Thursday, February 25, 2010

Memory Mirrors

Andy Lock, 2003-04, Orchard Park series (Bed)

Like a death mask, Andy Lock's images of Orchard Park persist as impressions of something now gone. Before the building was demolished Lock photographed the abandoned apartments, the images gaining a metaphysical haunting with his alchemical photo processing. Taking the images as slides, Lock projected them onto a wall painted with glow-in-the-dark paint, and then photographed the after-glow, the after-image that appeared on the wall.

Andy Lock, 2003-04, Orchard Park series (Monopoly)

Like an apparition summoned to a séance the photographs appear unearthly. The green of the glow in the dark paint is at once nostalgic and toxic. The phosphorescence is is reminiscent of a Christmas decoration I have which is generations old, and glows in the dark. This magical quality always seemed very sinister, as, so family mythology had it, the glowing surface was radioactive.

Andy Lock, 2003-04, Orchard Park series (Vinyl Armchairs)

If photography is, as Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote in the 1850s, "the mirror with a memory", then perhaps it is a mere skip from the specular to the spectral, of haunted reflections, the after-images of the after-life ....

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Island Dreaming

Video by Melinda Hunt

In the Western tradition, islands have always been associated with becoming rather than being, thresholds to other worlds, way stations rather than home places.
John Gillis

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Museum of Innocence

The future Museum of Innocence, Çukurcuma, Istanbul

"The museum is not an illustration of the novel and the novel is not an explanation of the museum. They are two representations of one single story perhaps." To build a real museum of a fictional event is to enter the möbius strip of reality, surreality, superfiction. Orhan Pamuk's The Museum of Innocence, 2009, is both a novel and an actual project, a museum to be established in Çukurcuma, an area in Istanbul. Exhibited in the museum will be items related to the novel, and within the pages of the book is a map and a ticket to the museum.

Like another museal superfiction, The Museum of Contemporary Ideas, the imbricated loops and links, shuttling between a real city and an imagined story, set up a parallel existence, one which is never wholly realisable. Peter Hill's Museum of Contemporary Ideas, 1989, was the birthplace of 'superfiction,' the use of visual and textual language of official institutions to frame invented, fictional institutions, events, or people. Hill’s Art Fair Murders was both a novel and an installation that interwove fact and fiction.

Or even the recent tale of real-life French intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy who unwittingly cited a fictitious philosopher in his latest book, De la Guerre en Philosophie. In the book Lévy quotes Jean-Baptiste Botul, a faux philosopher invented by Frederic Pages. Although perceived as a major error on Lévy's part - even a quick search on the internet will reveal the nature of Botul's existence, and his particular strand of philosophy known as Botulism - perhaps, just maybe, it is an intricate work of superfiction... Like Pamuk's creation of a real museum for a fictional story, of Hill's elaborate interweaving of life and art, citing an imaginary theorist might elevate mere philosophy to a work of art...

(Image above from Açalya Allmer (2009) Orhan Pamuk's 'Museum of Innocence': on architecture, narrative and the art of collecting . Arq : Architectural Research Quarterly, 13(2))

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Diagrams ... out now

Since the 1980s, the diagram has become a preferred method for researching, communicating, theorising and making architectural designs, ideas and projects. Thus the rise of the diagram, as opposed to the model or the drawing, is the one of the most significant new developments in the process of design in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Diagrams of Architecture is the first anthology to represent – through texts and diagrams – the histories, theories and futures of architecture through the diagram.
Spanning the Pre–historic to the Parametric, Diagrams of Architecture illustrates over 250 diagrams and brings together 26 previously published and newly commissioned essays from leading international academics, architects, theorists and professional experts. These combine to define the past and future of the diagram′s discourse. Prefaced with a critical introduction by Mark Garcia, each text investigates a central concept or dimension of the diagram ranging from socio–cultural studies, science, philosophy, technology, CAD/CAM, computing and cyberspace and virtual/digital design to methodology, environment/sustainability and phenomenological, poetic and art architecture; as well as interior, urban, engineering, interactive and landscape design.
The first critical, multidisciplinary book on the history, theory and futures of the architectural diagram. Includes seminal articles on the diagram from the history and theory of architecture such as those by Peter Eisenman, Sanford Kwinter, MVRDV, Neil Spiller, Lars Spuybroek, UN Studio and Anthony Vidler. Features 16 newly commissioned articles by leading architects and theorists, including Will Alsop, Charles Jencks, Hanif Kara, Patrik Schumacher, Bernard Tschumi, Leon van Schaik and Alejandro Zaera–Polo.Includes a full–colour critical collection of over 250 of the most significant and original diagrams, many of which are previously unpublished, in the history of architecture from around the world.
[Includes: Jacky Bowring and Simon Swaffield, Diagrams of Landscape Architecture]
John Wiley & Sons 2010 ISBN-10: 0470519444

Beyond the Scene

beyond the scene
Landscape and Identity in Aotearoa New Zealand

Co-editors Janet Stephenson, Mick Abbott, Jacinta Ruru

Well-known writers, from a range of disciplines, explore the many meanings of landscape...

If a nation could be said to have a dominant passion, New Zealand’s would be its landscapes. Images of spectacular natural features pervade the media – between the pages of glossy coffee-table books, in tourism promotions and on screen as the setting for blockbuster movies - but are these scenes that define its people?

For Beyond the Scene the editors asked eleven writers to choose a landscape that was important to them and to write about it from the perspective of their life experience and knowledge. From farmer to art historian and film critic, geographer and planner to lawyer, from landscape architect to poet and environmentalist – these are diverse voices. Each discusses a very different landscape: from suburban Auckland and rural Waikato to a planned town in Canterbury and much-filmed Otago. Together they investigate the relationship landscape has to identity, community and psyche.

Foreword Diane Menzies
1 Entering Landscape Janet Stephenson, Jacinta Ruru and Mick Abbott
2 Land, Sea and Sky in Taranaki Maori Songs of Lament Ailsa Smith
3 Of Rocks and Recollections: Our home in the South Waikato Gordon Stephenson
4 Waitaha – A Canterbury poem sequence David Eggleton
5 Eternal Sunshine: The search for spotless landscapes Jacky Bowring
6 Otara and Dannemora: Contrasting landscape and ethnic identities in two South Auckland suburbs Wardlow Friesen and Robin Kearns
7 Films, National Identity and the Otago Landscape Davinia Thornley
8 Outside the Frame: Depicting Auckland's urban landscape Linda Tyler
9 A Cloaked Landscape: Legal devices in Mount Aspiring National Park Jacinta Ruru
10 Patina: People and place in Akaroa Janet Stephenson
11 Travelleing Landscapes: Ngai Tahu rock and and Ngai Tahu identity Lyn Carter
12 A Future with Our Past: Toward a creative practice of heritage in the Coastal Otago
Mick Abbott
13 Landscape’s Generosity Janet Stephenson, Jacinta Ruru and Mick Abbott

beyond the scene
Landscape and Identity in Aotearoa New Zealand
Co-editors Janet Stephenson, Mick Abbott, Jacinta Ruru
Environmental studies, Planning, Geography, Cultural Studies
240 x 170mm, 224 pp, ISBN 978 1 877372 81 0, $45.00
Otago University Press


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Killing Time

Lincoln, 2008, JB
Memories are killing. So you must not think of certain things, of those that are dear to you, or rather you must think of them, for if you don’t there is the danger of finding them, in your mind, little by little.
Samuel Beckett

London, 2006, JB

... we hold within us a treasure of impressions, clustered in small knots, each with a flavour of its own, formed from our own experiences, that become certain moments of our past...
Marcel Proust
One of those periods of harvesting - not sowing, but reaping, as the sun is high in the sky and the mind's eye turns inward. The mind has many chambers, akin to a cow's stomach. Thoughts, images, memories, move between these vast spaces, and after each passage are slowly transformed. Mnemonic enzymes are added. Sharp edges are slowly broken down. Precision becomes frisson, a mere glancing encounter, a sensation, the slight breath of wind. Was it so?