The new movie by Rupert Sanders, based on the hugely popular anime Ghost in the Shell by Musamune Shirow opens with a haunting preface. It is set in 2029 and observes as the boundary between human and machine becomes more and more blurred. In the time it has become customary for people to choose to “enhance” themselves by replacing a limb or an internal organ with a synthetic one, therefore also one with many new high-tech features. In that context, one private company works on blurring that boundary even further by creating the first “synthetic full-body prosthesis augmented-cybernetic human” – Major Mira Killian. She has an entirely robotic body except for her human brain. Therefore the story argues that by keeping the brain the soul, or the ghost, remains unaltered independent from the body, or the shell.
Now the obvious question this setup poses is where the boundary between human and machine really stands – how far can one go on altering and enhancing before one turns to a cyborg? All that further leads to the discussion what is it that defines a human at all.
A review of the recent production “Arrival” from director Denis Villenueve, in cinema November 2016. Firstly, Arrival has to be one of the best movies to have come out in 2016 so far, a complete masterpiece, where all arts are in sync – the music, the picture, the story up to the smallest detail, the characters, the structure of the entire story. However, it is impossible not to notice the subtlety of the design proposal.
An architectural review of the 2016 Marvel production “Doctor Strange”.
Every now and then in mainstream media and film industry a movie comes up to touch the architects heart. Whenever that happens, it rarely stays unnoticed, students learn it in universities and architecture journals are full of articles about it for weeks to come. What happened after the latest Marvel production “Doctor Strange” is no exception – it is even an amplification. For this time architecture wasn’t merely perfectly suited or reflecting a characters feelings and personality – architecture was part of the concept, part of the transformation, part of the plot. Still it was not an architectural film and that might even be the beauty of it. Here I will focus on a few aspects:
What starts as a retrospective exhibition of Maarten Baas’ work fast turns into exhibition in sync with his, probably so far most famous project, “Real Time”. With the support of other fellow artists such as Iris van Herpen and Theo Jansen, Maarten Baas makes a strong point on perception of time, be it real or unreal, and its content. A well deserved applause from the visitors of the Dutch Design Week 2016 at the VDMA building in Eindhoven.
My review on the Design Academy Eindhoven Graduation Show 2016 as part of Dutch Design Week 22-30 Oct 2016.
Ironically the title of the show leads to the heart of the problem consciously so or not. “In need of … “. For it has everything but content.
The everlasting spirit of modernism hasn’t left the building, the teachers nor the students and their work. Recycled ideas of recycling and design denial. The exhibition predicts a dutch design in ashes.
Nevertheless, however the poorness of quality projects or lack of innovative and fresh ideas, the show is considered a success by its own standards.
Dutch design keeps sustaining itself on the shoulders of its predecessors and their rich benefactors. Still the future actors of dutch design seem to have learned only one thing – namely how to sell. You will probably never encounter an art / design educational institution exhibition with so much commercialism and ego. Each project is for sale, before even being developed.
A necessary skill no doubt, but so is good design concepts and they seem to be on extinction in DAE.
My impressions from the Venice architectural biennale 2016, curated by Alejandro Aravena with the topic “Reporting from the Front”. On the one hand the exhibition had understandably very positive reaction – after all for the first time in a very long time the biennale was addressing topics ..which would make us feel better bout ourselves simply discussing it. It was very political, but at the same time not political at all – too vague to give solutions and still to elitarian. On diplay were solutions to problems which the general public wasn’t fully aware of – partially also responsibility of the exhibition. On the other hand it killed all dreams. the biennale should be that one exhibition which gathers all architects from around the world and inspires them for a new year of creativity and bold ideas despite the harsh reality of contractors, budget and… lets face it – gravity.