Building the World

June 30, 2017
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Badu Gili: Water Light

Sydney Opera House: public art with a message. Image: Adam J.W.C., wikimedia.

Sydney, Australia, location of the legendary Opera House, has launched a series called Badu Gili or ‘Water Light’ in the language of the original Gadigal people. Video art, displayed on the Sydney Opera House every night at sunset, honors the First Nations; soundscapes echo across the harbor. The land of Snowy Mountains will host the series year-round.

Iconic monuments like the Sydney Opera House, and the Eiffel Tower, often serve as signposts for important messages of our world. During the Paris Climate Conference of the Parties, La Tour displayed the goal of 1.5 Celsius. Recently, activist artist Robin Bell displayed messages on buildings bearing the name of a certain politician. In Boston, the Zakim Bridge has changed color as a sign of the times.

Iconic monuments may find a voice in sharing ideas that color our future. What iconic monuments in your area can speak?

To watch and listen to Badu Gilihttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMmLRIc6Sgg

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported Licen

January 20, 2017
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The Big Picture

The big picture – “Montagem dos corpos do Sistema Solar, seus tamanhos e distânces relatives.” Image: nasa.gov

Visions of the Future” might reveal the world is smaller, and larger, than any one moment in time, or space. NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) shared a wider perspective, with posters downloadable for free, for all to see the big picture.

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

May 24, 2016
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City as Art

Singing’ in the Rain” with Gene Kelly. Will Boston’s “Raining Poetry” set a new style for the City as Art? Image: wikimedia commons.

Baghdad was designed in three concentric circles drawn in the sand by founder Caliph al-Mansur, who named the new capital “Madinat as-Salam” or “City of Peace.” As Toynbee observed in Cities of Destiny, urban centers possess cultural magnetism. Boston is showering the city in art: poetry appears in the rain. A collaboration of Boston City Hall, the Mayor’s Mural Crew, and Mass Poetry, the project echoes public art along the Greenway. Chicago’s Millennium Park brings public art to a new gathering green downtown. Beijing also uses urban life to uplift: riders on the metro’s Line 4 can access Chinese poetry and philosophy through barcodes posted in passenger cars. China’s Grand Canal standardized written language, facilitating government, and cultural, exchange. Boston’s poems, however, are ephemeral; disappearing ink lasts just a few weeks. But words are, as Roman poet Horace stated, “monumentum aere perennius” – “a monument more lasting than bronze” or as Langston Hughes, whose poem graces Dudley Square, might observe: “Still Here.”

Thanks to Chak Ngamtippan for suggesting featuring Boston’s “Raining Poetry.”

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

March 24, 2015
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Iconic Arch

Gateway Arch St. Louis Photographer Jason Lusk on blog Building the World

“St. Louis Gateway Arch” Photographer: Jason Lusk.

 

St. Louis, Gateway City, is known by its iconic arch. Designed by Eero Saarinen, the 192 meter (630 feet) is the world’s tallest arch. St. Louis is the gateway to the western United states, opened by explorers Lewis and Clark, who traveled the Mississippi River on which St. Louis stands. On March 28, 1934, Congress proposed a federal commission to develop the iconic memorial, the design chosen by competition. An unusual process, subject to legal challenges, was instituted to acquire the 82-acre site. Similarly, the Eiffel Tower, iconic monument of Paris, was the result of a competition won by Gustave Eiffel. What is the role of iconic monuments, and public art, in the world’s great cities?

www.gatewayarch.com

http://www.toureiffel.paris/

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

September 12, 2014
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Treasure Hunt: Grand Canal

 

King Wen, Zhou Dynasty. Image: wikimedia commons.


Yang Junxi, aged eleven, was just washing his hands, but he touched history. When the lad dipped digits into China’s Laozhoulin River, he felt an object, pulled it out and brought home a 3,000-year-old bronze sword of 10-inches (26cm) length. It was probably never used for fighting, but instead is judged by the Gaoyou Cultural Relics Bureau to be an artistic rendering, perhaps belonging to an official of the Shang or Zhou dynasties. Junxi’s father, Jinhai, and his son who donated the precious relic, have been heralded. Perhaps more treasures will be found as China plans an archeological exploration in this river that formed part of the Grand Canal. In Egypt, a similar expedition might discover Nubian art hidden beneath the High Dam at Aswan. In the future, should Lares be placed in significant infrastructure?

For more: http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-29108764

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

 

July 18, 2014
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Water, Power, and Art

Water, power, and art: Hoover Dam. Image: wikimedia.

Hoover Dam is not only an achievement of hydroelectric engineering but a work of art. After the dam was designed from an engineering standpoint, architect Gordon B. Kaufmann joined the project to rework the design to add an artistic dimension: a pattern of plain surfaces relieved by carefully placed shadows. In addition, Oskar W. Hansen was commissioned to create two large cast concrete panels depicting flood control, irrigation, power, and the history of the area. It was Hansen who set, in the dam’s floor, a star map comparing the Hoover Dam to the pyramids. Water is central to earth and civilization; the Romans built aqueducts – and fountains. Now, how might water’s future be honored, and perhaps protected, by art?

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

April 30, 2013
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Singin’ in the Train

 

SFOT Red Train 4 by James Murray from Wikimedia Commons, at wikimedia.org.

Haunting whistle in the night, hypnotic rhythm of wheels on rail, panting acceleration of uphill runs breathed heavily by a 2860 engine, sigh of brakes — these were sounds quite new in the landscapes of the world until rather recently. The business of constructing rails was introduced in England in the seventeenth century. British mapmaker and engineer Captain John Montressor built the first American railway in Lewiston, New York in 1764. Nearly a century later, the Golden Spike was driven, completing the Transcontinental Railroad; it was now possible to traverse the country in 10 days instead of six months. The Transcontinental Railroad (1869), Canadian Pacific Railway (1885) and the Trans-Siberian Railway (1904) introduced soundscape to the landscape — the train whistle. Japan’s Shinkansen(1964) added a new note: each commuter station is announced by an electronic tune, composed to reflect the culture of the district. For a train soundscape, enjoy a listen (and look) via YouTube “Sound of Royal Hudson steam engine with O Canada horn ‘Good Times Express'” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQNQbuXjF2M). Finding music in the midst of urban sound, George Gershwin who included in “American in Paris” the blare of French taxi horns, might agree with Mozart: “Music is continuous, listening is intermittent.” As new trains, and cars, are developed, should musicians be on the team to create the ideal soundscape?

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Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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