Monday, 1 June 2009


Geocaching is a fun and unique way of exploring the city. Not only are you involved in a worldwide scavenger hunt, but you get to learn the story behind the cache and visit some wonderful places that may be missed otherwise. I thought that geocaching really helped the class to bond more as a group since we were constantly working together to seek and solve the many caches. Geocaching has led me on some fun, exciting, crazy, sometimes even frustrating explorations but no matter what the outcome, I have walked away from each cache with great memories.

Philosophy of Art

While it remains purely subjective, art is a form of creative expression. How a piece is viewed and interpreted varies with each individual, though many have created guidelines in order to be able to analyze and classify forms of art. During this course I have learn at great deal about aesthetics and was able to gain a better perspective in regards to my own aesthetic. After taking this course, I am able to make a case why I like one piece over another and what makes it better. I really enjoy visiting the different galleries and have developed a better appreciation for art, in its many forms.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Master - Pupil Evaluation

Given the two sketches above, which one is better? Applying the Rosenberg criteria of line and tone, form, space and composition, I have deduced that the picture on the left is superior. In terms of form, the subject on left appears to be more realistic than that of the one to the right. The face is more expressive and appears more natural. The expression is softer and the hair flows down to her side. On the other hand, the woman to the right looks stiff and flat.The picture to the left is more balanced. The positioning of the mother and child is balanced out by the potted plant which reduces the amount of negative space. The use of lines and shading gives more texture and dimension to the piece. In the picture to the left, the position of the subject creates a great deal of negative space that fails to be balanced out by any part of the picture. The lines appear too rigid and the skirt of the dress looks overworked. I am unsure of how the material is flowing; it looks as if it’s just crumpled mess at the bottom whereas on the left, it is obvious how the outfit is draped.

Yo-Yo Ma and Rostropovich

Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. He was a musical genius and remains one of the most acclaimed and influential of all composers. He wrote Cello Sonatas No. 4 at the period of time in which he experience ailments and difficulties including his deafness. The composition belonged to Beethoven’s last creative period and was composed seven years after his sonata no. 3 for cello and piano. (wiki)

Since then, there have been many variations of the composition piece. Two of which have been by Russian cellist and conductor Rostropovich and French-born Chinese-American virtuoso cellist and composer Yo yo ma. Each version is an interpretation of the original piece by the artist. There is no way to determine which variation is better; that part is purely up to the listen to decide. Each individual has their own preference of what sounds “better.” Personally, I like both versions. Each piece has its own unique attributes. It is obvious (by its construction) that each version tells a different story and I like both for that exact reason.

In the Yo-Yo Ma version, it starts out with both instruments playing softly. The cello then begins to grow stronger and more dramatic in sound. This creates a feeling of somberness and mystery as if wandering into the depths of the unknown. There is a darker mood as the sounds grow heavier, then the pieces changes again into a more gentle melody. The notes converse with each other and give off an air of curiosity as if suddenly stumbling onto something peculiar. The piece continues in a softer melody with occasional deeper sound cello excerpts.

The Rostropovich version starts out heavier, with deeper notes which build up the tension. It sounds as if the cello and piano are having a conversation with one another. The construction of the piece is reminiscent to that of a battle between the two instruments. It sounds as if the piano is trying to outdo the cello and vice versa. The rivalry starts off in a playful manner and builds up to be a fierce battle between the two to see which will top the other.

Romeo & Juliet at the Globe

Romeo and Juliet is a tragic tale of two young “star-cross’d lovers” whose untimely death ultimately united their feuding families. The play is one of Shakespeare most popular plays and has been known to be one of the greatest tragedies of all time, but who knew it could be so comical as well? Throughout history there have been various renditions of this classic tale, the 2009 production of Romeo and Juliet at the Globe Theatre adds, yet, another twist to an old favorite. Past productions have, typically, been more on the serious and dramatic side. This version, however, was much happier and incorporated more comedy in its scenes than many have in the past. The entire play had lighter tone to it; even the most intense and dramatic scenes, such as the final death scene, felt more lighthearted than tragic. I, personally, enjoyed the production (aside from the standing part). The addition of comedy gave the play an interesting new twist – something I did not expect from the tragic tale of Romeo and Juliet. This creative new rendition, however, has gotten mixed review from the critics. Some loved every aspect of it while others found that the play was miscast.

“There is simply no reason to spend a night at the Globe this summer…”
“It is very difficult not to fall in love with Adetomiwa Edun’s Charismatic, glowing Romeo…”

The londonist:

“We missed the bubbling tribal tensions that fuel this play. We missed the Queen Mab speech: good as he is, Philip Cumbus' Mercutio didn't use the whole stage, and vocal projection remains a perennial Globe problem. We missed any tragedy. Worst of all, we missed a suitable Juliet.”

Thursday, 14 May 2009

British Museum

The year 2000 marked the completion of the reconstruction of the Great Court of the British Museum. The formal opening of the Queen Elizabeth II Great court was conducted by Her Majesty the Queen on December 6, 2000. The Reading room stands at the center of the courtyard encircled by two grand staircases leading to the Joseph Hotung Great Court Gallery and the Court Restaurant. The inner courtyard is enclosed by a magnificent glass and steel roof which transforms the space and adds a contemporary twist to the Roman-inspired architecture. Upon entering the Great Court, my eyes were automatically drawn upwards to the glass roof. The combination of steel framing, glass panels and geometric shapes reminded me of the Pyramids at the Louvre, though the Pyramids had diamond-shaped glass panels while these were triangular. From the eggshell walls to the glass ceiling, all these different design elements come together to create a space that is both light and airy.

Displayed in the Asia room is the Shiva Nataraja. In Hindu belief, Shiva manifests five aspects of eternal energy: creation, preservation, destruction, concealment, favor. The bronze figure illustrates the Hindu god Shiva appearing as the Lord of the Dance in a ring of fire (representing cosmic activity), lifting his leg and balancing over the dwarf of ignorance, Apasmara. His long hair flows out as he performs his dance and nestled within it is the goddess Ganga. In his upper right hand he holds a double sided drum representing the primordial sound of creation. The upper left hand holds a flame, which signifies destruction. The opposing concepts in upper hands show the counterpoise of creation and destruction. He makes the gesture ‘have no fear’ and points to his raised left foot, symbolizing liberation.

Monday, 11 May 2009

The Bloomsbury group is a loose collection of writers, artists, and intellectuals that made the Bloomsbury area of London the center of its activities during the first half of the twentieth century. Their work deeply influenced literature, aesthetics, criticism, and economics as well as modern attitudes towards feminism, pacifism, and sexuality (wiki). The membership of the group is not clearly defined and members vary from source to source.

Members of the Bloomsbury group included:
Key Locations

ELIOT, T.S., OM (1888-1965),
Poet, lived and died here.
3 Kensington Court Gardens, W8
Kensington and Chelsea 1986

FORSTER, E.M. (1879-1970),
Novelist, lived here.
Arlington Park Mansions, Sutton Lane, Turnham Green, W4
Hounslow 1983

KEYNES, John Maynard (1883-1946),
Economist, lived here 1916-1946.
46 Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, WC1
Camden 1975

MANSFIELD, Katherine (1888-1923),
Writer, and her husband John Middleton MURRY (1889-1957), Critic, lived here.
17 East Heath Road, NW3
Camden 1969

MORRELL, Lady Ottoline (1873-1938),
Literary Hostess and Patron of the Arts, lived here.
10 Gower Street, WC1
Westminster 1984

RUSSELL, Bertrand (1872-1970)
Philosopher and Campaigner for Peace, lived here in flat no.34, 1911-1916
34 Russell Chambers, Bury Place, WC1
Camden 2002

SACKVLLE-WEST, Vita (1892-1962),
Writers and Gardeners, lived here.
182 Ebury Street, Belgravia, SW1
Westminster 1993

STEPHEN, Virginia (Virginia Woolf) (1882-1941),
Novelist and Critic, lived here 1907-1911.
29 Fitzroy Square, W1
Camden 1974

STRACHEY, Lytton (1880-1932),
Critic and Biographer, lived here.
51 Gordon Square, WC1
Camden 1971

WOOLF, Leonard and Virginia
lived in this house 1915-1924 and founded the Hogarth Press in 1917.
Hogath House, 34 Paradise Road
Richmond Upon Thames 1976