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10.19.2014

THE HAUNTED HOUSE

halloween is fast approaching and I thought:
what better opportunity would there be to talk a bit about spooky architecture?
you see, i read an article the other day about how architecture could be taught through hitchcock films and there was a tiny entry regarding haunted houses.

as you all are probably aware, hitchcock was known for the grasping unnerving feeling one gets while watching the films. you know something is off or wrong or about to happen and the suspence is held til exactly the right moment. So you might be wondering what on earth does architecture have to do with this. well actually, quite a lot.
it was often discussed especially in postmodern architecture {1} how a space could be designed for a specific function. more often this is known as the form-follows-function rule. It is not however the case only with let's say office buildings, houses, or museums which could require specific attributes, but also for more abstract concepts such as designing a space specifically for spying, or for murder even (see g. aisopo's lecture). this makes for an interesting conversation now. how could a space possibly evoke such unsettling behaviors?
among other things, i believe it has a lot to do with atmosphere, mainly of the final interior result. how is a space lighted?
do walls and furniture obstruct movent or do they create an open, free space?
now, let's take some scenes from hitchcock like in "rebecca"{2} where we are watching joane fontaine move from one room to another of a very old house where literally everything from walls to little decorative objects are detached from her (she has not participated in the decor at all) and charged with a past that is unknown to her and us. aside from the aspect of the unknown which never fails to create a sense of uneasiness, there is additional fear created with the gradual revealing of information which informs the image of the surrounding space. it slowly begins to reveal its past history, tied to death and sorrow. there is no need for an actual spirit or ghost if you like. the game that the space begins to play with our senses and mind is enough to make it haunting.
finally, buildings, and spaces, sometimes landscapes themselves seem as though to have absorbed the air of their histories, of course, from a more logical point of view, it often is just your own self intimitely aware of said histories. i was walking by the quays in dublin the first rainy day i got there, and the characteristically loud seagull sounds instantly brought to mind scenes from james joyce's novels. experiencing the city was not to be the same without them. by the same token, when you walk into a space having been influenced by preconcieved notions or knowledge it is bound to affect your experience of it. an architect and designer, or like in the case of the example above, a director and scenographer can use elements that are known to bear such preconcieved notions to them and thus aim more directly in designing a space that can haunt you. similarly, though often much less successfully, such tactics are used in the "haunted houses" so many people love to visit during halloween.

on a somewhat separate note - i am pleased to report having found that the film is on youtube in its entirety. cheers!


{1} postmodernist architecture
{2} "rebecca" was based on the homonymus novel by daphne du maurier 
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10.14.2014

UPDATES AND STUFF

so it is mid term season, and i am finally getting a good taste of the pressure, though i'll admit to enjoying the whole process of grad school so far. there is a certain amount of tolerance you gain i suppose, when you know you're at the right place to follow your dreams.
i've been walking about like my own little tribute to the celebration which seems to be taking place online now that netflix is hosting "gilmore girls". stacks of books are literally everywhere - i am starting to think this is a peculiar kind of paradice i've managed to build around my tiny living space. outside?
well, outside for those of you who aren't in new york it is officially autumn. there has been a whole hype about calling people "basic" evolving around the pumpkin spice craze. i would like to say, i don't give a single nickle, i have totally been eating pumpkin pie and gingerbread stuff for weeks already. so other than eating, reading, writing and going to work and school there is one more thing that is on my radar this year - halloween!

my school is having a party, to which i will be going, and need to find a costume. the decision however is not being reached by any means. i've been going back and forth. the root of the problem lies in the fact that all my favorite book or film characters are either not adaptable to halloween standards or just not recognizable as a costume. most of my favorite artists and architects are men, the women are mostly brunettes and/or with characteristically straight hair. that leaves me with katharine hepburn, but i lack considerable height to pull that off.
now,
let's see if i can pull a diane keaton or a phoebe buffay?
in the meantime....

laugh at this little, mischievous pup, whilst i finish my readings for class tomorrow before i pass out unconcious. its name is apparantly quite unexpexted: beer dog.
also, when i take mini mental breaks guess where my brain would like me to be
Castle, Highlands, Scotland
scotland y'all. yes, it seems i am not quite through with the celts, although that was pretty much common knowledge. speaking of which, here is a fabulous bbc period series that you simply, absolutely, must watch. i am serious. and now we all pretty much know what i'll be re-watching.

than you for hanging in, and next week i'll come back with a post that will actually be about something other than everyday nonsense.

xoxo everyone
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10.05.2014

PHOTO-PERFECT GOOSEBUMPS*

october has now kicked in, though it is difficult for so many of us to actually believe it, and everyone is getting ready for halloween and pumpkin spice everything. i can say i've escaped the first, yet not the latter hype - pumpkin spice and ginger bread will always have special places in my heart. this year, i have not gotten all hyped about the candy or dressing up, however, i did stumble across a few things that are usually not associated with this holiday, and have been saving them all this time just to share them at the best moment because i think they may prove to be exceptionally inspirational.

when photography entered the art scene, it always seemed to me that though it began as a documenting tool (see pictures in art history books, and museum catalogues), when it started being recognized for its artistic potential it became something like a shiny new toy. artists began to experiment and create sometimes marvellous and sometimes quite questionable prints. regarding the first, i have particularly enjoyed, for the goosenumps they give me one type of photographic art, and one victorian photographer.

daguerrotype was introduced around the 1840's and as a photographic process it involves printing on a silver metallic plaque and often adding color by a very tricky and precise technique called hand-coloring which involved blowing pigments onto the photograph's surface {1} or even painting on it {1'}. the name derives from daguerre who seems to have developed the technique, and to be tha man from whom the hype that later developed rooted {2}. daguerrotypes became widely popular in france and the united states {3}.
the artist i spoke about earlier in my introduction is julia margaret cameron. she was british and known for her photographic portraits of a very particular style and aura.

her first camera was gifted to her in 1863, at the age of fourty-eight, an educated woman known for her associations with intellectuals of her time {5}. her pitcures are mesmerizing, as they combine the staticness of a photographic still, but the movement of the life portrayed. she had a fascinating personality - very unique - which shown through her work. the figures appeared nearly dematerialized, as though they belong to another dimension aside from the terrestrial one we know and live in.

these photographers, and photographic types, belonging to an era which did indeed have a tendency to seek the extraterrestrial, as well as advance in its reproductive technologies produced remarkable results in the field. aside from these well known pieces of art, which have entered the realms of art history, you can find many atmospheric and even eerie victorian photographs in practically any antique shop. i am now convinced that the latter would make excellent place cards and decorations for a truly ghostly haloween effect! what do you think? were you familiar with ms. cameron?

{1} the metropolitan muesum owns, and has displayed many of the colored daguerrotypes which are truly mesmerizing and eery at the same time. 
{1'} read more here
{2} see more at the daguerro society website
{3} hear more and see one developed on a video by the getty museum
{4} read more about her life here
{5} more on the heilbrunn timeline of art history
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9.29.2014

MAGICAL LIGHT

daniele buetti is an artist i have come across numerous times when researching the concept of light in art. buetti is a swiss visual artist who works with various media and produces installation pieces as well, like the one shown directly below.
his artwork's concepts evolve mainly around reality and human emotion. he questions whether we create reality or if it is the media that does {1}. what feelings become generated within you when you look at a media-generated reality? one of his most phantasmagoric works was a series of photographs of famous women embellished with patterns of light that comes through designed punctures. this specific series of works was titled "dreams result in more dreams".

well known images of pop culture, were turned into lightboxes. some of these images bore not just light patterns but texts as well. the artist in other words took the medium of popular photography and added that of light to create a new form that is not analog nor digital, and can carry his messages through to the viewer. he questions the concept of glamour. while his work first appears glistening and magical, it arouses questioning and doubt when looked at more carefully.

the work in my opinion, like other artworks, seems to open itself to the viewer's mind. each person can take away from it something slightly different than the other. it pushes you to think, after it has grasped your attention in - let's face it - a kind of brilliant, marketable way.

one of his series that has caught my attention more than his other works is "hands" {2}. in these lightbox-photographs, light becomes something between a physical mass and the immaterial. while the hands seem to have grasped it, light maintains an "escaping" quality - you have it but not entirely. in other pieces it seems to drizzle off of the hands entirely, portraying characteristics of a fluid. sometimes when looking at it for too long, i try to imagine a deeper meaning behind light, like that of dreams that you grasp yet cannot entirely, 100% predict their final outcome in life; you can only sculpt them to a specific degree unknown to you.

the use and reference to light, feeling and natural reality is not a unique concept in art or art history. as the symbol of deities, and the very source of life it has long carried great weight in its symbolic use and reference. from the ancient greek temples, to byzantine iconography, from tadao ando's church of light to buetti's lightbox art.

what do you think of  daniele buetti's work? are you ever mesmerized by artists' works which try to "harness" light?

{1} according his bio
{2} more on "hands"
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9.22.2014

BOOK IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Our book obsession continues here, and this time I have something really special to share. One of the first projects I had to involved reading a new art history/critic book.
I have mentioned before, how I think (regardless of how silly it may sound) that some books fall into your lap almost magically, like they intended to be there, at that specific time. Well, one more such book was "Medieval Modern: Art Beyond Time" by Alexander Nagel. Bagel is a professor at my school, and an art historian who delves on exciting subjects such as easle paintings,

This particular book initially caught my eye because of the title and its cover which bears an etching that was also used as a cover by the Bauhaus. It is a Gothic cathedral. As someone who constantly searches for the connections between medieval and Byzantine, and Modern and Contemporary you may understand why it became intriguing. Naturally, I plucked it from the shelf, among other things of course, and when its turn came, I was hooked.

Here, however is why I think anyone with an interest in art and/or history would be too.
What separates this book from many others is its use of the historical timeline. He breaks it. He plucks one object from Medieval and one from Modern that look phenomenologically completely different in every way and shows you what he thinks their connection to be. He connects Rennaisance painting to Modern works, and sacred spaces to installations. To take this even further, as a reader you become aware of comparisons you may had thought of, but definitely ones you were not expecting, and this dialogue between art works expands towards books and writing and literature as well.

What is also exciting about this book is the references. Thus said, I don't simply mean the ones which direct you to the endnotes or bibliography, but also the ones you get from the text and the writer's ideas themselves. My idea of a great art theory book is one that not only teaches you, but expands your mind, makes you react and question further, question yourself and the writer, question what is "known". This book does that to a very good extent in my personal opinion. It is like having a good, vibrant discussion/debate on art. Most importantly though, it focuses on continuity, bridges gaps that are sometimes self-imposed and can also serve as a push for artists. In simpler words, it is a book for artists, art historians and anyone with a passion for history and theory.

Also, here is an informative interview with the author from the publisher's blog.

Xoxo
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9.16.2014

THE CASE OF THE ABSTRACT NOTEBOOK

oil happens.
chances are, if you've eaten in a public space you already know that you can pick up a stain in the most unlikely of places. in my case of course, it was the most evident of places. i was tired and hungry, waiting for a friend, so i pulled out my little red moleskin and plopped it on the table.
let's just say when my friend arrived and i lifted it to place back in my bag it resembled a tortured cleaning cloth. there was no way i was going to throw it away. first of all, it is still new, and second of all...do you know how much moleskins cost?
so, i did the next best thing-i renovated it drawing inspiration from pierre soulages.
that said, i present you the three-step notebook renovation, and a very brief note on the artist of course.
The 3 Step Notebook
all you will need is some paint in black and white,
and a small cardboard piece.

here is what to do with it all...
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9.15.2014

THE MONDAY NOT-SO-NEWS REPORT

Good morning to all, and happy new week. I can't believe it is already the 15th of September. Fall is officially here and I am steadily bringing out those sweaters and cozy scarves that I have missed and are so great for wrapping yourself in when you're reading.

You may have noticed a thinning in my number of posts lately. The truth is that the blog is in a spiral of change - good ones for the most. As I had mentioned a little while ago, after having gotten our new design down and functioning, I began grad school while also working. Naturally, my schedule is pretty busy. I started this blog however, whilst in school, as a means to share wonderous things and get out of my own head for a little, so I have come to love this little online community that has grown around it more than you may possible imagine.

Therefore, I will dedicate this Monday to talking about "us".
{unknown source}
Things, like I said are going to be a wee bit different. There will be about two posts, ocassionally three per week. Our interest subjects all together will remain fairly unaltered. The topics will evolve around the arts and design, books and of course style. There will still be the ocassional diy, because crafts are just immensely fun and practical and get us in touch with our superb inner artists. In fact, I have one coming up that I am certain you will really enjoy. Hint: it involves stylish black paint.

As you can see, everything will be mostly the same, just toned down a tad. I will still be sharing things I like, that can make us passionate and interested, educational and all around great with you all. I like to think that this new chapter iny life for which I am particularly excited, will provide a whole new list of things to share and talk about. If there is anything specific you'd like to propose please feel free to contact me via blog or the info you can find on my " about" page.

Till our next post, xoxo
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