(Im)possible Chicago #19
At night when you're out driving, you can tell which neighborhood you're in by the light of the streetlamps, because each ward basks in its own different hue. For instance, if the streets are all aglow in azurite, you're definitely joy riding around Marquette Park.
Zoning codes require that windows are tinted according to the neighborhood's chromatic identity, so no matter how the interiors are lighted, houses, skyscrapers and 7-Elevens do not give off wayward wavelengths.
Even your car lights beam out the same color. But when you cross over into another ward, they instantaneously switch filter to match that ward's assigned spectrum.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
For Lift11, an urban installations festival being held this summer in Tallinn, Estonia, architects Siiri Vallner and Indrek Peil chose a “weathered and deformed” pier as the site for their temporary intervention.
There, they covered up some of the upturned concrete slabs with terrace boards on which one can sit and relax.
“This way,” as the project statement explains, “a derelict and crumbling object can be revived as part of the modern city space, opening up the seaside area of Tallinn for local people and for visitors.”
We would love to see the rough edges of the pier similarly boarded up in its entirety, though with some modulation on the surface like Vicente Guallart's microcoasts.
Monday, August 22, 2011
This is one of the more interesting photos we've come across in recent weeks. It shows South Korean soldiers searching for North Korean landmines that may have been dislodged from the Korean Demilitarized Zone by last month's devastating floods and landslides. This is a familiar drill, as heavy rains often carry mines across the border. In fact, dozens of them washed up in South Korea last year, killing one and injuring another.
What we like about the photo is that it runs counter to our mental picture of a DMZ that's sharply defined by clipped vegetation, chain-link fences and concrete barriers. Instead, it conjures up an image of a no-man's-land pulsating on the margins. During periods of geologic and hydrological excess, it expands and bulges, then contract when soldiers have comb through the hazardous aggregate of earth and explosives with their metal detectors. You see a crisp line on the map, but it actually sprouts invisible, lobate foliation.
Of course, this variable terrain can be easily and visibly delineated with our post-natural version of Vaux-le-Vicomte's gardens.
That decorative workhorse of gardens since time immemorial — the water feature, pond scum included — gets a makeover in the Algaegarden, one of the new additions at this year's International Garden Festival at Les Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens, Quebec.
In the installation, an art/science/landscape collaboration between Synnøve Fredericks, Brenda Parker and Heather Ring, several different species of algae course through “curtains of tubes hanging from steel frames.” For the moment, the soupy mixture of nutrients and pointillist vegetation looks rather pallid, but the collaborators hope the algae will thrive and their colors grow bolder, like any foliage chromatically mutating through the seasons: reds becoming more vibrant, greens more lush, and blues turning bathypelagic.
“The algae, often considered a nuisance in the garden pond, here become an object of secret beauty and curiosity,” the avant-gardeners explain. “The garden leads the visitor to appreciate algae both as an alternative to oil and other energy sources and a source of food and nutrition.”
It's a technolicious pergola (or is it an archetypal labyrinth? an espaliered cyborg-plant?) providing a cool respite from our post-millennial angst over peak oil and peak food.
Monday, August 01, 2011
We've posted Hal Ingberg's marvelous pavilion, Réflexions colorées, at least a couple times before, and we're doing it again to alert our readers that Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens' annual festival of avant-gardening in Quebec is well under way.
As described by the artist, this “semi-reflective equilateral triangle (20 x 20 x 20 ft) provides an intimate, courtyard-like enclosure that both frames and intensifies the perception of the forest. Within the enclosure, the colour of the glass establishes a sense of spatial definition, while its semi-reflective surface creates surprising perceptual readings that change with the conditions of light and the visitor’s position towards trees and angles at which glass corners meet. From the outside, the installation is physically understood, but its receptor quality transforms it into an enigmatic object.”
The festival runs through 2 October 2011.