Sunday, March 28, 2010


I came across works by two very interesting artists last week, Nicolas Moulin who envisages ruins of mega monolithic concrete blocks in a deserted landscape while the other being Hiroyuki Hamada who designs comparatively small, vaguely futurist looking monoliths.

(Some of the many Hiroyuki's tablets that could easily come to be a parts of totem pole of a dystopian space age civilization, whose technological advancement has come at the price of erosion of memory of history and language...where technology is god. Images sourced from:
Hiroyuki's artifacts that seem to draw semantic nourishment from manga, minimalism, space debris, Japanese Zen, Buddhism, God particles, Shivalingam, crustaceans, Mars and brush by closely to Nicolas's B├ęton Brut work that sends roots to Normandy Bunkers, Corbusier, Oplismeno skirodema, Berlin Wall, Moai, Rosetta stone, Noah's Arc etc according to me are not thriving on but are just the opposite. They are soil samples of the very ground that anchors the tree of Being, from where all these references germinate.

(Images of Nicolas Moulin's collages sourced from Vulgare one can also find an online blog recording by the artist and Amanda Crawley Jackson called Beton brut)
The ability of both these artist to have art works that spread roots through history and simultaneously come across as being so basic that it forms a part of Lebenswelt, the very ground of universality which anchors the roots of metaphysics, to be understood in equal ways by every member of the human race is according to me the true essence of their work.
Scale, texture and form, that is all to it, as wise old university stalwarts would put it, which according to me has more truth to it than the combined cacophony that we seem to have inherited from the circus that was post modernism and these two artists working independently in different circles and continents seem to echo just that. The simplicity of works is refreshing and it just looks very very sexy.

Friday, March 26, 2010


As much as I resist the idea of design of completely new cities in my posts here, here and here...I am curious to see how will these developments grow. Recently I had an opportunity to visit Lavasa one of the new city-like developments in India. The development is an hour away from Pune by road, which provides it a locational advantage to attract the critical mass of population required to trigger the first steps towards urbanization of these peri urban fringes.
Quite contrary to the Modernist cities that were designed in newly formed nation states after the second world war (Chandigarh, Brasilia) with their sense of socialist utopia, the new cities are private investments finding more ease dealing with environmental sustainability than social sustainability. In such a scenario where, the new processes of urbanization are reconfiguring the hierarchy between people through redistribution of natural resources specifically land and water based on property ownership, environmental sustainability becomes the only tool capable of assimilating the schizophrenia born out of the inherent contradictions between the desire of design and interest of enterprise.
How will the development achieve cultural diversity inspite of selective citizenship awarded based on ownerships? How will rights to the city be decided after complete occupancy is achieved? or what will be the 'social condensers' required in such cities? are some things that we will have to wait and watch.
Maybe over a period of time the informal may take over the concrete, the mud may soil the paved to blur the all encompassing designers' lines, maybe these new-single serving cities too may grow over their long multi-generational life to become something completely different...but for now they remain selective with regards to their citizenship and embedded with many maybes.