be noisy but unrestricted.

The stimulation of calm and collected still leaves space for the unimaginable and disruptive. However, going back seems to be an evil obsession at the present and the unfortunate direction of the future.

Transformation opposes progress?

 

Experiments in pink + orange

What’s interesting about distortion is that ordinary photos or videos can instantly become more interesting. VSCO has some excellent filters for converting your photos into different looks.

While my favorite is still the Nike Sportswear Mars-like filter, I love the pink, blue, and orange effects as part of the VSCO D-series.

All photography is in the edit

When you experiment with visuals in post-production, you never know what you’re going to get.

Here today, gone tomorrow

All gifs/videos by Wells Baum

Standing in Grand Central Station reminds us of the temporariness of life, that what’s here now can be gone in a flash.

We should be dubious of ephemerality, especially in the internet world where things get consumed and promptly forgotten. Good feelings are equally fleeting; they ascend and descend like a sine wave.

Instead, the overall wager should be on long-term serotonin rather than one-off surges of dopamine.

Here now, gone in an instant

Better to find our feet in the urban wilderness rather than orbit around a flock of sheep. In the hierarchy of happiness, stillness plays the long game by persisting through noisy places.

Temporary foliage

All photos by Wells Baum

Constant and changing, the Fall comes around and whips durable trees into seasonal characters, reminding us that everything is temporary.

The form is ephemeral, the roots are permanent. The colorful autumn foliage tree jettisons its leaves, falling without regret.

The ‘e’ in leaf stands for effortless; its intuition accepts the will of the wind and the serenity of landing on terra firma. Those that remain appear vivid under the flash of light. The season’s cycle into GIF loops.

Photo by Wells Baum

The round jumpman

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Photo by Wells Baum

The original Jumpman wasn’t Michael Jordan; it was Mario! But the name didn’t stick because it wasn’t marketable enough according to Minoru Arakawa, Nintendo’s American boss in the early 1980s. Luckily, he got some outside inspiration.

From the Economist:

“His name was an afterthought. Top billing on the game was always going to go to the gorilla. (“Kong”, in the context, was more or less a given; “Donkey” was found by consulting a Japanese-English dictionary for a word meaning silly or stupid.) The protagonist was simply called “Jumpman” for the one thing he was good at. But Minoru Arakawa, the boss of Nintendo in America, wanted a more marketable name. Around that time, writes David Sheff in “Game Over”, an authoritative account of Nintendo’s rise, Mr Arakawa was visited at Nintendo’s warehouse outside Seattle by an irate landlord demanding prompt payment. He was called Mario Segale, and he had a moustache. Thus does destiny call.”

By 1990, the pudgy plumber who gained energy from mushroom fluff became more recognizable than Mickey Mouse. And if the lost hat from a Halloween costume I found on the street yesterday morning is any proof, Mario is still king!

Photo by Wells Baum

Basking in the train glow

All photos by Wells Baum

The only source of light is a mellow glow on a metro head. Whether bald, strawberry blonde or redhead, the light shines through on top of the dome.

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But there’s also a type of soft glow of that keeps you awake. It’s the strange glow of stoic pride that screams with confidence ‘I got this.’

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Stay the course, sitting among the living glow of neighbors, tethered to the sterile glow of handheld devices, all the way underground into the train’s magnetic flashlight.

The glow of independence, the weird-colored glow of elegant ideas, all arrive trademarked by the fluorescent glow of the train’s exit. The powerful glow ends. Doors open.

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Scales aquatic 🐟

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All photos by Wells Baum

The logic of aquariums, as with zoos, is the logic of conservation: individual animals must sacrifice their freedom so that the species as a whole can be protected.

Plenty of its creatures seem delighted to be there, as far as one can tell, and others seem perfectly unaware of where they are. No doubt many of these animals live longer and healthier lives than they would in the ocean.

Excerpts from What Is It Like To Be An Octopus?

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‘It is the visually simple that lasts…’

Photos by Wells Baum

Black and white appears to reduce environments down to their most pedestrian form. Instead, the constriction of two hues compels complexity.

”History shows us that it is the visually simple that lasts, and that the simple always appears to have an ease of execution.”

On Being a Photographer by Bill Jay and David Hurn

The often seen; the often heard. It’s the everyday things that are often the most exciting part of any milieu.

Why do we walk past what is so easily noticed?

A window into perception 🚗

All photos by Wells Baum

Outside the windows, where I focus my attention on an overstretched street light backed by a series of palm trees, bicyclists brushing past the American flag on LA’s 405, with vehicles that match camouflage into their immediate surroundings.

Through the lens of a window were sights too commanding, mirroring objects with my third eye.



Structures of the biological world 🔬

All photos by Wells Baum

It is a lesson we could certainly learn from the history of science. Whenever we have ventured into new experimental territory, we’ve discovered that our previous “knowledge” was woefully incomplete. With the invention of the telescope, for instance, we found new structures in space; Jupiter’s moons and sunspots were just the beginning. The microscope took us the other way and showed us the fine structure of the biological world – creatures that looked uninteresting to the naked eye turned out to be intricate and delicate, with scales and hooks and other minute features. We also once thought that the atom lacked structure; today’s technology, such as the particle colliders at the Cern research centre in Geneva and Fermilab in the United States, have allowed us to prove just how wrong that idea was. At every technological turn, we have redefined the nature of reality.

Read Has this physicist found the key to reality?