All posts filed under: lifestyle

A great Yellow city

There is only so much we can do with the urban panning? Move cafes to the rooftops, leave the city center only for taxis? Start using bikes in the city. What remains in the city that never sleeps aka *NYC* are the yellow cabs. As I have gotten used to them in everyday life, I thought to invent something that would describe my mindscape, or, rather, imagine together with the cabs. One rainy day I figured that the rain looked like yellow. The yellow rain landed on our coats, we hurried as usual, yet something was different. It was perhaps the awakening to the spring, the anticipation, or coming into this realization that the colors are there around us. The everyday is packed with shapes, colors, lived and animated livelihood, art, design. Anything. I love one thing, *pink*. Now, when That color arrives in the city, occupying the busy business and residential avenue of New York, something Is in the Air. Last year this extravaganza color paraded a good amount of time on the street …

Feeling good about my environment

I was tuning into Björk’s Joga, looking at videos of Icelandic landscape and thinking about the affective aspects of our environments. Where we grow up, the landscapes that we get used to, has an impact on us. I strongly believe that landscapes shape our emotions and our approaches to different environments. When I think about some of Björk’s own comments about the environment she grew up in, I feel the same way as she does about the North. We should reconsider the Arctic resources and the Northern environment, and take climate change more seriously. Rapid climate change would be huge threat to our landscapes, and even change our feelings about them. I recently learned about a new book, which speaks about the unspoken sites of the climate change process. “To Cook a Continent. Destructive Extraction and Climate Crisis in Africa” is a book by Nnimmo Bassey. Bassey writes about Africa, where nature and natural resources have been traditionally considered a blessing. His insight is that by using the nature in a wrong way can turn …

I found this architecture book from St. Mark’s Bookshop

What a nice thing to find out that St. Mark’s Bookshop can celebrate its upcoming 34th anniversary with victory.  Cooper Union agreed to a new one-year lease to reduce the bookshop’s monthly rent, this was necessary so that the bookshop can continue serving the Lower East Side community (and other visitors as well).  Every signature did count, I was one among the 44,128 on the online petition. The organization behind the action is the Cooper Square Committee, and for over 52 years it has ensured that the diverse community of Lower East Side may continue to bloom. The bookshop has become my favorite, it is a smaller scale, and yet, the books that the store carries makes it really a big bookstore. Among subjects of philosophy, arts, religion, psychology, social sciences and so forth, St. Mark’s Bookshop carries great books about architecture and design. I found one of my favorite architecture books from their selection. ‘The Architecture of Deconstruction: Derrida’s Haunt‘, is a book written by architecture professor Mark Wigley (1993, paperback 1995, The MIT press).  The following theme of ‘the image of the house, and the visitors in the house’ offers a good puzzle for reading architecture from more deconstructionist …

Arctic sensing/design senses

It is almost twenty years now when Danish author Peter Høeg published his novel (1992) Frøken Smillas fornemmelse for sne, in English Smilla’s Sense of Snow (1996 in English). I could not at that time understand all the possible turns and meanings that the novel encompassed but was still very thrilled by the beauty of the snow. In the book, the character Smilla has an extraordinary ability to understand all types of snow, and name them. What was so thrilling for me was the idea of snow being so central to one’s experiences and consciousness. In Finland (Norway, Sweden, Russia), the indigenous circumpolar Sami People, had hundreds of words for snow in their language defining the qualities of snow. Their traditional way of life included reindeer herding, and nomadic lifestyle was dependent on the snow conditions in pastures especially in winter. People knew how to define the snow. In the arctic, the sensing of nature is important. I was growing up in a close relation to the nature. The aesthetics of snow come to my sensing of art and design. Shaping …

Asian art markets

Does copycatting rule the Asian markets, where much of the world’s small technological innovation is located? Mobile-phone industries, small pieces in massive volume are centrally part of the future of the east.  What I find problematic in America is that the ‘westerner’ thinks we have invented it all. Today’s Asia is very creative, the arts are sensationally inventive, international, and not hostile at all in terms of who gets to participate. But, is there still a question of freedom of speech (what one is allowed to say and where) stirring in the air? Perhaps societal problems can build a frame for creation, meaning that when one comes from the ‘margins’ the experiences enhance new creativity? Artists and designers have to make it work and gain new presence in the world? All good signs. This reminds me of Finland too. A small nation started striving to get visibility with its original designs approximately hundred years ago. Design and fashion have become visible in almost every corner of the bigger cities in Asia, then the performing arts are moving forward. The traditions are remarkably present …

Gigantic cake for a cause/light from recycled bottles

What would be more uplifting in the season of the fall with less light approaching us, than to surprise your friends with a gigantic cake to vibrate senses. It is tasting good and creates a visual sculpture with a low cost budget. There is absolutely no reason why not. And it is a great excuse to do some communal action. Take this example from Helsinki, a parade of huge cake shared with hundreds of people walking in during one night. The cake definitely creates the performance in itself, and there will be lots to discuss around it. It is a terrific site for some new action plans. How about a theme of recycling, or new energy-saving strategies to create light with the Solar Bottles? The solar bottles is one of the smartest innovation to employ already existing material, namely used soda bottles, and hang them down from the hole in the ceiling/roof. This, of course, fits purposefully in the warmer climates, but one could also think of using them in the summerhouse, or while camping. Most …

Sustainable coffee cups

(Artist/educator Outi Länsikunnas enjoys Alice’s Tea Cup) We are mistaken if we think that we can sustain our ecosystems with the current consumption of paper cups. It is not so false to argue that we are heading towards environmental disaster with all the paper cups and plates. Price in paper has been going up, yet as simple as it sounds, recycled paper did not replace much of the ‘regular’ paper, which is used out there in making the cups. Radical innovations (with real thinking) requires replacing some old ecosystems with new ones. Then, creative economy means that idealistic visions are turned into everyday solutions. The everydayness of innovation comes with solutions to paper cups, for example. Putting high tea back on the menu with grandmother’s vintage porcelain, is an example of creative economy. Do you grab a coffee-cup with you each morning from your corner Starbucks or other coffee company? If your answer is yes, you should reconsider your everyday values. It sounds we all take papercups too easily on-the-go. An evident change would require actions. A question is, why do not local coffee brands, such as …

Bryant Park Yoga

The summer is full of colors which add dimension to the parks in the city. Yoga in Bryant park has invited attendees to sit, relax and stretch in a green area. This moment is quiet, waiting, before the rush…In case one wishes to escape the city, there is a ferry option going to the Governors Island, which attracts with its old time charm, and yet, it is becoming a center of all kinds of contemporary doings. It is possible to find the almost abandoned buildings, interiors and construction areas there, and even an old sanctuary/church. Things seem to be in-between state, so creative energy flows. The place is great for looking at water and the city from a little distance. The island has some green spots, and it is a perfect fit to do some modern mummy-like meditation or yoga. There is also program for the ‘art hungry’. Contemporary Finnish photography found its space in Governors Island this summer (exhibition called Bodies, Borders, Crossings: Photography and Video Art From Finland, curated by Leena-Maija Rossi and …

The Unisphere of Flushing Meadows Park, New York

The Unisphere of Flushing Meadows Park built for the 1964-1965 World’s Fair. Signs of social activism around the world are coming forth through the social media. The old world representations for ‘peace’ and ‘mutual understanding’ are still visible in the landscape, and also preserved in the architecture, in monuments and even in parks. The Flushing Meadows Park in New York City’s Queens is an example of the park, which shares an illusion of the timeless representation for ‘mutual understanding’. The globe functions as a symbol for the world cultures, for the one-world, for the United Nations, and many more. In the Flushing Meadows, it stands as a symbol for the peoples’ park and shared time together.

Our memories and futures

This is the day when we remember New York, the city with wounds, the city with radiant sparkle that lost so much of its future potential in one day, or did it start re-doing it? Dissonances are present in our memories, yet, we also recognize what our new futures might hold. Future is in people, in environment, in their harmonious co-existence. We can leave positive traces behind us, traces of the sun, traces of our bodies, movements, designs planting new hope. Let me share some of the silence and noise of the future potential. Give it away to the architecture that is there. Walk the High Line and look around you, sip a fruity cocktail in the luxurious Standard…When you stroll, find your own stone, find a wooden structure. I was walking ‘up’ the new High Line extension paying attention to the new park designs. As I went along, I was gladly absorbing a different atmosphere, I left the modernist and massive Standard behind me (believe me, I think it is fantastic), and stepped into …