and now for my next trick

Posts Tagged ‘city

transparent city no 46 michael wolf

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Michael Wolf

Written by Peter Rudd

January 26, 2010 at 9:38 pm

Posted in photography, the city

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beauty and the bike

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Written by Peter Rudd

December 27, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Posted in energy, the city

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kowloon walled city

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Kowloon Walled City an urban development in Hong Kong, was torn down in 1993, over 15 years ago.  It was abandoned after the Japanese occupied the city and tore down its granite walls destroying its feng shui harmony; and later occupied by Chinese refugees fleeing Communist reforms in the north.  It became a model of anarchy.  I keep going back to JG Ballard – his dystopian novel High Rise took place in a modern european residential tower. 

From the Columbia University site

And so, the Walled City became that rarest of things, a working model of an anarchist society. Inevitably, it bred all the vices. Crime flourished and the Triads made the place their stronghold, operating brothels and opium ‘divans’ and gambling dens. Undoubtedly, these few (and it always was a small proportion) kept the majority of residents in a state of fear and subjection, which is why for many years outsiders trying to penetrate were given the coldest of shoulders.

But for most, the main priority was survival and their needs were little different from anyone else’s: a life without interference with water, light, food and space. Of these water was the most indispensable and in the early years the only way to get it was to go down. And so that’s what they did, sinking some 70 wells in and around the City, to a depth of some 300 feet. Electric pumps shot the water up to tanks on the rooftops from where it descended via an ad hoc forest of narrow pipes and connections to the homes of subscribers. Only in the last 20 years were Government stand-pipes installed around the City to provide safe drinking water.

Written by Peter Rudd

May 17, 2009 at 1:07 am

michelle lord future ruins

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Ballard was the great chronicler of the real and present dystopia – the American suburb.  The photographer Michelle Lord pays homage with her haunting images.  They show ‘ancient’ appliances stacked like blocks to make monuments and totems – pyramid, obelisk – against a backdrop of midcentury brutal prefab concrete facades.  The concrete looks plastic.  And in each an onlooker and his dog standing at the margins of the sickly aura of a highway light.

From Michelle Lord’s show Future Ruins  on Ballardian.

Familiar architectural locations around the city take on the appearance of evacuated spaces occupied by strange, carefully arranged structures, built from the technological detritus of abandoned television sets, cars, computers and domestic appliances.

Written by Peter Rudd

May 15, 2009 at 9:48 pm

harry gruyaert north africa

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These images remind me of art – de Cherico, Renoir – all of places in north Africa where life seems to want to be lived on the street. 

In Cairo the chairs and green light colonize the street, turn it into a dusty swanky salon.  Unlike in Marrakesh which chanels de Cerico’s Enigma of Arrival less the smoke but all of the psychology and movement and fear.  In Santiago is a sun speckled urban picnic apres midi sur la grande jettee.

Cairo, Morocco and Santiago de Compostela by Harry Gruyaert.

Written by Peter Rudd

May 14, 2009 at 8:58 pm

li wei bright apex

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Li Wei makes photographs of magical acts performed in cities.

Written by Peter Rudd

May 10, 2009 at 10:58 pm

Posted in art, the city

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Velowala is a site that documents mostly through photos bicycle commerce in India.  A wala is someone who does something and a velo is a bike.  Wala is a common tag put on the end of a job title.  Like – a dishwala is a guy who washes dishes, a dhabba walla is a guy who delivers dhabba (lunch) and a sodabottleopenerwala is someone who opens soda bottles.  You get the picture.

Written by Peter Rudd

April 20, 2009 at 10:39 pm