just like fireworks

Peter Zumthor

“To me, buildings can have a beautiful silence that I associate with attributes such as composure, self-evidence, durability, presence, and integrity, and with warmth and sensuousness as well; a building that is being itself, being a building, not representing anything, just being. The sense that I try to instil into materials is beyond all rules of composition, and their tangibility, smell, and acoustic qualities are merely elements of the language we are obliged to use. Sense emerges when I succeed in bringing out the specific meanings of certain materials in my buildings, meanings that can only be perceived in just this way in this one building. When I concentrate on a specific site or place for which I am going to design a building, when I try to plumb its depths, its form, its history, and its sensuous qualities, images of other places start to invade this process of precise observation: images of places I know and that once impressed me, images of ordinary or special places places that I carry with me as inner visions of specific moods and qualities; images of architectural situations, which emanate from the world of art, or films, theater or literature.”

(Thinking Architecture)

"this singular density and mood, this feeling of presence, well-being, harmony, beauty...under whose spell I experience what I otherwise would not experience in precisely this way."


" I feel in a line of people, not just architects, who are looking at and experiencing the world, and the more you look at it the more interesting it becomes. I have a relationship to people in other arts. We make the same investigations… looking passionately, emotionally and trying to be part of what we see." (P. Zumthor)


Being W.

Plus d'infos sur ce film

Cooper Mack

" [Cooper] was never to lose that sensibility for the right form of things, a search that led him equally to the complex structural geometries he explored throughout his five years at Cooper, and to test the boundaries of the relations between architectonics, engineering, and social concern. His work consistently demonstrated a desire to overcome professional boundaries in the search for an art that was at once a science, a technology, an aesthetics, and an environmental and functional benefit to society. " (Anthony Vidler)


36 Hours in Phnom Penh

This may be your last chance to see the Cambodian capital, once called the Pearl of Asia, before its low-slung buildings, ambling cows and smiling monks are gone. By ERIKA KINETZ


The Sirens of Titan

"History: (26.) Everybody on Mars came from Earth. They thought they would be better off on Mars. Nobody can remember what was so bad about Earth."

" Mankind flung its advance agents ever outward, ever outward. Eventually it flung them out into space, into the colorless, tasteless, weightless sea of outwardness without end."

"The discovery of the chrono-synclastic infundibula said to mankind in effect: 'What makes you think you're going anywhere?' "

"Constant smiled at that-the warning to be punctual. To be punctual meant to exist as a point, meant that as well as to arrive somewhere on time. Constant existed as a point-could not imagine what it would be like to exist in any other way."

K. Vonnegut


Troglodytic architecture

" HARMONIUM - The only known form of life on the planet Mercury. The harmonium is a cave-dweller. A more gracious creature would be hard to imagine. 
- A Child's Cyclopedia of Wonders and Things to Do


The creatures cling to the singing walls of their caves.
In that way, they eat the songs of Mercury.
The caves of Mercury are cozily warm in their depths.
The walls of the caves in their depths are phosphorescent. They give a jonquil-yellow light.
The creatures in the caves are translucent. When they cling to the walls, light from the phosphorescent walls comes right through them. The yellow light from the walls, however, is turned, when passed through the bodies of the creatures, to a vivid aquamarine."

(K. Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan)

Remember when you were still a little kid trying to hide beneath tables and in caves on the shore during summer breaks. Remember how the White Rabbit falling inside the trunk of the tree in Alice in Wonderland inspired you. Don't say you would not be scared by the idea of being stuck in some speleologic site in Sri Lanka. Maybe unknown creatures still live hidden in them, after all. Think about it : would you live a peaceful life underground, in a house dug in the rocks ? 

It is a way of life you would have to get used to if you were spending your days in a troglodytic house. 

But what is a Troglodyte? For some people it is a small bird and for some others it is a reptilian humanoid killer. Maybe you have read the Persian Letters of Montesquieu and are already familiar with this fictional tribe. Ancient Greek and Roman geographers described the Troglodytes as a population living in the desert near the African side of the Red Sea.

Even if Troglodytes seem to exist only in our dreams, you can visit real Troglodytic houses and let go your imagination in several authentic villages in the North-Western part of France. Originally the Troglodytic shelters were built as hiding places or stables for farm animals. However little by little, the Troglodytic houses started spreading as the inhabitants added new rooms for their growing families. They are now cute and welcoming habitations to spend some time and feel closer to our Earth.

If you are still a bit scared, I promise it has been a very long time since we have seen a reptile-like troglodyte creature in this area : it is now your turn to roam freely around their subterranean paradises! 

All in favor of less crowded subways,raise your hands

If you are tired of being stuck in crowded trains, 

if you can't stand crying children anymore as you try to read the METRO, if you are one of those who finish their nights on the way to work, if you are addicted to your iPod, if you need absolute silence to complete your Sudoku square, if you don't want to suffer from the sight of this man biting a shiny donut as you fight to stay on a diet, then, you might dream every night of a train where you almost have your own room, where you could be enjoying yourself exclusively.

However, have you already forgotten how you met this nice friend of yours?

These claustrophobic cells would have kept you from bumping into him that day on the train! And what are you going to do with your two four years old children and your Grandma visiting this weekend?

Would it be possible to take a nap and be awaken on time to get off the train? Are they going to take advantage of us, nicely trapped, and flash us with adds? 

These bubbles of solitude where you seat aligned like rabbits in their boxes remind us of the Podcars and the Ultra Speed Public Pods, and even today they seem futuristic ideas : hopefully we are still human being interacting with each other. The next step after the "cellular train" could be a WALL E world with highways of men in flying pods talking to each others through instant messenger and an updated version of Skype.

I can't believe you never had fun just watching people on the subway...I tell you, you would miss it after a while!



"Andy Warhol, you know that guy!"
"No I don't, how can you be so sure I do?"
"It would be just so unbelievable that you have never heard of him. A-N-D-Y - W-A-R-H-O-L"
"Oh, Andy Warhol! Of course I know him. But just say it again : Andy Warhol"
"Andy Warhol"
"Andy Warhol"


"Are we Sunday?" 
"No we are not"
"Saturday, we are Saturday then..."
"So what?"
"It's Sunday, we are not Sunday"


"I should not even correct your mistakes, I think I would miss them if you started speaking correctly."


Sharks Seaweeds Water CatFish Sand JellyFish Octopus SeaShells Rocks CoralReef Dolphins ClownFish 

Working Horse riding Plowing Milking Herding Cooking Picking Planting Cleaning Riding a tractor Feeding Running 

So you are a swimmer? You like to crawl back and forth along the shore? I might know you, even if you never noticed me while having fun in my ocean. Maybe now you would like to know what is going on under water as you are passing over our heads without even paying attention to us. So many things are happening there, you will be surprised. I am going to give you a little taste of what I was up to these past weeks. I far as I remember (since as you may know fishes have little memory) I was running from coralreefs to coralreefs, picking seashells and milking my dolphins. I needed to cook a seaweed salad for dinner. A bunch of friends were supposed to pass by the Red Sea Valley, where I now live, in my little sea sponge house. Time was running fast, since my neighborhood is next to the Fifty Meters Deep High Way. I used to live closer to the coast when I was younger. My Dad is running a limestone company and my Mom is a shore-dweller. The sun light back there lasts longer than in the deep dark country side. Thus I was working as fast as if I had octopus tentacles. I spent the afternoon riding my water tractor to clean up everything. I had to sweep the rocks, plant sunflower seeds in the sand, plow the dangerous shark neighborhood crops. I herded the catfishes and the clownfishes down to the valley where I am used to feeding the seahorses I always ride on Sundays. I might sell my sea horses though, nowadays there is so much traffic that I usually use jellybuses. Each time I try to go to work by sea horse, it takes me hours. They are building a BubbleWay Transit from Downtown to SeaStar City, hopefully it will pass by SpongeCity following the Fifty Meters Deep High Way. It would be perfect. 

I am wondering if this seaweed salad will be enough. The thing is when you have friends who are so different from each other, it is hard to guess what they like, and what kind of appetite they have. I bet Sharky is not a veggie and Whalieson will ask for more. The problem is that we don't have anymore plankton on the market these days, they all left the state, it was too polluted. We complained and even made a big strike, but they did not come back. Anyway, I could eat clams everyday, oysters are good too, I am not a plakton addict so I don't really miss them. Moreover, I am going to leave the state also, I just got this journalism job for which I have to go around the Sea World, for interviews and shows, it's exciting, but believe it or not, it becomes a dangerous job, it is not so good to travel during these global warming days. So maybe next time you decide to dive, remove your ugly googles and take the time to say "hi" and maybe we could have a drink! 

The Me, Me, Me, Me phenomenon.

Photo booths have been around us since this ingenuous Jewish immigrant from Siberia, in the mid 1920s, had the idea to use human narcissicim to make his fortune. From then on, people from all over the world, artists have glorified the machine. Even artists like André Breton and Andy Warhol have studied this blooming phenomenon.
But nowadays, we have digital cameras, it is so easy to keep records of good moments, places, trips etc...why are these photo booths still so famous? The Lakeside Lounge Bar in NYC and an interactive public art project by Raul Vincent Enriquez
(Chashama, 112 West 44th Street) have managed to reveal what makes the instant photographs so particular and appreciated. 

Raul Vincent Enriquez is taking the idea even further. If you go to the Chashama Gallery you can take a picture of yourself that is going to be redirected instantly on a Times Square giant screen. And the result is it works ; people seem to like the idea of being part of Times Square advertisement mess, being the instant New York Crossroads Star.
Again : "In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes." (Andy Warhol)

Orange fireworks for dummies

Among the different sorts of oranges, to create home made fireworks without too much difficulty, you should choose an orange not too small with a thick skin on which you can see easily its pores. The best is to choose construction orange skin color which usually have the best thick skins easy to peel off.

Once you have chosen your orange, you should choose a partner if you wish to use matches. If you have the chance to have a candle at home, you will be able to do the experiment by yourself.

You definitively need a public. Orange fireworks are pieces of art.

Take a good sharp knife in the hand you are used to write with and the orange in the other. The best solution is to cut a little the skin of the orange ( not yours )and then put your thumb in the newly made hole to tear and separate the skin from the juicy part. You can use all of your fingers to break the skin in different pieces, but pay attention not to make them too small so it will be possible to bend them in half. 

Once you have all the skin pieces on one side and the heart of the fruit on the other, finally you can take a snack break and eat the quarters (maybe you could share them with your partner, if you are planning to use matches, he probably deserves this snack since his part of the job is the most dangerous part, especially if he is not comfortable with using fire, and matches).

If you use matches, the best is to light one match and give it to your partner slowly so as not to put out the fire. He should hold it between two fingers a bit tilted on the side.

If you are using a candle, just light it, by any means you feel like to.

Now, the big part. Take a first slice, bend it in half but not too hard and not too rapidly : at some point, while bending, you will feel a slight resistance of the skin, at this point stop bending and approach the skin to the fire. Now, suddenly bend the skin to its maximum to release all the midst and moisture on the fire. 

You should have seen little fireworks appear. If not, you can repeat step 7 with the other skin slices.


I often see weird people in the subway. Or maybe I am the weird one who see people just as if they were coming from another planet. 

Today I had by my side a woman looking just like I used to imagine Russian women when I was little and watching the Disney movie Anastasia : beautiful tall women with dark fur coat that has hair only around the wrists, pretty hands with big gold rings, a small leather bag and dense curly hair. I won't dare to look at her face but I can figure that she might have long curved eye lashes, maybe blue eyes. Nothing weird so far. Wait.
The thing is that to read the book she has on her knees she seems to say "no" to every sentence she finishes. She seems to have this habit that Italians have when they exaggerate everything they say using their hands like if they were going to start a fight. I feel like she is reading the first sentence on the left page and then switch to the first one on the right page, reading the first lines on both pages as if they were only a very long one. I am actually reading over her shoulder, this is a bad habit I have, but I wonder what kind of sentence we could get if we read a book that way. Let's try :
"I was permitted to tag along. I was delighted : after months of feeling back a clean-cut no. Even a close family member like my mother half patched him all over."
Does that make sens ? I mean, I am sure that with certain pages it might work well and produce great images.
I am the weird one now. Writing down my neighbor readings. Well, whatever.
Let's look at other people around, six over ten are sleeping and four over eight are using their Ipod, too loud though. I can recognize what they are listening to .

Oh great, with my stupid stories I missed my stop. 
Well, I should have thought it had to happen, it's not my day. I am going on the other direction. The train is terribly empty now. An add from Continental airlines tells me to " work hard and fly right", well, thanks for the advice, I am doing my best already. 
Let's get off at this stop following the red exit sign even if I feel like rushing through the emergency one, and struggle with the wind. Payless shoes store, AT&T, Duane Read, HSBC, Starbucks Coffee, Staples, Rite Aid, Macdonalds, Queens County Banking Service, Citi, Radio Shack, Bank of America, Vitamin Shoppe....

To Tilla
envoyé par torho689


Just a quick link to some previous posts

Social Divides: Who, Where and How

Social Divides: Who, Where and How

As we look around us, amid the crowds, among networks, online, in real life, we can easily see that we classify people, by race class, culture, income. We do not do so all the time consciously. It has been anchored in our society, a basis we have a hard time getting rid of. It appears evident, as we answer questions all the time about our backgrounds (Caucasian, Asian?) that, we, human beings, belong the same species, and that different races spread over the world. Nature works this way, and this diversity incarnates our treasure. Moreover these categories organize our reality for further studies like diagnosis and measurements. However, on the other hand, classification also participates in enforcing social distances, in widening racial divides.
Then, what does this word classification mean anyway? Dictionaries and other reference sources give several definitions depending on the context in which we use the word "classification", all related to a more global one;

arrangement according to some systematic division into classes or groups (Webster's New World Dictionary)

Thus, to classify means to organize things from a bigger category in different smaller ones, using several factors. A class has different meanings as a noun. It defines first a category of things having the same properties or attribute and differentiated by kind, type or quality. It is referred to a "taxonomy" in biology:

a system of arranging animals and plants into natural, related groups based on some factor common to each, as structure, embryology, biochemistry, etc. : the basic taxa now in use are, in descending order from most inclusive, phylum (in botany, division), class, order, family, genus and species (Webster's New World Dictionary)

Thus, in biology, classifications enable to group and organize different taxonomic groups regarding their similarities, their phenotypic and genotypic resemblances. The social behaviors or living environments do not affect these biological categories.
In sociology, the word “class” used to define the rich and educated people, now it has a larger meaning: it orders a society divided into sets based on perceived social or economic status. The word “perceived” points out the relativity of any classification. It seems always relative to the human perception, point of view, choice. Thus the population’s own way to assign different categories to different people forms social classifications, all this of course would all be relative to the studied society. The categories dividing the population in reality such as dominance, class, race and interests exist also on the Internet, a virtual world concealing users’ appearance unless they decide not to do so. Internet and social networking sites prove that society itself, more than any superior hierarchical dominant power, establishes classifications.
Obviously we can imagine an utopian world with everyone on the same status as basic and clear as "Earth citizen" and with the same habits, rules, culture, but would it be really an interesting planet to live on, without variety? What would be just pointless to travel. Besides, we seem to head in this direction, with Mc Donalds in Russia, what will be the next step of globalization? 
However, globalization does not rub diversity alone, the flow of people around the world does it too, now people have multiple backgrounds, and all this gene flow has such effects as the blond hair phenotype which tends to disappear gradually, and so, logically, races tend to disappear also. There would not be any race classification anymore as processes of natural selection. Our phenotypes tend to homogenize and some genotypes tend to disappear, but this scenario has not happened yet. Moreover even if race classification did not exist, there would still be other categories to keep classifying people.
Who are these people affected by our classifications? Pierre Bourdieu proposes two main categories of our societies, the dominants and the dominated:

Symbolic violence rests on the adjustment between the structures constitutive of the habitus of the dominated and the structure of the relation of domination to which they apply: the dominated perceive the dominant through the categories that the relation of domination has produced and which are thus identical to the interests of the dominant. (Bourdieu)

Bourdieu explains that society, with its hierarchical structures builds "laws" incorporated by the dominants unconsciously. Dominated people in the structured society feel resentment in front of dominants’ social position and power that dominants want to keep and preserve because they see an interest in dominating. Sometimes the classifications come from a hierarchical dominant power like governments and laws. Sometimes it comes from the society itself. 
A girl like me, a short documentary video, deals with what African American youths think about themselves, with self-recognition, self-identification, their origins, and cultures. A black child chooses a white doll saying that it represents the nice one. A little girl with a pink Cinderella sweater first says that the black doll seems bad and then recognizes she looks like the black doll. This experiment illustrates mis-recognition: the recognition of the error of self-prejudice or racism from society embodied in the dominated without the dominated knowing that they feel conditioned by society. Mis-recognition seems to be an identity problem.
Robert E. Park gives one explanation of why such classifications exist in the concept of race consciousness:

Race consciousness is to be regarded as a phenomenon, like class or caste consciousness, that enforces social distances. Race relations, in this sense, are not so much the relations that exist between individuals of different races as between individuals conscious of these differences. (Park)

Thus, according to Park, race relations only exists if people consciously notice any difference among races, otherwise no classification would be made. As a result, 5 years old African American children present unconsciously a black doll as bad compared to a white one, before realizing they look like the black one and deducing the consequences of their observation . Thus I would even correct Robert E park statement by saying that people do not seem necessary “conscious of these differences". They auto-classify themselves like they do when they decide to get into a community club for example.
However parents and school influence children. Schools especially seem to be one of the first places where children experience society’s conditions according to Barack Obama:

Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven't fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today's black and white students. (Obama)

Thus, the early children’s education participates in the formation of a gap, here an achievement gap, between black and white students for example. The gap here takes place between black and white students however we could imagine the same situation for students from high and low social economic backgrounds, or from different culture backgrounds. Besides, this achievement gap is following most of the time children throughout their all life and mis-recognition could arise from this point.
Moreover advertisements, movies, TV shows, magazines, and online networks influence children also. Classifications do not only exist in our real world but also on the Internet. Nowadays we face the network gap, which seems to divide users on MySpace and FaceBook, according to Danah Boyd:

The goodie two shoes, jocks, athletes, or other 'good' kids are now going to Facebook. These kids tend to come from families who emphasize education and going to college. MySpace is still home for Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, 'burnouts,' 'alternative kids,' 'art fags,' punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids, and other kids who didn't play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm. These are kids whose parents didn't go to college, who are expected to get a job when they finish high school. These are the teens who plan to go into the military immediately after schools. (Boyd)

Boyd claims that the students who use MySpace and Facebook belong respectively to low socio-economic class students who might have stopped studying to work, and students who have access to college education. We see here two new categories. We saw before, the dominants and dominated, the black and white students, now we have the “good” kids and the “others”. This new category crosses the dominants and dominated categories: the class categories. The “good” kids would be the dominants and the “others” the dominated. MySpace and Facebook are the mirror image of the school system, which reflects the image of Bourdieu’s society conception.
Thus is mis-recognition an identity problem or a problem with the influences spread out in our society? When talking about races, the difficulty to overcome is the different notions. Some notions must not be confused, for example, race relations and racism, ethnocentrism, or intolerance. Indeed, generally people apprehend stereotypes, because stereotypes make classifications; also they don’t want to accept the world as is, to admit that Equality do not always supervises our lives, and that they may be somehow and sometimes responsible for it.

First of all, racism as a racial antipathy has nothing to do with race relations. Race relations stands for the interaction that people of different races have within a given society. In a cosmopolite city, where people from all over the world interact together, races can meld totally without people building communities with people from their country, or be organized in tight communities. Often in the United States, we organize races in tight communities. Thus race relations promote classifications of races: a classification as a distribution in categories without any question of superiority. When hostility and an ideology of superiority sneaks into any race classification, racism begins. Even if races can be melded, we don’t erase class divides: we even marginalize people. Besides people can belong to different categories at the same time, class category and a racial category.
We classify people also by their income, their lifestyle, their job, and their hobbies. This can be seen on network websites also as in our real life:

At 1Up.com, a content-heavy social site where gamers trade tips, stories, opinions and gossip, the philosophy is that people don't need to choose a single social network-they can be a part of several. Of its members, 50% also belong to MySpace, 18% to Facebook 9% to Xanga and 6% to Friendster. (Klaassen)

Klaassen gives the example of 1Up.com as a Social Networking Site where people with the same hobbies gather online. He points out also that these same gamers belong to several others social network sites, not only one. This is more accurate to the functionment of out society, it would be too simple to classify people in two or three categories. Today, people move and go through so many jobs, hobbies, that they present several characterizations.
There is an important paradoxe, here, in New York City. People present themselves as Americans. Even if they arrived at three years old, some won't wait five seconds before revealing their Polish or Russian backgrounds. Some of them say the way you act, you speak, the time you have spent here, make you American, not your citizenship. So they are Americans, all Americans, and they recreate a Russian community, a Chinese community. They try to stay absolutely together. Abbey Klassen explains again how much people prefer to gather in specific groups :

Shawn Gold, senior VP-marketing and content at MySpace, said that there are definitely subcultures emerging within his massive social-networking site. And for users who want efficiency, one social network is certainly easier-and MySpace is continuing to evolve its tools for self-expression, video, mobile and aggregation.

We believe it's better to be niche, look at the real-world communities-they're made up of pockets of people with similar interests. While social networks all look fairly similar now, they're in a primordial stage. They'll start branching out and super-serving the audience and giving value that you can't find in a general-market site.

Soon, he'll launch Glee.com, a social network for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender crowd. It joins his other sites, BlackPlanet, MiGente and AsianAvenue, which aim to attract blacks, Hispanics and Asians, respectively. (Klaassen)

Thus, so far we had Social Networking Sites destined to the totality of the population: MySpace and Facebook. Then even those two started to see their users segregating themselves with goods kids on Facebook and the “others” on MySpace. From now on, according to Klaasen, social networking sites will focus only one category at a time and start being less general. They will start establishing even online social categories such as skin color, origins or sexual preferences.

Works cited :

"A Girl Like Me" Kiri Davis, Director, Reel Works Teen Filmmaking, Producer http://www.understandingrace.org/lived/video/index.html

Bourdieu, Pierre. “The Economy of Symbolic Goods.” Practical Reason: On the Theory of Action. Trans. Randal Johnson. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1998.

Boyd, danah. 2007. "Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace ." Apophenia Blog Essay. June 24 . http://www.danah.org/papers/essays/ClassDivisions.html 

"Classification" Webster's New World Dictionary 1982

Klaassen, A. (2006, November 6). Niche - targeted social networks find audiences ; Users flock to specialized communities but don't abandon MySpace, others. Advertising Age, 15. 

Obama, B. (2008, March 18) A more perfect union. Philadelphia, PA. 

"Taxonomy" Webster's New World Dictionary 1982