Aftermath Of The Olympics

IMG_9875When the day it was announced that London will be hosting the 2012 Olympics, everything seemed so exciting and it appeared that the capital would be creating a new attraction for the world to see soon after the games were over. Furthermore, it was set to regenerate the East End of London.

Today was my first time to visiting the site and it was not how I would it expect it to be. The main purpose was to explore the ArcelorMittal Orbit and to understand the space around the grounds. Even before arriving at the sculpture, the area was half developed. I was also surprised by how empty Pudding Mill Lane station was especially since it is the main station to get access the park.

Constructions and deconstructions were being done as soon as you exit the station. Once at the park, the space was empty, completely opposite of the atmosphere that was in 2012. It seems most people were attracted to the shopping centre, Westfields. Although this shows what type of society we are, visiting a shopping centre as though it is an grand place, Westfields is probably more exciting than the Olympic Park. It is disappointing to see Stratford at this moment, as we seem to forget what and who was here before all this. The old shopping centre is a reflection of what Stratford once was. Mostly used by the locals of a multicultural working class background, the centre still has shoppers everyday. You can see a difference in social classes. Stratford has probably never seen people dress up to shop.

But going back to the Olympic Park, the admission fee to go up the sculpture was at an expensive cost even with a student discount that the group had to persist for. From the ground, I did not see a point of going up the Orbit. The purpose is to observe the landscape or cityscape across Stratford and the rest of London, but the reality is, is that there would be nothing spectacular to see, as the area is empty and uncompleted. If you compare this to other London attractions, such as the London Eye, you can see why the space is significant to attract visitors.

The aquatics centre had greater life because it is actually has a purpose, which is the problem. The Olympic stadium is due to be reopened and be the home of West Ham football club. So perhaps after then, the park will be brought to everyone’s attention.And perhaps in 4 or 5 years, all the attractions might become popular to Londoners and tourists.

References

No Author. (n.d). ARCELORMITTAL ORBIT. Available: http://queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk/the-park/attractions/arcelormittal-orbit. Last accessed 23rd Feb 2016.

Wilkinson, T. (2014). Olympic afterlife: the real legacy of the London Games for Stratford. Available: http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/aug/08/london-olympic-games-legacy-stratford. Last accessed 23rd Feb 2016.

 

 

Advertisements

The Stanley Kubrick Archive

lolita-heart-shaped-sungl-010The London College of Communication is fortunate to have an archive of the film maker Stanley Kubrick. It includes drafts and completed scripts, location photographs, set plans, polaroids, costumes and much more.

The archive shows a great insight in the way he works and the various materials he uses to bring his ideas to life.

The 1960’s film Lolita was already a favourite of mine and I was very excited to see Kubrick’s work based on this film. There were small photographs of Sue Lyon in character that were so intriguing, as there were many images that I had not seen before.

The office at the LCC archive department even resembles Kubricks, 2001: A Space Odyssey 1968.

Stanley_Kubrick_Archive

 

References

Archive Hub. (2008). Stanley Kubrick Archive. Available: http://archiveshub.ac.uk/features/jul08.shtml. Last accessed 9th Feb 2016.

Image. (1962).  Loltia.  Available: http://www.theguardian.com/education/gallery/2011/mar/07/why-sunglasses-are-cool-research

UAL. (n.d). The Stanley Kubrick Archive. Available: http://www.arts.ac.uk/study-at-ual/library-services/collections-and-archives/archives-and-special-collections-centre/stanley-kubrick-archive/. Last accessed 9th Feb 2016.

 

Objects of Desire / Collecting & Curating

All of us are collectors of something. Even if it is not a conscious habit. In Susan Pearce’s The Urge To Collect, she attempts to define what a collection is based on the view of the owner. She includes different views of collecting or collections because everyone has their own approach.

Durost suggested that ‘a collection is basically determined by the nature of the value assigned to the objects, or ideas possessed. If the predominant value of an object or idea for the person possessing it is intrinsic, i.e., if it is valued primarily for use, or purpose, or aesthetically pleasing quality, or other value inherent in the object or accruing to it by whatever circumstances of custom, training, or habit, it is not a collection. If the predominant value is representative or representational, i.e., if said object or idea is valued chiefly for the relation it bears to some other object or idea, or objects, or ideas, such as being one of a series, part of a whole, a specimen of a class, then it is the subject of a collection.’  (Durost 1932 p10)

The utilitarian value becomes less relevant as its beauty overtakes. Pearce includes another simple approach by Alsop. He believes that ‘to collect is to gather objects to a particular category the collector happens to fancy… and a collection is what has been gathered’. This statement I strongly agree with, as it is the collectors mentality, a long with the physical objects, that define a collection. But do all the collections have to be completely identical?

When there is a link within all the objects, there is no reason for the elements to appear the exact same unless the collector has an ‘obsession’ with this idea.

Belk’s calls it to be a ‘…possession and disposition of an interrelated set of differentiated objects (material things, ideas, beings or experiences) that contribute to and derive extraordinary meaning from the entity… that this set is perceived to constitute.’ (Belk et al. 1990 p8)

Possession and collecting have a significant difference. Aristrides describes a collection as ‘an obsession organized’. (Aristides 1988 p330) Therefore, collecting involves an order system and perhaps a completion.

Collecting, accumulating, and hoarding has a very fine line but there is a difference. Hoarding is more of a ‘paranoia’ , as hoarders generally only hold on to materials to save it just in case it is wanted in the future. But due to the nature of hoarding, it can lead to a horrible excess.  Nevertheless, it all depends on the owner and their emotional attachment.

As said at the beginning, collections can be an unconscious practice until there is a realization and perhaps that could be the start of a collection, when someone decides it to be.

Reference

Alsop, J. (1982). The Rare Art Tradition: A History of Collecting and Its Linked Phenomena, New York: Harper 8c Row.

Aristides, N. (1988) ‘Calm and uncollected’, American Scholar 57(3): 327-36.

Belk, R. Wallendorf, M., Sherry, J. Holbrook, M (1990). ‘Collecting in a consumer culture’, Highways and Buyways: 3-95, Provo Utah: Association for Consumer Research.

Dursot, W. (1932) Children’s Collecting Activity Related to Social Factors, New York: Bureau of pUblications, Teachers’ College, Columbia University.

Pearce, S. (1992). The Urge to Collect. In: Pearce, S Interpreting Objects and Collections. London: Routledge. p157-159.

 

 

The British Museum: Living and Dying, Room 24

Room 24 is dedicated to showing how different cultures cope with life and death.

The displays showcase materials from various parts of the world including Ghana, New Zealand, The North American Arctic, The Solomon Islands and South America. The objects show how each culture deal with illnesses, surviving certain situations and living aside other people and animals.

The physical layout is simple, with most artefacts being placed in glassed showcases and others on a podium or hung from the wall. The showcases are large and have many materials inside. There seem to be a large quantity of objects to view, making it slightly overwhelming to take in. The themes do help to narrow down the idea of ‘living and dying’ but there does seem to be too much in one showcase.

The gallery room has some strengths and weaknesses. The strengths are the lighting and spacing. The lighting is comfortable to view the work and compliments the colour of the room. The gallery has enough space for all the materials to be seen, as well as walking space for the public. However, the room acts as a hallways due to there being more than one door to enter and exit. This allows the flow of visitors to move quickly and to not notice what is there. There are areas, with artefacts, that do not have visitors walk down because of the large showcases and the fact the room is used more as a place to get to another. Therefore, visitors automatically walk through the centre.

An installation is placed in the ‘pathway’ of the room. Cradle to Grave Pharmacopoeia is a major commissioned art installation that focus on a man and woman’s story told through the medication they have taken through their lives. Most of the visitors were interested in this because it can bee looked at whilst they are walking through the room.

References

The Wellcome Trust Gallery. (n.d). Living and Dying (Room 24). Available: http://www.britishmuseum.org/visiting/galleries/themes/room_24_living_and_dying.aspx. Last accessed 26th Jan 2016.

 

Art Museums and the Ritual of Citizenships – Carol Duncan

IMG_9363.JPG‘Museums do not simply resemble temples architecturally; they work like temples, shrines and other such monuments.’ (Duncan 1994, p281)

In this article, Carol Duncan treats museums similarly to a holy place with rituals that visitors abide by. She begins with saying that the French Revolution is the start of political themes in museums and created the first modern art museum. The Western part of the world in a major influence to the rest of the world, as they have known that public art museums a important. Therefore, other countries designed museums with a Western-style to show modernity.

The architecture of museums date from the era in which Greek and Roman architectural forms were used for civic and secular buildings. Agreeing with Duncan, museums are a place of secular knowledge due to their reputation to preserve the heritage of its location. That is why there is a ‘religious’ institution. Before arrival, visitors are aware that the museum is special and requires activity that is almost the same as a temple. The space is designed to allow the audience follow a programmed narrative. This is helped also by the objects on display and the programming. The organization of objects is very important to communicate the message the museum wants the audience to learn.

For example, in Room 24 of The British Museum, Living and Dying gallery room is not designed in a particular order. The objects are placed in separate showcases under different themes and cultures, based on the idea of living and dying. Although the gallery has a special commissioned art installation, it is hard to pay all your attention on the object due to the design of the room.

The materials we see and do not see reflects the community’s identity. Most of the visitors probably do not question the order and displaying of the objects. Duncan argues that there is a purpose in the way a curator organises a museum and perhaps we should all pay more attention to the display that is based on a concept of a political theme.

Bill Hilier and Kali Tzorti take on a different approach. They base the organisation of materials on the spacial layout. The human activity within the room, such as moving and interacting with others in the space has a natural geometry. Duncan does not agree with this, as she argues that the objects create a narrative that the audience follow.

The space is analysed by observation. When seen from different points, the spacial layout is different. Unlike Duncan, Hilier and Tzorti give visuals to evident their concept. It is quite an intriguing concept to keep in mind as well as the narrative. The space should compliment what is on display. This is why I felt that some of the artefacts in the Living and Dying room were not appreciated to its fullest.

 

References

Duncan, Carol.  (1994).  Art Museums and the Ritual of Citizenships, in Susan Pearce (ed) Interpreting Objects and Collections. London/New York: Routledge. p279-286.

Hilier, B & Tzortzi, K. (2008). Space Syntax: The Language of Museum Space. In: Macdonald, S Companion to Museum Studies. Chichester : Wiley. p287-301.

The Wellcome Trust Gallery. (n.d). Living and Dying (Room 24). Available: http://www.britishmuseum.org/visiting/galleries/themes/room_24_living_and_dying.aspx. Last accessed 26th Jan 2016.

Duoghnkeh, H. (2016). Living and Dying Room Image. 

Iwona Blazwick – Temple/ White Cube/ Laboratory

IMG_0393_1170x655_acf_cropped

Should all intuitions continue to keep a logic of its location, history and audience? Yes. Especially with a history like the one at The Whitechapel Art Gallery. It is relevant to remember or perhaps learn who established it and how this gallery proceeded in changing social barriers.

Established in London’s East End in 1901, a priest wanted great art to be seen to by everyone, even the poorest of people. Blazwick defines the opening as a ‘critical tool’ in settling down the the conflict between classes. Escapism is a theme that is important in this event, as it a form that the audience from the East London would undertake. From looking at scenes that are perfect yet unrealistic to their lives, it distracts their reality of life.

‘The outside world must not come in’. Defined by Brian O’Doherty about the modernism that has developed gallery spaces in to a ‘white cube’. As you may have noticed, many galleries do not have windows. Artworks and the walls become an aesthetic and an everlasting entity. Blazwick argues that the principles for gallery displays can not be natural nor neutral. It is based on the creativeness on the subject and its owner to tell a story to its visitors. This would be challenge for the twenty first century curator.

Based on a visit to The Whitechapel Gallery, I would say that I am not a fan of plan white walls, especially in such an open space. Although the room is not empty and full of work, the white walls creates an illusion to make the room seem bigger and emptier. Not to say I am a fan of full spaces, but one that is completely opposite has an unwelcoming feeling.

Reference

Blazwick, I. (2006). Temple/ White Cube/ Laboratory. In: Marincola, P What Makes a Great Exhibition? . US: Philadelphia, PA : Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage . p118-183.

Photo (n.d) The Whitechapel Gallery. Available: http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/IMG_0393.jpg. Last accessed 19th Jan 2016

The 3D Type Book

 

img_9253Typography has been a strong interest of mine, not just digitally but also handmade. Digital type is great and has developed massively due to the development of technology. However, I believe that is limitation that is smaller compared to creating typography in a physical approach. This book displays a range of designers that have made typography in a 3D form for projects. When I am designing, I prefer to have variety of options and materials to make something.  Similar to lettering, I like to experiment with different mediums that a computer would not allow me to access. There is a unique aspect to hand crafting and even in the future, making handmade letters will allow designs to stand out against computerized typography.

The only digital use in this book, is the documentation the type. Some projects are displayed as an installation for the public to see. In the future, I would like to do an installation similar to these designers. Using public spaces is a great way for everyone to see art work, as it is different from being in a gallery and those who are not planning to visit one are able to see it, depending on the location of course.