Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Friday, November 30, 2012

Frank Gehry´s Museo de la Biodiversidad in Panama





The design looks to me like Gehry´s first works. This is the first of Gehry´s designs for Latin America.
I´m sharing the pictures from Clarin Arquitectura and the article by Juan  Décima. Read about it:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Un mapa psicodélico de Buenos Aires. Por Franz Ackermann



Fotos y texto compartidos desde la nota de Ana María Battistozzi:

 Después de caminar por las calles de la ciudad durante días, el alemán Franz Ackermann pintó en el Faena Arts Center un mural que representa su experiencia del paisaje porteño. (...)
El gran mural de 260 metros cuadrados que concibió específicamente para el FAC y llamó “Walking South” por sus caminatas en este remoto lugar del Sur, fue realizado entre Buenos Aires y Berlín a partir de diversos recorridos por la ciudad. Fotografías, pinturas y un equipo de asistentes fueron la piedra de toque en esta realización a gran escala que ocupa con despliegue de recursos, color y forma el generoso espacio de la Sala Molinos, en Puerto Madero. “Durante diez días hice caminatas diarias desde La Boca hasta Palermo –reveló el artista–, anduve en bicicleta junto al Río de la Plata. Tomé el tren hasta el final de la estación y volví caminando hasta donde me resultó interesante. No es que haya encontrado grandes cosas a cada momento: sólo la vida cotidiana –destacó de esa gimnasia diaria que le permitió ingresar en el paisaje–, me gusta esta forma de urbanismo en la que uno es sólo una parte de una situación muy compleja.” Justamente el carácter complejo de esa situación es lo que plasman sus pinturas concebidas como collages, violentas fugas espaciales, tramas y texturas que alimentan diversas estructuras formales a pleno color y sobre todo a gran escala. La situación, desde ya, no puede ser contenida en el formato cuadro y lo desborda en un impulso que caracteriza a una parte importante de la pintura contemporánea. (...)
La travesía en pos de situaciones de interés es parte esencial al proceso de producción de este artista, que ha sido vinculado con la deriva “situacionista” y la “psicogeografía”, dos instancias del vagabundeo sin rumbo fijo que proponen una síntesis entre lo que pasa afuera y el mundo de las emociones y los afectos.

Lea la nota completa:

Lea sobre psicogeografía: (texto en inglés, por favor use el traductor a la derecha del blog)

Friday, November 23, 2012

What is Biophilic Urbanism?

Image from biophiliccities.org

¨For Professor Heerwagen, biophilia is best defined by the amazing biologist E.O. Wilson, who came up with the actual concept. It relates to the “innate emotional connection of humans to all living things.” In cities, for example, this means that people are attracted to trees and will pay more to live in areas with them. People will pay more for hotel rooms with views of nature. “These are things we intuitively know. We chose places that are greener.” Dr. Richard Jackson, former head of environmental health at the CDC, also made a similar point but connected nature with physical and mental health. Heerwagen quoted him: “In medicine, where the body is really matters.” Health is essentially place-based.

Research on the Benefits of Nature
Heerwagen outlined some fascinating recent research: In a recent study that examined the impact of exercising in nature vs. working out in areas devoid of nature, researchers found that “green exercise” in natural spaces “lowered tension, anxiety, and blood pressure,” beyond the benefits of exercise itself.
For kids, playing out in nature also has big benefits: “nature play is more imaginative.” Kids playing in nature play longer and more collaboratively. In contrast, in a closed-off playground, the play was “more aggressive and shorter.” While playing in nature, kids are “particularly attracted to spaces that offer protection and safety,” or “prospect and refuge.”
Researchers in the Netherlands recently looked at the benefits of what they call “Vitamin G.” Examining 10,000 residents in a massive study, the researchers found that the amount of green space in a 5-km zone around a person really impacts their health. “A 20 percent increase in nearby green space was effectively equivalent to another 5 years of life.”
Nature, said Heerwagen, also promotes positive emotions, psychological resilience, and wellbeing. Pleasant environments, researchers have demonstrated, stimulate opioid receptors so we actually feel a sense of pleasure.
Excerpt from: 
THE POWER OF NATURE

Edward 0. Wilson, a Harvard myrmecologist and conservationist, in popularizing the term "biophilia," suggested that we need daily contact with nature to be healthy, productive individuals, partly because we have co-evolved with nature.  Specifically, Wilson describes biophilia as "the innately emotional affiliation of human beings to other living organisms. Innate means hereditary, and hence, part of ultimate human nature."  To Wilson, biophilia is a "complex of learning rules" developed over thousands of years of evolution and human-environment interaction:

For more than 99 percent of human history people have lived in hunter-gatherer bands totally and intimately involved with other organisms. During this period of deep history, and still farther back ... they depended on an exact learned knowledge of crucial aspects of natural history... In short, the brain evolved in a biocentric world, not a machine-regulated world. It would be therefore quite  extraordinary to find that all learning rules related to that world have been erased in a few thousand years, even in the tiny minority of peoples who have existed for more than one or two generations in wholly urban environments.

The empirical evidence of biophilia, and of social, psychological, pedagogical, and other benefits from direct and indirect exposure to nature, is mounting and impressive. Research has shown that a connection with nature has the ability to reduce stress, aid recovery from illness, enhance cognitive skills and academic performance, and aid in moderating the effects of ADHD, autism and other child illnesses. A recent study by MIND, a British mental health charity, compared the effects on mood of a walk in nature with a walk in a shopping mall."' The differences in the effects of these two walks are remarkable, though not unexpected. The study concluded that "green exercise has particular benefits for people experiencing mental distress. It directly benefits mental health (lowering stress and boosting self-esteem), improves physical health (lowering blood pressure and helping to tackle obesity), provides a source of meaning and purpose, and helps to develop skills and form social connections."' The results showed marked improvements in selfesteem following the outdoor nature walk (ninety percent improved), compared to much smaller improvements for those walking in the shopping center (seventeen percent improved).'" Indeed, a large percentage of the indoor walkers actually reported a decline in self-esteem (forty-four percent declined). Similarly, the green outdoor walk resulted in significant improvements in mood. (....)
Ideally, biophilic urbanism requires action on multiple geographic scales in a "rooftop to region" or "room to region" approach. Access to nature can occur in many different ways and through access to a range and variety of natural features. The type and extent of these features will vary in part depending on the scale of attention. Ideally, multi-scalar attention results in a nested set of natural features that move from building and site to region and bioregion, creating the conditions for biophilic living. This, in turn, results in an extensive biophilic design palette.

Excerpt from:
Biophilic Urbanism: Inviting Nature Back to Our Communities and Into Our Lives
Repository Citation
Timothy Beatley, Biophilic Urbanism: Inviting Nature Back to Our Communities and Into Our Lives, 34 Wm. & Mary Envtl. L. & Pol'y Rev. 209 (2009), http://scholarship.law.wm.edu/wmelpr/vol34/ iss1/6

A more specific definition:

  • Biophilic cities are cities of abundant nature in close proximity to large numbers of urbanites; biophilic cities are biodiverse cities, that value, protect and actively restore this biodiversity; biophilic cities are green and growing cities, organic and natureful;
  • In biophilic cities, residents feel a deep affinity with the unique flora, fauna and fungi found there, and with the climate, topography, and other special qualities of place and environment that serve to define the urban home; In biophilic cities citizens can easily recognize common species of trees, flowers, insects and birds (and in turn care deeply about them);
  • Biophilic cities are cities that provide abundant opportunities to be outside and to enjoy nature through strolling, hiking, bicycling, exploring; biophilic cities nudge us to spend more time amongst the trees, birds and sunlight.
  • Biophilic cities are rich multisensory environments, the where the sounds of nature (and other sensory experiences) are as appreciated as much as the visual or ocular experience; biophilic cities celebrate natural forms, shapes, and materials;
  • Biophilic cities place importance on education about nature and biodiversity, and on providing many and varied opportunities to learn about and directly experience nature; In biophilic cities there are many opportunities to join with others in learning about, enjoying, deeply connecting with, and helping to steward over nature, whether though a nature club, organized hikes, camping in city parks, or volunteering for nature restoration projects.
  • Biophilic cities invest in the social and physical infrastructure that helps to bring urbanites in closer connection and understanding of nature, whether through natural history museums, wildlife centers, school-based nature initiatives, or parks and recreation programs and projects, among many others;
  • Biophilic cities are globally responsible cities that recognize the importance of actions to limit the impact of resource use on nature and biodiversity beyond their urban borders; biophilic cities take steps to actively support the conservation global nature;
Excerpt from

Image from biophiliccities.org

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Priorities in Conserving Community Murals


Excerpt from Priorities in Conserving Community Murals. By Timothy W. Drescher. 2003
Compilation of papers 2004. The J. Paul Getty Trust

The crucial point has nothing to do with the technical aspects of materials, surfaces, and exposure; nor is it a matter of incorporating the visual field, especially architecture, into the design; nor is it a matter of size, but of the “social field.” 
I have seen community “dance murals,” heard “word murals,” and witnessed artists holding up postcard-sized paintings that they called murals. What is going on here? It is this: community murals are primarily social. They exist at the interface of the social and the artistic, but insofar as conservation is concerned, the key fact is to recognize that they are part of an ongoing social process. We use the word community for this social field in which community murals exist. It refers to the daily audience of the mural as well as to its producers and to the painting itself. This combination, whose interests generated the mural (otherwise it is not a community mural), is the most important aspect of any conservation project. However, the fact is that over time people in communities, including artists, change their attitudes, their likes and dislikes. Their murals reflect this variability, this dynamism. This changeability presents unique problems for conservators. So for community mural conservation, the most important factors are the determinant social contexts surrounding each mural, the complex social field of which the mural is a dynamic acrylic symbol. 
Many murals preserve marginalized or devalued histories specific to particular locations that have become recognized as significant to the broader society. It is unclear to me whether or not civic and government agencies, other institutional bureaucracies, or, indeed, the conservation community itself fully understand and share this priority. This situation is one reason that collaboration is essential in the conservation of community murals. For conservators, conservation of murals requires a different approach than usual. The traditional conservator’s job has been to conserve a static object, but community murals are not static—or they are, but only in a very limited sense. 
This observation does not mean that conservators have no role in the restoration of community works. Conservators bring vast technical knowledge to any project, expertise that is invaluable to any successful conservation. The fact is, many muralists and communities would like a conservator to do the work with no changes in imagery. If there are no problems, fine. Obviously, collaboration among “the community” and its artists and conservators (and others) is the optimum basis of successful community mural preservation. But problems can arise. Differences between accepted conservators’ practices and a community muralist can be determined and then resolved only in conjunction with the community, as described below. The roles of the several participants in a proposed conservation project must be reconceived in light of a community mural’s distinctive characteristics—that is, considered not merely as an art object but, most importantly, as part of a social process. The conservation of a painted surface must conserve the social, creative process of the original work as well as the painting itself. I will use a new word for this: sociocreative. With community murals, the goal of conservation is to preserve the entire sociocreative project.

Read more essays, proceedings, research about conservation at the Getty Conservation Institute:
http://www.getty.edu/conservation/publications_resources/pdf_publications/index.html

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

La leyenda del Palacio Chrysler o actual Palacio Alcorta-Museo Renault

El Palacio Chrysler antes de los grandes desarrollos urbanos. Bajada de http://www.dodge-tech.com.ar/vb/showthread.php?t=31909
Postal del Palacio Chrysler en 1920. Imagen bajada de http://www.testdelayer.com.ar/Imagenes/palacio-chrysler.htm
Los boxes en el Palacio Chrysler. Imagen bajada de http://www.testdelayer.com.ar/Imagenes/palacio-chrysler.htm

He paseado por el Palacio Alcorta o Chrysler reciclado en algunas oportunidades, también he visitado  el bar del Museo Renault. Una obra impresionante. Sin embargo, no conocía la leyenda que lo envuelve, y, a pesar que el artículo es criticado por algunos errores (por ejemplo, no queda claro lo de la extensión de la pista y hay quienes dicen que la cifra se refiere a m2), les comparto el texto de Eduardo Parise para el diario Clarín on line:

¨En Buenos Aires, cuando se habla de palacios, la asociación inmediata pasa por recordar los que enmarcan a la avenida Alvear, o los que están junto a la plaza San Martín. También, algunos de la zona de Palermo Chico. Sin embargo, en este último sector, hay uno de esos edificios majestuosos al que no se suele contabilizar: es el que ahora se conoce como Palacio Alcorta, una construcción que en 1994 se transformó en la sede de costosos lofts. Pero no siempre fue así.
Proyectado en 1927 e inaugurado el 1 de diciembre de 1928, aquel palacio tuvo como destino original ser la sede de una concesionaria de autos que, como representante autorizado de una empresa estadounidense, armaba y comercializaba la marca Chrysler en la Argentina. Se llamaba Resta Hermanos y su edificio símbolo era ese que, a la altura del 3300 de la avenida Figueroa Alcorta, ocupaba y aún ocupa toda una manzana.
Se lo conocía como Edificio Chrysler, aunque aquella empresa nunca fue su dueña. En la planta baja, sobre la avenida, estaban el salón de venta y las oficinas y detrás, el área de montaje y fabricación de repuestos. En el primer piso, se ubicaban los talleres de retoque, terminación y depósito de vehículos. Pero la mayor curiosidad estaba en la gran terraza: una pista circular, de más de 1.700 metros de extensión y curvas peraltadas, que se usaba para probar los autos a alta velocidad. Inclusive, alguna vez se la usó para hacer carreras de motos, ya que tenía tribunas con capacidad para hasta 3.000 espectadores.
Dicen que aquella empresa dueña del lugar tuvo un duro final, a raíz de una jugada que hábiles estafadores le realizaron en 1931. Cuentan que todo empezó cuando en la tardecita de un viernes, un hombre llegó, compró un 0 kilómetro que pagó con un cheque y se fue con el auto. A la mañana siguiente, sábado, un hombre pidió un servicio de auxilio y, cuando lo asistieron, vieron que era el auto comprado el día anterior, pero con otro dueño. Lo había adquirido en efectivo, casi por la mitad de su valor.
Lo primero que se pensó era que el cheque aquel no tenía fondos y había que detener al presunto estafador. Lo encontraron a bordo del Vapor de la Carrera, el barco que, viajando toda la noche, hacía el cruce hacia Montevideo. El hombre alegó que había “reventado” el auto porque necesitaba juntar dinero que apostaría al día siguiente en el hipódromo de Maroñas a un caballo de gran sport. Como no le creían, hizo labrar un acta con el capitán del barco diciendo a qué caballo y qué cantidad importante iba a apostar. Después, lo bajaron del barco y lo detuvieron.
La leyenda dice que el domingo el caballo no sólo ganó, sino que pagó una fortuna. Y que el lunes, cuando fueron a la ventanilla a cobrar el cheque emitido el viernes, el cajero también pagó el importe sin problemas. Dicen que la concesionaria tuvo que afrontar peso sobre peso lo que hubiera ganado aquel apostador. Y que por eso la empresa fue absorbida por otra llamada Fevre y Basset, que se hizo cargo del edificio. Después, el palacio pasó a manos del Comando de Arsenales del Ejército y fue sede del Registro Nacional de Armas. Hasta que en 1994 lo reciclaron y se convirtió en sede de esos lujosos departamentos actuales.
El majestuoso Palacio Alcorta es obra de Mario Palanti, un famoso arquitecto milanés que vivió entre 1885 y 1979. Había llegado a la Argentina en 1909 y su talento está presente en muchos de los edificios que diseñó. Obviamente, el más famoso es uno que fue y es un símbolo de la Ciudad: el Palacio Barolo, de la gran Avenida de Mayo. Pero esa es otra historia.¨


Palacio Alcorta. Vista aérea del reciclaje. Imagen de Palermo-buenos aires.com
Palacio Alcorta. Imagen bajada de http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=475862

Monday, November 19, 2012

Do cities make us sick?

See the pictures gallery at

I have no doubt that living in big cities is really stressful. You walk pushing all the people and feel the fear somebody could steal anything from you; everyday listening to vehicles´ horns, the sounds of cars and buses, vendors everywhere, homeless, shouts and so on. I have an architect friend who at noon gets out of the office and goes to the park, and for at least half an hour, sitting on the grass, eating a sandwich, she forgets about the city. I never could imitate her example. It seems there´s a pretty serious research about this issue, let´s read from the article by Brian Merchant at treehugger.com: 

¨ In 1965, health authorities in Camberwell, a bustling quarter of London's southward sprawl, began an unusual tally. They started to keep case records for every person in the area who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder or any other psychiatric condition. Decades later, when psychiatrists looked back across the data, they saw a surprising trend: the incidence of schizophrenia had more or less doubled, from around 11 per 100,000 inhabitants per year in 1965 to 23 per 100,000 in 1997 — a period when there was no such rise in the general population. 
One possible explanation was that exposure to the city itself, and its myriad stresses, was driving the decline in mental health. Statistics collected in the United States and Germany seem to corroborate the finding. Nature notes that "In Germany, the number of sick days taken for psychiatric ailments doubled between 2000 and 2010; in North America, up to 40% of disability claims for work absence are related to depression, according to some estimates." 
But nobody's making any conclusions — cities are vast, complex human ecosystems, and it's extremely difficult to pinpoint how, if, or why living in them may give rise to mental health problems. There's still a ton of study to be done, and there may be more specific reasons that city residents are suffering from mental health woes. So, scientists have embarked on ambitious projects to map entire metropolises, follow citizens with mobile app tech as they go to work, and to better understand how the urban environment causes stress. One thing seems to be certain; better-planned cities, with ample green spaces and areas in which residents can find relief from the bustle are preferable to the concrete jungle. Research in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that city dwellers who lived closer to green spaces exhibited better mental health; they were less likely to be stressed or to suffer from more serious ailments.¨


See the list of the most stressful cities in USA:

An eloquent picture of urban sprawl. Wikimedia/IDuke/CC BY 2.0

And from Melissa Breyer´s article at treehugger.com:

Newly developed areas characterized by urban sprawl are wreaking havoc on the environment by any number of reasons, one of which is an integral piece of suburban design – a reliance on cars. But neighborhood design also influences the health of human populations, according to a new study from St. Michael's Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.
The researchers found that the less walkable one’s neighborhood is, the higher risk its inhabitants have of developing diabetes.
The study looked at data from the population of Toronto aged 30-64 and identified those without diabetes. For five years the participants were tracked to see who developed diabetes, which was compared to where they lived and analyzed against data on neighborhood walkabiliy.
To figure out how walkable each neighborhood is, the researchers created an index looking at factors such as population density, street connectivity and the availability of walkable destinations such as retail stores and service within a 10-minute walk.
The results were surprising, with up to a 50 percent increase in the risk of developing diabetes for those living in a less walkable neighborhood, when compared to long-term residents living in the most walkable areas, results were regardless of neighborhood income. Within these findings, the team found that the risk was especially high for new immigrants living in low-income neighborhoods. As noted in the study, past research has demonstrated a precipitated risk of obesity-related issues for new immigrants within the first 10 years of arrival to Canada.

Friday, November 16, 2012

How to protect New York from future storms?


¨With the incredible destruction in New Jersey and New York, talk is now heating up about how to invest billions to make cities and coastal communities climate resilient and protect them from future storms. The innovative ideas of Dland studio to create wetlands around the city and landscape architect Kate Orff, ASLA, SCAPE, to mitigate storms with man-made oyster reefs were even just featured in a cover story in The New York Times, while the case for using green infrastructure to deal with heavy rain has now gotten more attention thanks to Kaid Benfield’s excellent piece. However, will policymakers now see the value of putting natural systems in place to address flooding and storm risks, or will New York City and others invest in expensive, “hard” infrastructure like sea walls that often fail to do the job of protecting people and property?
A 2009 report by the Army Corps of Engineer and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey looked at the feasibility of recreating 18,000 acres of tidal wetlands “on the margins of the islands and the coastline, [which] act like sponges, slowing and baffling tidal forces,” to replace the massive sea walls, which had actually taken the place of the original 300,000-acre wetlands in the outer boroughs of New York City. The problem the engineers were looking at: sea walls don’t actually function that well when protecting areas below sea level (see New Orleans and Katrina). The original perceived benefit of the sea walls was that they would enable more land to be developed closer to the water.
A proposal by Dland Studio and Architecture Research Office would put a set of wetlands around lower Manhattan and we would hope all the other boroughs. The New York Times writes: “To prevent incursions by water, Mr. Cassell and his planners imagined ringing Lower Manhattan with a grassy network of land-based parks accompanied by watery patches of wetlands and tidal salt marshes. At Battery Park, for instance, the marshes would weave through a series of breakwater islands made of geo-textile tubes and covered with marine plantings. On the Lower East Side of the island, Mr. Cassell and his team envisioned extending Manhattan by a block or two — with additional landfill — to create space for another new park and a salt marsh.” A complementary set of green streets would also boost absorptive capacity within the city.
Another exciting proposal by Orff would use oysters to create decentralized storm mitigation infrastructure in the low-lying Buttermilk Channel and Gowanus Bay that swelled and severely flooded some neighborhoods during the storm. Orff’s argument is that “the era of big infrastructure is over” and needs to be neighborhood-centric and actually embedded into daily life. The New York Timeswrites: “Ms. Orff’s proposal [...] envisions a system of artificial reefs in the channel and the bay built out of rocks, shells and fuzzy rope that is intended to nurture the growth of oysters (she calls them ‘nature’s wave attenuators’).” The reefs would also help clean the water: each oyster purifies an amazing 50 gallons of water a day. Students at a local NYC school have also picked up on the oysters idea and area doing their own experiments to see how they would work.¨
REFERENCE

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Three pictures from Venice flood

 People dressed in rain gear sit on chairs in a flooded St. Mark's Square in Venice earlier this month. Photograph by Manuel Silvestri, Reuters


 High floodwaters in Venice this weekend made the water levels in the city's canals and on the streets about even. Photograph by Manuel Silvestri, Reuters


 Venice flood. Photograph by Luigi Costantini, Associated Press


Shared from National Geographic.com 
Though the flood must be problematic, I think the pictures are beautiful. And it must be a great experience to walk the flooded streets, while it´s not dangerous.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

SYMPOSIUM CALL FOR PAPERS INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES: THE NEXT 25 YEARS


HILTON, PASADENA, CALIFORNIA, USAAugust 1-4, 2013
     The Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies celebrates its 25th anniversary of modeling interdisciplinary integration of the liberal arts with a call to explore the relevance of interdisciplinary studies for the next 25 years. In the last two decades, interdisciplinary studies have blossomed into a challenging venue for innovation in teaching and research. Remarkably, the natural sciences have turned to interdisciplinary engagement by the inner logic of discovery more than deliberate design. The National Academy of Sciences’ Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research confirmed the need for interdisciplinary approaches as the most relevant methodology for addressing major dilemmas confronting humanity in the 21st century. The National Science Foundation and the Association of American Universities also encourage interdisciplinary research. But the greatest need for interdisciplinary integration is in the social sciences and humanities, which explore complex human interactions and designs for living, including socio-psychological, economic, political, cultural, and spiritual dimensions in an increasingly interconnected world. The bourgeoning science-ethics-religion dialogue reflects a growing realization of the interdependence of all phenomena. The outstanding question, then, is: What are the most promising interdisciplinary methodologies to reinvigorate teaching and research that can inspire the quest for new knowledge, problem-solving, and syntheses across all the arts and sciences, which would enhance our understanding of the human condition in the global village? The urgency of this task is heightened by rapid scientific and technological advances which seem at times to outpace the human capacities to manage them for the common good.

 INTERDISCIPLINARY  STUDIES  2013  SYMPOSIUM  GUIDELINES:
   INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES 2013 endeavorto bring together scholars from a wide range of disciplines and denominations for an exciting international conference which takes both scholarship and faith seriously. Symposium VenueIS 2013 is co-sponsored by IIR-ICSA-JIS in the City of the Roses--the world-famous Tournament of Roses--in sunny Southern California, with many cultural/sightseeing opportunities. Send Abstracts (250 words) by: April 15, 2013 to: Dr. O. Gruenwald, JIS Editor, 1065 Pine Bluff Dr., Pasadena, CA 91107, USA, per e-mail (no attachments) to: IS 2013 (click for e-mail). Include: Paper Title, First & Last Name, faculty or student, mailing address, phone & e-mail. Publication: Fully-developed papers will be considered for publication in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies XXVI 2014. Conference Web: www.JIS3.org/symposium2013.htm  Registration: Symposium participants must preregister: $75 by 15April 2013; $100 after 15 April 2013; $150 after 1 June 2013.

IS  2013  SYMPOSIUM  STRUCTURE:
     Check-In: Thursday, August 13:00 PM - 6:00 PM, Hilton Pasadena. Reception: Thursday, August 1, 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM. Main Symposium Program: Friday, August 2, 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM; Saturday, August 3, 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM. Sunday, August 4: Cultural/Ecclesial/Sightseeing. Format: Multidisciplinary panels and papers. Participants are encouraged to attend the entire conference to enhance dialogue, synergy, and synthesis, as well as fellowship. Presenting a paper is not a prerequisite for participation. Indicate if you prefer to serve as discussant. Family members enjoy the reduced student registration rate. Audio-Visual EquipmentBring laptop or flash drive if desired for PowerPoint presentation. Cultural/SightseeingBefore or after the conference. Optional Field Trip: Huntington Library, Pasadena.

READ MORE

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The exhibition Design without Borders – Creating Change

WHEELCHAIRS FOR CHILDREN: Design without Borders has collaborated with the Guatemalan foundation Transiciones on the development of a wheelchair for children in Guatemala. Photo: Norsk Form/Kjersti Gjems Vangberg


Location: DogA, Oslo
Thursday 20. September 2012 - Sunday 02. December 2012
Free admission

The exhibition Design without Borders – Creating Change shows how designers contribute to creating social change in developing countries. Mine clearing equipment, wheelchairs for children in Guatemala, ecological urinal for slum areas and computers for young people living in villages. Design without Borders has for more than ten years developed products for and with developing countries and connected designers from the South with Norwegian companies. The objective is to create good, inexpensive solutions that can be produced locally. The exhibition Design without borders – Creating Change presents the products and solutions in the local context for which they have been created. The ecological urinal has been placed in a slum setting, and the wheelchair can be tried out on a cobblestone street. You can try out the new mine-clearing equipment while actually searching for mines and inside an emergency shelter you will find an earthquake simulator. Just as important as the finished products is Design without Borders’ work method. Through text, photos, and videos the exhibition communicates the important design process that lies behind the products.

TOILET SOLUTION: The ecological urinal developed by Design without Borders and SuSan-Design is odor-free and hygienic. A family in the slums of Nairobi is testing the new urinal. Photo: Kjersti Gjems Vangberg

Keep on reading:

A proposed "greening" of Lower Manhattan to absorb storm surges, designed by Stephen 

Cassell, Adam Yarinski, and Susannah C. Drake for the exhibition Rising Currents, Museum 

of Modern Art, 2010. ARO/dlandstudio/Museum of Modern Art

" As we contemplate the horrific damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, the world of design may seem remote from our most immediate concerns. Yet the urgent needs that follow large-scale catastrophes—the need for shelter, clean water, alternative sources of power—can be particularly conducive to creative solutions. I recently observed that breakthroughs in architecture and industrial design have emerged during wartime; now a remarkable new exhibition in Oslo shows that the same can hold true for natural disasters as well.
Presented by Norsk Form, the Foundation for Design and Architecture in Norway, Design Without Borders (the title is an obvious nod to Médecins Sans Frontières) presents realistic mock-ups of fourteen problem-solving design initiatives—ranging from post-hurricane relief to land-mine removal—in Norsk Form’s DogA exhibition space, which occupies a cavernous turn-of-the-twentieth-century power station in Oslo. For example, a life-size replica of a post-disaster shelter features insulated walls made from empty plastic beverage bottles stacked and held in place with chicken wire within wooden frameworks.
According to Leif Verdu-Isachsen, who organized the exhibition and edited its engaging catalog with Truls Ramberg,
After a natural disaster, we have about a two-week window of opportunity in which to engage the global public before its attention shifts elsewhere, so what we do has to be implemented very quickly. Furthermore, we know that on average these shelters will need to be used for about three years before permanent housing can be built, so the combination of rapid assembly and relative durability is essential."
REFERENCE: Martin Filler. Design from Disasters
http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2012/nov/05/design-from-natural-disasters/


Friday, November 9, 2012

Pictures from New York City

Christmas Decoration – New York City NYC knows how to celebrate…everything! (Photograph by Corey Barker, My Shot)
The view from the Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center). (Photograph by Asterio Tecson, Flickr)

Brooklyn Bridge – New York City

Late afternoon on the Brooklyn Bridge. (Photograph by Steve Minor, Flickr)


From the post at National Geographic.com

I Heart My City: Annie Fitzsimmons’s NYC


Read about NYC beautiful places to visit and enjoy more pictures:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Esthetics and Spirituality: Places of Interiority. CALL FOR PAPERS


Deadline: 1 December 2012

Conference

Esthetics and Spirituality: Places of Interiority

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

16 – 17 – 18 May 2013

In the contemporary Western European world traditional, institutionalized religions are losing ground, while alternative religions, literature and the arts, film and media, as well as commercial enterprises are offering alternatives. Old concepts, symbols and rituals are translated into new forms.  This is a recurrent phenomenon: as sensitivities change throughout the ages, the ways to express this changed “interiority” change and result in new manifestations of spirituality. 

This multi- and interdisciplinary Conference on Aesthetics and Spirituality looks at how, both in the past and the present, people devise(d) new ways of conceiving and manifesting interiority. In order to look at the forms “interiority” has received throughout the ages we use different approaches: literature, cultural studies, theology, art (iconography/iconology), history (of ideas) and architecture, anthropology, political sciences/sociology, psychology, philosophy...  

How do exteriority and interiority relate? What does it mean to be in a place, to be at home in the world or with oneself (cf Pierre Nora,Les lieux de mémoire)?  How can urban planning, public and private buildings, furniture and other material things, clothes, prescribed attitudes, etc. be conducive to interiorization (conscious or unconscious reflections, contemplation)? Or, conversely, how can material factors repress interiority (cf repressive political systems)? In order to imagine a topology of interiority that would draw on an inter-disciplinary field of studies and research we invite papers on the different kinds of language which translate outside to inside and vice versa.

 

If interiority is a question of presence and orientation we need to look at

(a) Bodily expressions: a religious community prescribed a certain body language which could bring about a spirituality (cf. nineteenth-century feminine congregations focusing on nursing, weaving and embroidering); manifold forms of biblical spirituality (Schneider et al) inspire the body, while psychology of religion and psychoanalysis develop ways of readingreligious bodies (Vergote, Lacan, Vasse, Moyaert et al). 

(b) Expressions through things, images (iconology), words

-changes in the attitude to relics, books, icons, devotional cards, rosaries, … 

-different links between theology, art and literature produce different forms: the “bondieuserie” in France (1850s) differed from Pre-Raphaelite depictions of the divine (criticized by Dickens), or from the Pilgrim’s Movement in Flanders; after the Great War Benedictine spirituality was revived, while Franciscan spirituality brought a new attention for nature and animals in literature; 21st-century ecocriticism brings a new attitude to representations of nature, as do gender studies to aspects of spirituality …

(c) Changes in Ritual, as a means to link physical and metaphysical aspects of experience: which forms of ritual are depicted, developed, in contemporary literature, to mark forgiveness, reconciliation, or other transitions (to adulthood, married life, divorce, healing from sickness, death,…) Which theories of performativity are used in liturgy these days? Which kind of poetics are used in contemporary prayer? How do contemporary political symbols (fail to) develop? (Cf. prevalence of Christian symbols in commemorations of British army casualties et al). Can ritual help in conflict situations, and how are new rituals validated? How do religious institutions relate to the secularization?       

(d) Contributions relating to or focusing on Irish topics will be especially welcomed. 

Are Celtic symbols still known, used, adapted?  How does Irish urbanization, architecture, make space for interiority? How is “interiority” conceived at all in contemporary art and philosophy? Which places, moments, figures, phenomena, concepts, does contemporary film, drama, poetry, fiction, art, hold in special reverence? Does nature (stone, plant, animal) still harbour something sacred, and if so, how? Do angels still figure? 

Are there still references to the Jewish, Greek, Christian stories? Is twentieth-century and contemporary art, literature and film reacting or indifferent to this tradition, does it translate archaic symbols (animals and trees, food and drink, textile and books, home and travel, …) into new forms, or does it divest these old icons of their symbolism?
The conference is hosted by the KU Leuven, the Faculties of the Arts, Theology and KADOC (Interfaculty Institute of the KU Leuven for Documentation and Research for Religion, Culture and Society) in cooperation with the Leuven Centre for Irish Studies (LCIS). It will take place in the newly refurbished Irish college in Leuven (the Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe). The Scientific Committee consists of Barbara Baert (KU Leuven, Arts), Reimund Bieringer (KU Leuven, Theology), Ralph De Koninck (Université Catholique de Louvain, Arts), Jan De Maeyer (KADOC, KU Leuven, History/Heritage), Borbala Farago (Central European University Budapest, Gender Studies), Veerle Fraeters (U Antwerpen, Literature), Christine Göttler (Universität Bern, Arts), Hedwig Schwall (KU Leuven/Kortrijk, Literature), Paul Vandenbroeck (KU Leuven/ Anthropology/Social sciences), Henrik von Aachen (University of Bergen, Norway, Arts)


Papers should not exceed 2500-3000 words (20 minutes’ delivery). Proposals for papers (250 words) and a short biography should be sent by e-mail to 

Hedwig Schwall , Hedwig.schwall@arts.kuleuven.be 

You will be notified by 20 December.

More information about the conference will be posted on www.irishstudies.kuleuven.be/ <http://www.irishstudies.kuleuven.be/

Monday, November 5, 2012

The origins of the City of Asgard


Asgard. A shot from the movie Thor. Google images
¨Thor swung himself backwards and forwards, and threw stones in every possible direction. Tyr sat down on the top of a precipice, and defied the winds to displace him; whilst Baldur vainly endeavoured to comfort his poor mother, Frigga. But Odin stepped forth calm and unruffled, spread his arms towards the sky, and called out to the spirits of the wind, "Cease, strange Vanir (for that was the name by which they were called), cease your rough play, and tell us in what manner we have offended you that you serve us thus."
The winds laughed in a whispered chorus at the words of the brave king, and, after a few low titterings, sank into silence. But each sound in dying grew into a shape: one by one the strange, loose-limbed, uncertain forms stepped forth from caves, from gorges, dropped from the tree tops, or rose out of the grass—each wind-gust a separate Van.
Then Niörd, their leader, stood forward from the rest of them, and said, "We know, O mighty Odin how you and your company are truly the Æsir—that is to say, the lords of the whole earth—since you slew the huge, wicked giant. We, too, are lords, not of the earth, but of the sea and air, and we thought to have had glorious sport in fighting one against another; but if such be not your pleasure, let us, instead of that, shake hands." And, as he spoke, Niörd held out his long, cold hand, which was like a windbag to the touch. Odin grasped it heartily, as did all the Æsir; for they liked the appearance of the good-natured, gusty chief, whom they begged to become one of their company, and live henceforth with them.
To this Niörd consented, whistled good-bye to his kinsfolk, and strode cheerfully along amongst his new friends. After this they journeyed on and on steadily westward until they reached the summit of a lofty mountain, called the Meeting Hill. There they all sat round in a circle, and took a general survey of the surrounding neighbourhood.
As they sat talking together Baldur looked up suddenly, and said, "Is it not strange, Father Odin, that we do not find any traces of that giant who fled from us, and who escaped drowning in his father's blood?"
"Perhaps he has fallen into Niflheim, and so perished," remarked Thor.
But Niörd pointed northward, where the troubled ocean rolled, and said, "Yonder, beyond that sea, lies the snowy region of Jötunheim. It is there the giant lives, and builds cities and castles, and brings up his children—a more hideous brood even than the old one."
"How do you know that, Niörd?" asked Odin.
"I have seen him many times," answered Niörd, "both before I came to live with you, and also since then, at night, when I have not been able to sleep, and have made little journeys to Jötunheim, to pass the time away."
"This is indeed terrible news," said Frigga; "for the giants will come again out of Jötunheim and devastate the earth."
"Not so," answered Odin, "not so, my dear Frigga; for here, upon this very hill, we will build for ourselves a city, from which we will keep guard over the poor earth, with its weak men and women, and from whence we will go forth to make war upon Jötunheim."
"That is remarkably well said, Father Odin," observed Thor, laughing amidst his red beard.
Tyr shouted, and Vidar smiled, but said nothing; and then all the Æsir set to work with their whole strength and industry to build for themselves a glorious city on the summit of the mountain. For days, and weeks, and months, and years they worked, and never wearied; so strong a purpose was in them, so determined and powerful were they to fulfil it. Even Frigga and her ladies did not disdain to fetch stones in their marble wheelbarrows, or to draw water from the well in golden buckets, and then, with delicate hands, to mix the mortar upon silver plates. And so that city rose by beautiful degrees, stone above stone, tower above tower, height above height, until it crowned the hill.
Then all the Æsir stood at a little distance, and looked at it, and sighed from their great happiness. Towering at a giddy height in the centre of the city rose Odin's seat, called Air Throne, from whence he could see over the whole earth. On one side of Air Throne stood the Palace of Friends, where Frigga was to live; on the other rose the glittering Gladsheim, a palace roofed entirely with golden shields, and whose great hall, Valhalla, had a ceiling covered with spears, benches spread with coats of mail, and five hundred and forty entrance-gates, through each of which eight hundred men might ride abreast. There was also a large iron smithy, situated on the eastern side of the city, where the Æsir might forge their arms and shape their armour. That night they all supped in Valhalla, and drank to the health of their strong, new home, "The City of Asgard," as Bragi, their chief orator, said it ought to be called.¨
Excerpt from The Heroes of Asgar

TALES FROM SCANDINAVIAN MYTHOLOGY BY A. & E. KEARY
USA 1909
CHAPTER I.
THE ÆSIR- PART I. A GIANT—A COW—AND A HERO.
An otherworldly, shimmering citadel, surrounded by thousands of monuments to the uncontested might of the Norse gods, in a land where the weather is always perfect. Text and picture from 


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