Monday, July 11, 2011

Esbjerg - Man and the Sea. Wait. Who Relates How To the Sea?

Do you see what I see?

1.  Mennesket ved Havet. Man Meets the Sea.

What did Svend Wiig Hansen provide a singular title, for a sculpture cluster boasting a set of multiple, identical subjects at Esbjert, Denmark.  Why is it not Men Meet the Sea..Sculptor Svend Wiig Hansen 1922-1997, at ArtCyclopedia..

And all white, through and through.  In lock-sit. Is that the nature of power in white.

If not that, what?

The perch of these white people is prearious.  A very little seat to sit upon.  These folks follow orders. You. Sit.


The sculpture cluster indeed can be translated differently.  What we in English call "Man Meets the Sea" is simply Men At Sea, according to

Men at Sea.  Which way to go next, when you are all at sea, when you are stuck where you are and have no clue.

Men at Sea.  Think of the sea of troubles, in this land of Hamlet, and what comes next:  and who and how by opposing, ends them.  Or People at the Sea. "Homo sapiens at the Sea". No drums roll for that, no soundtrack, no manifest destiny. You project what you want.  Translation issues.

Further: See FN 1. Mennesket.  Person.  Persons.

Mission:  snap pictures when the people have wandered off. Or catch them in the act.

People at Sea. Their angles for viewing are each a little different. They have lights at their feet, casting different shadows. Those are lights at the feet, not microphones.

4.  Port History:

Esbjerg is a new town. Denmark's big port city on Jutland's west coast was built after World War II.  Earlier, Denmark had controlled another port city farther south on the peninsula, Altona, from 1840-1864.  At that point, after the second of its wars with Germany over territory in the 19th Century, Denmark lost Altona, but kept it and Schleswig-Holstein in its national heart.

Still, Denmark's monarchy built Esbjerg instead in 1868 as a substitute port, rather than fight another war against growing Germany.  It still had markets for continuing exports and processing for its fisheries and other industries.

Denmark hoped for the return of Altona after WWII, but by that time Altona had become more Germanic than Danish, and remained with Germany by plebescite. Now Esbjerg is a large port on its own, but with beautiful beaches, and a booming economy.

5.  Battle of Jutland 1916.  See Eyewitness to History, Jutland

The Esbjerg area is south of the main sea battle area from World War I, and there are memorials and graves for bodies washed up with the currents in Sweden and elsewhere.  We did not see memorials to the Battle of Jutland here.

6.  World War II.  Bunkers.

Germany occupied Denmark from 1940-1945, and built a line of bunkers to defend the Jutland coast.  This remains.  There may be others, buried, sanded over.

The sculpture is just beyond.  Consider the placement of the sculptures:  did Svend Wiig Hansen intend a meaning to relate to what happened here?

The benefit of improvised travel is absence of schedules.  When a nice beach walk beckons, go do it.

There is a Fishing and Seafaring museum here.  We were too late (thanks to an endlessendlessendless lunch wait -- and for salads! at Ribe, to the south).  We looked in the museum's windows, however, and found gist.  There are often no fences, and provided walks around buildings and big big windows.  Inviting.  Thank you.

This is an industrial-fishing town.  Much business going on. See the site -- a local saying is, "Esbjerg doesn't smell like fish; it smells like money."

Look again.

Naming controls the concept. Consider the issue of naming.  Man meets the Sea.  Such courage.  And Man will prevail!

But is this really a representation of the noble species holding firm to the right? The vision of righteous destiny against apostasy? Capitalism against whatever else may provide happiness and sharing? A slight tweak, perhaps? Men deserve these seats, but not women. And don't you forget it. English suggests that. It is part of the mindset, the absence of strong words meaning humana and not a gender.

This is not that. Not at all.  

Svend Wiig Hansen did not sculpt that.  This guy is scared.  As scared as the rest of us.

What is that, just at the horizon?  Aargh. Where did it go?

Can't blink. Must not blink.

FN 1  Translations and Culture

Mennesket ved Havet.

Translate. "Man At Sea," says Bing. Google agrees. Yahoo doesn't do Danish. Neither does Best-Translator. Not best.  So, so far, Man At Sea.  But there are four?  Men at Sea?  No, that gets too action oriented.

Mennesket ved Havet. What does that mean, by looking at the Danish mechanically, transliteration; and not wafting poetic in some English dreamworld of what was intended, even if not quite said that way.  We cannot ask Mr. Hansen. You may find "Mennesket ved Have" instead of Havet.

Look further. Menneske:  means person (no gender) see  Mennesker means Homo sapiens (species thing).  People by the Sea.  Babylon.  Even  "mankind" sounds too stilted to be "menneske". These are just people.

Translation issues.  How one culture imposes its values on another, by the words it uses to translate the other culture's communication. And by what right, except the general right to misrepresent and push one's own point of view, does one culture do that to another?

Point:  Cultural vision fields.

Gender vision.  Danes, Swedes, judging from their own words and art have no problem seeing "person" or "human" or "human being" first; and gender only when that relates to a relevant part of what is being communicated. Gender otherwise is not first in relevance. Gender not emphasized, see Adams and Eves, looking alike, even androgynous, tradition of strong women, is that so? Is that so? Speak up. There can be secondary status to women, and abuse, but not to the degree as elsewhere?

Americans go nuts if they don't know somebody's gender so they can discriminate on the basis of it. Very insecure men.

Race/ethnic vision.  On the other hand, Danes and Swedes are beginning to see race first, and person or human or human being second, as immigration issues emerge -- assimilation, culture threat, costs of services, whatever.

Americans have always (always?) seen gender first, and role first, and race first (three firsts) and ethnicity first (four firsts) and political affiliation first (five firsts). Despite founding language that is inclusive, is it so that Americans will only see "person" or "human being" if hauled, kicking and screaming, away from the status pole around which they are dancing for their own benefit. A black in a white house? Pass the smelling salts!

English language: Too quick to consider "man" as that particular gender, not as the species. We don't have masculine and feminine nouns, but yes we do.

Fix. How about  Homa sapiens at the sea. No, Svend has his rights to say what he wants. Svend must have been intentional in which accoutrements he sculpted.

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