Building the World

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
by buildingtheworld
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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
by buildingtheworld
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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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