Part Two, A Plea

Submitted by this same architect, and a continuation of the first piece.


Good buildings, like good food, should be made and presented to the delight of all human beings capable of a true sense of appreciation.

Should, then, delight be only visual?

The art of appreciation of space could arise from being conscious of a temperature difference due to light and shade, or an awareness of scale, heights and space caused by reflection of sound and echoes heard, or pure pleasure felt by a heightened sense of smell and touch.

Good architecture must strive to satisfy all senses, apart from the visual sense, to express grandeur and create awe. It is then that it can hope to transcend all barriers of culture, context, age and time, and be equally enjoyed by all human beings with alternate senses of experiencing delight.

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A Plea for Aesthetic and Technical Liberation

Submitted by an architect. With extracts from other writing.


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Tjibaou Cultural Centre, by Renzo Piano

There is something magical about architecture, something more than that which is rational or functional. Something that dominates. Something that imposes.

 

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Tjibaou Centre, interior

There is a poetic dimension to this. It is a pure creation of mind that goes beyond the utilitarian, that which is governed by emotional relationships, and whose components are light and shadow, wall and space.

Architecture is a thing of art, a phenomenon of emotions, lying outside and beyond questions of construction. The purpose of construction is to make things hold together; of architecture, it is to move us. The engineer, inspired by economy and governed by mathematical calculations, puts us in accord with universal law. He achieves harmony. The architect, by his arrangement of forms, realises an order which is a pure creation of spirit, by forms and shapes. He affects our senses to an acute degree and provokes our emotions; by the relationship he creates, he wakes profound echoes in us, he gives us the measure of an order which we feel to be in accordance with that of our world. It is then that we experience a sense of beauty.

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Ysios Bodega, by Santiago Calatrava

Street Art in Kochi

By Sitara.


I first found Guesswho and his work in an article in The Hindu newspaper, and then in person in Kochi, during the Kochi-Muziris art biennale. Guesswho has often been described as an Indian Banksy, preferring to work anonymously and producing similar displays of political satire. Some of Guesswho’s art is even Banksy-inspired, like his cut-out of two aged superheroes kissing (a little like Banksy’s work of two policemen kissing) and his Pulp Fiction-inspired piece, only modified for its Indian setting.

Guesswho began putting his art up at about the same time the Kochi-Muziris Biennale was organised, and some have described this burst of street art as a protest against the curated art in the biennale. Guesswho himself said, in an interview with the BBC, that it was more of a reaction to the biennale than anything else.

Several of the cut-outs are Indian parodies of European and American culture—his Indianised Mona Lisa and Marilyn Monroe, an Indian dancer moonwalking, a Malayali court jester adorned with the heavily made-up face of the Joker, and Marx and Engels in the attire of Namboodiri Brahmins.

Most forms of art in India and in other parts of the world are heavily censored. Radical-minded galleries are subject to public criticism; people can go as far as burning art galleries down. But street art is less constricted. Anybody can paint a wall, and even if somebody else whitewashes your art out of sight, you can do it all over again. Street art stands out amongst the clutter of posters and billboards in Indian streets.

Assorted Tumblrs, All Flavours

By Sitara.


Tumblr is home to a little less than three hundred million tumblelogs, and more than five hundred million visitors every month. Suffice to say, Tumblr is one of the biggest platforms for creative content.

Below is a collection of Tumblrs, with content varying from old films to submitted illustrations.

1. Design Story

Design Story posts submitted art; as illustrations, as GIFs, as typography, and sometimes even short reels of animation. The Tumblr is carefully curated, with only the best work finally ending up on the blog. Design Story is a good place to go to for design inspiration, and a good place, too, to find exceptional illustrators and animators. (Note from March 11 ’17: Design Story’s Tumblr has disappeared from the Internet, and so have its other profiles, so this entry on the list is zilch now.)

2. EatSleepDraw

EatSleepDraw is much like the aforementioned Tumblr, but is, perhaps, a little more well-known. Its standards are slightly lower, though, but according to its curators, having your work published on EatSleepDraw is considered equivalent to having it published in a proper magazine—even more so, in fact, since EatSleepDraw has a considerably larger audience than several magazines.

3. The New Yorker

The New Yorker publishes weekly doses of satirical political cartoons, literature, interviews and the usual cultural material. Their Tumblr is entertaining in particular because of their daily cartoons, and their weekly issue covers.

4. Houghton Library

Houghton Library stores Harvard University’s archives of old books and manuscripts, and every once in a while, the library posts something from its collection on Tumblr. Its illustrations and photographs are fascinating, even digitally.

5. Fictitious Dishes

Fictitious Dishes is a book (and a website) by Dinah Fried, and comprises a series of photographs of meals from literature. There’s Holden’s milk and sandwich from The Catcher in the Rye, chicken breakfast from To Kill a Mockingbird, tea from the Mad Hatter’s table, and lots more. The Tumblr has these photographs, as well as posts of illustrations of food from books.

6. Nitrate Diva

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Nitrate Diva is a blog run by a vintage film enthusiast, and she regularly posts “old movie GIFs, darling”. There is also a WordPress counterpart, with longer articles and reviews and write-ups, and that sort of thing. Nitrate Diva brings back to life the slowly dying world of early cinema, and might even convince you to try some of the films and see for yourselves.

7. 9 Squares

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9 Squares is a collaborative project begun by Al Boardman, Skip Dolphin Hursh, and David Stanfield. For each work, nine animators make nine GIFs based on a specified colour scheme. The similarities and differences amongst nine different styles of animation can be entertaining, if that’s what you like in an art blog.

The Afghan Girl

By Sitara.


The Afghan girl on the cover of National Geographic’s June 1985 issue is one of the magazine’s most iconic and recognisable images. The thirteen-year old girl was a part of a group of Afghan refugees, running from the Russian invasion. Most captivating about the photograph is her eyes, coloured an unusual shade of aquamarine.

When Steve McCurry first took the girl’s photograph, he did not know her name, or anything else about her. Seventeen years later, the magazine decided to find the girl—now a grown woman—again. The search was near impossible; they did not know her name, and she had been living in a refugee camp at the time. She might be anywhere, she might even be dead.

She was eventually found, as this article explains. Her name is Sharbat Gula, and she told her story to National Geographic. She appeared on the cover of National Geographic for a second time, this time clad in a purple-hued burka with her face covered.

I found a dusty, faded copy of the June 1985 issue in my grandmother’s collection, in a pile comprising more than a fifty yellow-spined National Geographic issues. The magazine’s website contains archives, with issues much older than these. But to hold this famed 1985 issue and to look at the cover in print rather than on a screen was quite something.