Steilneset Memorial, Peter Zumthor & Louise Bourgeois
The Steilneset Memorial is composed of two pieces- one completely by Peter Zumthor, the other an exhibit by the late Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010), within a structure by Zumthor, the Steilneset Memorial in Vardø, Norway is a tribute to the dark, early 17th century and it’s witch hunts. In total, 135 individuals were indicted for the crime of sorcery (it’s never as much fun in the real world), of which 91 were convicted. The Zumthor structure is a suspended fabric cocoon, hung within a pine scaffolding. Within, a long hallway is host to 91 hanging lightbulbs behind 91 windows, paying homage to the needlessly lost souls. More images here on Dezeen
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion: Herzog and De Meuron & Ai Weiwei
The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has collaborated with Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, designers of the Tate Modern, to create this year's summer pavilion at London's Serpentine Gallery. A thin steel tank pond provides a roof for a conceptual archaeological dig of previous summer pavilions comprising cork ramps, cork flooring and cork seats. The smell must be incredible! Ai Weiwei, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron
Marina Abramovic and Ulay
Marina Abramovic and Ulay started an intense love story in the 70s, performing art out of the van they lived in. When they felt the relationship had run its course, they decided to walk the Great Wall of China, each from one end, meeting for one last big hug in the middle and never seeing each other again. At her 2010 MoMa retrospective Marina performed ‘The Artist Is Present’ as part of the show, where she shared a minute of silence with each stranger who sat in front of her. Ulay arrived without her knowing and this is what happened.
The Spatial Arts: An interview with Jacques Derrida
Peter Brunette & David Wills interview Derrida in 1990 in America. He talks about great work as consisting of its ability to resist "philosophical authority" and its emancipation from the hegemony and authority of philosophical discourse. In other words that which makes the work unplaceable, enabling it to escape the space of certainty.The idea being that if the work is only there to fill a hole – that is, it meets historical, ideological and technical requirements- then there is no work (of art presumably). If there is work, it is because that even when all conditions of analysis have been met, something else still happens. If the same thing is being recognized then it would be a stillborn, dead from the start, and nothing has happened. It needs to transform, to move elsewhere for something to have happened. Download the full interview.
The Balance Between the Natural & the Man Made
Fascinating conversation with Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura. He talks about the natural and man made world and discusses sustainability beyond the life cycle of buildings. For me architecture is a global issue. There is no ecological architecture, no intelligent architecture, no fascist architecture, no sustainable architecture – there is only good and bad architecture. There are always problems we must not neglect; for example energy, resources, costs, social aspects – one must always pay attention to all these."
Window washing, Vanessa van Dam
I came across this unrealized piece by Artist Vanessa van Dam’s. It's a proposal for a window washing installation at the Pharos Office Tower near Amsterdam. It offers a critique on the anonymous glass office building, exploring the relationship between architecture and maintenance. Van Dam proposed the installation of 85 industrial-sized window wipers typically found on airplanes and lighthouses. This is very intriguing as maintenance (a desire to maintain "newness") is an obsession in Australia. With a movement towards a mechanized environment, I can imagine a city where the machines, apparatuses, materials, and techniques of maintenance become part of the image of the city.
Roden Crater, James Turrell
James Turrell is interviewed on a journey through the Arizona desert to his site specific work at Roden Crater. Really extraordinary. A disused crater is turned into a massive light art project, partly funded by the Guggenheim (40 million) . What I like the most about this work is the way it mediates landscape, phenomenological and cultural experience. There's a small piece at the beginning about the Goldstein "skyscraper"- purpose built room for sky/light experience. see the video here.
Minus K House, Shanghai
It is refreshing to see work in China that does not allude to a generic western perspective and deals with Chines culture and its collective memory. This house by the Foreign firm KUU in Shanghai, is 170 m2 and is designed as a duplex composed of a normal dwelling for the family of a worker combined with a weekend house for the owner of a slipper factory. It is located in the compound of the firm's warehouse. The location seems already odd, and so does the program. The designers based their layout on 19 squares, each three by three meters, to form an irregular grid. This recalls the experience normal Chinese people had until recently with shared kitchen, bathroom or communal courtyards and semi public collective neighbourhood streets. But in contrast to the forced arrangement by shortage of housing, in this case a choice is offered which creates an opportunity for communication in a cultured way. More images.
Thomas Heatherwick talks to an Audience
Architect and designer Thomas Heatherwick talks to an audience about his work and inspiration – extraordinary. Have a look at the kissing bridge about 4.5 min in. The studio's work draws on ideas gleaned from art, film and popular culture, creating work with strong materiality and intrigue. Thomas comes from a background of "crafting" small objects and uses this as a starting point for the making of large buildings. The image to the right shows the British Pavilion at Expo 2010.
Lee Ufan, Stones Cushions and Light
Japanese (and European) based, Korean minimalist artist Lee Ufan talks about the Mono-ha movement of the late 60s.."We used manufactured materials, such as glass, sheet metal or electricity, combined with natural materials, such as dirt, rocks and water. I use the Japanese word chutohampa to describe it, which means unresolved, incomplete or not polished. So you’re neither here nor there; it’s the meeting of the two – oneself and one’s interaction with these materials, both industrial and natural."Relatum,1970, (pictured) combining stones, cushions and lights, installation view at the Pinar Gallery, Tokyo.
Steven Holl, Sliced Prosperity Block
'Sliced Porosity Block' In chengdu China with its sun sliced geometry resulting from minimum daylight exposures to the surrounding urban fabric prescribed by code. A great urban terrace on the scale of Rockefeller Center with a multi-level plaza in the center of the complex, sculpted by stone steps, ramps, trees, and ponds and caters to special events or to a casual afternoon in the sun. The three generous ponds on the plaza are inspired by a poem by Du Fu (713-770), in which he describes how 'Time has left stranded in Three Valleys'. (Du Fu was one of ancient China's most important poets, who spent a part of his life in Chengdu). Construction shots at Steven Holl's website.
Olfur Eliasson façade for Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall
An Interview With Olafur Eliasson, On Crossing Between Art And Architecture: "The thing is, I think that our relationship with natural light is cultural, one could make the mistake, as many modern architects have done, to think of natural light as something of essentialistic or universal qualities. Of course, I think natural lights are full of incredible qualities, but you have to be careful of making rules on behalf of others with regards of how to make relevance of natural light. I think this was one of the great modern mistakes. So what I’m interested in when using artificial light in my work is the potential of singularity in the experience, and based on that, I do think that one can, it’s a lot of ideas about collectivity as well, but I do think that our relationship to natural light is artificial, it is cultural, it is not something we are born with. This is why people in Iceland have a different relationship to light than people in Sicily...." more
Gregor Schneider, 21 Beach cells, Bondi
Gregor Schneider's 2007 installation at Bondi Beach where he installs 21 beach cells, resembling enclosures at Guantanamo Bay. People occupy these cells and go about their daily activity at the beach. See the video. The connection is truly captivating. I really like the casualness of beach life and its oblivion to the rigorous, interventionist construct.
Maria Silvia Giulietti Cemak
A Swiss architecture student who saw my work, emailed me to ask whether I would consider her for an internship in my studio. She sent me some two images of a workshop project she did with(?)/ for the the architect J.M Torres Nadal. I've never heard of this Spanish architect before. It was hard to find images of built work on line. If anyone can help please shoot me an email.
Gary Numan, Cars
The music video by Gary Numan is another J.G Ballard inspired work from the Novel "Crash". I think the automobile provided an almost futuristic reprieve from grey, grainy and exhausted mid-to-late 70s England. What's particularly interesting is the use of light to suggest the (fragile) enclosure of the car.
J.G Ballard, Crash
An Interview with the writer J.G Ballard. Part 1 at 5:10 into the video there is a discussion of his book "crash" based on sexual desire and car crashes. An insight into the relationship between modern technology and human psychopathology. Part 2 and Part 3 also worth watching. Don't miss his comments about "inner space" (of the mind) about 6 min in Part 3. Image credit: Florian Maier-Aichen, Freeway Crash (2002)
Andreas Gursky, 99 cents
Instead of using the camera to establish parallel lines Gursky emphasizes parallel lines as a compositional element (digitally). What interests me is the way he use the medium of photography in essentially the same manner as the rationalization process of assembly line work that is a condition of modern architecture and technology.
Richard Serra, One Ton Prop
In Richard Serra's "One Ton Prop" four lead plates each 250 Kilos are propping each other up. Gravity itself is the structural principle. The existence of sculpture here relies on an unstable balance, not the illusion of balance, like what you get in a composition, but actual balance. There is a coincidence between the "representing" and the "represented" element. This idea was once a quality that was natural to Architecture. Herzog and De Mouran explored this in some of their earlier work, particularly in some of their warehouses- see Ricola Warehouse in Laufan .
Video installation at MOMA where the camera is positioned on parts of the artist's naked body and then displayed on 16 monitors of different sizes. Each monitor is stripped of it's casing (making it also naked). On one monitor Hill's ear and foot lie side by side. I feel an affinity with this way of deconstructing and reconfiguring. In the Flinders House and the Clifton Hill House I use a single tree, slice its parts to make the veneer and then unwrapped in its entirety to represent the whole again.
wHY Architecture Dentist’s House
I came across this house by the Japanese firm "wHY Architecture". I was intrigued by their design statement which reads as follows: "The house design gives emphasis and space to the glass-sided living room, surrounded by open gardens. The father who works as a dentist from 9AM to 9PM everyday wants to have a place in his own house that at the end of the day he could withdraw even from his family, his wife and two young daughters, to pursue the subjects of his personal interest - music, films and books. This open glass room (enclosed image), connecting to the house only through an underground corridor, is the sanctuary where he can be himself. The family has meals and activities together in the family living and dining room but each one of them could withdraw into their own world in their own room / garden." More images
My partner Cate Consandine is an installation artist who has been exploring the poetics of desire, as played out between the body and the architecture of cinema. Her work employs spatial intervention, action, and the specific placement of objects to crystalise edges that connect the accoutrement of desire to felt experience.
Rude Finger Gestures
I been interested in exploring notions of functional engagement (in this case how you open a door) which transcend that function. This idea was developed in the door handles for the Clifton Hill House. Designed as a pair of finger pulls made by pressing the edges of small stainless steel tubes, and fixing them through the face of the doors. Each pair is positioned according to a predetermined principle. For example those you use with your left hand are set slightly lower than those you use with you right hand. The resulting postures that the user engages with as they move between each door are quite interesting. Firstly they make the gesture of the twin finger, which in itself is somewhat confronting if not rude, and then they coordinate the fingers perfectly and slip them through holes simultaneously. All this whilst positioning each hand at different heights. It is learned behavior with unusual spacial outcomes- perhaps akin to a dance sequence.