May 30, 2014

Otherness | Misc. Projects of the Week

#otherness series continues this week with resilient cities and animated buildings.

1. Ruins of Abandoned Town As Playground 
for Alternative Sports (biking)

 

2. From the New World 

Yongliang's Intricate Digital Collages 
 
  
More with the artist: 

 

3. Animating Architecture 
by Axel de Stampa (awesome!!)


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May 25, 2014

Sunday Thoughts | Quoted

**Creative Sunday Series
"Let us not waste time arguing about what is meant by "contemporary". It goes without saying that any time we speak of has already become an historical past, a past that seems to crumble away at the hinder end the further we recede from it. Phenomena which a younger generation is constantly relegating to "former days" are, for their elders, part of "our own day", not merely because their elders have a personal recollection of them but because their culture still participates in them. This different time-sense is not so much dependent on the generation to which one happens to belong as on the knowledge one has of things old and new. A mind historically focused will embody in its idea of what is "modern" and "contemporary" a far larger section of the past than a mind living in the myopia of the moment." - J. Huizinga, Homo Ludens, p.195

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May 23, 2014

'Treasures in Disguise' | Montenegro Pavilion @Venice Architecture Biennale 2014

Another pavilion I look forward to!

 
 
Montenegro will present four late-modernist buildings at this year's Venice Architecture Biennale. Unfinished, neglected (in use and maintenance), and uncanny (curatorial description) - they stand as testament to a failed modernism, monumentalism and subsequent breakdown of Yugoslavia. Regarded to be Treasures in Disguise, today they can (very well) start a conversation, even hint at a direction for a possible 'urban regeneration' in the Balkan region.

photo via
Nobody seems to be able to recognize their value, hence their fate seems sealed: decay and demolition.

But how can something that was born out of a collective optimism lose its promise in such a short period of time? Is the demise of these buildings really due to an intrinsic lack of quality, or have we been unable to treat them with enough empathy to awaken a dormant potential that might be hidden underneath the patina of our own ideological disenchantment with modernism?

The curators of this pavilion believe it is the latter. These buildings represent a cultural resource that is too precious to destroy; if given a second chance, they will surprise us with their unique spatial, programmatic, and social potential. The aim of the exhibition is therefore to help the audience, through architectural representations of the interiors and exteriors of the four buildings, discover the uncanny beauty of structures that, while they look like ruins today, are nothing but treasures in disguise. (curatorial text via)
photo via

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May 14, 2014

Otherness | Misc. Projects of the Week

#otherness series continues this week with these projects: rendering spatialities & sound.

Rendering SPATIALITY//

1. The Skyliner by Factory Fifteen.


2. Internet Machine (trailer): A multi-screen film about the invisible infrastructures of the internet.


3. IMACHINARIUMA universe with its own set of rules.


SOUND spatialization//

4. Calx

5. Scave

6. Ultrasonic Theremin: Demo.


7. Spatium Overview: Tools for sound spatialization.



spatium.overview from Rui Penha on Vimeo.


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May 13, 2014

To Become Other, To Become New, To Survive Absolute Uncertainty | To Live New Singularities

** excerpts from cache's earth moves have inspired a personal reading of 'framing territories' (as thinking scapes in acting and reacting to what's around us and what we think we know)


It all comes down to how you frame 'things'.
What you choose to include and exclude.
Inside and outside are notions devoid of meaning.
The frame selects because it eliminates the tendency for evasion.

'Things' are not stable. They undergo variations, giving rise to new possibilities of seeing.
'Things' are images not pictures.
We see 'things' as functions of actions in and reactions to a milieu.
But since such reactions are not automatic or deterministic and include 'zones of indetermination' from which unexpected movement might come, images involve what transpires in the intervals or disparities between 'things.'
They are connected through a logic where the whole is not given but always open to variation, as new things are added or new relations made, creating new continuities out of such intervals or disparities.
In this unstable dynamic world, 'things' are therefore no longer defined by fixed divisions between inside and outside.
Rather this division itself comes to shift or move as outside forces cause internal variations or as internal variations create new connections with the outside.
In this way we see that 'things' belong to a dynamic rather than a static milieu.

THE INTERIOR IS ONLY A SELECTED EXTERIOR, 

AND THE EXTERIOR A PROJECTED INTERIOR.

The inclusion is a 'realization of the possible'.
The exclusion is the 'actualization of the virtual'.
One is redundant and the other creative.
The first operates by principles of limitation and resemblance.
The other operates by differentiation, divergence, and creation.

For framing 'things' always involves, at least potentially, the possibility of deframing, where what is internal discovers a relation to what is external in such a way as to open it up to the outside.

So, it all comes down to how you frame 'things'.
The imaginary line/wall/curtain/fence/tower/mountain/water/horizon we draw around 'things':

- to define 'things' and then let them define us,
- to believe we can frame 'things', that our way is the right way, the only way
- even though in this world, we are reminded everyday of the impossibility of this enclosure.

This is how we see 'things', as a picture not as an image.
We choose to accept and allow the existence of what's inside the frame.
The well marked barriers of the frame keep us safe from the fear of its bigness, the actual impossibility to enclose it.
Do we really know what 'things' are? How they become?
Our dismissal shows we don't care to.

We have shielded ourselves from further exploration of potential uncertainty and exciting new possibilities of seeing.

We choose to include.
With each inclusion, we exclude.
We exclude the curiosity of 'things'.
We exclude the imagination of 'things'.
We exclude the inspiration from 'things'.
We exclude new forms of singularities.

We ought to not use the frame as a leash, allowing only enough rope to hang ourselves in redundancy.

The frame is anticipation

So,

Release the leash.
Become other.
Become new.
Survive absolute uncertainty.

Fully explore 'things'.
Live new singularities.


** What are these 'things'? 
All of us.
All of what we are.
All of what we claim to be.
All of what we can offer.
All of what has made us.
All of what we inhabit.
All of what we destroy.
All of what we inherit.
All of what we leave behind.
All of what we learn, misunderstand, take for granted, angrily project, and (hopefully) re-learn.

All of the passive-aggressive humor we use to pat ourselves on the back for cleverly manipulating a latent refusal to face the bleakness of a conversation or topic head on.

All of what we release to the world openly on the airwaves or as underground whispers, without once turning around and directly saying it to the other (wo)man. 

All of our destructive mentality that follows the oh so great disruptive ideology

One generation after another of somewhat disruptive ideologies that follow the same destructive agenda toward the previous, the other and all visionary opponents. 
Opponents as in idea opposition, not fully blown combatant. 
Plague and War should be fought. Not each other.

Each generation that (thinks it) knows more than the previous, dismisses (maybe rightfully so) the incapacity/incapability that has masked the latter's ignorance and corruption. 
This newbie generation that in its revolutionary manifest shows willingness to change, potential to explore, talent to break free from past mistakes, refusal to cater to political associations and powerful patrons. 
This generation that wants to be so alternative, so closer to the Western standards and expectations, that has been educated and (somewhat) raised abroad.
It now refuses to listen to anyone else. 

Anyone else that has the same dreams and goals and wants the same break from past mistakes. 
Anyone who is a peer but has stayed away. 
Anyone who is an old friend and has lived the same obstacle(d), annexed, poor childhood. 
Anyone with a different idea. 
Different way of doing things. 
Different way of acting on 'things'. 
Different way of laughing with, constructively or destructively criticizing 'things'. 
Different way of framing 'things.' 
Anyone else that inherently wants the same 'thing' (outcome). 
To be a better (big brother) generation to our youth. 
To not repeat the same destructive way of ruining our resources. 
To encourage change through disruptive thinking, making, talking through, receiving, and educating the rest.
Who's this generation and who is anyone else
It is all of us
Me. 
You. 
And the (participatory or even the unaware) rest. 

These 'things' are our spatialities
How we frame them. 
How we build our society, culture, community, and value. 
A mature change doesn't stop at just a paradigm shift
Our goal should not only be about proving to the previous generation how much (more) we know or how awesomely popular our events are. 
It has to be about how we are changing 'things': 
in our thinking, in our approach, in the lasting impact of our efforts. 

As a generation, we need to be a community (after all our goal is the same) where each of us can bring in new singularities in order to create new continuities and responsibilities for the next generation to follow. 
How will they look up to us if there is no lasting change? 

Change should not be stopped and renewed with each national election, and what we inherit from the previous generation should not be claimed obsolete. Let's not be redundant in repetition but unleash our creative capacity to anticipate its growth potential beyond a single generation.

Let's not (only) include ourselves and exclude our public. 
Not again.

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May 10, 2014

A Few Good [Words] | Excerpts

Words - nomadic in their periphery, parasitic in their delay. 

How far do they have to go before losing sovereign ground (originality) and become absently common?

Black on white, written whispers that shadow walls.

**
(and again) below please find a few of my far fetched (weekend-edition) thoughts expressed through others' (two separate instances of) shouting words: 
Context be damned, right?! Devil [Sarcasm ensues...Angel
Well, at least these words can hold their own weight.

1.  A Few Good Men. [my edit]
J: You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You don't want the truth, because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man! I would rather you just said "thank you", and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to!
**
2. Raise shit - A poem by Bud Osborn [my edit]

the single weapon we wield

was the word

in our own community
our existence as a distinct community
seems to be drawing to a close
our position may be compared
to a solitary tree in an open space
where all the forest trees around have been prostrated
by a furious tornado”

we have become a community of prophets
rebuking the system
and speaking hope and possibility into situations
of apparent impossibility
and this is what we speak and live
with our words our weapons

our words
like bolts of lightning in a dark night
lighting our way
our words
like tears like rain like cries like hail from our hearts
feeling with each other in our suffering for each other
our words
angry as thunder exploding in the ears of those
who would ignore or dismiss or inflict upon us
what they in their ignorance think is best for us
our words defiant as streetkids in a cop’s face
our words
brilliant and beautiful as the rainbow I saw
spanning our streets
our words
of resistance and comfort and commitment
like mountains
our words
prophetic on behalf of the hard-pressed poor

our words
buttons tshirts fliers inserts newsletters pamphlets
posters spraypaint slogans stickers placards speeches
interviews essays poetry songs letters chalks paints
graffiti

for as one prophet said
“when all is dark the murderer leaves his bed
to kill the poor and oppressed”

our words
to block the murderers’ paths

our words and our presence create
a strange and profound unity
outraged at each other
disappointing each other
misinterpreting each other
reacting against each other
resenting each other
unhealed wounds dividing us
when to be about unity
is to be caught in a crossfire
of conflicting ambitions understandings and perspectives

still our words and presence create
a strange and profound and strong unity
as in memory of
the long hard nerve-wracking battles we’ve fought

besieged and beleaguered
strung-out and dissipated
running on constant low grade burn-out fever
meetings and meetings and meetings
a dozen fronts to fight at the same time
deal with one and a dozen more appear
another dehumanizing media story
a hundred needs crying out all at once
a hundred individuals with emergencies crying for a response
sirens and sirens and sirens
construction noise
automobile mayhem
a disabled population
a poor and ill population
criminalized
up against globalization
pressure cooker emotional atmosphere
excruciating questions and dilemmas
so much happens so fast

how much compromise?
how to organize?
where to fight?

more bodies on the sidewalks and in the alloys and parks
space and places for poor people shrinking
and the ambiguities of advocacy
the rumours
the well-founded paranoias
the political manipulations
exploitations confusions deliberate obfuscations
and seductions of the gentrification system
the backroom deals somewhere else
in office towers and government offices
meetings and more meetings
and yet
beneath the ostensible reason
for attending another goddamned meeting
is that which truly holds us together
holds and has held every real community together
taking on the consequences of a system producing
more wounded
more damaged
more excluded
more refugees
more unemployed and never-to-be-employed

words and courage and love and hope and unity
if only we had
the means for self-determination
instead

sounds familiar literal

and that’s just it
the necessity for heeding
the prophetic blast and rallying cry

raise shit

to raise shit is to actively resist
and we resist with our presence
with our words
with our love
with our courage

we resist
person by person
square foot by square foot
room by room
building by building
block by block

we resist
because we are a community

we are all that stands between our vast community of thousands
and those who would
replace it with greed
the singular leadership we have here
where it is said we lack
a single dynamic individual leader
but we have
the most powerful leader there is
the most effective leader we can have
in this grave situation
our community
our community itself
has emerged as our leader

and it is to our credit that this is so
for it is from our
prophetic courageous conflictual and loving unity
that our community
raises shit
and resists.

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May 8, 2014

Quick Thoughts On Slow Efforts

Watching the video below, a few thoughts and questions come to mind. 



What is the landscape of post-communist industry, more specifically chemical [or any for that matter] industry in Albania
Is it in use? Where? When? How? 
Who has control over it? 
What's its relationship with the 'Sustainability' Movement we're pushing for? 
What is the process from making to destruction dumping the unwanted
How do these dumping sites affect the city/life today? Its landscape? [here]
What about the future? How are they designed (if at all)? Can their present (state of being) sustain their future? 
What is their infrastructure
How does their artificiality co-exist with the natural bodies of water, land, air and civilization?
How can we start thinking about 'zones of exclusions', post-human error sites and their futures? 
What if this context was Gërdec? What is the future of tragic abandoned sites?

Of Monsters and Men.
Future city/life will grow from a ruined history.
Differently.
Humanity will be the Other.
Damaged as Species. 
Timid in Overexposure. 
Mis/scaled in Habitation. 
Quarantined in Contagiousness. 

So, in our attempts to design the [future] smart city, let's not focus [only] on technological advances but the possibility of [its] destruction and [re]mutation from a failed relationship between man and machine. 

A Mis/communication. 
A caprice. 
An accident. 
A coup.
Incompetent Bureaucracy.
Fear that leads to Consequential Possibilities. 
An awareness that covers [more] ground beyond self [interest].

#FutureEcologies
#PostApocalypseLife
#DesigningFutures


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May 5, 2014

Featured Artist | Ergin Zaloshnja @MIZA

MIZA Galeri
presents // prezanton:

DE LUDII
by // nga
Ergin Zaloshnja

May 7 - June 7, 2014 //7 Maj - 7 Qershor, 2014
Opening // Hapja @19:00 hr

 Ekspozita e Ergin ZaloshnjёsDe Ludii” sintetizon me dashje hapёsirёn duale tё Galerisё MIZA pёr tё tejçuar matanё dyerve tё saj njё situatё onirike, “site specific”, tashmё tё pёrthithur dhe tё asimiluar prej sё pёrditshmes. Me natyrshmёrine e lojёrave fёminore publiku do tё tranzitojё cakun imanent tё horizontit tё eventeve artistike ku ankthi karakterizon shkrirjen dhe shkartisjen e racionales me joracionalen. Koherenca e pazakontё artistike e aktit dhe objekteve, pёrpos artikulimit taksonomik nё hapёsirёn e pёrzgjedhur, i lihen nё dorё ekskluzivisht gjykimit tё publikut. - Romeo Kodra

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May 2, 2014

Brecht's 5 Difficulties in Writing the Truth | Introducing the Idea of a Possible Podcast Form of Communication

Unhappy the land where heroes are needed.- Galileo, in Brecht's Life of Galileo (1943)

A few weeks ago, I made my usual seasonal trip to the local bookstore John K. King, which happens to have one of the biggest, internationally praised collections of rare and used books. (It is also the best Indie Bookstore in Detroit.) This time I was interested in finding pieces that (somewhat) relate to architectural spatial qualities of ‘security’ and ‘desire’, as well as to satisfy my hobby of hoarding opera librettos and haikus

John K. King Rare and Used Books, Detroit

Anyways, long story short, I stumbled upon a book written in 1962 by David I. Grossvogel and titled “THE BLASPHEMERS: the theater of Brecht, Ionesco, Beckett, Genet.” I admit, when it comes to history and theory of the theater, I am still a student, but since I've been researching spatial qualities of ‘desire’, a quick look at the title and a few of the intro pages, I was hooked. So, I ended up buying the book and a few others on ‘stage’ and ‘storytelling’ (as well as some on ‘security’ and WWII aircrafts, battleships, and other spy goods ☺). Needless to say, I was a happy gal (with a lot of homework).

I've just recently started to (really) read the book, so I'll give you a sneak peek of (the difficulty of) its content:

          I.      Bertolt Brecht: The Difficulty of Witnessing 
          II.    Eugène Ionesco: The Difficulty of Living 
          III.  Samuel Beckett: The Difficulty of Dying 
          IV.   Jean Genet: The Difficulty of Defining 
          V.     Postscript

And of course what captured me right off the bat, the Introduction:
THE four playwrights considered here have in common an aggressiveness: each has come to the theater in his own way, but with anger. Every age expects its theater to be oracular, but age and oracle lapse sooner or later into familiarity. When this occurs, a blasphemer rises to voice his indignation at this meretriciousness, castigating with equal contempt and little logic the stage that allows such familiarity and the public that is content with such meretriciousness.
[...] Part of the evidence of a corrupt world was a corrupt stage. 
[...] These four have been blasphemers.
It is very curious (and fascinating) that a book written over half a century ago still echoes to this day and resonates with the reality of arts and culture as we witness them daily, especially in the small Mediterranean country of Albania. The author uses the playwrights' ‘stage’ but I am sure we could just as easily (lost in) translate it onto other mediums, performances, and publics that witness, define, give birth and kill Albanian arts and culture. 

Maybe in this context ‘The Iron Curtain’ really finds a role within the actual and/or metaphorical ‘stage’ and spectatorship. I can go on to make the case and critique about what's being done to the Albanian arts, culture, and lately history - but they have been already voiced by people more qualified than myself. I wholeheartedly agree with the points they make and I echo their frustrations. 

I will only say that ‘The Iron Curtain’ is bigger than one project and it casts a shadow on all creative fields (if we're even calling them that). ‘The Iron Curtain’ is still relevant because we still haven't dealt with what was beyond it (behind, it was hiding us) and we haven't taken enough peeks to the other side. Blame it on the sturdy ‘iron’ material or the incompetency and laziness of the ‘iron-workers’ but I gotta say, this last project really materialized the (somewhat peripheral?) idea that we are (still) dealing with a series of ‘iron curtains’ (be that political, institutional, or artistic) that we have been building systematically, (even though) on a smaller scale, ‘cookie-cutter’ style molded from the original one. This is a copy, of a copy, of a copy, of a copy... pieces that turn out to be larger than the original whole. In this sense, the success of the recent ‘Iron Curtain’ project exists only in climaxing our realization that this idea hasn't been peripheral at all, it has been hiding in plain sight.

Myself, I would've gone with something awesome like ‘Ideological Bubble’ or ‘In Vain’. Spatially it would've made more sense (but oh well). ‘Curtain’ vs.‘Bubble’ bring out the boxing gloves.(☻) And, to be fair to Brecht, add a few of his contenders in the mix: ‘Servant of Two Masters’, ‘Six Characters in Search of an Author’, ‘In the Jungle of Cities’, and so on. Pardon my dry sense of humor, but to quote Metahaven: “Jokes are political weapons and design objects.” Thus, my tone is en pointe!! ☺

NO CAPTIONS needed if you're familiar with the genius of Luis Buñuel's in the surrealist film
Viridiana and specifically the ‪#‎LastSupper‬ scene. (photo is my edit)
***
“Buñuel isn't interested in social institutions themselves, but in those human beings 
corralled by such institutions into large, unruly groups, and how quickly their conduct 
devolves into spasms of primal behavior.” via

In the spirit of difficulties, the blasphemers (of the above book) and other blasphemies (of a different kind) happening to the Albanian arts and culture, I'd like to mention for those of you who don't know ‘The Five Difficulties in Writing the Truth.’ A manifesto written by Bertolt Brecht even earlier in 1934.
Nowadays, anyone who wishes to combat lies and ignorance and to write the truth must overcome at least five difficulties. He must have the courage to write the truth when truth is everywhere opposed; the keenness to recognize it, although it is everywhere concealed; the skill to manipulate it as a weapon; the judgment to select those in whose hands it will be effective; and the cunning to spread the truth among such persons. These are formidable problems for writers living under Fascism, but they exist also for those writers who have fled or been exiled; they exist even for writers working in countries where civil liberty prevails. (via)
He's got some valid points, considering it was written right before WWII broke out. And I think that we should bring them to the table when talking about the Albanian arts and cultural scene, institution, mentality and complexes. Granted, it might seem like a big muddy mess (fighting in the trenches) considering that truth nowadays has no real definition and it is interpreted, used, and flat out denied, but I am speaking of the common truth, humane truth, civic truth, patriotic truth, artistic truth (although, if you're a runner you might want to chase after that one for awhile); meaning simply: ethics, transparency, original talent, love for a better quality (of anything really), communication, access, help, preservation, participation and basic willingness to do so. 

Here are the Five Difficulties again:

1. The Courage to Write the Truth.
2. The Keenness to Recognize the Truth. 
3. The Skill to Manipulate the Truth as a Weapon.
4. The Judgement to Select Those in Whose Hands the Truth Will Be Effective.
5. The Cunning to Spread the Truth Among the Many.

Technically, all these have been used in Albania to lie (ironically enough) and without difficulty at that either. (Arghh, why are they so difficult to use otherwise?!)

I would like to focus on the fourth difficulty: selecting those who would be effective in handing the truth you're trying writing.
But the truth cannot merely be written; it must be written for someone, someone who can do something with it. The process of recognizing truth is the same for writers and readers. In order to say good things, one's hearing must be good and one must hear good things. The truth must be spoken deliberately and listened to deliberately. (Brecht 4)
So, whoever (and wherever they are) is voicing their frustrations, opinions, lingering thoughts and are pushing these difficulties to write the truth of what's been happening this quarter century in the Albanian arts and culture and what needs to happen next (which is not blaming the previous half century, but feeding off it), you're ALL on the right path. It means the process of getting there (and maybe latter getting better) is underway. 

Though, one thing worries me: all this writing that we do. Who is reading it? What are they doing about it when they agree with what's being written? What are they doing about it when they don't agree with us? Other than screaming of course. Screaming has never solved anything, and (in my book) it is as useless as regret or gloating. Let's call screaming our kick-off moment toward a common truth onto the right path of (hopefully) getting somewhere good.

Another alternative I've been thinking about (that it might bring better communicative results) is PODCASTING. I don't know if anyone is already doing it in Albania, but wouldn't it be the greatest tool for communication and putting some tone and attitude to the words other than just punctuation?! Podcasting happens in different ways and formats and I have considered doing it many times, but I am so far away from this tiny Mediterranean country that I don't want to speculate or spectate (even more) from such distance. 

Wouldn't it be awesome? An interactive podcast that connects local artists with the rest of us (dispersed) all over the planet. I don't usually follow Albanian Television because it is the same thing over and over again: interviews that say nothing, journalists that have no clue, grasp or sensibility toward the arts, and artists that just want the spotlight and a mediocre visibility (if that). 

I am looking for a medium of communication that says something, means something, changes my mind, adds to the discourse. And yes writing does that, but I feel we need to introduce audio/visual elements to our writings, rants and Facebook posts to be taken seriously. A podcast can be short and as frequent as there is momentum in wanting to tell the truth and create a dialog around it. It can follow the Public Radio format and even have a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign. We are missing the independent media in Albania and a podcast (of sorts) might be a good move in that direction. People (in general) and creatives more specifically can be as revolutionary as the (shiny or rainy) cloud they've buried their head in, but if they go to one or all the existing Albanian media entity, they somehow conform or lower their voice or just answer the poorly written questions or promote their work. No say on where they stand, what they deal with, what their work strives to do, and how they're going to change their world. I might be wrong, but from what I've briefly seen, this is definitely the case. Difficulties in telling their truth. What's the alternative then?! Podcast anyone?! Here's an excellent example.☺


**As always thanks for reading!!

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