Sunday, 30 March 2014

Sensing Spaces: Architecture Reimagined at Royal Academy of Arts

Li Xiaodong

Diébédo Francis Kéré

Pezo Von Ellrichshausen

I was excited about this one but was actually a bit disappointed. It was interesting, feeling the change in space according to different light and different materials. And it was fun...I liked creeping through Diébédo Francis Kéré's tunnel, interactively decorated by the public with colourful cables and I liked climbing Pezo Von Ellrichshausen's spiral staircases and getting a good look at the ceiling. Best of all I liked wandering through Li Xiaodong's neat wooden stick lined darkened corridors on a sunlight through trees lightbox floor to a gravel garden. It felt safe and peaceful even though it was filled with people! That was lovely.

Overall though, I felt the entrance fee was overpriced. I didn't spend terribly long in there and I guess it didn't click with me. I could see how the different spaces had different effects...relaxed/lively/respectful but I'd have enjoyed exploring a list of actual places better and it would've cost less. There isn't much information either, so that you can draw your own conclusions. I think a bit more info wouldn't have gone amiss. Maybe more about how architecture can affect people and more on potential for the future.

For me, lots of daylight is essential. I can live in a teeny tiny flat as long as its filled with sunshine. One reason I've been unhappy with my current flat despite its glorious size is that it's really quite dark. I also feel safer in smaller spaces, more cosy and less exposed.

However this exhibition reminds me that I previously saw a Mariko Mori exhibition at the RA which I loved.

She created a space that felt incredibly spiritual and I could have spent hours gazing at this glowing monolith and gradually changing light. I'll look it up and post it. I know that wasn't architecture but it was amazing.


The Mariko Mori work I loved is called Tom Na H-Iu and it's connected to a facility that measures particles released by the deaths of stars and this is what controls the ever changing colours and lights. It feels both ancient and futuristic and incredibly peaceful. It made me contemplate life, death and the vastness of the universe, all these stars constantly dying and people dying and who knows if it means anything or what will happen? I found it so beautiful that I could feel so small and peaceful even amongst all the other visitors.


Saturday, 29 March 2014

Prince of the Pagodas - Coliseum

I hadn't heard of this ballet before but was hooked in by the striking stripy salamander costume.

The story is only ok. Evil step mum takes charge, prince 'dies' but has actually been turned into a salamander and banished. Evil step mum tries to force princess to marry against her will. Salamander comes to the rescue - princess and salamander travel to pagoda land via the elements (air, water, fire, earth). Salamander tells his story. Princess realises he is her brother and they go home to defeat evil step mum.

Visually though it was so gorgeous. Beautiful dancing. Striking sets and costumes.
The elements were my favourite, particularly air and water. Japanese demons. Seahorses. Giant lush flowers.

I also loved the end, where all is joyful. The people are dressed in pastel blues and pinks and the royalty in bright orange. Mmmm colour combination and dances with umbrellas.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Happie Loves It

I don't do much clothes shopping because I'd rather spend my money at museums and restaurants but I wandered in to Happie Loves It in Covent Garden a couple of weeks ago and it's lovely. Not my price range at over £100 for a dress but I'd consider saving for one of these two...I probably won't but I do really like them....


Sunday, 23 March 2014

Talk - Creating meat with stem cell technology - Kings College London - 13th March

When news came out last year that a real burger had been made in a lab using stem cell technology I was immensely excited. As I've mentioned before, I care deeply about both animal farming practices and the environment, which could both be affected for the better by this research. 

It is extremely unlikely that people will just stop eating meat (it is DELICIOUS - I may be heading towards vegetarianism but I'm not ready yet - it's a struggle to even only eat free range meat, damn my love for greasy spoon fry ups and cheap fried chicken! I think I manage it 90% of the time though!)

Animals for meat require a lot of land, which could instead be used to grow food - grains, vegetables etc that could feed many more people than can be fed by meat produced on the same amount of land. Plus the huge amount of methane produced by cows, adding to the problem of global warming problem. And farming practices can be awful, causing unnecessary pain and suffering to the animals we eat to make it cheaper and use less space. As the population ever increases, the problems also increase.

So when I saw that Professor Mark Post of Maastricht University (whose team is behind this research and the burger) was giving a talk at KCL, I had to go. 

And I found it very interesting and informative. Prof Post explained the reasons behind the research (see above - environment/animal welfare) before explaining how the burger was created. This made sense to me at the time but I wasn't making notes so cannot now remember the how, but moving on, they are now working on perfecting the taste/texture of the burger, increasing the efficiency of production/sustainability and lowering the cost! Also - creating a steak is on the agenda. They think that in 7-10 years these burgers could be in shops, though this sounds rather overly optimistic to me considering the cost for the burger last year was something like £220,000!!

I do hope this research succeeds in creating affordable, ethical meat on a mass market scale though. How amazing!


BBC news - World's first lab grown burger
KCL - Creating meat with stem cell technology
Evening Standard article - image taken from this page
Scientific American - Meat/Environment
Wiki - Meat/Environment
Compassion in World Farming

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Kew Gardens

Had the loveliest day at Kew a couple of weeks ago with my parents. Such a nice park its worth the 2 hour journey to get there! And I still haven't seen it all.

Love the galleries there too. One is the Marianne North Gallery and exhibits the work of Marianne North, an adventurous lady who travelled the world and painted the natural world. So epic.

There's a gallery that exhibits botanical drawings/paintings too. Particularly liked the work of Regine Hagedorn. This is her painting of Mermaid Rose Stamens:

There are also some fun giant woven sculptures of different types of mushrooms by Tom Hare :)

Saw so many inspiring plants this visit. Made me want to draw. It's been so long I'm not sure I can draw anymore! I need to practise!

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Károly Reich

Stumbled across this Hungarian illustrator while in Budapest this week and love the innocence of these drawings. So simple and sweet and fantastic.