Posts Tagged ‘art’

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Architecture Monday

February 10, 2020

Oh this is a fun one.  A tumble of baskets?  A series of stacked boxes?  A series of wood piles?  Or yes to all of the above, writ large to the size of a building.

A museum in the middle of a dense urban area, the interlocking wood cubes are both neat and also break down the building to both fit within the scale of the surrounding town.  At the same time, they also allow it and the site to bridge between different street heights via ramped stairway.  It’s definitively a playful composition, with the slats that make up the boxy forms sometimes tightly woven, sometimes spread apart to act as a sunscreen, sometimes extended to become railings for patios, and sometimes completely empty, making for a fancy portico hovering overhead.

Inside, the same language drills down the centre of the building as a twisty atrium, connecting the various gallery levels together and letting sun penetrate deeply throughout.  Starting tall on the first floor for large-scale works, the floors gradually get shorter as they rise through the building, creating more intimate spaces for smaller works of art.  All the while, that central shaft of wood acts as a friendly wayfinder.

A bright museum that invites all while integrating itself into the surrounding urban fabric.  Very nicely developed!

The Odunpazari Modern Art Museum by Kengo Kuma & Associates

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Architecture Monday

January 27, 2020

The new Amos Rex Gallery in the heart of Helsinki is pretty cool.  Not the least of which because the building that surrounds it was co-designed by Vijo Revell – the architect who designed the Toronto City Hall!

Even without that tie to my hometown city, it’s still nifty in its own right.  Built to avoid disrupting both an existing plaza and the surrounding buildings – including the lovingly restored 1930’s era aesthetic functionalist building designed by Revell that contains shops, restaurants, event spaces, and a theatre – the museum is built underground, beneath the plaza, keeping it part of the urban fabric and open for continued public use.  But it doesn’t lie quietly or hidden, instead bursting out of the ground in undulating mounds, creating a fun topography of artificial hills and bumps all punctuated by a super tall tower.  Reminiscent of a lighthouse, the tower in actuality serves as a passive ventilation shaft.

The entry to the museum is by far one of its most dramatic moments, with a wide angled staircase creating a simultaneous bifurcated view of the museum lobby below coupled with an eye level view of the plaza.  It’s trippy and prepares you for the area below, with its arching ceilings matching the landscape forms above, all culminating in windowed occuli that allows the spaces to be naturally lit whenever appropriate.

Great little addition to the city, a new venue that totally both preserves and enhances the old. Nicely done.

Amos Rex by JKMM Architects.

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Wonder Wednesday

January 15, 2020

This is something nifty… a “hyperlapse” film touring around New York City and some of its biggest landmarks, created entirely from, and only from, publicly available tourist photos.  Every frame is from a still image, pulled from the internet, effectively crowdsourcing the imagery for the tour.  Mesmerizing and a stark illustration of our gravitation towards things called a “landmark”, and even more so of both our photo revolution (given the high-def cameras we’re always now carrying around in our pockets), and the accompanying revolution (and the accompanying attempt at gaining social capital) in and of sharing these images and moments for all to see.

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Philosophy Tuesday

January 14, 2020

“The thing is, meaning is not absolute.  It does not reside inside the artwork to be unlocked or decoded and revealed.  Meaning is something that happens between you and the work.  It’s different for you than it is for anyone else, and it’s always shifting, changing, depending on who you are and where you are, and what’s happening around you.

The artist does not own the meaning.  And neither do the experts or authorities who present it to you.  They are voices in the room, often very good and compelling ones, but ultimately you determine the meaning for yourself and only for yourself. “

Sarah Urist Green from The Art Assignment

 

(Love love love this quote, so much great stuff is buried within!  For starters its a great reminder on how we interact with art and that we are, indeed, interacting with it.  It may seem, at first, like we’re only passive observers but it is quite the opposite — there is a lot going on.  It is almost an ongoing dialogue, and the meaning we create is very much our own that may both include and be irrespective of that of the artist’s.

Even greater however is that we can replace “art,” “artist,” and “artwork” with “events,” “the world,” or “our life” in order to delve into the quote even deeper and explore its implications, inspirations, and liberations in whole new ways.  What layers can we uncover in doing so?  What dialogues that we thought we had long ago settled upon can we re-engage with?  What new futures might we write?

So much to unpack, both in the quote and inside of our created meanings.  Very well said.)

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Architecture Monday

January 13, 2020

A glorious example of adaptive reuse tonight, in the form of a project that sports an equally epic name:  Godsbanen.  A former railway goods station it is now a full-blown cultural centre, with several theatres, galleries, night clubs, along with a number of art workshops and rentable spaces for creative business startups.

In its transformation the building keeps both its rugged heritage as well as its Neo-Baroque forebuilding, presenting several faces to the city.  Forming a giant U, that elaborate forebuilding and the adjoining warehouses were both preserved, while a new and rather fanciful addition nestles within the base of the U.  Appearing as a series of angular forms and ramps, this new bit houses the main theatres and all the connective tissue, such as the lobby, café, and a courtyard.  A courtyard that connects to the roofs, allowing full access up and along those angular ramps, doing triple duty as a lookout, seating, and another venue for performances.

Inside, the addition the muscular facets of the addition’s angular forms create dynamic and interconnecting spaces that are further punctuated by overhead oculi.  Meanwhile the amazing curved wooden structure of the original warehouses continue to march in succession into the distance along with the equally amazing continual light monitor.  Galleries and workshops are enclosed within slightly sculptural insertions into the existing space.

Exiting Maps – the glorious gift for us who want to see a floor plan…

I totally love it.  From the luscious and aged red brick to the rough concrete wedges, from the massive wood supports to the slick gallery walls, all wrapped up in a great play of light and form and shadow.  Not to mention the diverse nature of the cultural centre itself, and the vibrant heart it gets to play for an entire area that will soon include a School of Architecture.  It’s a fabulous example of repurposing something existing to create something even more amazing, taking the time, energy, detail, and beauty of the past and enhancing it through something equally detailed and beautifully thought out and crafted.  Great stuff!

Godsbanen by 3XN Architects.

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Muse Rising on the Jedi, Redux

January 9, 2020

One big addition to (and to fix a glaring omission from) my review of TRoS from last Sunday, and that is to commend the actors.  They did what they could with the material given to them to do, and often went above and beyond the call.  Adam Driver especially – he didn’t even get to speak for the last third of the movie and managed to pull off a lot of communication with only body language and expression.  And a glass raised in condolences to John Boyega, for whom I think 50% of his dialogue opportunities was, started, or ended with, shouting “Rey!” in various ways.  Their embodiment of the characters throughout the trilogy (whether they were in all three or just some of them) is one of the series’ strong points, and for some of the installments was the reason why the movie worked at all in any capacity.

It’s also gotta be rough as an actor, signing up for something you’re excited in and then being presented a script… and a reshoot, and another reshoot… and then seeing on screen what was finally edited together.  And then everyone’s reactions to it.  (Doubly so since, especially for some of them, they were hit with insane and disgusting vitriol hurled towards them personally as actors.  That’s really shitty.)   Like many I both dream of and would jump at a chance to be in a Star Wars movie (or any other movie, really, but Star Wars has extra resonance).  I would sign on the dotted line and be ready to dive in.  I can also imagine then being handed the script like for TFA or TRoS and feeling my heart sink and continue sinking throughout the process.

Now, I don’t know if any of the actors felt this way, and maybe they didn’t, but I still commend them heartily for giving it their all and bringing what there was to life and for making us like and invest into the characters, even as we may have wanted to see them (with these feelings even heightened because the actors were doing a good job) in better stories or better told stories.

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Wonder Wednesday

January 8, 2020

From the moment I first heard/saw it on the Laserdisk release, I’ve always loved this early version of Can You Feel the Love Tonight.  It’s just Simba and Nala singing to each other, though not actually singing to each other.  It’s quiet and intimate and there’s something raw-er and more emotional present here than in the “heavenly choir” version used in the film.  And also something more… profound?  That might not be quite the right word for it, but there’s a greater sense of two lions becoming aware of their attraction while also dealing with what they’re carrying from their past.  It feels much more authentic and real than the polished and grand production number used in film.  The simpler orchestration here also really works for me.

All in all, an absolutely lovely version and definitively my favourite version of the song!