jeudi 29 octobre 2009

# Texas death penalty data bank

Franz Kafka imagined it, Texas administration achieved it. Incarcerating and justice world is ruled by administrative processes and collection. Last example comes from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice which lists every information about death penalty condemned: crime description, name of the victim, age, race etc. and the "offender" last statement. What kind of human respecting administration collect such deeply private information and post it on the internet ?
It reminds me of those incredible websites I found out being in US, collecting every information about sex offenders and murderers (crime, name and precise address) after those ones spent the time in prison that justice decided they should spend. This seems to me as a total violation of the principle of justice and once more human respect.
This is a model of society functioning like a paranoiac machine denying the individual to only deal with categories.

mercredi 28 octobre 2009

# Amnesty International publication about Israel water rationning in the West Bank and Gaza


Amnesty International just publish a report about how Israel authority is rationing water in West Bank and Gaza, leaving any Palestinian with four times less water than any Israeli. This confrontation is obviously even more scandalous when you observe Israeli settlements in the middle of the West Bank owning prolific well irrigated farms and luxurious swimming pools...
That is actually one of the aspect of asymmetric wars which allows a total control (therefore a dependency) of the stronger camp on the weaker one, and this control is specially present on infrastructures. This way, the war can be lead in a very sly way, a kind of violence which does not say its name...

# Labichampi by Exyzt in Latvia

Paris based office EXYZT (see former posts here and here) released this interesting project in Liepaja (Latvia). What used to be Cold War military barracks is being transformed into a "cultural farm" trying to re-activate a guetto-like district in the town's suburbs. Faithful to a cheap and a crude language, EXYZT seems to succeed to tell an interesting story about trees taking over the barrack and hosting human creativity.

Merci Elodie pour l'info !

mardi 27 octobre 2009

# Synaptic Landscape by Dan Farmer

This short movie by Dan Farmer and called Synaptic landscape tries to represent the process of perception and recognition of space by the brain as well as a reconstruction of it as an imaginative procedure. This movie has been produced in the context of Bartlett Unit 15 lead by Nic Clear (previous posts here and here) which succeed once again an interesting alchemy of talent...

Thank you Tyler !

dimanche 25 octobre 2009

# White diamond by Werner Herzog

The White diamond is a documentary by Werner Herzog about Dr. Graham Dorrington's project to fly over the Guyanese canopy with a small balloon in 2004. The movie is mixing the aircraft adventures with the local spirit of this incredibly beautiful site but also with an heavy charge of the past, exploring the story of a similar expedition in 1993 when Dorrington saw his friend Dieter Plage another documentarist, dying by falling from the previous prototype...

samedi 24 octobre 2009

# Manhattan Oneirocritica by Fredrik Hellberg

When I read this article on BLDGBLOG two weeks ago, I immediately thought of Fredrik Hellberg's marvelous project for AA intermediary 6 two years ago. Fredrik created a dreamlike Manhattan, some kind of uchronia that Philip K. Dick who have probably loved and which propose an hybridization of antinomic systems whose egoistic presence have to negotiate between one another in order to exist.
Koolhaas wrote the "retrospective Manhattan manifesto" with Delirious New York, Fredrik Hellberg could be said to design a nostalgic vision of the future.

Here is the text he wrote associated to the project :

Manhattan Oneirocritica
AA Inter 6 2007- 2008
Tutors: Alistair Gill & Veronika Schmid
This project visualizes the unbuilt twentieth-century visionary projects for Manhattan. It was generated through a quest to explore spatial languages that goes beyond the material and into the deep oceans of the mind, imagination, thought, meditation, fantasy, spirituality, psychedelic journeys and the dream. The language of the project is that of dreams: a state where the mind itself creates the space while perceiving it. To explore the world of dreams is to debate the logic of your own mind and universe.

vendredi 23 octobre 2009

# MANIFESTO /// Norbert Palz

Norbert Palz


To write about a future vision of Architecture asks for a systematic concept on how we can blend competing interests and possibilities, be they of technological, economical or social nature, into a building practice. I don´t have this systematic idea that is applicable for all cases at hand. I mostly work on "Wicked Problems" as Donald Schoen would call them. These are problems that mutate while you work on them. Maybe I am the wrong one to ask to write a manifest.
I am not Marinetti. But I know what I strive for.

I will try to explain why I am doing what I am doing through an example.

A couple of years ago I was visiting the site of the Sagrada Familia Church in Barcelona with a group of students. I separated myself from the rest to experience the building alone. The site was under full production with stonemasons working and groups of tourists running through the aisles. I was going down to the basement, passing screens that showed some CATIA models and explained some geometric methods on how a specific part of the Passion-facade was developed. I descended into the model workshop and looked at the collection of analog and digital models that were at display, with the hanging model of the Colònia Güell church as the center piece.
I was looking at an architectural practice that worked with tradition and experiment, it seemed like a continuous romantic attempt to gather the best what a civilization could provide at that specific point in time, augmenting knowledge through practice. The idea of a building site that is still there when I will be gone someday was appealing since it negotiated the author through time, the Individual faded while the Whole became sharper in its contours. This experience had something uplifting humane that blended technology, spirituality, knowledge, geometry and death into a building.
At what stage this blend was taken place I was unable to tell; it seemed as if the disciplines were melting at a certain point of execution into another state that then "made" the building.

All this was not the factual reality, but my experience was.

I want to be part of a culture that does these things.
previous post

mercredi 21 octobre 2009

# Alexander McQueen's vision

Alexander McQueen is a fashion designer proposing a very interesting and original vision of the human body and fashion. In his last show in Paris (see all the images below and the video on official website) he presented what I interpret as stakes which would potentially remodel the human body in a kind of intriguing mutant ready to join David Lynch's Dune world.
McQueen is also using robots as a representation of otherness. Voyeur cameras peeping at girls in his last show, he also conceive what I would call ejaculatory robots in 1999 which were soiling the model's white dress with sperm/paint. You can watch that on this last video after 40s of visioning.

mardi 20 octobre 2009

# Ryugyong Hotel to be continued !

Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang (North Korea) has been the taller building in Asia for quite a while since its construction in 1987. Only issue, as you may know, is that the construction stopped before its end and the building stayed as a stillborn ruin until nowadays. Its mineral aspect gives it a status of urban mountain or an object of Boris and Arkady Strugatsky's aliens picnic.
However, I happened to read a reportage by Arnaud Lagrange who came back from North Korea with this next picture showing that the hotel's construction started again and is being covered by glass panels. Ryugyong will thus loose its roughness and eventually become what it has been originally designed for, an object of state propaganda and an hotel for North Korea's political elite.
And as this article is about Ryugyong I add this video made by Extraneo Group which shows a capitalistic contaminated North Korea settling the fate of the hotel by enthroning it as the main object of the society of spectacle.

lundi 19 octobre 2009

# James Graham Ballard recorded by Liberation

To celebrate the (late) translation of James Graham Ballard's autobiography in French (which by the way was transformed from Miracles of Life to La vie et rien d'autre for no reasons...), French newspaper Liberation released three small audio recordings of interview with Ballard. With his delightful English accent, JGB talks about a Sadian society for masochist consumers and the appearance of a soft suburbian facism taking over western world. It is interesting to observe that in his speech he tends to forget the very beautiful ambiguity he succeed to create through his book for this modern world and be a little reactionary... (it makes me think of Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio saying that when an author speaks out of his books, he is always disappointing !).

dimanche 18 octobre 2009

# Centralia, the continuous burning town

If Hell is a place where fire never stops to burn, Centralia (Pennsylvania) might be this place...
In fact this little town is burning since 1962 when a fire began inside the mine and spread all over the place by tunnels and fault. Since then, the town has to live with smoke, toxic gas and its road being distorted by the heat...

# JR at Ile de la Cité

The photograph and street artist JR have exposed some of his pictures in huge reproductions postered on the bank and on the sides of some bridges of the Seine river.
This installation have been done for the Nuit Blanche in Paris

Following few pictures of the actual state of this installation, with scratch and scars in the posters, those pictures have been taken by my friend Etienne Sallon.

More in boiteaoutils : here

More here and here

# Narcosubs

This documentary from VBSTV illustrates new mean of transportation for cocaine between Columbia and Mexico/US by designing and building more or less sophisticated submarines which allows to carry seven tons of goods in a clandestine way.
Those boats are undetectable from the sea and hybridize low-tech and high-tech in a quite interesting way...

samedi 17 octobre 2009

# Urban surf

Do you remember this scene in John Carpenter's self parody, Escape from L.A. where Kurt Russel aka Snake Blitzken's self parody is surfing an earthquake wave in an urban canyon ? Well, those pictures below (related to an article in The Cool Hunter) shows guys surfing in a Munich urban park (outside Die Haus der Kunst Museum) where a little canal provides interesting waves.
And it obviously make me think of this amazing video (the whole debate is about whether it's fake or not which I don't care at all) that you can watch below...
The incongruity of this activity in an urban environment makes it being difficult to control which is one of the interesting aspect here...

mercredi 14 octobre 2009

# MANIFESTO /// Pedro Gadanho

Pedro Gadanho


A personal manifesto must start with a personal statement. Mine is this: I’ve become addicted to hypertext. And this is the magnifying lens through which I look at architecture’s augmented reality. With architecture being a cultural toolkit for permanently re-dressing the builtscape that surround us, today’s architecture can only go beyond itself.

Architecture is like the man whose head expanded. Architecture is not only dependent, nor otherwise oriented. As it asks for its own expanded field, architecture rejects the idea of its own autonomy. I claimed for the interdisciplinary before it became mainstream; I advocated diversity when it wasn’t yet such a daily fix; I’ve investigated architecture as urban practice, as open-source, and as performance... With ideology gone I reflected upon resistance and the ultimate incarnation of Marxism. But after all that jazz how can one devise a non-retroactive manifesto?

Architecture will no longer be about form making. Fuck parametrics. Architecture is and will be about conceptual groundbreaking. And architecture intelligence will no longer be provided by a declining star-system, but rather by emergent networks of alternative practices, community projects and architecture NGOs. For many, only now the language of architecture starts to be a benign virus from outer space.

previous post

# Charisma by Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Charisma is a movie directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa (not to be confused with Akira Kurosawa) introducing a muting intriguing tree (see second image) which create all kind of passion of love and hate as much as it contaminates the whole forest all around by its toxin. This tree has been transplanted from an alien land and provoke the disease of its environment.
The movie maintains bizarre and use some beautiful post-natural-apocalyptic landscapes...

mardi 13 octobre 2009

# Michel Foucault's audio archive

Berkeley University owns a very precious audio archive of Michel Foucault's seminar in College de France. Those recordings are in French but you can also find some other lectures and seminars in English.

The College de France lectures are:
1976 Il faut defendre la societe
1978 Securite, Territoire, Population
1979 Naissance de la biopolitique
1983 Gouvernement de soi et des autres
1984 Courage de la verite

English language lectures are:
1980 Howison lectures
1983 Discourse and Truth: Parrhesia
1983 Rabinow Seminars

# Still life with chair by Designboom

Here is an interesting article from Designboom about the interpretation of chair in contemporary art. Marcel Duchamp, Allen Jones, Daniel Spoerri, Tom Friedman, Ivan Navarro among others who question this so much familiar notion of chair.

Thanks Francis !