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NERI OXMAN. BORN 1976. HAIFA. ISRAEL. RESEARCHER. EDUCATOR. DESIGNER. ARCHITECT. HERALDS THE EPOCHAL SHIFT IN DESIGN PARADIGMS. MADE POSSIBLE BY THE MARRIAGE OF COMPUTATIONAL DESIGN TO SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY TO DIGITAL FABRICATION. DEPLOYING THE CAPACITIES OF ARCHITECTURALLY ADEPT LIFE FORMS. FROM ASSEMBLY. TO BIOLOGICAL GROWTH. FROM FORDIAN MASS-PRODUCED / SINGLE-FUNCTION PARTS. TO MULTI-FUNCTION BIO-STRUCTURES. SEAMLESS GARMENTS MADE FROM A SINGLE PIECE OF SILK FABRIC. SKIN-NOURISHING WEARABLES. DYNAMIC BUILDING FACADES. GLASS MADE OF SHRIMP-SHELL PASTE. WITH VARIABLE OPTICAL AND STRUCTURAL PROPERTIES. FROM THE WORLD-AS-MACHINE. TO THE WORLD-AS-ORGANISM. FROM LIFE-INSPIRED DESIGN. TO DESIGN-INSPIRED LIFE.
KAZUYO SEJIMA. BORN 1956. HITACHI. IBARAKI PREFECTURE. JAPAN. ARCHITECT. EDUCATOR. ONE HALF OF THE 2010 PRITZKER PRIZE-WINNING PARTNERSHIP. THE SECOND FEMALE ARCHITECT TO RECEIVE THE HONOUR. SLEEK MODERNIST STYLE. FLOWING CURVES AND GLASS. DISSOLVING THE BORDER BETWEEN EXTERIOR AND INTERIOR. ESCHEWS THE MODERNIST FUNCTIONALIST APPROACH FOR A MORE DYNAMIC ONE. THAT IS ABLE TO ACCOMMODATE THE SHIFTING NEEDS OF THE OCCUPANTS / VISITORS. ATTUNED TO LIVED EXPERIENCE. FACILITATING DAILY LIFE. RATHER THAN ANTAGONISING IT. AN EXCEEDINGLY METICULOUS DESIGN PROCESS. TAKES DESIGN INPUTS FROM ENTIRE TEAM. MULTIPLE DIGITAL AND PHYSICAL MODELS BUILT. USING DIFFERENT MATERIALS. AND SCALES. SUBJECTED TO LABORATORY TESTS. TWEAKED ACCORDING TO THE FINDINGS. NUMBER OF MODELS GENERATED PER PROJECT OFTEN IN THE HUNDREDS. THOROUGH.
AYRTON SENNA DA SILVA. 1960-1994. BORN IN SAO PAULO. BRAZIL. FORMULA 1 RACING LEGEND. 41 GRAND PRIX WINS. 65 POLE POSITIONS. RAISED IN COMFORTABLE CIRCUMSTANCES. SUFFERED FROM POOR MOTOR COORDINATION IN EARLY CHILDHOOD. THE CAR HAD BECOME AN EXTENSION OF HIS LIMBS BY EARLY ADULTHOOD. COLLEGE DROPOUT. PURSUED A CAREER IN RACING DESPITE FAMILY DISAPPROVAL. FEROCIOUSLY DEDICATED TO HIS CRAFT. ON AND OFF THE TRACK. INDIFFERENT TO WEATHER FORECASTS. SUBOPTIMAL EQUIPMENT ONLY HEIGHTENED HIS DETERMINATION. WOULD NOT STOP PUSHING THE ENVELOPE. UNTIL HE CRASHED INTO A WALL. AT 233 KILOMETRES PER HOUR. OR 145 MILES PER HOUR.
ANDREAS CAMINADA. BORN 1977. GRAUBÜNDEN. SWITZERLAND. CHEF. RESTAURANTEUR. HOTELIER. PUBLISHER. OWNER OF RESTAURANT / HOTEL SCHLOSS SCHAUENSTEIN. WHERE HE WON THREE MICHELIN STARS BY AGE 33. THE YOUNGEST CHEF IN EUROPE TO HAVE ACHIEVED THE DISTINCTION. WHICH MIGHT HAVE MADE HIM PRONE TO GLITZ. AND GRANDIOSITY. IN FACT HIS STYLE EXUDES SIMPLICITY. AND HONESTY. UNASSUMING INGREDIENTS. MAINLY SOURCED BY LOCAL PRODUCERS. AND GLEANED FROM THE SURROUNDING FOREST. THAT FIND THEIR WAY INTO FLAVOURFUL / VISUALLY ARRESTING DISHES. NOT AFRAID TO MIX HOT AND COLD. SWEET AND SAVOURY. MILD AND BITTER. DEVELOPED HIS PASSION FOR COOKING EARLY. BENEFITTED FROM THE GUIDANCE OF MICHELIN-STARRED CHEFS. BUT PRIMARILY GUIDED BY THE IDEA THAT TASTE IS THE ULTIMATE ARBITER. AND BY HIS OWN INTUITION. AND BY THE DESIRE TO BE A GOOD HOST. HIS OPERATION NOW BOASTS MULTIPLE ESTABLISHMENTS. IN MULTIPLE COUNTRIES. AND CONTINUES TO GARNER ACCOLADES. YET ONE MORE INSTANCE OF AN EARLY BIRD’S CATCHING THE WORM.
ALAIN DUCASSE. BORN 1956. FRENCH-BORN MONEGASQUE RESTAURANTEUR. EDUCATOR. PUBLISHER. DESIGNER. ONE OF THE MOST DECORATED CONTEMPORARY CHEFS. HEADED THE FIRST HOTEL RESTAURANT TO BE AWARDED THREE MICHELIN STARS. FIRST TO OWN THREE-STAR RESTAURANTS IN THREE CITIES. ACQUIRED THE TOOLS OF THE CULINARY TRADE AS AN APPRENTICE IN HIGH-END PROVENÇAL KITCHENS. NOW HEADS A HOSPITALITY / GASTRONOMIC EMPIRE ON WHICH THE SUN NEVER SETS. THAT IS ACTUALLY PROFITABLE. AN ACCOMPLISHMENT DOWN IN PART TO THE SENSIBILITIES COMMON AMONG HIS PEERS. REFUSAL TO COMPROMISE ON QUALITY. INCESSANT CREATIVE DRIVE. PLUS SUSTAINABILITY. SEASONALITY. ETHICAL SOURCING. ALL OF WHICH TEND TO WREAK HAVOC ON THE BOTTOM LINE. BY VOLUNTARILY CHOKING SUPPLY CHAINS. AND REQUIRING A 1:1 DINER TO CHEF RATIO. EXPLAINS THE APPROX. 90% FAILURE RATE. A FATE THAT DUCASSE AVOIDS THROUGH MENTAL AGILITY. FLEXIBILITY. ADAPTIVENESS. UNDERSTANDS THAT ONE MIGHT BE A GLOBAL BRAND. BUT STILL COOLS FOR A LOCAL PUBLIC. THAT SURVIVAL HANGS ON ABILITY TO EXPLOIT NOT ONLY LOCAL INGREDIENTS. BUT LOCAL TECHNIQUE AS WELL. HENCE THE CROSS-POLLINATION OF CULINARY TRADITIONS. THE COMBINATION OF THE SIMPLE AND THE SOPHISTICATED. THE RUSTIC AND THE URBANE. THE CLASSICAL AND THE CASUAL. IT ALL STARTED WITH THE EXPERIENCE OF HIS GRANDMOTHER’S COOKING. WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THAT BEING BROUGHT UP ON A FARM WOULD BE SO INSTRUCTIVE.
ALAIN PASSARD. BORN 1956. CHEF. RESTAURANTEUR. NORTHWESTERN FRANCE NATIVE. DECIDED TO INCORPORATE VEGETABLES IN HIS CUISINE IN THE EARLY 2000S. SO HE BUILT HIS OWN GARDENS. EACH WITH ITS OWN SOIL TYPE. WHICH LEAVES ITS IMPRINT ON THE PRODUCE. RESPECTS SEASONALITY. EMBRACES SUSTAINABILITY. FROM GARDEN. TO PLATE. AND BACK TO GARDEN IN THE FORM OF COMPOST. PLATES THAT LOOK LIKE FRAMEABLE CANVASES. FOOD THAT IS COMPLETELY ENGROSSING. SINCE ALL FIVE SENSES ARE INTIMATELY CONNECTED. AN IDEA HE MADE THE OBJECT OF DEEP INQUIRY. WITH THE HELP OF ART-HISTORY / ARTIFICIAL-INTELLIGENCE EXPERTS. APPARENTLY THE MAN IS INCAPABLE OF HALF-ASSING ANYTHING. THE GASTRONOMIC ESTABLISHMENT SEEMS TO AGREE. AWARDED HIM HIS FIRST MICHELIN STAR IN 1980. AT AGE 26. HIS SECOND IN 1984. HIS L’ARPÈGE RESTAURANT WON ITS FIRST MICHELIN STAR IN 1986. ITS FIRST YEAR. ITS SECOND NOT LONG AFTER THAT. ITS THIRD IN 1996. AND HAS RETAINED THEM SINCE. IS SYNONYMOUS WITH THE AVANT-GARDE NOW. BUT BEGAN HIS CAREER UNDER THE TUTELAGE OF CLASSICALLY ORIENTED CHEFS. FUNDAMENTALS COME FIRST. ALWAYS.
CHARLES-ÉDOUARD JEANNERET-GRIS. AKA LE CORBUSIER. 1867-1965. SWISS-BORN FRENCH ARCHITECT. URBAN PLANNER. FURNITURE DESIGNER. AUTHOR. MAGAZINE EDITOR. SCULPTOR. PAINTER. THE FATHER OF MODERNIST ARCHITECTURE. DESIGNED HIS FIRST HOUSE IN 1907. AT AGE 20. EVENTUALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR MORE THAN 300 DESIGNS. COVERING THE ENTIRE SPECTRUM. FROM CABINS TO CITIES. HELD SENTIMENTAL / NOSTALGIC DESIGN IN CONTEMPT. REJECTED ANYTHING NON-FUNCTIONAL / ORNAMENTAL / BAROQUE. EVEN ROMAN ARCHITECTURE WAS NOT SPARED. THAT SACRED COW OF SACRED COWS. TO HIM A HORROR OF INEFFICIENCY AND EXCESS. THOUGHT THE UTILITARIANISM OF MODERN ENGINEERING WAS BEAUTY ITSELF. THE AUTOMOBILE. THE AIRPLANE. HENCE THE PREFERENCE FOR REINFORCED CONCRETE. AND STEEL. AND BASIC GEOMETRIC FORMS. A DWELLING PROVIDES SHELTER FROM THE ELEMENTS. AND FROM THOSE WITH FOUL INTENTIONS. CAPTURES NATURAL LIGHT. CONTAINS A NUMBER OF CELLS. EACH WITH A SPECIFIC PURPOSE. WORKING. COOKING. LIVING. AND NOTHING MORE. ATTEMPTED TO APPLY THE PRINCIPLE TO TOWN PLANNING. PROPOSED BUILDING EVER HIGHER SKYSCRAPERS. KILLING THE TWIN BIRDS OF CONGESTION AND URBAN SPRAWL WITH ONE STONE. THE COMPLETE SEGREGATION OF PEDESTRIAN AND AUTOMOBILE INFRASTRUCTURE. SOME OF HIS IDEAS FOUND APPLICATION IN THE GRIM LOW-INCOME CRIME-RIDDEN HOUSING ESTATES OF PARIS AND ELSEWHERE. A LAMENTABLE LEGACY. ASSUMED THAT SMALL-SCALE PRINCIPLES ARE TRANSLATABLE TO LARGE-SCALE SYSTEMS. NOT THE FIRST MODERNIST TO COMMIT THAT ERROR. NOR THE LAST. NEVERTHELESS MUCH OF THE ALLURE OF THE IDEA OF THE ‘MODERN’ IS ATTRIBUTABLE TO LE CORBUSIER. DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY. ITS PROMETHEAN CONNOTATION. ITS SENSE OF BOUNDLESS POSSIBILITY. HARD TO FIND A MODERN ARCHITECT NOT INDEBTED TO HIM. TO SOME DEGREE. WHETHER ACKNOWLEDGED OR NOT.
YOAAN BOURGEOIS. FRENCH CHOREOGRAPHER. CREATOR OF A SIGNATURE BLEND OF DANCE AND PERFORMANCE ART. TRAINED IN THE CIRCUS ARTS. WHICH EXPLAINS THE DISCIPLINED LACK OF DISCIPLINE. AND CHILDLIKE PLAYFULNESS. MOVEMENT AND PHYSICAL SPACE BECOME TOOLS TO EXPLORE PSYCHO-SOCIAL DYNAMICS. SINCE PHYSICAL FORCES AND INTERACTION WITH THE ENVIRONMENT ARE CROSS-CULTURAL CONSTANTS. HARMONY VS DISCORD. COHESION VS DISCONNECTEDNESS.
ANTHONY MICHAEL BOURDAIN. 1956-2018. FORMALLY TRAINED CHEF. INTREPID WORLD TRAVELLER. DOCUMENTARIAN. AUTHOR. PUT LITERARY MEAT ON THE BONES OF CULINARY JOURNALISM. EXPLORED CUISINE AND CULTURE THROUGH A HUMANIST LENS. WITH EFFORTLESS ELOQUENCE. UNQUENCHABLE CURIOSITY. BYRONIC ATTITUDE. HIS SENTENCES FREQUENTLY DELIVERED IN AN IRONIC REGISTER. NOT ABOVE DEPLOYING VULGARITY STRATEGICALLY AND POETICALLY. HIS ENTIRE OEUVRE AN UNAFFECTED CELEBRATION OF FLAVOUR AND COLOUR. AND OF HUMANITY AT ITS BEST.
DIONYSIS SAVVOPOULOS. BORN 1944 IN THESSALONIKI. THE QUINTESSENTIAL NEW-WAVE SINGER-SONGWRITER. INITIALLY ON A PATH TO A LAW CAREER. HEEDED THE MUSE’S CALL INSTEAD. HITCHHIKED TO ATHENS ON A TRUCK. WOULD LATER MAKE THAT JOURNEY THE THEME OF HIS DEBUT LP. SUPPORTED HIMSELF WITH ODD JOBS. UNTIL HE CAUGHT THE EAR OF SPECIALTY LABEL LYRA’S A&R MAN. MELDS CONTEMPORARY SOCIAL / POLITICAL CONCERNS WITH TRADITIONAL MUSICAL AND FOLKLORIC ELEMENTS. VERY MUCH IN THE BOB DYLAN MOULD. HAS THE LATTER’S KNACK FOR AN UNFURLING HYPNOTIC NARRATIVE. AND STIRRING IMAGERY. AND GRUFF PUNCHY DELIVERY. OUTSPOKEN ENOUGH TO MAKE HIMSELF A TARGET FOR GREECE’S MILITARY DICTATORSHIP. A TEXTBOOK EXAMPLE OF A MODERN SELF-MADE ARTIST.
DANIEL HUMM. BORN 1976. STRENGELBACH. SWITZERLAND. CHEF. RESTAURANTEUR. ORIGINALLY ON A COMPETITIVE-CYCLING CAREER TRACK. TOOK A SWERVE AT 21 INTO GASTRONOMY. LEARNED THE CRAFT IN MICHELIN-STARRED ESTABLISHMENTS. GIVES INGREDIENTS PROMINENCE. FUSES TRADITIONAL FRENCH AND AVANTE-GARDE APPROACHES. APPRECIATES THE PERFORMATIVE ASPECT OF GASTRONOMY. PLATES. CUTLERY. SERVICE. AMBIANCE. ALL ARE INTEGRAL TO THE EXPERIENCE. MOST OF ALL THE PLACE-BOUND NARRATIVE THAT TIES IT ALL TOGETHER. IT SEEMS TO WORK. THE COVETED THREE-STAR STATUS CAME RELATIVELY EARLY. HIS ELEVEN MADISON PARK RESTAURANT DECLARED WORLD’S NO.1 IN 2017. ADVOCATES A MINIMALIST APPROACH TO DISH CONSTRUCTION. STRIPPING AWAY THE NON-ESSENTIAL. DOING MORE WITH LESS. NOT HIDING BEHIND REDUNDANCY. THE CULMINATION OF WHICH WAS THE 2021 DECISION TO ELIMINATE ANIMAL PRODUCTS FROM HIS RESTAURANTS ENTIRELY. CREDITS THE PANDEMIC OF THE 2020S WITH AWAKENING HIM TO THE NON-SUSTAINABILITY OF THE MEAT INDUSTRY. A PLANT-ONLY MENU AT THE WORLD’S NO.1 RESTAURANT EXPECTED TO INCREASE THE APPEAL OF VEGETABLES AS LUXURY FODDER. TO THE IMPATIENT / RADICALLY INCLINED THIS GESTURE IS MERELY CYNICAL / FASHION-CONSCIOUS / VIRTUE-SIGNALLING. TIME WILL TELL. ALL IN ALL NOT A BAD RUN FOR A HIGH-SCHOOL DROPOUT.
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST. 1975. DIR. MILOŠ FORMAN. BASED ON KEN KESEY’S EPONYMOUS 1962 NOVEL. PITS FREE-SPIRITED MENTAL PATIENT RANDLE MCMURPHY AGAINST TYRANNICAL NURSE RATCHED. WHO REPRESENTS THE ESTABLISHMENT. WHICH EQUATES SANITY WITH CONFORMITY. AND USED TO JUSTIFY AUTHORITARIANISM BY RECOURSE TO RELIGION. AND NOW SEEKS RECOURSE TO SCIENCE. MCMURPHY IS WILLING TO TAKE HIS LIVE-FREE-OR-DIE IDEA TO ITS LOGICAL CONCLUSION. AND SO SEALS HIS FATE. BUT HIS NONCONFORMIST SEED HAS BEEN PLANTED.
THE INAUGURAL TOUR DE FRANCE. 1-19 JULY 1903. SIX STAGES. 2,428 KILOMETRES. OR 1509 MILES. 60 RIDERS STARTED. 21 FINISHED. FIRST STAGE PARIS-LYON. 467 KILOMETRES. OR 290 MILES. FIRST CLIMB CAME AFTER 425 KILOMETRES. OR 264 MILES. RIDERS LEFT PARIS AT 3:16 IN THE AFTERNOON. TOUR WINNER MAURICE GARIN TOUCHED LYON AT 9:00. THE NEXT MORNING. 1 MINUTE AHEAD OF MAIN RIVAL. NIGHT RIDING NECESSARY THROUGHOUT THE TOUR. NO TARMAC. NO LED LIGHTING. NO GEARS. NO COASTING. NO CARBON-FIBRE EQUIPMENT. NO SPANDEX. NO ENTOURAGES. NO NUTRITIONISTS. NO PHYSICAL THERAPISTS. 3-DAY RESTS BETWEEN STAGES. GRAND PRIZE 3,000 FRANCS. THE WHOLE THING A GAMBIT TO INCREASE THE CIRCULATION OF A STRUGGLING NEWSPAPER. IT WORKED.
ERIK WEISZ. 1874-1926. KNOWN TO THE WORLD AS HARRY HOUDINI. A PERFORMANCE ARTIST AVANT LA LETTRE. RELENTLESS SELF-PROMOTER AND SELF-MYTHOLOGISER. CLAIMED TO HAVE BEEN BORN IN WISCONSIN. ACTUALLY BORN IN BUDAPEST. ADOPTED THE NAME OF HIS IDOL. WHOM HE LATER RENOUNCED. BY MOST ACCOUNTS A MEDIOCRE VAUDEVILLIAN. UNTIL HE FOUND HIS NICHE AS A DEATH-DEFYING ESCAPE ARTIST. SO EXTRAORDINARY HIS METHODS REMAIN UNKNOWN. LIKE MANY OF HIS LIFE’S DETAILS. HIS NAME HAS BECOME A BYWORD FOR ELUSIVENESS. AN EMBLEM OF MODERNITY’S ENDEMIC SENSE OF WONDER.
TADAO ANDO. BORN 1941. OSAKA. JAPAN. SELF-TAUGHT ARCHITECT. 1995’S PRITZKER PRIZE WINNER. MASTER OF MINIMALISM. MAKES THE MOST OUT OF EMPTY SPACE. GEOMETRIC FORMS. CONCRETE. MAKES NATURAL ELEMENTS INTEGRAL TO THE DESIGN. WATER THAT REFLECTS EUCLIDEAN ANGLES. LIGHT THAT SNEAKS IN AND LETS THE ROOM WEAR IT LIKE A SCARF. SEAMLESSLY BLENDS THE NATURAL AND THE ARTIFICIAL. THE INTERIOR AND THE EXTERIOR. EASTERN AND WESTERN AESTHETICS. HOLDS THAT THE EXPERIENCE OF ARCHITECTURE SHOULD NOT BE SUBORDINATE TO FUNCTION. A PRINCIPLE EMBODIED IN HIS CHURCH OF THE LIGHT. A RECTANGULAR CONSTRUCTION DEVOID OF THE USUAL CHRISTIAN MOTIFS. WHOSE EASTERN FACADE FEATURES A CRUCIFORM SLIT. WHICH ILLUMINATES THE BUILDING IN THE MORNING. ONE SUSPECTS THAT EVEN THE UNCHURCHED AMONG US CANNOT HELP BUT FEEL A BECKONING. LEARNED THE CRAFT BY ATTENDING NIGHT CLASSES. APPRENTICING. READING. ADMIRING. CARPENTRY SHARPENED HIS DESIGN INSTINCTS. STARTED HIS OWN FIRM AT AGE 29. HIS LACK OF CREDENTIALS WAS A LIABILITY AT FIRST. DECIDED THAT THE ONLY WAY TO ESTABLISH HIMSELF WOULD BE TO CREATE SOMETHING IMPOSSIBLE TO IGNORE. LOOKS LIKE HE SUCCEEDED.
HOMAI VYARAWALLA. 1913-2012. INDIAN PHOTOJOURNALIST. IN THE 1930S THERE WERE HARDLY ANY WOMEN PHOTOJOURNALISTS. LET ALONE INDIAN WOMEN PHOTOJOURNALISTS. HER FELLOW COUNTRYMEN DID NOT TAKE A SARI-DONNING CAMERA-WIELDING WOMAN SERIOUSLY. THAT MADE HER INCONSPICUOUS. AND THE RESULT WAS A DEAD SERIOUS BODY OF WORK. BLACK AND WHITE IMAGES. ETCHING THE TWENTIETH CENTURY DEEP IN OUR COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS.
DIMITRIS POTAMIANOS. FRANCE-TRAINED SOCIAL SCIENTIST. POLYMATH. EDUCATOR. AUTHOR. EPICURE. MODEL CULINARY JOURNALIST. NEVER PUSHING A PRODUCT UNDER THE GUISE OF REPORTAGE. NEVER SETTLING PERSONAL SCORES. NOTHING TO CONTAMINATE THE PALATE. JUST PURE GRATITUDE FOR GOOD FOOD AND FINE WINE. NOW THAT IS REFRESHING.
SAMUEL LANGHORNE CLEMENS. 1835-1910. HOPELESS ENTREPRENEUR. MISSISSIPPI STEAMBOAT CAPTAIN. THE SUBLIMELY CAUSTIC WORDSMITH MARK TWAIN. CONVERTED HIS EXPERIENCES INTO UNFORGETTABLE AND UNROMANTIC ACCOUNTS OF THE RIVERINE COUNTRY. DISCOVERED LITERARY GOLD IN THE PROSAIC FIELDS OF JOURNALISM AND TRAVEL WRITING. CUT QUITE A FIGURE ON A PODIUM. POLITICAL CORRECTNESS’S WORST NIGHTMARE. IGNORANCE NEVER GOT A RESPITE FROM HIS SARDONIC JABS. NOR DID SUPERSTITION. NOR DID BIGOTRY. REFUSED TO BE SWEPT UP IN HIS COUNTRY’S IMPERIALIST EXUBERANCE. INSTEAD HELD UP A MIRROR TO HIS FELLOW COUNTRYMEN. AND WOULD NOT LET THEM FLINCH.
DOMINIQUE CRENN. BORN 1965. BRITTANY NATIVE. CITIZEN OF SAN FRANCISCO. CHEF. RESTAURANTEUR. AUTHOR. BENEFITTED FROM THE CULTURED SENSIBILITIES OF HER ADOPTED PARENTS. WHO HELPED HER EXPAND BOTH PALATE AND MIND. TAKES THE IDEA OF FOOD AS ART AND STORYTELLING TO ITS LOGICAL CONCLUSION. CREATES A GASTRONOMIC EXPERIENCE THAT IS PURE EVOCATION. REFUSES TO RELINQUISH HER CHILDLIKE CURIOSITY. OPENNESS TO EXPERIENCE. SENSE OF WONDER. AND DEFIANCE OF ARTIFICIAL BOUNDARIES. MUCH LIKE A CITY BRINGS TOGETHER PEOPLE AND CULTURES OF DIFFERENT ORIGINS HER PLATES CONTAIN THE MOST UNLIKELY PAIRINGS. METAMORPHOSES FAMILIAR INGREDIENTS. LIKE CARROTS CURED / BRINED / BOILED / SPICED / GLAZED BEYOND RECOGNITION. AND STILL MAINTAINING EVERY BIT OF THEIR CARROT-NESS. DOES IT ALL WITH ORGANIC INGREDIENTS. MEATLESSLY. SUSTAINABLY. HER ATELIER CRENN CURRENTLY HOLDS THREE MICHELIN STARS. MAKING HER THE ONLY US-BASED FEMALE CHEF TO HAVE WON THE DISTINCTION. DID NOT RECEIVE FORMAL CULINARY TRAINING. GOT HER FIRST RESTAURANT JOB BY WALKING INTO SAN FRANCISCO’S FINEST ESTABLISHMENT. AND SIMPLY ASKING FOR IT. BALLSY.
SOTIRIA BELLOU. 1921-1997. GREEK SINGER. HER PRIEST GRANDFATHER INTRODUCED HER TO THE BYZANTINE MUSICAL TRADITION. OTHER ASPECTS OF THE BYZANTINE TRADITION FAILED TO GRAB HER. SHOWED EARLY PROMISE AS A SINGER. HER MOTHER TRIED TO BEAT IT OUT OF HER. UNSUCCESSFULLY. SUFFERED ABUSE AT THE HANDS OF HER FIRST HUSBAND. WENT TO JAIL FOR FIGHTING BACK. HER LEFT-LEANING POLITICS EARNED HER YET MORE BEATING. BY RIGHT-WING HOODLUMS. STILL SHE REFUSED TO TOW ANY LINE. HER TALENT INSPIRED AWE IN HER PEERS. THE TUMULT OF HER LIFE PERFECTLY CAPTURED BY HER RAW SOUL-DRENCHED VOICE.
AMELIA MARY EARHART. BORN 1897. DECLARED DEAD 1939. AVIATOR. TWENTIETH-CENTURY ICON. EMBLEMATIC OF THE CENTURY’S ACCELERATED TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCE. DRAWN TO ADVENTURE AND OTHER UNLADYLIKE PURSUITS EARLY ON. LIVED AN UNSETTLED CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE. HER EDUCATION FRAGMENTED AND EPISODIC. INVITED TO BE THE FIRST FEMALE PASSENGER ON A TRANSATLANTIC FLIGHT IN 1928. SUBSEQUENTLY SHOT TO INTERNATIONAL FAME. JUST FOR TAGGING ALONG. OTHERS MIGHT HAVE BEEN CONTENT WITH THE ROLE OF ON-BOARD DEAD WEIGHT. OR TO BASK IN REFLECTED GLORY. SHE WAS NOT. BECAME THE FIRST FEMALE PILOT TO FLY TRANSATLANTIC SOLO IN 1932. KEPT SMASHING ALTITUDE AND SPEED RECORDS. CULMINATING IN AN ATTEMPT AT THE GLOBAL CIRCUMNAVIGATION RECORD IN 1937. FIRST ATTEMPT ABORTIVE. SECOND ATTEMPT LEFT CALIFORNIA HEADED EAST. TO MIAMI. PUERTO RICO. VENEZUELA. SURINAM. BRAZIL. SENEGAL. MALI (FRENCH SUDAN). ERITREA. PAKISTAN. INDIA. THAILAND. SINGAPORE. DUTCH EAST INDIES. AUSTRALIA. PAPUA NEW GUINEA. THEN CRASHED IN THE PACIFIC OCEAN. THREE STOPS SHORT OF THE GOAL.
HARRIET ‘HATTY’ HOSMER. 1830-1908. SCULPTOR. FEMINIST PIONEER. NEW-WORLD NATIVE SEDUCED BY THE AURA OF THE OLD WORLD. POSSESSED THE NOT TOO COMMON COMBINATION OF TALENT AND INDUSTRY. LOST HER MOTHER AND THREE SIBLINGS TO TUBERCULOSIS. ADOPTED VIGOROUS PHYSICAL EXERCISE AS AN INOCULANT. A BREAK WITH GENDER-ROLE CONVENTION. ONE OF MANY. HAD EARLY EDUCATORS WHO SOUGHT TO CANALISE HER WILDNESS. RATHER THAN TAME IT. AND A MENTOR WHO KNEW WHEN TO GRACEFULLY BOW OUT. STUDIED ANATOMY TO IMPROVE HER ART. DECADES BEFORE UNIVERSITIES OFFICIALLY WELCOMED FEMALE APPLICANTS. HER NEOCLASSICAL MARBLE MASTERPIECES DEPICTED ILL-TREATED FEMALE HISTORICAL FIGURES. IN A MANNER THAT RIGHTED HISTORY’S WRONGS. LIKE MEDUSA. AND QUEEN ZENOBIA. UNAPOLOGETICALLY SOUGHT PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL INTIMACY AMONG HER OWN SEX. AND FOUND IT.
ANTONI GAUDÍ I CORNET. 1852-1956. CATALÁN ARCHITECT. HIS POTENTIAL UNRECOGNISED BY HIS EDUCATORS. INSPIRED BY NATURAL FORMS. CAPTIVATED BY UTOPIAN SOCIALIST IDEAS. RARELY DREW PLANS. PREFERRED 3-D MODELS FOR THE FREEDOM TO TINKER ON THE FLY. STEEPED IN THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF HIS CRAFT. MADE BROKEN-TILE MOSAICS A HALLMARK OF CATALAN MODERNISM. PREFIGURING THE SUSTAINABILITY MOVEMENT. LITTERED BARCELONA WITH A COLLECTION OF UNREPLICABLE MONUMENTS.
‘WE CAN DO IT!’ PRODUCED BY J. HOWARD MILLER IN 1943. COMMISSIONED BY WESTINGHOUSE ELECTRIC. TO BOOST FEMALE-WORKER MORALE DURING THE WAR. MEANT TO SYMBOLISE THE ALIGNMENT OF THE INTERESTS OF LABOUR AND MANAGEMENT. AT A TIME WHEN DEPRESSION-ERA RESENTMENTS STILL LINGERED. LITTLE SEEN OUTSIDE THE COMPANY. REDISCOVERED IN THE 1980S. ITS ORIGINAL PATERNALISM NOW SUBVERTED. RECAST AS AN EMBLEM OF FEMALE EMPOWERMENT. AND SUBSEQUENTLY ADOPTED BY OTHER MARGINAL AND OPPRESSED GROUPS. SAFE TO SAY THAT WAS THE LAST THING J. HOWARD MILLER AND HIS CORPORATE CLIENTS INTENDED. YET MORE PROOF THAT CONTEXT IS EVERYTHING.
THE OLOID. BORN 1929. THE CHILD OF ARTIST AND MATHEMATICIAN PAUL SCHATZ. THE CONVEX HULL FORMED OF TWO ORTHOGONAL CIRCLES. THE CENTRE OF EACH LIES AT THE EDGE OF THE OTHER. THE DISTANCE BETWEEN THEIR CENTRES EQUALS THEIR RADII. ONE THIRD OF EACH CIRCLE’S PERIMETER LIES INSIDE THE CONVEX HULL. ITS SURFACE AREA IS EXACTLY THAT OF A SPHERE OF EQUAL RADIUS. ITS SHAPE IS SUCH THAT EVERY POINT ON ITS SURFACE TOUCHES THE PLANE ON WHICH IT IS ROLLING AT SOME POINT DURING THE ROLLING. DESPITE ITS CURVED NATURE IT CAN MOVE IN A STRAIGHT LINE. AN ALMOST TOO POETIC EXPRESSION OF MATHEMATICAL BEAUTY. AN EXQUISITE MARRIAGE OF SCIENCE AND ART.
FELA ANÍKÚLÁPÓ KUTI. 1928-1997. NIGERIAN MULTI-INSTRUMENTALIST. BANDLEADER. COMPOSER. POLITICAL ACTIVIST. HIS PARENTS WANTED HIM TO BECOME A DOCTOR. HE CHOSE TO STUDY MUSIC INSTEAD. CREATED A BLEND OF GENRES. WHICH COMBINED HIGHLIFE. A DANCEABLE HORN-HEAVY GHANAIAN MUSIC. WITH JAZZ AND FUNK ELEMENTS. ATOP A RHYTHMICALLY COMPLEX PERCUSSIVE FOUNDATION BASED ON YORUBA MUSICAL TRADITIONS. USED PIDGIN-ENGLISH AS HIS LYRICAL IDIOM. TO MAKE HIS WORK ACCESSIBLE THROUGHOUT AFRICA. CALLED THE MUSIC AFROBEAT. BECAME INSPIRED BY PAN-AFRICANIST IDEAS. WHICH HE INFUSED INTO HIS COMPOSITIONS. AND MADE THEM A POTENT WEAPON AGAINST HIS COUNTRY’S MILITARY DICTATORSHIP. AND SUFFERED THE CONSEQUENCES OF HIS IMPUDENCE. OVER 200 ARRESTS. DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY. SEVERAL MONTHS OF JAIL TIME. THE MURDER OF HIS MOTHER. WHO HAPPENED TO BE NIGERIA’S FIRST FEMINIST ACTIVIST. AND STILL WOULD NOT BE SILENCED.
PIERRE GAGNAIRE. BORN 1950. FRENCH CHEF. RESTAURATEUR. TIRELESS INNOVATOR. WHO REVERES TRADITION. UNSETTLES BOTH PALATE AND MIND WITH HIS COMBINATIONS OF TEXTURES / FLAVOURS / INGREDIENTS. USES FAMILIAR RAW MATERIALS TO OBTAIN UNPRECEDENTED RESULTS. STRIKES UP A PIONEERING COLLABORATION WITH PHYSICAL CHEMIST HERVÉ THIS. ABSORBS THE LESSONS OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY. ATTEMPTS THE CONSTRUCTION OF DISHES USING PURE COMPOUNDS. BUILDS A BRIDGE BETWEEN GASTRONOMY AND SCIENCE. CATALYSES AN INNOVATION EXPLOSION IN GLOBAL CUISINE. ENRICHES UNDERSTANDING. ENHANCES TECHNIQUE. BUT DOES NOT CUT CORNERS. DOES NOT AVOID PAYING DUES. DOES NOT BYPASS TRADITION. FIRST OWN RESTAURANT IN 1981. FIRST MICHELIN STAR IN 1982. HIS SECOND IN 1986. HIS THIRD IN 1993. BANKRUPTCY IN 1996. RE-OPENING IN PARIS SIX MONTHS AFTER THAT. HIS THREE MICHELIN STARS REINSTATED TWO YEARS AFTER THAT. AND RETAINED EVER SINCE. IN 1964 BECOMES THE ERRAND BOY FOR A LOCAL KITCHEN. IN 2015 IS VOTED WORLD’S BEST MICHELIN STARRED CHEF. BY HIS PEERS. OWNS MULTIPLE ESTABLISHMENTS. IN MULTIPLE COUNTRIES. EMPLOYS SEVERAL HUNDRED SOULS. MOST PEOPLE WOULD REST ON SUCH LAURELS. HE CONTINUES TO PRESIDE OVER THE KITCHEN. WITH THE SAME RESTLESSNESS AND DRIVE.
WALTER THEODORE ROLLINS. AKA SONNY. BORN 1930. NYC. TENOR SAXOPHONIST. STARTED ON THE PIANO. THEN TOOK UP THE ALTO. THEN THE TENOR AT AGE 16. TOOK SENTIMENTAL DITTIES. TORE THEM APART. PUT THEM BACK TOGETHER. AFTER GIVING THEM REAL DEPTH. IT DID NOT TAKE LONG BEFORE HE WAS PROCLAIMED A SAXOPHONE COLOSSUS. BY HIS PEERS. HIS RECORDING CAREER INCLUDES MORE THAN SIXTY ALBUMS AS A LEADER. A PRODUCTIVITY RATE THAT HAS TO FACTOR IN A MULTI-YEAR HIATUS. WHICH HE TOOK AT THE HEIGHT OF HIS FAME. TO PRACTICE HIS HORN PLAYING. WHICH HE FELT WAS INADEQUATE. INCOMMENSURATE TO HIS ACCLAIM.
LUIS BUÑUEL PORTOLÉS. 1900-1983. MAKER OF BUÑUELESQUE FILMS. BORN IN SPAIN. DISOWNED BY SPAIN. ADOPTED BY MEXICO. SHAPED BY THE EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY’S SOCIAL / POLITICAL / ARTISTIC UPHEAVALS. IMBIBED FREUD AND MARX. NEVER MET A MONARCHY / BUREAUCRATIC STATE / CLERGY / ARMY FOR WHICH HE DID NOT HAVE CONTEMPT. USED SURREALIST VISUAL LANGUAGE TO PERPLEX. UNSETTLE. ENRAGE. ENCHANT. NOT THE BOURGEOISIE’S MOST ARDENT ADMIRER.
ANDREA GALVANI. BORN 1973. ITALY. MULTIDISCIPLINARY ARTIST. FUSES GENRES AND TRADITIONS. SEEKS THE VIEWER’S ACTIVE ENGAGEMENT. GRAPPLES WITH THE UNFATHOMABLES OF THE UNIVERSE. ATTEMPTS TO CREATE BRIDGES. BETWEEN THOSE TWO OLD ADVERSARIES. ART AND SCIENCE. BETWEEN THE CEREBRAL AND THE VISCERAL. BETWEEN MATHEMATICAL ABSTRACTION AND TANGIBILITY. SPENT MONTHS IN ORDER TO CAPTURE THE PRECISE MOMENT SUPERSONIC JETS CROSS THE SOUND BARRIER. FROM DEAFENING NOISE TO ABSOLUTE SILENCE.