torsdag 7. april 2011
been looking into the art of Dan Graham the last couple of days, just received a book from amazon containing his writings; two-way mirror power, selected writings. Fascinated by his thoughts around how he uses his mirror installations as an operative means to investigate living areas through the relation between internal and external environment, private/public, and to see how the human being relates to the codes regulating urban life. Trying to see if his thoughts around mirroring walls could be transformed into my thinking- is it so that a lot of the social stigmas and the division of groups at Grønland is due to the juxtaposition between observer/observant- could this be evened out if the observer becomes the observant? How could this reshape/restructure both the psychological and perceptive structures of the the social behavior in the streetscape? Could we in the case of Grønland transform the transparency of the non-communicating layers into rather visible ones? I see you as a reflection of me etc...-could this prevent further stigmatism and also help in bringinging forth the "hidden" life from behind the facades, i.e. the introvert "social-clubs" etc...?
torsdag 17. mars 2011
The Senate of the State of Kansas in the USA intensifies the fight against what they believe is a common decline in the morality in the society due to the porn industry and everything that goes with it. A new law requires that strip clubs, porn cinemas, shops selling sex toys and the like, is not be established closer than 300 meters from schools, churches, parks, nurseries and libraries. This is a pretty absurd problem, 300 meters is a relatively large distance in a city and how does this affect a churchgoer if he must pass a pussypump store on his way to the sermon? Is it really so that the presence of sex in the city is considered so dangerous it must be banned? At Grønland churches, mosques, nurseries and pornshops coexists, side by side, not much controversy, and, oh, since so much funstuff is already banned in Norway, its a big black market due to supply & demand, does it become better if we pretend it does not excist?
lørdag 12. mars 2011
With over 50% of the population beeing catagorized as immigrants, Grønland is a truly heterogenous place. Every country and city in the world has its own pace and beat and the speed of walking is correlated to this pace. What happens when people from so many different places meet up and construct new societies, does the pace change the rhythm of the city or its users? My first impression is that Grønland has a slower walking pace than the rest of the city, the so-called flaneur is alive in this area; walking as an act of socializing seems to be cherised by the people here and the interaction and sudden encounter it creates is embraced. The urban wanderer with his aimless strolling may be looked upon as a means of reclaiming the streets for the pedestrian.
A study done by psychologist Richard Wiseman shows the difference in walking speed across the globe. People from 32 countries were timed walking over an 18 metre stretch of un-crowded pavement, resulting in these numbers;
1) Singapore (Singapore); 10.55
2) Copenhagen (Denmark); 10.82
3) Madrid (Spain); 10.89
4) Guangzhou (China): 10.94
5) Dublin (Ireland); 11.03
6) Curitiba (Brazil); 11.13
7) Berlin (Germany); 11.16
8) New York (United States of America); 12.00
9) Utrecht (Netherlands); 12.04
10) Vienna (Austria); 12.06
11) Warsaw (Poland); 12.07
12) London (United Kingdom); 12.17
13) Zagreb (Croatia); 12.20
14) Prague (Czech Republic); 12.35
15) Wellington (New Zealand); 12.62
16) Paris (France); 12.65
17) Stockholm (Sweden); 12.75
18) Ljubljana (Slovenia); 12.76
19) Tokyo (Japan); 12.83
20) Ottawa (Canada); 13.72
21) Harare (Zimbabwe); 13.92
22) Sofia (Bulgaria); 13.96
23) Taipei (Taiwan): 14.00
24) Cairo (Egypt); 14.18
25) Sana'a (Yemen); 14.29
26) Bucharest (Romania); 14.36
27) Dubai (United Arab Emirates); 14.64
28) Damascus (Syria); 14.94
29) Amman (Jordan); 15.95
30) Bern (Switzerland); 17.37
31) Manama (Bahrain); 17.69
32) Blantyre (Malawi); 31.60
tirsdag 8. mars 2011
Akerselva floats through the city, 8.2 kilometers long and with a drop of 149 meters. The river has been the traditional, somewhat simplified border between the east and the west of Oslo, creating an economical and a sosionomical difference between the two parts. It was along this river the industry in Oslo was established and it played an important part in the development of the industrial Oslo.
In the 1970s Akerselva was highly contaminated after 150 years of industrial and sewage discharges along river. In the 1980's, a local program to limit emissions and get the animal and fish life back to river was innitiated. Both the river and the areas along it has taken part in a massive transformation, from a dirty, run-down industrial area to a park and residential area, the transformation was an ecological success.
At the mouth of the river, Oset water treatment plant, owned by Oslo's water and wastewater services, was up and running in 2008 and supplies drinking water to 90 percent of the population in Oslo. Couple of days ago, a leak in one of the tubes containing chlorine was spotted, before it got stopped 6,000 liters of pure chlorine was released into the river. This is the equivalent to 240,000 bottles of regular household bleach. The spill has killed nearly 100% of all aquatic life in Akerselva, so far the observers has spotted only one living fish in the river. NIVA has started investigations to find out how much of the bottom mud is contaminated since this is the most vital part in the ecological system creating the river and thus securing food for the fish. Earlier, contaminated discharges have previously been from the industry in the lower parts, and then the upper parts have been spared, so that have helped the river to recover faster, but now it seems that all parts of the river is infected and it is uncertain when the aquatic life in the river will stabilize. No matter how careful we try to act , accidents do occur…
mandag 7. mars 2011
the best way to make your mark on society is to take matter in your own hands, as easy as one-two-three, take a lightbulb, fill with paint-now you got your own grenade. Find a wall wich bores you with its cleanliness- Aim-Throw-take a step back and enjoy the alternation of your neighbourhood...
At Grønland, an area wich consist of a conglomerat of smallrun businesses, the delivery of goods and the exibition of this in the streetscape calls for a more flexibel use of the streets than an "ordinary" part of the city. To achive this "push and pull" effect of the appearance one must look into the timezone and divide the use according to the needs, when goods are delivered the zone surrounding the shops will grow- when shoppers arrive the zone will be smaller and leave room for another encounter.
torsdag 3. mars 2011
An area 200 metres by 100 metres of solid building, 35.000 inhabitants, a population density of approximately 1,255,000/km2, this was the facts in Kowloon- The Walled City- certainly one of the densest urban slums in the world. Situated in "no-mans land", from 1945-1993, a political loophole created a zone of Hong Kong where there was no law, and wheres there no law- theres no police. The resulting anarchic monolith was the the closest thing to a truly self-regulating, self-sufficient, self-determining modern city that has ever been built, infrastructure was taken care of in theire own way by drilling wells and tapping into nearby city’s water sources, the same with the necessary electricity, since no sunlight passed through the streets were lit by fluorescent lights, creating a dark damp underworld.
With no regulations of any kind, this was the place the triads came to hide, the illegal businesses of Hong Kong happened here and, like all hideaways it attracts the usual types drawn to undiscovered countries: criminals, dreamers, dissidents, refugees and the plain desperate. But, at the same time this was a well functioning autonomus society, kids were brought up there, people got married there- lives were lived. After the triads gave up the controll of the city in the 70s, the city became self governed. Some consider this society to be the rarest of things, a working model of an anarchist society, while others, in theire conformity describes it as aliving shithole. The true fact is; it was less crime there than in the rest of Hong Kong. (maybe because people dont shit were they eat.) Nonetheless, it fascinating to look at the citys structure, it becomes a monolith, the buildings rising up to 14 storys, morph into each other, the streets disappear in tunnels, no lights gets through, not even Jodorowski could have imagined a city as dense and at the same time as scattered as this..
onsdag 2. mars 2011
A couple of years ago, the Swiss population determined, by election, to ban the building of minarets on mosques. This decision is highly controversial, meaning that the majority in this case will decide on a minority's right to express both their religion and their cultural heritage through a building design and denying them the right to express themselves in their shared, common public space. Is this a decision which occurs because of irritation over a change of the street space aesthetics or is it racism - different rules for different subcultures in society?
One of the most elaborate new buildings in Grønland is the Islamic Cultural Center Mosque in Åkebergveien.
In 2000, the mosque applied to get the right to call to prayer from loudspeakers outside the mosque. It was met with fierce protests, and it was even formed an action group against prayer. The end of the story was that they were allowed to pray in the framework of 60 decibels. Nevertheless, the mosque chose not to avail themselves of this opportunity and only prayer inside, probably to avoid confrontation (but they probably wouldnt had applied if it wasnt a wish...) At Grønland the senses have a stronger presence than elsewhere in the city. Here the scents are stronger, the colors more present and the sounds more intense than in the rest of the city. These are variables that help to stimulate the curiosity and differentiate streets from each other, these are little hints that tell about what happens but that might not be seen but nevertheless gives a broader expireience of the situation.
It is through these sensory experiences we can experience the city in its entirety, the perceptional account for only a small part of the overall experience, we must not forget the rest of the senses in our understanding of the city.
mandag 14. februar 2011
Henry Ford, one of the richest men in the world, didn't just want to be a maker of cars — he wanted to be a maker of men. He thought he could perfect society by building model factories and pristine villages to go with them. And he was pretty successful at it in Michigan. But in the jungles of Brazil, he would ultimately be defeated. In 1928, he established a prefabricated industrial town in the Amazon rainforest.
It was called "Fordlandia”.
Ford wanted his own supply of rubber for The Ford Motor Company in the US and thats the reason why he built this. Fordlandia isn't just the story of a plantation; it's a story about Ford's ego. Not one drop of latex from Fordlandia ever made it into a Ford car.
Ford basically tried to impose mass industrial production on the diversity of the jungle, but it seemed to be an impossible task, as the Amazon is one of the most complex ecological systems in the world and Ford relied mainly on indegenious workers on the plantations who had none botanical education. Ford’s vision was a replica Midwestern town, with modern plumbing, hospitals, schools, sidewalks, tennis courts and even a golf course. There would be no drink or other forms of immorality, but gardening for all and chaste dances every week. The workers where given something which for them where unfamiliar food such as hamburgers and sloppy joes, they were forced to live in American-style housing and they truly disliked the way they were treated — they had to wear ID badges at all times and work midday hours under the tropical sun and as a result; they would often refuse to work and revolt. Instead of the picket-fenced utopia in the Amazon that Mr.Ford dreamed about it turned into something complete different; Ford forbade alcohol and tobacco within the town, including inside the workers' own homes. The inhabitants circumvented this prohibition by paddling out to merchant riverboats moored beyond town jurisdiction and a settlement was established five miles upstream on the "Island of Innocence" with bars, nightclubs and brothels.
No matter how much you try to enclose people the parias in a society will allways seek out to establish theiere own reality.
Looked upon as a complete failure, Fordlandia was abandonded in 1945, due to the development of synthetic rubber.
So, conclusion; one mans utopia aint necessary the next mans…
mandag 7. februar 2011
The snowdeposit on Åsland was established in autumn 2006, with paving and drainage, and is the only landfill Samferdselsetaten have in Oslo. When the landfill is full, its been dumped about 250,000 cubic meters of snow here, which is estimated to be about 12 000 truck loads full of snow.
Snow removed from the roads is significantly contaminated by road salt, metals and organic pollutants, but if the landfills are designed appropriately it can reduce the spread of pollutants. The main sources of the contamination is wear of the road, tires, brakes and exhaust. Previously, large amounts of the snow was dumped into the harbor every winter, but because of unwanted litter and growth in the sediments, this was stopped, and the landfill was established instead. The snow that’s been cleared from the streets of the iner city includes both garbage, particles such as sand and gravel, various salts, oil, and not least significant amounts of pollutants. Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) has estimated that winter 93/94 the snow dumped in the sea added Bispevika (the sea) in Oslo about 1000 tonnes of particulates, 60 kg zinc, 29 kg lead, 20 kg copper, 20 kg chromium, 8 kg PAH and 7.5 tonnes of oil. The snow also contained in the order of 50-190g of the highly hazardous environmental exposure to PCBs.
The massive amount of snow doesn’t melt untill september and may be looked upon as a man made glacier. The transportation of this large amount of snow contributes to a lot of polution from the trucks and also an extra pressure on the road system. In an interlocked local system are there any other ways to solve this?
The content of pollutants in the melted water means it must pass through a treatment plant before it can be released. In the current energy debate it is an important step in making energy use more environmentally friendly. It is important not to forget the cooling demand in this debate. Many commercial buildings and office space has a great need for cooling in summer. At Grønland, a lot of the buildings are solely commercial buildings that’s dependent on heatreducing airconditioning systems, whats the possibillity for the establishment of local snowdeposits which can be connected with the established building mass. A project in Sweden, the hospital of Sundsvall have established such a system; The hospital has a large need for cooling in summer. The air outside are often of 25 degrees, so it is necessary to lower the temperature. This requires a lot of energy in such a large building. This unique project aims to reduce energy consumption, save money and stop all use of freon in the cooling system.
The snow collected from clearing the areas around the hospital, app. 30,000 m3 of snow will be stored on a 7,000 m2 large area. In late April, when theres enough snow, it is covered by wood chips or sawdust. The snow will then be placed under the insulating layer, and slowly begin to melt in May.
The melted water then has a temperature of approx. 1 plus degree and this is pumped through a heat exchanger. Air pumped into the heat exchanger will be reduced to around 20 degrees. After the melted water has passed through the heat exchanger it is sent back to the snowdeposit with a temperature of approx. 15 ° C. The water helps to melt the new snow, which is then pumped back to the hospital again. This cycle continues until all snow has melted.
lørdag 5. februar 2011
sim city, the "urbanizing" computergame wich allows each and everyone of us to act out our godlike tendencies in the comfort of our own home has reached a new level. By close examination of the game mechanics and the capacity of each and every tile its been theorized and formulated the most effective structure which would maximize the total capability of population a tile can hold. Its the creation of the perfect totalitarian city.
a link to a site posting screenshots from google earth/streetview, a glimpse into how certain individuals somewhere in the world choose to act on a certain given time. Even though sites like this enables us to get an impression of what reality looks like through lenses like this its still just that; an impression.
torsdag 3. februar 2011
Described as one of the great, lost enigmas in the history of the world, the lost labyrinth of Egypt was a colossal temple with 3000 rooms full of hieroglyphs and paintings. A legendary building lost for two thousand years under the ancient sands of Egypt. Herodotus, the ancient greek historian, called the "father of history" (by some labeled 'The Father of Lies' because of his tendency to report fanciful information, nonetheless..) described it in 530 BC as a "labyrinth"; a building complex that he considered to surpass the pyramides in its astonishing ambition:
”It has twelve covered courts — six in a row facing north, six south — the gates of the one range exactly fronting the gates of the other. Inside, the building is of two storeys and contains three thousand rooms, of which half are underground, and the other half directly above them. I was taken through the rooms in the upper storey, so what I shall say of them is from my own observation, but the underground ones I can speak of only from report, because the Egyptians in charge refused to let me see them, as they contain the tombs of the kings who built the labyrinth, and also the tombs of the sacred crocodiles. The upper rooms, on the contrary, I did actually see, and it is hard to believe that they are the work of men; the baffling and intricate passages from room to room and from court to court were an endless wonder to me, as we passed from a courtyard into rooms, from rooms into galleries, from galleries into more rooms and thence into yet more courtyards. The roof of every chamber, courtyard, and gallery is, like the walls, of stone. The walls are covered with carved figures, and each court is exquisitely built of white marble and surrounded by a colonnade”
Still investigated, a belgium research team are now doing scans of the sand to reveal the truth.
To play a solitary game of city is the equivalent of beeing alone in a city, in a place designed for beeing amongst others its regarded as lonesome to stay all by yourself, one is the loneliest number you can find some people say. The household statics in Oslo disagree with this conclusion; every fourth household in Norway consists of only one person. In Oslo, the proportion of the population over 16 who live alone is a total of 52 percent, or 150 000. Of these, 75 percent are women.
We find half of those living alone among the quarter of the population with the lowest incomes. Especially young people living alone are overrepresented in the low-income group. When students are excluded from this group( you know- we who seek knowledge must pay a high price for this; we don’t even deserve to be included in the group; “poor”…), the proportion of "poor" among citizens under 30 years who live alone is four times as high as the average of the population.
Housing costs for people living alone has increased by 40 percent since 1987, but the costs have only risen by 16 percent for others. The proportion of people living alone who own their own homes has also declined over the past 15 years.
In sum, living alone in Oslo means higher living costs per person than the average. Living alone in Oslo has a total consumption expenditure, which is 40 percent higher than people living alone outside the major cities.
You gotta pay the cost to be the boss/ its expensive to be the king in the castle.
tirsdag 1. februar 2011
New knowledge acquired about the park at Grønland. Vaterlandsparken, made infamous as a drugspot in this millenium was actually intended to surve a higher purpose; the park is located on the so-called mosque site, todays drugspot could have been a place for spiritual meaning and mindtravel in a less chemical way... In the architectural competition for Vaterland in 1982, the city had as a requirement that buildings and axes should relate to the direction towards Mecca that is required for the center axis in any mosque. The Oslo Spectrum and the Raddisson Plaza had to be regulated into this axis. The muslim congregation that pledged to build the mosque at this site later got financial problems and had to abandon the idea and instead we got Vaterlandsparken.
by chance, as I was reopening the blog for the season I took a look at the statistics showing who visited this blog and how they came across this little body of work... to no surprise; the winner is good ol fashioned S.E.X.X.X.X!! Nice to see what the public likes..haha
mandag 31. januar 2011
When it rains it pours-rephrase that in a nordic manner; When it snows it builds. The police regulations state that the building owners themselves are responsible for keeping the boardwalks clean and free of ice while the city itself is responsible for the streets and walkingzones in the innercity. This mixture of public/private shared responsibillity has given the city a look which at best can be described as a quilted blanket, the minimizing of walkable areas caused by the power of nature is acting as the biggest occupant of public space but at the same time it is still acting as a live tracer; the routes people take and the decissions they take on theire way through the cityscape leaves a walked impression of the choiches beeing made, or, does it mean that the first person who walks through the streets after heavy snow makes decissions for everybody else to follow the next couple of days, ha, what made him a leader.
Approximetly two years ago, chief of police; Arnstein Gjengedal promised the public to keep the streets of Grønland drug free, or as he stated; Enough is Enough! Like all other daring statements its a failure, or as I stated myself on this blog half a year ago; a user is a user 365,24/7. In a city there will allways be secret transactions and secret locations for doing illegal bizz, the only thing we can change about this is the way we regard this, if we chase these people away from a known locality theyll just find a new place for theire activities tomorrow. Whats bugging me about this is not the dealing of illegal substances, nor the appearence of the buyers/ users but, the media plays a big role in portraying the reallity of a neighbourhood; the constant focus on the problems instead of having a discussion around solutions. This link is from yesterdays aftenposten and is about the war on drugs at Grønland. Last year 737 persons where comprehended, half of them more than once. One out of two has either been rejected as an asylant or is living here without proper permit. 136 of them is enrolled as asylants, and for the rest, the story goes on…
According to the police; people from Algeria, Nigeria and Somalia are in the top three ranking of the arrests, these three countries are among the worst on the UNs list of Living Conditions (Somalia is not even on the list due to lack of data..).
Last year, the police expelled 189 of the arrested people in this neighbourhood back to theire country of origin. The questions that should arise then is not if these people are criminals or not, (of course they are when they have broken the laws), but what we should question is rather WHY they are there, on the streets, pushing dope under the bridge. There is a reason for everything but whats the reason for the constant witchhunt on the users and buyers and the will that some journalists have in making Grønland appear more dangerous than it really is? I know that rain sells better than sunshine, lets not hope that this also accounts for stigmatization…
Sometimes the fixation on different themes can lead you into unexpected findings like this one; Herman Webster Mudgett (its in the name really), better known as Dr.H.H.Holmes is known as one of the great serial killers of America, confessing 27 murders but belived to have killed as many as 200.
Whats interesting about Mr. Holmes is neither the murders nor the notority of the crime, but its the intricacy of the house (known as the haunted castle) he built in Chicago.The building was an imposing structure of three stories and a basement, with false battlements and wooden bay windows that were covered with sheet iron. There were over 60 rooms in the structure and 51 doors that were cut oddly into various walls. Holmes acted as his own architect for the place and he personally supervised the numerous construction crews, all of whom were quickly hired and fired (or killed), discharging them with great fury and refusing to pay their wages. Holmes repeatedly changed builders during the construction of the Castle so only he fully understood the design of the house, thus decreasing the chance of being reported to the police. The first floor of the building contained stores and shops, while the upper floors could be used for spacious living quarters. Holmes also had an office on the second floor, but most of the rooms were to be used for guests - guests that would never be seen again. Evidence would later be found to show that Holmes used some of the rooms as "asphyxiation chambers", where his victims were suffocated with gas. Other chambers were lined with iron plates and had blowtorch-like devices fitted into the walls. In the basement, the "doctor" installed a dissecting table and he constructed his own crematory. There was also an acid vat and pits filled with quicklime, where bodies could be conveniently disposed of. Despite the nasty fact that this house was the last haven for many people its still a story about architecture in the highest degree; a house designed for a purpose and satisfying the needs of the builder...
tirsdag 25. januar 2011
In 1905, just days before the great earthquake/ fire in San Francisco which virtually destroyed all the buildings in the city. This movie is capturing the chaotic, undisciplined streetlife, buzzling and vibrant compared to the restricted/ regulated scenes that was recaptured in 2005.
Like all people know, were safer now but, oh, its less dazzling for your imagination aint it?
A side by side comparison of the three main films of "A trip down Market St", done in real time each film starts at the correct point on the journey. The fourth is a 35mm hand cranked camera that filmed the scene in B&W along side the modern technology of the colour H.D camera in 2005.
Came across this article in the dailymail the other day which thrilled me a little bit, lately Ive been intrigued by labyrinths, the enigmas of space, wich steps will lead you where, what decissions does one take, subdivisions of space and the entanglements we people tend to get caught in. Its about how the designers at Ikea have turned theire warehouses into massive labyrinths (not unlike the movie "The Cube") and totally have taken controll over the looted costumers. Not surprisingly, it works pretty damn well.
Exploration of these possibilities entails discovering previously unknown territory. By further studying the layouts of computergames such as Dungeons Masters and other likes (personally I know squat about computergames, but, its nice to watch theire layouts and willingness to establish new turfs, hierarchies and enigmas, so, I might be gamer one day) Ive tried to look into different ways to take controll or, the opposite- give the users a variety of choiches, and because of this one can find out
how they allways create new rooms and worlds to discover and thus make the player ( in a cityspace we would call him user maybe..) receive an "award" for his curiosity and his willingness to explore new territories.
However, for all this to feel like an accomplishment, there has to be a meaningful effort on the part of the players and a challenge on part of the DM. There can be no real exploration if the map isn't large enough or complex enough to allow failure, as in certain areas being missed. If encounters are presented one after another, there is no challenge and no accomplishment in this respect.(so they claim- I state: what happens when someone overrides this and doesnt play accordingly to the rules, i.e-in real life urban place its easier to make interventions.)
Will look further into this and see what happens when the well calculated rules of these games are transfered into a cityscape...
mandag 24. januar 2011
Hibernating means to pass the winter in a dormant or lethargic state. Animals that hibernate store body fat when food is plentiful. When food is scarce, they hibernate, living off their stored body fat.
Polar bears do not overwinter in dens like brown and black bears. Hibernation in the true sense of the word does not apply to polar bears.
Only pregnant females enter dens to give birth where they stay until the cubs are big enough to trek.
To build her den, the female scrapes a tunnel into the snow and digs two chambers, this technique is closely related to the igloos of the eskimoes, a shelter constructed out of snow to give protection from the snow, this is the ingenious part of it, turning a negative factor into a protective one.
Most polar bears remain active throughout the year.
They have the ability to reduce their metabolic rate when food is scarce and adjust it again when food is abundant.
Male and non-pregnant female polar bears do not hibernate, but can switch over to a "Walking Hibernation" when there is not enough food.
They slightly lower their body temperature and decreased heart and breathing rates.
This physiological act is unique to Polar Bears no other bear can do leaving the polarregion as a new Transilvania full of walking deads,
i.e. the zombie bears.
Since I have been gone for so long in a hibernating state its now time to get back in the game and do as the polar bear, lower my bodytemperature a little bit and start hunting in the streets of Grønland for scraps and hidden tales, so, now its on again.
All this talk about polar bears, hibernation and igloos leads me to my next point;
The climate outside this time of year is quite different then what it was when I started my Grønland project and I will use the next couple of days to examine the effects of snow, low temperature and the difference in tempo that applies to these seasonal changes in the cityscapes.