Thursday, 6 October 2016

Invisible Cities OGR


  1. OGR 06/10/2016

    Hi Michaela - and thank you for being patient. Tamara is fascinating - and detail rich - city and as I remarked to Ellie, who is likewise exploring Tamara, Calvino's description of this city which is so layered with signs and symbols puts me in mind of coral reefs - because of that sense of something wonderful and intricate and highly decorative having built-up layer-after-layer, as opposed to having been constructed 'all in one go'.

    With all its different gods and religions piled together, Tamara also reminds me of one of those 'New Age' shops, where you can buy buddha or a native Indian dreamcatcher or a dragon or a fairy or a witch's spell, and all of it just rubbing shoulders, even though all the ideas expressed by the objects are very different - even oppositional:

    There's a word - palimpsest - which perhaps describes Tamara very well:

    Basically it describes a surface or a thing that has been worked and re-worked many times, but where the original surface is still visible and shows through. You might say, judging my Calvino's description, that Tamara is a palimpsest at the scale of an entire city. In terms of your choices for your low angle shot, maybe choose a part of the city that is particularly palimpsestuous - a site that might have attracted lots of different beliefs and lots of different layers of signs and symbolism. Thinking logically, you expected a church, temple or place of worship to have been modified, re-coloured, re-structured many times to suit the changing belief systems of the Tamarans - again, I'm thinking of a coral reef - something exotic and outlandish and clustered with detail, but which began once as a very simple thing - like an ordinary church or temple, that has since been accessorised and added to over and over again.

    In terms of giving yourself however a place to start from - an architectural or cultural bone structure that sits beneath all of Tamara's signs and symbolism, maybe you need to identify a building block to design from? For example, you might want to look at cities or areas that have been colonised many times by different cultures and identify the 'first' architecture which has since been hybridised by everyone else. This 'first' architecture could give you the basis for some of your designs - onto which you attach everything else?

    In terms of your interior - these interior shots should always tell us something more about the culture of the inhabitants of your city - so again I think it would be most useful if you were to identify a special interior (not some ordinary domestic space) that is especially descriptive of Calvino's Tamara. My immediate thoughts might be 'the Great Library of Tamara' because surely this place would be fascinating, filled as it would be with so many different sorts of books relating to so many different things. Another fascinating space might be The Great Museum of Tamara, because this would be like the whole city embodied in a single environment. My broad point is that Tamara is a city that offers you lots of excitement as a concept artist - but for this reason, you'll need to refer tirelessly to lots of visual reference to ensure that your environments feel eclectic with the artefacts of different cultures, but that we recognise them as such and can relate.

    Another related term - the wunderkammer - or 'Cabinet of Curiosities' - were collections of amazing artefacts from all over the world. Wunderkammers had real life curiosities and religious relics - but also fake objects, like unicorn horns and mermaids.

    Tamara is a bit like a city-sized 'cabinet of curiosities'!

  2. Hi Phil,

    thank you very much for your feedback. All these ideas and links are really helpful since I was stagnated with a few thinks in Tamara. :)