05 September 2014

Random Notes

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Everynoise.com purports to be "an algorithmically-generated, readability-adjusted scatter-plot of the musical genre-space," what maps the supposed 1246 genres and sub-genres of contemporary music.

I'm sure there are legions of purists of each stripe out there who will and -- say -- declare "false necrogrind" of Parasite Hilton. In a few instances, genre names have been invented by the sat being taken care of, all you need to do is create DJ monikers for the sorts of club DJs who specialize in each designated genre. [via the Guardian]

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From the architectural pavilions of this season's Venice Biennale, in which participants kick against the guidelines of "starchitecture," as exemplified by current Biennale curator Rem Koolhaas:

"Most of the curators of the national pavilions embraced Koolhaas’s challenge to reconsider their countries' architectural history, and most ignored or deliberately undermined his polemical and ideological agenda—as Koolhaas himself had come to recognize by the show’s opening. As a result of this unanticipated and welcome rebellion, this year’s Biennale offers an unforgettably wide-ranging, if scattershot, survey of modern and contemporary architectural history that will forever demolish the popular notion of what modernism in architecture was.

"It is ironic justice that Koolhaas’s very failure to control the message in the national pavilions is precisely what makes this year’s show the most illuminating and important exploration of architectural culture in recent history. The national pavilions from Albania to Uruguay swirl with architectural splendors and revelations. Who beyond its borders knew of the rich modernist tradition in Mozambique, with one foot in south European and especially Portuguese avant-garde trends and the other in Africa’s thatched huts? Or that Pier Luigi Nervi, the Italian engineer famous for elegant long-span bridges and stadia, designed a spectacular cathedral, abbey, and monastery for the Benedictine order in western Australia from 1958 to 1961? (Alas, it was never built.) How many have recognized the importance of South Korea’s deep modernist tradition, which produced dozens of buildings that are innovative, 
beautiful, and good?"

See also: The virtual tour recently offered by ArchDaily.

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Somewhat relatedly: Every nation is the market for monuments. As those in the market have learned, North Korea's Mansudae Art Studio is frequently there to meet the demands. However:
"...There’s a consistency in the details of their craft. German officials, who commissioned Mansudae Studios to rebuild a fountain destroyed in World War One, complained of angular, cement block haircuts of the depicted women, which had an unwanted soviet touch. In Benin, critics have called a North Korean built monument Stalinist, a cartoonish depiction of Africans, and even chauvinistic."

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National Public Radio does a segment on the what all's involved in assessing the worth of a museum's entire holdings, in this case the Detroit Institute of Arts.

An historical footnote about the DIA collection: When Hitler invaded Poland and effectively got the WWII ball rolling, the Western world took note. Curators began scrambling to devise contingency plans to stash their institution's collections into safe storage in the event of an invasion. This began in London and Paris, quickly followed by museums in such U.S, coastal cites like New York, Boston, D.C., and San Francisco. But Detroit waved away the notion, mainly because Henry Ford had ordered that the doors remain open and the collection stay as it was. His rational supposedly being that (a) Detroit was too far inland to be at risk, and (b) Axis powers weren't likely to invade the U.S.. Fair enough -- but given how Ford had long been so chummy with Adolph Hitler, one can't help but wonder if his decision was partly based on one part intuition to one part "insider information."

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