Dark Was the Night

This album consists 31 tracks by various independent artists, released to benefit the Red Hot Organisation. It is fan-bloody-tastic, and produced by Bryce and Andrew Dessner of The National. The Red Hot Organisation's main aim is to raise awareness and funds to HIV and AIDS. Absolutely perfect for a slow, relaxing and rainy day like today ... with a cuppa.
(Thanks Wiki :)

Daryl Jackson


To me, personally, Take Your Time by Olafur Eliasson was ultimately a journey and experience of colour and perception. I read somewhere that the title of this exhibition came from the fact that one can actually spend hours and hours at the exhibition and even revisit the experience ... and I certainly found that to be true. There are some exhibitions and galleries that I would visit once and would be reluctant to return, even if there are much more to see. Too bad though, for me at least, that Take Your Time is held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney! Eliasson held a talk in the morning of the opening (he was apparently only in town for 48 hours), but I had to give it a miss, unfortunately. A bit jealous as I overheard many talking about it as we were visiting!
Room for one colour (1997) (Image from Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary website)
I had reserved my last day of Sydney to attend the exhibition and intended to stay for most of the afternoon before I had to fly back to Melbourne. One of my favourites was no doubt Room for one colour (1997).  The main reason is because it was an installation that worked perfectly. My friend Jess was standing in the doorway of the room and even before entering, and having no prior knowledge about the work) I said quite excitedly, "you're in black and white!". That one moment/second was surreal, and then fascination. I then read the exhibition guide and sure enough here is what it read:
"Monochromatic bulbs emit light at such a narrow frequency that they affect your normal colour perception, making the contents of the room appear in yellow or shades of black"
Maybe I just don't have sufficient knowledge on contemporary art, and however pleasing they are hanging on the gallery walls, I struggle to find meaning (sometimes purpose) unless I read the blurb sticker that accompanies the work. And that is why I very much enjoyed Room for one colour - the relationship between intention and reception exists without narration* (this is a whole other argument on contemporary art, isn't it?). It was the most immersive environment of the whole exhibition. Unexpectedly so though, because prior to the exhibition, I was most excited about physically being in 360° room for all colours
360° room for all colours (2002) (Image from Lookintomyowl.com)
Having said that, however,  360° room for all colours was all sorts of incredible. We spent the most time in here. I think the reason why this was not as immersive was because of the room it was put in. It was in an ordinary square room with a high ceiling, so there were plenty of room for the light and rich colours to escape and leak to. I think, because of this, we found ourselves standing with our faces about 50mm or less away from the surface. We didn't realise how close we were standing, because the colours and light were so powerful. When viewing this, I was most interested in the phenomena that was taking place - afterimages. Afterimage is an aspect of colour perception, and is investigated by Eliasson in many of his works. I'll write a bit more about afterimages another time, it is really quite fascinating, and scientific. However, I really couldn't tell if the colour I saw was an afterimage or not (perhaps, that is the point?). There were moments and certain colours (we found to be, red ... or what we perceived to be red) that were so incredibly intense that it made the experience surreal and for whatever reason, made me smile. So, for lack of a better description, having staring at the changing colours on the installation surface, Jess and I were colour-fucked.
I also thoroughly enjoyed Model room (2003) - literally, a room full of models showing Eliasson and his studio's creative processes, experiential investigations. Being an architecture student, and the fact that building models is my preferred way of thinking, this was inspiring. And a parallel to Herzog and de Meuron's Archaeology of the Mind.
I suppose I was disappointed in Moss Wall (1994), but only because it is an installation that evolves and changes over time. Moss Wall is essentially a sizeable wall mounted with live, soft, imported reindeer moss from Norway. (Read here for more on the preparation for the installation, and please do! It took an incredible amount of planning and calculations, as galleries in the past have actually run out of moss.) It is aesthetically just beautiful and truly enhances the room it is in. Such a juxtaposition, as exhibited in the same room, was the sharply-angled, geometric and stainless steel Multiple Grotto (2004). It worked quite well, I think. Hopefully some pictures will surface throughout the exhibition on the progress of the moss (photography was not permitted in the entire exhibition ... but there were of course, people who still did anyway). How cool and funky it would be if the wall was put on surveillance through webcam, so nerds like me could track its growth and process over the internet?! Just a thought. Being the first day of the exhibition, the moss wall was fresh and had that gorgeous cream colour.
Moss Wall (1994) (Image from eliasson.com.au)
Moss Wall at MoMA (Image from akuban's Flickr)
There were, inevitably a few that I didn't quite 'get', but we are always learning, aren't we? There are many more that I would love to share my experience about, but I think I won't write any more - not only because it is difficult for me to express how I feel in words, but also because clearly Take Your Time cannot be justified by only words and pictures. Like I said, it is a journey that has to be experienced (like architecture, of course). Oh, and also, although Eliasson's photography did not produce as much fascination or stir up imagination and thought, it was emotive and evocative, and I enjoyed it very much. I am and will be endlessly fascinated by the work of Eliasson and his studio (and I apologise to those who constantly have to witness this love of mine!), sometimes and inevitably, not in the intended manner ... but much of the arts are indeed, subjective. How amazing and intellectually stimulating it would be to be working in his studio! Perhaps, maybe, one day ... if I am lucky and capable enough.

*I only recently had my first Rothko experience (yes, it truly is an experience, with Rothko) at the NGV (what have I been doing?!). Although only at a medium scale of 209.5 x 125.3cm, the emotion that the painting stirred up was quite amazing. What power a Rothko painting can exude! I have always read about how some would weep when they see a Rothko, and although I didn't cry, I did find myself needing a big fat cuddle. The longer I stood in front of it, the bigger the cuddle I needed. However much I feel like a cornball for saying that, it is no exaggeration at all.

Back from Sydney

Back from Sydney -- spent the last day at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Olafur Eliasson's Take Your Time opened on the same day, what a treat! It was nothing short of amazing. I'm having a busy weekend, so will be writing about the exhibition sometime next week.

Also, two exposures left on my first film camera experience (black and white film)! Hopefully will turn out well. I bought a Pentax ME Super with a lens I'm not entirely happy with, but it'll have to do for now.
Sidenote ... I graduated level one of my Italian class this morning (haha), we got certificates and lollies. That is all, ciao.

Breaking Ground

This book was getting ready to be put on display at a fantastic secondhand bookshop - Ampersand - in Paddington in Sydney, before I saw it on the counter and snapped it up. Read this --

Light Breakfast

Brilliant! By photographer David Sykes with model maker Ridley West and Jennie Webster, who sourced the wonderful balloons. 

Via Creative Review.

A drawing, Flinders Lane

Flinders Lane (between Elizabeth and Queen Streets), done last year.

Penguins and Drawings

Our design studio spent four weeks at the start of the semester studying penguins - with a focus on their movement in water and in air (land). It actually is quite incredible how different they move in both. We had a discussion where everyone agreed, quite obviously, that penguins feel more at home and natural in the water. On the other hand, they are quite clumsy and awkward on land. However, who are we to say that they are awkward? Sure, they do look awkward but it is their way of walking. 
Because I'm nerdy, I watched March of the Penguins and ... well, they walk a lot. The emperor penguins make an annual pilgrimage from the ocean, and walk inland back to their ancestral breeding ground. The journey of 100+ kilometres takes several months. So, awkward? I don't think so. Brilliant film though - originally French, the English version has Morgan Freeman as the narrator (all the more reasons to watch aye)! 
Some drawings (they were all drawn on A2 trace - except for the engravings, of course):

Engraving depicting movement in water

Designing a penguin enclosure: a moment in space. I was not very satisfied with this one, I find it a bit too rigid ... even though its purpose was to capture a 'moment'.

Another moment in space

Examining thresholds ... I decided on a literally depicting a physical threshold through a change in media and technique.

I don't mean to be pretentious at all - but architecture to me, isn't just any old job. It is a job, but it is also, and more importantly, a lifestyle. We're constantly surrounded by it, there's no switching off, no escaping from it. It is a passion - you really have to be passionate about the whole sphere of architecture, and in love with it, to survive ('Survive'? Okay, a little bit of exaggeration there).
I went into architecture school not expecting anything, and I think that has helped me - in that I haven't been disappointed by the reality side of it. It has its ups and downs, as with everything else; but at the end of the day, if the passion and interest is there, it's all worth it. I'm not just saying this because everything has been handed in either. That said, however, I think there is a danger in taking architecture too seriously. It's excellent, of course, to work hard and make something out of nothing (which is incredibly powerful). Sometimes, though, we need to stop, take a step back and reflect ... and enjoy.
Looking back at this semester's work, I realised I've injected a large amount of 'me' and my interests outside of architecture into architecture. I love that - when non-architecture develops and becomes something architectural. Earlier this year, I attended the annual PAM Architecture Conference in Malaysia. One of the practices that stood out was Howeler Yoon Architecture (or MY Studio). I've been reading their publication, Expanded Practice. They create amazing architecture, the kind that I would like to be able to do one day - where process, applied rules and parameters result in the end product. Absolutely incredible. MY Studio does more than just buildings (hence, expanded practice) - one of my favourite from the book was Three Degrees of Felt, which purpose was to "take the existing canonical space of the Guggenheim (NY) and attempt to transform the experience through a material intervention which mediates subject, object and space". The sculptural surface was to hold The Aztec Empire exhibition in 2004. The process was meticulous and driven by several parameters. Head over to their website for a better understanding. Here are a few photos, from the practice's website.
Howeler and Yoon have also explored the role of architecture (more specifically, the relationship between surface and shape) in fashion. They employed the Mobius strip to "reexamine surface as a seamless transformative condition between interior and exterior" - the result is the Mobius Dress:
I really could go on forever on the practice of Howeler+Yoon. I like that much of their work involve hands-on exploration and reexamination. Lighting is another element that they explore. You may have come across their lighting installation for the 2004 Athens Olympics, White Noise/White Light:
So these are fibre optics and speakers, responding to the movement of people walking through the space. They trace the pedestrians, emitting white light and white noise - ultimately, in Howeler+Yoon's own words, "an interactive sound and light field". Absolutely brilliant and incredibly evocative - amazing, amazing, amazing. The practice is so inspiring and engaging (to its context, environment, users and observers), but I'll have to stop writing here.
Expanded practice? Yes, please! Oh, and on a last note, the book is very well written.

All images from Howeler Yoon Architecture.

This evening

Something brilliant

Wallpaper*, Aug 2009.

More bricks

Took this photo yesterday while out in the city looking for beautiful brickwork. This one was off Lt. Bourke. Does anyone know how I can put larger photos on here? It's rather frustrating because they look rubbish when they're this size. Click on the photos to see a larger version - I'm thinking of getting this (and the previous photo) printed A3 size and framing them.

One Fine Afternoon

There are so many things you can do with bricks. I've been exploring ways of expressing brick as a material. It's rather fascinating. Here are a few photos. There are a score more that I've taken, but final crit is this coming week, so it'll have to wait.

Albert Park

Hadrian's Villa - correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this is the inside of a brick wall, rather than the face.

Hadrian's Villa, overwhelming!

Hadrian's villa, opus reticulatum and opus latericium

The Pianica

A self-indulged post:

I was watching the video of Coconut Record's Microphone, and what does Jason Schwartzman find under a pile of rock? A pianica, of course! Anyway, it simply reminded me of when I was in a band (yeah, ha ha, very funny) and I played the pianica. We played La Bamba and won third place in the state. By 'state' I mean Kuala Lumpur, and by 'won' I mean amongst the primary school bands that were involved (yeah, ok, laugh some more). But hey, we won a little trophy each, and it was very exciting at the time!

A very quick one. I indulged in some guilty pleasure last week and saw Night at the Museum 2. Can I just say that I very much enjoyed the interpretation of artworks? OK, so the Thinker part wasn't great ... but Jeff Koons' Balloon Dog was! Just prancing around delightfully. Yes please!
Image from Jeffkoons.com

This model is one small section (the bathroom and kitchen area, to be precise) of the award-winning Wheatsheaf House by Melbourne architect Jesse Judd of JLM Architects. It was a bit tricky to get the curves and angles right when constructing the model, I must admit - but worth it, definitely. This house is located outside Daylesford - main features include the beautiful and elegant use of steel and Colorbond cladding. How fantastically vivid are the interior colour palette! It creates an amazing contrast against, but somewhat also complements the dull surroundings that is the bush. If I remember correctly, this came out of the initial image/idea of a whale's rib cage (or some kind of rib cage ... shark?). 
Indulge in some architecture porn:
(Images of Wheatsheaf House from Freshome.com)

Finally took some photos of this 1:20 scaled domestic timber and brick structural model. I learnt an incredible amount building this. Literally every time I pass by a residential construction site, I have this smile on my face, I stop and I look at the structure. It's fantastic to see what I have learned applied to a real structure. It comes to live, what I've learnt becomes real! The process of construction excites me, just looking at how bits join, come together, to form a habitable space.

Borromini's S. Carlino (or San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane if you want to be technical)

S. Carlino

Sant'Andrea al Quirinale

Chiesa dei Re Magi

S. Maria in Campitelli

S. Maria in Campitelli

Santa Maria in Cosmedin - it's not visible in this particular photo, but the timber trusses looked amazing.

S. Maria del Popolo

Incredible ... S. Maria del Popolo

S. Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri (tepidarium of the Baths of Diocletian)

S. Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri - look at the scale of it! It's enormous, but actually not overwhelming at all. Quite fantastic.

Magic Images

Ever since being in the Atmospheres run by Melony studio, I've loved taking photographs of models to convey the essence of your design. In other words, capturing that evocative 'magic image'. You could do so much - experiment with texture, light (and the way texture affects lighting, and vice versa), colour etc. It's experimental, but the result can be absolutely brilliant. Here are three I have done so far this semester. They're not the best, but the general idea is there.

Charlie Roberts

Check out these ink and gouache work by Charlie Roberts:

Now that is patience, which I currently lack, but I am getting better which is positive.
On a quick note, Holl and Scarpa are amazing and create such powerful and evocative architecture. Will probably write something on them soon, I'd love to learn more about their body of work and the way they practice architecture.


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