Jul 28, 2014
an old pumping station still in the process of being converted into a home. upstairs, a temporary yurt surrounded by crayon drawings illustrating various functions of elimination. a kitchen garden provided lemon mint for the drinks. by the time i arrived, all the cooking had been done. the day before, they had smoked a lamb shoulder then cooked it overnight in a crock pot, finally flinging it on a blazing charcoal fire. a vast tray of pork had also been pulled to shreds by an assortment of naked and partly clad children. when the irish terrier arrived, the chickens went back behind their electric fence.
Jul 22, 2014
Jul 19, 2014
Jul 12, 2014
Jul 4, 2014
Jul 1, 2014
many of bridget riley's stripe paintings are currently on show at david zwirner. riley directed the installation of the entire gallery space and this is the first time i have seen her paintings installed in a way that gives the viewer enough space to see them correctly. the lighting, some of which is natural, is mostly excellent. her work is often interpreted as being about creating optical illusions because it is apparently mechanical and banally decorative—in fact, it is distinctive, thought-provoking, and manually intensive. to produce something by hand is to be exposed to the minor modulations and irregularities that characterise hand work (and which are usually absent from work executed entirely by machine)—a topic on which david pye was eloquent and penetrating. producing work whose effect on the viewer is almost entirely dependent on the perfect execution of precise spacings is one thing. combining that apparent mechanical precision with the liveliness and particularity of manual application is another.
at david zwirner in london, until july 25.
Jun 17, 2014
Jun 16, 2014
May 28, 2014
Apr 26, 2014
above street level in the 12th arrondissement, the promenade plantée runs for 4.7 kilometres along the disused track of the vincennes railway from the bastille to the bois de vincennes. it has done this since 1993, when it first opened to the public. workmanlike benches abound, under arbours of rose and ivy, between stands of peony and under the canopies of surprisingly large trees. where stairs descend to the street, sometimes there are quiet intermediary squares of open space filled with geometric arrangements of shade plantings. some people sit and read. other people are carrying their shopping. there are very few people with big cameras. there are regrettably few dogs. in the jardin de reuilly, above which the promenade vaults, there is a pick-up rugby game, a swarm of kindergarteners playing ghost, sunbathers, snoozing folk of all ages, and a water-pipe party. this is not the high line format of urban linear park, but it is just as good.
Apr 19, 2014
Apr 7, 2014
Apr 3, 2014
To sit in the sun and read Columella on how to plant a thorn hedge is a pleasure I had to teach myself. No, I was teaching myself something else, and the thorn hedge came, wisely, to take its place. They're longer lasting than stone walls and have an ecology all their own. Birds nest in them and snails use them for a world. Hedgehogs, rabbits, snakes, spiders. Brier rose, dog thorn. There are some in England still standing from Roman times.
"the hunter gracchus," guy davenport
Apr 1, 2014
on two visits, we met two different halves of the cøffee lab and shop on passatge sert in barcelona. but we only found this out by accident.
the first time we visited, jordi mestre, owner of nomad coffee productions made us a v60 out of a prototype roast of colombian beans from la esperanza—the profile was light as is the mode these days, but sweet too, with red fruit. on our second visit, kim ossenblok made us a chemex from kochere roasted by nomad (intense blueberry, as is sometimes the case). as he poured, one of us asked if he was a partner in nomad. of course not. turns out, kim runs a cupping and training studio. in the same space, during only partly overlapping hours, nomad roasters also has a retail space and coffeeshop. kim tells us it is "like a coffee coworking space," but it isn't really coworking.
we don't have a good word or phrase yet to describe an arrangement in which multiple businesses occupy the same space at different times of the day or week (or even the year). so i'm going to coin one: let's call them stacked spaces. kim says, "it is a good way to have a physical space to work. for me, a space to teach about coffee. for jordi [from nomad], a place to show his coffee. it's not always easy to find people you can share a space with, but we are lucky. it works. i have what i need, jordi has what he needs. the cafe doesn't even have to be so profitable because we've all got something else going on ... it is more efficient to use the space this way."
stacked spaces reduce rental cost and operational risk for the businesses that occupy them. many east asian and south-east asian cities have acquired stacked spaces purely out of a combination of laissez-faire regulation, high rents, and dense population—and in cities like singapore or tokyo, stacked spaces contribute to urban vitality and adaptability. similar patterns are now emerging in manhattan, london, and paris, mostly in the interstitial spaces that are not carefully managed or regulated in conventional ways. this is the shape of one type of urban innovation.
it is fair to say that city planners, city governments, large property developers, and property managers are not yet in on this game—but they should be.
Mar 24, 2014
tall and wide glass works, by james turrell, at pace london. worthwhile, though the effect was slightly diminished in the wide glass in the rightmost lower gallery by perceptible discontinuity in the colour shifting and sloppy finishing in the aperture edge.
Mar 15, 2014
Everything, Jos was saying to Pascal, Sebastian, and Franklin, can be done well. The art of eating an orange, watch. We want all the juice, jo? The long blade of your pocketknife, whetted truly sharp, with which we make a triangle of three neat jabs in the navel of this big golden orange picked by a Spanish girl with one breast jundying the other. Lift out the tetrahedral plug so sculpted. Suck. Mash carefully and suck again. Now we slice the orange into quarters, sawing sweetly with the blade, so there's no bleeding of juice. Like so, O puppy tails. One for each of us. Nibble and pull: a mouthful of tangy cool fleshy toothsome orange. And Sebastian has squirted his all down his jammies, the world being as yet imperfect. Eat a bit of the peel along with the pulp: not as great as tangerine peel, as preferred by God and several of the archangels, but still one of the best tastes in the world. Seeds and the stringier gristle into the trash basket. Swallow the seeds and they'll grow an orange tree out of your ear. People who don't know how to eat an orange, like people who don't have the patience and cunning to pick all the meat out of a walnut, who don't eat peaches and apples skin and all, do not have immortal souls.
guy davenport, "wo es war, soll ich werden," in the death of picasso
In the morning, in the soft sultry chamber, sit in the window peeling tangerines, three or four. Peel them gently; do not bruise them, as you watch soldiers pour past and past the corner and over the canal to the watched Rhine. Separate each plump little pregnant crescent. If you find the Kiss, the secret section, save it for Al.
Listen to the chambermaid thumping up the pillows, and murmur encouragement to her thick Alsatian tales of l'interieur. That is Paris, the interior, Paris or anywhere west of Strasbourg or maybe the Vosges. While she mutters of seduction and French bicyclists who ride more than wheels, tear delicately from the soft pile of sections each velvet string. You know those white pulpy strings that hold tangerines into their skins? Tear them off. Be careful.
Take yesterday's paper (when we were in Strasbourg L'Ami du Peuple was best, because when it got hot the ink stayed on it) and spread it on top of the radiator. The maid has gone, of course—it might be hard to ignore her belligerent Alsatian glare of astonishment.
After you have put the pieces of tangerine on the paper on the hot radiator, it is best to forget about them. Al comes home, you go to a long noon dinner in the brown dining room, afterwards maybe you have a little nip of quetsch from the bottle on the armoire. Finally he goes. Of course you are sorry, but—
On the radiator the sections of tangerine have grown even plumper, hot and full. You carry them to the window, pull it open, and leave them for a few minutes on the packed snow of the sill. They are ready.
All afternoon you can sit, then, looking down on the corner. Afternoon papers are delivered to the kiosk. Children come home from school just as three lovely whores mince smartly into the pension's chic tearoom. A basketful of Dutch tulips stations itself by the tram-stop, ready to tempt tired clerks at six o'clock. Finally the soldiers stump back from the Rhine. It is dark.
The sections of tangerine are gone, and I cannot tell you why they are so magical. Perhaps it is that little shell, thin as one layer of enamel on a Chinese bowl, that crackles so tinily, so ultimately under your teeth. Or the rush of cold pulp just after it. Or the perfume. I cannot tell.
m.f.k. fisher, "borderland" in serve it forth.
In other times, at least two overwhelming invasions of the Italian peninsula were inspired by the visions of paradise that oranges engendered in northern minds. Oranges were once the fruit of the gods, to whom they were the golden apples of the Hesperides, which were stolen by Hercules. Then, in successive declensions, oranges became the fruit of emperors and kings, of the upper prelacy, of the aristocracy, and, by the eighteenth century, of the rich bourgeoisie. Another hundred years went by before they came within reach of the middle classes, and not until early in this century did they at last become a fruit of the community.
john mcphee, oranges.
Mar 10, 2014
I have come back to the couch—
hands behind my head,
legs crossed at the ankles—
To resume my lifelong study
of the ceiling and its river-like crack,
its memory of a water stain,
The touch of civilization
in the rounded steps of the molding,
and the lick of time in the flaking plaster.
To move would only ruffle
the calm surface of the morning,
and disturb shadows of leaves in the windows.
And to throw open a door
would startle the fish in the pond,
maybe frighten a few birds from a hedge.
Better to stay here,
to occupy the still room of thought,
to listen to the dog breathing on the floor,
better to count my lucky coins,
or redesign my family coat of arms—
remove the plow and hive, shoo away the bee.