Wednesday, December 17, 2008

If life is an illusion it's a pretty painful one. (M.H.)

If I read fiction I prefer French authors for their philosophical references, wit and dash of misanthropy. Michel Houellebecq's work is my latest find. Started with The Possibility of an Island and got instantly hooked up. Michel Houellebecq sees world as it really is, the place where the blind leading the blind. It's hard not to agree with many of his observations expressed through his character's inner monologs. Like:
"Without beauty a girl is unhappy because she has missed her chance to be loved. People do not jeer at her, they are not cruel to her, but it is as if she were invisible, no eyes follow her as she walks. People feel uncomfortable when they are with her. They find it easier to ignore her. A girl who is exceptionally beautiful, on the other hand, who has something which too far surpasses the customary seductive freshness of adolescence, appears somehow unreal. Great beauty seems invariably to portend some tragic fate." (Michel Houellebecq, Les particules elémentaires)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Language of the Grain

Lately I enjoying finds of work by Japanese photographer Daidō Moriyama (森山大道). It's total opposite to slick look of today's digital look. The man can produce wonderful images of any place in the world he goes.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Japanese minimal architecture

While not much old and traditional buildings remains in Japanese cities, the new ones bears distinct Japanese passion for things small and compact. Some buildings are amazing manifestation creativity and engineering, but here are plenty simple dwellings of impressive smallnes.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Kisho Kurokawa's Nakagin Capsule Tower

Spent a day just to locate Kisho Kurokawa's Nakagin Capsule Tower in the Ginza area of Tokyo. Originally designed as a Capsule Hotel to provide economical housing for businessmen working or drinking late. The one-man-room capsule, a modified (4 x 2.5 meter) shipping container, has a circular window, a built-in bed and bathroom unit, and is complete with TV, radio and alarm clock. The capsule interior was pre-assembled in a factory then hoisted by crane and fastened to the concrete core shaft. Kurokawa's design theory was to replace the capsules when needed, but the building has not been maintained in 33 years which has caused drainage and water pipes to be damaged.
The international heritage protection group Docomomo, have unsuccessfully pleaded for the United Nations' heritage arm to protect this landmark building.