Archive for the Arts (Design & Performance) Category

Kresge Chapel at M.I.T. by Eero Saarinen

Posted in Alternative Architecture, Recommendations & Tributes, Sculpture, Spiritual, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2019 by Drogo

The Kresge Chapel at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) by Architect Eero Saarinen in Cambridge, Massachusetts [report written by Walton Stowell II for Modern History of Architecture II in 4/22/96]

 

“No less than religion at its best, architecture is best as a witness and custodian to the spirit of modern man.” – Pietro Belluschi, B’rith Kodesh Synagogue

 

“A brick wall didnt realize how beautiful it was until it was touched by sunlight.” – Louis Kahn

 

Eero Saarinen’s Inter-Denominational Kresge Chapel at M.I.T.

 

While  taking a leisurely stroll through the seemingly haphazard campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), I came upon a sweet and blissfully rotund form that was clearly composed of masonry brick set in a common Bond. It’s cylindrical form appeared pure and abstractly severe from afar. Closer inspection revealed a more intricate reality.  The surface was roughly textured by randomly protruded bricks, and a series of low arches of random size. The arches formed the base of the cylinder, backed by a smooth light-colored secondary interior wall. The base was set into a shallow pit, filled with water and ring with a rim of concrete. the Chapels massing was as conservative as your basic cylinder,  but the sharp alien Bell Tower steeple was an elegant antenna, A giant holy lance piercing the sky as though ready to shoot a beacon.

 

(sketch of perspective looking at Chapel from the front court-yard)

 

In relation to the other neighboring structures on campus, the brick construct was petite. The Kresge Chapel marked itself as part of the MIT campus, distinguished by having a remote location many yards from its neighbors; thus respectfully differentiating its functionality while remaining part of the whole, despite its blatant differences denoted by its particular scale and multi-dimensional form expression. The chapel makes its own transcendental statement  without being an eyesore. It does not fight the more conventional styles of buildings that surround it; in fact the traditional brick that was used matches the surrounding dorms.

 

Across the lawn from the Kresge Chapel, was another of Eero Saarinen buildings, the Kresge Auditorium. Both buildings were designed and built from 1950 to 1955, and dedicated to donor Sebastian Kresge, founder of Kresge (Kmart) Stores. The auditorium was much larger than the chapel, and completely different in style and materials.

 

(sketch of 2 buildings showing distance adjacency)

 

The narthex was a rectangular hallway encased in black glass, attached to the chapel from behind; like an extended arm connecting auxiliary rooms to the primary cylinder. I say that the hall was located in the back of the cylinder, because of my site orientation. My interpretation  being the front of the chapel was the side facing the auditorium, and their shared lawn space; where as the back was directed towards the alley. The structure of the black back hall was comprised of dark thin Gray repetitive vertical steel members. Each section of black glass was then further subdivided by smaller horizontal muntins spaced unevenly, from inches apart to feet apart. On either side of the black rectangle on the farthest end from the main cylinder, there were doors of Entry. They were double doors on each side of the hall, opposite each other and made of solid Pine with metal knockers as handles that open outward together. It made for a fine contrast between the bright Pine doors, and the sleek black enigma of the hallway repetition.  Above the doors were four conic lights with their tops cut off.

 

I reached for the door handles with no sense of what to expect within. I entered. The interior of the hallway was transparent to the outside, with only a faintly darkened tint. My natural, but false assumption that a dark structure with no direct openings for light makes for an even darker interior, was shattered. The narthex was very generously lighted on the inside, and I felt very safe. Flower baskets were placed on either side along the hall, for lovely interior decor. I turned to look down the glass hallway of adequate human proportions, and saw a beautiful white marble altar, with shimmering gold strands behind it. The richly tiled floor led me to the double height space. All in one breath I was taken into the space, and in one breath I took it all in.

 

Beautiful organ music began playing. It was coming from within that sacred vault, and yet I could see no one, nor even an organ. The tones undeniably complemented the space, and light poured in from an Oculus directly above the altar, which was refracted by a suspended Golden sculptural Screen. It was as if I were in a subterranean Realm, with no direct view to the outside world; but only washes of light on heavy Earthen walls. It was small for most churches and intimate, but I was not scared of being trapped in the confined space. I felt safe. It was as though I had been worming my way through the claustrophobic Labyrinth of Moria, and at last come to the inner Sanctum. I had risen from the catacombs, and been rewarded with the gift of space;  generous and conducive for personal prayer.

 

(sketch of altar with oculus)

 

I felt like an archaeologist after breaking the seals on a tomb, rolling away the barrier stone, and breathing in air undisturbed for eons. Spiritual fervor of ancient mysterious gods for every individual were welcome there. I had made the journey to the dreamy meditational sanctuary,  and now felt cleansed and purified; looking at the vulnerable and innocent white altar. The secret stairs behind the altar made me swoon like a willing sacrifice.

 

There were three walls of the Kresge Chapel itself. The outer wall had low arches which allowed light to reflect off the water in the moat, and up into the inner chamber. The inner wall undulated like a frozen wave, and the lower wall followed its example. In the daylight the textured brick work was highlighted by the exterior light Wells. The floor could fit a Congregation of 130 people,  and as I turned in circles to experience the space, I saw the pipe organ located above the entry-way. A student head their back to me, intent on playing the instrument with its elaborate pipes on display. Mass was about to begin.

 

(sketch of oculus)

 

Criticism of Eero Saarinen was common place because consistency of style was expected,  and his level of architectural innovation was way ahead of his time. Saarinen’s unpredictability and bold diversity irritated and even enraged his critics. Each new project was so vastly different, how could they judge his progress? As Philip Johnson put it “Eero  was all together unpredictable. Had he lived longer, he would have influenced everybody, and all of us.” Saarinen developed his own architectural style which was always a unique combination of Art and engineering. I chose Saarinen’s chapel because i knew about him from when i was a child. When Dad took me to Dulles and JFK (TWA Terminal) Airports, it was clear how special the buildings were, and told me who the architect was. Every building that Saarinen designed has blown my mind with its expressiveness and unearthly beauty. During my first year of architecture studio at RWU, professor Rico introduced me to this chapel based on my sketches of circles for a temple to the elements, and so i was inspired to have light filter in around the edges of the temple floor from water and air outside, on all levels.

 

Eero Saarinen once said that he began his projects with basic considerations of the particular job. Eero also respected the spirit, the client, the expression of the program, and site surroundings. To him the site area should include nature and technology; and a good balance should reduce egotism. He felt that MIT landscape should be more unified with the auditorium and chapel for integral flow. However I enjoyed the seclusion of the chapel, like a humble grove of trees for peaceful worship. Saarinen also felt his connection of the narthex and chapel was clumsily executed, but I feel it was perfectly successful for a small structure. Saarinen’s Chapel has axial intersection with its dominant cylindrical container of spiritual light.

 

By abstracting the Chapel’s form, Saarinen also simplified specific needs for spiritual practice. The shape and form of the chapel was derived from basic instincts like our desire to feel loved, protected, and respected. A circle symbolizes oneness like the power of the earth, the sun, the moon, and even a mother’s womb. Saarinen was deeply inspired by one of his travels as a student to the mountain village of Sparta, Greece. Eero recalled sitting with bright moon-light over-head, and a secondary light band around the horizon, soft and hushed.

 

“Kresge Chapel is all about light, drama, and interior serenity.” – Architectural Record Lighting (Nov. 1994)

 

End Report.

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Pieter Bruegel The Elder

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Biographies, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 23, 2019 by Drogo

pieter bruegel

Pieter Bruegel the Elder was a Flemish Renaissance artist was born around 1525 and died in 1569. His exact birth place in Brabant (either in present-day Belgium or Holland) remains uncertain. Bruegel’s paintings and drawings mainly reflect the everyday life of peasants in the Netherlands, with a netherworld twist. Bruegel based his work upon realistic observations and intricate design with allegories. In 1556 Bruegel was encouraged by his lifelong friend and publisher Hieronymus Cock to put aside his interest in landscape, and imitate and renovate an earlier local Brabantine style by Hieronymus Bosch. Hieronymus Bosch was the original innovator of his unique style of symbolic painting in the Netherlands 40 years before Bruegel. Bosch’s art still had a very medieval feel to it, using abnormal situations and small demonic Little Creatures. Although bosch and Bruegel styles are very similar, both have demons which express ‘verve anime’; Bruegel was able to do more realistic pieces with greater rotundity of form. Bruegel vividly picked social and emotional attitudes of the day into farces.

The name ‘Peeter Brueghels’ first appears on the members list of the artists Guild in Antwerp in 1551. After many former works it was in 1556 that Bruegel did his first Bosch-like drawing titled ‘Big fish eat little ones’. Sitting on a large knife with in the picture is a Christian orb of the Holy Roman Emperor possibly representing the Inquisition and the uncertainty of the times. In 1557 Bruegel engraved and printed ‘The seven deadly sins’, his style still greatly reflecting bosch. In 1560 Bruegel completed the Seven Virtues, establishing territory for his own style in the art world. The Seven Virtues contains a philosophical complex idea based on the moralistic treaties of Desiredius Erasmus, the Enchiridion (Shield of the Christian Warrior). Erasmus’ book is concerned with man’s inability to distinguish between appearance and reality. Erasmus suggests that we tend to confuse virtue with material show, when in reality true virtue is to be found only in spiritual devotion to Christian principles.

In 1564 Bruegel a wonderful drawing called ‘Fall of the Magician’. That same year he had his first son Pieter Bruegel The Younger. His son would also carry on the painting tradition. ‘The fall of the magician’ has an overall appearance of demonic tumult. St James the Minor’s presence, as he observed Hermogenes’ downfall. However a large robed figure in the back of the picture is merely playing a shell game. In the reality of the painting, is the observer being misled as to the actual situation? Perhaps the forces of evil were given another identity then is at first apparent.  This theme is reminiscent of the medieval Hermes Trismegistus legends, and that later germanic Faustian tales of deals with the devil and the corrupting lust for power. Bruegel’s message seems to be that the world is cruel, but made worse perhaps because man has made it so. Would Bruegel have agreed with Kant, that if all men of Goodwill were to act together the world would be a better place? Or is that concept too unrealistic?

Bruegel did a very realistic painting of the Infant Jesus being presented by his mother Mary, to the three kings. A realistic drawing of peasants dancing is called ‘the marriage dance’, and like similar paintings of his, this epitomizes Bruegel’s style mixture of mundane and surreal. After viewing, mental reality sinks in later, that his art cleverly pokes fun at the Christian Catholic Church, and existence itself. Bruegel ordered his wife to burn certain drawings because he thought they were “too biting and sharp”. Bruegel’s reality was hidden within the action, setting, and characters of his art works; because he was reluctant to openly admit his surreptitious views on the evils of society.

Bruegel earned his living producing drawings to be turned into prints for the leading print publisher (Hieronymus Cock). His great successes were his series of allegories. In Bruegel’s works his sinners are grotesque, while the allegories of virtue wear odd head-gear. Imitations of Bosch sold well, like ‘Big Fish Eat Little Fish’, which Bruegel signed but Cock falsely attributed to Bosch in the print version.

Audio Recording of my Reading this Report is on Audiomack.

[This report was for a philosophy project when I was a senior in high school in 1994.]

Captain Marvel and Shazam!

Posted in Cartoon Comics, Fictional Characters, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on April 18, 2019 by Drogo

The history between the DC and Marvel characters named Captain Marvel, began long before those companies formed; and is worth researching. Many conservative male critics thought that the recent Marvel version should not have been female, but that is stupid considering Ms. Marvel has already had several incarnations. Also culture is more than ready for more heroins.

Regarding snobs about Captain Marvel, I think people often forget that culture and politics have always been tied into popular comic books; from Captain America to Superman being an illegal alien with a secret identity, raised by a poor family and his enemy being a rich maniac (Luthor), written by jews using the german ubermench idea with dark hair instead of arian blonde. By studying writers like Larry Hama fans can learn how CIA and social themes drove their plots and characters. Shazam is funny for sure, I like the whole Captain Marvel history from the times before DC and Marvel; it really shows how copyright is constantly challenged because inspiration comes from pre-existing sources, and even fans start pushing the boundaries with public domain. Also the original Ms. Marvel was in this Shazam series version way early on.

Being way too wound up as a nerd to enjoy anything that someone else makes, makes us disappointed with most things because high standards can easily make us snobs. When we feel better than everyone, we stop enjoying simple pleasures or quality dept. Our glass will always be more empty. I think life is worth trying to enjoy, despite all the flaws that we can dwell on. Keep thinking, but dont ever forget to find the things you enjoy!

Requiem of a Dreamer

Posted in dreams, Economics, Ethics & Morals, Futurist, Military, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 13, 2019 by Drogo

I have been exploring “fairness” in journalism (Fairness Doctrine) and “justice” in politics (Just War Doctrine) ever since i was in the military working on my ‘Conscientious Objector’ theory. It is not until i made time to study the things i wanted to, that i was able to learn things that no one was going to teach me; and perhaps that is the most important lesson as an adult …. that we must pursue our best interests or give up free will, if freedom scares us too much.

People think that if they are allowed to dream or be seen to do ‘nothing’, then they will grow more and more lazy and be losers entirely. I have always had ambition to dream, create, and share with fellow dreamers. As AOC pointed out recently in Congress, ambition is not always bad or just for greedy people; and apathy can be used contemptuously by greedy people that had ambition to gain power, but now that they have power they selfishly cling on to their bribes so that they can make no changes to help the masses (who become apathetic too), rather than ambitious to make the world a better place for all. Watching the film “Saving Mr Banks” about Mary Poppins’ author and Walt Disney was very inspirational today regarding creating using stream-of-consciousness imagination; and so I am writing this poetic essay on a few idealistic subjects, including judging books by their covers and adult rights to life.

I had some understanding when we visited Italy as a child, that Rome represented ‘law and order’ (the good guys), and barbarians represented ‘tribal chaos’ (the bad guys). I began to wonder, were all those who looked or acted ‘barbarian’ evil? Were all those who looked or acted ‘Roman’ good? Should we judge good and evil by the uniforms we wear, or the languages we speak? Both sides seemed to fight each-other, back and forth equally; but for some reason the Romans were considered better as winners. This is part of why I choose to look a bit different as an artist, to get people to think beyond stereo-typing.

As a young adult massively in debt out of college, barely able to earn a living working 5 jobs during every month, I was miserable trying to provide a living for myself and others (parents and partners), at the cost of our environment and future as a civilization. The two goals (income and sustainability) are not mutually exclusive, but we all must find our own balance. If we cannot make money pay for our dreams, we can let our dreams pay for our money.

 

– Drogo the Dreamer

Incredible Hulk Psychology

Posted in Cartoon Comics, Fictional Characters, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2019 by Drogo

Incredible_Hulk_Vol_1_273

This essay is from a SCOD video on the Marvel Hulk comic-books. Is the system working for you? Do you work for the system? Do you have a balance?? Dr. Banner worked within the nuclear science field, and was cursed with the alter-ego of the Hulk after a gamma-bomb test radiation accident. The main over-arching human theme of the ‘System vs Individuals’ originated because the military industrial complex created the Hulk, and Banner uses technology to handle his Hulk problem, but he is always chased by the military as a terrorist because the The Incredible Hulk was very aggressively anarchist libertarian (in effect by savage nature, not due to political ideology) due to his resistance to authority and desire to be left alone. In ‘Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World’s Greatest Comics’Les Daniels addresses the Hulk as an embodiment of cultural fears of radiation and nuclear science. He quotes Jack Kirby: “As long as we’re experimenting with radioactivity, there’s no telling what may happen, or how much our advancements in science may cost us.” Daniels continues, “The Hulk became Marvel’s most disturbing embodiment of the perils inherent in the atomic age.”

The main character core theme for individual psychology is obviously anger (but also fear) as one part of the aggressive/passive dichotomy paradigm; because anger is the main catalyst for his change, and calmness allows the beast to sleep within him again. A third theme might be danger/safety (violence/gentleness), survival regardless of emotions. A fourth theme could be the stoic sadness of living with guilt and responsibility for problems. Humans are animals, but we seek to control our id, ego, and emotions for the sake of society and civilization. The Hulk deals with debates about man and monster, where does one personality end and the other begin??  Oddly enough, his rage doesn’t make him evil or the antagonist in the story. Can he be both a hero and an anti-hero?? Originally the Hulk transformed at night (1962), then randomly. It was not until after about the 30th comic book (1966) with Hulk in it [Tales To Astonish #80], that ANGER became his main catalyst for transformation. Hulk influenced popular culture so much, that the term ‘hulk out’ means to get enraged and rampage. “Don’t make me angry; you won’t like me when I’m angry.” – Dr. Banner (TV show)

Dr. Banner is a scientist dealing with some serious mental issues. As he evolves, so does his monstrous manifestation. The egos of the various incarnations exist within Banner, as Banner exists within them. The metaphor being that our different personality aspects and phases of life exist within us. Who we ‘really are’ does not have to be limited to just one personality, or set of emotional responses. I actually cannot think of a depiction that does not consider them within each-other as they are obviously connected, even if they are also beings in their individual ways.

The Jekyll-Hyde story is not just about literal appearance differences; also about mental disorders and addiction, physical (chemical) and mental bi-polar and border-line… all kinds of things to think about with split-personality concepts (not the diagnosis but the reality of how emotions can be overly intense with many people, making them seem like different people when they experience them).

[More will be added later to this article, like illustrations of the Evolution of Hulk; and more story plot points and descriptions.]

Youtube video:  Incredible Hulk Comics 1970-1990

Youtube video:  Incredible Hulk fan tribute collage – ‘evolution montage’

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Posted in Illustration, Politics, portraits, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 22, 2019 by Drogo

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is an American politician, educator, and political activist. On June 26, 2018, Ocasio-Cortez won the Democratic primary in New York’s 14th congressional district. She fights for civil rights and environmental causes; against corporate greed and pollution. Her campaign funding was door-to-door real neighbors, so she serves the actual population of people, not just rich people.

AOC final

aoc 1

 

 

 

 

 

Self-Publishing Paradox

Posted in Book Reports, Commercial Corporations, Crafts, Critical Commentary of Civilization, jobs, Languages, Pub Library, Services, Sales or Trade, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2018 by Drogo

How DC area book stores handle major publishers vs. local authors in 2018.

Book stores are still stuck in the old mentality with major publishers, rather than allow the flooded local markets to flourish with support. Retail profits largely hinge on perceived ‘popularity’ of brands, which is largely self-perpetuating based on reduced whole sale rates, and exaggerated sales advertising to push the merchandise on customers. Book mongers still have a very snobbish attitude towards local authors, even more so now that printed books are in competition with ebooks. Book mongers, like other capitalists will often declare that “there is a DEMAND’ for what they are selling, just as housing developers do when they create a artificial demand by making the supply and cornering the market with advertising and debt based commercial production.

Here is how one book store describes their consignment process on their website:

“Our consignment program helps us accommodate the overwhelming number of requests from local authors who wish to sell their books and host events at Curious Iguana. If, after reading all the information here, you have any questions, email. Please do not stop by or call the store with questions about our consignment program. Click here to download our Consignment Policies and Consignment Form for Author. Note that we do not read review copies, and we do not accept any books without a completed consignment form and FEE. About events – We receive numerous event requests from local authors every week. Only authors whose books have strong consignment sales and broad reader appeal will be considered for an event on a case-by-case basis. Authors should not expect that consigning books will result in an event.”

Consignment usually forces the local author to be in debt to the local store, rather than provide them with any net income. Local authors tend to purchase more books at stores from commercial authors in one visit, than their books may sell all year; so even local authors are more likely to spend more on international authors than their own book sales will make in years. After a few years of their books not being advertised, but often hidden, the author must then contact the store and ask what has sold, and then pick up their check if any have sold. Now that there are more local authors, they are even asked to pick up their remaining books to make room for others. In essence local authors are treated like cattle, and told they are not worthy to make money, and they should be lucky to have a consignment deal before getting kicked out. Quality differences in the contents of books, whether self published or not, have very little to do with these market issues; as mistakes can be found with many mass produced products. Even National Geographic published the wrong image of a sparrow in a major commercial release; not just typos but the very information that is the focus of the ‘best selling’ book can be factually wrong.

Perhaps some day there will be a book store just for local and self-published authors, and their books will be PURCHASED just like the major brand names are now, rather than relegated to forgotten shelves and treated as though they are not worth the paper they are printed on. Perhaps some day we will invest more in our local economies, rather than giving all profits to a few rich fat cats that could barely care less.

So in this area there are basically 2 stores that accept local authors, but due to demands by local authors that they have a place to sell their books, it is increasingly rare that the small portion of the store dedicated to local authors will have room for everyone in the flooded self-published book market. It seems that self-published is a niche market that is not being allowed space due to corporate monopolist priorities. The competitive cut-throat capitalist monopoly model of economics, stands in contrast to the sharing and networking pluralist (multiplicity) more free-market model. Some business workers pride themselves for being very morally patient with customers, clients, bosses, employees, co-workers, and partners; in that they value them as fellow humans and are very generous to the point of pleasantly accepting financial loss as sacrifice for more happiness. That moral model is considered a bad business model for serious capitalists however, because survival success of business is based on financial capital, not ethical capital. There is a strong historic argument to be made that more financial wealth can be made quicker and greater by meaner people that take huge risks, rather than generous people who tend to give away and share more (studies show these people are often considered ‘poor’).

Self-published authors can be economically vital, if local stores open to showcase them as the main product. Some regional examples may soon show that people will travel from around the world to visit unique collections that support populations directly with financing. Rather than stores asking you pay to maybe keep your book there temporarily, and refusing to talk to authors in person or on the phone about the issue of slavish consignment; an alternative option will be to support stores that support self-published authors, which would make independent authors the best meaning (and most fitting use) of the word ‘common’. Possibly current store owners don’t want to be harming the local economy by practicing their old business models, but supply and demand and advertising have very real aspects that corporations do not want commoners to discuss.

The self-publishing paradox is that although the book market is flooded by grassroots citizens writing and publishing books, the means to support them are not part of conventional business models. Even alternative efforts are suppressed due to social, economic, and linguistic self-destructive elitism. Most people that write books do it because they love it or are best at it, not because of the economic incentives because it is generally well known that artists, musicians, and writers are not given living wages. The attitude that the voice of the people is not worth hearing, has never been considered wise or good.