Go forward in time to September 2011.
When it rains at sunset...
The Mexican invasion of Germany:
A group of us went to a half-collapsed air defense tower, a HUGE concrete structure that was used during WWII to knock down aircraft, shelter people, and safeguard museum pieces. After the war they tried to tear down the tower by blowing it up... but it was bombproof. So they buried it, and the site is now a park on an artificial hill. You can visit the collapsed insides, where no photography is allowed and it's so dark that you'd need a cumbersome tripod anyway.
The Pergamon Museum is probably the best museum I've ever visited. It's the "let's steal all the big stuff and put it here" kind of museum that never fails to impress.
Greek floor mosaics. Note that the shaded portions actually use little stones of different colors. You can see a lot of the properties that I mentioned in my talk: thick boundaries, strong centers, alternating repetition, contrast, gradients, local symmetries, levels of scale...
In carved stone columns, like these Ionic ones, there is detail at all levels. The whole column is several meters tall. At the next smaller level, of tens of centimeters, there are the scrolls and volutes in the capital, and the fluting in the column's shaft. Smaller, at a few centimeters: feathers on the moulding at the base, the egg-and-dart decoration in the lintel above the column. Millimeter scale: the outlines of each of those elements. And at that level the detail stops, because the next lower scaling level would be the stone's actual texture.
(And doesn't that moulding with feathers look just like a carved Quetzalcoatl — the plumed serpent from various Prehispanic cultures? The form language of stone-carving is similar across space and time!)
The Roman market gate of Miletus. Again, detail is present at all scales.
A Corinthian column and the entablature above.
The Gate of Ishtar from the city of Babylon. Babylon! WTF!
It was covered with glazed, colored bricks. The museum talks about how many molds they had to use to make the different details in the gate (animal heads, legs, plain bricks, etc.) — it's a huge number. Thick boundaries, contrast, roughness...
More from the Babylonians...
The Pergamon Museum also hosts the Museum for Islamic Art, which is absolutely exquisite.
They have a bunch of carpets. Different techniques for weaving produce different results and a range of possible patterns — each technique is a form language on its own. And yet, again, all the properties are present.
There is part of a wall from a royal palace somewhere... and like all things made for royalty, this one seems a bit overdone — like they detailed one level of scale too many.
And finally, the famous ivory box of ass-munching lions.
Many, many thanks to Nikos Salingaros for recommending the Pergamon Museum — I had a wonderful time!
The presentation is heavy on pictures and light on text, but there are rather extensive notes which you can read by scrolling down each page.
The Pergamon Museum in Berlin hosts extremely impressive things: the Ishtar Gate from the city of Babylon, the Pergamon altar to Telephus, the Market Gate of Miletus... all of them major architectural works.
The building of the museum itself is a nice, neo-classical building. This is what it used to look like, courtesy of Wikipedia.
Looking at that central courtyard, you can see that the museum has two wings plus a central building that connects them. That central section has big letters that tell you the name of the museum.
And then the modernists took over. This is the monstrosity they are building now:
Apparently a 360-degree screen was enough justification to destroy the nice space that the courtyard used to provide. And you cannot see the museum's name anymore - the big metal cylinder obstructs it.
You are cordially invited to my three sessions during the Desktop Summit!
Sunday, August 7, 16:50, Room 3038
In the 1970s, Christopher Alexander, a mathematician/architect from the University of Berkeley, researched the question of why there are pleasant and lively places, towns, and buildings, and why they are different from drab, depressing, and unloved ones. He discovered profound results based on human psychology, human cognition, and the way nature works.
Alexander's theory of architecture caught attention from the Computer Science community, and it led to the well-known "Design Patterns" and "Refactoring" movements. Over time, Alexander's method of design and construction has been applied to many areas of software, including the design of user interfaces.
This talk will give a short introduction to Alexander's theory. Then, it will show examples of how it can be applied to design really good software, both in terms of the technical design of the software's structure, and in terms of the end-user design of the user interface.
Monday, August 8, 09:40, Audimax room
We will present the status of the Document-Centric or Activity-Centric visions that were first presented in GUADEC 2008. We will also give a short overview of the architecture of Zeitgeist and why it makes your workflow better.
Audience: those interested in everyday file management and people's workflows.
Thursday, August 11, 09:00, Room 1.204
We want to extend the GtkRecentManager API so that it can use the full power of a Zeitgeist backend. Think of being to say, "this document.pdf was saved from this webpage".
Audience: hard-core GTK+ and Zeitgeist hackers.
Go backward in time to July 2011.Federico Mena-Quintero <email@example.com> Thu 2011/Aug/04 20:01:42 CDT