Posts Tagged ‘Installation art’

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Architecture Monday

July 9, 2018

The Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern.  A glorious adaptive reuse, and one that created one of the most iconic spaces in the museum world, that of the old Turbine Hall.  Rather than fill the great void with new floors or ring the walls with art, it was left as an impressive canvas, a shell that itself is grand and uplifting and inspires wonder while forming the basis for temporary and site-specific installations, artwork of a place, all capped by a new, glowing, roof lantern.  One room, many faces.

Speaks for itself.  Very cool.

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Wonder Wednesday

June 20, 2018

Desert Breath by Danae Stratou, Alexandra Stratou, and Stella Constantinides.

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Philosophy Tuesday

December 19, 2017

We were in a maze.

We’d discovered the maze while randomly visiting the art projects out in deep playa at Burning Man.  It was no small maze either – made of wood posts and plywood, it measured some 70+ feet to a side, and the walls were 8′ tall.  It was also really tricky.*

It had been eight, maybe twelve, minutes since we’d entered when, from over one of the walls (we had inadvertently split up) my friend shouts out “Hey!  There’s a door here!”

“There are no doors in mazes,” I solidly replied.

It wasn’t that I didn’t believe them per se – in fact I gave it nary a thought after my proclamation.  It was just… true.  Mazes were things with walls and passageways and dead ends.  Doors did not enter the picture.

By now of course you all can probably guess where this story is going, and what I was about to exclaim not more than a few minutes later:

“Holy crap!  There are doors in this thing!”

And it wasn’t even the same door.

It’s a funny, fluffy example, but I love it as a reminder of just how, when something comes up that doesn’t fit our view, it’s not so much that we don’t believe it, or that we actively resist it, it’s often more that it simply doesn’t even register.  No such possibility exists.  It’s so completely outside the realm of (our personal) reality that before we even become aware of it it’s been dismissed and we’re moving on with our day, acting as before.  Which equally means, quite potentially, staying as constrained as before.

Our life remains the same.

Hence why I like reminding myself with this story.  Who knows what I/we could be missing on the other side.  Who knows what I/we could learn, could do, or could be, with that new piece of information, with that broader view, and with those new possibilities.  Worlds can open up.

Because, while in a maze in the middle of the desert it was a very physical door that I was all too ready to miss, quite often the doors that we dismiss and don’t go through are very much metaphorical, and very much transformative.

 

* Seriously, the maze was killer.  The people who made it did a fabulous job.  Doors, bridges, and more, and it was well laid out in order to obfuscate some of the necessary routes.  My friend and I spent 30 minutes in the maze, escaped out, went back in, came out again, was told a hint or two by people outside who had completed it, went back in a third time, and still were stymied.  So we chose to D&D the heck out of it!  We came back the next day with hand-made graph paper and proceeded to map the sucker out like a dungeon… and thusly discovered a route we’d delightfully missed.  In rather short order, past few more doors, traps, and bridges, we found our way to the exit.  Superbly well done maze!

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Wonder Wednesday

December 13, 2017

Sunset art, art at sunset, art on an island at sunset, Naoshima wonder sunset art extravaganza!

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Architecture Monday

November 27, 2017

In many ways, my trip to Japan could have been billed as the “Ando Connection.”  The whole planning process began when I plotted the locations of many of Tadao Ando’s buildings all throughout Japan, and the end route was chosen to hit as many of them as I could.  This included what I thought would be the pièce de résistance, the Church of the Light.  Which was entirely amazing, and I may blog about it further in an upcoming post.  But it was his works on Naoshima Island that struck me the most, including a few absolutely mind-blowing experiences that broadened my awareness of how space could feel and what space could be.

The first of these moments happened not more than a couple of hours after we arrived, touring the outdoor artworks of the Benesse House compound.  And it began with a simple wall that grew from the ground.

And that was exactly what it is.  A seemingly simple wall, bisecting a portion of lawn and extending into a cobbled patio on one side, while descending a staircase on the other to a lower platform.  But that simplicity belies some stunningly skilled mastery of proportion, volumes, and notions of enclosure and expansiveness.

While the aerial view gives an immediate way to grasp the layout, the visceral experience of being there was way more intense than the sum of its simple parts of wall, cobbles, and stairs.  The play of nature vs the pristine concrete smoothness of the walls, the narrowness of one stair exploding out towards the sea, the interplay of different planes and levels as they connect and divide among the varying wide stairs at the other end, and the proportions and relationships between each element, all contribute to an incredible feel to the space.

This is a piece that is meant to be experienced in motion.*  The shifting forms, planes, and lines as you move constantly reveal and hide something, and each new step brings a different framing of the forested hills, the beach, and the water beyond.  This is installation art and spatial art at its finest.

Under the broad upper plaza is a small room containing a work by artist Walter De Maria, primarily consisting of two, highly polished stone balls.  While hilariously calling to mind early 3D computer rendering** the reflective curves nicely played off the purely orthographic nature of Ando’s walls and by reflecting their room (the only actual enclosure in this piece) that you couldn’t enter gave a nice little extra spatial twist.

I think I walked around the entire thing for the first five minutes with my mouth agape.  It was that powerful.  And but a taste of what was to come over the next day and a bit on the island…

 

* To which none of my videos turned out very well, unfortunately!

* Highly reflective chrome spheres were supremely popular to show off rendering power and precision, they were almost an obligatory feature of early computer renderings and ray tracing.

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Architecture Monday

February 20, 2017

 

Another project tonight based on the ubiquitous shipping container, but one that is very, very different from the little prefab modules proposed by CubeDepot.  This is also a project that hews more closely to installation art or sculpture, than architecture, though still vital to the built environment, being situated in the very heart of the city of Calgary in a 100-plot community garden and playground that forms the centrepiece of a huge swath of new development.  The need was for a shed to hold the tools and dirt and outdoor furniture for this working garden park.  The result goes well beyond something picked up at the local hardware store.

The base design is wonderfully simple, a radial dispersement* of three shipping containers that make up the shed portion of the project.  The way those containers are enveloped and connected is what makes things begin to sing.  Riffing off the corrugated sides of the shipping container, three more sizes of corrugated metal mesh are inset together, creating this nifty conglomeration of transparent 3D planes that shift and change as the angle of your view changes.  Made of a rich and textured material called CorTen (which rusts without falling apart), there’s a nice mix of refinement and roughness that draws the eye.

The real excitement comes where the three radial arms formed by the containers meet.  Again matching the pattern of the corrugation, a series of hexagonal tubes are interlocked and cut to formed a dome with three arched entryways, creating an overhead trellis that frames the sky above.  Placed near the street, the archways form a type of gateway into the site, a playful portico welcoming you to the gardens and playground beyond.

To that end, it is a bit unfortunate that the “roof” of the shed is completely flat, contradicting both the expressiveness of the dome, the latticework, and the mountains on the horizon.  It is a small smidge, however, on an otherwise lively and clever design for what might have been a generic afterthought.  Nice work.

Also, well done Calgary for creating this community garden and the RiverWalk that connects to it as you develop and densify.

The Crossroads Garden Shed by 5468796 Architecture

 

* Wait, is this not a word?

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Wonder Wednesday

September 14, 2016

Wow, this is a cool piece from this year’s Burning Man.  What seems like a bunch 4x4s pounded into the dirt reveals itself at certain angles…

burning-man-2016-mountains-art

That’s incredible.  Worked at all four corners too.  Super impressive.  Must have been wondrous to discover and experience.

Source here