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Dazed and Confused magazine has just posted an interesting article about Scottish artist Robert Montgomery.  However it was this work about “All Palaces Are Temporary Palaces” that resonated with me.  The idea that one builds a palace, a castle or even a house with a vision.  That vision or idea changes with time so hence this once dream place or palace is only a temporary palace or utopia.  We can constantly dream utopias but once we stop and build and consider these, even fabricating them in the real.  We really only build a past utopia something that was once.  

Full article here:

Robert Montgomery Website here:

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P1200281Living here in Portillo is a trip, a place full of contradictions.  The spectacular scenery, world class freeride terrain for skiers and snowboarders and fully serviced hotel in the heart of the Andes.  However this is also one of the passes between Chile and Argentina, this picturesque place is a thoroughfare for trucks transporting all kinds of goods.  Its a hostile place with the road being subject to closures frequently due to the winding switchbacks that lead up to the border.  The parked up trucks display the amount of traffic that passes through on any given day navigating the pass.

The border itself is a ramshackle warehouse of a place.  Similar to a lot of the buildings in these mountains it looks temporary, subject to movement both by mother nature and man.  This living so close to a border in a man made utopia is quite surreal, the road provides a reminder to the real, the world that operates away from here.  For those not from here the road is understandable whilst the resort is itself a heterotopia.  A yellow hotel built within a South American country for those who have the money to enjoy the finer things in life and privileged enough to be able to ski.

I am sure it will be a time in my life that I will make me question daily where I am.  The idea of only knowing what is beneath your feet and not really knowing what the next step will bring.  This borderland seems to be less certain maybe similar to the buildings the ground is less certain or not as comprehendible.




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Re-Blogged from Motherboard

Floating Utopias for the Age of Rising Seas

Written by
BRIAN MERCHANT
@bcmerchant
brian.merchant@vice.com

May 14, 2014 // 07:00 AM EST

 

A two mile-thick ice sheet in Antarctica is collapsing, which all but guarantees at least 10 feet of global sea level rise. That’s grim news for the 44 percent of the world’s population living in coastal areas, who now face the dire prospect of preparing for the coming tides. Developing the necessary engineering solutions, as well as plans to anticipate some inevitable social and economic destabilization, will prove a daunting challenge for millions of communities worldwide. Which is why, along with the engineers, we’re going to need utopianists.

In 1962, haunted by the specter of nuclear annihilation, the sociologist Lewis Mumford penned a new preface to his book, The Story of UtopiasHe noted that utopianism tends to thrive when civilization is in turmoil, and that far from being useless pie-in-the-sky dreaming, our utopian myths, schemes, and fictions hint at what he terms society’s “potentialities.”  

“[E]very community possesses, in addition to its going institutions, a reservoir of potentialities, partly rooted in the past, still alive though hidden, and partly budding forth from new mutations, which open the way to further development,” Mumford wrote. In the face of utter destruction by the bomb, he said, there was nonetheless an opportunity to “renew in man himself the sense of his more-than-human potentialities.” 

Now, we’re faced with an existential crises of another stripe. Scientists have for the last few years considered a significant amount of global warming, and the sea level rise it brings with it, an inevitability. Now that we have a forebodingly certain baseline in place, it’s an apt time to look at some of the many utopian ideas that have quite literally—yeah, sorry—been floated to cope with the rising tides.

Image courtesy of Remizov

Floating Cities

I’ve been keeping a close eye on modern utopianism for the last couple years, and one of the most common themes is, unsurprisingly, floating cities.

Whether grandiose, or of the humbler variety, both sci-fi designers and urban planners are imagining how to raise our metropolises up to ride atop the rising tides. First, let’s look at what is maybe the most prevalent medium for modern utopianism on the internet—design fiction. You’ve maybe already seen some examples of the genre running through your feed; the self-sustaining, ark-like city designed to float in a globally-warmed world. 

This one, designed by Russian architect Alexander Remizov, is a “bioclimatic” ark—a self-sustaining, floating system designed to harbor insular communities of people in a disaster-ridden, high-tide world. It’s both apocalyptic and hopeful; we can keep our sleek modernist design and opulent lives, we modern-day Noahs decked out with smart tech, as the world ravages everything unfortunate enough to lie outside the walls we’ve built. 

According to Arch Daily, “Remizov envisioned this project as the house for the future which can be constructed quickly and withstand environmental disasters through its structural integrity.” Resilient, perfectly-organized floating domiciles aren’t just the focus of science fiction, though.

Image: NLE

In a poor neighborhood of Lagos, Nigeria—now Africa’s largest economy—local architects are trying to engineer an entire city to float. The first phase has been completed; the school is now essentially a moored boat. But the next phase of the African Water Cities Project is where the utopian planning begins in earnest.

According to Design Boom, “phase two includes the construction of floating housing units that can be interlocked or float independently… the houses will also contain a state-of-the-art device designed by Japanese company AIR Danshin Systems Inc that detects certain movements (such as earthquake tremors) and activated a compressor that pumps air into a chamber below the structure so that the dwellings may navigate safely over a flood plain.” It’s supposed to be completed by the end of this year, but as with most utopian schemes, it appears to be a bit behind schedule.

Floating Power

Nuclear energy was the original utopian energy source: boundless, clean, a triumph of science. To its advocates, it still reflects near-unlimited potential. So, to better suit our drowning world, MIT has made them float. These buoyed, modular reactors rise and fall with the seas; tsunamis ostensibly glance off them harmlessly, and they use the vast reservoir of ocean below them as a well for cooling water as they produce a font of clean energy.  Problems persist, of course; meltdowns or radioactive discharge are even more a terrifying specter at sea. 

Less controversial, but no less optimistic are other floating power sources; Singapore is getting ready to try out a pilot program for floating solar panels.

New Venices

If we cannot build utopian floating city-capsules, then perhaps we at least will be able to adapt our current infrastructure to the flood. Science fiction might offer some clues as to how.

The sci-fi historian Adam Roberts argues that “utopian writing becomes a sort of para-SF, entwining itself round the genre in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.” Yet in traditional science fiction, it’s rare that irreversible climate change produces hopeful communities; Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2312 is the exceptional vision that does. 

“It was almost an ice-free planet now, with only Antarctica and Greenland holding on to much, and Greenland going fast. Sea level was therefore eleven meters higher than it had been before the changes,” Robinson writes. “This inundation of the coastline was one of the main drivers of the human disaster on Earth.” Pertinent words, those.

After a couple generations of terrible chaos, some degree of stability reemerged—as well as a New York City replete with Venetian canals laced between permanently submerged skyscrapers. Life, and its messy bustle, goes on: “A few parts of Manhattan’s ground still stood above the water, but most of it was drowned, the old streets now canals, the city an elongated Venice, a skyscraper Venice, a super Venice—which was a very beautiful thing to be. Indeed it was an oft-expressed cliche that the city had been improved by the flood.”

Floating Free Market Utopias

Image: Seasteading Institute 

It’s doubtful that libertarians like Peter Thiel are all that interested in fighting climate change; statistically speaking, most don’t consider it a pressing issue. But their long-gestating Seasteading communities, those floating free market utopias where the tech elite can innovate away without the burdensome shackles of government, incidentally appear primed to adapt to a high-tide planet.

Rising Prospects for Radical Change

From the beginning, Occupy Wall Street was a utopian project in the strictest sense—a leaderless, ultra-egalitarian activist community founded at the foot of its participants’ oppressor. Utopian projects are often most notable for how they illuminate the gulf between imperfect reality and their lofty aims, and the gulf OWS, was attempting to bridge was glaringly self-evident: Students, laborers, and average citizens couldn’t find work, while profits for the 1 percent soared. A radical adjustment to income equality was therefore in order.

When Hurricane Sandy, pulling from sea levels raised by climate change, washed over New York City, the movement’s ideals were again translated into action—and we saw a glimmer of how besieged coastal communities might organize to respond to crises. Decentralized, democratic, networked, and better organized than legacy aid efforts, Occupy Sandy empowered communities while delivering disaster relief. It proved Occupy could organize to provide shelter, health, food delivery, and other crucial services.

But, effective as it was, it also made the chasm to utopia again starkly evident, this time in the face of a harsh scientific reality—thousands of people are still without homes, and storms like this are going to keep coming. Occupy Sandy shows how far we need to travel before we’re ready for the disasters of the future—our institutions aren’t yet equipped to cope. 

That’s why we need to consider each of these utopian ideas (okay, maybe not the Steasteads). As Mumford says, even if the total vision they convey are ultimately impossible, they reveal the potentialities in our communities to first adequately imagine, then adapt, life beset by rising seas.

 


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The photography work of Sam Irons presents photographs of everyday situations and vistas but with twist.  The way the scenes are framed and composed subtract them from the world we maybe familiar with and suggest somewhere else an otherness.  These heterotopic visuals leave us to rebuild the story and context to comprehend them.  They allow us to engage with spaces that otherswise we would just digest without a second thought.  For more work please check his website here.  

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different now are things 3 things are different now1

 

Whilst in Athens I started to bring together new work that form the basis for Concept Of Since and new project that I am planning on continuing when I head to Japan and on my next artist residency program.  The digital works that I have been developing tends to start thoughts and allows my mind to filter ideas that have been ongoing within my practice.  So this focus on process sometimes produces others works that can be apt and respond to my transient state or present landscape.  The Concept Of Since responds to works that I have been making since returning to art practice about 4/5 years ago.  These works have come full circle and whilst in Athens I realised that I respond to the individual and collective hang ups to events and monuments that have passed.  This reliance on an event, as a crutch to form all future decisions for me seems to hinder and these works that I produced a few years ago around the positivity of change and the potential it can contain relate to these new works that I am currently considering.

Whilst in Athens I was reflecting on my practice throughout and whilst taking notes wrote “things are different now”.  This sentence kept going round my head whilst I was mulling over new ideas and when I came to write it again I wrote “things now are different”.  I then realised that these four words could be presented in any formation and only relied on the person reading it to imply the meaning.  Having spent a lot of time in New Zealand sometimes I end my sentence on an up note.  Which sometimes makes a sentence sound more like a question whilst in the UK this is not the case and the same four words can be read completely different.  Just like how Merleau-Ponty describes space, it has many meanings and it is only how it is phrased/spoken that gives it meaning.

So the two works that formed part of the Unsettled Certainties exhibition were 2 of 24 initial works that form the start of the Concept Of Since.  These works though currently text based will start to move beyond this initial start point and manifest themselves in other mediums as I apply this concept.

 

This is the first in a series of digital works created from my time spent on the SNEHTA art residency in Athens Greece. I proposed making audio visual works whilst there and finding a working process that would allow me to generate a series of these glitch works. These works would allow me to explore non-places and heterotopias, sites which like objects I see as represents human qualities and conditions.

The start point came from exploring sites/spaces that have lost their use in this case Ellinikon the former international airport here in Athens. The digital photographs are the backbone of the research as it is the digital data from these RAW files that I use to create the sound through Audacity. Instead of editing in Photoshop the image is edited and sampled in this sound software. The only rule is that i keep the visual details of the image. The audio samples are then layered together to create a new sound scape different from the former visual landscape. Once this is done I bring the visual samples back into the track and finally create an abstract collage moving image.  The video quality is slightly reduced due to uploading it to vimeo though as a digital collage or samples that have undergone a process of data bending the glitch feel is part of the piece.

This is the first from this series so the process will only be streamlined and understood a little more with following works.

Any feed back would be happily received, thanks Dickie

dickiewebb.com

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“Unsettled Certainties”

Catriona Gallagher and Dickie Webb

Opening, Friday 29th November 6:30-9pm
(Open Saturday 30th November 3-8pm. Open Sunday 1st December by appointment.)

Gallagher and Webb have both been occupied with the notion of place, comprehending what it is to be settled or grounded and equally seeking intermediate sites to challenge their knowledge. Through certain and uncertain exploration they have found different places to work within the Athenian landscape.

Gallagher has been making interventions that highlight absurdities in the preservation of heritage and trying to understand the notion of shelter when that becomes necessary.

Webb has concerned himself with liminal spaces, sites that were but are not now, since certain events occurred. He has created reflective intermedia works that question what now, post since.

“Unsettled Certainties” is a synopsis of their research and time at Snehta and points towards possible resolutions in the future.

 

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“Ακαθόριστες Βεβαιότητες”, Catriona Gallagher και Dickie Webb

Εγκαίνια Έκθεσης την Παρασκευή 29 Νοεμβρίου 3-8 μ.μ
Ανοιχτά Κυριακή 1 Δεκέμβριος, κατόπιν επικοινωνίας

Βασικό θέμα έρευνας των εικαστικών Ghallager και Webb είναι η έννοια του τόπου, ο τρόπος με τον οποιό αντιλαμβάνεται ο καθένας τις ρίζες του, και τη βάση της ζωής του, που συναρτάται με κάποιο χώρο. Η τυχαία και πολλές φορές συμπτωματική διαδικασία που οδήγησε τους καλλιτέχνες στην ανακάλυψη τέτοιων σημείων-τόπων, τους ώθησε να επικεντρωθούν καλλιτεχνικά σε διαφορετικά σημεία της Αθήνας.

Πιο συγκεκριμένα, οι παρεμβάσεις της C.Galagher, τονίζουν τους παραλογισμούς στην συντήρηση της Ελληνικής κληρονομίας και φανερώνουν την προσπάθεια της εικαστικού να κατανοήσει την έννοια του καταφύγιου όταν αυτό είναι παρόν, ή όταν αυτό μοιάζει απαραίτητο.

Ο D.Webb ερευνά χώρους περιθωρίου-ενδιάμεσους χώρους και μή τόπους. Μέρη που κάποτε κυριαρχούσε η ζωή αλλά τώρα μένουν κενά ανθρώπινης χρήσης και παρουσίας. Βρίσκει τρόπους να φέρει στην επιφάνεια το χρόνο που μεσολάβησε ανάμεσα στις δυο διαφορετικές καταστάσεις και βάσει αυτού δημιουργεί έργα που έχουν ως βασικούς άξονες δύο καίρια για τον ίδιο ερωτήματα: «Τώρα τι? Από τότε τι?»

Η επιβεβαίωση του άστατου και συμπτωματικού χαρακτήρα που διακρίνει τον τόπο και το καταφύγιο συνοψίζουν την έρευνα που έγινε μεταξύ των δύο μηνών που οι καλλιτέχνες αφιέρωσαν στη Snehta. Μέσω της ερευνητικής αυτής διαδικασίας, δίνεται η δυνατότητα σε καθένα από τους δυο καλλιτέχνες να προχωρήσει και άλλο την εργασία του στο μέλλον προς την κατεύθυνση αυτή.