7 December 2008

The Fifth Facade

Last weekend saw the death of Danish architect Jørn Utzon, famous for building (and not completing) the Sydney Opera House. Today, 95bFM's Sunday Breakfast played an interview with Utzon's biographer, Richard Weston. In particular, we couldn't help being impressed with Weston's description of Utzon's awareness of the Opera House's visibility from the Sydney Harbour Bridge and that the building needed a 'fifth facade' so it would also look good from above. Nice phrase, we thought, realising we'd found a great way to refer to many of the things that Art From Space is interested in: art, architecture and landscapes that carry content in their horizontal axis as much, if not more, than the vertical axis, which is traditionally the focus of most monumental structures that have the sort of scale to be visible by satellite.

As Weston noted, the Opera House's site is remarkable, jutting into a picturesque harbour amidst boats and alongside the BRIDGE, something that is immediately evident when zooming in by satellite, even from a GREAT ALTITUDE. Zooming further in, the elegantly tiled shells of the ROOF/WALLS, all precast in concrete from the same sphere, curve in a way that defies the simple distinction of vertical and horizontal, which has long been a favourite site here on Art From Space.

Image: Sydney Opera House under construction in 1968, found here.

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Art from Space is an exploration of art-related phenomena that manifests in interesting ways on Google’s aerial maps. It is also an experiment in curatorial practice; collecting, presenting and contextualising items in ways that users can explore, free of curator-imposed framing and sequencing. This blog is Art from Space’s developmental musings made public, where items are introduced to the project in real time, rather than awaiting the grand unveiling of a completed exhibition. Specific locations of interest are highlighted in CAPS and linked to a map for further exploration. Visit the mother ship HERE.