Friday, 18 June 2010

Material test—Timber

Gordon Matta-Clark

Gordon Matta-Clark was born in New York in 1943 and died in 1978. He studied French literature at the Sorbonne and Architecture at Cornell University. From the early 1970s, as a founding member of the artist-run Food Restaurant in New York's SoHo neighborhood, Matta-Clark participated in numerous group exhibitions and projects. His work was presented in Documenta V, Kassel, Germany; and at exhibitions in Sao Paolo, Berlin, Zurich, and in the 9th Biennale de Paris. Major projects by Matta-Clark were staged in Aachen, Paris and Antwerp.

Following his death, major retrospective exhibitions have been organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, Germany; and IVAM Centro Julio Gonzalez, Valencia, Spain, among others. In 2007, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, honored him with a retrospective entitled "Gordon Matta-Clark: You Are the Measure."

Bronx Floors: Threshole 1972
2 black and white photographs
Each 356 x 508 mm
Bronx Floors: Threshole 1972
2 black and white photographs
Each 356 x 508 mm
City Slivers, 1976

City Slivers, 1976

Splitting, 1974

Splitting, 1974

Window Blow-Out, 1976
Window Blow-Out shows a derelict housing project in the Bronx with its windows bursted out. But what appears to be a random act of urban vandalism was actually a performance piece by Matta-Clark himself. In the performance, the artist shot at the windows of the empty building with a BB gun. The piece suggests that urban decay and neglect are manmade situations that can be avoided.

This is one of the Notable Entries for the Reburbia: a Suburban Design Competition going on now over at

I personally think this entry titled, Glass Houses: (Matta) Clark County, Nevada is brilliant. I’ve always loved the work of Gordon Matta-Clark which this entry uses beautifully as inspirational precedent.

From the entry website:

“Nevada has the highest foreclosure rate in the United States. 70,000 homes are affected- meaning 1 in 16 in homes is vacant. Not coincidentally, there are nearly 6,000 Clark County School District students who are now considered homeless. 1/3 of the homeless in Nevada are children under the age of 18, suggesting a much larger floating homeless population.

Re-inventing suburbia today is not a matter of making better houses or improving suburban planning. This project, although highly speculative, seeks to suggest a means of closing the gap between a near-absurd excess of new but vacant suburban homes across the nation, and our tragic, burgeoning homeless population.

We proceed from a Gordon Matta-Clark like vivisection of the typical subdivision. Each house within a standardized block is subdivided into four unequal units separated by a 3 meter wide gap that provides communal access and light. The interiors of each unit are reconfigured and capped with double glazed plates. The glass offers both a means of delivering acoustical and light control (via electrified privacy film.) Thermal control is delivered by employing the cavity space as a temperature buffer.

The ambition of re-envisioning the suburb must address what to do with the human as well as physical fall-out created by failed suburban development models and toxic financial speculation. Until we address the literal and metaphorical implications of these issues we are just gilding the suburban lily.”

For more on the other amazingly innovative entries check them out on theReburbia website. Voting going on now for the winners out of the top 20 selected finalists.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Cornelia Parker

b. 1956, Cheshire, England

For some years Cornelia Parker’s work has been concerned with formalising things beyond our control, containing the volatile and making it into something that is quiet and contemplative like the ‘eye of the storm’. She is fascinated with processes in the world that mimic cartoon ‘deaths’ – steamrollering, shooting full of holes, falling from cliffs and explosions. Through a combination of visual and verbal allusions her work triggers cultural metaphors and personal associations, which allow the viewer to witness the transformation of the most ordinary objects into something compelling and extraordinary. Lately Parker’s attention has turned to issues of globalisation, consumerism and the mass-media.

    • Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View, 1991
    • A garden shed and contents blown up
    • Dimensions variable
  • Hanging Fire Suspected Arson, 1999
  • Charcoal, wire, pins, nails
  • Length: 140 cm Width: 84 cm Height: 220 cm
    • Edge of England, 1999

      Chalk retrieved from a cliff fall at Beatch Head, South Downs, England

  • Breathless, 2001
  • Brass musical instruments, flattened
  • Alter Ego, 2004
  • Silver plated objects, wire
  • Quoting artist Cornelia Parker as she discusses her work, including Cold, Dark Matter: An Exploded View from 1991:

“I resurrect things that have been killed off... My work is all about the potential of materials - even when it looks like they've lost all possibilities.”

“It's a modern condition: the threat of bomb scares, and the fear it symbolizes. From seeing explosions on the news and all the time in films you sort of think you know what they are, but really your firsthand knowledge of it is very limited. I realized I'd never walked through the detritus of a bombed-out building."

"I like the life/death resurrection bit, which is very Catholic, something dies, but it's resurrected in another form."

Monday, 26 April 2010

Queen & David Bowie: Under Pressure

Mm ba ba de
Um bum ba de
Um bu bu bum da de
Pressure pushing down on me
Pressing down on you no man ask for
Under pressure - that burns a building down
Splits a family in two
Puts people on streets
Um ba ba be
Um ba ba be
De day da
Ee day da - that's o.k.
It's the terror of knowing
What this world is about
Watching some good friends
Screaming 'Let me out'
Pray tomorrow - gets me higher
Pressure on people - people on streets
Day day de mm hm
Da da da ba ba
Chippin' around - kick my brains around the floor
These are the days it never rains but it pours
Ee do ba be
Ee da ba ba ba
Um bo bo
Be lap
People on streets - ee da de da de
People on streets - ee da de da de da de da
It's the terror of knowing
What this world is about
Watching some good friends
Screaming 'Let me out'
Pray tomorrow - gets me higher high high
Pressure on people - people on streets
Turned away from it all like a blind man
Sat on a fence but it don't work
Keep coming up with love
but it's so slashed and torn
Why - why - why ?
Love love love love love
Insanity laughs under pressure we're cracking
Can't we give ourselves one more chance
Why can't we give love that one more chance
Why can't we give love give love give love give love
give love give love give love give love give love
'Cause love's such an old fashioned word
And love dares you to care for
The people on the edge of the night
And love dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves
This is our last dance
This is our last dance
This is ourselves
Under pressure
Under pressure

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Berlin Wall

The photographer Anthony Suau was sent by TIME Magazine to cover the opening of the border between East and West Berlin, he knew it would be the story of a lifetime

The Iconic Photo of the Haiti Earthquake

Mind Map series 2

Will it Blend?

More a series than any one video, the Will It Blend? YouTube phenomenon appeals to that most basic of human needs: the desire for destruction. The campy, faux-scientific videos from BlendTec feature a man in a lab coat throwing a wide array of random items (hockey pucks! iPhones!) into his company's line of blenders and turning on the power. Will it blend? Yes — and it's awesome.

Food is not the only thing fit in blender! Here I select a few videos which base on the modern topic. However this machine is incredible! Buy it! Buy it! It's almost double price as an IPad.


Guitar Hero

Air Soft Gun


Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Gorden Matta-Clark — Conical Intersect 1975

It is a very valuable video from Gordon Matta-Calrk

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Smash-Hit Design

Interesting topic what I discover during the food shopping :p

The Disappearance of Architecture as an Artistic Theme–Part 2

Nature in Architecture

The disappearance of built structures does, however, not simply result from profit seeking and desires for fame that become manifest in continually new structures, which pay little regard to the existing substance, but also springs from the effects of natural forces. As Georg Simmel established, architecture's constitutive paradox, defending something existent against transitoriness with the forces of nature against nature, has no permanence and finds its fate in the built structure's decay as "nature's revenge." The clash of nature and civilization becomes visible in architecture through ruins. This precarious relationship of architecture and nature stands vis-à-vis the desire to not only master natural powers with architecture, but also to design nature itself as a paradisiacal site of desire (horticulture) and integrate it into the dwelling.

In their photo-text montage Private 'Public' Space: The Corporate Atrium Garden (1987), Dan Graham and Robin Hurst see the need to create a little garden of paradise on earth as the outcome of the nature enthusiasm of the waning eighteenth century, influenced by the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. They follow and comment on how nature is incorporated in the city through six selected examples. They view the winter garden, as developed at world's fairs for the exhibition of exotic plants, as the forerunner of the publicly accessible atria in office towers arising since the 1960s--which they analyze as closed,"ecologically purified" spaces within a company building and whose function is to form a "hyperspace," to become "the sky" in a transferred sense. Here, nature appears within an architectural and institutional context, which presents it as controllable and part of a worldwide, highly technical civilization. Their artistic analysis--revealing the artificiality of this construction--counters this form of ideological manipulation.

Friday, 16 April 2010

The Disappearance of Architecture as an Artistic Theme–Part 1

Buildings emerge and decay. They promise permanence and security, although they are undoubtedly constantly remodeled and then disappear one day. Usually they are destroyed as the result of military conflicts or to make room for new buildings, and when they remain untouched, they are still inevitably subjected to the effects of natural forces and thereby to deterioration. To this extent, in contrast to the other arts, architecture, horticulture, and urban planning have a special relationship with nature: they must confront its forces directly. This precarious relationship to nature, whereby their own disappearance must necessarily be taken into account, can be a theme for art. This applies also to the destruction of what exists through new creation, which likewise contributes to architecture's disappearance.

Foundation as Displacement

Every construction process changes the spatial context and is even capable of ruining the evolved urban fabric and its environment. In the city, this process begins with the evacuation of buildings before demolition to make room for new structures. Gordon Matta-Clark's 1976 artistic intervention Window Blow-Out took up this theme in the context of the exhibition Idea as Model. The exhibition was set up at one of the most progressive forums for discussion of contemporary architecture, the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York, founded by architect and architecture theorist Peter Eisenman who also ran the Institute at this time. For Matta-Clark, the exhibition site apparently brought back bad memories for his architecture training at Cornell University. On the afternoon before the opening, he appeared with a small-bore rifle and asked curator Andrew McNair for permission to shoot the window panes in order to use them as frames for photos of residential building projects in the Bronx. McNair gave him permission (which he would later regret, as he lost his job) and was forced to watch as Matta-Clark shot out all of the windows without much ado. With this act of violent damage to the building, Matta-Clark alluded, on the one hand, to the "broken windows" theory, according to which the first signs of a neighborhood's decline (which also implies declining property values there) can be read from the broken window panes of unoccupied buildings. One the other hand, he confronted architecture--the actual exhibition building, and metaphorically, the discipline--with its social and spatial consequences: that architectural project (such as the building projects in the Bronx that he referred to) usually begin with the demolition of buildings after the people living in them have been driven out. The gesture hit its mark. The host banned Matta-Clark from the premises and had new windows installed.

The previous year, Matta-Clark ahd realized an artistic work (Conical Intersect) for the Paris Biennial of 1975, which likewise thematized the connection of building and ruining. In Paris' Les Halles neighborhood, a conroversial restructuring was going on at the time, which began with the demolition of the famous slaughterhouses by Victor Baltard and ended in the erection of a new cultural center, Centre Pompidou. Initially, Matta-Clark wanted to carry out his work in the still unfinished Centre Pompidou, but that proved to be impossible. So he switched his sights to a neighboring seventeenth-century residential building that was empty and slated for demolition. He cut out a cone shape in a 45-degree angle from the outer facade and several levels. The telescope-like drilling now allowed thousands of passersby to look from the street through the building to the Centre Pompidou construction site. Also made public the same time was the interior of the building and its history, legible in the traces of use.

THe adjacent Centre Pompidou also turned its inside outward. The design by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers positioned a great deal of the infrastructure--the stairways, elevators, ventilation pipes, etc.--on the outside, so that a maximum of different possible uses could be achieved inside. This resulted from the competition bid, which called for the greatest possible flexibility in dividing up the interior space. In this way, Piano and Rogers were able to create an empty space inside in which every measure in reversible. The cultural center was designed as a permanent "construction site." Accordingly, the facade related to the surrounding urban dynamics. The east facade, with its pipe system, mirrored the mechanical movement of the movement of the pedestrians was drawn into the facade through the transparent escalator tube placed out in front. What Piano and Rogers oust from the facade, Matta-Clark exposes. The slice in the adjacent older building associates the construction utopia composed by the technoid facade image with other side of construction, the destruction of evolved urban structures. The apparently destructive procedure of artistically ruining a building contextualized the Centre Pompidou and set it in a relationship, in term of construction, to the history of its origins. With his reversal strategy, Matta-Clark uncovers the ruptures created by urban redevelopment. The construction site is mirrored in demolition: architecture's promise of new uses in the future is based in the displacement of the existing ones.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

The Belly of an Architect (1987)

The American architect Stourley Kracklite has been commissioned to construct an exhibition in Rome dedicated to the architecture of Etienne-Louis Boullée. Doubts arise among his Italian colleagues to the legitimacy of Boullée among the pantheon of famed architects, perhaps because Boullée was an inspiration for Adolf Hitler's architect Albert Speer.

Tirelessly dedicated to the project, Kracklite's marriage quickly dissolves along with his health. His physical and social ruin in some way corresponds to the decline of his idol Boullée, who remained relatively forgotten until the twentieth century.

Kracklite becomes obsessed with the historical Caesar Augustus after hearing that Livia, the wife of Augustus, supposedly poisoned him. Kracklite assumes that his own wife Louisa has tried to do the same due to his increasing stomach pains.

plot summary from wiki

I read some comments about the film, it seems people are much full in love with the music rather than film itself. The music is written by Wim Mertens, an Belgian musican. Here is a videoclip from him.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Lucerne Bridge on Fire

The Kapellbrücke ("Chapel Bridge" in German) is a 204 m (670 ft) long bridge crossing the Reuss River in the city of Lucerne in Switzerland. It is the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe, and one of Switzerland's main tourist attractions.

The covered bridge, constructed in 1333, was designed to help protect the city of Lucerne from attacks. Inside the bridge are a series of paintings from the 17th century, depicting events from Luzerne's history. Much of the bridge, and the majority of these paintings, were destroyed in a 1993 fire, though it was quickly rebuilt.

Adjoining the bridge is the 140 feet (43 m) tall Wasserturm (Water Tower), an octagonal tower made frombrick, which has served as a prison, torture chamber, watchtower and treasury. Today the tower, which is part of the city wall, is used as the guild hall of the artillery association. The tower and the bridge are Lucerne's trademark and form the most photographed monument in the country.