Wednesday, March 31, 2010


This photo was taken by Katja Hogenboom in Umeå, Sweden, where I spent some time in the mid-nineties.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

a dwelling is no machine for living in

Le Corbusier saw houses as 'machines for living in'. An example is his design of Villa Savoye, in Poissy, which is nearby Paris (soon after the construction was finished the roof started to leak and the Savoye family sued Le Corbusier). The metaphor shows his anti-humanism clearly, Theodore Dalrymple calls Le Corbusier therefore totalitarian. The Dutch architect Ruurd Roorda of Kingma Roorda Architects claims on a related note that architects have an obsession for the outside, and he gives Frank Gehry's 1997 Guggenheim museum in Bilbao as an example. Architects want to draw attention to their extravagant designs. However, a ciy full of 'icons' as in Dubai is not a pleasant city to live in, because there is no connection whatsoever between these so-called icons.

Friday, March 5, 2010

on books and a proverb

"My home is where my books are," says writer and Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk (I wrote an essay on Pamuk after he won the Nobel Prize). His collection of thousands of books are in Istanbul. Istanbul is his home. I certainly do not have as many books as he has, but my book collection is evenly divided between Amsterdam and Bandung. I am divorced from a large part of what constitutes a home. I am divorced from what has constituted my self. Is this abortion necessarily a bad thing? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

(And here the New York Times essay "You are what you read" by Leah Price.)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

toxic shock syndrome

a building and a book

We should not judge a building merely from the outside. Or worse, from photos and texts in a well designed book (we cannot live in a book). We have to judge a building by using it. Today, architects write lofty theories because they are afraid that their designs do not 'speak' to us.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

walls have no names

Ecce Homo

Semarang Gallery, which is by far the most beautiful art space in Indonesia, organizes an exhibition on the theme Ecce Homo, this exhibition is curated by Heru Hikayat and the photo above is an artwork by Roumy Handayani Pesona. I wrote an essay for the catalog, and the exhibition can be visited until 10 March.