What defines art, what defines architecture? Is there common ground and are there borders? Some relevant and contextually appealing questions we can ask ourselves when thinking about building the future. We all have our ideas about how something should look, whether it likens to a style or to an image created from fiction, there is a strong chance that our ideal building is a little like something we've seen before. That's understandable, we could of course imagine any kind of crazy shape and call it a building only it won't necessarily be our ideal one. When art comes into the equation, we always want to include an element of humanity in a project in order to give it a certain personality.
Naturally a designer wants people to be able to see a design and say “Yes, I know who built that”. Architects are no different in this regard.
MVRDV are an architecture company that specialise in preparing urban environments for the future. They want to bring the run-down and forgotten into the new today with fundamentally modern and yet aesthetically gorgeous presentation. Possibly the root cause of the mostly unsightly brutalist legacy was that in predicting the future and using concrete left little room for pleasant personality. This time, atmosphere and appearance have been given key thought. That's something that I think is of great importance.
In South Korea's Seoul, a recent MVRDV project has been completed called The Imprint. Off-the-wall angles and oddly folding extremities on the buildings give a psychedelic effect to their structure. The abstractly sculpted buildings form a network of attractions/venues which make up part of the larger Paradise City Complex, near the main city airport. Clearly there to be seen and walked around, each individual building is a monument to the world of design and creative expression.
It doesn't have to be left up to big firms to complete much needed regeneration works in urban areas. When communities get together and work with local authorities, great things can be achieved from the ground up. It doesn't have to be up to big government to reach down and, with often over-bearing hands, put everything how it should be. There are equally as capable people on the city-centre high streets, walking past the places that could do with extra care. We can all apply ourselves to brightening up our own communities. An interesting report from the Center for Community Progress and Metris Arts Consulting in the USA shows that communities received great rewards from allowing and backing local artists to culturally renovate disused properties.
Everyone enjoys the benefits of having clean and good looking neighbourhoods. We all have a role to play in the facilitation of bringing what is around us into the modern standard we want. From remembering to use the bins to volunteering to be part of a larger project, there's always opportunity to socially invest. Perhaps write to the local council and ask them about your ideas, it might be the start of something. Images via Inhabitat.
A brilliant initiative from the local Hispanic community of down town Phoenix's Arizona State University is a bilingual poetry event. Called Voz De Sparky and aimed at integrating English and Spanish speaking residents and students into one literary movement, it stands to do amazing work with breaking down national walls which prevent each other from growing as a whole. Enabling cultural differences to become a celebratory subject of artistic ventures proves that what divides us is a resource of depth and wisdom.
This year, the event is on October 4th and is taking place in the First Amendment Building of the campus. Named Voces de la Calle or Voices of the Street, the direction opens up for many routes and roads which can be verbally explored in English and Spanish. The specific insights and stories waiting to be told can only be revealed on the night, however for those in the audience they will no doubt influence future thought in some way. That's the purpose of art.
For the Hispanic community there, it is important for their stories and experiences to be voiced. Often muffled by the barriers of language and anxiety, providing a safe haven where their words are the exhibit really makes a difference emotionally. This then will naturally translate into their ability to integrate and to feel at home where their home now is. Because English speakng people and many intellectual Americans truly appreciate culture and poetry, the combination of these two factors will no doubt attract a crowd. Once more, serving to bolster the confidence and geographical integrity of those who may need it.
According to spokeswoman Arisbeth Valenzuela, the event is aiming to “advocate, celebrate and educate not just the Mexican and Hispanic populations but (also) the entire Sun Devil community.” (statepress).
Sun Devil refers to the athletics teams which the university students belong to. There are various sports which all come under this one umbrella. It's good that poetry and literature are being given the same level of respect as sports. The whole message is one of positivity, validation, and reinforcement of personality. This must be an amazing experience for everyone partaking in it.
We can all learn from this, and prove that we too can celebrate cultural differences and learn from them. By understanding each other we diminish the fear of the unknown and we also learn how to best communicate across national lines. It's never easy to embrace something completely new and something we may have heard bad things about in the past, however when confronted with it in a proper way that's built from the ground up, we can quickly learn that we are all just people and we all have a story to tell.
Berlin based music company Innervisions bring their musical arsenal to the Royal Albert Hall for a one off celebrity bash of their top acts. Performing as collaborations or as one off events for the year, many of the billed names can only be seen in full at this one event for the foreseeable future. An elaborate set-list of performances with special effects and lighting are set to woo and entrance the revellers of South Kensington and beyond at this premiere and limited edition evening.
The prestigious venue has never before show-cased such an event. Having a six hour long back to back expo of artists working under the Innervisions label brings house and techno to the top of the cultural hill. Billed as containing mainly brand new material with choreographed audio-visuals, the experience will not only be novel for the venue but for everyone who has travelled the distance to the show.
From 6.30 pm on Friday the 21st of September, the Innervisions show will provide the cream of their selection until midnight. Run by the musical duo Âme and the prolific Dixon, the label boasts a star-studded backdrop of names. Of course, Dixon and Âme will be headlining the event plus Frank Wiedemann from Âme will be providing sounds alongside Matthew Herbert and Gudrun Gut. He also opens the night with folk musician Ry X as the group Howling. Another collaboration on the night will be between German house DJ Henrik Schwarz and Norwegian jazz musician Bugge Wesseltoft. With dance by Nina Kurtela to round off the experience, everyone will be satisfied with the sought after proceedings.
Check all the official details here.
Pam Tanowitz, American dancer and choreographer, put movement to music in a big way when she wrote a dance accompaniment for Bach. The Goldberg Variations were originally scored for the Harpsichord and consisted of thirty variations and an aria, which is a composed solitary melody. First heard in 1741, many artists have performed and worked on the piece. However the work of Tanowitz made a real scene among the dance and performance loving community. Last year, when she produced the show, herself and her pianist, one Simone Dinnerstein, exhibited the gruelling evening long rendition with all the best actions.
The show hasn't stopped there for Pam, taking the theme of modernising the classic through a new medium and set of creative rules, Tanowitz has turned her dancing shoes to Eliot. The classic poet from the twentieth century is widely read across the world. Writing from his American roots has allowed the mind of the poet to express his culture to a global audience of millions. Honouring this work with choreography adds a new chapter on the book of his greatest works.
Working with Gideon Lester, Bard College director of theatre and dance, Pam Tanowitz has devised a compelling performance of movement and synchronous flow to grace the words of one of America's great heroes. Narrated by Kathleen Chalfant, The Four Quartets have been set to music by Kaija Saariaho, a Finnish composer, and performed by New York orchestra The Knights,.It all involves elaborate costumes, lighting effects, and exquisite dancing.
Burnt Norton, East Coker, The Dry Salvages and Little Gidding make up the four pieces of poetry in the Quartets and each one represents a specific place with its own personality. The poetry and performances reflect this in the manner they're written and in the images used to assist with their message. "The core is spiritual: It has rhythm, it's development, it's form, it's traditional, and there's freedom in the tradition," Pam Tanowitz (Straits Times).
Pam is pushing herself even further than before with this production. Not only is she in uncharted ground by writing a dance movement for a lengthy poetic work, she is also dancing in the show herself. Rare for Pam as with most choreographers, being integral to the performance in the physical sense ensures that history is made. Reimagined, The Four Quartets become as memorable as many other homages to the greats.
What would you set to dance? Comment with some ideas!