Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

December 26, 2010

Vallejo Gallery

Has nothing to do with the renowned bodybuilder and chainmail bikini artist, but is rather a selling gallery of maritime art – including some surprising items like original Willem Van de Velde drawings and ivory models of Chinese “flower barges.” And this extraordinary picture of the 1696 Royal Yacht for William and Mary, with its bowsprit of a length that I didn’t think would become fashionable for about another 50 years.

Apparently the royal couple inherited 14 royal yachts when they came to the throne in 1688, but in February of 1693 it was decided to order a new principle yacht. The namesake WILLIAM & MARY Launched in Sept. 1694, a ketch-rigged beauty of 77 feet in length with a 22 foot beam. She mounted 8 3-pounders. With Mary’s passing at 32 just months later, William made numerous sailings back to his native Holland, until his passing in 1702. Their royal yacht would live on, repaired in 1737, 1746 and a major rebuild in 1765, enabling it to sail on until finally scrapped in 1801.

I was surprised at being affected by the bone ship models made by prisoners of war are. Boney was a warrior, I guess.

One day I must have a good look through their scrimshaw. But not today.

December 14, 2010

maps of the world by different data sets

I just wanted to remind myself somewhere that this exists: countries of the world made skinny or fat by their ranking on different data axes.

November 8, 2010

a bit of trouble with terms

From Pamela Robertson Wojcik’s rorotoko precis of her book, The Apartment Plot: Urban Living in American Film and Popular Culture, 1945 to 1975:

“This book is neither a history of apartments, nor about architecture. Instead, it is about urban fantasy, or what I call a philosophy of urbanism. It is about the apartment as an imagined space, and a genre. It is about the way in which representing the apartment, in film, novels, comic strips and more, functions as a way of imagining the urban, and of imagining identities as produced and shaped by the urban.”

Um… if that’s not architectural history then I’m in trouble. And so is everyone else taught by Medina Lasansky – or Beatriz Colomina, for that matter.

September 15, 2010

Photoblogging test

Can anyone identify this lock? Hint: it separates tony palatial Ile de France from suspect banlieu-ville.Napoleonic infrastructural survival

BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

September 10, 2010

the pishtaq in contemporary France

Kukeldash Madrasa, Tashkent

Timurid era.

gaukushan madrasa, Bukhara

Late Seljukid/Timurid era

Carrefour supermarket, Chartrettes

“late modern” era

July 19, 2010

David Byrne on Philip Johnson

Likhit just reminded me of my assertion that I do history, not art appreciation. I think I miss a lot that way. I think it might even be a blind spot of mine: an unwillingness to deal with the perspectives of individuals on their times.

Anyway, this is an interesting piece on  American modernist architectural prime mover Philip Johnson by that inkyo* of high popular culture, David Byrne. I’ll have more to say about it when I have more leisure to do so.

* it’s possible that this is a made up term – I ran across it in GURPS Japan and googling it reveals nothing useful – but it’s such a handy one that I’m propagating it anyway. It means one who retires from the office of Emperor in order to become even more powerful and authoritative. As a sage, living the simple life in his garden, the inkyo stands as an unquestionable purveyor of advice. As a semi-mythical fount of wisdom he can overturn even the Emperor’s decisions, but as someone who has withdrawn from the dirty business of running the Empire and the ritual business of being Emperor, he’s fundamentally not accountable. So he embodies both the established political authority and the potential for revolution. Which is a pretty sweet seat to occupy, even if it is unpaid.

July 2, 2010

the john hejduk archive

is here:
CCA has the whole thing: all his drawings (for “house of the suicide,” “house of the suicide’s mother” etc), models, articles. He’s one of the few name architects I’m really interested in.

June 30, 2010

London in the long 18th century online: London Lives

It’s the Old Bailey archive all over again: London Lives, 1690-1800. Keyword search page.

There are more than 200,000 pages of manuscript material from parish, criminal justice and hospital records, transcribed and marked up for searching.

Maritime Compass points out the maritime applications (and BTW check out their blogroll).

So. WHEN will someone do the same with the VOC archives? (Hint: sometime after the Infernal Snowsuit and Ski Gear Company’s IPO).

June 16, 2010

navy board models for current modelers

Architectural historians can generally count on occupying the position of holders of rather obscure but absolute hieratic authority within their field of study. Architects work as theurges, performatively shaping their universes, but for the most part not as theologians, guardians of esoteric knowledge and the traditions. It’s the architectural historians who guard the keys to their treasure cupboards of specialised language and wisdom. So they get to hold that Foucauldian power-knowledge close to their chests.

In maritime studies that position is divided between maritime historians (who have unquestioned authority over naval biography and record-keeping) and model boat builders. These last are the grognard wargamer technical conscience-bearers of shipbuilding history. Woe betide the earnest historian with his eye on the big, theoretical picture who trespasses on the Napoleonic battlefield, for there lurk in the redoubts platoons of men ready to cut him down for dressing his cuffs in the wrong stripe or carrying his musket wrongly. Those men yield grudging respect, though, to the boat builders, who truly know the mysteries of riders and trenails and chain wales. For in that world, there is no absolute authority, no book that’s better than fairly good and thorough, no item of knowledge that does not contain within it the seed of disgrace and shame, that cannot be trumped by another’s deeper understanding.

As an architectural historian doing ships, you can see that I’m a little worried about these guys.

So I’m glad to have found the Navy Board Models website. Which I hope may help me avoid the more egregious boners.

June 16, 2010

Mary Beard on the Canonisation of monuments

I missed this first time around: bldgblog interviewed Mary Beard, author of The Roman Triumph, back in 2007.

On editing the Wonders of the World series of books:

How much thought goes into choosing the actual sites?

Quite a lot. This started off by me wanting to write about the Parthenon… we want to range from the absolutely bog-standard, normative greatest hits that would be on anybody’s idea of a Wonder of the World, while, at the same time, we want to increase the range of those Wonders. There’s a trade off there, between not wanting to be boringly predictable, and, on the other hand, not wanting to be maverickly odd. …But I don’t know how far you can go down that line of being subversive. …One of the things that I’ve often said is: I wonder what happens if you do Auschwitz? Can you do sites of horror? Can you turn wonder around in that way? It would be hard to know how to do that in the series in a way that isn’t mawkish or that, in some way, makes the monument tawdry. It’s hard to know.

…I want these books to open up culture and history, as well as dissent about culture and history, through the contested life stories of individual monuments and wonders – real or imaginary. I think it’s about using a single object – a single monument, a single wonder – as a kind of window onto not just culture and history but also the controversies of culture and history.

Do you see the series going on to include non-European sites?

We have got the Forbidden City coming up, and the Taj Mahal, too – but there’s a striking lacuna… America, North or South… I’m also interested in natural wonders: the Grand Canyon is only made a natural wonder by cultural re-appropriation. Without that, it’s just a canyon.

…but, in the end, if all you did was invest in the margins, without re-looking – and I think it is a radical re-looking – at some of the things which seem more familiar, it would be a bit of a waste.

On choosing authors:

…I think the key is the kind of marriage you make between the writer and the monument – how you can make it work by getting the pairing right… it’s about being a kind of dating agency.

who the books are for. …I call them the intelligent ignorant.

Part 2