Postcard from Vienna: chandeliers for a Sanitorium…

14 05 2008

 

We received this fabulous addition to our chandelier file rather circuitously (from Tim Bonyhady via Nigel.) It was designed by Otto Wagner for his Kirke am Steinhof, at the Steinhof psychiatric hospital in Vienna. The church adjoins the ‘Sanitorium’ section of the asylum, built to accommodate the affluent ‘fee paying patients.’ 

 

                          

 

We dug a little deeper and unearthed the following gem…

Otto Wagner and the Steinhof psychiatric hospital: architecture as misunderstanding. (The Art Bulletin, March 2005, by Leslie Topp, p 9.) 

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0422/is_1_87/ai_n13592461  

…..Fedor Gerenyi, the director of public welfare projects for the Lower Austrian government, who was active in the planning of both Mauer-Oehling and Steinhof, verbalized the wider social implications of Steinhof’s expansion into the realm of nervous disease. “In almost all advanced modern countries [Kulturstaaten],” Gerenyi argued, “we see the following factors as the most influential causes of mental disturbance: alcoholism, syphilis, and the increased demands placed on the money-earning classes by the struggle for survival.” Gerenyi drew on prevalent and widely popularized theories that linked a perceived rise in nervous ailments to the increased stresses of modern civilization: “Modern economic evolution has placed increased demands on the physical and mental powers of the individual, and the influence of these demands on the health of the people is well known….” The government should take measures in the name of the “health of the people,” Gerenyi argued, to counter this situation. These measures would include reducing the working week, enforcing minimum amounts of vacation time for “intellectual” workers, and encouraging people to adopt a “simple way of living,” thus making them less prone to overwork for the sake of higher earnings….

 

 

And this, back in 1907! How little things change…(well, okay, except for the syphilis perhaps.)

 





Eyesore Central…

13 05 2008

 

We were stopped in our tracks this morning when we wandered into one of our fave links to check out the latest  ‘Eyesore of the Month’ offering. The (above) offending architectural brute is the city hall in Troy, New York.

Jaysus! We’d better pray that James Howard Kunstler doesn’t pay a visit to Canberra – he’d have a bloody field day!! Although, of course, the context is quite different in the ‘Berra (in that it’s the rule rather than the exception.) Perhaps our national capital ought be placed on the heritage list as a fine, and prime, example of the Brutalist Era. It could be in line with Melbourne being cited and admired for its Victorian character…

Anyhoo, whatever. We certainly suspect that Mr Kunstler might be on to something regarding the misogyny…

Follow the link…http://www.kunstler.com/eyesore.html





Paul Marioni at Alberta…

11 05 2008

 

Natali has sent across the link to the ACAD glass program’s facebook page. We particularly liked this snap of Paul Marione, who’s obviously just given a workshop there (lucky buggers!)

For the expanded album go to…

 




Postcard from Kutna Hora: rattle dat chandelier…

10 05 2008

 

Sammy Jo’s gone snap! on our little chandelier run, sending these charmingly cosy pics from the Sedlec Ossuary (Bone Chapel) at Kutna Hora (a short drive east of Prague.)

 

    Gawd, imagine the dusting…

                          

                              

                                     

 

Ginger reckons she’s going to redecorate her room. Over our dead body we said – which perhaps wasn’t the most judicious response…





Newtown’s taste of the wild…

9 05 2008

 

Far South Coast artists Joy Georgeson and Bill Insch (above) have just staged a successful two-man invasion of Sydney’s inner-urbs. Southern Oscillations opened last Friday night in Newtown – which Joy reports was a very far cry from the beauty and tranquillity of her beloved coastal bush!! Trés cool looking show…

 

             

                                          





Mental health initiative: get bloggin’…that’s our advice.

8 05 2008

To the uninitiated, blogging apparently seems a waste of time (to quote an oft aired, though to us totally incomprehensible, sentiment). The reality is that the bloggosphere is the richest source of infinite entertainment imaginable. Informative, helpful, and more often than not (most importantly) incredibly amusing. And a godsend for those of us who can’t get our jollies anymore from the drack offerings of mainstream, hardcopy journalism.

Recently the Gang was having a spot of techno trouble with the glasscentralcanberra site and called for help on the WordPress forum page (usually we harass poor Zoe, but don’t like to be too much of a nuisance…!) and were immediately given a (patient and helpful) hand by a total stranger.

Later, out of idle curiosity, we had a look at the blogger in question’s own site – and thank christ we did! What a funny bugger. Right down our alley. Everything from dirty martinis to the latest pet fad, LoveLice (yessiree, pet crabs are in!!) We thoroughly recommend a regular dose…http://raincoaster.com/

 





The exotic other…

8 05 2008

 

While we couldn’t make it to last night’s opening of Nicola Dickson’s show at the ANU School of Art’s Foyer Gallery, we haven’t missed out entirely – Nikki’s kindly treated us to a little taste…

 

 

                               

 

..and a pre-opening peek at the install…

 

       

 

Currently a candidate for PhD in the ANU School of Art’s Postgraduate Program, Nikki’s not long returned from a two week fieldwork trip to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. We can’t wait to see what lusciousness evolves from that…

 

Meanwhile, for the intellectually curious, we’ve dropped in the artist statement below…

‘Other’ Visions 

The term exotic carries with it connotations of foreignness, excitement and an attractive strangeness. The exotic is not an inherent quality found in particular people, objects or places rather it is a particular form of perception that originated in the European mind when confronted with the ‘other’ Pacific or Australasian person, plant, animal, or artefact. Identification of the strange or unusual exotic ‘other’ is made by comparison to things and people that are usual and familiar.  The very strangeness and unfamiliarity of the ‘other’ becomes attractive and desirable.

The cultural lure of the exotic ‘other’ was, and is, a strange, paradoxical blend of the empirical and the fantastic.  This exhibition engages with how assumptions formed concerning the ‘other’ person or artefact from elsewhere were constructed and presented to 18th and 19th century European audiences.  This predominately occurred in the context the natural history museum.  In this period there was no distinction made between specimens of plants, animals, people or their material culture; all were considered revelatory of the diversity found in nature.  Artefacts from ‘elsewhere’ were presented as a fantastic jumble of ‘curiosities’. Factual information was interpreted and inevitably perceived through European conventions and desires.