Madrid-Barajas Airport

I am really surprised that with an 8 hr idiotic layover last year at the Madrid-Barajas airport I don’t have more pictures of this beautiful terminal. Terminal 4, which is where I spent the brunt of my 8 hours, was designed by Antonio Lamela and Richard Rogers (Madrid-Barajas Wiki). They won the 2006 Stirling Prize for this design, and I can tell you they definitely deserved it. Were it not for the curvaceous ceiling clad end to end in wood and the brightly painted steel supports that change in hue from yellow at one end of the terminal to violet at the other, I think I would have gone insane.

The Y-support beams are just really mesmerizing to look at.

I thought the design of the air conditioning vents were interesting too. They ran the whole length of the terminal against the glass panes that make up the facade of the whole terminal. That is another reason I really liked this terminal. There was so much natural light, that it didn’t feel like you were in a busy international airport.

What was also pretty cool was all the activity going on around outside the terminal. It was fun to watch an airport crewman pop out occasionally from some out-of-view door, hop in to one of these little carts, and zip off to do some no doubt crucial task. These little carts remind me of a flock of sheep, just hanging out in a pen. I wonder if they talk to each other while they wait for someone to whip them up for work?

Photos: ©



Stalin’s Skyscrapers

I’d rather not say too much about these photos. Philip Sayer is a genius as he captures the ominously glorious nature of Stalin’s skyscrapers. Here is an excerpt from the article by Rachael Crabtree of Domus:

His black and white photos capture the brooding architectural dominance of these colossal structures, including the 27 storey Foreign Ministry, 24 storey Transport Ministry and the 240m tall Lomonsov Sate University, which encircle the city of Moscow. These striking architectural representations of social realism, although fuelled by optimism for the future, can be seen as huge exercises in Stalinist propaganda. He captures the complex history of these immense, commanding, and highly symbolic constructions – as awe inspiring feats of engineering, as anti-monuments to a failed optimism, and as sinister markers of a dominant regime.

You can catch the exhibit in London at Marsden Woo Gallery, you know if you are lucky enough to be somewhere in that neighborhood.

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Photos: ©Philip Sayer
via Domus


Jazz Abstraction

I have been slowly listening and absorbing the sounds of jazz, moving like an amoeba through the different styles and engulfing what I find appealing. I like the traditional jazz but find that at times its too fast and ends up sounding like one extended solo. Don’t get me wrong, I still like it, but I can only handle so much of it. I found myself listening to more and more of the jazz fusion with elements of funk and groove, listening to those same artists that moved from their traditional jazz roots for the more melodic and funky notes, such as Donald Byrd and jazz vibraphonist Roy Ayers. But in exploring other genres of jazz I came upon a little gem from Polish producers/DJs Skalpel. This took jazz into a whole direction that I was not familiar with. The duo have been collecting Polish Jazz record samples and have created what we hear below, which to me it sounds like traditional jazz deconstructed and reinterpreted. Though it is a stark contrast from the funky grooves I’ve grown fond of, I really enjoyed this take on jazz and ended up purchasing the whole album.

The video is pretty cool as well. It has this James Bond feel to it and I half expect Sean Connery to step out and point a gun straight at me mid video.

Song: Break In
Artist: Skalpel
Album: Skalpel
Year: 2004


The worldwide invasion has begun.

Invader has completed space invasion in 35 cities worldwide. Click the Space Invader below to see some of the aftermath in Kathmandu.

Its kind of like Where’s Waldo without the red and white stripes, and without a human. I could spend all day looking for those little invaders. Maybe I will…


Pretty damn random

While perusing the RSS feeds today I came across a post on My Modern Met that brightened the flickering bulb in my head. Last year while in Italy for a couple of weeks as part of a course on the History of Anatomy in Situ, I came across an amazing mural on a wall in Padova and took a couple of pictures. I really thought nothing of it, since it seems that everywhere you turn there is some sort of graffiti on the walls up and down the streets. And though this mural was nothing short of amazing, I just thought it was some random graffiti artist with exceptional talent who happened on a pristine wall and just couldn’t help but completely cover it with characters from the deep recesses of his imagination. As I read that post today I realized that it wasn’t just some random graffiti artist, it was a piece by Padova based artist Kenny Random.

We were just walking down the street when we came upon this around the corner. I guess it was pretty random.
I like that its monochromatic. The characters look eerily familiar, like from a cartoon you have seen before but don’t quite remember the name to. I’d definitely watch this early on Saturday morning.

Here are some more of Kenny Random’s work from his own site:

Kenny Random caught in the act.
All done.

Photos: ©Kenny Random

I will definitely be on the lookout for his stuff in a couple of weeks while there for a second visit.


International Women’s Day

In honor of International Women’s Day I wanted to bring to the spotlight artist Faith47. Based out of Cape Town, South Africa, Faith 47 is well known for her street art depicting social issues important to her.

From her website:

Faiths images thrive on broken-down cars and old factories, down dusty side roads of lost towns and inner-city alleyways. Her deep affinity with lost spaces allows her to gracefully bring attention to the most humble of environments. Her interactions resonate with our fragility and our elusive relationship with dreams, memory and human interaction, reflecting harmonious and sometimes dark tones.

Included below are some of her works. You can view the rest here and here.

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Photos: Faith47