Archive for January, 2011

Inspirational Lou Kahn


In us inspiration to learn. Inspiration to question. Inspiration to live. Inspiration to express. These bring to man their institutions. The architect is the maker of their spaces. The institutions are the houses of the inspirations. The architect considers the inspiration before he can accept the dictates of a space desired. He asks himself what is the nature of one that distinguishes itself from another. When he senses the difference, he is in touch with its form. Form inspires design.

Louis Kahn Writings, Lectures, Interviews, Thoughts


If Hélio Oiticica were a civil engineer.


sacred chronotopes




In 2002 there was an exhibition at the Fruitmarket gallery in Edinburgh. It had previously shown at Peter Zumthor’s Kunsthaus in Bregenz. The exhibition was called Architecture of Time and presented the large treescapes, seascapes, and architectures of Hiroshi Sugimoto’s photographic work. In the exhibition catalogue, Sugimoto describes Noh theatre:

Noh is composed of simple elements – an itinerant priest, a bridge, a dream. The priest crosses the bridge and is freed from the constraints of secular time, guided into a kind of twilight zone where a shadowy figure appears out of nowhere to tell the tale of that other land. Thinking it strange, he ask’s the man’s name, but the man merely voices ominous mutterings and vanishes. The night grows late and the priest falls asleep, whereupon the same man appears in his dream, saying that he himself is none other than the ghost of the hero of that tragic tale and that he suffers because he is still attached to that world… He begins to dance. The priest offers prayers into the dawn and at some point the ghost disappears.

The shadowy figure calls you across the bridge:



Interior of Zumthor’s Bruder Klaus Chapel

Better, not differently!


That life to a large extent is boring is revealed by our placing such great emphasis on originality and innovation. We place greater emphasis nowadays on whether something is ‘interesting’ than on whether it has any ‘value’. To consider something exclusively from the point of view of whether it is ‘interesting’ or not is to consider it from a purely aesthetic perspective. The aesthetic gaze registers only surface, and this surface is judged by whether it is interesting or boring.

Lars Svendsen A Philosophy of Boredom

We may compare these thoughts with those of Darian Leader in Stealing the Mona Lisa

The apparent purity of desire is a terrifying notion, and civilization calls those who adhere to it criminals – or artists. An artist is like a state-sanctioned criminal, someone who shows the particularity of their own desire through the ‘sum of destructions’ that can make something new emerge.

This might seem a very romantic notion, and it depends to a great extent on what image of the artist a society constructs. Although the idea that the artist must make new things is a relatively recent one, the innovations that have always taken place even in times when copying and tradition were programmatic show that change has a special value. Indeed, there is often a fine line between the older idea of the artist as someone who does it better and the more modern idea of someone who does it differently. In this latter conception, rather than receiving the form of what they want from others, the artist shows that their own desire is peculiar, dissociated from the objects that society values and linked to objects that are always fundamentally different. And yet at the same time, society recognizes and sanctions this difference by giving a value to the works of art.