lundi 30 novembre 2009

# Sensual landscape by Brynhildur Guðlaugs

Sensual landscape is Brynhildur Guðlaugs' thesis project for his master degree at IAAC (Barcelona). It dramatizes a bath complex in Iceland's countryside introducing the importance of synesthesia in architecture by a work on colors and thermal atmospheres.
The project is based on case studies including the Native American sweatlodge, the Japanese onsen, the Russian banya, the Roman baths or Philippe Rahm's interpretation of architecture.
You can access to the whole pdf here which I recommend in order to appreciate the globality of the work.

Sensual landscape by Brynhildur Guðlaugs
tutors: Belinda Tato & Jose Luis Valleja
IAAC thesis june 2009

via ecosistemurbano

dimanche 29 novembre 2009

# Installations of Anthony Gormley

Here is the pretty impressive installations of Anthony Gormley (I discover his work at the kunsthall in Rotterdam in January). Gormley's work is about human body in space, compare to his other sculptures more traditional in a way, those installations create an interesting relation between the human body volume at a big scale and the visitor/observer size and body. More over the quality of the fabrication of those art piece is really amazing. We have to notice that Gormley is one of the few artists using last technologies to push there art to another level of complexity and meaning (like the french artist Xavier Veilhan) for example his collaboration with ARUP for several projects (see this former post).

More here

Much more on Gormley's website : here

# Fake plastic villages

The New York Times just published an article about US army's fake training Afghan village built in Texas. This follows what you might already know thanks to photographers Olivier Chanarin and Adam Broomberg who published a very interesting book (foreword is by Eyal Weizman) in 2007 about Chicago, the fake Palestinian village built by Israeli authorities in the middle of the Negev. UK also have its own fake Afghan village (with plastic fruits in the market) and spent 14 millions pounds (23 millions dollars, 15 millions euros) to construct it.
All this money tackles obviously the irony of building fake villages in Texas, the Negev or Norflox when people in Palestine, Irak and Afghanistan need to recover from war and lack of money to reconstruct destroyed villages...

samedi 28 novembre 2009

# Godardian landscapes

I recently watched two movies from Jean-Luc Godard that I did not know before, and I was really impressed by two sets which compose interesting landscapes which shove cinema's etiquette.
First one is from Pierrot le Fou (1965) and dramatizes a stand alone piece of highway in the middle of a field and from which a car fell without any indication for the spectator how it did go up on it...
Second one is from Tout va bien (All's well) (1972), in which Godard questions the mutation of 1968's social movement with the take of a factory by its workers. The administrative department of the factory is shown as a section on which the spectator can read a caption: One is right to sequester bosses. Unlimited Strike. Since then, some directors did follow this apparatus, I am thinking in particular of Chan-Wook Park in Old Boy, but I am pretty sure that Godard is the first one to establish it (if anybody has more information about that feel free to comment on it).
In addition of those two movies, I could not resist to also insert Godard's shoot of the Villa Malaparte in Le Mépris (Contempt) (1963), which is more classic but which, in its remoteness (on a cliff with the see around), succeeds to create for the narration, a setting extracted from reality.

vendredi 27 novembre 2009

# 610-3356 by Sarah Oppenheimer

Here is a Matta Clarkian project from the artist Sarah Oppenheimer who develops this vocabulary of piercing through the material whether it is architectonic material or void material. All her work seems to be able to fold itself at anytime and disappear which I think, makes the beauty of it.

jeudi 26 novembre 2009

# Intensive Fields conference at USC School of Architecture

Dear people of Los Angeles (for God's sake stop saying L.A. when you have one of the coolest name of city on earth !), this event is for you ! On December 12nd, USC school of architecture is organizing a conference called Intensive fields about the very popular topic of parametric urbanism with a bunch of very high quality speakers. I think that this quality is necessary when you deal with such crucial issues as urban design. To reach this scale of design is problematic and any proposal should certainly includes a part of self-contradiction in order to avoid the dictatorial hand of the architect on the city...
I just regret that Chris Lee was not invited to this event since he is tackling this kind of issues for a certain time now with his unit 6 in the AA...

Don't forget to register !

mercredi 25 novembre 2009

# David Harvey's class on Marx's Capital is Harvey's official website and provides the totality of his class (in video) dissecting Marx's Capital in City University of New York. David Harvey who was lecturing last Saturday for the last session of the Oppositional Architecture, claims that the current economic crisis has weakened capitalism enough for us to have the opportunity to interfere. He is calling for an "eco-communism" (as he was saying people freak out when he says he is a communist but much less when he add "eco" to it...) which tackles an interesting issue about whether or not the word "communism" should be still used as Alain Badiou, Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt think or is this word already too much connoted by the Stalin and Mao experience (which would deserve to be called totalitarian collectivism rather than communism).
Anyway David Harvey's lectures and classes are more than ever worth listening and his website is providing information in a rare generosity which is really appreciable.

# Empty streets

A new serie of emptiness, after La Soufriere, Paris, Tokyo or London, this time the void is in the streets of Los Angeles, this serie of pictures by the photographer Matt Logues, let me think that I'm fascinated by this kind of pictures that is becoming a "genre". It's even more astonishing when you know the usual density of cars, traffic jam on highways or people in the streets of L.A.
This is an echo of this good article (by our friends of NDLR).

Empty London, 28 days later (Danny Boyle).

Vider Paris by Nicolas Moulin.

Rush hour in L.A.

Matt Logue 's website : here

mardi 24 novembre 2009

# City of the (Re)Orientated by Ben and Sebastian

City of the (Re)Orientated is a very beautiful project created by Danish artists Ben and Sebastian (Ben Clement & Sebastian de la Cour) in 2007. I can feel the presence of two of my favorite authors here, Jorge-Luis Borges and Franz Kafka. Borges for the infinite material in which spring up several fantastic localities and Kafka for the endless wandering of a man who do not know how and why he woke up in this world...

Anyway, this is only my interpretation. The official text is very interesting and beautiful:

The 'map' has long been useless in a city whose streets are continually reshaped by their walkers, vendors, sponsors, hobby street artists and salvation-sellers. In this anthill of possibilities only the most elastic orientation software can direct the city's inhabitant through its myriad of shifting, tangled streets.
As more private dwellings of the city connect to this mobile space, more public parks, institution and cinemas protect themselves from mobile invasion.
Two interdependent territories grow back to back, simultaneously:
The first, a mobile, shifting space is allowed and continually reshaped by the new technologies. A space intent on becoming more stimulating, responsive and distracting.
In the shadows of the mobile territory, grow the immobile spaces. They become ever more out-of-reception and are intent on appealing to the focused eye.

photos by Niclas Jessen

thanks Martin (B)

lundi 23 novembre 2009

# Lebbeus Woods in Sarajevo on dpr-barcelona

dpr-barcelona just released a new article (itself drifted from Lebbeus Woods' blog) about what Woods calls "freespaces", added to war destroyed buildings in order not only to reconstruct, but also to rethink the building with its present time (and probably to make some scars appearing on it as well). The article is focusing on the Electrical Management Building in Sarajevo which was destroyed during the siege of 1992-95 and re-imagined by Lebbeus Woods with freespaces.

Read the article on dpr-barcelona here.

# The utopian cities of Clément Bagot

The art works of Clément Bagot are combining large and micro scale. In fact, the distance between the observer and the art piece define the size of the worlds that Bagot is creating. In the one hand he's producing huge drawing like cartography or large scale microscopic views and in the other hand he's crafting impressiv models of citys, tower, floating islands. All of those are higly detailed and made of paper, cardboard, wood and plexiglas.

dimanche 22 novembre 2009

# C'etait un rendez-vous by Claude Lelouch

C'etait un rendez-vous is as short movie created by Claude Lelouch in 1976. It is a single-take shot from a fixed camera on the front side of a Mercedes 450 SEL which crosses Paris at high speed (Lelouch was himself the driver). The film has been made without any trick (except for the soundtrack since it is a Ferrari being recorded) and fortunately the streets were almost empty since it was 5:30 AM.
The film has some very high hypnotic values and provokes an extraction of reality (or at least of the usual perception of scale) since the Parisian environment is moving that fast (even more for myself who used to ride a bike in Paris !).
Another interesting thing is to observe that we are now more than 30 years ahead from this movie and 99% of the buildings appearing on it did not change at all. It is symptomatic of a frozen Paris which refuses to see itself evolves...

Thanks Norbert !

samedi 21 novembre 2009

# Take Back The Land

Max Rameau was invited to speak about his association yesterday at the Towards Post-Capitalist Spaces conference. Take Back The Land requisitions illegally some idle lands belonging to the city of Miami in order to provide accommodation for homeless people. The shanty town thus constituted elaborates its own rules of life in community and to maintain good relationships with the neighborhood. Max Rameau affirms that due to a "favorable" context (housing crisis), the ultimate priority for the fight should be the claim of a right to housing which is in contradiction with the current capitalistic laws of absolute profit.
My suggestion here would be (for once) a tactical argument. The fact that one needs an address (therefore a home) in order to vote seems to belong to a very violent segregation towards the poorest which is in total contradiction with the bases of democracy. I am claiming it is a tactical argument based on law since I guess people would prefer to have a home rather than the right to vote, but I feel it could be a way to emphasize the absurdity and the violence of the current situation...
Those lectures has been extremely interesting. One should compare Teddy Cruz approach with Max Rameau's since one is working to make things change in a legal and durable way, dialoguing with the institutions whereas the other is fighting violence with violence by "reclaiming the capitalist spaces" which should anyway be used for the community rather than waiting for a developer to build offices or residences on it.