Posts Tagged ‘Greg Lynn’

End of Evangelion

Monday, April 20th, 2009

evangelion

新世紀エヴァンゲリオン
End of Evangelion
1997, 87 minutes
directed by:  Hideaki Anno

Some people have pinned it on religion as the reason why the Japanese are so much more quick to adapt to and be comfortable with technology; because their native religion, Shinto, attributes a living spirit to all objects in the world. This is as opposed to Judeo-Christians, who believe that humans are distinct from and fundamentally different from everything else. Whatever the reason, it may be the first impression upon a visit to certain places in Asia that their culture offers a more sophisticated and mature exploration into the complex relationship of mankind with technology. It is on display on every street corner, window display, technical and artistic endeavor, and adorned all over the youth of certain Asian cities. Japan makes movies like End of Evangelion, we make movies like The Terminator and Robocop.

What Japan seems to understand intuitively is that technology is simply an extension of human nature. It is not an alien thing, diametrically opposed to nature in that binary way Euro-centric societies tend to view everything. This “man-versus-machine” perspective can be seen in European films as early as Metropolis by Fritz Lang. Later on, certain films such as Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner explored a much more subtle and meaningful theme, which wasn’t whether human would prevail over machine, but instead where the line was between the two. Much in the way that everything that happens in nature is by definition, natural, such it is that everything humans create, including technology, is an extension of human nature.

neon-genesis-evangelion-0005

End of Evangelion was a film that culminated twenty-six television episodes of an anime series called Neon Genesis Evangelion, an extraordinarily popular and critically successful series that still supports a huge sub-industry involving manga (Japanese comic-books), action figures, video games, and, uh, hentai based around the characters of Eva, as the series is known for short. In fact, the image of an Evangelion can be still be considered the iconic image of Japanese anime and was the de facto subject of a Greg Lynn studio here at Yale two years ago titled “Giant Robot.”

The imagery in this movie is stunning. As one can probably infer from the convoluted and indecipherable title alone (Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion), this movie fuses biological, religious, military, and scientific themes into a dense mix filled with cultural allusions that are ambitiously diverse. The story involves a military project that may or may not be trying to fuse humans and robots to usher in a new theological era. This results in some of the most startling, imaginative, and just plain weird visual sequences I have ever seen, juxtaposed with an equally diverse soundtrack (Frank Sinatra plus Pachabel plus J-pop, anyone?), on top of some of the most refined and beautifully drawn anime ever done.

On another note, the director, Hideako Anno, spent several years of his life essentially isolated in his room reading comic books and playing video games in a particularly Japanese affliction known as “otaku.” Otakus are defined by William Gibson as, “the passionate obsessive, the information age’s embodiment of the connoisseur, more concerned with the accumulation of data than of objects. . . Understanding otaku -hood, I think, is one of the keys to understanding the culture of the web. There is something profoundly post-national about it, extra-geographic. We are all curators, in the post-modern world, whether we want to be or not.”

-    quang truong (originally written February 11, 2008)

Modern Palladio

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Tala Gharagozlou attended the Yale School of Architecture Symposium this past weekend, and this is what she had to say about it.

palladio-symposium2-450x6791

“Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn”

Rhett Butler’s line in Gone with the wind was not only voted as the most famous one movie line by the American Film Institute in 2005, but it seems to have been the motto of some of the most famous 20th c. architectural figures.

Architects definitely care about ideas, but what about “function”?

I was struck by a comment made by Kurt Forster this week-end at a symposium dedicated to Palladio at YSOA. In response to the concluding presentations by Peter Eisenman and Rafael Moneo, Kurt said that Palladio was the first real modern architect because he did not “care how his buildings were meant to be used”. Have a look at Villa Rotonda. Not exactly a place to live in. But oh the beauty of minimalism, of art for art’s sake…

villarotonda

Beyond the fact that Kurt was the one making that statement, it seemed to ring shockingly true. How many times have I wondered what the point of architecture was anyway?

And if you omit a few “hygienist” architects of the turn of the century –think Bruno Taut or Margarethe Schütte-Lihotzky and the design of the Frankfurt kitchen, use has really been one of the last things on architects’ mind.

The statement was also perfect in the company of someone like Peter Eisenman, whose entire project has been to define the autonomy of architecture by dealing with its “pure” syntax. And there it was, the perfect ending to the symposium, Peter Eisenman, Rafael Moneo, Greg Lynn, Robert A. M. Stern and all the others, all smiling at each other contently. Yes, Architecture is still here to stay…

On a side note, the poster to the symposium (at the top of the post) was designed by Michael Bierut’s Pentagram and I just love it. I also happen to be in a class he is co-teaching with William Drenttel at Yale. The hot topic has been, what if we designed as if we gave a damn?

The book that came out a few years ago was a pretty big success, part of that whole environmental/let’s save the world with buildings frenzy.

Drenttel’s own project though should be a very exciting one to keep track of.

– Tala Gharagozlou

Perspecta Party

Friday, January 16th, 2009

monstercover

Tonight there is a release party to celebrate two new issues of Perspecta, issues 40: Monster and 41: The Grand Tour.

It’s tonight: Friday, January 16th, 7:00 PM at 7 World Trade Center (250 Greenwich Street), 45th Floor.

The editors of these two issues are my friends, Marc Guberman, Jacob Reidel, & Frida Rosenberg for Perspecta 40 “Monster;” and Gabrielle Brainard, Rustam Mehta, & Thomas Moran for Perspecta 41 “Grand Tour.”

I know there will be at least a few contributors showing up as well, so come hang out for a bit.

The contributors for 40: Monster include Mario Carpo, Mark Gage, Marcelyn Gow and Ulrika Karlsson (servo), Catherine Ingraham, Mark Jarzombek, Terry Kirk, Leon Krier, Greg Lynn, John May, John McMorrough, Colin Montgomery, Guy Nordenson, Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen, Emmanuel Petit, Kevin Roche, Yoshiharu Tsukamoto (Atelier Bow-Wow) and Ryuji Fujimura, Michael Weinstock, and Claire Zimmerman.

The contributors for 41: The Grand Tour include Esra Akcan, Aaron Betsky, Ljiljana Blagojević, Edward Burtynsky, Matthew Coolidge and CLUI, Gillian Darley, Brook Denison, Helen Dorey, Keller Easterling, Peter Eisenman, Dan Graham and Mark Wasiuta, Jeffery Inaba and C-Lab, Sam Jacob, Michael Meredith, Colin Montgomery, Dietrich Neumann, Enrique Ramirez, Mary-Ann Ray and Robert Mangurian, Kazys Varnelis, Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, & Enrique Walker.

You can order the books here and here.

Monster

Friday, December 26th, 2008

monstercoverWell, there is a release party to celebrate the 40th issue of the Yale Architectural Journal Perspecta will be held in New York City on Friday, January 16th, 2009 (time and location to follow). Issue 41: The Grand Tour was recently released as well, but I don’t have any news about parties for that one.

Architectural journals are fun, but Perspecta is a student-edited journal, which makes it even more fun (although the more I know architects, the more it seems like they always stay students–which is probably a mixed blessing).

It was edited by my friends Marc Guberman, Jacob Reidel, and Frida Rosenberg.

The contributors include Mario Carpo, Mark Gage, Marcelyn Gow and Ulrika Karlsson (servo), Catherine Ingraham, Mark Jarzombek, Terry Kirk, Leon Krier, Greg Lynn, John May, John McMorrough, Colin Montgomery, Guy Nordenson, Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen, Emmanuel Petit, Kevin Roche, Yoshiharu Tsukamoto (Atelier Bow-Wow) and Ryuji Fujimura, Michael Weinstock, and Claire Zimmerman.

You can order it from Amazon.com here.