“in his most recent series, transmission, holdsworth has created images of iconic western american landscapes — yosemite, the grand canyon, mount st. helens, etc. — using topographical data from the u.s. geological survey. in collaboration with geologist stuart dunning, holdsworth translated data from laser and radar scans of the earth’s surface into a virtual 3d model…”

07/08/2012 § Leave a comment

dan holdsworth, salt lake city plan view (2012)

 

very excited to see what comes out of aaron rothman’s design observer series on landscape photography.  though maybe the name should be changed to landscape depictions, since the majority of the work shown in the first post are more mixed media pieces than photography.

 

virtually real

a young hare

 

 

notes:

[title]     the title is an excerpt from aaron rothman’s article.  check it out in full here.

[image]     the above image comes from dan holdsworth’s website.  definitely page through his photography.   he has produced some truly haunting and beautiful work over the years.

“‘as a municipal civil servant, you know how important it is for your city to be accurately mapped out. literally. not only for yourself, but especially for the residents of your city. we will gladly help you create a folding map that is precisely tailored to the demands of your city. you can – if you wish – make certain information on your city map stand out extra strongly. for example, all of the government agencies, other public buildings such as libraries and theatres, garbage collection district boundaries, public transportation routes, etc.” – bianca stitger

03/07/2012 § Leave a comment

works by gert jan kocken (from top down)
depictions of amsterdam 1940 – 1945 (2010)
detail view of depictions of amsterdam 1940 – 1945 (2010)
depictions of rotterdam 1940 – 1945 (2010)
detail view of depictions of rotterdam 1940 – 1945 (2010)
detail view of depictions of rotterdam 1940 – 1945 (2010)

 

in the depictions of rotterdam and depictions of amsterdam, artist gert jan kocken compresses a five year time period of war and genocide into one moment.  each image gert produces is fabricated from maps used by the nazi invaders cataloging specific characteristics of rotterdam and amsterdam; certain ghettos within these cities come to the fore.

while the first time i came across these maps i was struck by the beauty of the imagery and the richness of the information brought out by the overlay effect, learning about these works only makes them more impactful.  i highly recommend reading bianca stigter’s essay on these works by gert jan kocken – she manages to mix the everyday quality of maps with the sinister undertones of the markings found on these particular maps.

all of this came to mind while recently posting about maia gusberti’s project – travel agencies.  but it also brings to mind the power of doris salcedo’s installation for the istanbul biennale.

 

more than everyday objects

a young hare

 

 

notes:

[title + images]     today’s title comes from bianca stigter’s essay musing maps found on gert jan kocken’s webiste.  the images were also found via gert jan kocken’s website.

[more overlay]     for more on the art of the overlay on ayh follow this link to the works of idris khan.

“a research project on visual representations of traveling by photographs of travel agencies in downtown cairo. here traveling is not embodied by images of palm beaches, but maps let the ‘client’ in fact imagine its own pictures of destinations. world maps figure as projection surfaces.” – maia gusberti

29/06/2012 § 1 Comment

maia gusberti,  travel agencies (2008)

 

aleya hamza  how did you become interested in working on the travel agencies series?
maia gusberti  i have a special interest in maps and geography and one of my older projects was based on mappings (www.logicaland.net).  this photography project began spontaneously when world maps in small travel offices catering locals in downtown cairo caught my attention.  at the beginning i was fascinated by one or two examples of world maps until i realized that the world map is a central object in many travel agencies, and that they all have totally different forms from reliefs to old fashioned maps to light-boxes.  meanwhile i wondered about the quasi absence of photographic depictions of travel destinations when these representations of the ‘dream-destination’ are a key tool to promote holidays in europe.  there we often encounter the image of the palm island, the sand beach, the exotic street life…commercialized, globalized and standardized products selling personal leisure, glamorous tourist adventures or cheap flight tickets for a jet-set weekend elsewhere.  here in downtown cairo if at all you’ll find one photographic image of the kaaba in mecca.  so instead of photographic representations we are confronted with world maps as ‘projection surfaces’ for imaginations.  maps allow us to produce our own private images, to travel in our fantasies.  this replacement of the image by the map made me want to take images about the absence of the image to produce imaginations.  the map is therefore a wonderful example of a standardized symbol stimulating individual interpretations.  my photographs are about places void of pictures but rich in dreams, images, imaginations and promises.

aleya hamza  your images have a deliberate snapshot appearance, informal and un-composed.  why?
maia gusberti  i did not want to have well-composed and perfectly styled pictures since it was practically impossible to pull through a strong composition concept.  when i began asking for permission to take pictures of the maps in travel agencies telling them i’m an artist interested in maps i was often grilled about the project with curious questions, amused nods and a general lack of understanding of how anyone could possibly be interested in such an issue, but i was more or less allowed to shoot every time.  usually i took more than one picture – but lots of the employees were uncomfortable and just left while others continued with their work – but of course i felt like i was disturbing them after a while especially since clients sometimes had to wait while i finished.  most of the offices are very small and narrow which made it difficult to find a good spot to compose my image and i had to get what i wanted by finding (more than choosing) a possible angle and the light conditions were very different between offices that had daylight or neon-light.  initially i was more or less ‘documenting’ these places with my old analog nikon, judging the images after developing the film, until i realized this could become a series.  i also didn’t want to change the rough-and-ready style of these offices.  i deliberately wanted the atmosphere of a temporary and provisional space – lost somewhere between imagination and realization.  i see myself as a passenger, passing by these places in transition or about to transition.  the project has never been about a shiny composed study or a record of 60’ies and 70’ies interior design.  it is about an atmosphere and a location existing somewhere in the ‘in betweenness’ of fantasia and on a first step towards a destination.

aleya hamza  why does the representation of travel interest you?
maia gusberti  it makes me think about possibilities, conditions or reasons for traveling and their relationship to desires, promises and illusions.  here in cairo traveling means something totally different than it does on the high streets of western european cities and on some level they both refer to socio-political realities.  many agencies here are specialized in hajj and sell tickets to saudi arabia for work purposes.  it’s not really about the ideal of the palm island.  who can afford a dream of palm islands here?  the reality is more about survival strategies, working abroad, pilgrimage, fighting for a visa etc.

these travel-specific desires and illusions can be somehow summarized in maps.

as a designer and artist i try to look out for visual signs and i wonder about the layers of meanings which can be imagined and explored by digging a bit deeper.

 

– interview between aleya hamza and maia gusberti

 

maps of desire

a young hare

 

 

notes:

[title + images]     today’s title is the project description for today’s photography.  all of which can be found… here on maia’s website.  check out travel agencies and the rest of her work.  great stuff.

[interview]     the following interview was found on maia gusberti’s website.  for the complete interview click… here.

[more everyday photography]     for a previous essay excerpt on photography of the everyday terrain, follow this link.

“tiravanija: it seems like one constant in all of your projects is that you’re building a landscape. huyghe: that’s true. i’ve never thought so much about that aspect, but you’re right. i’ve recently done a garden, a seascape, a museumscape. . . . and in all these places i start with a set of conditions. the entities that inhabit them are partly real and partly fictional, partly signs or symbols, but they are still living organisms, whether it be a human, an animal, or a plant.”

11/06/2012 § 3 Comments

top to bottom:
pierre huyghe, timekeeper (at the secession, vienna) (1999)
pierre huyghe, timekeeper (at the walker art center, minneapolis) (2009)
herzog and de meuron + ai wei wei, serpentine gallery pavilion  (2012)

 

pierre huyghe’s timekeeper relies on a simple action: sanding.  over time, as each successive layer thins and disappears under the potency of the sand papers grit a moment in time appears.  in 2009, huyghe installed the piece in the walker art center’s amazing exhibition, the quick and the dead.  despite the simplicity of the act and smallness of its presence, the piece is only a couple of inches in circumference, it causes a lot of wonder.  there is something beautiful and playful about the core sample and something just esoteric enough about the colors that you look and wonder.  you try to recall past visits. “was i here when the room was a deep burgundy?”

 

photography: daniel potilla  (2012)
herzog and de meuron + ai wei wei, serpentine gallery pavilion (2012)

 

and then there’s herzog and de meuron + ai wei wei’s recently completed serpentine pavilion conceived under a similar conceptual frame work, an excavation process aimed at revealing previous constructions.  unfortunately, applying paint is more akin to applying make-up, where as construction is closer to surgery (with medieval instruments).  when layer after layer of various surgical methods are juxtaposed in a swirling composition of lines, dots and swirls, the landscape becomes more reminiscent of a series of scars built on scars than a celebration of one great architects work on top of another great architects work.  whats more, the identity of all previous architects and builders effort is hidden under a soft layer of cork.  this landscape of wounds becomes a pleasant place to sit.

it’s this masking which i think might bother me on a conceptual level – though i really would like to experience the haptic qualities of the pavilion.  the architects speak of the project as if it were archaeology, however, they’ve plastered over the artifacts.  herzog and de meuron speak of dots, lines and arcs as the evidence of past pavilions impact on the landscape.  and yet these findings have no identifiable characteristics.  i want to know which project was the most sustainable or the most invasive.  further, the way in which this exact composition remains unclear.  the composition wasn’t brought about through the act of sanding.  it was edited.  i’m sure there are a series of models made of various options and potential outcomes.  eventually they came to the consensus on what would be the most effective option.  this is where huyghe’s timekeeper piece seems much more serendipitous and honest.  the findings are presented as is.  history isn’t being edited.  and the process is clear.

i say all this even though i’ll never get to visit the site.  based on previous visits to herzog and de meuron projects, i have no doubt it would be wonderful to visit this pavilion and to descend into the crypt-like space and lay on top of a cork bench staring up at a large flat blank anonymous expanse.

 

looking for a shaded place

a young hare

 

 

notes:

[title]     today’s title comes from an interview in interview magazine between pierre huyghe and rirkrit tiravanija found here.

[images]     more images of herzog and de meuron + ai wei wei’s pavilion maybe found on the various archdaily pages highlighting the project (here, here and here)

“out of google’s seemingly infinite galaxy of products, google maps is, perhaps, the most outstanding, a defining matrix for all of the company’s output. at the bottom of every single one of their products — from google’s main search engine to its videos, books, news, reader and translator — you will see one, main utopian impulse for mapping the world, which indexes, arranges, vivisects and scans it before returning it to you ready for use, like a takeaway meal of human-knowledge.” – roberto marone [1]

05/06/2012 § Leave a comment

jenny odell, 1,378 grain silos, water towers, and other cylindrical industrial buildings  (2009-11)

 

jenny odell’s work consists of extracting and abstracting existing elements from google earth.  i came across her work while reading another domus article (via atelier) about google map’s impact on artists.  which reminded me that its been a while since greg has written about google maps.

 

cataloging taxonomies

a young hare

 

 

notes:

[title]     today’s title comes from roberto marone’s article on domus, search and you shall find.

[image]    jenny odell’s 1,378 grain silos, water towers, and other cylindrical industrial buildings was taken from her website.  please visit for more beautiful images.

[further + more]     for another post about google maps on a young hare please click here.  for another domus post on google and art please click here.  to read some of greg’s thoughts on the issue, please click here.

“el proyecto tiene como intención evocar el paisaje arquitectónico de las azores, basándose en la forma y los materiales que integran la memoria colectiva de esta isla y el archipiélago, la cuales se ha convertido con el tiempo, en una segunda naturaleza de este lugar. por lo que los edificios son volúmenes arquetípicos, simples y compactos, revestidos con piedra basáltica local.”

31/05/2012 § Leave a comment

aires mateus architects, centro de interpretacion (2010)

 

one of the most simple yet provocative site plans i’ve seen in a while.  aires mateus architect’s site plan for the centro de interpretacion consists of minimal contour lines indicating the topography of the lagoa das furnas.  typically bodies of water are shown as they are experience from land – flat blank expanses, yet as this bathymetric map indicates there is a richness to the underwater terrain.

 

thinking of cool waters

a young hare

 

 

notes:

[title + images]     the title and image can be found at plataforma arquitectura.

[more mateus]     for more aires mateus at a young hare follow this link.

“but i would say this: what i have found over time is that i am surprised at how subtly responsive photography is to the state of the mind of a photographer. there is an old arab saying, “the apparent is the bridge to the real.” all i have to work with as a photographer are surfaces. the surface of a thing is an indication of deeper forces.” – steven shore [1]

03/01/2012 § Leave a comment

steven shore,  U.S. 97, South of Klamath Falls, Oregon, July 21, 1973 (1973)

 

the following might or might not have anything in common, but, at the moment they make perfect sense together:

1)   american suburban x recently posted an interview between steven shore and rong jiang at icp.  is photography analytical?

2)  a slate article (via wac) about the “greatest” paper map of america.  does imus act intuitively?

3)  finally, today i learned a new word: greeble (thanks things).  a greeble is an added piece of information on a surface, which has the effect of making the surface look more complex.  which reminds me of a line from viktor pelevin’s oman ra “the human psyche works in peculiar ways: it needs details first of all.  i remember when i was small i often used to draw tanks and aeroplanes and show them to my friends, and they always liked the drawings with lots of lines that didn’t really mean anything, so i actually began adding them on purpose” [2].

 

do you need details?

a young hare

 

 

notes:

[1]     today’s title (and photograph) comes from asx rong jiang’s interview of steven shore.

[2]    Pelevin, Viktor. Oman Ra. Trans. Andrew Bromfield. New York: New Directions, 1998. Print.

     

“anonymity is compensated for by a certain number of expedients (at least this is how they look to us), whose combination forms a system. one can figure out the address by a (written or printed) schema of orientation…”

19/08/2011 § Leave a comment

nicolas allinder, moriyama house site context (2010)

 

the streets of this city have no names.  there is of course a written address, but it has only a postal value, it refers to a plan (by districts and by blocks, in no way geometric), knowledge of which is accessible to the postman, not to the visitor: the largest city in the world is practically unclassified, the spaces which compose it in detail are unnamed.  this domiciliary obliteration seems inconvenient to those (like us) who have been used to asserting that the most practical is always the most rational (a principle by virtue of which the best urban toponymy would be that of numbered streets, as in the united states or in kyoto, a chinese city).  tokyo meanwhile reminds us that the rational is merely one system among others.  for there to be a mastery of the real (in this case, the reality of addresses), it suffices that there be a system, even if this system is apparently illogical, uselessly complicated, curiously disparate: a good bricolage can not only work for a very long time, as we know; it can also satisfy millions of inhabitants inured, furthermore, to all the perfections of technological civilization.

anonymity is compensated for by a certain number of expedients (at least this is how they look to us), whose  combination forms a system.  one can figure out the address by a (written or printed) schema of orientation, a kind of geographical summary which situates the domicile starting from a known landmark; a train station, for instance.  (the inhabitants excel in these impromptu drawings, where we see being sketched, right on the scrap of paper, a street, an apartment house, a canal, a railroad line, a shop sign, making the exchange of addresses into a delicate communication in which a life of the body, an art of the graphic gesture recurs: it is always enjoyable to watch someone write,a ll the more so to watch someone draw: from each occasion when someone has given me an address in this way, i retain the gesture of my interlocutor reversing his pencil to rub out, with the eraser at its other end, the excessive curve of an avenue, the intersection of a viaduct; though the eraser is an object contrary to the graphic tradition of japan, this gesture still produced something peaceful, something caressing and certain, as if, even in this trivial action, the body “labored with more reserve than the mind,” according to the precept of the actor zeami; the fabrication of the address greatly prevailed over the address itself, and, fascinated, i could have hoped it would take hours to give me that address.)  you can also, provided you already know where you are going, direct your taxi yourself, from street to street.  and finally, you can request the driver to let himself be guided by the remote visitor to whose house you are going, by means of one of those huge red telephones installed in front of almost every shop in the street.  all this makes the visual experience a decisive element of your orientation: a banal enough proposition with regard to the jungle or the bush, but one much less so with regard to a major modern city, knowledge of which is usually managed by map, guide, telephone book; in a word, by printed culture and not gestural practice.  here, on the contrary, domiciliation is sustained by no abstraction; except for the land survey, it is only a pure contingency: much more factual than legal, it ceases to assert the conjunction of an identity and a property.  this city can be known only by an activity of an ethnographic kind: you must orient yourself in it not by book, by address, but by walking, by sight, by habit, by experience; here every discovery is intense and fragile, it can be repeated or recovered only by memory of, the trace it has left in you: to visit a place for the first time is thereby to begin to write it: the address not being written, it must establish its own writing.

 

roland barthes’ essay no address has been on my from the moment i read it several years ago.

 

how do you piece together place

a young hare

 

 

notes:

[title]     today’s title and essay come from:

Barthes, Roland, and Richard (Schriftsteller) Howard. Empire of Signs. New York: Hill and Wang, 1982. Print.

[image]     today’s image was created by a young hare and inspired by the work of armelle caron.

“steinberg’s perspectival view presents the world without europe, yet does this essentially as a european construction, for the notion of the ‘even covering of the field’ is a european construction. it begins with the perspectival view as a frame, with the map as a tool, with the description as reality.” – kersten geers [1]

12/08/2011 § Leave a comment

saul steinberg, view of the world from 9th avenue (1975)

 

for one of the covers of the new yorker, saul steinberg offered an image of the world as seen from the perspective of new york.  it is a view through the eyes of an immigrated european: he looks west.  most prominent and tangible is new york, there at his feet, with its blown-up european warehouses, its blocks and buildings of different kinds; there are no towering structures.  then there is the hudson river (a watershed), new jersey and the american plains, which are filled with some sporadic objects, half surrealist fake nature, half human sculpture… then we see texas, las vegas and los angeles, followed by the pacific ocean, japan, china, and russia.  each of the planes is depicted in a parallel fashion, on a different scale and with a different sense of depth, but treated equally as patches of a larger whole.

when steinberg’s new yorker cover hits the stands, the date is 29 march 1976.  what at first glance looks like a revisitation (or reinterpretation) of the renaissance’s emblematic linear perspective and its attempt to control the world through its depiction actually presents itself as its opposite: it is a phantasmagoric image of the different shades and scales of reality in a tour de force that points to its resistance to description.

if the linear perspective of the renaissance implies hierarchy (as seen through the eyes of the prince) and (the representation of) power through its presentation of a particular viewpoint and overview, its sense of space is nonetheless limited, for it presents a view from a spot out there; at most, it shows what is within eyesight.

if one has to look for its counterpart, the short film powers of ten (1968 and 1977) by ray and charles eames could be a good candidate.  this survey of the universe in steps of ten is a fractal overview of sameness in all scales and, by implication, a truly modernist representation of the equality of man and his perception.  powers of ten introduced “deep space” as an alternative to the space we actually perceive in an attempt to explode the hierarchy implicit in imagery applying linear perspective.  the universe appears always more complex and detailed when presented on a new scale.  it is scientific par excellence.  the space presented is deep but not wide; in other words, there is no ‘field’.

steinberg’s perspective shows a much more challenging (and fertile) view of the world because he combines these two different kinds of space.  the perspectival view he produced for the new yorker does not represent the different scales of reality; rather, it presents the reality as a field.  the field presented in the image is evenly covered; it is entirely occupied.  here steinberg manages to represent each mode of occupation simultaneously: there is no depth except that of perspective.  there is only a field of things – small things, big things, traces of things and representations of things.  steinberg subjects them all to his design by focusing on some aspects and omitting others.

in redefining reality by representing it, the perspectival view dispenses with the complexity of the world as an organism (in contrast with powers of ten) in favour of a flattened field of conditions.  he understands that the only possible way to deal with the world is to simplify it by introducing a sense of perspective.  simplification is presented as a strategy for acquisition and ultimately – for domination.  napoleon understood this very well when he and his scientists recorded their survey of egypt, the description de l’egypte.  although the survey consist of a wide variety of drawn documents, the description’s most emblematic product is the foreshortened perspectives of the nile displaying only monuments.  here, by simplifying places, positions, relative distances and complexities, napoleon’s egypt became at once as constructed and tangible as a 19th-century fairy tale.

 

whose map is it?

a young hare

 

 

notes:

[text]     Geers, Kersten. “Everything and Nothing.” San Rocco: The Even Covering of the Field 2 (2011): 124-29. Print.

[image]     saul steinberg, view of the world from 9th avenue (1975)

“alain paiement was born in montreal in 1960 and received his ma from the upstart of quebec at montreal in 1987. he constructs physiognomies that depict murmur spankings simultaneously – conventional bullet-scapes that are deconstructed and sewn back together again into a seamless quiver.” [1]

08/08/2011 § Leave a comment

alain paiement, local rock (2004)

alain paiement, parages (2004)
alain paiement, constellations (squat) (1996)

alain paiement, country base (2004)

 

scientists have figured out that they can carve holes, known as fistulas, leading into one of the many stomachs of a cow.  somehow, the cows can continue to live with holes exposing their digestive system.  these fistulas allow you to see directly into the cow stomach and even remove pieces of food from the digestive tract in order to study the digestive process.  freaky.

alain paiement’s images are constructed by stitching together a series of a photographs taken from over head.  its as if a giant saw were used to pop off your roof and allow the world to peer in and see whats digesting inside.

 

happy monday

a young hare

 

 

notes:

[1]     alain paiement sites oulipo as a major influence of his work.  so i’ve used this n+7 machine (an exercise in which you substitute every noun with the 7th noun preceding it in the dictionary) to turn his bio into a oulipo experiment.  the n+7 machine will give you all possible permutations from n+1 to n+15.  the title is actually n+9.

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