Vaclav's Prague_ 1936-2011

Frank Gehry's Fred and Ginger Building 1997, Prague, Czech Republic

A revolution led by written word (and architecture). 

The late Czech leader and galvanizing visionary, Vaclav Havel led the peaceful uprising Prague spring and 'Velvet Revolution' of 1989. Mr. Havel, with wit and poetics of word, stirred discontent through the foundations of Charter 77, a human rights watch group that brought attention to the abuses of perverse power, corruption and other atrocities under communist oppression. His imprisonments fed his frustrations further and inspired revolutionary ideas and words which would propel a people to freedom in 1989 and into the early 90's as he was elected Czechoslovakia's first democratic leader. 

It was during his time as President of the newly formed Czech Republic (after the split with Slovakia) that Prague emerged in the eyes of the world as a city unparalleled in a well preserved, cross-section of historical identity through time. The rebirth of ideology (and the city itself) was perhaps exemplified in a new architectural project to be situated adjacent an apartment building designed by Mr. Vaclav's grandfather in 1907- and a place Mr. Havel once lived. Having secured the rising star in Frank Gehry back in the early 1990's, the design of the 'Fred and Ginger Building', on this prominent river front site, represented a fresh start for the fledgling democratic country. If there ever was an architecture embodying political change it is here along the Vltava River in Prague, instigated by none other than Mr. Havel himself. 

Mr. Havel can be credited with with both preservation and progress in Prague and in the Czech Republic. Absolved of militarism, with pen in hand, creatively writing social change. 

He will be remembered.

condenCITY_86 commute

About three years ago, I posted sequential images and descriptive words relating to my daily commute in San Francisco. In actuality, I had 5 years prior to that, done the same thing in Seoul back in 2001, tracing my daily route to work on cold winter mornings. Now, almost ten years ago to the day, I reflect upon my daily commutes that I made from Anguk-dong to Yeoksam-dong in Seoul. The original commute images were shot in 35 mm slide film that has since been scanned to digital format as you see here now. Even in 2001, Seoul in its tattered youth and engineered front, appears design-less; awkward in adolescence as a growing and changing city. In that respect, not much has changed to this day.

'Commute' has always had significance in my daily routines. On foot or via public transit, my routes have shifted by mood or of necessary expediency. Always varying, even in the slightest of deviation or shifts in step. Our awareness is heightened in tactile contact. Ground against foot, Feet on moving platforms; the camera at one's side, as a mechanism for recording time and distance.  

Eyes open and mind wandering, wondering.


Visions of Nakwon

The belly of a city, turned upside-down in the darkness of day.
Where some explore, others remain cautiously aside;
Both road and structure conceived simultaneously;
a partnership of economics and an expedient double time.
My memory is vague but bold as I look back through my forlorn window.