It is time to end this project. I kept this blog for the two years I was stationed at New Haven. Over this blog I recorded not only the life at Yale, but the opportunities and escapes that the time at Yale offered me. I graduated in May, and was at the campus for about another month until I finally decided to move to the Bay Area in California.

In this time, I created my own website: http://cargocollective.com/anujdaga
The website merely lists much of my work under broad categories. More importantly, it allows to put together all my work in a single place and helps people connect to me.

In addition, I have now decided to continue my writings and thoughts on my original blog, Dagagiri (www.anujdaga.blogspot.com), which has been active too over the last two years. I believe this blog will serve as a good history to life at Yale, and what it means to be at Yale. I hope this document will remain for years to come, such that when I look back, I am reminded fondly of the trials and tribulations as much as the opportunities and obsessions Yale inculcated in me. There is a lot more than what has been posted on this blog as my possessions. Perhaps, this project shall be opened once again, in continuation, if need be. Meanwhile, it is time to look forward, and begin new initiatives.

You will be able to find my Yale thesis on the website link provided above. And for updates, switch to Dagagiri.

Following are some images from the exhibition “Of Green Leaf, Bird, and Flower”: Artists’ Books and the Natural World at the Yale Center for British Art. The exhibition consists of beautiful books, drawings paintings and collections of microscopic instruments and enlarged drawings of natural life seen through them by the explorers of 18-19th century England. There are lots of contemporary works by artist on the theme of natural life too. Some of the books are fantastical, in that they are creatively constructed bringing surreal effects to the viewer.

Working within the structure of a bound book, artists have created some brilliant art, converting the one-fold-books into natural patterns of flowers, creeps, fruits and what not. A particularly fascinating thing to me was the variety of small sizes of works and books, which give you the feeling that “you too can do it at home”. Although they look cute, they are not, especially when they are put in a glass case within the museum, allowing, rather forcing the viewer to engage with the works within more closely.

I am so happy I was able to attend this exhibition  before I left Yale, for one of the last courses that I took at Yale was ‘Art Technology and Science: from Antiquity to 1800’ in the History of Science department at Yale taught by Paola Bertucci, and we were introduced in one of the classes to the practices of documentation  of natural life in Enlightenment Europe. Yale has a wealth of material that could fill the whole art gallery if exhibited. But only when it comes in small potions as this one, one can truly enjoy and relish the beauty of the artistic and scientific production of the past.

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A month ago I found a stack of postcards with the Yale Bulldog asking people to “Like” Yale on Facebook, kept at the entrance lobby of our school. Such cards must have been printed and kept elsewhere around the university too. I felt it was extremely silly of the university to be doing so. Indeed it was not meant for people who are studying or working at the university, for they would all have legitimate Yale e-mail addresses to which such a message could be passed on. But even if we were to consider that these were pick up cards for the attendees from around the country or the world during the open house season, I wonder if it was really necessary to print such postcards (that cannot even be slipped into a pocket) for such a small message.

But would a popular, world-renowned University like Yale require to make so much investment demanding people to really like them? Wouldn’t it be more intelligent to pass this electronic media message through electronic media itself – by putting this up on their website, or asking the college and professional schools under its purview to put this as a link or message on their respective webpages? And why so many postcards, when a simple poster could do the job – a simple one of giving in all, just 10 words worth of information? But it looks like Yale pumps in such money to keep up its popularity – so much wastefulness of resource, that could actually be well utilized towards scholarships, grants to students who really need it. And what about the University’s forever claims of “environment-friendliness” and claims to be sustainable? These are contradictions you find in developed countries. They consistently, and purposefully commit mistakes that they ask the rest of the world to avoid.

Although, we will stay connected Yale!

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The Open House at The Yale School of Art was an interesting concept. It essentially was a day when the artists enrolled in the Fine and Commerical Arts program at the School, who otherwise work in their closed studio spaces opened them up for public viewing. And it was extremely fascinating to peek into their worlds – some clean, some busy, some filled with amusing objects, some dark, some colourful, some neat and organized, some purposefully messy. This is exactly what you can expect from an art school.

I was wondering if the event “Open Space” was a response suggested to a culture of privacy or individuality that generally occupies this place (not sure if I am referring to Yale or the US, actually)! The “Open” was a legitimate invitation to “peek into” the small yet spacious quarters of various to-be artists housed in the School of Art building. This was also the first time I explored the entire facility of the School of Art. It was magnanimous and I was amazed to see how much space has been dedicated for students of Art. In addition to the two buildings having extensive work-and-exhibit spaces, there was also a separate space, the sculpture school – where I didnot end up going! It too has individual studios for each student along with a gallery to exhibit sculpture works.

In the photographs below are captures some of the idiosyncrasies of artists and their spaces. Truly vibrant and perhaps works that will define the future of art?

 

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Following are some images from the exhibition “Digital Postmodernities” that was up at the Yale school of Architecture over the last semester. It documented to an extent, the history of Digital Architecture through the work of four architects / engineers – Peter Eisenman, Greg Lynn, Frank Gehry and Chuck Hobermann. The exhibition brings together some fantastic models and drawings, displayed in a neat fashion. It also has some working models of spaces, like the retractable roof of the stadium or a conflatable dome – ingenuously bringing together engineering and technology, art and science, origami and structure.

The exhibition was actually coupled with a 2-day symposium, where the above architects, as well as other important speakers spoke about the history of the field. The panel was generally intrigued how there had been no investment in documenting the history of Digital Architecture, inspite of it presumably being a widely absorbed practice in schools as well as architectural profession. It is debatable whether one must really be interested in digging deeper into the workings or beginnings of Digital Architecture. To an extent, it was funny that the people who claim to be pioneers in this domain themselves feel the urge to be taken up its documentation by others (for example, Architecture PhD students). The obsession of the above architects to be noticed and being spoken about was all over the Symposium! However, perhaps what is happening is that people may not have realized that the escapement of time over the last 20 years has been exponential, and the experience of time itself has changed. And in this background, the people (some who are how aging, and some who are on the threshold of their young days) feel that the moment will soon slip out of their hand if not held now. I sensed this seemingly insecure feeling of slippage of time working behind the organization of the exhibition.

Without any doubt, it is exciting to see “process” models of many built projects of Gehry, Eisenman or Lynn. I was only left wondering if they already knew which drawings to preserve and which were to be discarded, when they were actually making the designs. Preserving every tinker bit of the process, I think is in the nature of today’s architectural practices, more so in the West. If you are famous, your smallest contributions might end up in a large exhibition. On the other hand, a thing I learnt after coming to Yale was that the smallest and most insignificant of things presented neatly and well can become a piece of art work. Some of the objects in this exhibition, for example, seem to matter hardly. They are iterations of processes that typically happen in any design work. Yet, these (random) objects, produced by well known people, brought in the space of a gallery, enclosed in glass boxes force us to consider them seriously.

I enjoyed watching such ‘futility’ (certainly not the right word to use) to some extent. Some of the objects which constituted it had an aesthetic to them which could not be verbalized. In this sense, they rightfully belonged to the museum space, pushing the boundaries of architectural language. They could only be observed, without being put into words. Some other objects were more tangible intellectually and even pretty. I am referring tot he origami models that became the basis of fantastic experiments of Chuck Hobermann’s architectural solutions for the dome or the stadium’s roof. They were playful and reminded me of the Mechanix toys that we used to play with as kids.

Overall, in its feel, the way in which the exhibition was put up reminded me of a student exhibition – that which is filled with lots and lots of process drawings and models. The only thing that made it different was that it was an exhibition where they had enormous budget to frame, box and display things which utmost care. Students can not afford that luxury. I think the careful display was the key to the success of this exhibition. Most of these objects must also be under the possession of the Canadian Center for Architecture. So these were technically museum acquisition, in other words, part of architectural historical archives. Following are the pictures for those who missed or would like to revisit the exhibits. The exhibition was pulled down last week to make space for the year end student works.

 

 

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