Building The Revolution: Soviet Art and Architecture 1915-1935 [Exhibition]

Some exhibitions cost a lot. In theory, Building The Revolution: Soviet Art and Architecture 1915-1935 cost me a tenner. In practice, it cost a lot more as I walked away with three heavy hardcover books...

For me, there are two major things I learnt at this exhibition:

  1. Constructivist architecture is absolutely my kind of thing
  2. Some fellow named Richard Pare has already taken every photograph I ever wanted to take, and taken them brilliantly

This exhibition is a mixture of photographs and other mediums, mostly pencil drawings with a couple of paintings. The drawings are there to show the Constructivist influences on the architecture, and I must be honest none of them particularly moved me. Being shown the foundations of art is like being shown the foundations of a building - not as interesting as the whole thing!

However, the back story to the non-photographic art was interesting - much of it had been saved by George Costakis, who was allowed to own the art as he was a foreigner and not subject to the state suppression of "unsuitable art". I certainly admire Mr. Costakis' actions, as without him a lot of early Soviet art would have disappeared forever.

Of course, the photographs were my real interest - interesting buildings, many approaching 90 years old or more, and which are therefore showing signs of dilapidation. Anyone who's been with me when taking photos knows that's my kind of thing.

To get a taste of the exhibition, check out the wikipedia page on Constructivist architecture, and look at those buildings!
The brief flurry of constructivism in the Soviet Union led to some truly astonishing buildings, but it ended when Stalin came into power - he preferred a more neo-classical style. Another reason to dislike Stalin, as if anyone needed one more...

The exhibition is well laid out, divided into different types of architecture - state and communications, industrial, education/recreation/health, and finally Lenin's Mausoleom. This works well, preventing the scale of the state offices and industrial buildings from jarring with some of the more compact yet brilliant designs for social clubs. The overall layout and pacing of the exhibition was superb, and the decision to culminate with Lenin's Mausoleum - in an area painted solid Red - was a suitable high point to end on.

I also took the audio guide, which was an excellent companion and well worth the extra £3.50, being filled with facts and snippets of interviews with curators of contributing collections and with Richard Pare himself.

A highly recommended exhibition, even if it did show me that my photographs are effectively derivative of a fellow I'd never even heard of until today!

Overall, I'd score this one as 5 out of 5 - highly recommended.

Tower Bridge at Sunrise

I went into London before sunrise, looking for good photos.

(Which sounds impressive, but it was December 29th, and sunrise was about 8am!)

Knowing that the sun rises behind Tower Bridge, I smelled an easy photo opportunity. But woe is me - I can't decide which one I like better!

Committing to overcommittment

I dislike committing to schedules when it comes to creative things.

For starters, sometimes creativity isn't something you can schedule.

But more importantly, I have to choose what to create. Photos, writing or coding?

And then there's balancing this with having a social life, and the general administrivia of being alive.

So committing to a schedule for creative works is difficult, and no matter how much I'd like to commit to something like the 365 Project it just isn't going to happen.

However, maybe I can set an average for to achieve over the next year. Some kind of target without hard deadlines, but that allows for occasional lulls or bouts of high productivity... That's much more like it!

So, by the next winter solstice, I want to have achieved:

Of course, this means I'm already a week behind these targets.

Oh well. Start as you mean to go on, and all that!

Time to make some choices about vCardSplit

vCardSplit has now been in the wild unchanged for almost seven years.

During all that time, it has collected three bug reports.

  1. It doesn't handle Mac/UNIX file formats
  2. It doesn't handle unicode
  3. It requires a geeky user

It's time to tackle that list.

But that means making decisions. So I've decided to write up those decisions, in order to help me work them out and to keep development of the program somewhat transparent.

The Games Children Play...

I was browsing randomly at lunch today, and somehow ended up on the BBC Domesday Site.

So, I figured I'd have a look at what was happening in 1986 near where I live.

I soon found a link for "Adult Recreation", which turned out to be a lot less interesting than you'd think, so I've not linked to it.

Instead, I draw your attention to the marvel that is Children's Recreation.

It's drawn up from a local school, which I am now very glad I did not attend. But I would have been the right age to go to that school, if I wasn't already at one nearer to me. That's one of the reasons I'm sharing it with you.

I've reformatted and sorted the table for you, so that you can see it in a more elegant light.

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