Monday 12 March 2012

there is beauty in the city - the conversation - #22

a reply from Igor Calvo

It is true that Athletic of Bilbao is capable to turn a whole city and its county into just one being for carrying shoulder-high the team towards victory (for instance, as it happened last Thursday in Old Trafford which for a moment or so, looked like San Mames); however, it’s just football. Although, it is also true that the pride and the feeling of belonging to the city is virtually unanimous and makes the citizen of Bilbao to, sometimes, verge on chauvinism.
Even though, I’d dare to say the feeling of pride and belonging it is also shared for the citizens of that “geographical entity” known as Gran Bilbao: one of the biggest metropolitan areas of Spain, comprises of more than 20 independent town councils but committed to work together for their development.
But then, a real problem could emerge: the one that could make the big, leading city, to monopolize the most part of the human, economical or cultural resources; as, for example, we can check if we make a brief comparison to the cultural agendas of Bilbao and the rest of the town halls of the Gran Bilbao.
Unity, yes of course; diversity and balance, of course too.

there is beauty in manchester - absent texts #5

absent texts #5

Thursday 8 March 2012

brutus carniollus - Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

Submitted by Brutus Carniollus...

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Český Krumlov is famous for its Old Town, with 300 protected medieval buildings, and its castle complex, the second largest in the Czech Republic.

Surrounded by rolling hills and the Vltava River, Český Krumlov's cobblestone streets wind past centuries old townhomes, inns, shops, and cafes. Located in the southwest part of the Czech Republic, this picturesque city is home to about 14,000 residents.
Český Krumlov is a cultural center with a dozen museums and galleries, a medieval castle complex with beautiful gardens, historic and modern theaters, including the Castle Baroque theater built in the 1600's, and the revolving auditorium, built in the 20th Century, and hundreds of cultural events each year.
The Old Town has several noteworthy museums and galleries. The Regional Museum houses a permanent collection of about 34,000 objects including Bohemian antiques and archeological finds from the region as well as a detailed model of Český Krumlov at the turn of the 19th century.

The Museum of Architecture and Craft, located on the first floor of the historic house, Dlouhá 92, in the centre of Český Krumlov, displays the architectural details of the burgher houses of Český Krumlov from the Middle Ages to today. The museum exhibits timber ceilings, portals, doors and windows, framing and facades, as well as colourful interior decorations.

Wednesday 7 March 2012

there is beauty in the city - the conversation - #21

#21 - in reply to Igor Calvo

The idea of a single city, with a unifying force and a community committed to collectively working towards its success could be seen as a model for finding a way through the post-industrial regeneration of a city. Igor, you suggest that Bilbao has that unity.

Stoke-on-Trent a conglomeration of 6 towns spread over 8 miles originally came together as a federation and became a city 100 years ago. Yet it has never quite managed to achieve that idea of "unity".

The city is still, in effect, a group of 6 individual towns, working for their own ends, sitting uneasily under the umbrella of Stoke-on-Trent. There is a resistance to commit to a unified city centre - a parochial protectiveness of one's hometown. Until these ties and boundaries are loosened and broken, this city might never achieve the potential that a collective spirit might realise.

there is beauty in the city - the conversation - #20

no. 20 in the ongoing conversation between Igor and Glen


Even though history tends to personalize in individual figures both the successes and failures of a country, a city…sometimes it’s the community the one who takes the credit for achieving something good.

In the modern history of Bilbao, we find a really good example of how the collective spirit and the feelings of belonging and loyalty to a club by a whole city, have managed to maintain among the most important professional football teams a club comprise solely, since its creation more than one hundred years ago, by basque players: the Athletic of Bilbao.

Itzi and Imanol, along with 40,000 people at San Mames and hundreds of miles more at their homes or in the streets, stuck to their radios or TVs; they all are, concerning the Athletic of Bilbao, just one figure, just one spirit who keeps on making the impossible happen. 

Alberto López Benítez - Dubrovnik

Thanks to Alberto for sending in these images from his European travels with the promise of more to come. These show Dubrovnik.

"As I promised you, I send you a picture of the magnet traveling through the streets ofDubrovnik. I have three pictures of this city and another picture more in Athens. I would have liked to do more photos, but we were always in a hurry!
We were also in Olympia, Santorini, Mykonos, Venice... and I regret not having taken more pictures with the magnet...!"

Wednesday 18 January 2012

there is beauty in the city - the conversation - #19

In response to Igor...

The growth of a city is often inextricably linked to the efforts and presence of one or two notable figures. Post-industrial cities can often be dominated by the ghosts of the same figures.

Saturday 14 January 2012

there is beauty in the city - the conversation - #18

a quick reply from igor brings into question our cities' heroes...

Plaques, monuments, statues, street names ... the cities are full of signs and landmarks that celebrate, commemorate or highlight people and events that are assumed to have played an important role in the development of today’s city.
But those urban marks go back to past times and tell us stories which, as history itself, should be revisited and reinterpreted every now and then, as the official history not always tell us the truth.

Rafael Sánchez Mazas was a founding member and leader of the *Falange and Minister during the Franco regime. Today, there is no reason why such a significant character of the Franco dictatorship should give name to a walk in Bilbao.

*A fascist political movement and party

Wednesday 4 January 2012

there is beauty in the city - the conversation - #17

in reply to igor...

urban markings create memorials to human presence and events. cities are, in some part, a product of these presences and occurences which combine to create narratives that make each city unique.

 pc john taylor was pushed from a building while attempting to apprehend a burglar.

Sunday 18 December 2011

there is beauty in the city - the conversation - #16

Igor replies...

Nobody discuss the need for urban renewal of cities (much more arguable and controversial, I agree, is how to do it), but even greater is the need of its inhabitants to keep the memory of their tracks through those urban microcosms; even though, as this is the case, an attempt of showing evidence of our passage through life or just where we were once.

Festive Greetings from Beauty in the City

there is beauty in the city season's greet ings 2011 from glen stoker on Vimeo.

Festive Greetings from There is Beauty in the City - we are celebrating by being box number 18 in the AirSpace Gallery AirVent Calendar window project. Have a look at all of the entries here, and choose your favourite in the vote. Each day a different artist has created their take on the Festive Season, and Beauty in the City has selected the most 'christmassy' of the entries we have had so far. So Festive Greetings to all of our followers and collaborators, and here's to a Beautiful 2012!

Tuesday 29 November 2011

there is beauty went to plymouth and saw...

the sea

some cows

and surprise surprise

some art.

well it was the british art show

amongst plenty on offer we saw keith wilson's zone 1

and the amazing, highly acclaimed The Clock , Christian Marclay's 24 hour montage of clips from several thousand films showing scenes featuring clocks and watches, or situations indicating a particular time of day.

There's still a week of the British Art Show left, and it's well worth making the effort to get to England's western-most city.

Plymouth is one of those cities - a bit like a land that time forgot - a real sense of a bygone importance replaced with a note of ennui. It definitely has a charm though, a melancholy charm, in the way that seaside towns and cities do. oh and a great 1950's utopian outdoor shopping centre.

Sunday 27 November 2011

Wednesday 2 November 2011

there is beauty in the city : the conversation - #14

Urban Still Life III
Igor writes...

In increasingly populated cities, to the point that by 2050 “the cities will absorb all the world population growth”*, is interesting to find out how we can still find isolated and “uninhabited” urban spaces in which the human presence can only be sensed and not seen; sometimes in a poetic way, much more prosaic in others, one just have to follow the trace…

In any case, will the cities of the future be able to put up with the waste generated by their increasingly population?

*Mike Davis, “Planet of slums”, 2006

Saturday 22 October 2011

there is beauty in the city : the conversation - #13

glen stoker:

I walk past this window a few times a week and always feel compelled to peer inside. The dishevelled room,  is a workmen's rest room and is inhabited by a fridge, a microwave oven, a heater and a couple of chairs.

And a table.

I've never seen anybody in the room. But I know there's a human presence because the table always has something on it. Usually it's a folded tabloid newspaper. Today it was a carrier bag, full of tomatoes.

Saturday 1 October 2011

there is beauty in the city : the conversation - #12

igor calvo:

During our conversation, we have “talked” more than once about the "protected" spaces that cities devote to the vehicles that drive along them everyday, either when they fulfill their primary function (as car “nurseries”), or even on such occasions when they are used for another purpose (as in the case of car boot sales); however, little mention have we made of its main protagonists: the cars which, at least in Bilbao, nearly match the number of its inhabitants, with the problems that it brings to the circulation in the city.
There are times even, as in this street in the center of Bilbao, in which, depending on how we place ourselves, we can hardly see a human presence among so many cars if not reflected in the car glasses.

bahar mhamad - hawraman, kurdistan

Thanks to Bahar for these evocotive images taken in Hawraman

mud art
mud art which made with earth and water , the earth should be pure and clean of anything , by putting water on the earth you should make it wet first .
when its get wet start to mix it properly till the earth getting soft , massage it for 10 minute till change all earth to mud .
leave it for 30 minute then give it massage again for 5 minute after that its ready to use you can make any tips of work as you want especially in art design .
its also used for mud oven till now in iraqi kurdistan .

flour machine
this machine is used for grinding of grain in iraqi kurdistan as a classic life till seventieth , how ever its not in use any more because modern machine in use instead
its created with two circler special stone which is hare to break and two pieces of wood ,the bottom one called male because it has a wood which is located on the focus of it .
the second one called female because it has a harrow , the harrow is in the middle .
the male wood is smaller than the harrow female stone the reason of that is :the male wood should get in the female harrow before use .
the male is motionless, but the female is rotter its also has a piece of wood its used as a peddle .
how it makes flour ?
full the machine of grains
by putting the grains in to the harrow machine on the top , then start the machine by peddle wood to orbiting the male stone .
when you orbiting the male stone the grains going down among them and finally the flour comes out in the middle of machine .

wall stone
the wall stone is one of must beautiful and hard Kurdish design which was made by them , its belong to hundred of years ago
its made with stone and mud , the stones are corrected and decorated by hummer before the use also the mud was made hard and strongly by mixing with a little of grass , the reason of that because the grass defending of mud , its make the mud to stay between the stones even if the mud gets wet by rain especially in winter.
Because that part of Kurdistan which is located on the mountains which is called Hawraman is the coldest part in Kurdistan people still using this tips of wall by using cement instead the mud .

Friday 9 September 2011

there is beauty in the city : the conversation - #11

Number 11...

For six days a week, this space comprises one of the city centre's 20+ car parks. Empty spaces designed to make money for the council at the expense of those wishing to use the city centre. The over-provision of car parks in relation to the amount of people who wish to use them means that many of these spaces remain largely empty. Empty spaces consisting of a series of marked, car-size empty spaces.

Every sunday, the council allows this car park to be used as the location for the Stoke-on-Trent City Centre Car Boot Sale. For £8.00 you can hire a space to park your car and sell possessions from the boot. The space is transformed into a bustling hubbub, as throngs of the city residents descend to grab a bargain, or to recycle the unwanted parts of others' lives.

Tuesday 6 September 2011

august's beauty in the city visit - birmingham

Following recent postings on the idea of a country's second city, what criteria it comprises and why certain cities have struggled to fulfil the role, i headed to Birmingham to spend the day, not only spreading the word about the project, but focussing on its potential as the U.K.'s second city.

previous polls have deemed Manchester to hold this status despite Birmingham having more than double the amount of people. It is often suggested that a city's cultural state is the most important factor in acquiring the second city tag, something that Manchester, with its music and art scenes as well as its two top football teams has claimed for years.

I identified several art spaces in Birmingham ( the Museum and Art Gallery, the Ikon, the R.S.B.A, Eastside Projects, Grand Union, Vivid and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts )and set out to visit them all certain that Birmingham couldn't be the cultural wasteland it is often portrayed.

in the event, I struggled. I had no directions, nor smartphone and so I had to rely on a combination of the city's signage and the olden days method of asking people!

the centre of Birmingham is full of blue civic signs for pedestrians. at any one time there are 3 or 4 in your eyeline. i tried to find some of my art space destinations via these signs but there was no mention of any of them. it struck me, however, that the contents of these signs gave a real insight into what the civic authority deem to be the most important components of the city. So I set myself an hour, of noting down the contents of each sign i came across.

 In the event, I noted the contents of 35 pedestrian signs and found that the most signed destination was for shopping with 51references- mainly under the description of "central shopping area" but also the bullring shopping centre and central market areas. The second most popular was the city's transport hubs, particularly its three stations, referred to 43 times. I did find my way to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery thanks to the 7 signs directing to it.

showing the 15 most popular pedestrian destinations in Birmingham City Centre
The poll i had carried out before my trip, asking which factor was most important in the determination of a second city had failed to offer shopping as an option, yet it was quickly clear to me that not only did the city's signage deem it to be most important, but so did its people.

In the process of asking directions to the six art spaces i'd yet to discover, i also took the opportunity to find out where the city's beautiful spots were. The result was that i failed to get to the Ikon, the RBSA as nobody I asked had heard of them. The Barber Institute was too far out to walk.

However, I was given directions to Digbeth, just a 10 minute walk from the centre and told that the area was becoming the city's de facto "cultural quarter". I found Eastside, Vivid and Grand Union within 2 minutes walk of each other, though the latter two were obviously between exhibitions and were closed.

I was also told about a wall made out of cars and was told by one respondant that this would be his choice for his favourite sight in birmingham. The wall fronts a car park, on the same road as Eastside Projects and claimed the day's title of there is beauty in the city.

Saturday 3 September 2011

lynn friedman - san francisco, usa

here is my brand new Public Bike.  It's sitting in my living room next to the window so I can
admire it whenever I want. It's so beautiful.  And it's helping me be more beautiful and appreciate more beauty. I'm riding through golden gate park, getting exercise, meeting people, photographing  things you wouldn't see driving by. I feel free and youthful.

Tuesday 30 August 2011

there is beauty in the city : city visit to birmingham

During the post made to announce last month's Manchester visit, i made reference to the idea of the England's second city and posited that in many peoples eyes, and particularly in cultural terms, Manchester is the holder of that title over its more populous rival Birmingham.

In population terms, the figures speak for themselves - 2006 estimates put the population of;
Birmingham at 1,006,500 within the broader West Midlands conurbation totalling 2,284,093 and
Manchester at 452,000 within Greater Manchester which totalled 2,240,230.

But for the debate as to which claims the second city status to have raged for so long means that factors other than population obviously come into play - including geography, economic contribution, educational establishments,  "knowledge and transport infrastructure" and, most contentiously, cultural. It is this "cultural" area which often leads to Manchester's elevation to the second city status, but with no real hard facts underlying it. It has almost become an accepted truth that Birmingham is a cultural wasteland and Manchester is a Western Bohemia. Whilst it maybe fair to say that behind every generalisation lies a modicum of fact the truth is rarely so polarised.

And so it with this in mind that we here at There is Beauty in the City will head to Birmingham and take a walk around its cultural beacons, in search of England's undoubted second most populous city's beauty. In the meantime...some Birmingham facts -

It's council motto is Global City Local Heart
There are over 8,000 acres (3,237 ha) of parkland open spaces in Birmingham. In fact Birmingham has more trees than Paris, more miles of canals than Venice and more parks than any other European City.
Birmingham is the UK’s largest manufacturing and engineering centre and accounts for 25% of the country’s exports.
Birmingham is the home of the Balti curry.
Britains first ever 4 wheel petrol driven car was made in Birmingham by Frederick Lanchester in 1895
Major John Hall Edwards took the first x-ray photo in Birmingham in 1896
Birmingham has six twin cities
  • United States Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • Germany Frankfurt am Main, Germany[187]
  • South Africa Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Germany Leipzig, Germany[188]
  • France Lyon, France[189]
  • Italy Milan, Italy
and finally, the following, all creatives, all hail from Birmingham
  • Albert Austin – (Silent film star)
  • Pato Banton – (Reggae artist)
  • Blaze Bayley – (Musician - former vocalist of Wolfsbane and Iron Maiden)
  • Sir Michael Balcon – (Film director)
  • Alfred Bird – (Inventor of custard powder)
  • Justin Broadrick – (Musician - Godflesh)
  • Geezer Butler – bassist of (Black Sabbath)
  • Pogus Caesar – (TV Director and Photographer)
  • John Cadbury – (Founder of the Cadbury chocolate company)
  • Ali Campbell and Robin Campbell – (Musician, UB40)
  • Barbara Cartland – (Novelist)
  • Jasper Carrott – (Comedian)
  • Lisa Clayton – (Solo yachtswoman)
  • David Cox – (Artist)
  • Cat Deeley – (Television presenter)
  • Oscar Deutsch – (Founder of the Odeon Cinemas chain)
  • Hunt Emerson – (Cartoonist)
  • Mick St Clair – (Pinjabi DJ/Producer)
  • Ian Emes – (animator)
  • Frederick Roland Emett – (Cartoonist, artist and kinetic sculptor)
  • Niki Evans – (Singer)
  • Trevor Eve – (Actor)
  • Sid Field – (Comedian)
  • Sir Francis Galton – (Scientist, founder of eugenics)
  • Roland Gift – (Actor and musician - Fine Young Cannibals)
  • Mark "Barney" Greenway –(Musician - Napalm Death)
  • Rob Halford – (Musician - Judas Priest)
  • Charlie Hall – (Actor - most famous for his work with Laurel and Hardy)
  • John Hampson – (novelist)
  • Tony Hancock – (Comedian and actor)
  • Mr Hudson – (singer)
  • Raymond Huntley – (Actor)
  • Tony Iommi – guitarist of (Black Sabbath)
  • Jamelia – (R&B singer))
  • Edward Burne-Jones – (Pre-Raphaelite painter)
  • Albert William Ketèlbey – (Composer)
  • Denny Laine – (Paul McCartney and Wings)
  • Jeff Lynne – (Musician; co-founder of the Electric Light Orchestra)
  • Eric Maschwitz – (lyricist)
  • Nick Mason – (Musician - Pink Floyd; did not reside in Birmingham)
  • Zena McNally – (Singer - Mis-Teeq)
  • Shazia Mirza – (Comedian)
  • Henry Vollam Morton – (Journalist and travel writer)
  • Constance Naden – (Poet & Philosopher)
  • Ozzy Osbourne – singer of (Black Sabbath)
  • Carl Palmer – (Musician - Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
  • John Poole – (Sculptor)
  • Enoch Powell – (Politician, poet and classical scholar)
  • Michael Pinder – (Musician - The Moody Blues)
  • Nick Rhodes – (Musician - Duran Duran)
  • Pat Roach – (Actor and wrestler)
  • Sax Rohmer – (Arthur Henry Sarsfield Ward) – (novelist)
  • Martin Shaw – (actor)
  • Sukshinder Shinda – (English born Punjabi music producer and artist)
  • John Taylor – (Musician - Duran Duran)
  • Roger Taylor – (Musician - Duran Duran)
  • Bill Ward – drummer of (Black Sabbath)
  • Willard Wigan – (Sculptor)
  • Toyah Willcox – (Singer, actress and television presenter)
  • Steve Winwood – (Musician—solo artist and co-founder, Traffic)
  • Chris Wood – (Musician; co-founder, Traffic)
  • Roy Wood – (Musician - co-founder of the Electric Light Orchestra)