Summer's wasting.

My brain is melting and words are escaping me daily, it's the summer holiday!

So, things that have been preoccupying me:

+ ice caps. Two films last week all about them: An Inconvenient Truth and Pierre Huyghe's A Journey That Wasn't at the Tate Modern.

The former is terrifying (I'm not sure if it was the air conditioning but Al Gore's persuasive to smug ratio is convincing) and the latter, beautiful! They found an island in Antarctica that didn't exist before. (Which is where I'd point to Deleuze on desert islands but it's August.) Oh, and then they went to Central Park where they got an orchestra to perform the island's topology. Wow.

Le Corbusier puppet

+ Huyghe's musical puppet show is beyond great too. It's about Le Corbusier's arts building at Harvard. It features Xenakis on the soundtrack, and has Corb tap dancing. Not at the same time, although that's a great idea and now I'm inspired to dig mine out.

+ Huyghe's revolving oversized Alice in Wonderland doors (there's a scalextrics track attached to the ceiling) is really ace too. Did I mention he collaborates with M/M for his halogen signage? This show's on til September 17th.

+ Avoiding my imminent departure to Paris via museums. They're telling me I need 20 passport photos. 20!

+ volcanoes: really want to visit Mount Etna. Can't remember how it came about, maybe I'm recalling Jem Cohen's film about it or something. Went to one in Second Life whose name I forget, but that doesn't count really. And I kept hitting my head against shoddily rendered rock. Anyway, back to Etna: sounds like Xenakis, apparently.



leopard leg in the sea

leopard leg sea

so, this is us in the sea at 5 am. we are ghosts who have been under water for 500 years in case you were wondering. from UTR


Alessandra Cianchetta, AWP at the Architecture Foundation

From London Architecture Diary (which is pretty good to have in your bookmarks if you're a wannabe architecture student like me)

Summer Nights 2006: The Europeans

AWP, founded in 2003 by five architects and one philosopher, is a Paris-based interdisciplinary studio for architecture, landscape and design. Current projects include the urban redevelopment of Wazemmes (City of Lille). The practice is part of the pan-European collective a-Graft, runners up in The Architecture Foundation's new building competition.

Chaired by Ed Dorrell, the Architects' Journal

19:00 £3 Building Design Partnership, 18 Brewhouse Yard, EC1 (Barbican / Farringdon)


serpentine pavilion 24 hr marathon

We caught the first six hours sitting on the lawn, surrounded by chatty Germans. The pavilion is so pretty at night, look:

serpentine pavilion

Staring at a big screen with Rem and Hans and whoever, and lots of concentrated folk was actually a lot better than being inside. Apparently the cameras got in the way. Pricey too. We enjoyed the inventive cameramen - after 9 it went all glitch:


Anyway, more importantly, what did people say? Everyone mentioned the Middle East in some shape or form. Mostly, vague allusions to pointlessness and Rem saying the world's up in flames.

Brian Eno was talking about making digital music with more than fingers, and slowness in relation to his 77 million paintings (lots of wow and opens September 28th at the Barbican)

Charles Jencks talked about apocalypse fatigue. Waved about images of the Herzog and De Meuron Tate building (which later led to a Hadid/Koolhaas quickfire on the stylistic connotations of inverted pyramids, in passing, just like this). He's better in print though, prone as he seems to rambling speeches on symbols.

Kenneth Adam, set-maker of James Bond films, and Dr Strangelove, talked about making small worlds. Rem told him he has a specific talent for building "places of evil". He has a recurring circular theme that's worth checking.

Lots of tension between Zaha Hadid and Rem Koolhaas we thought (guess they worked together for a while). She didn't make too many coherent points, seemed loath to connect her work/thoughts to a wider context. Did mention an interesting project they had to do at the AA once though: creating abstract lines through the map of London and walking down them in groups, to see how places connect. Of course, this exercise isn't necessary if you actually know the city you're supposed to be building in, but that's another story.

We heart Tim O'Toole. He's in charge of the London Underground and knows his stuff. After a couple of artists flapping their hands about talking about identity and what not, here's someone who namechecked Brunel. Where is the Brunel of our generation, he asked. Good question. The Brunel Engine House in Rotherhithe is really worth it by the way. They have mini versions of Isambard's bridges and stories to tell about the Thames Tunnel when it was a Victorian spectacle with Chinese performers (it's now part of the East London Line).

Ken Loach reckons no one supports him here in the UK. Which makes me wonder: are Parisian kids going to venerate British films like it's the other way round here?

Jude Kelly spouted a lot of nonsense. Really quotable stuff too, for someone in charge of the arts, culture and education for the Olympics (did she mention Hackney though?) Gems like: there's a big gap between what you say you'll do and what you'll ever do and we are a nation of mongrels, immigrant after immigrant after immigrant. Not so controversial in retrospect, but I don't think she should be riffing so publicly. Not like I think it's going to work out, but you want her to have some conviction!

Tim Newburn was a practical straight talker, of the kind that made Rem and Hans shh. Professor of criminology and and social policy at LSE, he was the first interviewee to address the audience. He talked about control and CCTV and yeah it's everywhere but he's written so many books on the topic he has new and unboring things to say about new versions of pluralist social policy transfer.

And at the end of every interview, Hans asked "what is your, dream, for London?" The answers were so bland, I forget.