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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Category archive: Sculpture

Thursday July 17 2014

The are two photos which I took last Monday.  The one with the bright blue sky, me looking up, was taken in Wigmore Street.  The one looking down, was taken from the ME Hotel Radio Rooftop Bar.

They are photos not so much of roof clutter, as of roofs, roof in all their elaborately designed glory.  But, you can spot the late twentieth century incursions:

image image

The aesthetic impact of radio and television aerials does not seem to be much discussed in the architectural world.  It could be that it has, and I merely haven’t noticed, but I don’t think that’s it.

Here is what I think is going on inside the heads of architectural aestheticians, on this subject.  The deal we will make with you mindless philistines is: you can have your damn aerials, because we know that if you are not allowed, by us, to have your damn aerials, you will hut us down and burn us at the stake.  But, we refuse to talk about them.  We will not incorporate them into our aesthetic theories of how things look, and should look.  We will not see them.

Which is how we got from the above scenario, where everything on the roof is elaborately designed, but the first few aerials have crept into the pictures, but have not been seen by the architects and their aesethetic guides, to this:

image

Yet still, they don’t see it and they don’t talk about.

Really, really weird.

I’ve been pondering roof clutter for a while now, but the more I ponder it, the more weird the phenomenon is.

What this reminds me of is a distinction that my sociology teachers at Essex University all those years ago made much of, that between the sacred and the profane.  The sacred stuff here is the regular “architecture”, the walls, the windows, the roofs, the interiors, and so on.  All of that is sacred, and is accordingly obsessed over, every tiny square inch of it, every subtle colour change, just as priests obsess about every word in a prayer.

But those aerials are profane.  They don’t register.  They aren’t architecture, any more than a tracksuit worn by a impoverished member of the congregation in a church is a sacred vestment, the details of which must be argued about by bishops and theologians, or the sales pitch being done over the phone on Monday morning (by someone who had been devoutly praying on Sunday) is itself a prayer.  That sales pitch is profane.  Forget about it.  Don’t even think about it.

Those aerials, in among the sacredness of all those designed chimneys and roofs and little towers, are profane.  And hence invisible.  Aerials are designed, by aerial designers, to make sense of radio waves.  But they are not designed to be looked at.  They are a pure case of form following function.  Architects ought to love them, if they believed their prayers.  But they don’t because what is there for architects to add?  Nothing.  The job has all been done, by profane aerial designers.

Well, I don’t know.  I’m thinking as I go along here, but writing it anyway.  Which is all part of why I have this blog.  At this blog, I am allowed to be wrong.  This is a thinking allowed zone, you might say, a place where the thinking does not have to be done before the blogging begins.  This is, you might say, a profane blog.

Saturday July 05 2014
Sunday June 22 2014

I love to look at modern buildings, before they are finished and covered up.  All sorts of strange things are to be seen, that may or may not soon disappear from view.

What, for example, is this peculiar structure, which I photographed this afternoon, on the south side of Oxford Street?

image

Here is the original shot I took, before I cropped, rotated, and so forth:

image

I include that because there may be clues as to what the Thing is from its context.

But what will this Thing end up looking like?  Will it be covered up?  Will ladders be involved?  I don’t know, but I’ll keep you posted.

I’ll also do something obvious that I failed to even attempt this afternoon, which is I’ll try to photo whatever signs on the site I could find, that might enable me to chase down a website with maybe a mock-up of what the final Thing will look like.  I keep telling myself to do this kind of thing, and telling other digital photographers that they should do this kind of thing.  But today, I was not concentrating on photography, I was concentrating on shopping.  Trying to buy a new jacket.  And I forgot to search out signs.  Mistake.

But correctable.  I can go back.  London is what I love to photograph and if I get it wrong, I can try again.  If the weather is bad I can wait until it’s nicer. It’s not like this Thing is in a foreign city I was in last month, and I’m stuck here never being able to photo those signs.  I can go back there, find those signs, if they are there, and chase down that website, if it exists.

Friday June 20 2014

When I say “back”, what I mean is, looking up its arse, at its bollocks:

image

Here is the same beast from its better side, together with some history, such as why it’s called the Coade Lion.

It’s one of my favourite London statues, especially when it lines itself up with the Wheel.

And here is something else feline, spotted in the place where all vehicles of interest to me seem to be spotted these days, Lower Marsh:

image

It’s the Bobcat E50, as you can see in my photo if you look carefully enough.

So, what is a “bobcat”?  I saw a TV documentary recently about honey badgers, and they are nothing to do with regular badgers.  So, is a bobcat a regular cat nearly, or a regular cat not at all?  Does it merely look or behave somewhat like a cat, to some rather unobservant people?  It turns out bobcats are cats.  Wikipedia has a picture of what it describes as “bobcat kittens” (which ought surely to be: bobkittens).  They look exactly like regular cat kittens.

Wikipedia is reasonably reliable on non-politically-controversial topics, but I was rather expecting the bobcat wikipedia entry to have a clutch of propaganda in it about how bobcats are an endangered species and how this is all the fault of people, capitalism, etc..  But actually the bobcat news here, according to Wikipedia, is quite good:

Although bobcats have been hunted extensively by humans, both for sport and fur, their population has proven resilient though declining in some areas.

See also, this strange guy.  I like the Police Academy movies, in which he appears, despite him rather than to any degree because of him.  The only thing I do like about him is that he omits the terminal e from his surname, thereby making it that tiny bit easier for me to make people spell my surname right.

Wednesday June 11 2014

This kind of thing is why I keep going to dezeen:

image

Engineering firm Arup has produced prototype 3D-printed steel construction joints that could be used to create more efficient structures.

Arup says it has produced a new design method for creating “critical structural steel elements” for tensile structures – a development it believes signals “a whole new direction for the use of additive manufacturing in the field of construction and engineering”.

A glimpse of much architecture to come, I think.

Also, featured in the very next posting at dezeen, this looks like it would be worth a visit.  It’s a Gormley, in the form of a Lego man doubling up as a hotel room:

image

First impression: don’t much like it.  Gormley is very hit or miss, and this looks to me like a miss.  But, it’s only a tube ride away, so what’s for me to lose if I go and check it out?  I might like it more in, so to speak, the flesh.  Not that it looks very fleshy.

What strikes me, when I look at these two pictures, is how much more sculpturally interesting the purely functional artifact is, compared to the “sculpture”.

Monday May 19 2014

Wikipedia on it, here.

More pictures here.  Plus, this:

To celebrate the 38th anniversary of the liberation of Da Nang, the government of Vietnam has constructed the world’s largest dragon-shaped bridge over the Han River. Not only is it the steel bridge the largest of its type in the world, but it is covered in over 2,500 LED lights - and it breathes fire!

Inauguration report, and another great picture here:

image

I think that’s terrific.  I just went looking for new bridges, not having done this for a while, and this one jumped out at me.

Saturday May 17 2014

I am very fond of the ballerina statue at the top of the Victoria Palace Theatre.  I recently photoed it with a red crane behind it, that being one of my favourite recent snaps.

This afternoon, I photoed it again, again with craneness:

image

What I had not realised until today is that this is a statue of Anna Pavlova.  Says the Victoria Palace Theatre:

From 1911, the year after its rebuilding to its present design by Frank Matcham, the Victoria Palace had a gilded statue of prima ballerina Anna Pavlova poised above it. This was owner Alfred Butt’s homage to the dancer he had spectacularly introduced to London.

The tribute was not appreciated by the superstitious ballerina, who would never look at her image as she passed the theatre, drawing the blinds in her car. The original statue was taken down for safety reasons in 1939 before the blitz and has completely disappeared. It is not known whether it is in someone’s garden or was turned to wartime military use, such as bullets.

The Victoria Palace moved into the new millennium with an adventurous building programme; enlarging the Foyer, WC facilities and increasing the dressing room space, whilst maintaining all the feel and character of a historic building.

In 2006, a replica of the original statue of Pavlova was reinstated to its original place above the cupola of the Victoria Palace and her gold-leafed figure once again gleams above us.

Blog and learn.

Friday May 09 2014

I photoed this piece of sculpture just over a year ago, on May 1st 2013.  It’s just outside Southwark Park, in the middle of the Rotherhithe Roundabout, having been put in place to celebrate the Tour de France hitting London in 2007.  It is the work of Heather Burrell

image

Burrell later did another cyclist sculpture, for the 2012 Olympics.  Based on photos like this one, I don’t (or maybe that should be wouldn’t) like it nearly so much.  The curviness of the 2007 work is most agreeable.  The flatness of 2012 is just tacky and trashy, or so it looks to me.  Seeing this latter work for real might make me think differently, but I doubt it.

Leaf Cycle
Big Blue Cock photos
Noah – Cosi at the Imax – Big Blue Cock
James II dressed as a Roman
VC DSO DSO DSO DSO
Lego bridge in Germany
Star car
Finally working out what I liked about those Gormley Men
Art has its uses – but where did it have its uses this time – and what is it?
Photographers in the spring
3D printed baby in the womb
Blue wind
Don’t judge a new technology by its first stumbling steps
A quota post (with a quota link to a post about a post about a quota photo) and another quota photo
Camel
Faberge - Brutalism
Temporary art made of brightly dressed people
6k quota photo of sea
Sandcastles that will live for ever
Ice sculptures in Docklands – Big Things from Docklands
3D printer sighted!
Dog wearing funny spectacles plus electrical clutter
Ballerina with crane
Sculpture at St James’s Tube
The Kelpies of Falkirk
Michael Jennings photos the bridges of Porto
Crows nest made of coat hangers
Owl at Canning Town railway station
Photoing each other - and photoing stuff in the canal
A day in and around Olympicland with Goddaughter One
Quota photo of a bucket of plastic crocodiles in an otherwise deserted shop window in Oxford Street
Rooftops
Savoy cat
Stairs Thing outside St Paul’s
Wedding photography (3): Technology as sculpture
A mannequin in Tachbrook Street sheds light on the nature of perception
Art without Artists
Cheap hippos are hard to find
Skull made of skulls in gift shop street
New crane up
Croydon cats
Little Lady Liberty - still in France
Photographing Kreod
Bomber Command Memorial pictures
Latest C4 logo sculpture
Quota frogs
76 operas and a monument in the wrong place for Hermann the German
Quota hedgehog sculpture
Another pub
Another Assembly of Men
Gormley’s South Bank Men
Blue Men on a boring building in Borough High Street
Giant bull held up by scaffolding
Cool sculpture
Giant Jesuses
Tiny Cardboard Box People Appear All Over Singapore
A picture I want to remember
Cats with human faces
As strong and sweet as the free market itself
One man’s intellectual theft is another man’s marketing
Everybody draw Mohammed every day!
Quota swan
London is about to be Kapoored with a big new Olympic Games Thing
We’ll always have Chelsea
Scaffolding ball
Eros under an umbrella
Giant Bean covered in mirror
The Min-Kyu Choi folding three point plug
Decorated hippo
As found roof sculpture
Johanna Kaschke versus the Deluded Leftwinger
The Labour Party finally agrees on a new Prime Minister to replace Gordon Brown
Dripping table
Slumponomics
Structural decoration
Cat blogging and Gormley blogging
What The State looks like
The Wheel through some Art
The towers of London from the Copper Horse
Another strange Staines statue
Roll out the Lino
Not Billion Monkeys!
An abstract view of Kings Place
More sticking up stuff
Big head and big something else
Resizing Slim with Expression Engine
3D!
Pictures with words
A sculptural suggestion
Classic car thinness
The return of Friday cat-blogging
Twickenham shop attacked by the Dark Side of The Force
Exciting posting about shelves
Celebrating a victory
Not a hot day in January for the Billion Monkeys!
Billion Monkey scrunched up in a ball!
Reflections in a Belgravia shop window
Three proper photos … and three Billion Monkeys!!!
Spherical trouser sculpture
More St Pancras snaps
Manhole cover cats and Angel of the North shelves?
Yes this is cat blogging
American war memorial by the sea at St Nazaire
Berlin Billion Monkeys photo rat and cheese sand sculpture!
A squinting cat and a master ephemerist
Further pictorial shallowness
Engadgetry
Rokeby Billion Monkey!
Cat sculptures
More Magic Andy sand sculpture
Magic Andy makes magic dragon
The Mainstream Media finally get around to noticing Andy and his sand sculptures
Random London snaps from last year
Pylons
Kiev cat
No more photos for a bit after these ones
Alice in Fortnum and Mason
Everyone likes Magic Andy
Should blogs - this one in particular - specialise?
Bartók outside South Kensington tube
The Ben Pimlott lump
Old media
And then I went home happy
Puke