Dive into the archives.
- Sistine Chapel: 498 years and still ruling
It hasn’t been a good week for the Vatican. I’m not going to comment on the Catholic Church’s scandals, cover ups, etc. because I don’t see any point and that’s not what this blog is about. What this blog is about, if anything, is backgrounding the negative and shining light on the positive aspects of life.
The Vatican recently launched a straight up amazing website where you can take a 360 degree zoom in/zoom out tour of the interior of the Sistine Chapel. It is very well done, beautifully simple, and genuinely moving. I strongly recommend taking at least 20 minutes exploring this.
Check it here.
God is love.
- Collection of Crucial Car Pimping (CCCP)
As prep for a new project, I’ve been looking at a lot of Russia things lately. At the absolutely amazing English Russia I found a treasure trove of Russian car mods that I can’t keep to myself.
Check out a lot more here.
- De La Nas in ’96
Check out this rare historical artifact I found at okayplayer. It’s a rip from Westwood’s Radio 1 show that features De La Soul and Nas freestyling for about 10 minutes straight. Maseo is on the cuts and the freestyles are really free, which makes this an even more amazing and rare treat. It’s from ’96 around the time ‘Stakes is high’ and ‘It was written’ came out. That was the summer before my first year in college and I played the hell out of both those albums.
This probably won’t be very interesting to you if you don’t already love the artists featured. But I do so…….
De La Soul & Nas – Live on Westwood, 1996
right-click + ‘save target as’ (windows) / ‘save link as’ (mac)
And as a bonus…http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1iqlp http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6fx8q
- More musikids: PS 22 Chorus
Image: Gillian Laub
A couple weeks ago, my friend Josh instructed me to educate myself on something called the PS 22 Chorus. He sent me the link to their blog and said, ‘It’s a worth a blog post, at the very least, if not a drastic career change.’ Last night, I finally did and, man alive, he was not wrong.
First a little background:
PS 22 is an elementary school in Staten Island NY. The chorus is made up of 5th graders between 10 and 11 years old. It meets twice a week during school hours to practice, and performs throughout the year at school functions, local events, and on special requests. (FYI: my birthday = January 7)
The project is overseen by a teacher called Gregg Breinberg who, I think you will agree, is doing a good job. Here is some more info on him from a feature NPR ran a while ago:
“He is not like any other music teacher,” Maimouna Faye says. “He really works with us. He helps us get it right. He doesn’t yell at us. He is really nice. I am going to miss it.”
Breinberg describes himself as “nontraditional and intense.” He says he’s extremely passionate about the music.
“[If] I don’t feel that they are giving 100 percent, yes, I will get intense with them, and I will say, ‘This isn’t fair. I am working so hard for you, I am trying to do my best for you — you have to come through for me,’ ” Breinberg says.
But Breinberg is also a goofball. He’s eccentric and emotional. He’s been known to weep at performances and show the boys in the chorus that it’s fine to cry and show emotion and be themselves.
“What is so wonderful about these kids,” Breinberg says, “they are in this environment that we have created together, that allows them to express themselves and totally be wacky and silly and not worry that they will be made fun of — to be able to sing a solo, make a mistake, and know that it is a safe place and a place they can go to and express themselves.”
Gabriel Vasquez says being in the chorus has allowed him to do something that he often doesn’t have a place for: “letting out your emotions and everything, showing your feelings and letting it all out.”
Now, remember that last line when you watch these clips. In my experience you need to view these at least 20 times to fully grasp the emotions unleashed in these kids. Also their dance moves.
For a sense of how the performances come together, Here’s a short feature from NPR’s All Things Considered:
OK, so I hope that makes your day the way it made mine. I believe that children are the future. Teach them well, record them, and put it on Youtube.
- Domus Interview 2.02: Bruce Sterling
Image: Robert Scoble
In January I started a new interview series for Domus China. The series will be similar to the one I did with Domus last year, but the theme is different.
This one is focused on the future of architecture and urban life, specifically how developments in technology, ecology, and politics will alter the way cities work. The hope is that, by focusing on current innovation and learning from efforts in other fields, architects can get slightly ahead of the curve and take a more active approach to change.
For the February issue, I talked to the sci-fi writer and opinion machine Bruce Sterling. We talked about the changing status of architecture in a more digital world, the global impact of Chinese manufacturing, and the need to study the past to imagine the future. It was a good conversation I thought, so I’m gonna post it here.
The digital revolution is about 25 years old, and now it’s like a big, grown-up girl with some serious personal problems. It’s not like five year old child who is carrying futurity on her back.
The difficulty of trying to build a skyscraper palace for Google is that Google is not going to live that long.
Thirty years ago the poor were in rags, now the poor dress in Chinese clothing. Clothing now is so cheap and so well made, and that’s entirely due to Chinese advances. They are clothing the planet and really alleviating a lot of suffering.
It took me quite a while to realize that the things that were important were not necessarily interesting.
I tend to look at technology as techno-social developments over a period of time. They’re not progress and when they pass from our radar that does not mean that they lose their consequence, it merely means that we stopped talking about them in a particular tone of voice.
You can’t understand by merely looking at the present day. In order to see what’s happening you have to go back twice as far you intend to jump forward. That is the rule.
If you’re interested, I posted a few interviews from last year’s series, which was about architectural collaboration: Michael Rock, Jennifer Sigler, Mark Wigley. The whole series will be available in a book called Who is Architecture? that should be hitting your local lavatory in the fall.
Futuretalk with Bruce Sterling
Brendan McGetrick: The purpose of this interview series is to try to get a sense of what the future of urban life will be so that architects might get slightly ahead of the curve. In your writing you’ve envisioned possible communities of the future, so to begin could you talk a little about your interest in architecture and how it informs you work?
Bruce Sterling: Well, I’m interested in creative disciplines of all kinds, and I must say that the things that I appreciate most about architecture are things like parametric architecture – computer-generated practice. I’m really more into network culture and this very large transition that has happened through many disciplines – different professions, different nations, different situations. Architects are very expressive about their theories and their ways of approaching the world and I’ve derived a lot of benefits from listening to them.