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20 February 2007 @ 12:51 am

"Memory is like ficiton: or else it's fiction that's like memory. This really came home to me once I started writing fiction, that memory seemed a kind of ficiton, or vice versa. Either way, no matter how hard you try to put everything neatly into shape, the context wanders this way and that, until finally the context isn't even there anymore. You're left with this pile of kittens lolling all over one another. Warm with life, hopelessly unstable."

-- Hakuri Murakami
19 February 2007 @ 10:10 am

Abstraction today is no longer that of the map, the double, the mirror or the concept. Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being or substance. It is the generation of models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal. The territory no longer precedes the map, nor survives it. Henceforth, it is the map that precedes the territory PRECESSION OF SIMULACRA — it is the map that engenders the territory and if we were to revive the fable today, it would be the territory whose shreds are slowly rotting across the map. It is the real, and not the map, whose vestiges subsist here and there, in the deserts which are no longer those of the Empire but our own: The desert of the real itself.

Jean Baudrillard, "The Precession of Simulacra"
06 February 2007 @ 07:45 pm

...the motives of memory are never pure.

james young, the texture of meaning:holocaust memorials and memories, 1993


I'm really struggling with the attempt to pare down the central theme of my thesis to a single concept; memory, loss, home, reproduction, or the city, for example. The two central works act like magnets of the same polarity: the more I draw them together the more they resist. While they're too similar to create theme supported by dichotomy, contrast etc, they also don't appear to engage in any sort of dialog with one another.
15 January 2007 @ 12:17 am
connection(s) of artists to politics, structures of power?

political implications of recreating imperial architectures?

Mori's extended family--wealth, urban development?
10 January 2007 @ 01:04 pm

Suh has described Seoul Home as a sort of parachute, easing his transition from one place and culture to another, as a parachute eases the passage of a body from sky to earth. From below, Seoul Home does resemble an open parachute, creating a method of passage from one space (in this case the base of the staircase) to another (the second floor). Seoul Home, which can be folded and easily transported in two suitcases, is a home which moves where the body does. It is, at least in part, an attempt by Suh to bridge the sense of dislocation felt by the immigrant. Part of Seoul Home’s power comes from its lineage of memory, connected not only to Suh’s personal memory, but to the collective, historical memory of his mother country. Because of this, the fact that Seoul Home is in some ways a reproduction adds to its value rather than reducing it. Its aura is derived not from originality but from the connectivity of mimetic practice.

In The Poetics of Space, Bachelard writes, “By remembering houses and rooms we learn to abide within ourselves”. There is something in the importance of remembering the spaces we have called home that constitutes a cross-cultural human experience and a profoundly important one. Seoul Home is compelling because it manages to be both deeply personal and culturally specific, yet as critic Frances Richards writes, it provides “…a scrim onto which anyone might project his or her reveries of any absent home”.
10 January 2007 @ 12:44 pm

week 1 - Introduction

2 - Visual Analysis: Seoul Home

3 - Visual Analysis: Dream Temple

4 - Biography/Interviews/Past Works: Mori

5 - Biography/Interviews/Past Works: Suh

6 - Megacities, modernism, etc

7 - Memory

8 - (revisions etc)

9 - (tba)

10 - Conclusion

final draft due: March 20th
15 November 2006 @ 08:19 pm

Now in a "purified" state, visitors proceed to the largest and most recent work of the exhibit. Dream Temple is an enormous octagonal structure made of iridescent glass and plastic which stands 5.2 meters high and is 11 meters in diameter. The technological complexity as well as the apparent material costs are testament to the financial power of the exhibit’s fashionable sponsors, including the Prada Foundation, Shiseido, Sony and other extremely profitable Japanese companies. This is a marked departure from the artist’s previous issues around consumerism. Instead, Mori proclaims to have created a utopian place, stating that visiting Dream Temple "should make one feel like they are taking part in a ceremony that takes them back to a state of mind before birth." After replacing one’s shoes with fitted white slippers, a gallery employee ushers each person to the front passage, where they must enter the temple’s core alone. Through the automatic glass entryway, a womb-like shell closes. Wearing headphones and sitting seiza (on the knees) for almost five minutes, the visitor watches a 3D projection on the curved screen while ambient music echoes through the headphones.

On leaving Dream Temple’s hub, the gallery guide bows deeply, and thanks each visitor for their effort; she then delivers each guest’s shoes and bows again.

...Mori’s gezamtkunstwerk succeeds about as well as an Orwellian feelie, offering us a playhouse of disquieting forfeit and a tempting state of (un)consciousness.

--via Namiko Kunimoto


Visitors can enter the structure (with appointment, and one at a time), and be sealed in a chamber which resembles the inside of a giant basketball. Here there are headphones playing spacey music and a concave screen on which is projected a four minute video program of abstract cosmic imagery, although I did think I saw a frisbee in there somewhere.

--via assemblylanguage.com


The final room contains Dream Temple, 1999, inspired by the eighth-century "Temple of Dreams" in the Buddhist monastery of Horyuji. A large canopy ornamented with gigantic pearls made of Murano glass surmounts an octagonal structure, which rests, like a luminous spaceship, on a glimmering carpet of salt and tiny shards of glittery plastic. The solidity of the construction evaporates in the delicacy of its outer materials - fiberglass, plastic, and iridescent glass - which emanate a halolike shimmer. Dream Temple appears as a utopian site, where the fusion of tradition and technology brings to light the experience of beauty grasped in an eternal present.

A white quartz rests beneath the temple. This is the crystal of purification of the seventh chakra, which encourages the opening of the head's "crown" to create a channel with the absolute. The entire architecture thus symbolically becomes an extraordinary vehicle of communication. After climbing eight steps of dichroic glass, the visitor enters the temple's inner sanctum, within which he or she can sit and watch a three-dimensional projection of digital images. Mori invents a universe of forms in incessant mutation: Atoms become planets; darkness is transformed into a blinding sun. These images evoke the Big Bang, as well as the formation of cells in a fertilized egg - a cosmic womb in which the human and the universal become one. Mori reveals the ultimate state of the highly evolved human spirit, as the weaver between the relative and the absolute, the spider of existence weaving the tapestry of creation.

--via art forum


The Dream Temple, and related works such as the Garden of Purification, combine architecture, digital technologies, and photography in an almost literally indescribable manner, fulfilling Mori's desire to represent the unrepresentable future, even as its iconography zooms backward in time to feudal Japan. Based on the early seventh-century Yumedono temple, Mori's version exploits digital imaging techniques as well as dichroic glass--an iridescent glass changing in aspect from every angle--to create an apparently timeless, disembodied structure.

--via Interior Design (New York, N.Y.) 70 no.10 148-53 Aug 1999

15 November 2006 @ 07:37 pm

A cenotaph is a tomb or a monument erected in honour of a person or group of persons whose remains are elsewhere. It can also be the initial tomb for a person that has since been interred elsewhere. The word derives from the Greek words kenos, one meaning being "empty" and taphos, "tomb". Although the vast majority of cenotaphs are erected in honour of specific individuals, many of the best-known cenotaphs are instead dedicated to the memories of groups of individuals, such as the war dead of one specific country or empire.

Etienne-Louis Boullée, Projet de cénotaphe à Isaac Newton, 1784

--via wikipedia
30 October 2006 @ 05:20 pm


Etymology: Middle English memorie, from Anglo-French memoire, memorie, from Latin memoria, from memor mindful; akin to Old English gemimor well-known, Greek mermEra care, Sanskrit smarati he remembers

1 a : the power or process of reproducing or recalling what has been learned and retained especially through associative mechanisms b : the store of things learned and retained from an organism's activity or experience as evidenced by modification of structure or behavior or by recall and recognition

2 a : commemorative remembrance (erected a statue in memory of the hero) b : the fact or condition of being remembered (days of recent memory)

3 a : a particular act of recall or recollection b : an image or impression of one that is remembered (fond memories of her youth) c : the time within which past events can be or are remembered (within the memory of living men)

4 a : a device (as a chip) or a component of a device in which information especially for a computer can be inserted and stored and from which it may be extracted when wanted; especially : RAM b : capacity for storing information

5 : a capacity for showing effects as the result of past treatment or for returning to a former condition -- used especially of a material (as metal or plastic)

synonyms MEMORY, REMEMBRANCE, RECOLLECTION, REMINISCENCE mean the capacity for or the act of remembering, or the thing remembered. MEMORY applies both to the power of remembering and to what is remembered (gifted with a remarkable memory) (that incident was now just a distant memory). REMEMBRANCE applies to the act of remembering or the fact of being remembered (any remembrance of his deceased wife was painful). RECOLLECTION adds an implication of consciously bringing back to mind often with some effort. REMINISCENCE suggests the recalling of usually pleasant incidents, experiences, or feelings from a remote past (my grandmother's reminiscences of her Iowa girlhood.)


synonyms COPY, IMITATE, MIMIC, APE, MOCK mean to make something so that it resembles an existing thing. COPY suggests duplicating an original as nearly as possible (copied the painting and sold the fake as an original). IMITATE suggests following a model or a pattern but may allow for some variation (imitate a poet's style). MIMIC implies a close copying (as of voice or mannerism) often for fun, ridicule, or lifelike imitation . APE may suggest presumptuous, slavish, or inept imitating of a superior original. MOCK usually implies imitation with derision.


Etymology: Italian, repetition, from replicare to repeat, from Late Latin, from Latin, to fold back -- more at REPLY
1 : an exact reproduction (as of a painting) executed by the original artist (a replica of this was painted...this year -- Constance Strachey)
2 : a copy exact in all details (DNA makes a replica of itself) (sailed a replica of the Viking ship); broadly

synonym see REPRODUCTION

1 : the act or process of reproducing; specifically : the process by which plants and animals give rise to offspring and which fundamentally consists of the segregation of a portion of the parental body by a sexual or an asexual process and its subsequent growth and differentiation into a new individual
2 : something reproduced : COPY
3 : young seedling trees in a forest


1 : something that keeps remembrance alive: as a : MONUMENT b : something (as a speech or ceremony) that commemorates c : KEEPSAKE, MEMENTO
2 a : RECORD, MEMOIR (language and literature...the memorials of another age -- J. H. Fisher) b : MEMORANDUM, NOTE; specifically : a legal abstract c : a statement of facts addressed to a government and often accompanied by a petition or remonstrance

1 : serving to preserve remembrance : COMMEMORATIVE
2 : of or relating to memory
24 October 2006 @ 08:56 pm

"Mnemonic desire...is activated especially in those moments of extreme duress in which the traditional material bonds among subjects, between subjects and objects, and between objects and their representation appear to be on the verge of displacement, if not outright disappearance."

--"Gerhard Richter's Atlas: The Anomic Archive", Benjamin Buchloh