provoke!

provoke!, an exhibition which was recently inaugurated in viennese albertina, is one of the most powerful exhibitions i’ve visited since i moved to vienna. for some reason, it is still in my head.

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provoke was an experimental small press Japanese photography magazine founded by photographers yutaka takanashi and takuma nakhira, critic koji taki and writer takahiko okada in 1968. it was viewed as “a platform for a new photographic expression”. provoke magazine was born around the idea that even though images cannot completely represent an idea as words can, photographs can provoke language and idea. hence provoke’s subtitle “provocative materials for thought”

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only three issues of provoke magazine were published on 1 november 1968, and 10 march and 10 august 1969, each in an edition of 1,000 copies. however, it had a profound effect on photography in japan.

the photographers of provoke magazine captured what cannot be expressed in words, such as massive protest movements active in japan between sixties and seventies, as well as the search for a new japanese identity.

the magazine wanted to be a provocation to japanese society and its photographic culture, european-style photojournalism and straightforward commercial photography. they also sought to awaken and refresh the aesthetics of existing photography and question the increasingly commercial visual language of japanese society.

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exhibition shows around 200 photographs. these images represent both an expression of this political transformation and the renewal of aesthetic norms.

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i guess that the powerful thing which kept me thinking about this exhibition for some time is how little i know about that era in japan. sixties were quite turbulent period on a global level (civil rights, feminism, space race, and so on). ever since i saw these photographs i keep wondering how it was to live there in that turbulent period.

for all of you living in vienna (or if you’re planning to visit in the next months), do not miss this exhibition. it will truly give you an insight in that particular period of japanese (and global) history. the exhibition is open until 8.5.2016.

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short visit to milan -> part three: expo 2015

the third post is dedicated to the largest event milan hosted this year (or maybe ever): expo 2015.
even though i was quite tired from wandering the streets of milan and visiting the fondazione prada, i decided to go for the evening visit. i am still planing on going again to expo (i have purchased tickets well in advance), but i didn’t want to miss a chance to see how is it.

i was sad to discover that major number of pavilions were closed (or very crowded) by the time i got there, so i managed to see only a couple of them. however, i decided to prepare my top 5 list – for now, at least. i may write a longer entry after i spend a full day at expo.

5. brazil – “feeding the world with solutions”

brazilians use network, as a metaphor for flexibility, fluidity and decentralization in order to demonstrate the relationship and integration of different topics which need to be combined in order to provide food for world’s ever growing population.
in their exhibition space, brazil offers visitors a view of all the possibilities being explored and implemented to increase and diversify food production, satisfying food demands around the world and using advanced technologies in a way that is truly sustainable… while having fun!

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4. malaysia – “towards a sustainable food ecosystem”

malaysia pavilion takes the shape of four seeds. the curves of the design and the weaving patterns on the structure reflect the versatility and dynamism of the nation. the design drew inspiration from the humble rainforest seed. the seed, a symbol of growth, signifies a beginning of a journey, and the potential within.
okay, maybe i am being a little bit biased here.. having spent very important part of my life in malaysia, i tend to be very nostalgic.

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3. uae – “food for thought – shaping and sharing the future”

uae explore challenges that arise in feeding the planet, particularly in the interwoven topics of land, food, energy and water.
uae pavilion is created by a series of tall rippled walls. these impressive 12-meter structures evoke both the narrow self-shaded streets of the uae’s historic settlements and the magnificent open sand dunes of its deserts. too bad the pavilion was already closed when i arrived, but i am definitely getting in the next time!

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2. austria – “breathe.austria”

with the moto “breathe.austria” austrians underline that air is an essential component to the health of food and humans and it is an indicator of ecological balance. the pavilion creates a small scale austrian forest that provides 62.5 kilograms of fresh oxygen every hour, without filters or conditioners, which is enough for 1,800 people in an ideal climate, providing wellness and absorbing CO2.

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i thought this pavilion to be very different from the others (and i’m not saying that only because i live in austria now). it was so refreshing.. in every possible sense.

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1. united kingdom – “grown in britain and northern ireland”

under the theme “grown in britain and northern ireland” wishes to raise global awareness of and provide innovative solutions to one of the most pressing challenges of our time – how to feed and sustain an expected rise in the world’s population to nine billion by 2050.

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the uk pavilion chose to follow the journey of the honey bee to highlight the role of pollination in the global food chain and ecosystem. it also describes how the exchange of ideas, skills and knowledge is an essential part of human activity and future.

this pavilion blew my mind. it is true work of a genius.

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so, that’s my top 5. what did you think of pavilions at expo2015? and, more importantly, which ones would you recommend for the second tour?

short visit to milan -> part two: fondazione prada

even though i was planning on publishing this post several days after my first post on the short visit to milan, my computer had other plans.. it had simply decided to stop working :( it took us some time to find the new one.. however, i am back.. finally!

the second post is about fondazione prada, which opened in the humble neighborhood of largo isarco, only two streets away from my former apartment. of course, i couldn’t miss the chance to visit the newest contemporary art museum in milan, as well as my ex-hood :)

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the museum itself is a former distillery, dating back to the 1910s. the transformation lead to an architectural configuration that combines pre-existing buildings with three new structures. the result is a campus of post-industrial and new spaces with the inner courtyard, open to the city.

the following buildings make part of a museum and they each host different exhibitions: haunted house, podium, cisterna (tank), deposito (warehouse), nord (north) and sud (south), with other facilities such as biblioteca (library), bar and cinema.

i started my tour in the haunted house, the golden building which immediately captured my attention. this building also belonged to the old distillery; however, its structure was reinforced, while its external surface was glided. the interior is as interesting as the exterior, its large windows create a strong relationship with the surrounding, yet the sequence and size of single rooms preserve the intimacy of the inner space. haunted house hosts permanent exhibition of robert gober and louise bourgeois.

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my next stop was the cinema, where i watched a never shown documentary “roman polanski: my inspirations”, featuring a film review of movies that have inspired his work: citizen kane (1941), great expectations (1946), odd man out (1947), hamlet (1948), the bicycle thieves (1948) and 8 1/2 (1963).

then i went to what would become my favorite part of the museum – podium. it hosted a very interesting exhibition: serial classic – multiplying art in greece and rome, which aimed to represent and revive lost originals with an empty pedestals, on which are placed summaries of the ancient sources describing them. i have taken picture of several replicas along with their descriptions: praxiteles’s sartyr, myron’s discobolus and scopas’s pothoi.

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what i loved the most about this exhibition is how they managed to combine the art of classical period with the contemporary art and how they made me think they truly belong together.

the following three exhibitions would not capture my attention as the first three, but they are still worth mentioning: in part (which took place in the northern part of the museum: nord), an introduction (in the southern part: sud) and deposito.

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and finally, there’s bar luce, the lovely café, designed by wes anderson (director of “grand budapest hotel”). the café itself reminds of galleria vittorio emanuele, one of milan’s landmarks, especially with its vaulted ceiling and the motifs on the upper section of the wall.

when i went to the café, i was truly sad it was not open at least a couple of months earlier, so i could get my morning coffee and breakfast here.

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and then, i took a walk around the museum. great museums can be found all around the world, but an architectural piece like fondazione prada are only a few.

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short visit to milan -> part one: mercato metropolitano

last week i managed to organize a short trip to milan, the city where i lived for the past seven years. i had some administrative stuff to settle, but also i wanted to see what’s new in town.

although i moved only two months ago, a lot of things happened in that short period and there were yet again a lot of things to explore. aside from expo2015, brand new museum, fondazione prada, was opened in my ex-neighborhood, so i decided to pay a visit to it. but my very first stop was mercato metropolitano, a lovely marketplace in porta genova area.

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therefore, i dedicate the first post (out of planned three) to mercato metropolitano – “a place where you may buy and taste good food under the stars”. it is located in the former train depot of porta genova. an area of 15.000 sq.m. in the famous neighborhoods of tortona and navigli district was rearranged and made into this amazing marketplace. the farmers’ market itself is a part of project “expoincitta” (expo in the city), dedicated to promotion of the city of milan during the world fair.

even though the existance of mercato metropolitano is intended only during the expo, i.e. from may 1st to october 31st, there’s a hope that this area (which is so atypical for milan!), would remain open even after the expo ends.

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as soon as i arrived to mercato metropolitano, i got instantly reminded of queen victoria market in melbourne, about which i have already written on my blog. since qvm (short for queen victoria market) was one of my favorite places in melbourne, i had no doubt i would love mercato metropolitano. i loved the idea of a place with a laid back atmosphere, full of people who are chatting over a coffee or a brunch,  live music & plenty of street food stalls. oh, and herbs and vegetables planted all around the market complete this wonderful journey.

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an then i thought.. what a great way to reclaim an abandoned area into a market with clean stalls selling everything from appetizers to desserts, through breads, cheeses, salads and meats.

numerous food stalls offer variety of fresh and organic food, starting from locally grown fruits & vegetables. then, there’s a bakery offering freshly baked bread, focaccia and piadina. if you happen to be up to the real meal, don’t worry – there’s plenty of choice of pasta, fish and meat. of course, coffee and ice cream are inevitable (and my favorite!) part of any meal.

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so, if you happen to go to milan (until 31st october), do not miss this place. the address is via valenza 2, and it is easily accessible by foot from navigli & darsena. it is open daily until midnight (workdays) / 2am (weekends).

fuorisalone 2015 – my farewell with milan

just like my first outing in vienna was in truly viennese style (summer night concert), my farewell with milan was also in style: salone del mobile / or milan design week, where i used to go almost every year. i wrote about it also on my blog (in 2013 and in 2014). usually i would visit the exhibitions within the city, such as zona tortona, ventura lambrate or brera design distinct. in the recent years the “fuorisalone” (meaning: the exhibitions outside of the exhibition fair) became even more popular, so that the entire city was actually a part of it.

on saturday we decided to go to the zona tortona, one of the first “fuorisalone” districts in milan. on the way there we passed through the navigli district, which was as cute & lively as always.

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in the zona tortona itself, there were plenty interesting designs.. i was more curious than usual, since i was looking for an inspiration for our apartment..

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of course, it is always useful to know what countries are the largest.. especially, if you want to visit them by bike – for example, the fancy one in the following picture :)

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trees & green in general were well combined with the exhibition..

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they managed to revitalize even some of the old buildings in the area.. with mirrors! of course, we played with them a bit..

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tomorrow we decided to go next door, to cascina cuccagna – one of my very favorite places in milan. initially we planned on going to ventura lambrate, but we had a lot of packing to do, since i was leaving the day after.

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this venue had the best thing of them all – the lovely terrace, where everyone could just lie around (& sunbathe even!). the lazy bags were of special kind, of course.. biodegradable and what not.

then we made friends with two little girls! they both told me what their favorite colors are, who their best friends are, etc. we had so much fun with them!

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only couple of weeks ago, the following photo was published on cascina cuccagna’s facebook page. i liked it a lot, and when i zoomed it to see it in detail, i saw familiar faces! it’s us! and our little friends!

do you see us? we’re practically in the middle of the photo.

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it is such a beautiful photo! it captures the essence of that lovely day!

zurich.. from a different angle

what is the first thing that comes to our mind when someone mentions zurich, or switzerland in general?
chocolate, cheese, mountains, lakes.. and of course – money!
that’s how it was for me – until several months ago, when i got the chance to visit zurich again & to see it from a different angle.

oh it still is all that – but it’s also very fashionable, relaxed and bold.
i have spent the last weekend in zurich with my sister – mainly in the former industrial quarter – and i have to say – i liked it much better than the traditional organized, perfect and “money” quarter.

so, what did we do..

we started our saturday with a morning coffee in a very cosy cafe:

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then we decided to take a walk, it was a splendid autumn day.. we came across fraitag flagship store, completely built from rusty and recycled freight-containers. oh, this was zurich’s first bonsai-skyscraper: low enough not to violate the city’s restriction on high-rise buildings. it is quite something, right?

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on our way to the city centre we passed by “im viadukt” – a train viaduct from 1894 transformed into a 500-metre long shopping mall with a food market. we visited several stores; this is a place filled with young and up&coming designers:

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of course, we couldn’t resist checking out some of the food stores. i found this one quite interesting, especially for the chili hanging from the ceiling:

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as for the sunday, we started our day quite slowly – with a sunday brunch in a lovely restaurant:

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we spent the rest of the morning pampering ourselves – but in the afternoon we managed to get ourselves outside for a run. even though we both run quite regularly, it was our first time together. we had so much fun.. and we should definitely do this more often!

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to sum up, zurich is definitely prettier off the beaten path.. but it is the prettiest when you see it with someone as inspiring & amazing as my sister.

short escape in istria

even though the summer is about to end, i still haven’t gone in proper vacation. aside from short visit to my homeland last week (which i will share with you later on), i’ve managed to organize only a long weekend in istria. i don’t know if i can call it “summer vacation” since we have been there before summer officially started, in june.

it was a mini road trip, we managed to see the towns of poreč, rovinj and pula. we loved them all! many others were left unexplored (such as pazin, opatija, etc), but we decided to leave them for the next trip – oh yes, we’re definitely coming back!

our first stop was poreč – a 2000 years old town and a site of 6th century euphrasian basilica, a unesco world heritage site. we managed to see the basilica only at night (hence, no photos!), since we were on the beach during the day.

rovinj, the second town we visited, was the one we liked the most and where we stayed the longest. we even sacrificed a bit of our beach time to take a walk and climb all the way to saint euphemia’s basilica.

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rovinj at sunset

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rovinj – view from the northern harbor

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details from rovinj

after leaving rovinj, we headed south towards the town of pula, the largest in istria county. while driving, we enjoyed some of the typical istrian scenery.

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istrian scenery

pula is the largest city in istria and is situated at the southern tip of the peninsula. it has been istria’s administrative centre since ancient roman times. even its most famous landmark, pula arena, dates from this period.

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pula arena

last, but not the least, this trip was very special for me for one more reason – it was my very first camping experience! even though i was quite a skeptic, it went amazingly well and i cannot wait for my next camping trip!

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ps. most of the photos were taken by tarik. these photos are usually kept in our private collection, but i thought they are too beautiful not to be published. what do you think?

cascina cuccagna – an oasis in milan

cascina cuccagna (cuccagna farmhouse) is one of those places where you can simply forget that you are actually in a gray, noisy and always busy milan. a true oasis – where you may enjoy all the things you are missing while in a city like milan – green, peace and tranquility.

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i’ve been to cascina cuccagna for the first time during the milan design week (salone del mobile) in april this year, when i visited an exhibition of furniture following the sustainable production concept (such as indastriadesign, about which i wrote before on my blog).

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ever since then, i kept on coming back to cascina cuccagna. was it for their lovely garden, where the children are more than welcome to play and run freely, or for the garden with veggies which are actually used in their restaurant? maybe it is simply the atmosphere – you may come here and sit in the garden, without even ordering the food. you may bring your book, or – even better – a friend, and enjoy this lovely ambient.

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if you decide to eat – there is a restaurant “un posto a milano”, with wide choice of organic meals, which are being changed constantly, depending on the current supplies. the water is on the house, it comes from the aqueduct of milan. the ambient is cool and simple. just the way i like it.

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if you haven’t noticed by now – i strongly recommend this place to all of you coming to milan and looking for a nice and cosy place with relaxed atmosphere and good food. for more details, visit their website: http://www.cuccagna.org/

a glimpse of provence

last week we’ve managed to organize a small holiday in the garden of france, maybe even all of europe -> provence. an area of this kind can be covered only by road trip – which happened to be our favorite. we’ve seen a lot of interesting sites (the total distance traveled was approximately 1500 km), starting from ancient towns of arles and nimes, papal avignon and student town aix-en-provence to coastal villages of biot, vence and saint-paul. in addition, we were rewarded by a lovely scenery along the road.

in the in this post i’ll present several random photos we took during our trip. the following posts will be dedicated to unesco sites & specific details from that corner of the world.

charming arles
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somewhere along the road..
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hilltop village of biot
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on wednesday we have gone to a famous market of arles (old-style!) to get some breakfast before driving further and we stayed there for about an hour.. it was simply too beautiful to be passed.
finally, the only “souvenirs” we brought from provence are from that market ->
herbs, homemade marmalade & tea..

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highlights of paris

they say that paris is always a good idea! and i will add – especially when you get to go with your sister, like i did last week.
i will dedicate this post to a couple of highlights of my short trip.

highlight #1 – pompidou centre

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pompidou centre is without any doubt the building like no other. the centre was designed by italian architect renzo piano & british architect richard rogers. the project was awarded to this team in an architectural design competition, and the building was completed in 1977.
even though the building is very popular now, in the 1970-ties the reactions were divided for its “inside-out” architecture, since the design was quite ahead of its time (for example, national geographic described the reaction to the design as “love at second sight.”). just a bit of trivia, all of the functional structural elements of the building are colour-coded: green pipes are plumbing, blue ducts are for climate control, electrical wires are encased in yellow, and circulation elements and devices for safety are red.
ps. you wouldn’t want to plan your visit to pompidou centre on tuesday – like i did.. and found it closed!

highlight #2 – la défense & grande arche

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la défense, business district of paris, was named after a stand against the prussians in 1870.
the district was founded in 1958. with the first generation of skyscrapers and it kept its appearance until the early 1970s, when in response to great demand, a second generation of buildings were realized.
a third generation of towers began to appear in the early 1980s – which lead to construction of the grande arche, the main landmark of la défense, in the 1989.
after the stagnation in the 1990-ties, la défense is once again expanding and is now the largest purpose-built business district in europe.
i loved how the architecture of la défense was mirrored in its continuous building over the years; you could see the skyscrapers from the 1980-ties together with the buildings of a newer date. and i loved how the entire district was grouped around the grande arche, its natural centre.
oh, and i was also very proud of my photo!

highlight #3 – a walk in marais

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once a swamp, now hip&trendy neighborhood – i loved marais! i loved its small-scale buildings, cosy cafés (i would recommend “le loir dans la théière”, where i had lunch) and lovely boutiques (i found all my favourite boutiques – comptoir des cotonniers, sandro, zadig&voltaire, and a bunch of new ones). i came to marais the first day with my sister, but i couldn’t resist coming back at least one more time.

highlight of highlights – my sister!

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three days in paris with my sister were just what i needed.