transient beauty
April 18, 2007 9:38 AM   Subscribe

Rivers And Tides sic transit gloria mundi
posted by vronsky (27 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
wiki : Sic transit gloria mundi is a Latin phrase that means "Thus passes the glory of the world," but is more commonly interpreted as "Fame is fleeting."
Traditionally, Papal coronations are thrice interrupted by a monk (some say barefoot) holding a pole to which is affixed a burning piece of flax. After it finishes burning, the monk announces, "Pater sancte, sic transit gloria mundi." This is meant to remind the Pope that, despite the grandeur of the ceremony and the long history of the office, he is a mortal man.
Similarly, the slave holding the crown in a Roman triumph would whisper "Memento mori," meaning "Remember that you must die." As reiterated in the movie Patton, it was said in English as "All glory is fleeting." Frank Richards, author of "The Magnet" often construed the Latin as "Thus are the mighty fallen."
posted by vronsky at 9:41 AM on April 18, 2007 [3 favorites]

Oh man, I've had this on my Tivo's wish list for years. God bless you, vronsky!
posted by jonson at 9:48 AM on April 18, 2007

As is more and more common, I just get an endless "Loading..." message, but great movie. Highly recommended.

It seems to pop up at one theater or another every year in San Francisco. Roxie, Red Vic, Balboa ...
posted by mrgrimm at 10:01 AM on April 18, 2007

Or, you know, people could shell out the money for the DVD.
posted by Inkoate at 10:11 AM on April 18, 2007

ah, how beautiful. Exciting to discover. Wonderful videos. Love his work and Andy Goldsworthy is such a loveable person! His enjoyment of creating and impermanence is inspiring. More about this environmental sculptor.
posted by nickyskye at 10:25 AM on April 18, 2007

Savoring impermanent art reminds me of this short story by Ray Bradbury about Picasso drawing on the beach.
posted by nickyskye at 10:30 AM on April 18, 2007

An amazing film and an amazing artist. The youtube videos are a nice tease, but go see it in a theater if you ever get the chance.
posted by sriracha at 10:34 AM on April 18, 2007

Beautiful. Seen photographs of his work but never heard him speak. I was interested by his comment that if he doesn't work for two weeks then talks about his art, he feels like he's talking about something else. The art of processes and doing over outcomes?
posted by Abiezer at 10:57 AM on April 18, 2007

One thing I liked from the movie was this wall. You can see part of it from the NY State Thruway.
posted by MtDewd at 10:59 AM on April 18, 2007

Funny, I just watched this from Netflix, it is very worth seeking out the DVD for the better quality, larger screen and full length. My brother (an artist) turned me on to it, sadly I just missed the theatrical release, I hope some day I get a chance to see it on the big screen.
posted by nanojath at 11:28 AM on April 18, 2007

I hadn't heard of Andy Goldsworthy. I'll have to rent Rivers and Tides this afternoon. Nice!
posted by taosbat at 11:28 AM on April 18, 2007

What sriracha and others have said. The youtube clips are nice, but you really have to see the film. Without question in my top ten documentaries ever list. I saw it not knowing anything about the artist or his work and by the end was just stunned and amazed at the beauty of his art.
posted by vronsky at 11:40 AM on April 18, 2007

Rivers and Tides is a great movie to see if you've seen his books of work before. It was awesome to see his famous static images come to life.
posted by mathowie at 11:40 AM on April 18, 2007

Sic transit gloria muddy.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:43 AM on April 18, 2007

Maybe my favorite documentary of all time.
posted by donovan at 1:00 PM on April 18, 2007

Thanks - after the surprising amount of grief I've gone through this week over the Viriginia Tech attack, I needed these.

Impermanence is the natural order. Beauty wouldn't exist without it. Embrace it all.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:11 PM on April 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

As a side note, when the Roxy in SF first ran that, the financial success of the run essentially, single-handedly saved the theater from closing. And it was a mutually beneficial if I remember correctly; I don't think the movie was widely known until they ran it.

I had the great pleasure of watching Goldsworthy work while he was installing / building his piece at the National Gallery here in DC last year (maybe 05). He gave a talk on a Sunday that was so well attended that they had to simulcast via closed circuit to a second auditorium in the museum. The dry stone wallers that he works with were also there, and got a standing ovation from the crowd when he introduced them.

The thing that confounds me about Goldsworthy is that it would be very easy to reflexively dismiss his spoken thoughts on his work and nature as pretentious and facile; but on the other hand, at least in my case, I can't because his ideas are so beautiful and resonant.
posted by Dr. Boom at 1:37 PM on April 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

I had to build a dry stack "urbanite" (busted up concrete chunks) over the weekend, and spent a lot of time thinking about this film; specifically, the part where he talks about stoneworkers having to know and understand their materials.

Er, not that I have any special skills that way. But you find out quickly when doing such projects how truly skilled other people are.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:17 PM on April 18, 2007

One of the things that astonished me about this film when I first saw it (at the Roxie, even) was that there was this guy out there who could look at sticks and leaves and rocks (and icicles) and see so much more than sticks and leaves and rocks. It completely changed the way I look at things when I go for a walk.

I was down at Stanford recently (for the Richard Avedon exhibit) and afterwards we went across the street to see his Stone River, which is remarkable. What I like even more, though, is the piece he did for the new De Young museum. Faultline is a long, well, fault, in the stone slabs of the museum's courtyard. Most people walk over it and have no idea that it isn't natural.
posted by rtha at 3:51 PM on April 18, 2007

sic transit gloria mundi

Damnit, I've known that phrase for years, and only today did I realize it's ironic. I would like to slap my head right now.
posted by Citizen Premier at 4:34 PM on April 18, 2007

Hey Benny, I had an uncle attend Tech (in the 50's), and two very close friends graduated from there recently. Been to many, many football games, and quite a few baketball games in Cassell coliseum. I love that gorgeous country up there. Tech was on my mind when I posted this.

My heart goes out to you bro, this too shall pass.
posted by vronsky at 8:43 PM on April 18, 2007

What sriracha and others have said. The youtube clips are nice, but you really have to see the film. Without question in my top ten documentaries ever list.

Hear, hear. Goldsworthy's work is astonishing.
posted by homunculus at 11:50 PM on April 18, 2007

Rivers and Tides is an excellent art documentary. I would definitely say get the dvd, many libraries have it, or dl a nice quality torrent. this youtube format doesn't give you much. It really robs you of most of the quiet and patience of the dvd version.
posted by headless at 3:00 AM on April 19, 2007


Thanks much.

I spent six amazing years at VT, and I'm there 2 or 3 times a year to golf or go to football games with friends that I made at Tech 30 years ago.

My attachment to VT and Blacksburg is much stronger, apparently, than I even realized.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:45 AM on April 19, 2007

sic transit gloria mundi
The hoary old UK joke goes that this is latin for "Gloria was sick in the van on Monday."
posted by Abiezer at 7:06 AM on April 19, 2007

His work is surprising and very personal. The movie is awesome. The art reminds me of the Buddhist sand mandalas.
posted by Area Control at 6:17 PM on April 19, 2007

One of the best movies I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot. Rent the DVD now! Youtube can't possibly do it justice.
posted by intermod at 9:30 PM on April 19, 2007

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