Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Reading Architecture: Literary Imagination and Architectural Experience. CALL FOR PAPERS

Reading Architecture: Literary Imagination and Architectural Experience

Location:    Greece
Symposium Date:    2015-06-16

Call for papers:
Professor Aulis Blomstedt used to advice his students at the Helsinki University of Technology that the capacity to imagine situations of life is a more important talent for an architect than the gift of fantasizing space. From the small scale of the domestic environment to the level of the city, literature has systematically provided us with detailed and compelling explorations of situations of life. As sociologist Robert Park famously declared we are mainly indebted to writers of fiction for our more intimate knowledge of contemporary urban life. A primary means of representation of human reality, dealing since the 19th century even with questions that had traditionally been the province of philosophy, literature focuses on the ever-changing and difficult to grasp conditions of human life, the very life that buildings, places and cities, surround, enclose, and enable.

Departing from this conviction, the symposium wishes to explore how the literary production of modernity can enlighten architects and urban planners in understanding and valorizing qualitative characteristics of the contemporary life they are called to design for. These situations of life could include a focused look into people’s everyday private and public lives, small or big scale events in human-built environments, socio-cultural and political phenomena in urban contexts. We understand these situations as place-bound (place specific) architectural experiences that allow for a qualitative, emotional and embodied apprehension of the world.

The symposium invites papers on the above categories of architectural experiences as captured in literature, to open up a discussion on how they can inform and inspire architects and architecture nowadays. It also invites papers with a pedagogical focus, exploring how the emotional, intersubjective and place-bounded worlds that literature reveals to us, can enrich architectural design and education.

The symposium will take place at Athens' Benaki Museum from June 16th to 18th, 2015.

Submission deadlineJanuary 15, 2015

For more information, plesae visit www.readingarchitecture.org

Call for papers:
Professor Aulis Blomstedt used to advice his students at the Helsinki University of Technology that the capacity to imagine situations of life is a more important talent for an architect than the gift of fantasizing space. From the small scale of the domestic environment to the level of the city, literature has systematically provided us with detailed and compelling explorations of situations of life. As sociologist Robert Park famously declared we are mainly indebted to writers of fiction for our more intimate knowledge of contemporary urban life. A primary means of representation of human reality, dealing since the 19th century even with questions that had traditionally been the province of philosophy, literature focuses on the ever-changing and difficult to grasp conditions of human life, the very life that buildings, places and cities, surround, enclose, and enable.
Departing from this conviction, the symposium wishes to explore how the literary production of modernity can enlighten architects and urban planners in understanding and valorizing qualitative characteristics of the contemporary life they are called to design for. These situations of life could include a focused look into people’s everyday private and public lives, small or big scale events in human-built environments, socio-cultural and political phenomena in urban contexts. We understand these situations as place-bound (place specific) architectural experiences that allow for a qualitative, emotional and embodied apprehension of the world.
The symposium invites papers on the above categories of architectural experiences as captured in literature, to open up a discussion on how they can inform and inspire architects and architecture nowadays. It also invites papers with a pedagogical focus, exploring how the emotional, intersubjective and place-bounded worlds that literature reveals to us, can enrich architectural design and education.
The symposium will take place at Athens' Benaki Museum from June 16th to 18th, 2015.
Submission deadlineJanuary 15, 2015
For more information, plesae visit www.readingarchitecture.org

Sunday, October 26, 2014

My selected screen shots from The Cabinet of Dr Caligari






¨The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (German: Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari) is a 1920 German silent horror film directed by Robert Wiene from a screenplay by Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer. It is one of the most influential films of the German Expressionist movement and, according to Roger Ebert, is "the first true horror film".[1] The film used stylized sets, with abstract, jagged buildings painted on canvas backdrops and flats. To add to this strange style, the actors used an unrealistic technique that exhibited "jerky" and dance-like movements.[1] This film is cited as having introduced the twist ending in cinema.[2] The premiere of a digitally restored version of the film took place at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival in February 2014.[3] This restoration had its U.S. premiere at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival "Silent Autumn" event at the Castro Theatre on September 20, 2014.¨

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Architectural photography of ¨Delicatessen¨


I don´t like French movies too much, but Delicatessen (1991) is one of my favorites. I´ve watched it three times, and now, I´ve been focused on the architectural photography that somehow reminded me the post michael wolf frames abstract views of parisian rooftops at Designboom, where the Parisian roofs are shown as abstract pictures, out of context.
These scenes look like paintings, some of them Surrealist, other Expressionist.
I am sharing today some screen shots from my computer, being in my humble opinion, the greenest, the best ones.



The man in his paper disguise is astonishing, a piece of art hanging from the staircase. Let´s say a beautiful paper sculpture.



The scene is reinforced by the snails and the water flooding the room. A dynamic scene with organic components.

The tunnels

The rooftops 

A rooftop like a Surrealist painting at the end of the movie

Friday, July 4, 2014

Colorful Los Angeles, California


Every time we go to Los Angeles, my husband is the driver so I have the opportunity to enjoy the murals and if he´s not driving fast, I can also take some casual pictures. 
Los Angeles is not exactly the city that is shown in Hollywood movies; setting aside the concentration of towers in downtown (not too much of them, compared to New York or Buenos Aires), there are low constructions, very colorful with murals in latino neighborhoods.
Here you have my last pictures, the area is next to the city of Alhambra:




A nice surprise: our dear Lionel Messi is looking at us while waiting for the green light.

Our dear Messi!

The following pictures were taken in 2012.


This one is in the Civic Center of East Los Angeles, this shot is older, from the construction times.

Here, a detail of Mercado La Paloma mural

Mercado La Paloma

A Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles

The Mayan Theater in downtown Los Angeles

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Relaxing at the Huntington Library and Gardens


Two women relaxing under the beautiful gallery in Huntington Library and Gardens, city of San Marino, California, USA. My pictures, dated May 10th 2014.


A (Roman?) bust, in the same gallery, attached to the stucco wall


Another bust, and on the background, the Huntington Library.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Some Surrealist images of Nostalghia, directed by Andrei Tarkovsky

The birds flying from the Virgin's womb

Many architects are fans of Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky, because of the lighting, the water and surrealism in his movies, regardless the plot. A favorite one is Stalker, though I liked Nostalghia best, which seems to be his most personal movie, about his feelings at his exile in Italy.
For those who want to read more about the film,  here's an interesting review in Slant Magazine, and I have to warn you, the author confuses the name "Gorchakov" with "Gorbachov" in the last paragraphs, there's nothing to do with the former president:
The images here are screen shots from my computer. 

The beautiful chiaroscuro

The mirrors

The abandoned

The indoor water reflexes, the interiors

From an architectural point of view, what I enjoy most, is the intertwined spaces, the interior and exterior, the buildings have no roof, and when they have it, the rain pours down leaving the floor as a lagoon, the vines grow inside/outside and we have a few hints of where the characters are, as they are -sometimes- shown against the bright exterior light.

The indoor water reflexes, the interiors

The indoor water reflexes, the interiors. Tarkovsky barely uses color in this movie. 

The free standing door is opened to go through "one space to the other" or "one room to the other".

The picture above shows exactly this confusion of spaces. The door has only its frame, but there is no division between rooms, it's a big space that could be virtually divided by columns and some furniture. But see, the lunatic is using the door to pass through, curiously, there's no water behind the door, but a basin that is part of the group of basins that are meant to keep the rain water, of course, an impossible task.

The beautiful streets in Italy, the old, the decayed.

The young girl amidst the old and the decayed. The vines grow outside/inside

The lonely streets

The wardrobe, a displaced element in the street where Gorchakov sees himself in the reflex of the lunatic. 

The church without roof. Always this idea of interior-exterior

People in the public building's staircase, like floating in the air. It reminds me of Rene Magritte's painting, "Golconda." 

Gorchakov's house in Russia is superimposed to the open church in Italy. The mixed feelings of the exile, the memories, that include the dog. The reflex of the Gothic windows on the water, as an impossible effect, given they are so far.

The adoration of the Virgin who gives " pregnancy." 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

An abstract of the Getty Center Museum


I tried a couple of times of taking a picture from the Meyer´s Getty Center Museum from below, let´s say from the 405 freeway, without being successful, my husband driving doesn´t allow me to take a good shot. And last time the sun was blinding me and I took what I could, the urban profile of the museum in the mountain and a nice abstract of the sky.
I am not able to show the stone finishes of the building that is a reminder of the rocks on the hillside, but I think it´s a nice pic after all.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

From "Man with a movie camera" 1929


I'm not a fan of silent movies, but what can I say about "Man with a movie camera" ? That's great, absolutely great. This is an experimental, documentary film from 1929, directed by Russian director Dziga Vertov, edited by his wife Elizaveta Svilova. The film depicts the everyday life of these Union Soviet cities: Odessa, Kharkiv and Kiev.  
The film has no plot, it's just a record of places, people, situations, objects, even graphic design, the habitat and life of progressive crowded cities, filmed by a man who goes everywhere with a big camera that cant' be hidden. And somebody is recording him for the movie.
As the images have double exposure, one doubts if they are really to be trusted, but the overall impression is that of a progressive country where Communism doesn't show up; everybody is happy, working, enjoying the beach, the games, smiles everywhere.


This is one of the few images of the Communist built environment


An upside down view of a building, think about it! A shot from 1929

What's even more, the film that has not a continuation in scenes, it shows images that are pretty out of the standard in those years: a woman giving birth to a child, half naked women, and lots of surrealist shots.
Needless to say, the camera is everywhere, taking people in surprise and in the most weird places: up in towers, in scaffoldings, in train tracks (let's say in a hole between the tracks), the cameraman is trying to achieve his balance on the doors of a convertible car. It's impossible to avoid smiling while watching the absurd situations. And in the meantime, we enjoy the old cities.











What is interesting is the effort to show a connection between the theatre, the literature and cinema, non existing at that time.
Finally, the camera has a life of its own. It shows up at the theatre, "walking,"  greeting everybody, bowing itself, that's a funny sequence.
Then the airplanes, remember it was between wars, and the faces of emotioned people, at the theatre, of course, watching this " must see" movie.

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