Month: October 2017

The Vietnam War: Ken Burns’ ‘healing touch’

The only thing you need to know about the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick documentary series on The Vietnam War (PBS) is that it ends with the Beatles singing “Let it Be” a few minutes after Stuart Harriman muses “was it worth it?” Burns and Novick have said that they wanted the series to promote healing in America, and they did, indeed, serve up a comforting balm for the great black wound of 20th century American history. Like so many of Burns’ other documentaries, The Vietnam War treats the personal, intimate tragedies, triumphs, heartaches, and achievements of Americans with...

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Double Standards and False Equivalencies

Harvey Weinstein is disgusting.  At the very least, he is guilty of being a lecherous, disgusting man.  At the worst, he’s a rapist.  His defence of coming-of-age in the licentious 1960s and 70s is bullshit.  Many men came of age then, and they don’t commit sexual assault.  Nor is Weinstein alone, I’m sure.  As my friend Matthew Friedman noted, he is certainly not the only Hollywood mogul who used his power to bully young women into places they didn’t want to go, to use his power to sexually abuse them.  Think of the long-standing and endless jokes about casting couches and the like.  Weinstein just got caught. After 40 years.  In many ways, Weinstein is like the president, who, of course, boasted on tape for Access Hollywood, how he commits sexual assault.  As Marina Fung noted in the Huffington Post, the Weinstein tape is the sequel to the Trump tape.  And, of course, let us not forget last year’s scandal in Canada, where Jian Ghomeshi was accused of similar things as Weinstein and walked.  And then, of course, there is Bill Cosby. Make no mistake, Weinstein, Trump, Ghomeshi, and Cosby are just the tip of the iceberg. And thus far, there have been no criminal consequences for any of these men.  Hell, Donald Trump was elected president.  Weinsten, Ghomeshi, and Cosby have lost their good reputations, so there’s that.  But that...

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Disappearing Act: Empúries Visitor Reception Centre by Fuses-Viader Arquitectes

Empúries reception centre. Ruins and museum by Puig i Cadafalch in background. [Originally published in Baumeister 9/2017] As the place where Ancient Greeks first set foot on the Iberian peninsula, the archaeological ruins of Empúries —from the Greek “Emporion”, meaning “trading place”— is a heritage site of European significance. Founded by colonists from Phocaea in 575 BC, Emporion aligned itself with Rome during the Punic Wars, resulting in a larger Roman Municipium being built adjacent to it from which the conquest of Hispania was initiated in 218 BC. Emporion was itself built in two stages: the original Palaiapolis (old...

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Loop the Loop: A Solo House by KGDVS

[Originally published in Mark Magazine #69] Solo Houses is the name of a project that’s intended to include more than a dozen villas designed by different architects. The location is a mountainous region in northeast Spain, not far from the border with Catalonia and about three hours from Barcelona by car. If you’re looking for ‘the middle of nowhere’, this is the place to be. So far, two Solo Houses have been completed, the first in 2013 by Chilean studio Pezo Von Ellrichshausen and the second a contribution by Belgian firm Office Kersten Geers David Van Severen (KGDVS). In addition to these two firms, other participants are Sou Fujimoto, Johnston Marklee, Christ & Gantenbein, Didier Faustino, Studio Mumbai, Anne Holtrop, Barozzi Veiga, Rintala Eggerston, MOS, Go Hasegawa, Kühn Malvezzi, Tatiana Bilbao, TNA, Smiljan Radić and Bas Smets. Solo Houses are nothing like the pseudo-Spanish holiday homes we know from tourist brochures and travel blogs. These more conceptual villas are, according to the literature, ‘an ongoing project of contemporary small resort prototypes’. The venture is the brainchild of Christian Bourdais, a French property developer who, together with art producer Eva Albarran, is also responsible for the Solo Gallery in Paris, a space dedicated to ‘architects who display a truly artistic approach in their work’. Solo claims to be ‘the first contemporary art gallery to exhibit works of architects in their...

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