I'll get to the sad news shortly. Yesterday, the animation class stayed in Lacoste because we ran out of vans. The architecture students have been camped out in the PC lab for the last two weeks (often claiming ALL the PCs and my portable hard drive wasn't working in the Mac lab >.<) working on a project for a competition and the deadline was yesterday, but they were having printing problems so they commandeered the remaining vans that weren't already being used to drive into town to do some printing. We walked across the plateau behind Lacoste to see the attack goose (no, really!) and then down the hill a little where there were some metal sculptures of a marching band walking across a field. We were accompanied by Reid's dog, Ventoux (I learned the spelling! He's named after the big, rocky mountain nearby where they found him.) After that, I crashed for a few hours, then went to the drawing class where Larry's wife Tricia gestured for us for a while so we could draw. After dinner, we watched a series of animated films from NYC independent animators. Some of them were very good, and some managed to offend everyone in the whole room.
Today, after a trip back to Ménerbes in the animation class, my Treasures of Provence class drove out to St-Remy to see the Roman monuments and ruins at Glanum. It is here that my tale turns to one of woe. After seeing the cenotaph (a funerary monument, not to be confused with a mausoleum which is the tomb itself) and triumphal arch known collectively as Les Antiques, we walked over to the ruins of Glanum. While in the vistor's lobby, one of the other girls in the class held up something she had found outside which I instantly recognized as my photo hard drive. Unfortunately, it apparently took a little spill and now no longer works. And further unfortunately, I had not quite yet gotten around to backing up my photos onto a CD or DVD. So, I lost all my pictures from my trip so far in one fell swoop. Very, very disappointing, not just because I lost some great shots (many of which, but not all, I still have the opportunity to re-create) but because I now have no place to store the photos as I pull them off my camera. Fortunately, a couple other students have volunteered space on their drives, but it's still a bit of a loss. But, as bad as I feel, I find it hard to sympathize with myself (is that possible?) because I know it's all my fault, for not making more copies, for bringing the hard drive on a trip, etc., etc., etc. Well, as they say here, C'est la vie!
At any rate, I still enjoyed the site. The cenotaph is thought to be a memorial to Caiius and Lucius Caesar, adopted sons of Augustus Caesar (through a somewhat tenuous link based on the inscription, "Sextius, Lucius, Marcus, sons of Gaius of the Julii family, to their parents.") These were the same two for whom the Maison Carrée temple in Nîmes was built. The cenotaph was originally topped by a stone pine cone. The triumphal arch probably commemorates the victory of Julius Caesar over his rival Pompey. The memorials, both two of the best preserved in the world, along with the ruins of the town, are further significant because of the fact that they are in a "dead" location, i.e., they are not surrounded by modern buildings such as those of Nîmes, Arles, Rome, etc.
The last stop on the trip was the hospital, converted into a sanatorium, where Vincent Van Gogh spent his most prolific year, painting some 150 paintings including his famous Starry Night
. Unfortunately, we were running a touch behind, and most of the other students were whining incessantly about the mosquitos, so we didn't go inside. Not that there was a whole lot to see, since they didn't have any of his paintings, but still, I feel like a missed some tiny bit of the experience.
On that note, I'd just like to mention one thing that continues to bother me about my experience here at Lacoste. I am enjoying it, yes, and I am learning much about the land here and about art and animation, but this is far from the immersive experience in French culture I was expecting. Apart from the architecture, SCAD-Lacoste is an American bubble from which to observe Provence from a distance. And it's only due in part to the atmosphere the staff fosters, which isn't really a bad one at all; no amount of adminstrative intervention could change the attitudes of the students here. Some, to be true, especially the people I am around the most, are almost always good-natured, and really enjoying the chance to get as much exposure to Provence and French culture as possible. But the majority here have strived and succeeded to bring as much of America as possible with them, and that is not a good thing. And somehow the reputation has spread across Savannah that SCAD-Lacoste is a place to party, and probably a good third of the students are here for little more reason than to, in the words of one other student on the first day's ride into town, "to get drunk every night." And their whining and complaining is almost incessant. Lacoste is boring. It's too hot. It's too cold. There are too many mosquitos. The driver is making me sick. The food sucks. I'm hungry. No one speaks English. At least we are so much better in America. Etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseum. And they are LOUD!
I think SCAD is truly making a huge mistake allowing so many students here at once (we are 61 or so strong now, the biggest group ever, and SCAD is undergoing renovation to allow housing for up to 75 students.) We have had numerous complaints from the townspeople recently, and I've even heard the staff remarking that this is by far the rowdiest group they've ever had. Most of the students are living in an American mob mentality, and in my opinion it's just going to keep getting worse until SCAD gets kicked out of Lacoste. Ok, enough of my soapbox, on to the photos...
A window in Ménerbes
Les Antiques, Glanum
Rotunda of cenotaph, Les Antiques, Glanum
Detail, cenotaph, Les Antiques, Glanum
A French school class field trip in front of the cenotaph, Les Antiques, Glanum
Self-portrait at Glanum
Inscribed columns, Glanum
Inscription, Glanum; something like "built under the command of Agrippa" (who was ruler of most of Gaul and Spain under Rome, from what I recall)
Roman ruins, Glanum
Roman ruins, Glanum
Cenotaph, , Les Antiques, Glanum
Asylum where Vincent Van Gogh spent a year