Thursday, July 29, 2010

Girl, I never loved one like you

While you were sitting in the backseat, smoking a cigarette you thought was gonna be your last, I was falling deep, deeply in love with you.

Spatial Design Patterns, and a little movie (that has grossed $160 million as of press time)

Things I will admit: I paid my $12 and saw Inception. I liked it. I annoyed my lady friend for the next two (2) dinner dates with theories and plot contrivances even though she hadn't seen it. And, as will be evidenced later in the post, I became interested in what architects were saying about it.
There are a few movies which catch me in such a state that the rest of the day is hardly livable while I pull my thoughts back into reality. In the last five years, I'd say (chronologically, as to when I saw them) The Virgin Suicides, Half Nelson, The Reader, Chinatown, and In A Lonely Place have each caused this breach between external reality and my perceptions of senses. (All for, of course, emotional reasons, except Chinatown, which may have been for moral reasons.) Inception gave me that feeling much earlier in the film, which was rare, perhaps immediately after the scene of "Paris overturned", and I was able to untangle myself from it before JGL's massive performance in the hotel hallway, which was probably the cinematographic zenith.

(courtesy Warner Bros.)

I can say with some assurance that what is architecturally outstanding in Inception is what will catapult it for the AMPAS as this year's benchmark in cinematography. But these are not identical praise. Architects are not  cinematographers. (vice versa.) What one understands to be beautiful in all films goes deeper than an image on a screen but the use of space, and with this film, Nolan's unique take on subconscious space. I was dazzled by "Paris overturned" and "JGL in rotating hotel", but it was an undefined appreciation. As I've said many times on this blog, despite a rampant overhaul in the medium my thoughts take (having shifted dramatically since March into being spatially and architecturally structured, as opposed to structured by language), I have no formal training in architectural studies, except for a single course on the philosophy of architecture. I was shocked by how the mind is immediately bent to change architectural structure in order to alter one's perceptions of reality. Granted, "Paris overturned" was the product of the mind of an architecture student, and were she a physical sciences student, an emphasis might have been placed on changing certain inalienable laws of physics or chemistry in relation to the human being and not the buildings. Yet it proves the affects of built space on an individual's familiarity with reality. And our familiarity, our feeble grip on "reality" is something that is far more persistent than the desire to create an ideal.

The last paragraph was seriously difficult to write as I found myself wanting to slip into more on the profession of architecture than its philosophies and treatises. As such, I will direct you to one of the more adequate reviews of Inception from this angle, as printed in Australian Design Review:

"[I]t turns out that the world of the real architect and the dream world of the movie architect are essentially the same: both resemble realms of fantasy and desire, but are really just elaborate traps, ingeniously designed to rob us of what we treasure most. This nexus between inspiration and reality brings to mind Calvino’s Zobeide. Designed by dreamers to capture the woman of their desires, to outsiders the city of Zobeide just resembles an ugly maze."

If you're as gross about this as I am:

Arch Daily


(And if aforementioned lady friend is reading this, even after the scores and scores of quips teetering very close to: 'It's not about Joseph Gordon-Levitt, it's about the way he makes you feel,' then I hope this has given some credence to my seemingly-irrational obsession with the biggest-budgetest blockbuster of the summer.)

Friday, July 23, 2010

st. pauls

the few times i've been near st. paul's, it's been either rainy or unbearably hot and sunny. that is to say, snow has never been falling. yet now, after seeing this, i will never be able to think about those hours there without imagining it as so:

blue snow, st. paul's, london

chalk farm

zach pretty much wrote this post. found the object, did the research. i just did a quick search for photos. credit where credit's due (except photo credits).

many indirect passages led me from a pack of matches in my apartment from Chalk Farm Road to the "derelict Thornaby Roundhouse", ahem:

That photo (remarkable wrt light, asymmetry, anthropomorphic use of locomotives) is from the days when such thing as "Thornaby Roundhouse" still existed (1984). It was finally, officially demolished three months before I was born, in March '88. It was a site where engines (diesel and steam) went not to die but to be repaired, until the building housing the repairs couldn't be repaired itself.

Thornaby, of course, isn't a part of London at all and was just a sidetrack from the original idea of Chalk Farm. (Strange and unusual, isn't it, that Zach and I would get distracted by something as silly as locomotives when researching something as dynamic as the evolution of a London neighborhood). For the record, here is googly maps' take on Thornaby's location, for the less-Britishized members of the reading audience:

View Larger Map

Chalk Farm itself has a decently interesting relationship to trains, namely those of the London Underground. Yet another reason I love the London Transport Museum (hay-oh, Covent Garden rep.):
Photo of the station before its opening in 1907. Sexy, ain't she?

Chalk Farm is on the Northern Line, north of St. Pancras on the "Edgware Branch" (I can safely assume that this means in the direction of Edgware). This is, of course, the line most closely associated with the Northern Heights Plan (see earlier blog post that I'm much too lazy to link to.)

The rest of Chalk Farm's history seems to be tied up in alternative music. There's a disastrous band from LA called Chalk FarM (sic) that I don't recommend anyone listen to, as well as a popular music venue, the Roundhouse, not to be confused with the good one for train maintenance in Northeastern England, where sometimes musical artists play.

The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced the history of modern (post-1900) England is really comprised of locomotives and alternative music. With a dash of Doctor Who (#JamesCorden).

As a brief aside, I'm trying not to go literary in my Clerkenunwell anymore. Or at least not so much. There's a lot of reasons for this. The main is just that those entries tend to be the most embarrassing for me, or at least boring. And there's no merit or rhythm to them. I suppose I write about authors when I'm reading them (Nabokov, then Koestler were heavy hitters), and I could tangentially relate just about anything to Kundera (Soviet-era Czech architecture is not as boring as one might assume), but this isn't a blog of book reviews or book excerpts. I don't have the time or energy to do great authors justice they deserve. To say "here are excerpts from the Real Life of SK, and also pictures of my trip to Oxford" is just so masturbatory and egomaniacal. It's deranged. Possibly monomaniacal. The worst of the worst of the worst. And exactly what the great authors didn't want to see their books end up as. I will instead read them quietly and smoke on the veranda, my thoughts, as always, the only/best companion. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

i listened to the blower's daughter today

"I'm not mistaking this for love or anything beautiful. The more I think about it, the more I'm repulsed by it really. I love him but I will not allow myself to love him because he's obviously going to leave me."

This quote reminds me of the scene in Closer where Dan (as Anna) asks Larry what he wanks to, and he says ex-girlfriends. 

DDW: hey big larry, what d'you wank about?
DOC9: exgirlfriends
DDW: not current?
DOC9: never

And then that just leads me to Jane's "I'm waiting for you to leave me." 

so, to pay my respects (how hasn't this become iconic yet?)

my toe still hasn't healed

i've cut out every reminder, except for a toe which still spurts blood every time i bump it against a flat surface. An excerpt from the forthcoming, "Stalwart Blasts":

She would sit silently on the kitchen chairs as he finished his morning activities, cleaning off by wet towel or full shower, eventually coming to inspect her latest wound. "I bumped the side of my face against a pillar," she would say, or, "My shoe slipped, and I stubbed my toe." Such explanations could never account for the impossible amounts of blood, or the palette of her skin - swirling blues, yellows, and reds in a horrific cacophony of primary colors. He would dab her exposed skin gently with water from the sink, the water not fit to drink, and she would ask for a glass of wine.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

ain't nothing pleases me more than you

Moats and boats and waterfalls

Alley-ways and pay phone calls

I've been everywhere with you.

Friday, July 9, 2010

pictures that never got posted; should have been

computer dump.

to paraphrase the photos, the following two quotes, at different periods, both attributable to Arthur Koestler:

A publisher who writes is like a cow in a milk bar. 
Nothing is more sad than the death of an illusion. 

your grace is wasted in your face

learn from your mother or else spend your days biting your own neck

who's that lady?

business lady.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

i will follow you with my whole life.

 i read enough czech poesy to get me through the night. in all this i mean to say: i'll be just fine.

Friday, July 2, 2010

“I see nothing in space as promising as the view from a Ferris wheel.”

The owner of the Fantasy Park committed suicide by hanging himself on the Ferris Wheel. 

Yet I still found a miraculous parking spot on the Midway Plaisance this morning. (It's the little things - like listening to NPR and drinking coffee from a mug.)