Photographer Abelardo Morell at the Harry Ransom Center

A Mad Tea Party, 1998 | Abelardo Morell

A Mad Tea Party, 1998 | Abelardo Morell

This week at the Harry Ransom Center (HRC), Cuban-born photographer Abelardo Morell will give the Amon Carter Lecture in the HRC’s Prothro Theater on Thursday, March 26th at 7 pm. Doors open at 6:30.

The HRC’s current exhibition, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, features five photographs from Morell’s Alice in Wonderland series. Morell’s images utilize reproductions of Lewis Carroll’s original character sketches arranged in “scenes” literally pulled from the pages of the book. Morrell states on his website: “When I began to make photographs illustrating this book by Lewis Carroll I had in mind that books themselves should form the architecture and landscape where the story takes place. Because books belong to both the physical and imaginary worlds, I thought that they might serve Lewis Carroll’s tale well. Traveling to Wonderland could seem, after all, to be an experience very much like that of walking across the pages of a story—like going deep into a book.”

Source: Harry Ransom Center: The University of Texas at Austin

Art of the Hive

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Artist Ren Ri’s “Yansu II” is an extension of his past work with beeswax which combines his interest in molding and insect ethology. Ri defines “Yuansu” as “…a comprehension of the gestalt of life.”

The bees collaborate with Ri forming their work around a queen placed in the center of a plastic polyhedron filed with a framework of sticks. Every seven days—inspired by the seven days of creation—Ri moves the piece and changes the gravity of the honeycomb; the directional change is determined by the roll of a die.

Source: COOL HUNTING

Preserving Modernist Style in the Wake of Urban Commercialism

The MacDonald House, designed by Seibert. (Larry Reinebach)

The MacDonald House, designed by Seibert. (Larry Reinebach)

City Lab (The Atlantic) offers a closer look into the influence an architecture school had in shaping Sarasota, Florida into a modernist haven and the challenge of preserving that legacy. Sarasota School of Architecture Professor Tim Seibert’s design career spanned over sixty years and helped put Sarasota on the Modernist map. However, as Sarasota’s population has changed so has its modernist identity. Currently the city is debating how to maintain its original identity as strip malls and high-rise condos go up in place of beach-front bungalows. Preservationists: keep an eye on Sarasota as its plans for preservation develop.

Source: City Lab (The Atlantic)

Next Stop: Atlantic Ocean

Next Stop Atlantic - Stephen Mallon

Next Stop, Atlantic – Stephen Mallon

For ten years, decommissioned NYC subway cars have been discarded into the Atlantic Ocean by the Metropolitan Transit Authority with the intention to create artificial reef habitats on the eastern seaboard. The cars—stripped of seats, windows, and equipment—are hauled along the coast from Delaware to South Carolina. Once deposited in the ocean, they act as stable surfaces for marine organisms to attach themselves. Next Stop, Atlantic is a striking collection of images documenting the cars as they enter the ocean on their way to becoming something radically different than what was envisioned by their creators and those who rode in them.  Images taken by industrial photographer Stephen Mallon are devoid of human interaction and capture action stilled in the frame—evoking a haunting and abandoned quality to his beautiful imagery. The exhibition at NYU’s Kimmel Galleries runs through March 16th.

Source: 6sqft.com

Lewis Carroll: Amateur Photographer

Lewis Carroll_photography

Roy Flukinger, Senior Research Curator of Photography at the The University of Texas at Austin Harry Ransom Center, will be lecturing on the photography of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson on Tuesday, March 10, at 4 p.m. Better known to the world as Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll, Dodgson was also a prolific amateur photographer. Once obscure, his photos—now considered an accomplished and valuable archive—most notably capture Victorian-era, middle class life through portraits.

The talk is scheduled in conjunction with the Ransom Center’s current exhibition Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, on view through July 6, 2015.

This Place

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This Place—a documentary photography project and traveling exhibition—explores the culture, community, and conflict surrounding Israel and the West Bank from the vantage point of twelve artists. During six-month residencies in Israel, the collective of artists utilized a breadth of formats and techniques to represent the complexities inherent in these highly contested spaces. Selected works will be on exhibit at the DOX Center for Art in Prague through March 2, 2015, after which the exhibition will move to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

Source: This Place

Miniature Town: Elgin Park

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Michael Paul Smith’s Elgin Park—a miniature fictional town—is as complex as the creator and self-proclaimed mayor. Smith pairs his talent for model building with a point and shoot camera to create strikingly realistic images of a bygone time.  As detailed in the short documentary Elgin Park, Smith reveals his lifetime struggle with depression as well as his immense gratitude for his life. Smith embraces these complexities in Elgin Park, weaving positive memories alongside the tragic. Smith describes the creation of Elgin Park as therapeutic through the exercise of imagination and the cultivation of memory to create “3-D memories.”

Source: City Lab

The Life of a Square

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Failed Architecture’s case study of Rose Revolution Square in Tbilisi, Georgia looks at the square through the lens of political power and its effect on public space and commerce.  The study parallels the life of a hotel overlooking the square and the square itself.  The hotel has functioned as an enclave for the elites of Eastern Europe in the 1960s, the home of 800 Abkhazian refugees during the country’s civil war in the early 1990s, and currently as part of a five star international chain hotel. Failed Architecture pairs archival and present-day photos with social and political history to catalog fifty years of change.

Source: Failed Architecture

We Own the City

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CITIES magazine has launched their second book We Own the City: Enabling Community Practices in Architecture and Planning to chronicle people-driven urban initiatives. The book aims to chronicle grass roots driven urban development—in an effort to bridge the “bottom-up” with the “top-down”—through the discovery of mutually supportive development practices. Practices are taught using case studies from five major cities of the global north: Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Moscow, New York City, and Taipei. For further exploration check out We Own the City: Enabling Community Practices in Architecture and Planning at The University of Texas at Austin Architecture and Planning Library.

Source: Pop-Up City

Tiny House Villages

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Journalist Tim Murphy has written an in-depth piece on tiny house villages. The piece examines the intersection of national housing trends and the varied opportunities that lie in the tiny house movement. The tiny house village is informed by tent cities that gained prominence in the Great Depression as well as the most recent recession and the Occupy Wall Street movement. Leaders within the tiny house village movement would like to offer alternatives to tent cities through the village model by offering permanent and legal facilities, while at the same time, retaining the sense of independence and community that exists within tent cities. The article mentions several villages across the country including Austin’s own Community First! Village.

Source: Buzzfeed

Erasing Expression

Outrage has ensued since Chinese authorities scrubbed away street art in a soon-to-be-razed neighborhood in Shanghai’s central Jingan district. The recent removal follows the removal of one of the last walls designated for legal street art in Shanghai in 2013, leading some residents to believe these removals are acts of creative suppression. Authorities deny these allegations claiming to have erased the art because of safety concerns.

As the authorities raze and sanitize, a counter culture grows in opposition opening up the possibility for authenticity to emerge from neglect and rubble. In response, artists’ transform the character chai—which demolishers scrawl on buildings to signal which ones will be torn down—into fruit growing on trees, quietly reminding admirers the beauty that can grow from destruction.

Source: CityLab