Archive for May, 2010

May 25, 2010

architecture, art

This is a fantastically interesting article about the Barnes gallery in Philadelphia, which is apparently being picked apart and its pedigreed works rehoused. I never visited it and I’m kicking myself now, because the gallery sounds like a really interesting gesamtwerk – an arrangement of artworks that was itself an artwork, and that has now been destroyed.

Or, at least, I consider pages 3 and 10-12 to be a fascinating story of conflicts between personal vision and public access, of stewardship and the ownership of original intentions and the fragility of both the gesamtwerk and the architectural experience as forms of communication. Most of the rest is ecstatic ekphrasis, which I don’t personally need. Pages 13-14, which come to the point of the philippic – that museums no longer contribute to the values that built them – are also provocative and might point to fundamental truths about public life, but I’m not going to comment on them today.

There’s a lot of places I could go from here. I could explain why I prefer to study architectural (or art) history as a subdiscipline of history, rather than as an aspect of art appreciation. I could discuss the changing nature of the museum and what I think it means, or I could write in a personal way about gesamtwerks and weltanschauung and philosophers’ gardens or rocks. But I think I’d better restrict myself to a small point, that if you’re building something unique, which you intend to stand for the ages, then you’d better be careful about the help you accept. Because the lesson I take away from all this is the Maussian one about the poison in the gift: the day Barnes accepted public money he lost the ownership of his artwork. He handed the keys – figuratively at the time, literally later, to whoever might come along in the skin of The Public Interest. And the irony is that he knew exactly what would happen – that if his work was to survive it would have to be protected from the public – but he had no method for handling succession, to the next proper gardener of his sacred grove.

May 24, 2010

Norwegian Epic – cruise ship with “curved architecture”

from ship technology:

…staterooms with curved architecture and open living spaces, along with innovative bathrooms and balconies.

…The Epic features the biggest ship-within-a-ship suite complex at sea, comprising 60 suites and villas on two private decks. Guests staying in these suites will have access to the courtyard villa complex, which contains a private pool, two whirlpools, saunas, sun deck, fitness facility, private indoor/outdoor dining, bar and a concierge lounge. …an Aqua Park with three multi-story water slides, two main pools, five hot tubs, a wading pool and a kid’s pool featuring water sprays and a slide. The park also has the Epic Plunge, a thrilling drop through a 200ft-long tube.

Cirque and Blue Man Group of course round out the entertainment options.

Update: Photos of the actual ship

May 24, 2010

Maritime Day (22 May)

How often does one’s PhD topic get a national day of recognition (although not holiday, alas) devoted to it?

President Obama brings us the following message for Maritime Day 2010:

Even before our Nation declared independence, our forebears recognized the importance of merchant ships and seafarers to our economic and national security. Since 1775, America’s maritime fleet has risen to the challenges before them and worked to meet our country’s needs in times of peace and war alike. On National Maritime Day, we recognize the men and women of the United States Merchant Marine for their contributions to America’s leadership in the global marketplace, and to our security.

Civilian mariners and their ships have played an important role in equipping our military forces at sea in national conflicts. During World War II, they executed the largest sealift the world had ever known, and thousands gave their lives to help convoys with desperately needed supplies reach our troops. Their service to our Nation continues today. Merchant mariners support military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as humanitarian missions, including the delivery of supplies to Haiti following this year’s devastating earthquake.

The United States Merchant Marine also shepherds the safe passage of American goods. They carry our exports to customers around the world and support the flow of domestic commerce on our maritime highways. They help strengthen our Nation’s economy; bolster job creating businesses; and, along with the transportation industry, employ Americans on ships and tugs, and in ports and shipyards. Today, we pay tribute to the United States Merchant Marine, and we honor all those whose tireless work is laying a foundation for growth, prosperity, and leadership in the 21st century.

The Congress, by a joint resolution approved May 20, 1933, has designated May 22 of each year as “National Maritime Day,” and has authorized and requested the President to issue annually a proclamation calling for its appropriate observance.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 22, 2010, as National Maritime Day. I call upon the people of the United States to mark this observance with appropriate activities, and I encourage all ships sailing under the American flag to dress ship on that day.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.


May 21, 2010

get from library

“The Health Care Organization of the Dutch East India Company at Home”
BRUIJN Soc Hist Med.1994; 7: 359-381 > Olin R131.A1 S65

Shipwrecks : an encyclopedia of the world’s worst disasters at sea / David Ritchie, 1996.
Olin +VK1250 .R57x 1996 +

Pirates, Jack Tar, and memory : new directions in American maritime history / eds P. A. Gilje, W. Pencak.
for the article by Amy Mitchell-Cook: Olin E182 .G554 2007

May 21, 2010

conferences/organisations/publications of immediate and pressing interest

21st International Congress of Historical Sciences, 22-28 August, Amsterdam.

International Commission for Maritime History. (contact thru merseyside maritime museum, )

the northern mariner.

May 21, 2010

vital VOC links

The TANAP links page keeps getting better: check it every 6 months.

The first charter of the VOC in English translation.

The “Chain of Command” for VOC warfare in the 1650s and 1660s

an article on health care organisation in the VOC

Shipwrecks, an encyclopedia of the world’s worst disasters at sea.

General Portuguese and Dutch colonial history.

Virtual Batavia – not as exciting as it sounds, but also a useful linkdump for documents, such as:

Anna Abrahamsz: Journaal eener Oostindiesche Reis (an 1847 journey aboard the Urania)

Andries Stokram Korte beschryvinge van de ongeluckige weer-om-reys van het schip Aernhem (1661 wreck)

…and apropos of nothing and completely unrelated, Thomas Potter Cooke, Nautical Actor.

May 10, 2010

Simon Stevin

on the art of war (camp building) – from digital library full text of Stevin’s major works. Slow but searchable.

De Huysbou‘ A reconstruction of an unfinished treatise on architecture, town planning and civil engineering by Simon Stevin

May 10, 2010

ship paintings – partly sourced pictures of wooden ships in all European traditions. Links to big images – search by artist, genre. Peeters (linked) has several storm pictures.

NMM collections – exhibitions are worth going through, as well as “search by type.” See esp. van de Velde drawings,

May 6, 2010

Gevelsteen for the Nijenburg (-org)

Jacob Ketel’s house commemorated with a gevelsteen. And a website.

also: trompe l’oeil gevelsteen on a ladies’ guesthouse.

What’s a gevelsteen?

May 6, 2010

Bontekoe’s Journal as a Dutch Audiobook

right here. I hardly ever listen to Dutch, I mostly just read it. This could be mighty handy. Although maybe not best for keeping me awake on the road.