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Art Assignment Wednesday

July 4, 2018

While I didn’t attend VidCon this year, I did participate vicariously in the Art Assignment meetup by doing another Surface Test.  Since I’d done actual surfaces during my first time doing the assignment, I thought I’d choose something quite different this time.

Thus, behold:

Looks most different than I expected!  Any guesses what it is?

 

(and when you’re ready to find out, click here…)

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Philosophy Tuesday

July 3, 2018

“I don’t even know them… why should I have empathy for them?”

I heard this quote during an interview on the radio the other day.

I would like to answer the question.

Beginning with that empathy, and its cousin, compassion, by its very nature is a generous act, one given freely.  It is not transactional.  ‘Knowing’ someone is secondary.

We interact with and pass by and come in contact with and inhabit the same space as countless people in any given day.  Many, and sometimes most, of them are people we don’t even know.

Empathy is what has it work (and the more empathy, the more it can and will work).  It is what has our daily lives be orderly, safe, courteous, striving forward.

It is what allows them to aid you when you are sick, or had a fire, or were hit by a disaster, or are grieving, or are just tired and frustrated at the end of a long day.

It can be the outpouring of support that gets you back on your feet.

It can just as easily be that smile and little bit of service, so you can get home and put your feet up.

Empathy allows us to build communities and build all the great things that come from working together.

Empathy is strength.

Empathy allows people to take us as seriously as we want to be taken.

It allows us to be related.  To feel connected.  To be generous, loving, laughing, giving, collaborative, and all the ways of being that we want and make us feel great.

Empathy is the pathway to discovering our spirit, in the grandest sense of the human spirit.

Empathy downright feels good.

And here’s the big thing.

You can’t ever ‘KNOW’ someone without empathy.

By your question, you clearly want to ‘know’ people.

Just as you, very much, desperately, like all of us, want to be known.

If no one grants you empathy, you will never be known.

And vice versa.

Being empathic allows that knowing to flow, and with it comes being touched, moved, and inspired.  By others and by ourselves.

Empathy begets empathy begets empathy begets empathy.

So the why I would assert that you should have empathy to those you don’t know is because you don’t know them.

 

* And, of course, this is not to say you shouldn’t be empathic to those you do ‘know’ as well!  Friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances, lovers, significant others, business relations, whomever.

** And the reason I keep putting ‘know’ in those quotes is because thinking we know someone in the same way we know arithmetic or grammar is not really empathic, for we are no longer interacting with the person in front of us, but with a story we have in our head about that person…

 

 

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Architecture Monday

July 2, 2018

This is a level of playful niftiness I can totally get behind.  It’s also a great thought provoker on how we can design more smartly and use less space/resources/etc by designing with (still playful!) flexibility in mind.  All in a small garden house.

Four elegantly designed wood structures interlock on a wood deck; two of the structures are quite solid, two are greenhouse-like windows from floor to the top of the pointy roof.  We can do the math, but there’s five basic configurations that alternate the position of shade and light, solid and void, view and privacy, and even open versus enclosed.

There isn’t much more than that, but there needn’t be.  With things closed up, it’s a cozy cabin perfect for huddling close to the fireplace on a cool winter’s night.  Push the glazed ends out, and you’ve got room for a ginormous dinner party.  Flip it around, and your daily living space takes in all the beauty of spring or fall.  Sleep under the stars, or sleep curled up in the corner.  Come summer, the house splits and you’ve got patio living at its finest.  Or zebra it all.  Rearrange to respond to whatever flies your fancy that day.

Very cool.  And very nicely done too.  I really like the intricate and beautiful wood trusses that form the greenhouse portions, and there’s something equally elegant in the pairing of the wood siding and steel roof in the cabin portions.  The wood stove is designed to mesh well (and be safe!) in all configurations, even providing an outdoor cook spot when the centre is open.  And like the house itself, the lot is both expansive and nestled, with a pond on one side and a copse of trees on the other.

I like this aplenty.  The Garden House by Caspar Schols.

Also, bonus video!

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Happy Canada Day!

July 1, 2018

Joyeuse fête du Canada!

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Wonder Wednesday

June 27, 2018

by Amir Zand

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Philosophy Tuesday

June 26, 2018

“It never even occurred to me to take Gorkon at his word.”

Captain Kirk

I’ve really been digging that expression, “it never even occurred to me,” of late.  There’s lots of insight packed behind it’s familiarity.  It is such an acute, apt, and accurate description of how our mind and, more importantly, our experience works inside of our worlds and worldviews.

It’s not “I couldn’t figure it out,” or “I didn’t choose to do that,” or “I missed it,” or anything similar… it is, literally, “This did not exist for me in any way, shape, or form, within my reality.”

It just doesn’t come up.  And so in the same way that it doesn’t even occur to us to step off a ledge over a gorge to walk to the other side (because we live in a world where gravity exists and ow), so too do we not attempt, or even think of, muse about, or have an inkling to do things that do not exist outside of [our; personal] reality.  Nothing hits our consciousness, nor do we take any unconscious decision/action in that vein.

It’s as though it completely doesn’t exist in the entire universe.

It could be about taking someone at their word, like Kirk.  Or a multitude of other things.  Asking a particular question. Trying something new.  Pursuing an opportunity we’d be fulfilled with.  Approaching someone to talk to them.  Speaking to our kids/friends/lovers/parents/boss/clients/etc in certain more productive, ways.  Trying out for a team.  Ending something that is detrimental to us.  Wearing certain clothes.  Letting someone else “win”.  Starting a hobby.

From the myriad of possibilities out there we get narrowed down to a paltry few that may hit our consciousness.  Like touching (or more aptly no longer touching) the hot stove, we live completely inside of that we see to be real.

This is where mindfulness can be such a boon, to delve into our stories and worldviews and open them up.  To create a larger sandbox to play inside of, to give ourselves freedom.  To let those possibilities and options show up.

And, next time, we get to choose.   Really choose.  Granting us power, self-expression, and a myriad of pathways towards the relatedness, peacefulness, creativity, and the fulfillment we all want.

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Architecture Monday

June 25, 2018

The first word that comes to mind in seeing this house is “lantern.”  Maybe because of the warm glow amongst the dramatic skies of northern Nova Scotia, but also because of its vertically stretched proportions making it appears it has been set, gingerly, down on the land.  It catches the eye and marks a place without needing to invade or dominate the landscape.

Surrounded by woods and with views of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the board pattern that adorns its face matches the trees that encompass it in both colour and thinness.  I love the updated interpretation of the traditional east-Canadian windbreak, rendered in heavy, rusting, steel that marries well with the marbled patina of the wood slats.

Inside, all that height is put to good use, with walls and a mezzanine becoming like freestanding objects within the lantern.  The narrow strips of window and skylights casting a playful air throughout the space, balancing the large windows that let the view flow out towards the water on the other.

Well proportioned, embracing vernacular architecture, and ensuring a light touch that nonetheless creates something special and a joy to be in.  My biggest add or alternate would have been to add a hearth.  Overall, a wonderful cabin retreat.

Rabbit Snare Gorge by Omar Gandhi Architect and Design Base 8