“Ours is indeed an age of extremity”…

For we live under continual threat of two equally fearful, but seemingly opposed, destinies: unremitting banality and inconceivable terror. It is fantasy, served out in large rations by the popular arts, which allows most people to cope with these twin specters” Susan Sontag concluded in her 1965 essay “The Imagination of Disaster“.

Via this article by A.O. Scot re: how survival is the theme of the season, or at least of “Captain Phillips,” “All Is Lost” and “Gravity”.

Toyo Ito re: public space & public architecture

Toyo Ito and Maki Onishi, Home-for-All for Children in Higashi Matsushima, 2013, Miyagi, Japan. Photo: Iwan Baan.

This kind of smaller-scale, more direct interaction is one of the positive effects of having a public space where people can engage in conversation, and where ideas like this can take shape…In the end, public space is not a specific program in itself. It is a condition for many possibilities…Public architecture should serve as the basic unit of communal space and provide the essential idea of public life…These structures might offer not only a new community architecture, but also—if on a small scale—a new kind of society“.

Above from an Artforum interview between Toyo Ito and Julian Rose. More here

Starlight Night, Lake George 1922


Starlight Night, Lake George (1922), Oil on canvas, 16 x 24 in. Private Collection (image © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)

From a current exhibition — “Modern Nature: Georgia O’Keeffe and Lake George” — at the Hyde Collection. The exhibit will also be traveling to the O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe New Mexico and the de Young in San Francisco.

via NYT here

visualization of proliferation of oil + gas wells in southeast Louisiana from 1901 to 2007

Above visualization comes from an article, which discusses the news that the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority has filed suit against more than 100 oil and gas companies for contributing to the disappearance of Louisiana’s wetlands. The lawsuit,  by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, alleges that the companies violated their permits when they did not ‘maintain and restore’ the wetlands involved, and that their projects violated the federal River and Harbors Act of 1899 by reducing the effectiveness of federal levees. Moreover, The Flood Protection Authority claims that decades of drilling, dredging and extraction destroyed wetlands that once provided a cushion against hurricane storm surge. With that cushion reduced, storm surge has increased in the parishes under its jurisdiction, leading to a higher risk of flooding.

Via The Lens here

Tokyo at night

I was pleased and amazed to see this scene from Tokyo’s new landmark [Sky Tree]. From the observation deck, we can see all of Tokyo but through new perspective. I’ve tried finding the best portion of night view and found this part of scene which contains Smida River, Ara River, various bridges, Gulf of Tokyo, and Rainbow bridge. (© Yoshiki Nakamura/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)

Via In Focus feature of National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest 2013 (Part 2)

a “kind of Thoreauvian mind trip”

“Tree,” the painting Ms. Altfest worked on near North Kent, Conn. Credit: Wendy Carlson for The New York Times

Is how Randy Kennedy referred to the above recent work by painter Ellen Altfest in a recent profile. Produced for the main exhibition of the Venice Biennale it involved her spending 13 months in woods, painting a section of dead tree.