Friday, October 26, 2012

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Spectacle Island: Amphitheatre Layered Through Time


In my design, I am proposing an amphitheater on Spectacle Island in the Boston Harbor Islands.  This amphitheater will be built using terraces, or layers, using gabions filled with relics, artifacts and building materials that represent the historical use of the island.  I found this awesome image of terraces built using gabions.

gabion retain walls garden
(photo: Badec Bros Deco)
The terraced layers for Spectacle island will have a serpentine shape, indicative of the curving seashore.
Each layer will represent a year in the island's history, using building materials and artifacts one might find if they dug down through the earth.

Here are some ideas I found on the web...

1231 - Shellfishing: clam shells discarded by native americans fishing on the island

1649 Harvesting: wooden logs collected by European settlers for firewood & building

1847 Island Resort: cobblestones left behind after the hotel casino was closed for illegal activity

1861 Soap & Glue: iron horseshoes & rope found in the horse rendering factory

1989 Trash Heap: plastic bottles thrown into the city's landfill

The site will be landscaped with native grasses & shrubs, with a pathway to connect to the main visitor road.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

MIT List Visual Arts Center


Left: Joseph Beuys, "Capri-Batterie (Capri Battery)," 1985. Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Right: Germaine Kruip, "Aesthetics as a Way of Survival," 2009.
Download the e-flux iPad AppShare thisShare this on
FacebookShare this on

In the HoloceneOctober 19, 2012–January 6, 2013

Opening reception: October 18, 6–8pm
7pm Florian Hecker performs Speculative Solution, an 8-channel electroacoustic composition

MIT List Visual Arts CenterWeisner Bldg. E-15
20 Ames St.
Cambridge, MA 02139

Participating artistsBerenice Abbott, Leonor Antunes, John Baldessari, Rosa Barba, Robert Barry, Uta Barth, Joseph Beuys, Alighiero Boetti, Carol Bove, Marcel Broodthaers, Matthew Buckingham, Roger Caillois, Hanne Darboven, Thea Djordjadze, Jimmie Durham, Terry Fox, Friedrich Fröbel, Aurélien Froment, Jack Goldstein, Laurent Grasso, João Maria Gusmão & Pedro Paiva, Florian Hecker, Alfred Jarry, Rashid Johnson, Joan Jonas, On Kawara, Kitty Kraus, Germaine Kruip, John Latham, Sol LeWitt, F.T. Marinetti, Daria Martin, John McCracken, Mario Merz, Helen Mirra, Trevor Paglen, Man Ray, Ben Rivers, Pamela Rosenkranz, Robert Smithson, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Superstudio, Georges Vantongerloo, Lawrence Weiner, and Iannis Xenakis.

In the Holocene explores art as a speculative science, how artists investigate principles more commonly associated with scientific or mathematical thought. The exhibition proposes that art is an investigative and experimental activity, addressing what is explained through traditional scientific means: time, matter, energy, topology, perception, consciousness, etc. In this sense, both art and science share an interest in knowledge and disruptive insights, yet are subject to different logics, principles of reasoning, and conclusions.

In expanding both artistic and scientific speculation, In the Holocene seeks to shift the understanding of aesthetics away from conventional ideas of pleasure, beauty, or taste. As conceived by Alexander Baumgarten in 1735, the term "aesthetics," as the science of sensible knowledge, attempted to place the realm of perception and sensation under rational principles. As an account of the world, can art expand the potential of scientific investigation? What of those forms of understanding that transcend, or fall beyond, the domain of any particular discipline?

In addressing these questions, the exhibition draws on a history of speculative propositions as well as the work of contemporary artists. Germaine Kruip's film Aesthetics as a Way of Survival (2009) documents the male bowerbird arranging colored objects as a part of its courtship display. In Roger Caillois's investigations of biological mimesis, insects blur distinctions between organic and inorganic matter. On Kawara and Helen Mirra address geological time and extremophile forms of living matter, as well as non-anthropocentric forms of perception. Robert Smithson's interest in crystallography and entropy are reflected in his Four-Sided Vortex (1965) and Partially Buried Woodshed (1970). Daria Martin's Sensorium Tests (2012) revolves around a neurological condition called "mirror-touch synaesthesia." For F.T. Marinetti, abstract mathematical objects quantified the sounds, smells, and motions of modern life, while Iannis Xenakis used complex mathematical operations to create musical compositions. Alfred Jarry's "pataphysics," John Latham's "Time—Base Theory," and João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva's "Abyssology" are examples of speculative systems of knowledge constructed to address gaps in our knowledge of the world.

The exhibition's title is drawn from Max Frisch's novella, Man in the Holocene (1980), in which a narrator gathers selections from books to preserve human knowledge as landslides threaten to destroy his village. Of particular concern is knowledge of the Holocene, the geological era stretching from the last glacial period about 11,000 years ago to the present day. The Holocene is our period of geological time, in which humans seek to understand the laws of the universe and the origins of life, while also coping with our own impact on the Earth: from global warming to what will be the legacy of our presence on the planet.

Click here for the complete schedule of accompanying programs and film screenings.
In the Holocene is curated by João Ribas, Curator, MIT List Visual Arts Center.

The exhibition is made possible by an Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award. Additional support has been generously provided by the Council for the Arts at MIT; the Massachusetts Cultural Council; and the Office of the Associate Provost at MIT, with special thanks to Centre Iannis Xenakis; the MIT List Advisory Committee, and the Friends of the List.

Dead whale found in Boston Harbor

A rare event, Coast Guard says

A dead finback whale was found floating in Boston Harbor early Sunday. The carcass nearly washed up on Long Island.
A dead finback whale was found floating in Boston Harbor early Sunday. The carcass nearly washed up on Long Island.
A dead finback whale more than 50 feet in length was found floating in Boston Harbor early Sunday morning — a rarity for the area, officials said.
Tony LaCasse, a spokesman for the New England Aquarium, which sent officials to examine the whale, said how the massive mammal died remained a mystery.
“We don’t know,” he said. “We’ve only been able to look at a small portion of the body so far.”
LaCasse said the animal probably died of natural causes, disease, or a unique medical problem, such as being struck by a vessel or becoming entangled in netting.
He said a large amount of blood in the water surrounding the whale and marks on its body may indicate trauma. But he added that it is unclear whether the possible trauma took place before or after the animal died.
Authorities did not know how old the whale was, but were conducting tests on samples taken from the animal, and planned to perform a necropsy.
Although the finback whale is common in this area, it is endangered in the United States, said LaCasse. About 10,000 remain in US waters, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
LaCasse said adult finback whales weigh on average between 70,000 and 90,000 pounds. The species can grow to an average length of between 45 and 70 feet, according to the Whale Center of New England.
“It’s not rare to see a whale in the Boston Harbor, but it’s rare to see a dead whale in the Boston Harbor,” said Brian Fleming, command duty officer at the US Coast Guard Base Boston. “The majority of these cases happen out to sea.”
Massachusetts State Police marine officials spotted the whale around 3 a.m. near the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal, and the Coast Guard transported New England Aquarium rescue team members to examine it.
LaCasse said the whale floated to within “a couple hundred yards” of the shore of Long Island in Boston Harbor at about 3:30 p.m. Sunday, but the tide carried it back into the harbor.
Authorities will wait for the carcass to wash up so they can examine it and then dispose of it.
Fleming said that about three or four live whales are sighted in Boston Harbor per year.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Water Lecture Series

Dan Schrag, the Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, a Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the Director of the Harvard University Center for the Environment  at Harvard University, will deliver a lecture as part of the Radcliffe Institues's series of lectures about water.

The Institute is hosting a new cross-disciplinary speaker series by Harvard faculty on topics related to water.  These will be relatively informal presentations, followed by discussion with attendees, on topics that approach water from multi-disciplinary perspectives.  The collegial events are intended to present, and potentially to link, faculty interests, in order to learn more about research currently underway and to foster connections across Harvard schools.  
The talks will focus on both national and international topics.  They may include issues of water policy, treatment and management, technology, water and migration, water and religion, urban planning, hydrology, water and business, art and water, environmental law, public health and disease, water and conflict, land-use, economic growth, history, etc.  The speaker series is designed to be multidisciplinary rather than solely scientific and to complement other offerings throughout the University. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Friday, October 12, 6:30 pm
Location: Massachusetts College of Art and Design, 621 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA.
Please note new auditorium: This year the event will be held in the Pozen Center.
Presented by deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum
Free admission; Open to the public

In honor of the recent acquisition of Jaume Plensa’s marble sculpture, Humming, deCordova is pleased to present a talk by this internationally acclaimed public artist. Perhaps most associated with The Crown Fountain (2004) in Chicago’s Millennium Park, which is a modern twist on an ancient civic symbol, Plensa’s sculptures invite rumination on the relationship between language and form, and the connections between interior thoughts and physical presence.

The Paul J. Cronin Memorial Lecture is made possible by a generous grant to deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum from The Grover J. Cronin Memorial Foundation and is hosted by Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Jaume Plensa, Humming, 2011, 100 x 37 x 44 1/2 inches, marble and lead, Museum Purchase, The Frederick P. Walkey Fund, a gift of the Stephen and Sybil Stone Foundation, and funded by Museum supporters at the 2012 deCordova Benefit. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Interpretation of Ordinary Landscapes

This publication, although from 1979, is a fascinating essay of axioms when interpreting cultural landscapes.  It raises questions one should ask when trying to understand any landscape, allowing a better understanding as to why our society looks the way it does.