Week 45 - 3 March 2022
These are so late that I just need to write something before it all falls out my head. The sentences will all be a bit short like this.
I went to Copenhagen. I saw the Light and Space exhibition at the Copenhagen Contemporary. When I was at school I read a book about Robert Irwin, a key guy in the movement, which really affected the way I see things. The exhibition meant I got to see work by him which I've only read about before. The book I read about him was from before he loosened his ban on photography of his work, so I really mean that I'd only read about it. The exhibition also expanded what the Light and Space movement is in such a good way. More pluralistic, less dominated by the classic figures (almost all of whom are white men) and much richer for it. Pictured below is a diagram of Zero Mass by Eric Orr.
It made some thoughts of mine around art crystallise. I have never really liked 'interactive' art - the sort of thing that responds to the viewer. I think that the best art is oblivious to the person looking at it. It makes you work to meet it in the middle. This links to Timothy Morton's idea that all art is ecological, as being 'in solidarity' with something is an inherently ecological act. To be in solidarity with something it needs to be outside yourself. Interactive art reduces the capacity for solidarity.
Something else I saw in Copenhagen that epitomises this is a piece called Big Bambu by identical twin artists Doug and Mike Starn. They very sweetly finish each other's sentences in the interviews I watched of them. Big Bambu is a sprawling rickety structure made of bamboo and tiny thin bits of multicoloured nylon rope. Climbing to the top takes much longer than you expect when looking up at it, because the path twists in on itself over and over again. It made me aware of my body and the park and the structure all at once.
I also went to the Danish Architecture Centre. It makes RIBA feel so stale and embarrassing. Walking into the DAC made me feel like a child in a good way. They make architecture wondrous and exciting, and you exit on a Carsten Holler slide. RIBA makes me feel like a child in a bad way. I'm genuinely always on edge that I'm going to get told off for getting in the way. Even as someone who is 'into' architecture I dread going to RIBA to see an exhibition. Nothing about it makes me feel like it wants people to visit.
Another good Danish Architectur-ey thing I went to was BIG's power plant that is also a ski slope. My favourite bit is that the glass lift you can use instead of climbing the 'hill' runs through the centre of the plant. It's taking the Pompidou Centre's principle of drama and activity and pushing it to a silly conclusion. Good silly.
At school I'm working on a group project looking at our daily practices like cooking or personal care. Specifically, we're charting how they've been codified as individual practices since the industrial revolution, when we've got a rich history of collective daily practices beyond that. We're looking at how our mentality around daily practices shapes the spaces we live in, and visa versa.
We've had a few lectures on the idea of Ontological Design, which is (as far as I can make out) the assertion that 'Design' is not a thing you do but a human condition. There is no human without design. It draws on Heidegger so is knotty like lots of Heidegger but I've enjoyed making my way through it. It feels a bit like one of those silly platitudes that designers come up with ('Everything is design!') but there's useful nuance to how it operates as a theory.
Here's a building I saw when I came back to London.
Last update: 2022-03-03 12:00:00 -0600