George Freedman (1936–2016) used the term ‘voluptuary’ to describe people with bright personalities who enjoy luxurious living—especially fine dining, drinking, the arts and design. Because he was a virtuoso voluptuary himself, he flowed smoothly around the highest circles of Sydney society—and because his bold atmospheric strategies were appreciated by restaurateurs, he designed many of the city’s favourite hospitality venues of the 1980s and 1990s.
Luigi Rosselli exhibits an ‘intelligent hand’, a genial disposition and romantic values from both classical and Wrightian humanism in his architectural renderings across butter paper. To commemorate three decades of practice in Sydney, his LRA team has scattered multiple facsimiles of his graphite, felt pen and Tipp-Ex design schizzi across a biomorphic Paper Arch occupying the Mils Gallery in Surry Hills.
Liane Rossler remains a prodigy in sculpting almost-perfect small forms that share the monumental qualities of mountains and boulders. More than 30 years after she began hand-shaping plasticine moulds for cast resin jewellery and homewares, her dexterity now is being expressed through a more earthy and recyclable medium: clay.
Where to now? For architecture’s next generation of artistic visionaries, there are two obvious avenues for expression: optimism or pessimism.
LAVA – the Laboratory for Visionary Architecture – is a multinational team led by German optimists.
All three directors – Chris Bosse (based in Sydney), Tobias Wallisser (in Berlin) and Alexander Rieck (in Stuttgart) – are visualising exciting future environments and structures to support human life in a century of accelerating climate change crises.
‘Frozen music’. That’s a classical fallacy which infers that viewing architecture is as thrilling as listening to a special song or symphony.
Another hypothetical notion is ‘sonic architecture’, where aural compositions seem to contain listeners, like physical structures.
Imagine these fantasies fusing as multi-sensory escapades – not just watched from a seat, but experienced while wandering.
What goes on in the computing department of one of the world’s leading art research institutions?
We could expect strange scenarios evolving in video realms, and surreal music exhaling from artificial instruments. But not all digitally sophisticated researchers at the University of London’s Goldsmiths College of Art (my new research base) are disconnected from reality.
Recent reports on the PRISM project – where the world’s largest telecoms providers supply the US Government with free access to their customer messages and location records – confirm advice circulating some years ago that ‘there is no privacy … get over it’.
US President Barack Obama has tried to quell the controversy by reminding us of the importance of spying on enemies of American democracy and Britain is celebrating 2013 as the 50th anniversary of the James Bond film franchise. But apart from public safety against sinister attacks, there is another important purpose for governments to know a lot of real-time detail about what is happening in (and affecting) their territories.