Wonder Wednesday

Oh I so love these works by Abelardo Morell!  Turning an entire room into a camera obscura, then photographing the result.  There’s something very mystifying and fascinating about the real world projected into 3D space rather than a flat screen, interacting with the room, a mix of the mundane and the fantastical (and it’s up to us to choose which of either the room or the world is the mundane one and which is the fantastical).  So nifty.

I can’t possibly link them all, so find more at his gallery here!

All works by Abelardo Morell

Philosophy Tuesday

To add to the Opposing Diapoles I mentioned a few months ago, there was another construct I discovered that had been hemming me in:  my Evil Triumvirates.*

Unlike the Diapoles, these weren’t contrarian landmines on either side of me into which I was guaranteed to step on no matter which way down the path I went.  Instead, these were views/truths/realities that worked in unison, albeit surreptitiously.  While, together, they formed a big barrier that affected me in a big way, each also had their own angle or flavour to it.  They were variations on the same barrier, sneaking up from different directions and linking to form an interconnected mega-barrier.

This meant that even if I managed to diminish or even remove one of the barriers, the other two still remained to maintain the constraint.  I remained trapped.

Even more insidiously, they were so splendidly interwoven that even when I removed one of them, the other two’s roots could still nourish whatever fragment that remained, allowing it to regrow and return.  Gah!

Which was pretty vexing!  I’d seen the thing, I’d done the work, I’d moved it to the side… so why wasn’t I freer?  Why was I still tripping up?  Why were my possibilities being stunted?  Why did I keep getting snarled?  Gah, again!

By bringing mindfulness to the fore, I could let it just play out while remaining present in the inquiry, and I began to catch glimpses of the Triumvirates.  I began to see their triple Neapolitan nature, how they operated on me, and of the way they linked together.  How fascinating they were!

I gave them their name.  And with that, I could begin to untangle them.  I could see them for what they were and learn how to complete them and move the barrier to the side while preventing them from recreating each other.

Of course, as with everything else in the art of living, it’s an ongoing project, and new barriers arise all the time. But this is no longer one of my blind spots, and with that comes new freedom, choice, and joy.

 

* Of course, they weren’t evil per se… they just were.  And had an unproductive impact on me.  But, like with the Diapoles, making it fun to say was important, both to keep it present and also to disarm them.   Making them out to be hilariously melodramatic and almost cartoonish evil shadowy figures hanging out near the margins immediately decreased the likelihood of me taking them too gosh darn seriously, which automatically diminished their hold on me.

** And the poorer experience of life that went along with it.  And, also, the lesser results that came from acting within that/those constraint(s)…

Architecture Monday

I’ve been a fan of the work by Patkau Architects for decades now, admiring the rich complex geometries of their buildings.  This otherwise small and humble gathering space is no different.  Eight repeating ‘petals’ form a circular room that soars up to the sky, like cloth captured in a breeze.  Meanwhile, sculptural windows around the base allows the gaze to reach out towards the mountain like upon which the building is perched.

This is the second building on this site, using the same foundations as the previous one that had unfortunately burned down.  The curving structure is astoundingly made of standard 2x4s turned into sinuous gluelam beams.  Unfurling like a blossom and meeting at an oculus, the smooth white petals create a delicate space that gently holds everyone within.

Resting nicely within the landscape, it’s lovely work all around, and airy form that befits its use and place.  Great stuff and another fine addition to the Patkau portfolio.

Temple of Light by Patkau Architects

Wonder Wednesday

Pale Blue Dot, 1990, taken 6 billion km from earth by the Voyager 1 spacecraft, the last photograph it took during its mission, enhanced by modern computing techniques in 2020.

The Day the Earth Smiled, 2013, taken from the orbit of Saturn by the Cassini spacecraft.

Link to a wonderful article describing how both photos came to be.

And if you’ve not heard Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot thoughts, do so here:

Philosophy Tuesday

Sometimes, it is a big, massive, sideswiping thing that knocks us into a tailspin.

Other times, it is a series of smaller things that will send us into the downward spiral.

Those things can happen all at once.

Or maybe they pile up over time.

And sometimes there is a multitude of background poop that is so ubiquitous we don’t even recognize it is there anymore, we’ve become so accustomed to it.  And then all it takes is a small nudge and vwoop!  Down we go.

It can be so tempting to belittle those breakdowns and, more harshly, to make people wrong for losing it over such “small things.”

But we can do much better for ourselves, and for others, than to fall into that reductive trap and consider only large things or events as “worthy” or “proper” or “justifiable” causes of great malaise.

We can cast our empathy and mindfulness nets wide and know that we’re not seeing the whole picture.*

We can grant a bit of space and compassion and create a clearing for resolution and peace of mind.

We can pull ourselves out of the tailspin, regain our heading, and plot a course for sunnier skies.

 

* This, of course, is especially true in the case of other people, since we’re not there in their head and in their experience 100% of the time.  Especially when they’re at the outsized effect of outside impacts, limitations, and burdens due to social, economic, racial, gender, familial, and etc factors…

 

Architecture Monday

I think by now people know I love trains, and that I equally love many train stations (another nod here to one of my favs, in Ottawa).  And as sad as it is when a train station is no longer in use, it’s ok in my book when it’s converted so wickedly as is this one in Brussels!

Good old school and lofty train stations are already such wonderful spaces, and what’s been done here is to leave most of it well enough alone, inserting independent multi-level pavilions to create offices, retail, entertainment, and more.  These also create a network of streets that lead to large public gardens that just fit wonderfully under the soaring roofs.  Crafted of wood, the whole thing is a welcoming space indeed.

Adaptive reuse, FSC-certified cross-laminated timber, water capture, natural ventilation, and PV panels integrated onto the grand front windows, AND an exciting space to be in… what’s there not to love about this?  Great stuff.

Gare Maritime by Neutelings Riedijk Architects + Bureau Bouwtechniek

Art Assignment Incoming!

At long last, here’s the completion of my take on the Present Perimeter art assignment!  (If you are unfamiliar with the assignment, I’ve also linked to it at the bottom of this post, best to watch it first before diving into my response to it…)

When the assignment was, well, assigned (back in 2015, yikes!), I instantly knew I wanted to do something architectural and spatial with the prompt. Soon thereafter I met up with Betty from Articulations, and we set upon an idea.  I worked on it off and on over the next year, getting the design complete and then… it sat untouched until I finally got back to it this year to generate the views and the final presentation.  So long delayed, but here it is!

Out of the refined prompt Betty and I concocted, the resulting direction was to create a set of four pavilions, with each pavilion being comprised of an inhabitable sculpture comprised of all the basic forms/shapes of the assignment (1 hexagon, 3 half-hexagons, 3 rhombuses, 3 triangles).  These were then set inside of a reflecting pool that’s also derived from a combination of the basic shapes and all linked by a path comprising of combinations of the basic shapes (though not specifically using each one an exact number of times).  I used some philosophical musings to guide me in what the pavilions and whole assemblage was about, and the result was Presence, Reflection, Transformation, and Creation.  It’s best if it is not read too literally, but there is a sequence of ceremonial entry, quiet reflection, perilous traversing, and elevated overlook:

As they all have been — and I need to share more of my completed assignments, I’ve done about a dozen and a half of them — it was a fun assignment to play with!

Here’s the video below, and the series itself also spawned a book:  You Are an Artist