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国美:被信任是一种快乐/States and Beauty: Happy to Be Trusted

二乔

Faces seem to be similar, if from a same region.

Could there be any research on how the variable—-the states contribute to what is defined as beauty ?

国美(Gome)is a company which mainly sells electric appliances. The two characters 国美, can be interpreted as the states and the beauty as its representation. It implies that the nation can be a factor to define the beauty.

“被信任是一种快乐” is its ad. slogan, meaning happy to be trusted. It implies that happiness and trust have something to do with the defining process.

In China, it is widely acknowledged that 西施 (Xi, Shi), a beauty living in Warring States period ranks no. 1, in nearly all beauty ranking systems, and coincidently, Warring States period is a time when states have fierce conflicts and before the final unification is achieved.

This is the historical context how the Chinese classical beauty is generated.

Legacy around 西施 remains and spreads, including how she makes recluse with her lover 范蠡, a business man, and most of all, a hero in helping build up a state.

Can there be a modern/post-modern 西施 in China?

The two images come from:

http://digimuse.nmns.edu.tw/Demo_2011/NewModule.aspx?ObjectId=0b00000181f1922e&ParentID=0b00000181f1922e&Type=&Part=&Domain=az&Field=mo&Language=CHI

http://www.luoyangmudan.org.cn/tuku/tuku_erqiao.htm.

The first one shows a flower called Paeonia suffruticosa, which is regarded as an informal representation as the state of People’s Republic of China.

The second one is an animal called  Sanguinolaria diphos. It looks like tongues and people across Taiwan Strait both call it the tongue of 西施。

(E) Technique Review (no) Photoshop: Com/Going Back Home

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Let’s play treasure hunting game and find the way back/towards home.




The winner can fill the colour in the frame and then choose a room to hang it on.

All @ Robinson Library, N.C.L.

This process is how the healing effect works—-finding way back/towards home, sometimes is also a process of curing the scar in one’s heart.

Here, the split paper edge represents the refugees’ psychological trauma, such as PTSD.

This map and drawing blueprint derives from Cadbury World’s outreach brochure. It emphasizes the spirit of community.

Element

Reception

 









One most important thing is lost:

 

 

A Town, A City, and A University

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(Source: part from https://twitter.com/UWMadison, part by the author)

Cities, towns, and universities.

Never ever think of living somewhere else.

No distance from here to there.

Hard to differentiate U.W. and N.C.L.

Cities reciprocate universities. Universities shape personalities.

This is where the story continues:

A Town, A City, and A University.

1644 In-Situ: Homeoffice

Image from: http://www.360doc.com/content/15/0313/18/7775975_454885752.shtml

Above WAS what happened in Far East. Here, <Far East> is used to show a geographically European centred perspective. The reason lies that the server of this blog is currently provided by a European country and its institution.

This may be what happens to Newcastle: http://1644-siegeofnewcastle.8k.com/newcastle.htm

A. D. 1644/04/25——a day to be remembered.

Recommended reading:

http://bbs.tiexue.net/post_6859763_1.html

 

What Do You Mean by Urban Regeneration?

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Discuss about urban planning. Take Chongqing, for instance.

What do you mean by urban regeneration?

 

Recommended reading:

Degen, M. and Garcia, M. (2012) The Transformation of the ‘Barcelona Model’: An Analysis of Culture, Urban Regeneration and Governance, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 36/5, 1022-1038.

(http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-2427.2012.01152.x/epdf)

 

Paper Plane: Prototype

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Thought beyond timeline:

1.

 

Raw material: Giffgaff SIM Card paper packaging, with instructions on how to make a paper plan.

Support: ASUS Laptop White X553MA plastic* 15.6 Inch screen with black plastic* frame at the bottom.

Reference:

(1). https://giffgaff.com

(2). http://www.asus.com/Notebooks_Ultrabooks/X553MA/

(3). The Promotional image shown in 背包客栈(http://www.backpackers.com.tw/forum/showthread.php?t=1167132)

2. Admission to Chongqing Childhood Kids Park, 2012

Extended reading (in Chinese):

(1) Comment on the fairness of the admission price: http://bbs.tianya.cn/post-45-1456317-1.shtml

(2) Pre-phase communications on enterprise album design: http://doc.mbalib.com/view/a418ef434e8e720229ac5f65771eb1eb.html

3. Childhood game: Competitions on the quality of paper plane–which one can fly farther to Peking, (or somewhere else)?

Related event: Public Performance in the Foggy City Chongqing <雾季公演>

 

4. The badge of National Southwestern Associated University

 

Such an prototype is used to conceptualize a sculpture, and inspire in which shape it should be created, based on the aim that it is used to conjure unification, and build up feasible dreams.

Here is to initiate.

 

Diary 10

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Lawns implicate order and ideology, this is true. I remember the trip which I visited Cambridge, now not only a place of academia, but also a place of tourism—quite funny. One of the colleges I entered has two square lawns symmetrically distributed at the two sides of the central axis. No one, as I’ve observed, tramped on them. I thought this demonstrates a kind of ideology that has less thing to do with Marxism than with the postmodernism, when knowledge supports the power and decides who should take control of maintaining the order. Yet what I’m going to elaborate here is about my exciting feeling of reading Berleant (sfdasfasfas)’s <Living in the Landscape>—the chapter <Modes of Negativity>. Very excited indeed. I had to mention that International Congress of Aesthetics again, where he was another person I’ve encountered. Now I think I have enough confidence to even take a critical perspective towards such a reputable scholar.

 

I agree with him that the opposite side of beauty, in the word of ugly, doesn’t mean it has no aesthetic value at all. However, when he tries to expand his thought in terms of aesthetic disvalue—the true meaning where we want to discuss the opposite side of aesthetics, the logic seems to be not that clear. It is easy to categorize them into 7 types according to his elaboration: The offensive, the banal, the unfulfilled, the inappropriate, the trivializing, the deceptive, and the destructive. I’ve found it difficult to imagine what he asserts as to join the unfulfillment with others, and particularly with the banal, to make it more aesthetically disvalued. I believe on the contrary. For example, how can the unfulfilled connected with the banal? In my eyes, it’s always that the unfulfilled ignites the creation, and the imaginative thinking. Think about how we create the wheels and then other tool that have wheels? There is an invention line that the former one can always be regarded as not finished. But human beings continuously assembly them, change how they are organized and then make out more convenient tools. Isn’t this a way of stimulating creative imagination, through the unfulfilled one by one??

 

Also, I’m particularly sceptical about the destructive. I don’t know whether I’ve grasped his core meaning or not. I think he has equalized the destructive with the bad, and the aesthetic value with the good. But I would prefer that the destructive has nothing to do with the ethical judgment. I’ve spent about several months, trying to abstract the Chinese political system, the hierarchy and the structure into a medium prototype. Then I’ve made a conclusion from it that this system has an inherent stableness and is like an engineering works. It is built up in that way and might suddenly collapse in another way, with not ethical intention. Thus I assume the destructive character might have nothing to do with our aesthetical judgment at all, and the examples he has made leave me an impression of ethical purification.

 

Now relaxation: Some sketches about lawns in mini landscapes. They are lovely indeed. (Both colourful and black/white style)

 


Diary 4

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“Landscape as an aesthetic product functions symbolically on behalf of an elite”—-True.

“Its visual aesthetics at once express and occlude particular socio-economic relations”—-True.

But what makes the issue hard to deal nowadays is, if Marxist’s theory is correct in exposing the inherent power, the ugliness of capitalism, and calls for action—the revolution by the oppressed social class, then there must be some unbearable reasons for the working class to hold the insurrection, whether it’s similar to any revolutions happening before, the Frances, or the nearer Soviet Union. However, unlike what Cosgrove has depicted that “Death has a sanguinary face in Arcadia”, or “the land is figured as a bleak and cold terrain in which there is a palpable sense of a way of life coming to an end” (2008: 76-77), the real conditions do not go to that extreme: Survival is guaranteed; you can rent a small room within a set of an apartment, normally already being modified in order to earn higher profits; you can buy food using your salary, though you can’t save much of it (to be honest I once resided with and even was one of them). What’s more, the elitists’ landscape is even shared as public sphere, where common people walk across, stop for a rest, or even tramp on the grass. In a word, conflicts are “blurred”, whether deliberately, or unintentionally.

Engineering works: I’ve found the parallel: Similar to Versailles’ water supply work, which cost a large amount of labour, the Great Wall in pre-modern China was also built in such inefficiency, though the purpose might be different. It is the manifestation of the central government’s power and control—this is correct, but it serves as other goals as well, for example, the defence against the invasions. The Great Wall survived after hundreds of years, but as embarrassing as what Germany has encountered when trying to rebuild their Heimat (home) landscape, the Great Wall seems to act as the evidence of ethnic conflicts: The conflicts between the Han ethnicity and the other minories. This, is not welcomed by the current ideology.

If sheep farming is the characteristic of native British landscape, then what is ours? I would immediately think of the Inner Mongolia ones mentioned in the first diary. But that’s far from enough. The large territory does offer varieties of landscape style, whether they are desserts, prairies, hills and plains, but if there is a lack of a unique representation, there is going to be a worry about uniformity, and the control, which I don’t dislike to be honest. I think of uniformity as a way of spreading the meaning for life, what we live for and fight for. That’s why I don’t resist wars and am aloof against pacifism. Wars are justifiable in some ways and those fight in the wars shouldn’t be forgotten. They fight for the land, for where they were born, and for the landscape which has nurtured them.

I have to stop here. But I include photos and a sketch depicting the landscape in front of the so-called ruling class office areas in China (but I’ve already doubted whether it should still be called in this way, since the reason why this financial institution exists in China is, in my analysis, just, taken a global perspective. Hence I started to think if landscape can act as a buffering area between the conflicting classes, geographically, and mentally as well.

Diary 3

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The connection between the land and the landscape seems to be an instinctive step, just as how the town is combined with townscape, in the perspective of urban planning, but the emphasis on human being’s gazing upon it seems to be another debate between the social constructivism and the objectivism.

The Third Reich’s example seems to be too extreme but it is typical to inspect the landscape architects’ roles. I would think of some more subtle instances where landscape architects are involved in middle or small size projects. I once worked in a middle size construction group in China, mainly dealing with outreach by Photoshop. The landscape architects there usually have to obtain certificates before being formally employed.  These certificates are the extension of their higher education, normally 4-5 years’ professional trainings. The certificates are like the hierarchy to horrify the amateurs from entering into this world. Ironically, the boss who is in charge of this group is a man without any higher education background at all, though certificates are still obtained after his years’ of practice. Thus in this group, the landscape architects are actually not empowered, but are kind of forced to enact what the boss is willing to see. Another assembly parts for the whole organizational machine, I think. However here when I inspect this logic, I’ve found myself immediately placed the professional landscape architects to the higher level than the boss himself. Why has this happened? Maybe I have wished that after years of academic education, landscape architects might have more knowledge about beauty and principle. Hence I sink myself into a belief that the sense of beauty is the product of education, not the basic human instinct—-perhaps a dangerous first impression indeed.

I’m not quite persuaded to believe in Christaller’s cause and effect theory: Market force is not the always the factor in deciding how the towns and cities should be distributed. One Arup’s (an independent engineering company with the headquarter in London)’s project in China is called Wanzhuang Eco-City of Agriculture. The goal of it is not to set up new markets and production line, but to fill in the urban-rural gap and lead to a harmonious urbanization way. I think I’m now facing the question of why we should build cities, if cities are not that attractive, and even cause troubles. But I have to admit that cities do feed my eyes: They are the same in general (gathering, all kinds of systems), but different in specific angle. Birmingham, Edinburgh, York, Leeds, and Sheffield….I’ve left my footprint there, and they’ve left the distinct impressions to me as well.

I was once guided through emails by a female landscape architect. She introduced me the Landscape Institute (http://www.landscapeinstitute.org), and also the points that need to be noticed when dealing with urban planning. Points are just points, they are not the whole way of how I feel about the city. Here is Newcastle (I’ve grouped the branding information it tries to deliver. I’m always Marketing oriented).