visual tales of birds, termites and spiders

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NIAUSI 30 Year Anniversary CELEBRAZIONE!



its time to present our fellowship work done while in civita last spring!  friday, november 18th at the NBBJ steps from 5:30-9pm.  $50 admission.  check out the announcement on NIAUSI’s website. Celebrazione NIAUSI at 30



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headed to spain!

we are traveling onwards to spain via rome for one night.  in spain we’ll be in barcelona and sitges soaking up some sunshine…more images and stories soon!  for now, gotta catch a bus and a train!


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viterbo visit

on tuesday, we hitched a ride with our italian friend riccardo to the ancient city of viterbo.  while he went for a swim, we did a walking tour of the historic center which is surrounded by medieval walls that were built in the 11th and 12th centuries.  the most interesting find on our walk through antiquity was a famous modern sculpture of a 70-foot giant crawling his way out of the earth.  “the awakening” by seward johnson is a sweet public art piece that was originally installed in washington d.c. for the 1980 international sculpture conference exhibition.  a version of the original piece now rests/struggles in viterbo.

side note:  consider the last image if you ever own a little retail shop. even with odd business hours, you can still sell tabacchi to late nighters with just a few modifications to your roll-down security doors.



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friends and festivites: update!

got a bit lost in the termites tale, and haven’t been doing much of anything else lately…

well that’s not entirely true… there has also been more going on for us out here in the past couple of weeks and we have been enjoying the experiences of good friday/easter festivities, making friends in the area, going on adventures, and hosting our one and only visitor, jennifer pate!

being in a small hillside town in italy for easter weekend was fascinating to say the least… on good friday they closed down the main street in bagnoregio, hung speakers all along it, roped off the parking spaces, filled them with seating, and brought in large light and sound systems for the main piazza. around 10pm there was a procession of costumed adults and children carrying various elaborate lanterns and candle lit shrines of sorts. some were quite large and needed several people to carry them. there was even a man in a roman soldier costume that was riding in a chariot pulled by four horses. the main street in bagnoregio just barely fit this four horse width! first they all slowly proceeded west through the street. and while this was going on, there were various staged reenactments occurring in the piazza involving jesus being beaten by whips to strange techno music with red lighting. then there was an intermission, and everyone immediately got on their cell phones and started smoking cigarettes. it was pretty hilarious to watch that transition… and then the procession came back through for a second time, this time heading east/towards civita. at this point, all the people in the crowd started dispersing, but a large group of people began gathering on the far eastern edge of bagnoregio. at the front was the civita priest with a megaphone and four men carrying one of the jesus shrines from the procession. around 150 people followed their lead and climbed the steep hill to civita, all while repeating after the priest everything he said into the megaphone… it. was. fascinating. though we understood little of what was being said, it was awesome to be surrounded in all that energy heading up the hill as a marching group. never again will we see so many people in civita after dark. once we got to the top, there was a bonfire in front main piazza. a short service was held in the church, and some people were drinking wine in the piazza for a little while afterwards, but within an hour it was empty once again!


the next day we went on a day trip to orvieto with our new friend riccardo who lives in another small town near civita. it was really nice to get out of the zone we had continuously been in since arriving. walked around. ate some yummy food. had some drinks with a few other friends he has there. very enjoyable.

and then came easter sunday. food fest. where we had a huge lunch with tony, dana, and sandy on tony’s garden patio. afterward dana and sandy took us on mini civita tour of their homes, and it was awesome to go inside some of the other buildings here. then we took a long nap, and woke up to tony calling to invite us over to bernardo’s for more food. so we went. and ate and ate and ate. actually we ate the best artichokes we have ever experienced in life. soft all the way through; you could eat the entire thing. it was awesome. and then we slept forever.

then this past weekend jon’s friend from college, jennifer pate, came to visit us. she’s been living in germany for the past two years and wanted to see civita. we tried on two separate occasions to figure out how to cook artichokes like bernardo’s, but never quite got it right. while she was here, we went on a random night adventure with riccardo to rome and went to a reggae circus concert of sorts that was pretty interesting. being our only visitor, she is the sole person to actually see how we are living out here on this rock island in the sky…


now we just need to actually decide how we want to spend the final two weeks of our journey… should we go to spain? or should we continue to explore italy? we seem to change our minds every day, but must commit to a plan soon…

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orvieto art studio

we took a day trip to orvieto with our new italian friend riccardo and came across this sweet little art studio on the edge of the city.  this building wrap would fit perfectly in bird world!  it also seems that this could be a close cousin of the delta shelter.


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sketches of a termites tale

this week we have shifted our focus to the tale of the termites.  we began by visiting some of civita’s grottos and underground cisterns.  there are some existing grotto plans of civita done by past fellows/students that have helped our studies and inspired ideas of existing underground spaces and tunnels that may become nests or fungus gardens in a parallel termite world.  of course the amazing mound structures that termites can build have captured our imaginations as well and have been at the core of our research.  from what we have learned thus far, we sketched out some possible scenarios for how this tale may unfold…

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