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Pop, goes Tate Modern

Pop, goes Tate Modern | on art and design | Scoop.it
Burutapen's insight:
Admittedly, and from the point of view of aesthetics, Pop is not my favourite art movement. I do however think that it captured a very important moment in history and was one of the pivotal movements that shaped what was to become of art. It gave us a license to think very differently and maybe this is why I found the latest exhibition at the Tate disappointing.
 
Tate Modern has curated a selection of works from lesser known artists, in order to explore the movement beyond the commercial line that made it famous... or so it is been said. I, however, have been left feeling that, at this exhibition, the language is, in fact, circumstantial and often unclear rather than the thread.
 
The works, many by female artists,  have two main topics emerging: war and sex. Typical of the period, these topics have been present, if not as explicitly, in the pop art we are used to see; but here they are the thread and for most of this exhibition you cannot escape them. 
 
Some of the works are deeply moving and unsettling : El Castigo,  a sculpture showing a policeman beating up someone on the floor was observed by a fixated toddler as I worked in the room and, probably reminded by my own childhood in the Basque Country and the images that never leave me, I found myself stepping in to block the view. Others you pass without blinking.
 
Timely as it could have been with the 100 years since the suffragette movement, it is not an exhibition about women artists or a political one. It falls between pop, feminism and political art without fully investing itself in any one of those topics.  Will I remember it in a few years time? Probably not.
Admittedly, and from the point of view of aesthetics, Pop is not my favourite art movement. I do however think that it had a very important moment in history and was one of the pivotal movements that shaped what was to become of art. It gave us a license to think very differently and maybe this is why I found the latest exhibition at the Tate disappointing .
 
Tate Modern has curated a selection of works from lesser known artists, in order to explore the movement beyond the commercial line that made it famous... or so its been said. I, however, have been left feeling that, at this exhibition, the language is in fact circumstantial and often unclear rather than the thread.
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Kazimir Malevich : a black square full stop

Kazimir Malevich : a black square full stop | on art and design | Scoop.it

The many lives of Malevich are all in his paintings, now on show in a fascinating retrospective at Tate Modern, writes Adrian Searle

Burutapen's insight:

Visiting Malevich's exhibition at the Tate modern is a journey through a significant part of the history of Europe . One that has greatly influenced many who followed.

 

From architects to artists, it is easy to see the importance and influences that Malevich's work had in the years that followed him.

 

His superhero-like costume designs for the opera "Victory over the sun" show best the spirit of futurism that preceded the first world war and which abrupt end is captured by Malevich's defiant full stop: his Black Square.A powerful icon which signified a new beginning for art and which now feels fragile and endearing thanks to the cracks on its surface.

 

Several examples stayed in my mind. For instance: his Danvincian 1915 sketch titled "Reapin woman" , the 1923 Frank Lloyd Wright-esque suprematism architecton model "Alpha" , his Zaha-esque suprematism compositions, the concept of "cezannism" I saw noted down on his students' sketches or his 1930 faceless "peasants" (contemporary and reminiscent of Grant Wood's iconic "American Gothic").

 

However, the one experience that will stay with me above all is the unsettled feeling I experienced when I entered the last room of the exhibition . In that room, all his 1930s portraits stared at me like ghosts from an anachronistic past whose gathering I was not sure to have been invited to.

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ArtAngel spectra: London's centenary beam of light - Telegraph

ArtAngel spectra: London's centenary beam of light - Telegraph | on art and design | Scoop.it
Londoners were surprised with a stunning beam of light towering above the city on Monday's First World War centenary
Burutapen's insight:

The past two weeks have been, to the world as a whole and the UK in particular, a time to remember those who took part in the war that changed the way the world fought for ever.

 

For someone as against conflict as I am, the idea of celebrating a bloody occurrence in the first place springs to mind conflicting feelings which at 40 I am not able to fully articulate. And , as an architect, the idea of celebrating a bloody occurrence through a permanent sculpture even more so.

 

Permanent sculptures are imagined to be permanent reminders of historical moments yet become invisible with the passage of time. As do buildings. As time goes by, they quickly turn into another one of the layers that define our cities and as such fail to fulfil the function that they were set to do.

 

In addition to that, the contemporary flow of information that allows us to make sense of occurrences, as they take place, has replaced those tales once told form a since source .

 

It is with all of this in mind that it becomes hard to remember the episodes that previous generations promised themselves to never forget .

 

This year, for the 100 th year anniversary of WW1 though, there has been a change: he art of ephemeral nature has replaced that of physical sculpture.Ice people, a light beam and ceramic poppies, amongst others, conceived to be shared and to build new memories from will soon disappear , yet i can guarantee that their memory will stay for ever .

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Time to go back to basics?

Time to go back to basics? | on art and design | Scoop.it
Multitasking can seem like an advantage, especially in the business world, but constantly performing several tasks at once can lead to a drop in productivity. The bad effects of multitasking take ...
Burutapen's insight:
We have all read articles like this one pointing out that actually, what we have now learn to call multitasking is beginning to create a variety of problem in the work environment. I have to be honest and put my hand up for that it has most definitely affected me. A few years back, the arrival of the Ipad helped me deal with a workload that I could not have dealt with (in a 24 hour day) otherwise. Running a large project on site was rather demanding. A lot of queries bombarded me each minute of the day. The team on site kept going till 11 pm and often by the time I arrived to the office (having left at 8 and 9 ) my inbox was so full of questions that I had time for nothing else but emailing... And then of course there were the meetings... so many of them! (all expected, you may say for a project of that scale http://www.behance.net/gallery/Rathbone-Market-London-CZWG-Architects/2654879 ) The tablet allowed me to type minutes and email them almost from the meeting I was attending, allowed me to interact with my team off site despite being physically apart and to read my emails and respond them on my way in and out of work or between site and office. What was a great way to free up my time in order to focus on the task in hand, eventually became the norm, and a bit like in that movie where a guy with a remote control skips through his life, I too found myself trapped in a world where I was being expected to read emails at 9pm or actively participate on discussions during my holidays. Even my reading and podcast listening went down! I imagined that the Kindle app would allow me to read books and relax on the bus, but instead, the endless amount of emails, twitter messages and other types of white noise around all portable devices made me drift like a boat at the mercy of the ocean. I only have myself to blame. You are right! And that is why I decided to take action and focus! I learnt zen whilst at university and in truth, it is probably the ability to block thoughts off my mind that has kept me going but I knew i needed a more drastic solution. I have spent the last couple of months simplifying my life and going back to basics, and slowly but surely seems to be working: As the first step, and for portability reasons, I purchased on Ebay a second hand Kindle (the super basic one with the horrid typic system) and rescued my mp3 player from the back of my cupboard . Using both, not at the same time, it seems to be having a positive effect on me. I am reading books, from the beginning to the end, and catching up with my favourite podcasts. I also have a paper diary. Yes! I know. But also works. It is almost march and i am still writing things down. I am setting myself some key routines and even have managed to see some of my friends since january and keep in regular contact with my family. Lets seen if it lasts but , for now, at least, i remain positive.
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On the healing power of time: 'The Last Stand' at Anise Gallery

On the healing power of time: 'The Last Stand' at Anise Gallery | on art and design | Scoop.it
PRIVATE VIEW THURSDAY 3RD OCTOBER 6-9PM PANEL DISCUSSION THURSDAY 17 OCTOBER 7PM  MORE INFORMATION HERE ‘The Last Stand’, photographed by Marc Wilson
Burutapen's insight:

I was looking forward to this exhibition since the Anise team shared their forthcoming exhibitions calendar with me and I must say that it did not disappoint.

 

As an architect, war structures seem to have both a sad and a fascinating aura surrounding them . Their visual simplicity sits in  contrast with the inner-complexity of the structure itself which focuses on serving a single purpose without the need for any unnecessary ornaments.

 

Marc's work is both a historical record and an artistic exploration of those forms in the context of the landscape that surrounds them.

 

His images , to me, are the proof of the healing power of time as nature begins to take over and adopt the objects as her own, the sharp edges that once were,  are being softened by the blanket that surrounds them . 

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FORTHCOMING EXHIBITION: Façade 30 August – 28 September | Anise Gallery

ROSIE EMERSON AND NINA FOWLER Private View 29 August 2013 6pm - 9pm Taking inspiration from the world of the theatrical, artists Rosie Emerson and Nina
Burutapen's insight:
Only a week left until "Facades", the forthcoming exhibition at Anise Gallery, open its doors to the public. Running through the month of September, when the London Fashion week will be taking place in the capital, this exhibition showcases the works of two intriguing artists: Rosie Emerson and Nina Fowler. The works of both artists are evocative of the golden years of fashion and cinema where femininity and beauty were elevated to goddess-like status.
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Music worlds collide in first Urban Prom

Music worlds collide in first Urban Prom | on art and design | Scoop.it
Hip-hop acts including Laura Mvula, Fazer and Wretch 32 to perform with BBC Symphony Orchestra at Royal Albert Hall
Burutapen's insight:

Music, like every other creative form, is a response to its context and yesterday's Urban Proms concert lit up my day for that the Proms organizers understood and embrace this fact.

 

As it could have been expected, on the days building up to the concert there were questions, doubts and criticisms but after what one can only describe as an unforgettable experience, I am hoping that stereotypes are, once more, forgotten as London continues to lead by example.

 

The authentic quality in the sound of the voices of Laura Mvula and Jacob Banks, the intelligent lyrics of Wretch32 (“i remember coming home to my bags, the door wasn’t on the latch, but mum, I’ll always love you for that, only real women make a man” verse 1 from Doing Ok) and the energy, musical ability and story telling of Lady Leshurr. All under the gifted lead of Jules Buckley.

 

I, for one, will never forget this concert. And if you have not watched it, I would advice you to connect to BBC i player and do so... Do fast forward the presenters’ discussions as they were cringe worthy at times though.

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LS Lowry at Tate Britain: glimpses of a world beyond

LS Lowry at Tate Britain: glimpses of a world beyond | on art and design | Scoop.it
From evictions to street parties to strikes, Lowry took the daily dramas of working-class life and found beauty in them. Adrian Searle welcomes a revealing and moving new show
Burutapen's insight:

Last summer, Danny Boyle choreographed a wonderful spectacle which set the commencement of the games. A year on, I found myself cycling to the anticipated Lowry exhibition looking forward to see his work. You may wonder, hopefully not, what link there is between the two...but to me, both works portrayed a time in British history that splits my heart in two in a very similar language. 

 

As an architect, the slumming that emerged in response to the demand of the large factories, the lack of proper sanitation and consideration for the welfare of the workers and their families saddens me enormously. As a futuristic-world dreamer who read way too many Verne and Wells’ books, the world of possibilities that the industrial revolution opened up, filled me with glee.

 

Lowry’s exhibition though focuses in a third, more subtle, topic: the life within and around that industrial revolution. Within and around the city, the industrial revolution, the communities and the slums. 

 

As a foreigner, Lowry’s work becomes fascinating from the historical point of view. It shows portraits of daily life with a wonderfully truthful touch. The characters he paints are spontaneous, unaware (though I spotted a few who were clearly posing) and very much reflective of the times he reflected. the city is a backdrop (as it should) for life to take place.

 

The best reason I can give to visit it going to sound strange: I have never been passionate about football. ( Do not get me wrong, I know the rules of football, I simply do not feel a passion for any team or even the game.) Ever since I arrived in the UK, I have wondered what was it that made people so passionate about a particular bunch of guys playing with a ball on an enclosed field. Yesterday though,  in studying Lowry’s work, I understood its place in British life, as I did understand about resilience and about how life went on inpite of the difficulties... and to me, that is an achievement on its own. 

 

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Saloua Raouda Choucair – review

Saloua Raouda Choucair – review | on art and design | Scoop.it

"A bolt from the blue is not what one expects at Tate Modern. Unqualified revelations have never been the museum's priority. ...Or at least that was the case until last week. For the first time in its 13-year history, Tate Modern has devoted a solo show to an artist who can confidently be described as completely unknown in Britain"

Burutapen's insight:

Today I was lucky to visit this exhibition and I have to agree with this article in that it is both Tate's strength and weakness it's ability to organize wonderfully curated exhibitions that showcase less known aspects of the work of the best known artists. As a member, it has been my joy to rediscover this way artists who I though I already knew. Today, however , was a new journey I embarked on. 

 

Choucair's work is a reflection of a life, spanning almost a century. Full of influences that are immediately recognizable but also with a life of its own. 

 

My favorite were her sculptures, which are wonderfully crafted and tactile (pity that cannot be touched). I do hope that Tate continues to take a chance and that they promote these less known exhibitions in order to reach out to the wider public.

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Epiphanies from Frank Gehry - Interview by Benjamin Pauker

Epiphanies from Frank Gehry - Interview by Benjamin Pauker | on art and design | Scoop.it

The starchitect on his first project in the Arab world -- and why it's hard these days to find a benevolent dictator with taste.

Burutapen's insight:

This interview had me in stitches! So refreshing to see the best known sharing the frustration that we all feel... "One would hope there would be more support from within these places for architecture that responds to the place and culture. ... but, ...It's just cheap copies of buildings that have already been built somewhere else." I love it! 

 

I might add, though, that describing industrial Bilbao as a "sleepy Spanish port city" is a rather hilarious misinformed statement, as it is to credit Gehry for singlehandedly delivering its regeneration bearing in mind that the museum was "just" a piece of the Bilbao Ria 2000 masterplan. 

 

Although the museum has indeed created both footfall and appeal for tourism to choose Bilbao as a destination, it saddens me that the brains behind the strategy and the many other contributions are always forgotten. 

 

...and just in case anyone wondered, the main issue that the masterplan faced was the lack of connectivity between both sides of the river as they laid separated by the scar left behind by Altos Hornos. (Mi father's former employer) More information here: http://www.mascontext.com/tag/bilbao/


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Photos of Famous Landmarks While They Were Still Under Construction

Photos of Famous Landmarks While They Were Still Under Construction | on art and design | Scoop.it

We're used to seeing modern landmarks in their completed glory, but we gain a new appreciation for those familiar monuments when we see them in progress, and remember all the labor that went into bringing them to life.

Burutapen's insight:

There is something magical around a building being constructed. The bond between those involved in the process, the craftsmanship of the traders, the excitement behind each stage and its accomplishments... 

 

Those are stories which most don't know about, yet they are stories which build our character and makes us better professionals. I often wondered how was it for others, for those involved in building the icons that we can still identify with some of the best known cities in the world...well, now we have a glimpse!

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Ask a grown-up: houses have pitched roofs, so why don't office blocks and schools have them?

Ask a grown-up: houses have pitched roofs, so why don't office blocks and schools have them? | on art and design | Scoop.it

A few days ago, the RIBA president, Angela Brady gave an answer in the "ask a grown up" section of The Guardian Newspaper . I found the comments that followed rather aggressive and wondered how I would have told the tale to my own nieces and nephews when asked... houses have pitched roofs, so why don't office blocks and schools have them?

Burutapen's insight:

Architecture used to be a response to nature in the search of shelter. As humans found areas to settle down, nearby natural resources and climate determined ,often in a pretty dramatic manner , the location, orientation and shape of their buildings. Raw (basic) materials were sourced locally and construction skills were nurtured. 

 

You may think about igloos , high pitched roof on the mountains of Switzerland or mud houses in Africa. All three are made out of local materials arranged on a shape that suits each environment

 

The community type of buildings were put together for the purpose of sharing and gathering and arrived when there was a big enough group os settlers in an area. They were built by the locals often using the same materials and skills. Their geometry responded to the locality, the number of people that were to use them and their function. 

 

Other types of buildings, such as shops, also emerged from growing populations and were generally laid alongside main routes between towns, in order to be exposed to the larger amount of people. They too used local materials and workmanship.

 

In many countries, local architectures (or vernacular as they are referred to) have continued to develop, and modern versions and influences can still be found in most types of buildings; but in others, the traditional skills have been forgotten and the architectures have changed . 

 

I think that changes must have started when humans began to travel outside their countries, bringing back home memories of the lands they visited. The curiosity that is part of human nature made us investigate what other cultures were constructing and slowly slowly our interests and taste developed in a different direction. People moved across countries too and it was no longer about the primitive "us in the context of nature"; but about about aesthetics and what we felt drawn on to. 

 

A bit like when we buy a coat for winter and in looking around you see woolly ones, feather puffy ones or layered ones. All can keep you warm but you will can now choose the one you like best.

 

Then, of course, we should also consider a major event that took place: The industrial revolution, which changed the world in a very dramatic way. By introducing machinery in the process of manufacture and improving transport, it created many jobs and made many of the items which form part of our daily life available to many more people . People began to settle around active industrial areas and just like this, cities saw an increase in their density and scale to keep up with the growth of their population.

 

Technological advances and new materials also influenced the way people lived and built . One no longer had the scale limitations dictated by the use of more natural materials and buildings took new shapes. We no longer need to create very high pitched roofs in the mountains for the snow to fall off or slate tiled ones to avoid the rain. There are materials that can protect roofs even in horizontal, which is helpful when you are trying to weatherproof a large building quickly and on a budget.

 

In the last few years, there has been a further change of direction . Whilst years ago, when all these changes began, one could have imagined all available resources to be endless, we are now fully aware that ,as the population of earth grows, we will need to find clever ways to make the most of everything we have . This includes deciding which is the most suitable material for each particular building type.

 

And so, as new materials continue to appear providing us with new ways to face the challenges that follow the increase of the population , more traditional materials are still valid to be used in smaller scales such as houses.

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Unforgetting Women Architects: From the Pritzker to Wikipedia: Places: Design Observer

Unforgetting Women Architects: From the Pritzker to Wikipedia: Places: Design Observer | on art and design | Scoop.it
Burutapen's insight:

Having been educated in a very open mixed school and within a family where my grandmother was an engineer (a proper qualified one), I used to think that being a female would not need to be a consideration when looking at what I wanted to do with my life. 

 

With time, and a recession, i began to notice patterns emerging in the world around us and then , at Christmas, i was asked by one of my niece's why was it that i wanted to do a "boy's job"... 

 

The time seems to be right for what I can only define as a global awakening . A realization that unless all of us work to break perpetuated patterns, those children, boys AND girls, who are part of our lives will not feel the freedom they should in choosing a path to follow.

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Dust

Dust | on art and design | Scoop.it
Flowers has been in business since 1970, when Angela Flowers established her first gallery on Lisle Street in London's west end.
Burutapen's insight:

How many times we consider the landscapes that war and conflict leave behind? 

 

The powerful images in Nadav Kander's latest work "Dust" present the ruins of recent conflict in a scale that draw us in and makes us pay attention to the silence left behind. 

 

His work, characteristically eerie, focuses in two areas of denied existence where warfare experimentation left a trail of objects that have now, quite literally, become still lives and which memory Kander's images bully record beautifully . 

 

This is an exhibition that will made you look beyond the obvious and explore the unexpected beauty .

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A 'once-in-a-lifetime' chance: Tate it!

A 'once-in-a-lifetime' chance: Tate it! | on art and design | Scoop.it
Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs brings together 130 colourful works including four blue nudes never before displayed together in UK
Burutapen's insight:

With the title “Matisse-A cut above the rest” (a program by Alastair Sooke to be found on Youtube these days) The Culture Show inaugurated the summer and flooded our homes with delight and colour. 

 

The program , which had the Tate’s exhibition as a starting point, allowed us to meet the characters that surrounded Matisse through his later years. From artistic aids to the nuns at the Chapelle du Rosaire, Matisse’s companions painted a picture unknown to me: a portrait of the master.

 

I expected to have visited the exhibition much earlier but ended up just making it yesterday evening as the Tate opened its doors until 10 pm in preparation for today’s all-nighter to allow as many visitors as possible to attend.

 

The sense of anticipation , almost unbearable, took me and my red bicycle on a quick journey between my office and the building I adore, where a magical world was waiting behind large doors and a rather long queue.

 

Matisse’s collages are both fascinating and insightful. Moreover, they are inspiring and encouraging for they are honest.

 

As age began to limit his movement, the artist found a different language that allowed him to continue to create and communicate his vision: collages.  And as the cuts and layers of paper demonstrate, this language was alive and evolving.

 

A lot has been said about his blue nudes , the snail, icarus and the many iconic pieces that one finds room after room, but to me, the biggest impressions came from two pieces that I had never seen before: 

 

A collage of two dancers and a fish (a shark) in one of the large scale cut outs for his apartment in Paris (Oceania, the Sky summer) . 

 

On the first, the male dancer’s movement has been captured perfectly in a single piece of paper whilst the female dancer is made out of small pieces of white and yellow paper that are pinned following the estelle of her movement. 

 

On the second the movement of the shark emerges from a single piece of white paper cleverly cut with a certainty and determination that requires a detailed knowledge of that animal’s behaviour…. remarkable , i thought, that only a small piece ton its fin was added.

 

Like all good exhibitions, this was an occasion to celebrate and to enjoy. Its greatest value was in the ephemeral nature of the encounter of the works in a single place (after all those years) , enabling us to move backwards and forward between them in a way that not even the master might have been able to do. And as such, it would be an opportunity I’d take if i were you.

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BP Portrait Award 2014, National Portrait Gallery, review: 'satisfying' - Telegraph

BP Portrait Award 2014, National Portrait Gallery, review: 'satisfying' - Telegraph | on art and design | Scoop.it
This year's BP Portrait Award exhibition presents a compelling sense of narrative, says Florence Waters
Burutapen's insight:
Visiting the BP Portrait award last Saturday felt , as it generally does, like taking a journey though time. A journey that took me back to my student years when , freshly arrived to the UK, I decided to submit and entry titled "Mad cow". The entry, a self portrait, featured a mug (with the words on) with the tired eyes of an architectural student gazing back at the viewer. It was a portrait that I still like because of its honesty, but in truth rather amateurish. I must come clear and confess that I never imagined to be in with a chance to win any of the awards. All I wanted was the chance to be featured at the exhibition. More than ten years on , after seeing the level of entries rocket year after year , I could not imagine having the same level of audacity now. There would be a lot to discuss in the context of this year's edition but I will choose to focus on the winner: The man with the plaid blanket. As an architect born to a "normal" family and raised in a estate built by the fisherman's cooperative that my grandfather belonged to, I am a strong believer in society as a micro cosmos where by each person plays an important role. I therefore struggle with topics such as displacement of the population and gentrification. The greatness of this year’s winning portrait, which I would have liked to title “The age of man” , lays in portraying this message in a restraint yet powerful way. The composition and scale are remarkably well considered in the artist’s attempt to elevate the humble origins of its subject to the status of a worthy work of art that will make everyone reconsider our relationship with one other. This, to me, is a painting that I have promised myself to never forget.
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CURRENT EXHIBITION: BERLIN VOIDS 25 years after the wall 24 JAN – 22 FEB 2014 | Anise Gallery

CURRENT EXHIBITION: BERLIN VOIDS 25 years after the wall 24 JAN – 22 FEB 2014 | Anise Gallery | on art and design | Scoop.it
PRIVATE VIEW 23 JANUARY 6PM - 9PM As 2014 marks the 25th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Paul Raftery unveils his latest project ‘Berlin Voids’
Burutapen's insight:

A month or so ago I was watching a program on BBc about the new and the old Russia. "Russia on 4 wheels"

 

(background: My grandparents were taken to Russia to be saved form the horrors of the Spanish Civil war with hundreds of other children who needed up growing up without a family in a foreign country. As teens, they ended up in the front where my grandad's legs got frozen)

 

In this program, one of the presenters was visiting Stalingrad and meeting two elder who also were at the Volga.... One (like my grandma) had over the years idealised the regime and imagined it to be a faultless family, the second one (like my grandfather) attempted unsuccessfully to adjust the direction of his camarade's train of thought... It was an odd realisation of the mechanisms that the mind creates to overcome difficulty and the way those shape our memories.

 

In front of tv I realised that my dad was right. History is written by those who come victorious and you should therefore take it with a pinch of salt as you can never be sure of what is fact and what fiction.

 

Visiting Berlin Voids I had the same odd feeling of being in front of a reflection of history that time, human and nature had now shaped in a way that was no longer possible to truly decide whether your eyes and the images were guiding you to the line that once separated East from West , or whether you were cleverly misguided by the hands of the story teller.

 

This is a brilliant opportunity for you to question yourself what is real and what isn't but also to decide for yourself whether you care enough to find out or you can still be a happy spectator of someone else's story.

 

Do not miss your last chance to visit Anise Gallery to find out!

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Diez curiosidades que deberías saber sobre TENTE - Yo fui a EGB

Diez curiosidades que deberías saber sobre TENTE - Yo fui a EGB | on art and design | Scoop.it
Diez curiosidades y anécdotas sobre el juego de construcción creado en España en 1972, TENTE, que llegó a ser todo un icono de aquella época.
Burutapen's insight:

Ever since I decided to become and architect, I have often considered how both the toys and games we are given as children can shape the professional path one chooses. In fact, working at a well known Toy Shop, whilst I was a student, I began to notice the anxiety of people when looking for THE right toy. I guess that rightly so as the more I know about myself, the clearer I see that the toys I played with did influence my future. 

 

Here is how particular games and toys have contributed to my professional self:

 

Chess:

 

My father plays chess. He is an international master and he began to play in Moscow, growing up. My grandpa, of course, played chess too... It was a sort of tradition and being the eldest, I too play.

 

The first chess set i had was a plastic set made out of all the left over pieces that my family had ever owned, and bearing in mind my age at the time (toddler) it was used to practice my aim ... literally.

 

Soon, however, my mother found a way to keep me off the pans and hobs by sitting me on the kitchen worktop and playing chess with me whilst she cooked. Yes, mom did “play”...  or more accurately, she moved the pieces in a credible manner. So much so, that in a competition where she had to stand in for a teammate of dad’s she managed to get half a point by learning a 12 moves strategy by heart. She was so convincingly that when she asked the opponent to have a tie following move number 12, he accepted relieved ... I am not joking. 

 

I haven’t played competitively for years, however the influence of chess, still remains: The strategic thinking (analyzing multiple scenarios/outcomes), the ability to play by memory without having the board in front of me, and to play various games simultaneously have shaped my management style and comes handy every time I need to lead a complex project and avoid conflict. 

 

Construction games:

 

My first ever construction game was one of those with basic timber shapes (cylinders, cubes, cones, bridges etc) that many children receive as toddlers. It taught me basic lessons regarding centres of gravity, spanning of structures and geometry but it was the second type that allowed me to move beyond gravity. 

 

The second type were plastic brick games such as Exin’s Castles (a construction game to build your own castle) and Tente (the Catalan response to Lego which bricks had further modular considerations and an additional secondary connection method that made it, in my opinion, a more versatile and improved brick than Lego’s). 

 

I used both to make my first attempts to “build” our house but I did not succeed as there was not clear way to build (I learned that cardboard did not mix well with the system). In fact, to my brother’s despair (as all he wanted to build was the little spaceship pictured on the box!... as pictured on the box) and despite Tente’s focus on other than buildings, I kept trying to build complete buildings for a long time. In the process, I learned about modules, enclosing of spaces, openings on walls and brick limitations and opportunities. I remember that specially enjoyed building my first corner with two walls. 

 

The third one was Mecanoo... two types in fact , a metallic one and a plastic one. Mom bought them for my brother, though he was never interested, so I took over the experimenting.  The idea of extensive lightweight structures with not very much material made me look at things differently. The more I played, the more I pushed the structures. I could now build my roof! The elegance of the resulting structures gave a lot of thinking to do and I still find frustrating if I am ever told that structures have to be non elegant... 

 

Moulding materials:

 

Plasticize was my first material... clay came soon after but it required for mom to be present as i was never that tidy and often got carried away.

 

The best thing about these was that i could build the bricks myself (to any size i wanted), stick them together and create thin sheets to be shaped as roofs. At first, I often made these too thin and as I provided no structural support underneath they kept sagging, but then i mixed them with other materials (twigs for instance) or increased their thickness and (partially) overcame my problems.

 

When I finished school, I used to tutor students through out the summer on various topics and I have often used these materials in my descriptive geometry teaching. These materials allow your hands to see what your eyes can often miss, and interestingly are great tools for the building of spacial awareness.

 

Origami:

 

Last but not least, I would say that origami (though I never knew it was called that when I was a child) was a great tool to push both my creativity and structural logic. To think that something as thin as paper could change its behavior and stand on its own following a sequence of folds fascinated me. Still does.

 

I think that toys are often overlooked by adults and seen as innocuous, but if you have not work it out by now, I am an architect. Something inside of me “made me do it” and I begin to think that this “something” had been planted and fed for years, and it was growing in the background without anyone noticing... I still remember the shock in everyone’s faces when I announced it.

 

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Main Gallery

Main Gallery | on art and design | Scoop.it
Burutapen's insight:

Last Saturday (on its last leg as it closes on the 15th of August) I visited the long awaited " We made 2012" ... Long awaited by the professionals behind it, many of which felt that was not fair to not be credited for their contribution.

 

I felt, and I might be controversial here, that the exhibition did not delivered the message either as it featured only a selection of the best known projects at a very high level. ( To be fair, I would imagine that it may have something to do with the licence that practices and businesses have to apply for in order to be allowed to be credited, but never the less, it felt odd and full of gaps. )

 

As a Spanish person (architect) who "lived" the success of Barcelona, I was able to understand and apreciate the extent contributions that the emerging smaller local practices delivered as much as I was to look at star architects' contributions. The parks, housing and small projects were as much part of the olympic legacy as the feature architectures and this gave Barcelona a true sense of purpose. I kind of missed this in London.

 

On the other hand, it worries me that a great opportunity such as this to shift focus from ones own contribution towards showcasing the existing opportunities in the construction industry to the younger audience has also been missed. The younger me, who was inspired by Barcelona, would have been left cold by London on the basis of a lack of understanding of its design contribution, for instance, to the individuals involved. Large practices are not everyone's dream, specially anyone who may like to get involved in the nitty gritty, I therefore feel that the smaller scale work should also have been featured to give a balanced view. But maybe it is just me!

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Ibrahim El-Salahi: A Visionary Modernist | Tate

Ibrahim El-Salahi: A Visionary Modernist | Tate | on art and design | Scoop.it
Tate Modern presents UK’s first major exhibition of Sudanese artist Ibrahim El-Salahi, bringing together 100 works from more than five decades
Burutapen's insight:

It has taken me two whole weeks to find the way to talk about this beautifully touching exhibition... The reason being that it features the work of an artist who was unknown to me at the time I visited the exhibition, yet his work felt very familiar to me. It has been that sense of “understanding” that has kept me thinking about it, away from the computer, on the look for an answer.

I do strongly feel that art can rarely be rationalized. There are techniques to talk about but what, to me, makes art “art” is the feelings that it can steer in ones heart or even in ones gut. It is something more primitive, more emotional than the obvious assessment of technique. My painting teacher once told me that anyone could learn how to paint and how to draw, but just a few knew how to make art. 

A few nights ago I watched a wonderful program on BBC’s culture show titled: “Who are they calling an African Artist”. It featured the work of El-Salahi’s work alongside another artists who is also exhibiting at Tate Modern : Meschac Gaba. The program is worth watching for many reasons, but to me it was specially worth watching because it helped me understand the familiarity that my heart had found on El-Salahi's work during my visit. 

I found out, for example, that the beautiful Sudanese tree he repeatedly paints, is used as a symbol of resilience (the same that the Gernika tree represents to the people in the Basque Country). His painting The Inevitable came from his need to respond to the Sudanese civil war (like Picasso’s Gernika was a response to the bombing of the Basque heart...) you can see the pain and the attempt to highlight the ultimate goal of the human right... 

Essentially, I found that the rawness expressed in his work reflects moments that could also be traced back within my cultural background with such an intensity that it was easy for me to understand on my first visit. But more importantly, I am convinced that the same would apply to any cultural background, as his work goes beyond aesthetics to a deeper, more anthropological, primitive level where we can all have an opportunity to connect.  

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Ellen Gallagher: AxME – review

Ellen Gallagher: AxME – review | on art and design | Scoop.it
American artist Ellen Gallagher's work aims to unsettle but proves strangely underpowered in this huge retrospective, says Laura Cumming
Burutapen's insight:

Yesterday was a busy day, I will admit it! This was the second exhibition I visited in and attempt to catch up with the Tate Modern's offer. As members we can visit any exhibition as many times as we need to and this is brilliant because the pressure of "wanting to make the right decision when buying tickets" disappears. If no other, that would be my reason to encourage any exhibition goer to join the Tate project.

 

Gallagher’s work was not known to me, how ever, its spirit and the craftsmanship behind each piece was something that I very quickly tuned in to. It was very witty: playful yet political. Innocent yet serious, and I loved it. There were many highlights: 

 

The questioning of the message behind advertisement beauty campaigns, stereotypes, race, urban cultures and history are all covered in her work. In a playful yet clear delivery. The underwater fantasies of a black Atlantis, by the entrance, are both enchanting and hard to take in as they are a reminder of the horrors of human trading.

 

Her wonderfully crafted Deluxe series are amazingly displayed and share much more than the final image with the visitor.  They are intimate, insightful and inspiring, and their display (which shows both sides of the works) is something I have never seen before.

 

Finally, the subtle, often nearly invisible Watery Ecstatic series where one cannot comprehend how a piece of paper can be commanded to work in many wonderful ways. I have thought about how best to describe these and all I came up with (you may be glad that I am not a writer) is “flat” sculpting.


If you have a chance to visit do. If you don't, Ellen's work is worth looking into, so do Google her.

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'‘Earthship’ Passivhaus Comes With Nibblers On The Roof | EarthTechling

'‘Earthship’ Passivhaus Comes With Nibblers On The Roof | EarthTechling | on art and design | Scoop.it
A new net-zero-energy farmhouse in Virginia, which meets Passivhaus standards and is on track for LEED Platinum, is also built for sheep grazing on its roof.

Via Jenn Forager
Burutapen's insight:

It is most interesting to see the shift that the PassivHaus has provoked in looking back at elements and methodologies which once upon a time used to be the norm and were then taken for granted. 

 

This is a beautiful example with pretty much every element:  sheltering from the hillside, thermal mass, green roof, local/natural materials, natural light, shading...

 

Last week a friend sent me a "story" (made up, I am sure) about an elderly woman going to a super market where she asked for a plastic bag. She was confronted by a new breed of eco-warriors (the anti-plastic-bag-hero) who, in disgust, gave a lecture to the lady about her generation's contribution to the world's decline.

 

The story goes that she then went on to explain , with irony, the day to day practices that her generation has followed all her life which included; bringing bottles back to the local shops, washing and re-using baby nappies, buying locally, drinking tap water, going up the stairs rather than taking the lift, not watching tv etc....

 

The woman in the story was not my grandma, but it could have been because the first 12 years of my life were also like that. Then something changed ... ironically as the first PC (an "Amstrad 1512") arrived to the house, the world around us began to take a different shape. A shape which developed too fast, not allowing time to look back where we were going... 

 

One generation, two generations, three generations and it would seem that finally, the time to assess has come, but has it really? will we finally learnt from our grandparents and their ancestors?

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Jenn Forager's curator insight, June 26, 2013 9:53 AM

"Under the Passivhaus standards, the house will use 90 percent less energy for heating than a typical house of its size. Heating and cooling is provided by a small, 1.5-ton heat pump system, made by Mitsubishi, which supplies fresh air continuously to the living spaces via a Zehnder energy recovery ventilator."

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Living Architectures

Living Architectures | on art and design | Scoop.it
Living Architectures is a series of films that seeks to develop a way of looking at architecture which turns away from the current trend of idealizing the representation of our architectural heritage.
Burutapen's insight:

For anyone unaware of this project, I have to say that it is a wonderful "must see".

 

We are, as a profession, often accused of a lack of awareness when it comes to the challenges that the end user faces once the building is handed over, and I do think that this rings some truth.

 

Architecture is not about the so called "killer shoot" or the "coffee table books" (how I dislike this term, by the way....), yet the market keeps pushing us in that direction as the wind and the waves push around a tiny boat in the open sea !

 

And the sad truth is that, as a profession, in a world where news spread at the speed of light, where people read less and information is mainly fed visually, it seems to be the way to reach out to prospective clients.  

 

I can therefore only aplaud the "LIving Architectures" attempt to focus our minds on what it is important, the day to day of the building, rather than the glossy.

 

I saw the Koolhaas Houselife at the Barbican as part of the OMA / Progress exhibition, and I loved every second of it as much as I did the rest of the exhibition. It was honest, thought provoking and super funny. 

 

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Ten Things an Architect Does to Add Value by Mike Rosen - September 2009 Free Article - Technology Transfer

Since the arrival of linkedin particularly, you must have noticed that the title or architect does no longer apply to those of us building buildings!

Burutapen's insight:

Despite ARB's desire to protect a title (rather than a standard of work), not a single day goes by without LinkedIn reminding me that there is this vacancy for a system/data architect which I may be interested in. I find this amusing. 

 

This is an old article, but it does touch two points I wanted to talk about for a long time: how the two architectures can relate to each other and what is the added value that traditional (good) architects bring to the table. 

 

I am aware that as technologies advance and prices drop, a misleading sense of ability has spread everywhere resulting on what i can only describe as a world of universal mediocrity. This has affected the world of photography, graphic design, music... and of course architecture. However, in terms of architecture, I also think that part of the problem comes from the fact that architects have not found a way to clearly explain, what is it that we bring to the table that the average person cannot. 

 

1.Architects can listen to a client visualize their life and incorporate this into a design. 

 

2.They think in terms of lifetime: accessibility, flexibility, sustainability, cost and value for money. 

 

3.They can understand the potential of a site and how to both minimize risk and create delight. 

 

4. They can picture how it will feel to enter a room, what the best spatial arrangement will be for a particular person and what difference will the size of window make to that space. 

 

I accept that there are, in the UK, people without the relevant training who have really good design skills and trained architects who don't, however, you just need to look around any town to realize that neither are the majority. 

 

This sentence in the article by Mr Rosen sums it up for me: "Technology is important but won’t determine if your system is still providing value in 10 or 20 years." I agree. Our strength , as a profession, is to look forward on to the future... working closely with our clients.

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New landscapes of the city... Of Paris!

New landscapes of the city... Of Paris! | on art and design | Scoop.it
Burutapen's insight:

Ever since the first time I went to Paris with my parents ,age 14 , i have loved this city. Familiarity, for once, drew me to it like one is drawn to something or someone that triggers positive memories. Coming from Donostia- San Sebastian, the urbanism of Paris was something I "understood" at first glance. 

 

However, it is fair to say that in later visits I have noticed that the grandiosity of some of its public spaces left me somewhat cold. When compared to London's public spaces ,namely its more natural Royal Parks , I noticed that the manicured nature of the Parisian city does appeal to the more formal side of my character rather than the one seeking to relax, whilst the London parks take my imagination beyond the edges of the city from within its heart. 

 

I once heard a documentary presenter describe Paris as a catwalk where people were divided in actors and expectators. Those who sit on the benches and cafes along the boulevards and parks to watch and those who dress up even to take their dogs for a walk in order to, somehow, match the grandiosity of Parisian public realm... 

 

I tend to agree, and therefore welcome the experimental nature of " La Nouveaux Paysages de la Metropole" as I truly believe that it is bound to allow the citizens of this wonderful city to re-evaluate how they want to enjoy its public realm in the less formal twenty first century we live in.

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