Tag Archives: nature

Going Batty: Animal Architecture


It could be said that architecture is one of the most humanist pursuits, existing solely to make humans happy.

The always clever BLDGBLOG this week features the Bat Spiral, a project by UK architecture firm Friend and Company which shows that animals can get just as much enjoyment from architecture.

Based just outside of London, the Bat Spiral is designed to provide a roost (cave?) for the 17 bat species that are native to the UK.  The 45 square metre structure can house about 330 bats who are attracted to the structure for its dark spaces, and for the warmth generated from the black timber walls.

It is also surprisingly beautiful with its simple, reed-like support columns raising it above the swamp, and its graceful painted timber curves.


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Posted by on August 6, 2009 in architecture, building


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Adel Abdessemed: Horror is my ally


Telle mère tel fils (Like mother like son), above and below, depicts two downed aeroplanes as soft, interconnected and almost human objects.  It is a surprisingly sensitive piece.  Surprisingly, because it forms part of Adel Abdessemed’s controversial (and insensitive) exhibition at David Zwirner in New York.

According toArt Fag City, apparently Adel has caused quite the fuss in NYC art circles with pieces such as his video piece Usine, a 1.5 minute recording that shows snakes, spiders, scorpions, fighting cocks and pitbulls all fighting with each other, in a grotesque scene of nature gone wrong. Kind of like Bum Wars, but with animals.


OK, so it’s not the sort of thing I’d have playing on the plasma when mum & dad pop around for dinner, but I understand what the artist is trying to say about the innate violence of nature, of which we are all participants.  Art Fag questions “how this is different from any other inane Youtube video, but for the fact that it’s on display at Zwirner”.  But isn’t that the point?  By elevating something so horrific and violent to ‘gallery status’, we are just making public that which is already a reality.  So why is something more horrifying just because it is on a gallery wall rather than a forest floor?

Abdessemed says “horror is my ally”.  And indeed it is.


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Posted by on May 8, 2009 in art, contemporary, looking


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Amy Stein Photography


To put it simply, Amy Stein runs one of the most thoughtful, well composed blogs out there. She also takes beautiful photos – such as her recently published Domesticated series, which is a captivating look at the awkward interaction between the built and natural environments. Here are a few favourites.



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Posted by on April 13, 2009 in looking, photography


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Looking: Juan Ford

Nature and I have a peculiar relationship. I enjoy the odd bushwalk or visit to the local park, and I adore swimming in the ocean. Some of my fondest childhood memories involve day trips to national parks. But I’m the first to admit that I do like my nature tamed. Give me rolling farmland over rugged bushland any day.

Maybe my upbringing is to blame. Growing up in a suburban house situated in a country town, I never quite knew whether I was meant to be a country bumpkin or an urban boy.

Juan Ford seems to share my confusion. I popped into the marvellous Sullivan+Strumpf this morning to check out the Melbourne artist’s latest work, which examines humans’ continual attempts to try and tame nature; to no avail it seems. In his paintings of native Australian flora entangled with packaging tape (below), or the odd rubber glove (above), Ford explore themes of fragility and vulnerability, leaving audiences confused about their own relationship with nature, and their reaction to the distortion of national emblems.

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Posted by on March 14, 2009 in art, contemporary, looking


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