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Balance is the latest installation piece by artists Dwayne Bohuslav and Joanne Brigham, who together perform as Moving Bodies.  Their art typically addresses the most primal aspects of our existence and that of our planet, here using the theme of vernal equinox for a show that opened on the date thereof.

Though their themes are often primal in nature, addressing topics such as ice, human instinct, myth, and habitation,  their palette of materials is a modern one that attempts to reconcile these ancient themes with our modern lives, and discourage our ever increasing distance from a life engaged with the planet.

Many of their pieces are designed by Bohuslav, who is also an architect, and occupied by Brigham for a performance of her sound works.  This synthesis of space making with occupation encourages comparisons to the primitive hut, which is furthered by the ad hoc quality of the workmanship and which again attempts to reconcile modern life with our roots, just as it first did in the writings of Laugier in the 18th century.  That the installations are opened as a performance, a movement from within, rather than object installed in space for our consumption as is typical, demonstrates to the viewer our connection to these themes by showing how they may be occupied.  Past themes have allowed for the art viewer to be art participant, as they were encouraged to walk through elevated constructions where they set off sonic constructions and lights through motion detectors.

This piece, Balance, while scoring the vernal equinox in its tilted frame, also took inspiration from the Japanese Tale of the  Bamboo Cutter, which tells of a baby girl found inside a bamboo shoot and ends with her return to the Moon, from which she originally came.  The story of  something/someone from the earth returning to the heavens is a common theme through the ages, and exemplifies  our desire to make sense of our place in the realm of things, and reconcile our life on this surface with the sky above.  The scale change in the Japanese story, from bamboo shoot to Moon in the heavens, is typical of Japanese philosophy that finds equality between the tiniest detail and largest gesture.  In the Bohuslav work, one finds a massive structure overhead giving birth to small suspended bottles, scaled to ones hand, and making sense of "balance".

Many of the works by Bohuslav and Brigham are suspended from above with the viewer passing beneath, so that present in these pieces are representatives of the earth and heavens, thereby posing a meeting of body and mind, instinct and learned, and in the end, an articulation of our presence on earth.


House Holman

It's not often that you're able to compare a painting with a work of architecture, but i thought i'd take the opportunity to do so with House Holman, constructed in 2004 near Sydney, Australia.

This house has received a lot of attention due to its dramatic siting, and its unusual for a house, even one with a substantial budget, to live up to such a site, much less to exceed it.  The house is perched on a 70 meter cliff overlooking the ocean in what is otherwise a completely unremarkable suburb.  You will never see pictures of this house from the street, because the house is sited so as to rid itself of its mundane neighbors.

The designers, Durbach Block Architects, have said the inspiration for the house came from "The Bathers", a painting by Picasso i was unfamiliar with.

"The Bathers" 1918

Picasso did another work called "The Bathers" in the '50s, but i see more of this painting in the house than the later piece, so i'm assuming it to be the painting from 1918.  Its easier to understand the link between the house and the painting if you see the plans:

Level 2

Level 1

The most notable feature of the painting is the composition of the figures.  Two of them are resting on the beach, and belong to it compositionally as their figures are mostly enveloped by the beach.  The third figure, by contrast, is standing and expressively enchanted with her visit to the beach, with arms undone and playing with her hair as she gazes upward .  She breaks the edge of the beach and that of the horizon, as if to express her joy as a limitless one, belonging more to the clouds than the earth, pointedly expressed here by her white striped bathing suit foretelling the clouds above.  Her suit is blue, and here again Picasso identifies her as belonging more to the sea and sky than the earth below.

House Holman, like the figures in the painting, is both anchored to the earth and fleeing to the sea and sky, as you can deduce by the plans above and the pictures below.  It seems also, i think, to express as much joy as the woman in the painting.

The beautiful, sinuous forms of the Living/Dining spaces (02, 03 in plans above), dancing on a couple of columns and extending to the sea and sky in two different directions, have a dual nature in that they also inform the inflected space below (10), carved into the earth/context below and referencing a cave in its form, so as to reconcile earth and sky.  This same spacial device is also used to define the courtyard space that leads to the pool, where the apparently free form of the living space is disciplined into a conforming part of a semi-circular formal court that appears to emerge from the edge of the cliff, along which one walks on the stepped approach from the pool, and again reconciling earth and sky; the nature of a cliff.

The approach to the court

Living space setting up the formal court to the right

Entrance from Courtyard

View from Kitchen to Courtyard

Sea and sky


The Plan

i thought i would add a sniff of my current favorite archy magazine, The Plan.  Its published in Italy, so its not cheap, and in fact i rarely buy it due to $18.50 a copy.  Thats because i'm stupid; its essentially a book and $18.50 is cheap for a book.

The project selection is always interesting, the drawings beautifully done, and there is a focus on how building are put together as well as the usual pretty pixies.  Czech it!


Packages 1

Every now and then, you run into packaging that strikes you as beautiful.  i remember thinking that Parkay (and maybe others used the same packaging) had a beautiful package concept, which had to do not with the graphics, but the package itself.  It opened in such a way as to foretell the delivery and shape of the item inside, which in this case was a stick of not butter.  i haven't seen this package in years, so i guess its been poofed.  The old style match boxes had a similar design, with a box within a box, one sliding with respect to the other, so as to embody a foretelling of the lighting of the match on the side of the exterior box, which i think is a beautifully simple, though most likely unnoticed, way of packaging matches.

Another favorite package is the Wiffle packaging for both ball and bat.

The problem, i imagine, wasn't an easy one to solve.  How to package a small round object with a thin object, 32 inches long?  The solution was brilliant.  A simple cardboard construction is placed at the end of the bat that is held in place by the friction created through the fitting of its (slightly smaller) hexagonal shape over the cylindrical form of the bat.

Hexagon to circle

This shape is then ingeniously cut along the folds of the hexagon to allow it to open and accommodate the larger "circle" of the ball, after which the cardboard returns to its original form of a hexagon to create closure.  The two differing diameters of bat and ball are reconciled through the manipulation of this single hexagon.  But thats not the end of it.  Even more excitement!  The cardboard, after returning to its hexagonal form, is now perforated on half the creases, with the intent that it be opened here in order to get the ball out.  After doing so, these "freed" ribs, through the nature of their geometry, can be bend down upon themselves so as to form a nest for the ball to sit in, against the back ribs which have remained upright.

Package, broken but showing closure of ball


At this point, a single person can put the ball in the nest, toss the ball into the air, and hit it with the bat.  In this brilliant packaging, the ball is reconciled with the bat, both prior to purchase and after, and from a formal standpoint, manifests that line, as bat, is but a series of many points (ball).  Nothing but clarity.  Now go out and play.


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