Archive for the ‘candid perceptions’ Category

Reflections regarding a red brick tower

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

One day I walked into my dorm room and noticed a strange orange glow lurking on my wall.

Puzzled, I look around for the source of the light. Could it have been reflecting off of the nearby Sulzberger tower, which happened to stand across the courtyard…

… and was now soaking up the last rays of a setting sun? Apparently so. I had no idea that bricks could project a light reflection approximately 100 feet away, but I guess you learn something new every day.

I looked back up to see that the light on the wall had changed. All exuberance dissolved as the tower shifted back to its usual businesslike gray poker face:

The magic of the moment had vanished. My vision darted back to the spaces of my room as I frantically searched for any last glimpses of the fading light, only to find that my walls had safely returned to their usual state of dreariness. It was as if nothing interesting had happened.

Surprised at the Detroit Airport

Monday, May 24th, 2010

A layover in the Detroit airport did not sound particularly enticing. Everything I had recently heard about the city involved horror stories of empty homes and economic depression. And I would be there for three hours. I soon found out, however, that my worries had been exaggerated, and not just because my Kindle battery was still holding a charge. Upon stumbling into the airport terminal, I encountered a pleasantly optimistic surprise: an entrance to another world.

A tunnel of blue, as though I was descending under the ocean. I crossed the threshold. The experience inside was something beyond whatever emotions you might typically hold for an airport moving sidewalk. I was floating through the dark, surrounded by spectral echoes …

… while the world shifted around me. One moment I was amidst the greenery and bird chirps of an enveloping forest, the next I might be inside a raging red inferno. I stood there mesmerized.

Other travelers seemed oblivious to the performance as they hurried past me on their way out of the city …

… but I paused to take in the fact that the local citizens who built this installation were, in spite of their present struggle through their darkest hour, still unafraid to contribute something beautiful to their city.

The lost lightbulb

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

The infamous CFL light bulb is never afraid of chronological or stylistic incongruency. Its presence on the Columbia University campus reminds me of a passage in Steen Eiler Rasmussen’s Experiencing Architecture, in which a performer dressed as a Danish Renaissance king perches precariously astride a sleek 20th-century bicycle.  According to the author, “The costume, of its kind, is undoubtedly a handsome one, and the bicycle too is of the best. But they simply do not go together.” Past styles will inevitably appear to be out of context with the present.

The infamous CFL light bulb is never afraid of chronological or stylistic incongruency. Observed on the Columbia University campus.