I like going to art fairs. Even though a future in which I can waltz through such an event with a chequebook and pick up original art for the walls of my perfectly decorated lodgings will probably remain a fiction, it is a fantasy that I like indulging in. And sometimes I do end up buying a print, and I never regretted it. Here are some of my favourite artists from this years Artist Project Toronto.
By reducing the resolution of his photographs of Toronto high-rises, McLean created a series of abstract images. The strict geometry of pixels meets that of the glass facades, while only slight variations in colour hint to the reflections of other buildings. Some look like Sim City blow-outs, others verge on the abstract. Simple, yet clever.
From the streets of Toronto to the realm of Canada’s singing astronaut Chris Hadfield, who reportedly owns some of Malvada’s otherworldly creations. Her acrylic planetary bodies straddle the borders between hyperrealism and the blurriness of imagination. Also, they would make a great cover for the next La Planète Bleue album.
My friend Xavier sent me the coolest belated Christmas gift ever, a tablecloth printed with the beautiful 1:50,000 swisstopo map of Western Switzerland. He used a service called Spoonflower to custom-print the fabric. Of course I immediately started thinking of all the cool things I could do, notably a wallpaper with contour lines, e.g. of the Niagara escarpement…
This is our 4th winter in Toronto and so far it’s been much milder than the previous years. It snowed again last night, but nothing like the snows of yesteryear.
Keepalive is a piratebox hidden in a boulder in northern Germany. Lighting a fire on its side with generate enough power to bring the server to life and share PDF survival guides over WiFi. I just hope there is a USB port on the boulder to power up the lost wanderers’ devices (and that they remembered how to start a fire without needing a survival guide)…
While I keep working on the draft of my first actual blog posts, let’s see if I can also use this space to keep track of what I recently enjoyed reading:
The Tale of Two Modernist Libraries (Architect Magazine, Dec. 16, 2015) on the ongoing transformation of Philip Johnson’s Boston Public Library and Mies van der Rohe’s MLK library in Washington DC. Not convinced about the metal cladding on the BPL building. Mecanoo’s intervention on MLK looks better, although losing that midcentury lobby will be a shame (somebody save those chairs!). They’re repeating the rooftop garden trick that seemed to have worked well in Birmingham, why not, although the rounded curves of the roof extension are out of character in a Mies building.
The End of the Dark Ages of Podcasting. Just because everyone knows about Serial (whose second season is kind of disappointing I must say) doesn’t mean podcasts are mainstream yet, at least not until discovery has been improved.
This week, I also learned that most of American English spelling can be traced to Noah Webster. He axed the extra u’s in colour and neighbour, changed offence to offense and cheque to businesslike check. He’s the one who insisted the letter “z” be pronounced “zee” instead of “zed” (he also wanted “y” to be called “yi” and “w” to become “we”). All this, and much more, from the first chapter of Mary Norris‘ Between You & Me, which is a true delight to read1.