Spring is in the air! Literally! (I hurrayed this several weeks ago and got a heavy raining day followed.)
When I basically danced my way out of my flat to take a random walk, I stumbled upon these cutie fruity little things with lovely price tags. Apple, cherry, banana or pineapple, they will light up your mood while adding extra points to the fun and innocence of your whole look.
Orhan Pamuk wrote a long chapter in his book Istanbul to introduce us to a historical and interesting Encylopaedia of Istanbul, İstanbul Ansiklopedisi by Reşat Ekrem Koçu (1905–1975), a writer whose life was tied to the city.
This is a chapter of a book in the book. There are series of vintage photos and pages from the encyclopaedia. Apparently, Pamuk has been an admirer of Koçu’s work because of their mutual interest in the city’s every details of melancholy, and he turns out to being doing something very similar himself.
The descriptions and drawings in this chapter are so fascinating that it makes me wonder how many cities actually have their own encyclopaedia? And if I am to write one for my beloved city, what would I write? What kind of city is interesting enough to have its own encyclopaedia? Who would be qualified to write? Would anyone be interested?
Google search is not of much help in this case. I may raise this question to some experts in this area if I could be lucky enough to meet one in the future.
Pamuk does mention at the end of the chapter that some existing copies of the encyclopaedia ended up in book stands in the markets covered with dust, conveying perfect symbolic meaning for the history it represents.
Postmodernists have found their way to let the sparkle shine in anyway possible, of which photography, due to its nature of subscribing to the thing as it is, is less expected to achieve dramatical effects compared to other art forms. However, there are creative and whimsical works to defy this stereotype at the photography exhibition at V&A.
Signs of a Struggle: Photography in the Wake of Postmodernism possesses a postmodern approach towards the cognition of the exterior world.
Here are some outstanding works at the exhibition:
Jeff Wall is one of the most influential artists who experiment photography as film-making-or photographic tableaux . He sets staged scenes, has actors and actresses and then captures the moment of drama with the camera.
This photo is about the outburst of a factory manager to one of his workers. It leaves great space for the audience’s imagination.
Anne Hardy has done series of photography work by shooting carefully set scenes which seem to be vacated 5 minutes ago. The scenes could be parties, performances, carpenter studios, etc, which are usually unsettling and chaotic. They lead people to wonder what has been going on and ponder on the sense of desolateness.
Emerge from chaos
Calum Colvin has been working with a combination of Painting, Photography, Sculpture and Electronic Imaging, with a postmodern dramatic and innovative touch. This photo is an example of ingeniouly set 3D scene captured to show a planar image.
To take this photo, he set a scene at the junction of the wall and the floor, and he painted directly on to them to create a surprise for the viewers for whom the image appears to be emerging from chaos.
Have it ever occur to you that the criminal scenes, with their sense of secrets and mystery, could be one of the best objects for postmodern photography?
Clare Strand is a photographer who belongs to the everyday, yet “her images evoke the mesmeric, the talismanic and the unsolvable”. She is inspired by scientific and crime scene photos which serve as evidence.
This is a photo of a crime scene which sets a tone of creepy weirdness. The chair lying down contradicts with the scene and breaks the false calmness, which intrigues curiosity and imagination about what has happened here.
The main purpose, or the initial purpose of photography may be to document, however, the development of art and the burst of creativity have enhanced it to be much more.
Presented quietly at a gloomy isle in the V&A, Beatrix Potter’s Botanical Illustrations seem to be telling stories of childhood and country times.
Best-known for her work The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix shared a great passion of “copying flowers and plants” from life.
Those delicate yet simple illustrations make me nostalgic. They are like postcards from youth, when you spending the seemingly never-ending summer at a country house with your cousin and your grandma, idling around all day long doing nothing but collecting white roses from the garden every morning and carefully preserving them into dried flowers when they withered.
Orhan Pamuk said something like this in Istanbul: keeping thinking about the past or even beautifying it is one’s effort to deny the much less interesting present.
Maybe that’s true.
Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970-1990 at V&A is a informative and colourful collection of art, design and architecture.
What is postmodernism? For me, it is a mixture, and a brave and restless one. Just as Bruno Zevi commented in 1967, “Whoever decided to abandon modern movement ca choose between Versaille and Las Vegas,” the symbols of “high” classism and “low” popular culture, both of which coming with distinctive and exquisite beauty and diversity.
“Postmodernism is not a statement of mere humour or cynicism, but radically expansive and optimism.” It reflects the sincereness of the creator which makes me deeply moved by the passion and attitude behind the works. “Postmodernism aims to replace monolithic idiom with a plurality of competing ideas and styles,” which makes postmodernism really modern and chic.
After the utopian visions of modernism, postmodernism seems to have taken on a drastic departure. The beauty of it lies in its diversity. Be it fine art or pop culture, it embraces changes from all walks of life. The contribution made by a drag queen or a punk ballerina is no less than renowned artists or designers.
It doesn’t set limit to creation and innovation. It accepts both the relentless passion of youth and the sophisticated design of experience.
Postmodernism at V&A, with its magnificent collection of art works presented in various vivid forms, is worth going regardless of the profession. It proves to be a great inspiration to me, even though I have no systematical knowledge in this area.
BBC has got a beta homepage planning to go official in the near future. Obviously it is a significant change from the current homepage.
The new homepage is part of its ‘one service, ten products, four screens‘ strategy to work for the needs of different devices.
It comes with a more multi-media based sense which takes tablet users into consideration.
>The design of the page with horizontal scrollable features make it more convenient in terms of tablet usability, and fun, actually.
>The new page allows space for each story to have a feature image which makes it more attractive for the users in this age of “infotainment”.
>The ‘place and weather’ feature gives people a feeling of personalisation, which may lead to a sense of belonging.
However, there are also voices against this new product. Someone even left the comments like “it’s not for people with real intelligence”. Well, it is not fair to deny it an opportunity without giving time for feedbacks and improvements. However, there are issues of the new one compared to its long-established ex with a reputation.
>The customisation is a significant issue. Users have been experiencing troubles customising the page, i.e. to select specific contents that they are interested in, even the place and weather, instead of what the BBC picks up for them.
>While employing a multi-media sense, the new page actually delivers lesson headlines to its users compared to the current one which is informative and neat in design.
>Some people are suggesting to make the beta for tablets specifically which keep the current one for desktops. This may not be the solution because in that way it is difficult for the BBC to maintain a consistent image in terms of design and communication. Granted that the BBC is world-renowned, but still.
It has been a while since the beta page came out in the end of September, but the date for it to go official is still unknown. So there is time to make a difference by leaving feedbacks and maybe fight for your beloved homepage (if you are an enthusiastic about it) here.
Power of making in V&A is the most popular exhibition in town.
You may be used to the printer in your office, but have you seen or imagined a 3-D printer which literally creates products in 3-D? Or have you seen an exotic style coffin which takes more than two decades for the craftsman to make?
As part of the London Design Festival, the exhibition is one of the most crowded place in V&A. “Making is the most powerful way that we solve problems, express ideas and shape our world.” The exhibition is an illustration of exquisite makings from various areas of our life for all sorts of reasons inspired by different thoughts and things.
The power of making is the power of creation, of human being. It is the demonstration of intelligence. It is not necessarily about high-tech or ground-breaking innovation. It could be about the everyday life we are living. It could be as simple as customisation or personalisation, to adjust things so they would work better for you.
Wandering among all those carefully-made exhibits, I find myself immersed in all kinds of whims. The power of making is the attitude to life. To treat life seriously with passion and patience would lead to a happy mood.
During the exhibition, I become so focused on the details, astonished by the craftsmanship and the possibility of imagination. In this world with loud noises, the power of making makes everything peaceful. It is like you do not have to hurry. You can slow down and be patient about something you are passionate about, take your time and finish it with love.
It is a must-see exhibition.