Our world is a complex organism, more interrelated than the silos in which we typically place it. One area of research to recognise this is the new discipline of participatory architecture, which explores among other things the relationship between music and buildings. But the idea has antecedents, including composers like Benjamin Britten and Edgard Varèse, and architects like Renzo Piano and Carlo Scarpo. Michael Shirrefs explores the search for harmony in the built environment.
Have you ever looked at a building and wondered what it would sound like? I’m not just talking about acoustics and air conditioner hum—I mean, what if that building was a piece of music? … Continue Reading
How does music speak to the buildings that house it? Music has always been a conversation with its environment, but from the 15th Century on, the craft became much more deliberate. And acoustic architecture has changed a lot since Dufay and the Gabrielis were composing their choral works for the Basilicas of Italy. … Continue Reading
RN’s Michael Shirrefs is talking to Ishan Khosla who returned to India from the US five years ago and quickly realised that the rapid rise of the Indian Tiger economy was coming at a cost. In the headlong rush to be a big global player, India was at great risk of losing its unique design traditions.
As India’s huge metropolises become ever more infatuated with the gloss and mystique of global design trends, alarm bells have sounded amongst many who see a downside. With a very wealthy new Indian middle-class being seduced by the power of ‘the global’, a vast number of distinctive local design skills and knowledge systems are being ignored or marginalised. This has prompted a counter-push from high-profile designers and commentators, aiming to elevate the profile of the myriad, rich design traditions across India’s length and breadth.
Rural artists have typically found themselves trying to translate their experiences of living on the land to gate-keeping gallery owners in the major cities. But new informal networks of artists, brought together on the internet, are cutting out the middle man and staging their own shows and happenings. Michael Shirrefs investigates.
One of the truths of rural life is that power and money and modernity usually lie elsewhere—in the metropolitan other. Well, it’s a truth of sorts. But it’s a truth that’s starting to loosen its grip.
Rural life, the world over, is in the midst of changes that are altering, not just who lives remotely, but what they do there. In this mix, artists have often seen rural life as an option that allows them to live and work on meagre incomes, but it usually comes at the cost of profile, access and any semblance of urban arts cool.
However, even that’s starting to change, because technology has begun to make geography less relevant, not only for artists, but for rural communities in general. … Continue Reading
On the NSW Central Coast lives farmer and artist Neil Berecry-Brown. For him, those two titles describe what he does in equal measure and the roles are interchangeable.
However, while living on the land has always meant being relatively isolated, this is starting to change. And for many rural artists around the world, technology has allowed them to find each other and form strong networks.
For a hybrid like Neil, the power of this connectivity has wider implications than just the art. His farm, on Mangrove Mountain, has become a hub for his community and, through that, for a global conversation about agriculture, life on the land and how to confront change.
It’s a conversation that has a universal resonance and the long-term implications of these networks will be to help bind communities globally as we witness seismic economic, social and environmental shifts. And one of the fundamental questions that this sort of dialogue raises is whether geography is less critical. Does it matter any more where you live? … Continue Reading
Australia’s Capital is keen to move into a new era as it passes 100 years since its inception. But what does it mean to be a Canberran?
For the rest of Australia, Canberra has remained a staple of parody and caricature for its entire, short life, but surprisingly the residents of Canberra aren’t quite as quick to shrug off the old clichés as you might think.
For the people that choose Canberra as home, the idea of peace and quiet, trees and space, the things that are such a source of mockery—they’re the very reasons they stay.Canberra has remained a staple of parody and caricature for its entire, short life, but surprisingly the residents of Canberra aren’t quite as quick to shrug off the old clichés as you might think. … Continue Reading
Why did that very modern 20th Century composer, Maurice Ravel, compose images of spectres, goblins and death?
Gaspard de la Nuit is the title of one of the most arresting and spectacularly difficult works ever written for the piano, but the name of this 3-part suite has it’s origins much earlier. This remarkable piano work by Ravel is actually a conversation between the composer and a little-known poet living more that 60 years earlier. And today’s Into the Music feature enters into their dialogue—between the words and the music.
There’s a problem in Australia, with regard to Europe. It’s not just the media, although we’re certainly among the biggest culprits. The pervasive attitude, in Australia, is that Europe is a history subject. Europe represents the past … Asia is the future … we’ve got Europe under control. So, we can tick the European box and move on.
The problem with this is … well … everything. To so casually dismiss Europe as a legacy region—static and easily understood—is folly. And there are a few clear and urgent reasons why this attitude should bother every one of us, especially in the education sector.
The first is that Europe has never stopped morphing, but the current state of flux is as radical now as it was at the end of the Cold War, 23 years ago. The immediate economic meltdown is a major part of this state, but in many ways it only goes to accentuate a massive, ongoing and very restless existential crisis. But I’m not really using the word ‘crisis’ in a negative way. Europe is changing shape. Within that there are myriad identity issues, and the result has been widespread, active and very healthy debate over who Europe is and who the individual countries are within that larger region. … Continue Reading
In a world of global ambitions and amorphous regions, Europe has become emblematic of the struggle between the need for collective cooperation and the fear of becoming lost in a vast, culturally homogenous mass. And in the current crisis of confidence about the future of the European ‘project’, one country sits as a symbol of all the tension and all the uncertainty.
Germany is once again right at the heart of global events and its role in the unfolding drama is being examined from all the obvious political and economic angles. But to understand what the future might hold for Europe, it helps to understand something of the identity of the main player.
So who is Germany? This series of three programs aims to provide some useful vignettes of how Germany sees itself, and how the country is perceived from the outside.