Abstract: This review of The Solar House: Pioneering Sustainable Design,by Anthony Denzer, discusses the important contributions of this book to the history of midcentury modern architecture, and considers the role of solar houses in the context of current debates over sustainability.
Abstract: While there is a long well-documented tradition of poets walking and writing about the landscape, for at least the past fifty years visual artists have been laying out walks as various kinds of artwork. More recently, with the technology of mapping morphing into electronic devices, artists have begun using these tools to develop entirely new genres.
Abstract: The Metabolist movement, with its radical and visionary urban and architectural schemes, drew the attention of an international architecture community to Japan in the 1960s and 1970s. Seen from a contemporary perspective, the movement’s foremost concern was cultural resilience as a notion of national identity. Metabolism responded to the human and environmental catastrophe that followed the atomic bombing of Japan and vulnerability to natural disasters such as earthquakes, with architecture envisioning the complete transformation of Japan as a system of political, social, and physical structures into resilient spatial and organizational patterns adaptable to change. Projecting a utopia of resilience, Metabolism employed biological metaphors and recalled technoscientific images which, together with the vernacular, evoked the notion of a genetic architecture able to be recreated again and again. A specific concern was to mediate between an urbanism of large, technical and institutional infrastructures and the freedom of the individual. My aim is to critically examine the notion of sustainable architecture by rereading Metabolist theories and products, such as terms, models, projects, and buildings. For a better understanding of the present discourse, this text searches for a possible history of sustainable architecture, a subject mostly presented ahistorically.
Abstract: As in Australia, Pleistocene rock art is relatively abundant in Europe, but it has so far received much more attention than the combined Ice Age paleoart of the rest of the world. Since archaeology initially rejected its authenticity for several decades, the cave art of France and Spain and the portable paleoart from various regions of Europe have been the subjects of thousands of studies. It is shown, however, that much of the published information is unreliable and subjective, and that fundamental trends in the evidence have been misunderstood. In particular, the data implies that the paleoart of the Early Upper Paleolithic, the work of robust humans such as Neanderthals, is considerably more sophisticated and developed that that of more recent times. Thus, the European paleoart demonstrates that the teleological model of cultural “evolution” is false, which is to be expected because evolution is purely dysteleological. This is confirmed by the extensive record of pre-Upper Paleolithic European paleoart, which is comprehensively reviewed in this paper.
Abstract: The snake is a potent entity in many cultures across the world, and is a noticeable global theme in rock art and inscribed landscapes. We mobilise our long-term ethnographic research with southern African KhoeSan peoples to situate and interpret the presence of snake motifs in the region’s rock art. We contextualise the snake as a transformative ontological mediator between everyday and “entranced” KhoeSan worlds (those associated with “altered states of consciousness”), to weave together both mythological and shamanistic interpretations of southern African rock art. Ethnographic explorations of experiences of snakes as both an aspect of natural history and the physical environment, and as embodiments of multiplicitous and mythical meaning by which to live and understand life, shed light on the presence of snakes and associated snake-themes in southern African rock art. By drawing on ethnographic material, and in conjunction with review of literature, we highlight a dynamic assemblage of extant associations between snakes, rain, water, fertility, blood, fat, transformation, dance and healing. We suggest that these extant associations have explanatory potential for understanding the meaning of these themes in the rock art created by the ancestors of contemporary KhoeSan peoples. Our paper contributes to a live debate regarding the interpretive relevance of ethnography for understanding rock art representations from the past.