Wednesday, March 24, 2010

House of Integration

Architects: FORM/Kouichi Kimura Architects
Location: Shiga, Japan, 2010
Site Area: 166,21 sqm
Photograph by Takumi Ota

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Fair on the Vorobyev Mountains

Nikolai Petrov
Fair on the Vorobyev Mountains (later Lenin Mountains).1930s

The Dover Bitch

So there stood Matthew Arnold and this girl
With the cliffs of England crumbling away behind them,
And he said to her, 'Try to be true to me,
And I'll do the same for you, for things are bad
All over, etc., etc.'
Well now, I knew this girl. It's true she had read
Sophocles in a fairly good translation
And caught that bitter allusion to the sea,
But all the time he was talking she had in mind
The notion of what his whiskers would feel like
On the back of her neck. She told me later on
That after a while she got to looking out
At the lights across the channel, and really felt sad,
Thinking of all the wine and enormous beds
And blandishments in French and the perfumes.
And then she got really angry. To have been brought
All the way down from London , and then be addressed
As a sort of mournful cosmic last resort
Is really tough on a girl, and she was pretty.
Anyway, she watched him pace the room
And finger his watch-chain and seem to sweat a bit,
And then she said one or two unprintable things.
But you mustn't judge her by that. What I mean to say is,
She's really all right. I still see her once in a while
And she always treats me right. We have a drink
And I give her a good time, and perhaps it's a year
Before I see her again, but there she is,
Running to fat, but dependable as they come.
And sometimes I bring her a bottle of Nuit d' Amour.

Anthony Hecht

The William Penn Dining Room

The William Penn Diner, U.S. Routes 13 and 40,
six miles south of Wilmington, Delaware, ca 1939.

Institutional Attitudes

The Comité van Roosendaal is proud to announce its first public activity, the two-day conference Institutional Attitudes to take place on 24 and 25 April in de Beursschouwburg in Brussels, coinciding with Art Brussels.

Institutional Attitudes looks at a founding premise of the Comité van Roosendaal: the shared conviction that contemporary art institutions may be an important voice in society. Within this premise, key questions include: What kind of contemporary society must be envisioned, given the recent economic crisis and the ecological state of emergency? How can existing art institutions adjust to the current paradigm shifts? In full confidence that institutions are not only products of their society, but also constitute active agents capable of shaping society in return, what novel public potential exists for the art institution? These research questions are stimulated by recent proposals engaging with notions of commons and of the commonwealth, such as Italian philosopher Paolo Virno's call to consider a non-representative democracy that might be expressed through "a galaxy of foundations, a network of institutes."

The Comité van Roosendaal has invited a range of esteemed art professionals and academics, as well as public figures from outside the art world, to critically evaluate recent events and sketch scenarios for the near future and beyond, in a program of three chapters.

Chapter 1: Institutional Domains

Bart De Baere, Miroslaw Balka, Alex Farquharson, Ann Goldstein, Sofia Hernandez Chong Cuy, Marc Jacobs, Simon Sheikh, Frans Timmermans

Chapter 2: Beyond Criticality

Bassam El Baroni, Ann Demeester, Nataša Ilić, Marta Kuzma, Julia Moritz, Vanessa Joan Müller, Irit Rogoff, Michael Turner

Chapter 3: Dismeasurement and Public Responsibility

Zdenka Badovinac, Manu Claeys, Charles Esche, Pascal Gielen, Anselm Franke, Maurizio Lazzarato, Dieter Lesage, Dieter Roelstraete, Nicolaus Schafhausen

Location: de Beursschouwburg, Auguste Ortsstraat 20 – 28, Brussel.

Source :


Architect: Paul Rudolph (drawing) 1960.

Tuskegee Institute. Interdenominational Chapel. Longitudinal section. Rendering

Friday, March 12, 2010

Swimming club

Photography by Martin Parr, Brighton: David Sawyers, member of the Brighton sea swimming club, some of whose members swim in the sea all year round. David is disabled and loves his swimming, where he can experience total freedom both physically and mentally.

The Velvet Philosophical Revolution

On the evening of November 9, 1989, the wall of shame was breached. The next morning, I took off for Berlin; shortly afterward, I experienced the Velvet Revolution in Prague, and finally the fall of Ceauşescu in Bucharest. The year 1990 opened joyfully for the human race. But I was struck by the difference in the emotions felt in the East and in the West. Representative of the West was Francis Fukuyama and his idea, which caused a sensation, that history had just come to an end. But those in the East realized that this was far from the case. Less than a month before the Berlin Wall fell, I had given a speech in front of Chancellor Helmut Kohl and the cream of the Federal Republic of Germany in honor of Czech dissident Václav Havel, who was receiving the Frankfurt Book Fair’s prestigious Peace Prize while still a prisoner in his own country. I entitled the speech “To Leave Communism Is to Enter History”—the view of those emerging from behind the Iron Curtain.
The West’s confusion arose because it wasn’t prepared for such a fundamental unsettling of postwar geopolitics. During four decades of ideological confrontation, theoreticians and journalists had argued about how a society should move from capitalism to socialism. There was no research on the opposite question—that is, on the transition from socialism to capitalism—apart from a few inconclusive studies, most notably in Poland, concerning the possibility of introducing some elements of the free market into a Communist society. As the philosopher Josep Ramoneda has observed, the whole world—Communists, anti-Communists, and those in between—took it as given that the Soviet Union and its satellites could not “return” to capitalism. So when, during the Velvet Revolution, demonstrators posed exactly this question—How can we go from socialism to capitalism?—there was no ready answer.
As Western intellectuals watched Berlin in November 1989, they reconsidered their long belief that the world was fated to be Communist—but retained their belief in fate. Providence had at last spoken, chance was abolished, the terrible parenthesis of the twentieth century had closed. Forgotten, erased, transcended, surpassed were 1914–1989, the bloodiest and cruelest 75 years of the human adventure to date. Tocquevilleans rediscovered the ineluctable movement of universal democracy; Saint-Simonians passed on to ecologists the promise that the administration of things would replace the government of men; Hegelians like Fukuyama celebrated the End of History and of history’s wars; Social Democrats promised that understanding among peoples would grow. We were entering the peaceful, postmodern Promised Land, where great heroes, great dangers, great peoples, and great goals would all disappear, as Jean-François Lyotard, author of The Postmodern Condition, notoriously argued. The end of the Cold War plunged the “free world,” as it had been called, into a boundless euphoria. Western Europe immediately eliminated its military budgets, while Washington announced a “new world order.”
The other Europe, just emancipated from Moscow’s domination, did not share this optimism. The peoples extricating themselves from totalitarian despotism were at the same time rejoining history as freely choosing agents.
And they found before them two possible futures. One is symbolized today by Havel and Lech Walesa, Charter 77 and Poland’s Solidarity; the other by Slobodan Milošević and Vladimir Putin.
Czechs and Serbs faced the same post-1989 challenges as they confronted the dismantling of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. In Prague, widespread poverty and corruption tempted the antitotalitarian dissidents whom the Velvet Revolution brought to power to choose repression rather than democracy. Their ultimate decision, though, was decisive: freedom would be the highest priority. Slovakia and the Czech Republic separated without conflict, and in the end, both entered the European Union. In Belgrade, by contrast, a sly and corrupt Communist bureaucrat seized power. Milošević forged an alliance of various forces of repression against the contagion of liberty. While he set aside Marxist ideology, he preserved its coercive methods. Wars and waves of ethnic cleansing ravaged Yugoslavia from 1991 to 1999. Milošević proved ready to spill blood in order to regain lost territories, and he ended up in The Hague, facing charges of crimes against humanity.
Ecstatic Westerners dreamed that the period of totalitarian cruelty was over, as if former Soviet bureaucrats could somehow emerge as new men, despite 70 years of brainwashing, or as if the chaos of radically nationalist dictatorships would easily resolve itself. But no great political savior awaited, Havel argued; Czechs were left to their own responsibilities, to “the power of the powerless,” to what the Czech philosopher Jan Patočka, who inspired Havel, called the “solidarity of the shaken”—of those, that is, shaken by totalitarian regimes and devoted to opposing them.
More recently, we have seen this solidarity in the democratic uprisings in Georgia in 2003 and in Ukraine in 2004, which should have drawn the attention of those who remained deaf through 12 years and 200,000 deaths in the martyrdom of Chechnya. In Ukraine, President Putin intervened shamelessly in the affairs of a state whose independence he refused to recognize. In Georgia, he sent in the tanks. Responding to the international press, Putin denounced the peaceful uprisings that swept away post-Soviet puppets in Tbilisi and Kiev as “permanent revolution” and “its dangerous disorders.” Thus he defamed a liberating uprising of long duration, one that started in the blood of East Berlin in 1953; continued in Poznań and Budapest in 1956, in Russia with the dissidence of the sixties, in Prague in 1968, and in the struggle of Solidarity in the 1980s; and was crowned by the fall of the Berlin Wall.
It is an uprising that in Poland brought together Catholics and freethinkers, at odds for more than a century, who together founded Solidarity. In Russia, moderns like Andrey Sakharov and traditional believers like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn worked side by side. In Prague and Bratislava, university professors, instead of teaching the official lies, chose to be window washers or furnace repairmen, and Charter 77 brought together the Left and the Right, skeptics and the religious. Antitotalitarianism cultivates its own convictions, without sectarianism; dissidence does not attempt to replace the official dogma with another one but instead introduces an intellectual revolution that precedes—and that alone makes possible—the social and political changes that will remake the map of Europe.
This revolution has not ended, which is why the Kremlin does not appreciate insurrections in Georgia and Ukraine. Europe’s new frontier is at stake on the uncertain terrain of history, and the alternatives are still these: Havel and Milošević.

Text by André Glucksmann, Translation by Alexis Cornel.
Source: City Journal, Winter 2010, vol.20, no.1

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Shelter/ Haiti

In just a short period of time since the earthquake hit Haiti, designers have been proposing possible housing solutions for the country. We will share a variety of these housing schemes with you throughout the week, with the hope that they will encourage more people to get involved to help not only Haiti, but also Chile. The first proposal is designed by Andres Duany, a Miami architect. Duany, with the help of sociologists and anthropologists, has designed four different versions of a temporary structure to relieve the urgent need for housing in Haiti. The differences in the homes respond to the varying ways Haitians live, so that each home is tailored to their specific needs.

Architect: Andres Duany

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cell floor decorated with torn strips of cloth

Marie Lieb, cell floor decorated with torn strips of cloth, 1894

We have no detailed information about Marie Lieb’s life. We only know that she was hospitalized in the Heidelberg clinic in 1894 diagnosed with “periodic mania”. Only two photographs survive as evidence of her distinctive style. Wilhelm Weygandt, the former assistant of Emil Kraepelin, published them in his book Atlas und Grundriss der Psychiatrie. The caption said: “...Patterns ripped out from bed sheets by a manic woman, spread on the floor of her room.” Marie Lieb grouped cyclic motifs of flowers, stars and circles (as well as writing) into orderly ornaments that resemble the magical patterns of medicine men. It is likely that she created these installations in order to delineate her personal space.

Source :

Red and yellow shoes

Submitted by Christy at My parents were awesome blog

Alice in Wonderland (1903)

At 800ft, Alice in Wonderland was the longest film yet produced in Britain, running about 12 minutes. Its unusual length meant that it was not suitable for all film showings, where a variety of short subjects was considered ideal, so all the scenes were sold individually. A showman need only buy and show a single sequence, such as the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, not the whole film, which was less a self-contained story than an illustration of key moments from the book.

In 1903, there were two directors working at the Hepworth studio in Walton-on-Thames, Cecil Hepworth himself and Percy Stow. Hepworth was responsible for the studio's non-fiction films, while Stow made all the fiction films. This was such a large production that the two men worked together.

The film required an unusual amount of planning for its day. Hepworth was insistent that the images stay faithful to the drawings of Sir John Tenniel, the original illustrator of Lewis Carroll's story, and so before filming could begin, a large number of costumes had to be made, including several dozen playing card costumes, and flats painted to Tenniel's original designs. The film was made on the small wooden stage in the garden of the villa housing Hepworth's company, with exteriors shot in the lavish gardens of Mount Felix, a local estate which until recently had been owned by the son of Thomas Cook the travel agent.

Alice was played by Mabel Clark, who as well as acting also ran errands and acted as a kind of studio secretary. There were no professional actors at the studio, so all of the staff pitched in and played parts. Hepworth played the frog footman and his wife played the White Rabbit and the Queen. The film also featured an early appearance by the family dog, Blair, who would become famous as the star of Rescued by Rover (1905).

35mm, black and white, silent, 800 feet
Directors Percy Stow
Cecil M.Hepworth
Production Company Hepworth & Co.


Monday, March 1, 2010

The Ways of White Folks and others

The Ways of White Folks by Langston Hughes, 1934

Fine Clothes to the Jew by Langston Hughes, 1927

Don't You Want to Be Free? (1938) by Langston Hughes
was performed for his Harlem Suitcase Theatre in Harlem, New York City.

Revolutionary Time

In his most recent book, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce, Slavoj Zizek blames the failure of contemporary activism on our assumption that time is a one-way line from past to future. He argues that activism is failing to avert the coming catastrophe because it subscribes to the same notions of linear time as industrial society. According to Zizek, a regeneration of activism must begin with a change in our understanding of temporality. Paraphrasing Jean-Pierre Dupuy, Zizek explains that “if we are to confront adequately the threat of (social or environmental) catastrophe, we need to break out of this ‘historical’ notion of temporality: We have to introduce a new notion of time.” This new notion of time is a shift of perspective from historical progress to the timelessness of a revolutionary moment.

The new role of the activist should not be to push history in the right direction but instead to disrupt it altogether. “This is what a proper political act would be today: not so much to unleash a new movement, as to interrupt the present predominant movement. An act of ‘divine violence’ would then mean pulling the emergency cord on the train of Historical Progress,” writes Zizek. Accomplishing this act of revolutionary violence involves a switch of perspective from the present looking forward to the future looking backward. Instead of trying to influence the future by acting in the present, Zizek argues that we should start from the assumption that the dreaded catastrophic event – sudden climate catastrophe, a “gray goo” nano-crisis, the widespread adoption of cyborg technologies – has already happened and then work backwards to figure out what we should have done. “We have to accept that, at the level of possibilities, our future is doomed, that the catastrophe will take place, that it is our destiny – and then, against the background of this acceptance, mobilize ourselves to perform the act that will change destiny itself and thereby insert a new possibility into the past.” Only by assuming the feared event has already happened, can we imagine what actions would be necessary to prevent its occurrence. We could then take these steps. “Paradoxically,” Zizek concludes, “the only way to prevent the disaster is to accept it as inevitable.”

Zizek is right to suggest that activism is at a crossroads. Any honest culture jammer will admit that our signature moves have lately failed to arouse more than a few tepid responses. The fact is that our present is being swallowed by the future we dreaded: a dystopian sci-fi nightmare of enforced consumerism and planet-wide degradation. Activism now faces the dilemma of how to walk the line between false hope and pessimistic resignation. It is no longer tenable to hold the nostalgic belief that educating the population, recycling and composting and advocating for “green capitalism” will save us from the brink. Likewise, it is difficult to muster the courage to act when the collapse of civilization seems unavoidable, imminent and, in our most misanthropic moments, potentially desirable. Zizek’s shift in temporality offers us a way to balance the paralyzing realization that our demise is inevitable with the motivating belief that we can change our destiny. By accepting that we are doomed, we free ourselves to break from normalcy and act with the revolutionary fervor needed to achieve the impossible.

Text by Micah White
Source :


Photograph of products for home and modern furniture for advertisement, Liberty and Co. Ltd, c.1952.