Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Sunday, April 28, 2013

" Lie Down " Urban skyscape

'Lie Down' is a surrealist collection of pictures that create the feeling of being upright on a vertical surface. The objects on each image talk to the viewer and tell them about a distort reality from a subjective point of view by playing with installations under natural light and reflections. Each urban skyscape represents a different scenario, from a observation to contemporary issues to a close look into the artist's experiences. The pictures from the Lie Down collection are analog shots composed on the camera and consist of a highly manipulated reality rather than combination printing or digital airbrushing. (Edurne Aguinaga, Spain, Finalist, Conceptual, Professional Competition, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

From The Devil´s Dictionary: an excerpt dedicated to architects

The Devil's Dictionary is a satirical "reference" book written by Ambrose Bierce. The book offers reinterpretations of terms in the English language, lampooning cant and political doublespeak, as well as other aspects of human foolishness and frailty. It was originally published in 1906 as The Cynic's Word Book before being retitled in 1911. Modern "unabridged" versions that include Bierce "definitions" that were for various reasons missed by earlier editions continue to be popular a century later.

ARCHITECT, n. One who drafts a plan of your house, and plans a draft of your money. 

GARGOYLE, n. A rain-spout projecting from the eaves of mediaeval buildings, commonly fashioned into a grotesque caricature of some personal enemy of the architect or owner of the building. This was especially the case in churches and ecclesiastical structures generally, in which the gargoyles presented a perfect rogues' gallery of local heretics and controversialists. Sometimes when a new dean and chapter were installed the old gargoyles were removed and others substituted having a closer relation to the private animosities of the new incumbents. 

ART, n. This word has no definition. Its origin is related as follows by the ingenious Father Gassalasca Jape, S.J.
  One day a wag—what would the wretch be at?—
  Shifted a letter of the cipher RAT,
  And said it was a god's name!  Straight arose
  Fantastic priests and postulants (with shows,
  And mysteries, and mummeries, and hymns,
  And disputations dire that lamed their limbs)
  To serve his temple and maintain the fires,
  Expound the law, manipulate the wires.
  Amazed, the populace that rites attend,
  Believe whate'er they cannot comprehend,
  And, inly edified to learn that two
  Half-hairs joined so and so (as Art can do)
  Have sweeter values and a grace more fit
  Than Nature's hairs that never have been split,
  Bring cates and wines for sacrificial feasts,
  And sell their garments to support the priests.

BATH, n. A kind of mystic ceremony substituted for religious worship, with what spiritual efficacy has not been determined.
  The man who taketh a steam bath
  He loseth all the skin he hath,
  And, for he's boiled a brilliant red,
  Thinketh to cleanliness he's wed,
  Forgetting that his lungs he's soiling
  With dirty vapors of the boiling.

GEOGRAPHER, n. A chap who can tell you offhand the difference between the outside of the world and the inside. Habeam, geographer of wide reknown, Native of Abu-Keber's ancient town, In passing thence along the river Zam To the adjacent village of Xelam, Bewildered by the multitude of roads, Got lost, lived long on migratory toads, Then from exposure miserably died, And grateful travelers bewailed their guide. Henry Haukhorn 

HOUSE, n. A hollow edifice erected for the habitation of man, rat, mouse, beetle, cockroach, fly, mosquito, flea, bacillus and microbe. House of Correction, a place of reward for political and personal service, and for the detention of offenders and appropriations. House of God, a building with a steeple and a mortgage on it. House-dog, a pestilent beast kept on domestic premises to insult persons passing by and appal the hardy visitor. House-maid, a youngerly person of the opposing sex employed to be variously disagreeable and ingeniously unclean in the station in which it has pleased God to place her. 

HOUSELESS, adj. Having paid all taxes on household goods. 

LECTURER, n. One with his hand in your pocket, his tongue in your ear and his faith in your patience. 

OUT-OF-DOORS, n. That part of one's environment upon which no government has been able to collect taxes. Chiefly useful to inspire poets.

 PAINTING, n. The art of protecting flat surfaces from the weather and exposing them to the critic. Formerly, painting and sculpture were combined in the same work: the ancients painted their statues. The only present alliance between the two arts is that the modern painter chisels his patrons. 
New York. Its commonest expression is heard in the words, "I beg your pardon," and it is not consistent with disregard of the rights of others.

Read the full book:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Temple of Hercules in Amman, Jordan

I´m sharing today this amazing photograph of the Temple of Hercules in Amman, Jordan, by Robert Clark and posted at National
At first glance, I was astonished to see the fingers and thought if they were digitally manipulated to create a surrealist picture, given the scale of the hand, compared to the temple´s ruins. But:

¨Imposing architecture and art followed Roman armies to the farthest flung corners of the empire. The curled fingers were part of a statue that may have stood over 40 feet tall at the Temple of Hercules, in Amman, Jordan, around A.D. 160. Romans knew the city as Philadelphia.¨

Her is the original link that also contains Clark´s web site:

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Christian symbolism in churches. A reflection on Bradbury´s ¨The Fire Balloons¨

Blue Balloon church. A digital manipulation on Josef Svoboda´s set design. By Myriam Mahiques

Since I bought my simple e-reader, the first book I´ve downloaded from my computer is The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury. I am so happy to go back to the great stories of the tattooed man, specially because when I read it for the first time, I was fifteen years old, and of course now I see I´ve lost many subtle subjects of interest.
Among them, let us remember the story The Fire Balloons. It doesn´t shock us like others, because this is just a tale of Christian evangelization in Mars. Probably I found it boring in my youth.
Today, I am reflecting about father Joseph Peregrine´s goal to find the fire balloons, -supposedly sinner Martians- to convert them. The main question is if they are man or beast.
Once he proves to the other reverends that the round luminous globes of light, have a soul ('Somehow, they saved us. That proves they have souls.'), he decides to build a church in the hills to attract them with a brand new image of Christ:

Father Peregrine drew the round circle in the center of the blackboard.
'This is Christ, the son of the Father.'
He pretended not to hear the other Fathers' sharp intake of breath.
'This is Christ in all his Glory,' he continued.
'It looks like a geometry problem,' observed Father Stone.
'A fortunate comparison, for we deal with symbols here. Christ is no less Christ, you must admit, in being represented by a circle or a square. For centuries the cross has symbolized his love and agony. So this circle will be the Martian Christ. This is how we shall bring Him to Mars.'
The Fathers stirred fretfully and looked at each other.
'You, Brother Mathias, will create, in glass, a replica of this circle, a globe, filled with bright fire. It will stand upon the altar.'
'A cheap magic trick,' muttered Father Stone Father Peregrine went on patiently: 'On the contrary. We are giving them God in an understandable image. If Christ had come to us on Earth as an octopus, would we have accepted him readily?' He spread his hands. 'Was it then a cheap magic trick of the Lord's to bring us Christ through Jesus, in man's shape? After we bless the church we build here and sanctify its altar and this symbol, do you think Christ would refuse to inhabit the shape before us? You know in your hearts He would not refuse.'

Spherical fractal by Myriam Mahiques. To illustrate the idea of Bradbury´s blue light balloons.

There is here this discussion about the symbolism inside a church, a beautiful example of semiotics, the metaphor of the shape. Then, father Peregrine reflects about the location of a church:

'Is it because they are so odd to the eye?' wondered Father Peregrine. 'But what is a shape? Only a cup for the blazing soul that God provides us all. If tomorrow I found that sea lions suddenly possessed free will, intellect, knew when not to sin, knew what life was and tempered justice with mercy and life
with love, then I would build an undersea cathedral. And if the sparrows should, miraculously, with God's will, gain everlasting souls tomorrow, I would freight a church with helium and take after them, for all souls, in any shape, if they have free will and are aware of their sins, will burn in hell unless given their rightful communions.¨

If the priests accept the image of Christ as a balloon, isn´t it a blasphemy? It seems not in father Peregrine´s eyes:

'But that glass globe you wish placed on the altar,' protested Father Stone.
'Consider the Chinese,' replied Father Peregrine imperturbably. 'What sort of Christ do Christian Chinese worship? An oriental Christ, naturally. You've all seen oriental Nativity scenes. How is Christ dressed? In Eastern robes. Where does He walk? In Chinese settings of bamboo and misty mountain and crooked tree.
His eyelids taper, his cheekbones rise. Each country, each race adds something to Our Lord. I am reminded of the Virgin of Guadalupe, to whom all Mexico pays its love. Her skin? Have you noticed the paintings of her? A dark skin, like that of her worshipers. Is this blasphemy? Not at all.¨

Finally, the ¨idea¨ of a church is built, but they need to incorporate elements of their own memories:

¨The church was not a church but an area cleared of rocks, a plateau on one of the low mountains, its soil smoothed and brushed, and an altar established whereon Brother Mathias placed the fiery globe he had constructed.
At the end of six days of work the 'church' was ready.
'What shall we do with this?' Father Stone tapped an iron bell they had brought
along. 'What does a bell mean to them?'
'I imagine I brought it for our own comfort,' admitted Father Peregrine. 'We need a few familiarities. This church seems so little like a church.¨

I won´t be a spoiler telling my readers the end. I´m just wondering if a church, as a building is needed, or if symbols spread in nature would be enough to satisfy our souls.
To illustrate the post, I´ve digitally manipulated an old picture of one of the great theatre sets by Josef Svoboda. The image triggered me the idea of the church designed as a direct symbol of Christ, in this case, as a blue light balloon.

Creative Commons License
Christian symbolism in churches. A reflection on Bradbury´s ¨The Fire Balloons¨ by Myriam B. Mahiques is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, April 5, 2013

2013 Faith & Form/IFRAA Awards Program

Photo: Stefg1971/flickr

The 2013 Faith & Form / IFRAA International Awards Program for Religious Art and Architecture is now accepting project submissions, including those for student work. The awards program recognizes the best in religious art and architecture, unbuilt work, and student work. All submissions must be made online on the Faith & Form website, at this address:

Online project submission reduces the costs to submitters, as no binders or shipping charges are necessary. Awards submissions must be made by June 30, 2013. Judging will take place in July, and winners will be contacted shortly after the jury's deliberations. 

To participate in the awards program, please visit <> , and register for the program. You will be given a user name to login and begin the project submission process. Submission fees can be paid with a credit card or Paypal. All project materials for submission should be in jpeg or PDF format and ready for uploading before you start the process. Additional information is found on the website. 

If you have questions, please contact the Faith & Form editor, Michael J. Crosbie, at:


Related Posts with Thumbnails