The Reflected City

Recently I watched a documentary at the Barbican Centre about Los Angeles: “Los Angeles Plays Itself”. The main reason I decided to go was a mixture of melancholy and curiosity. My expectations have been met indeed . During my first year in “LA” I lived in Downtown and I had the very European idea to walk around my neighbour, which was 9th and Broadway, Spring, Main then 3rd or 2nd street towards the Art District. Weirdly enough for the context, walking around has been for me the best and favourite way to catch up details of what was happening around me. I re-experienced those days by watching the documentary. It is odd to think that Downtown has been for years the least fashionable part of the city; if you are in LA, Downtown is not on the top of your must-see list. However Downtown LA is LA. The movie industry has been and is part of the everyday scenario. While walking you continuously question if the firefighter crossing the street is “real” or an actor, if homeless is really homeless and so on.. LA is one of the most “represented city” of the world, no doubt. Nevertheless if on one hand representation is part of the culture of the city,  Downtown is one of the best expression of it. Next in LA, forget Hollywood Blvd, go to Downtown and walk around.

Exhibiting What?

In the midst of data based information a recursive question has been spinning around among museum lovers: what does it mean “exhibiting” when any kind of “representable” thing of this world is accessed through the ubiquitous medium of the Internet?

Experts from any different field engaged in such debate have been 360 questioning the “meaning” of representation to try to find out a new approach and move to the 2.0 age of representation.  Nevertheless “displaying” has been a necessity which hit artists since they left the luxiourius palaces of their mecenati, who were happily keen of paying artists’ fees to be literally sculptured for the eternity.

Nevertheless contemporary art moved forward and beyond the constrained space of a gallery to create spaces (or no-spaces) that happily match the language of the work of art.

Indeed the crisis doesn’t concern art as such, but those agents involved in the art market, who are media between art – which keeps on going following its own route – and viewers, who find themselves sometimes engaged with art. So the questions can be phrased as follows:

How can we, art media, engage the public in a world overwhelmed by images and information?

A couple of years ago I find myself engaged in such a debate, by participating to an architectural competition asking for another museum. Indeed I thought to rephrase the question and I asked myself: “Why people should go to museum?” The answer was for me clear; art is a social vehicle, whose role is to display the Real via different visual vehicles than the expected ones. So I thought to use AG as a guideline to navigate the space of any gallery. At the same time AG is also interface for connecting the gallery in space and time the to the social, political and technological environment where the work takes place. In other words the app explains that art is not an aesthetic image to be actioned, but an expression of a specific social context that simply points out ,and rephrases, questions to be addressed to the public.

May it be a possible route for solutions?

C:Art displaying Ed Ruscha exhibition at the LACMA, Los Angeles

C:Art displaying Ed Ruscha exhibition at the LACMA, Los Angeles

The #Gamification of Life

Since technology has been taking over our lives through smart phones, tablets and similar, another element is increasingly spreading around: VR game.

In the traditional sense, games help the self to construct the form of the surrounding, by engaging imagination and fantasy, which takes us along the reification of the surrounding for rest of our life.

Nonetheless VR games have an extra feature, the engagement factor. The engagement factor overwhelms our sense to the extent of detaching ourself from the real, i.e. the surrounding space that wraps out body. In other words our mind starts traveling through a parallel dimension than our body.

I am wondering which can be the consequence of VR games when used to get knowledge of the surrounding, which kind of “surrounding” are we talking about?

I am personally bit confused??? Which is the experience of “space” when walking around? What is space? Are we becoming data producer entities?

I believe that the “gamification” of life issue should address such questions when proposing brilliant new ideas.

Am I too skeptical?

Colours and architects

Colours belong to the “difficult” topics of architecture.

Although schools make efforts to grow architects as new versions of the “Renaissance man”, i.e. the man capable of mastering earth’s knowledge, they seem not to provide love and passion for colours – which also means materials – unless few exceptions. It is not a case that in architecture black is for clothing and white is for building; make it in plaster, marble, powder coated aluminium.. it must be White.

Nevertheless people love colours; people love to “paint” their home with objects that can express their identity and give shape to the external part of their bodies, i.e. space, the interior space of their home. In other words colours are somehow the popular cultural representation of a particular society.

The Guardian published a series of pictures, which are extraordinary. It looks like Le Corbusier met Robert Venturi; finally Modernism merges Postmodernism, by getting riddle of their mutual “stylistic” axiom.

These Indian movie theatres pictured by Haubiz+Zoche are not “shells” or “ducks” but a harmonic postmodern modernism.

What does impress me of these buildings is the will to go beyond the “skin”, which has been for years field of debate for architects. The ornamental quality is not given by a pattern that wraps around, but a narrative that augments the movie-lovers’s experience of the projected story, without any use of 3D effects.