Daum Space was recently built by Mass Studios on a secluded plot of land on the island of Jeju, South Korea. The prominent Internet company chose to escape from the crowded cities in favor of a peaceful, countryside working environment. The move is reminiscent of Silicon Valley in the late 70’s, a similarly rebellious attempt to move away from the urban settings to create a haven of creativity in a more natural environment.
Working here would be incredible! The architects created a masterpiece in my opinion. Natural light and greenery infuse almost every corner of the working space. I personally work in a lab with no windows at all, and I can feel the drain it causes on my mood.
From Forbes Magazine:
“In the late ’70s (during the energy crisis), the idea of energy-efficient buildings was a sealed building with no windows. Worker productivity went to hell, but nobody was paying much attention to that at the time,” said Mudit Saxena, project manager with Heschong Mahone Group Inc., an energy consulting firm in Fair Oaks.
“We’ve done a few studies and we’ve found a significant link between worker productivity and access to day lighting and views.”
I couldn’t agree more, and that is precisely why buildings such as Daum Space should become the standard for work environments. I’ve even heard of surgery suites with windows to the outside world.
My favorite room of the design may be that Auditorium. You almost never see natural light in presentation space like this… it’s fantastic.
I recently stumbled across this sculpture made back in 2007 by Hans Hemmert, a Berlin-based artist. It is called “German Panther.” In time, the balloons slowly deflated into nothingness, and apparently, local children were allowed to destroy the remnants. I assume this was, in some way, a political statement…
It would have been quite interesting to see the movement of the balloons in person. The tank was originally shown at the Staedtische Galerie in Germany, but unfortunately, this piece will only live on in cyberspace.
Hemmert also made this interesting balloon church, maybe in reference to the fragility of organized religion? Or the absurdity of it?
Wang Zi Won from Seoul, Korea envisions a future when humans and robots merge into cyborgs. I tend to agree with him, and I discussed my thoughts on the issue early last year. The work above represents a spiritual role in our Cyborg future. Shin Seung-Ho (via Colossal) discussed the artist’s philosophy here:
“The artist considers it important to escape from human bondage in order to achieve harmony between men and machines. He thinks this harmony can be achieved through the process of religious practices and spiritual enlightenment. In Buddhism, the Bodhisattva of Compassion helps people attain enlightenment, Arhat is a spiritual practitioner of asceticism, and Buddha is a being who reaches the highest level of enlightenment. Through them, the artist intends to follow the path of enlightenment, breaking away from anxiety, agony, and pain. The artist has no intention to emphasize religious connotations through these Buddhist icons but to reflect his own or our own existence between utopia and dystopia.”
I’m curious to see the role religion takes in our future. Organized religion, at least, seems to be slowly disappearing in favor of philosophy and logic, but as long as the greatest questions remain unanswered, I think it will always play a part.
James Turrell is a master of perception, light, color, and space and for the past 40 years, he has created breathtaking installations at sites around the world. He began his career back in the 1960’s in California at a time when the Light and Space group of artists in Los Angeles was coming into prominence. Here’s a short description of the movement:
“Whether by directing the flow of natural light, embedding artificial light within objects or architecture, or by playing with light through the use of transparent, translucent or reflective materials, Light and Space artists made the spectator’s experience of light and other sensory phenomena under specific conditions the focus of their work.”
Turrell thrived in this atmosphere and created works of art that harness the beauty of light to magnify the wonders of the natural world. Many of his spaces provide for peaceful, contemplative meditation and I’ve been able to indulge first-hand at a Sky Space which was recently installed in Houston, TX. Let me just say, it can be a moving experience.
James Turrell is one of my favorite artists, so I wanted to highlight some of his magnificent installations here on the blog. Hopefully, you will get the opportunity to see one of these in person, but until then, here’s a taste of what his creations have to offer:
Twilight Epiphany – 2012 – Houston, TX
“Twilight Epiphany” is an installation on the campus of Rice University in Houston, TX. Every day, at sunrise and sunset, students witness a magical wash of oranges, pink and blues emanating from the site. Looking up from the center as the colors change gives the viewer the experience of seeing the sky in a different light every few minutes. Turrell was quoted on the project stating that “If you take a photo of the sky in this skyspace, the color you see in the opening is not actually going to show up in your camera because in fact it is not there… We do create the world in which we live to a much larger extent than we are willing to take responsibility for.”
Dividing the Light – 2007 – Pomona, California
“Dividing the Light” is another ethereal and transporting Sky Space from James Turrell installed at Pomona Art College, where he did his training. The space features granite floor and benches and a shallow pool of water centered beneath the opening to reflect the sky. Like the installation in Houston, diffuse LEDs light up the canopy at sunrise and sunset.
The Light Inside – 1999 – Houston, Texas
“The Light Inside” is a permanent installation at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. It’s an underground tunnel that connects the two main buildings of the museum. I’ve personally visited this installation, and I must say, it’s a beautiful way to get from building to the next. Instead of walking right through, I’d recommend taking a picture like I did.
Roden Crater (Aerial) – 1974 to Present – Arizona
The Roden Crater is probably the most fascinating of James Turrell’s installations. If nothing else, it is certainly the most ambitious. The crater is an extinct volcanic cinder cone in the middle of the desert in Arizona. Turrell conceived of the project back in 1974, and he was able to purchase the crater a few years later. Construction began in 1979 by moving 1.3 million cubic yards of earth to shape the Crater’s Bowl. Early reports stated that it would be completed in the late 1980s, but that date has been pushed back several times for financial and artistic reasons, and even today, it is under construction. However, many in the art world have had a VIP chance to enter the crater and it is said to be beautiful, even in unfinished form.
Roden Crater (Site Plan) – 1974 to Present – Arizona
James Turrell Standing by Roden Crater
Roden Crater (Entrance) – 1974 to Present – Arizona
Roden Crater (Opening) – 1974 to Present – Arizona
Roden Crater (hole) – 1974 to Present – Arizona
But how can you see this if you are not a VIP? Well, you may have to go rogue. A few years ago, one photographer hiked to the crater:
“We started up the volcano at dusk, climbing in silence since we had not arranged for a tour. Part way up, in the darkness, we found a door in the cinders, but it proved locked. Scrambling over the crater lip, we saw two discs of glowing light down beneath us.”
He ended his account by warning others not to try the same thing. “Be aware that the desert is not a forgiving place, and that the crater is remote, many miles from the nearest paved road,” he wrote. “You can die trying to get there.”
Sounds like quite the adventure.
Bridget’s Bardo – 2008 – Järna, Sweden
Bridget’s Bardo is a huge installation (700 sq meters of floor space and 11 meters high) in Järna. It is supposed to be an inversion of the Roden Crater — dealing with inner space and artificial light as opposed to outer space and celestial light. It’s interesting to note that the viewer enters enter the work via a steep ramp which leads down from the upper floor into the space. As in other pieces, the color slowly changes from pink to blue, orange, and red.
Stone Sky – 2005 – Calistoga, California
Turrell was commissioned to create this piece in the heart of Napa Valley in California. It features an infinity pool that stretches out toward the valley floor beyond. One cool thing to note is that by swimming underwater at the end of the pool, you can surface within the cube and there is a teak-lined Sky Space inside.
Within Without (Entrance) – 2010 – Canberra, Australia
Within Without (Inside View) – 2010 – Canberra, Australia
“Within Without” is located in the Australia Garden at the National Gallery of Australia. To enter the space, you traverse a long walkway surrounded by glass-like water. A stupa made of Victorian basalt rises at the center, highlighted by glowing turquoise water, and inside the stupa, is an opening to the sky — if you haven’t noticed, this a recurring feature of James Turrell Installations.
Alta Green – 1968 – Salta, Argentina
Now to shift the focus a bit to one of Turrell’s older works, I present “Alta Green”. He was working out of a small studio in Venice in the late 1960’s exploring projected light when he created this piece. He used a slide projector mounted to the ceiling of the room via a platform and 35mm slide frames masked off with opaque silver tape in various shapes to create the brilliant green geometry seen here.
Milk Run – 1996 – Washington, D.C.
“Milk Run” at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. consists of a seemingly pitch-black room with recessed lighting to create a particularly eerie atmosphere. Entering the darkened space, the viewer sees a multi-hued wedge of light that forms an illusory volume – a quality that shifts in relation to the viewer’s movements. Apparently, the term “Milk Run” refers to the short flights pilots would make to pick up milk from farmers in rural areas. How it relates to this piece is open to interpretation.
Live Oak Meeting House – 2001 – Houston, Texas
As a lifelong Quaker, Turrell designed the “Live Oak Meeting House” for the Society of Friends, with an opening in the roof, wherein the notion of light takes on a decidedly religious connotation. Quakers have no dogma or creed, and a fundamental Quaker belief is that there is “that of God in everyone.” In other words, this organization shouldn’t prevent anyone from visiting. Here’s a quote from Turrell on the project:
“The Meeting is actually like the Gunpowder Meeting, or some of the earlier American Quaker Meetings…The long house form is something that was tradition…that’s what I started with as an idea. But then making this in terms of the sizing and the use that was asked for by Live Oak Meeting- I mean it’s a very traditional form, except it’s convertible. The top opens, and it makes a sky space where sky is really brought down to you; your awareness of it is made quite different. It was a little bit of a novel idea, that it’s a roof that opens.”
The wood benches and floors go really well with the diffuse white light.
Dhatu – 2010 – London, England
I’ll finish this presentation with a piece from the Gagosian Gallery in London. “Dhatu” is a Buddhist term meaning ‘Realm’ and is part of James Turrell’s Ganzfeld series (Ganzfeld is German for ‘total visual field’). The installation is an imageless, formless landscape of constantly changing color. At one point in this color changing sequence, the contours of the room disappear entirely as if by magic. One viewer stated that she went to “lean on one of the walls, and it wasn’t there.”
I think this piece demonstrates Turrell’s true mastery of light and space. When people describe your work as magic, I think you’ve truly accomplished something.
As with most installation art, you can’t get the depth of the experience until you stand inside it and become part of it, so I recommend heading to the nearest James Turrell exhibit when you get a chance. His work is present in around 25 countries so there should be one close. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
For a detailed list of past exhibitions, check here.
This is just incredible. Jokke Sommer & Ludovic Woerth took their extreme sport to a new level recently in Rio de Janeiro. They went up on Ultralight Planes and at 5:45 in the morning, they jumped into the heart of the city. My jaw dropped when they approached the opening between the two buildings. Wow! I hope Urban Wingsuit Flying takes off. I’d like to see more locations, like this one in Dallas:
Here’s a short video of Jokke describing his passion for flying:
The Ethiopian Caterpillar is an Automaton Mechanical Robot created by Swiss watchmaker Henri Maillardet in 1820. It is covered in rare gold, ornate jewels, and pearls and was sold at Sotheby’s Geneva auction room in 2010 for $415,215 to an Asian buyer.
“The body is realistically designed to represent a caterpillar comprising eleven jointed ring segments, framed by seed pearls, and decorated with translucent red enamel over an engine-turned ground, studded overall with gold-set rubies, turquoise, emeralds,and diamonds. The underside is decorated with champlevé black enamel. When the automaton movement is engaged, the caterpillar crawls realistically, its body moving up and down simulating the undulations of a caterpillar by means of a set of gilt-metal knurled wheels. The automata work is composed of a barrel, cam and two leavers all working together to create the crawling motion.”
Maillardet, it is believed, was one of the only people creating animal automatons in the early 1800s. The creation date puts the age of this caterpillar at almost 200 years. We’ve been making robots for a long time!