Monday, 27 June 2011

Metatron's Cube

When I first saw this image by Michael Paukner I though it was an art print based on Central Place Theory. Turns out it is Metatron's Cube, something of a sacred geometry behind the Giant's Causeway and other naturally occurring phenomena. For the record, Central Place Theory looks like this ...

Salford Lads Club

Remembering a classic shot by Stephen Wright from the inside of "The Queen is Dead". Nothing new about this except that I've just discovered the shot is now part of the National Portrait Gallery ... the 3rd most iconic location in the country by popular vote and listed by English Heritage [love to look at the listing in detail to find out how important The Smiths were in making it happen].

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Yellow Shutters

A simple floor plan of three different house types on each storey have been combined with one of the most elegant facades that I have seen for a long time. Always nice when it gets built and it looks like the initial drawings. Cost effect and cleaver use of colour to establish a strong identity. More on the development at 2+1 officina architettura.

Visualising Sustainability

A range of different definitions of sustainability that have attracted our attention .... visualising sustainability using a couple of Venn diagrams through to retro ethical diagrams pretending to simplify the world system in one page ... worth an exploration to reassure you there is nothing new under the sun ...

Virtual Band

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Creative Stuff

The purpose of a small debate held at CultureLab OnSite last week was to rethink the approach to public art - commissioning, curating and producing.

One of the ways the discussion responded was in highlighting distinctions between 'art' and 'public art' and the underlying key performance indicators [KPIs]. Thinking about KPIs for art forces us to think about the type of output and outcomes that are required as part of a public art project. On reflection, this idea actually translated well into the work of the individual artists and the work put into the initial brief and commission. So, the key idea was that [1] public art commissions have a different starting point from 'art' in that they are driven by outputs and outcomes that are in some manner 'measurable'.

At a basic level, public art has to have some measurables, be it the number of visits to museums or the percentage of people enlightened by the work or the percentage improvement on levels of visual conginance - whatever the sense of the measure, ther always seems to have to be a measure in order to justisify the investment of time, money and resources. We have to be able to audit the investment put into public art and provide some justification. There were some concerns that actually ignoring this point and lacking empirical [for this 'economic'] justification for the arts is one of the reasons behind the current level of cuts. Any suggestions for national indicators for the arts would be useful - one recent write up suggested the most common web searches, that results in Banksy being the most popular artist in the world. Or what about the resale value value of the work - a case for Hirst?

Given this starting point, the next question was [2] how do we do more with less? And in so doing, help to justify investment in the arts. One of the reasons behind the recent collaboration between the local authority and the University, was exactly addressing this - how do we make more of what we have within the existing public art collection within the city and get more people involved? Having a target group in mind was a strong starting point, with students apprecipating the requirement to undertake background market research with their choice of 'public' to ensure what they are proposing is about public outputs rather than the personal outcomes that every artist has.

Enlightened self-interest in building a body of work within public art should always require a different method of working that is centered around the target audience. One of the key observations on the above distinction, was that the medium is not the message. Those artists who focus on a media, in many of these projects it was about the technology, tended to miss the target group and outcomes.

The next area explored was [3] how the creative element, the ideas, fitted into public art commissions? An equation emerged suggesting that "Public Art = Idea + audience + funding" - or put another way, "Public Art = Creativity + market research + business plan". In both of these thoughts, public art does appear to more than just art within a public location. It has at heart, a different audience in mind. Whether individual works actually hit their target audience is actually an experiment in market testing. But at least the public audience are always clear within the brief.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011


So, this new photo rendering package fakes a tilt shift lens and claims to make your images look like models. My first go with an image of the new pedestrian scheme in Northumberland Road, Newcastle looks very impressive [as a first go] ... all very interesting but go me thinking if tilt shifting your models would make them look even more like a model?