Archives for category: general

michael:

Duck sent me this. Made me laugh. A metaphysical riverdance. Thank God for Freud. Another conversation at the lockup. Feel the anxiety…. Knees… Knees.  Dali used them to communicate the threat of castration in his transformative painting The Great Masturbator. It also reminded me of the image of Tony Bennett that I sometimes use in my discussions of feminism. Body language is under-represented in the history of architecture…. As Mae West said, “I speak two languages: body and english”. Is there the possibility here of Jung’s collective unconsious? Anyway, must be time for another poll…

Derren:

Fascinating film on the weekend…Hubertus Siegert’s Berlin Babylon (2001) accompanied by an enigmatic film score by Einstürzende Neubauten. Apart from stirring the memories of my recent return from said stadt, this document is a visual tour de force – a remarkable, frank and honest insight into the realities of architecture, construction and politics, warts and all.

Some personal synopsis?

That Dutch master, Rem Koolhaas, knows how to work a crowd. Respect.

The discussions and machinations regarding the fate of the Palast der Republik?

The tragic observations prophesising it’s doom are poignant, especially considering it’s short lived reincarnated flowering as the artistic Volkspalast – apparently now to be replaced with a reconstruction of the Prussian Stadtschloß…hmmmmm. Best summed up for me with this photograph I took of some graffiti from winter 2008 near the end of the demolition process.

Ultimately, this film reminded me of why I love the at times torturous profession of architecture. She is a battlefield and at times a mountain to climb, but man, that view from the top…

Like Berlin herself…a beautiful thing to watch.

For an informative post DDR adaptive use of the Palast see:

video link on fate of Palast and Volkspalast:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4282263054701767415&q=brokedown+palast#

friday poll:

michael:

this digital animation by the Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto made me stop and think. It is the eve of the 65 year anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. It was a bomb that killed 140 000 people. I saw a play by Michael Frayn, which I had forgotten until I saw this. It reminds you of the precision of history. Another eerie film by Isao also drives this home. “Overkilled“. Sound and silence… Words can work too.  Like Kruschev said:

“Bombs do not choose. They will hit everything.”

Derren:

Check out these tips to protect yourself…

holy fuck they are coming..sarah:

A momentary lapse of architecture. Forget Le Corbusier; the crow is here in the literal and sometimes frightening cobalt-feathered bird interpretation..

Crows are incredibly intelligent. Their brain/body mass ratio is equivalent to chimpanzees. Research shows crows are capable of thinking in multiple step processes and they are able to inventively develop tools in order to solve problems deemed complex in bird terms.

Writer and hacker Joshua Klein argues that crows are perhaps the most useful example of synantrophic animals; a species that has the ability to learn new behaviours and adapt successfully to coexist with humans. Crows certainly are the most interesting: Klein shows research footage of a crow developing a tool to pull an object out of a tube. Then there is the case of crows dropping nuts on streets for cars to drive over and crack open for a meal.

Klein built a vending machine to further test how smart they are. The machine uses the concept of Skinnerian behavioural training to teach the crows how to collect coins.

1. Coins and peanuts are placed around the machine; the crow eats the peanut on the feeder tray.

2. The peanuts are then taken away. With only coins, the crows get “pissed off.” In searching for food they accidentally sweep a coin into the slot. The machine dispenses a peanut!

3. The third step sees the coins taken away. The crows learn to go find coins elsewhere and deposit them for more peanuts.

Eventually, other crows see this happen and are quick to adapt and learn this feeding behaviour. With an estimated few million dollars worth of lost coins in the US, this vending machine in addition to a trained army of crows could be more useful than it is trivial…

Klein concludes from this example that we could train crows for search and rescue, picking up trash, or many other mutually beneficial tasks. Instead of trying to eradicate these species, he says, we should be developing new systems such as the crow vending machine to encourage synantrophy. I totally agree.

For Klein’s fascinating talk on the intelligence of crows featuring the mentioned footage, click here.

However it does seem Klein’s work has been controversial, perhaps unaccountable..

What do you think?

michael:

we were tricked into this by the engineer… a window, facing north-west; an existing wall that housed it…

We proposed a simple system. The engineer said it wouldn’t work. So we proposed a complex system. The engineer said it would…

It’s not really a window. It is kind of the edge of one. It seems to cut the sun out. I don’t mind the geometry. Like Nietzsche says: “the wittiest authors provoke the least perceptible smile” (HA, 182).

Check out our rendering of the window here:

sarah:

Recently hrmphrdt ventured to the big smoke to see the Paths to Abstraction exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW. The exhibition features artists influential to the various forms and processes of ‘abstraction’ in art over time: Matisse, Monet, Picasso and Seurat were all there amongst others.  Amongst the personal highlights were the early Mondrian works which showed a laborious development of a personal style and were unrecognizable to his famous de Stijl works. We were also excited to see early Surrealist works by Picabia and Rene Clair.

However the highlight of the day was Marcel Duchamp’s infamous bicycle wheel on display: the National Gallery owns one of 12 replicas issued in 1967. The original sat in Duchamps studio in the 1910s and he used to spin the wheel for inspiration, and allegedly it had a slight kink that was noticeable when in action. I was quite excited by this fact and wanted to have a spin; however I was told so too before me was another curious friend who spun the wheel but never got to witness if it was the warped original before security got him running.