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"beauty" Tag


Dutch style aquarium – Criteria of beauty


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Step 0 | Question: What is beauty?

 


 
What is beauty? How can it be defined?

It would be obscure question which does not have a clear answer. A topic in my first art theory class in the semester was just about this. The first chapter in Cynthia Freeland’s book, Art Theory: A Very Short Introduction was used there and it also reffered to aesthetic judgement of Kant. It is never simple subject for me since there would be enormous space to argue.

But a couple months later, I happened to think what is called “style” might have its own clear answer.

This idea made me feel a little bit better.

 

Step 1 | Dutch style aquarium has appeared as unknown territory

 

Work by Takashi Amano, the founder of the style “Nature aquarium”
 
When I got an assignment of exploring unknown territory for design, I never thought about such thing. As I need to meet a professional inspiring me to go in his/her context, I was simply looking for someone who I can reach to in the present Netherlands. In my mind, a specific genre of aquarium, Dutch style aquarium, came earlier than an idea of who to choose.

It is because making an aquarium was my hobby which I got interested in a few years ago in Japan. This aquarium is specifically called “Nature aquarium” in which you can create an “aquascape” resembling nature landscape by putting growing aquatic plants, stones, wood and little creatures like tropical fishes or shrimps in your tank.

Unfortunately I had to leave mine there when I moved to Amsterdam but I still also had a little expectation that I can see a different type of aquarium. I had already heard the word of “Dutch style aquarium” even in Japan. Now is it time to explore it here, in the Netherlands?

 

Step 2 | The Answer from Dutch style aquarium

 

A work from category of Dutch aquascape in AGA contest 2015
 
There are two kinds of major styles of aquascaping. One is called Nature aquarium in which I had been interested since before, and the other is called Dutch style aquarium, the oldest style becoming popular during the 1930’s in the Netherlands. The former has become the global mainstream since being established in Japan in early 1990’s, but actually it came after the latter.

To know more about Dutch style I tried to meet one of judges for a category of Dutch aquascape in an international aquascaping contest. Unfortunately it was not realized. Instead, I still could get a lot of information on the internet.

Though its most simple feature to say would be that it does not suggest a use of hardscape material like stones or wood, the most interesting finding for me was its very detailed rules. It is very much specific.

 
It requires;
- well grown and defined grouping plants
- a small space between the groups
- clearly different height between the groups
- more than 3 plant species per foot (foreground / middle / background)
- terracing to convey depth
- rich contrasts (made by color variation, leaf height, texture)
- a focal point (emphasized by a red or large plant / by the effective use of the “Rule of Thirds” / only one focal point in tanks 36” or less)
- more than 70% of the floor planted
- imaginary streets / pathways of plant
etc…

 
You would also find that contest’s judgments are always given from a objective viewpoint of how each works fulfills the criteria like above or not.

In my mind, these were immediately connected to the question, how aesthetics can be judged, which was for the theory discussion before. If it would be the guidelines of aesthetic, could it be applied to even other things?

Then, I decided to try to make “beautiful” compositions by appropriating these criteria for totally different things.

 

Step 3 | Then, what can the criteria fit?

 

The first cutout with images from “SimCity” app

 
It was not easy to choose the objects for the composition.

I think I was too much caught by an idea of choosing a specific motif which needs arrangements as well as aquascapes do. What came in my mind was, for example, still life painting, architectures or city planning, and then I actually tried to make some 3D collages with these motives.

After some struggles, however, my idea eventually reached to autonomous graphic compositions without any motif. It would be interesting to use things without any restriction than to focus on a specific objects, since it has more expandability. What is more, I could not imagine the result and it simply made me curious.

How much universal could these criteria become? I wanted to make some studies to examine it.

 

Step 4 | Interpretation of aquascape language

 


 
To go on this experiment, I deliberately applied some points below choosing from many to my practices.

 
- Contrast by colors
the use of color highlights
black and white, green and red, positive and negative…

- Contrast by textures
fluffy, flat, glossy, mat…
photo prints showing deferent textures

- Contrast by shapes
curvy and strait, circles and angles
same shapes but in different size and height

- Focal point
A focal point provided by the use of above techniques
Application of the rule of thirds

- Imaginary pathways
Emphasis of the perspective

 

In addition to these rules, I found that aquariums are something in-between 3D and 2D. I mean it is actually three dimensional but its layouts are always considered from a fixed viewpoint. Traditionally tanks show only one front side and the others are totally covered. Also, photography always has an important role to show it. I put a camera based on which I started each layouts.

 

Step 5 | A result

 

 
During the experiment I’ve already found that the goal of this project would not be to make an finished image but to try a lot of compositions as studies. What kind of results can I get from it? Is it “beautiful”? These kinds of things are not completed in short time but would be just a starting point of pursuits.

Does it still continue?

 

Playing God


Friday, October 19, 2012

 

Humans are playing God by physically and metaphorically perfecting themselves. Beauty is currently at an all time climax, allowing this project to explore what lies beyond perfection.

Just being human is not good enough anymore nor has it ever been. What is very clear is that people are not satisfied with what they were naturally born with. Neither the prehistoric cave dweller nor modern man has ever considered the human body aesthetically satisfactory. It is human nature to want to be more than what we are, and from the beginning of time we have gone to extreme measures to express on the outside how we desire to be perceived. On the surface, we are physically turning into ideal dream versions of ourselves. Being born a certain way is no longer a life sentence. We can choose exactly who we want to be. What are the possibilities of this new God-like control we have over our bodies?

 

Scary Beautiful challenges current beauty ideals by inflicting an unexpected new beauty standard.

Right now you can truly become more than just yourself, more than human. It’s almost as if we have shifted from reality into fantasy. The sky is the limit when it comes to controlling our own image. Being online is considered a trusted version of yourself. We are behaving as if we have robotic extensions and we can now generate body parts and also have access to the technology to obtain super powers. We now have complete power over our own image and abilities. What is currently being done and where might these God-like powers potentially lead?

 
Download this challanging thesis: Playing God

[top images of Leanie de Vyver's graduation show

 

from the jury rapport: The object created by Leanie expands the concept of a shoe into multiple new meanings. The beautifully made leather object is accompanied by a video registration of a girl wearing it. One observes the design forcing the wearer to develop a new way of walking, leaning forward while refinding a painfully fragile balance. The jury applauds the way
aesthetics, ergonomics and prothesis merge into an awkward choreography. The craftsmanship and strong conceptual way of designing also show in another work, a ceramic tea set in which reference is made to a building in South Africa. Leanie succeeds in translating political consciousness into form and is considered by the jury to be a meaningful future designer.

 

beauty is the content?


Thursday, April 28, 2011

The exhibition had the effect of a breeze to me. After spending hours on the internet, coming across hundreds of images, of which you never really know their origin; and when the manipulation of any image is a knowledge available to any 10 year old, seeing these images in the museum seemed like a pause in the middle of all that noise.
I knew at least watching these, that their purpose was neither glamour/beauty nor economical or political.
These images are somehow free from the media society, which is allowing them to just be, simple as they are, an “objective” observation on life. Of course some decisions were made by the maker of the experiment, incorporating some subjectivity in the result, but all in all, these images depict some sort of truth.
Without pretending to be anything else than documentation or aknowledgement of what “is”, you become interested and surprised by their beauty value, but certainly more because of the fact that these images are not seeking it. But couldn’t we have this feeling by just going to a science museum? To placed them in an art museum and naming them art is really questionable. Since these images are not meant to be beautiful in any way, even if we find them beautiful, it seems a bit too simple to show them to the society as “hey, look at these, we never noticed how pretty they could be”. It’s almost as making an exhibition of children drawings in a museum, of course they can be interesting, but it’s more of the rank of a gallerie exhibition. A museum should show works that are relevant socially, in the sense that each exhibition should (and are meant to) convey a message. These scientific images in this context just seem to be visual enjoyment. Somehow I couldn’t figure out clearly where was the museum going with this choice.
Nonetheless, it made me wonder how strange and surprising nature, the universe or us are, and made me think that in these overmediated times, we can easily derail from our own awareness of basics, such as our own body, by being just a big communicative muscle.

The similarity in contrast


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Not one, but two books this time. I know that the assignment was to take one, but these two belong to each other. One is called “De geschiedenis van de schoonheid” (The history of beauty) the other one is called “ De geschiedenis van de lelijkheid” (The history of ugliness.) I took them because the contrast between those two seemed to be interesting to me. They also look really nice because they are really intended to be together. The really look like a couple. They are both the same size, same thickness, made of the same material, have the same typography and layout. Absolute contrast but still the same in some way. I also looked inside and it is funny that each book on itself is less interesting if you cannot compare it to the other one. They really need each other. And of course there is the old question “what is beauty and what is ugliness?”

700.6-eco-1 and 700.6-eco-2

the “wrong factor”


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Yet again I came back with a book about gold. About golden jewelry this time. It was not my intention to do something with gold again. Gold was one of my tag words, but I preferred to do something else. I had other tags to search for, like “meeting an old lover” “attraction” and “recognition.” So I went searching…. When I saw this golden jewelry book I could not take my eyes of it. I felt so cheap and wrong to take something goldish like again, but I felt really good in the same time. I could call this second journey “the irresistibility of wrong things” or “why we like to do wrong things?”, which sounds like the title of a novel. Interesting question actually. A question where you could have many thoughts about. For myself I didn’t found an answer to it yet.

Rietveld Library code: 777.6 cat172

Golden temptation


Thursday, November 5, 2009

I really wish that I had a very intelligent reason to chose this book but it is a very banal one I’m afraid.

I found this book in the graphic design section, what felt very familiar because I went to a graphic school before the Rietveld. Seeing those graphic books felt like meeting an old lover.

I picked this book because it had the word “gold” in the title and there was a golden image on the back. I cannot help it, but I am sort of addicted to the color gold. I even named myself Goldish. I feel attracted to gold like mosquitoes to a mosquito lamp.


At the left you can see my own logo. At the right is the image on the cover of the book. There are some agreements between them like the dot. I think that the recognition also made me feel attracted to it.

Rietveld Academie Library No: 754.5 cat 32

reserved space


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

“subjective library” images and flickr tag-cloud

Read the reflections of A and C group’s journey into the Rietveld Library’s Design and Art section. This journey to investigate, made our fascinations, preconceptions and hidden desires manifest. How does a subjective book choice create a personal mirror and leaves traces of tags, connecting Design to Art, exposing autonomy in both.

Read about the subjective, open and intiutive first book choice from the Design section of our library. Wonder about the tags connected to those accounts. Follow the continuing story as a second book is selected based on those tags created. Witness the third posting in which those sets of tags lead us from Design to Art. A move that forces us to reflect upon the connection between them both.

Follow the continuing accounts of the three succeeding investigating postings by clicking on the yellow link. Experience the total list of tags created during this “Subjective Library” Project.

LIST OF TAGS:

3289 days, A4, cover, funky colors, television, unatractive, film photography : fauna, flora, interesting, lines, strange, fluffy, simple, horrible, brainwork, complicated, proud, “to know” : disorder, game, grid, systematization, “One Minute Sculpture” : library, swindler, breaking news, library loser, extraordinary, talented : space, absence-presence, framework, surrounding, returning : abnormal, rediscover, choice, plain, others : 1000, 754., direction, signs, city, direction, traffic, political, posters : blue Pinocchio, screaming, spine of book, blue, Pinocchio, blue fairy, eyecandy, contemporary, folk, mentality : not getting there, unknown, judging by covers, content, connection, strangers, subject : supermarket, theft, housewife, tiny, midlife crisis, multilingual : logic, question, reason, consciousness, interest, remarks, impossible, mathematical, perspective : attraction, strange, swissfolk, art, death, life, love, Maurizio Cattelan : cover, old book, unique, obsession, miniature : Anita, eyes, portrait, dominant, name, color, film : Wiener Werkstätte, characteristic, hand work, mass fabrication, original, process, realization, detail, photography, the nude : cheap fashion, funny, random, tattoo, tribe, weird, mysterious, tribe : attraction, new texture, action, quick, warning, a priori, new, amusement, choices, eye-catching, eyes, random : escape reality, library, overflow of impulses, fruitless reality, jostling time, absorbing force, déjà-vu : arrange, industrial, library, architecture, museum, self-made, Andreas Gursky, index : city, nomadic, reality, funky, colors, interiors : contrast, fat, texture, typography, culture, nudity : conceptional, distance, no image, steps, thinking space, braille : cat, compulsive, font, chaos, subjective, illustration, objective, random, Tadao Ando : airplane, airport, choice, structure, worldmap, 756, 80′s, human, machines, unique, flying : dot, jewelry, shapes & forms, yellow, children, fun, paint, playful, all colors, blue, green, theory : extraordinary, life, normal, objects, absurd : 80′s, desire, fashion, party, techno, desire, fabrics, orgasmatic : alchemy, identical, methaphysics, mysticism, mythology, Arabic, identical, inaccurate, ladies, naked, orient, sculptures, stereotypes : Canada, Indian symbols, kitsch, raven, Indian art, Mexico, Jeff Koons, porn : attraction, gold, meeting an old lover, recognition, cheap, irresistibility, not psychology, wrong, beauty, compare, contrast, couple, same, similarity, together, two books, ugliness : connection, embroidery, hundred years, death, funerals, general terms, invisible, object, spirit, visible : color, feeling, personal story, feminism, graphic : first sight, mystery, old-fashioned, bloody, mad, rituals, revelatory, Yin : oblivion, automatic lives, bottom shelve, eat, mantra, story-making, colorful, dogs, double-take, eat sleep, vases, vegetables : attracted, nothing, black, disturbing.

still curious read the books involved at the Gerrit Rietveld Library, (catalogue numbers are included).


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