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Posts Tagged ‘venice’

And, suddenly, you are gazing at the eternal sublime. Venice’s borders are the dream realms. This is a city that starts on water and ends in the soul. Venice is a portal between reality and myth. A city that is real, but also impossible. My little cousin declared, at ten years old, that ‘this is the most beautiful city in the whole world.’ In no other country man-made and natural Beauty is so entrenched with the national psyche and identity. Beauty is elevated as the greatest national virtue, privilege and asset. Beauty is Italy’s doctrine and her true religion. We are, after all, Il Bel Paese.
Venezia, Italia, January 1, 2017.



‘There is still one of which you never speak.’
Marco Polo bowed his head.
‘Venice,’ the Khan said.
Marco smiled. ‘What else do you believe I have been talking to you about?’
The emperor did not turn a hair. ‘And yet I have never heard you mention that name.’
And Polo said: ‘Every time I describe a city I am saying something about Venice.’

Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities





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Sunset. Venice, California. November 2014.

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Anything Can Happen. Anything Can Be. Santa Monica, California. November 2014.



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How to Love
By January Gill O’Neil

After stepping into the world again,
there is that question of how to love, 
how to bundle yourself against the frosted morning—
the crunch of icy grass underfoot, the scrape 
of cold wipers along the windshield—
and convert time into distance. 
 
What song to sing down an empty road
as you begin your morning commute?
And is there enough in you to see, really see, 
the three wild turkeys crossing the street 
with their featherless heads and stilt-like legs
in search of a morning meal? Nothing to  do 
but hunker down, wait for them to safely cross. 
 
As they amble away, you wonder if they want 
to be startled back into this world. Maybe you do, too, 
waiting for all this to give way to love itself, 
to look into the eyes of another and feel something— 
the pleasure of a new lover in the unbroken night, 
your wings folded around him, on the other side 
of this ragged January, as if a long sleep has ended.

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Alhambra: Hall of the Ambassadors.1370. Granada, Spain.

Alhambra: Hall of the Ambassadors. 1370. Granada, Spain

I have not been doing much art, obviously.

What I have been doing is lots of community outreach, poster design and design thinking, and an inordinate amount of  history of architecture presentations :).

In my research, I found these beautiful, strange images.

I organized them in a narrative.

13-53

Ca'D' Oro, Venezia.

Ca’D’ Oro, Venezia.

13-69

Library of Celus.

Library of Celus. Roman building in Anatolia (Turkey).

El Deir. Petra. Jordan.

El Deir. Petra, Jordan. 1st Century CE.

Taos Pueblo.

Taos Pueblo.

Hassan Fathy. New Gourna Village, Egypt. 1945-1948.

Hassan Fathy. New Gourna Village, Egypt. 1945-1948.

14-66

Hindu Mandala

Hindu Mandala

10-63

11-32

8-41

7-85

Sigirya. A giant turtle?

Sigirya Lion Rock. Sri Lanka. It should be called Turtle Rock.

3-41

16-119

William Morris. Textile Design.

William Morris. Textile Design.

15-11

…this one is dedicated to Thom.

Sultan Hassan Mosque.

Sultan Hassan Mosque, Cairo.

 

View eastward into the Roman Forum.

View eastward into the Roman Forum.

Darbar Sahib. Sikh Temple. India, 1764.

Darbar Sahib. Sikh Temple. India, 1764.

All images from Global History of Architecture, by Ching et Al.

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Venice makes you question the idea of “impossible”.

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In the winter, Venice is like an abandoned theatre. The play is finished, but the echoes remain.

Arbit Blatas

To build a city where it is impossible to build a city is madness in itself, but to build there one of the most elegant and grandest of cities is the madness of genius.

Alexander Herzen

There is something so different in Venice from any other place in the world, that you leave at once all accustomed habits and everyday sights to enter an enchanted garden.

Mary Shelley

It is the city of mirrors, the city of mirages, at once solid and liquid, at once air and stone.

Erica Jong

I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs;
A palace and a prison on each hand.

Lord Byron

A train-ride takes you from Milano to Venice..whose real name is Venezia, the Most Serene city and splendid, golden Republic. On the train you think about Byron, his letters written on trains, his Venetian Countess.

Through frozen fields and dormant earth, through fog and long-gone rice paddies , you deboard to the Sublime.

At dusk the lights from bars and cafes shimmer on the dark waters, and you start thinking in cliches, such as temporarily inhabiting an Impressionist painting.

Yet the feeling is fresh and true: each visit to this surrealists’ dream had its poignant moment of suspension of disbelief.

Each time the city grabs you and takes you away with her.

Here’s a taste of today’s acts of flanerie in La Serenissima.

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John Hejduk. Sketch from Lake Baikal, part of the Vladivostok oeuvre

John Hejduk. Sketch from Lake Baikal, part of the Vladivostok oeuvre

John Hejduk. Sketch from Lake Baikal, part of the Vladivostok oeuvre

John Hejduk has been called one of the most influential architects and educators of our time..
He was also a poet, an artist and the Dean of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of the uber-prestigious Cooper Union in New York.

I am reviewing couple of his books, Vladivostok and The Mask of Medusa and thought I would share some of the ear-cornered pages.  Like Marco Polo, John Hedjuk’s travels start from Venice. Some of you may know my mother is from the Venice region, Treviso to be precise, and it was endearing to find the Serenissima in this book, a fascinating fusion of East and West, and even Milano, my birthplace. From the foreword:

 

The journey I have been on for the past ten years followed an eastern route starting at Venice, then moving north to Berlin through Prague, then northeast to Riga, from Riga Eastward to Lake Baikal and then on to Vladivostok. This has been, and is, a long journey.

Bodies of water mark the trek. Venice of the Adriatic, the lagoons, the Venetian canals, the river Vitava of Prague with its echoes of Rilke and Kafka, the waterways of Berlin, the Gulf of Riga, Lake Baikal, and the Sea of japan in Valdivostok. The elements giving off their particular atmospheres, and sounds, impregnate my soul with the spirit of place, place actual…place imagined.

The works from this journey are named and form trilogies.

In Venice;

The Cemetery of Ashes of Thought                                                                                                                                  

The Silent Wtnesses and

The 13 Watchtowers of Cannaregio

In Berlin;

Berlin Masque

Victims, and Berlin Night

In Russia;

Riga,

Lake Baikal, and

Vladivostok

[  ]

I state the above to indicate the nature of a practice.

[ ]

I have established a repertoire of objects/subjects, and this troupe accompanies me from city to city, from place to place, to cities I have been to and to cities I have not visited.  The cast presents itself to a city and its inhabitants. Some of the objects are buit and remain in the city; some are built for a time, then are dismantled and disappear;some are built, dismantled and move on to another city where they are reconstructed.

I believe that this method/practice is a new way of approaching the architecture of a city and of giving proper respect to a city’s inhabitants.

It confronts a pathology head-on

John Hejduk, 1989 

Hejduk’s work is provocative, political, polyedric. Read Errand, Detour, and the Wilderness Urbanism of John Hejduk, part of  Paroles d’Architects, an excellent collection of writings on architecture.

Also Sorkin on the Mask of Medusa, in Exquisite Corpse: Writing on Buildings.

Reading this book, at the nexus between literature and architecture reminds me of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities. One of the future anterior projects: to illustrate Calvino’s cities. But it’s been done.

Cultural Minister

The Minister of Culture reads the works of Hawthorne, Flaubert and Hardy.What impresses him is the extraordinary love of women by these authors. Somehow the three writers are related through the strenght of Zanobia,Madame Bovary, and Batsheba. The Minister of Culture is aware of their seductions. He imagines, fabricates, and sews the dresses they had worn. He folds each garment and places it in an oblong box and waits for sundown. He precisely selects his victim, follows her, commits his crime, redresses herin the dress from the box, and places the body at the edge of the water. At Dawn he reads from the appropriate passages in a trembling voice.

 

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We interrupt this broadcast due to a bout of homesickness and wanderlust.

The Pacific is, to paraphrase Coleridge, ‘ Water, water everywhere (and not a drop to swim in)’.

I miss my home.

Exhibit A: My home in Milano.

Exhibit B: Calabria, small harbor with 'historical' outdoor nightclub attached, Blu '70.

Exhibit B1: As if it weren't enough, there is an(other) outdoor club in front this rock (Pietragrande), considered one of the most scenic in Europe.

Exhibit B2, Calabria, the coastline near my house. Tomorrow morning, this is how it will look, and August is the hardest month to be away.

Sit down, let's have an iced, sweet espresso. Hear the music.

Let's take the train next week, go to Firenze, we can stop by Venezia, certainly. Do you remember that olive bread?

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