Rain: Madgalena Fernández at the Houston Cistern

After touring the Houston Cistern, we took another tour of it with an art installation completely encompassing it. Rain: Madgalena Fernández at the Houston Cistern is a video  installation with the video projected from all sides onto and into the cistern while sound plays. I don’t think I can fully explain it other than to say it is really, really cool, and you can read more about it here. The sound sounds likes rain, but it is completely human made sound. The video starts off looking a little like rain falling then becomes something that looks like how Hollywood loves to portray cyberspace. It is incredibly neat to watch, and I love the way takes over the space. img_1013 img_1020 img_1026 img_1030 img_1033 img_1038 img_1040 img_1050 img_1064 img_1073 img_1088

Icebergs DC

In what is now an annual tradition, the National Building Museum creates a fun, exhibit or installation in which children and adults can play. Last year it was The Beach, and the year before it was The Big Maze. This year, it is Icebergs. The museum’s great hall is filled with structures resembling icebergs, and blue mesh surrounds them to denote the water. The “water line” is about two stories high with the tops of many icebergs popping above it, like real icebergs. The exhibit is complete with an underwater bridge between two icebergs, which leads to two slides. White bean bags are scattered about, so you can sit down and relax.

Under the water

Under the water

Gorgeous giant iceberg

Gorgeous giant iceberg

Outside the exhibit, looking through the blue mesh

Outside the exhibit, looking through the blue mesh

Ice shoots

Ice shoots

On observation pier looking down to water

On observation pier looking down to water

On observation pier looking down to water

On observation pier looking down to water

Under the water

Under the water

Rainbow Wonder

There is an exhibit at the Renwick Gallery called Wonder that will be leaving soon. It is amazing. One of the pieces in the exhibit is Gabriel Dawe’s Plexus A1. It took my breath away. I just stood there staring at it wondering how to photograph it properly. Then I photographed it from every angle and every zoom and every focal point I could think of, and I still could not capture the beauty and, well, wonder of it. Below are a few photographs of mine just trying to capture it. I want to go back and stare it some more. It is just thread, yet it is so much more.IMG_8517 IMG_8522 IMG_8526 IMG_8528 IMG_8538 IMG_8542 IMG_8546 IMG_8554 IMG_8637 IMG_8643 IMG_8645 IMG_8662 IMG_8668IMG_8666

Rust

While I was photographing the ruins of the Elkins Roundhouse, I saw some rust on the big turnstile. Actually, I saw a lot of rust on everything, but the point is, I really started looking at the rust. It was beautiful. It was all variations of colors and textures. It was peeling paint cracking and folding and turning up to reveal other layers of paint, all being pushed away from the metal by the rust forming. It was rust forming on rust. It was Mother Nature laughing at the work of humans. It is one of those things where the average person would not give something the shortest glance, but I want to stop them and show them the beauty they are missing. Maybe you just have to be really detail oriented like me to see it. Maybe you have to be an engineer or scientist like me to appreciate rust. Or maybe you just have to be a crazy photographer like me to spend 15 minutes photographing rust. IMG_7772 IMG_7776 IMG_7779 IMG_7781 IMG_7783 IMG_7789 IMG_7806 IMG_7818 IMG_7828

Re-Ball

Dupont Underground is an abandoned trolley station underneath Dupont Circle that recently had a design competition to reuse a whole lot of plastic balls from National Building Museum’s The Beach. The winning entry was Raise/Raze, which formed the balls into 3 x 3 cubes that were used to build columns and walls in a portion of Dupont Underground. The structures built by the balls were rather interesting, especially when considering they were built with spheres. I also rather liked the way the cube blocks mimicked the tiles on the outer wall of the underground. IMG_6606 IMG_6612 IMG_6626 IMG_6629 IMG_6634 IMG_6638 IMG_6642 IMG_6644 IMG_6648 IMG_6653 IMG_6655 IMG_6659 IMG_6669 IMG_6672 IMG_6675 IMG_6678

Sentient Chamber

There is an art exhibit at the National Academy of Sciences called Sentient Chamber that is unlike anything I have seen before. It reminds me of a gigantic hairy caterpillar. It kind of looks like technology and science based items hung as a chandelier among other items I associate more wind chimes. It is interactive because as people get close and walk through it, lights turn on, sounds are made, and certain items move or vibrate. I really can’t describe, but it is beautiful and interesting to look at. It makes really cool shadows on the ceiling, walls, and on itself. It also makes some really cool reflections in itself.

Entire structure

Entire structure

Reminds me of a hairy caterpillar

Reminds me of a hairy caterpillar

More of the caterpillar

More of the caterpillar

Looking from below

Looking from below

Plastic and metal spine

Plastic and metal spine

Beakers and plastic feathers

Beakers and plastic feathers

Wonderful shadows on ceiling

Wonderful shadows on ceiling

Wonderful shadows on ceiling

Wonderful shadows on ceiling

Hanging pieces of science items include flasks, tubes, and pipets

Hanging pieces of science items include flasks, tubes, and pipets

Beautifully intricate metal spine

Beautifully intricate metal spine

Tubes and pipets

Tubes and pipets

Looking from below

Looking from below

Hanging flasks. I didn't notice the reflections until I uploaded photos to computer.

Hanging flasks. I didn’t notice the reflections until I uploaded photos to computer.

Colorful shadows

Colorful shadows

Plastic feathers and flasks reminds me of a palm

Plastic feathers and flasks reminds me of a palm

The plastic feathers and vial together look like a butterfly

The plastic feathers and vial together look like a butterfly

Plastic support symmetry

Plastic support symmetry

It’s a Pipe

I went to a reception for a new(-ish) exhibit with the Culture Programs of the National Academy of Sciences. The exhibit are paintings by Jonathan Feldschuh that are inspired by the Large Hadron Collider. The paintings are acrylic on mylar, and they are quite gorgeous. While I’m sure my art-knowledgable friends will correct my terminology, to me, they look like impressionists paintings of very high-tech subjects. I love impressionism art, and of course, I love technology, so I really like these paintings. My friends R, J, and I were discussing this one painting that R and I both rather liked. I said I really like the way the perspective of the pipe or wires going off into the tunnel. I questioned whether it was a pipe or a bundle of wires. This is the conversation that ensued.

R: It’s not a pipe. It’s where the collisions occur.

Me: It’s a pipe then.

R: No, it’s not solid.

Me: Pipes aren’t solid.

R: Yes, but it’s different.

J: It’s more high tech.

Me: It’s a pipe.

R: There aren’t fluids flowing through it. It’s particles flowing through it and colliding.

Me: It’s still a pipe.

R: It’s not a pipe because the particles are in a vacuum.

Me: It’s a pipe. Those things at banks where the little container at the drive through is pushed through a pipe is pushed through a vacuum. It’s still a pipe.

R: [sighs] Ok, it’s a pipe.

It should be noted that according the CERN website, “The beams travel in opposite directions in separate beam pipes – two tubes kept at ultrahigh vacuum.” Thus, it’s a pipe. However, in R’s defense, I have a B.S. in chemical engineering, so everything is pretty much a pipe or a tank to me. Also, everything can be fixed with a hammer, but that is another story.

Istanbul Archaeological Museums

The Istanbul Archaeological Museum was undergoing renovation when we went, so I don’t think we saw all the different exhibits they have. It also was that part of the time I was there I felt like I was walking through a rat maze. In any event, it has some really nice exhibits. However my favorite part was actually the Tiled Kiosk next door. I find the name amusing because when I hear kiosk, I think of a little booth in the mall with someone trying to sell cell phone accessories or some pillow that is going to solve all my health problems. The Tiled Kiosk is pretty though and has walls covered with tile, stained glass windows, and other art.

Tiled Kiosk entrance

Tiled Kiosk entrance

Basin in Tiled Kiosk

Basin in Tiled Kiosk

Tiled Kiosk alcove

Tiled Kiosk alcove

Tiled Kiosk wall

Tiled Kiosk wall

Stained glass window of Tiled Kiosk

Stained glass window of Tiled Kiosk

Mosaic

Mosaic

Stone inserts in carved column

Stone inserts in carved column

Turkey: Hagia Sofia of Istanbul

Hagia Sofia is an amazing piece of architecture and art. It was a church that became a mosque that became a museum. The interior is covered with beautiful stone panels, carved stone, mosaics, and painted plaster. Much of the mosaics were covered with plaster and then painted centuries ago, but the revealed mosaics are intricate and beautiful. The painted plaster is quite beautiful also. The stone panels demonstrate the beauty of natural stone. Besides the actual decorative interior, the actual architectural form of the building with all its domes and arches is gorgeous and also amazing from an engineering standpoint. Considering the age of the building and the number of earthquakes the area has suffered, it is amazing that the building is still standing. Some earthquake damage can be seen such as a leaning column in a photograph below.

Hagia Sofia

Hagia Sofia

Arches

Arches

Central area

Central area

Carved stone arches

Carved stone arches

Central dome

Central dome

Column leaning from earthquake

Column leaning from earthquake

Front of interior

Front of interior

Hall

Hall

Mosaic revealed under painting

Mosaic revealed under painting

Stone panels

Stone panels

Virgin Mary mosaic

Virgin Mary mosaic

Turkey: Blue Mosque of Istanbul

While in Istanbul, our tour group visited the famous Blue Mosque. It is gorgeous. The exterior is beautiful, but the interior is even more beautiful. The interior is arches upon arches upon domes. Most of the interior is covered with gorgeous mainly blue and white tile, which gives the mosque it’s name.

Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque minuet

Blue Mosque minuet

Arches of Blue Mosque interior

Arches of Blue Mosque interior

Arches of Blue Mosque interior

Arches of Blue Mosque interior

Carved stone

Carved stone

Domed ceiling of Blue Mosque

Domed ceiling of Blue Mosque

Prayer area

Prayer area

Blue and white tile

Blue and white tile