Philosophy Tuesday

As promised in my review, there’s lots I want to delve into within Soul!  It is a rich source, with many avenues to explore, and with many ways to look at it, approaching the film from different angles and lenses to tease out a whole host of openings and opportunities for realizations and insights.

I’m going to start with this angle:  A meditation on the traps known as “If only…/then” & “When…/then”

Their structure is right there in their names:

“If only I could X / then Y.” 

“When I can X / then Y.”

“When I have X / then Y.”

It’s a familiar construct/trap, and we can see a bunch of them in Joe:  “When I have the gig, then I’ll be fulfilled.”  “If only people would give me the chance, then I can be powerful.”  “When I’ve made it, then my Mom will be proud of me.”  “If only I can fulfill my purpose, then my life will be complete.” 

And yeah, it sounds both seductive and true.  These type of grand, momentous, goal based Xs really can shift things, for sure.  And they may even prove to be great motivators!

The thing is, however, that in the meantime they also effectively shut a part of our lives down.  They cut us off from possibility and experience.  Through them we are adamantly saying that we can’t get Y until that X condition is met… and so long as X is not met, we’re denied the power/pleasure/ freedom/self-expression/power/peace of mind that could come of Y. 

Further, we’ve laid ourselves a double whammy, for we’ve set a single path, a single X, to get there.  Out of all the possibilities in life, we’ve said “this is the one,” which means that we have one path for success, and an infinite number of failure paths. 

Even if we have 4 or even 10 X paths to get Y, that’s still a whole lot of few paths to success compared to all the other ways it can get there.  We are so good at kaiboshing something that could lead us to something great just because it doesn’t fit what we think it should look like…

And that’s the double trouble (well, I guess by now we’re up to a quadruple trouble), for what we want out of the Y isn’t often Y itself, but the ways of being and experiencing that come along with it.  We don’t need X, and we don’t even need Y.  Note above I said “could come of Y?”  Exactly.  What we’re often really looking for Z, and those ultimate pleasures/freedoms/self-expressions/fulfilments/joys/peace of minds. 

The invitation from Soul (and self-cultivation in general) is to see how our various If/When/Then constructs can be a hindrance and a trap to us, and how they (unintentionally) cut us off from that which we truly want. 

Architecture Monday

What a beautiful chaotic mass!  There’s certainly no missing this building, jutting froth from the ground as it does, like the tectonic plates of the region that inspired it.  As a cultural centre, it announces itself most unabashedly.

It’s also got a touch of a European castle influence mixed in there, I think.  But that’s my projection from what I’m used to, for my eye also projects a little bit of climbing gym wall as well…

The wonderful chaos continues within.  Not that this is true chaos, of course – you can certainly tell the difference between a carefully designed explosion of expressiveness and rhythm versus true random splatter construction.  Here it’s all geometric exuberance writ large, creating shelves and nooks for all manners of books and objects and art, including multimedia!  All choreographed through circulation, charting a decidedly spatial journey.

Very cool and lots of fun.  A great fusion of a library, art museum, and natural history museum.

The Kodakawa Culture Museum by Kengo Kuma & Associates

Gaming Sunday

Here’s a Kickstarter project that’s wrapping up in a few days that might pique your interest as it did mine! It’s an SF/near future/science-fantasy game that takes place in a non-colonial Americas! Led by first-nations designers, it promises to be a nifty new take and world to explore:

Check it out! I’m very excited for the project. They’re real close to closing in on 1M and it’d be rad to see them make it over that mark!

Wonder Wednesday

Woah!  That is not a photoshop job… that is actual people walking on actual water in an amazing piece of land art by none other than Christo and Jeanne-Claude titled The Floating Piers.  Installed for 16 days back in 2016, it was also huge:

That’s 3km worth of 16m wide golden floating walkway, leading to and island and onto another island.  Again, wow…

Read more about it and see plenty of more pictures (including construction photos) at Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s website.

Philosophy Tuesday

On the one hand, I’m a bit surprised I’ve been writing these philosophical posts for well over six years.

On the other hand, I’m not surprised at all.

Life, and our lives, are a vast and many varied thing, after all.  There’s much to explore, much to uncover, much to delve into, much to get present to, and much to grok.

We are art, ever in progress, ever unfinished.

Every day is another chance to get present, to unconceal, to transform, and to open new realms of possibility.

To which… wow, how cool is that?  Very cool indeed.

Here’s to the past six years of reflection, and to many years of discovery to come!

Architecture Monday

This is a cool performing arts venue.  For decades the performances by this organization had been held in two big top tents.  In keeping with that history, the design took inspiration to create a sculptural shell that reaches for the heavens.

There’s a nifty slight of hand here, creating a broad plinth (with wide stairs to reach it) on which they rest the shell.  This allows for the arena inside to be ringed by what appears as clerestory windows for a luminous glow, while they also function as entry doorways.  The ribbing on the underside of the roof is great, heightening the visual pull of the curving ribs all the way up to the amazing oculus.

In addition to the biggie hall there’s a smaller and way more intimate theatre, also done in the round.  But the pièce de résistance (and the thing that really piqued my interest) is a third performance space that consists of large saltwater float/thermal bath under a vaulted dome illuminated by another soft oculus.  Music is pumped into the water and the room so you can float and listen, which just sounds absolutely lovely.

Very fun project.  A great venue for all sorts of arts and performances, that ties into its community both in site (including the nearby ruins of a train station bombed during WW2) and in its large outdoor terrace, and that adds a bistro and, especially, that spa and float tank for a space of ultimate unwinding.  Great work.

The Tempodrom by GMP

Wonder Wednesday

It’s another amazing Vihart Pi day video!  But beyond the usual excellence (including the quote from yesterday’s post), this one has something special in that she improvises about 30 minutes of music, based around the continual repetition of a sequence of notes.

And that aspect of it, the building of music around continual repetition, is really fascinating to me.  When I saw Sigur Ros in concert, they played () track 9b (also known as Untitled Track 9b, also also known as Smaskfia).  A track that is just a small piano bit repeated over and over and over and over.  Yet it bored straight into my soul in a way I didn’t even know was possible.  It was a mind blowing experience.  (And they played it right before the intermission, so I got to just sit inside of that wonder.)  In the video above, Vihart creates that inside the of repetition of notes, everything else involved gets heightened, be it the accompanying notes/harmony or simply the way it is played (and the emotion/feeling you can put into that).  Which is something both cool and can be supremely moving.

(Also, if you haven’t seen Vihart’s magnum opus, 12 Tones, I highly encourage you to check it out as well!)

Architecture Monday

I was glancing through my photos of my trip to the Nordic countries and came across this one of a church I wrote about back in 2017!

I saw it (and took this shot from) the deck of a ferry heading into the fjords, and I love how both a) prominent it is, a strong upthrust of verticality in the sea of low-slung horizontal buildings, but also b) how much it just fits and avoids becoming a massive punch in the eye(sore).  It’s not announcing itself for itself.  Instead it’s form and materiality are used to play off of and perhaps even enhance its backdrop.  Also neat to see how it looks now after a few years of patina has turned its wood construction into this lovely rich shade of rocky grey.

Alas, I didn’t get a chance to go inside so I’ll have to live vicariously for that part of it.  But this glimpse as we sailed past was great on its own and made me admire it all that much more.

Community Church Knarvik by Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter  (Which I just realized is the same architect as the Trollstigen Visitor’s Centre I posted about a few weeks ago!)