Wednesday, August 31, 2011

camminando | SAN FRANCISCO and California Cool

Seaweed soaked shoreline, Golden Gate National Recreation Area

I recently traded in the humidity that blankets Miami (my home town) during these endless months of deep summer, for the cool morning fog of Marin County, CA and surrounds. It was a delightful respite of differing culinary finds, temperature, nature and design. While I bathed safely in the refreshing air of the mountainous region, the Northeast suffered a quake and a hurricane, thoughtlessly named after me. I marveled at my sudden ability to dodge both quakes and hurricanes as I leapt from Miami's stormy season and avoided the watery onslaught of Irene's wrath.

Tennessee Valley Trailhead,
Golden Gate National Recreation Area/Marin Headlands,
A lovely 3.1 mile hike down to the sea

A patchwork quilt of architectural design in the streets of San Francisco on a shockingly fog-free day

The entrance gate to Chinatown in San Francisco’s Grant Street
was a gift from the Republic of China in 1969. It is on the oldest street in San Francisco.

Columbus Avenue and Grant Street:
This mural commemorates the history of North Beach's Italian settlers,
while the other side features Chinatown and some of San Francisco's early history.

The streetcar system has served San Francisco since the late 19th century. Most streetcar lines in other cities, including San Francisco, were converted to buses after World War II. Five lines survived until the 1970s, when the streetcar lines were converted to light rail during the opening of the Market Syreet Subway in 1980.

Hotel Triton in San Francisco

Outside the Mill Valley Library on a Sunday afternoon….
The Merry Widow performed amongst the Redwoods.

The Redwoods,
A poem by Joseph B. Strauss

Here, sown by the Creator's hand.
In serried ranks, the Redwoods stand:
No other clime is honored so,
No other lands their glory know.

Monday, August 29, 2011

events | Hurricane Irene visits Sun Farm

Irene has finally passed and moved away. As one of the hundreds million people living in the effected areas I experienced anticipation, fear and relief —when the anticipated hurricane then transformed into tropical storm passed my dwelling and finally left.

I recorded the hurricane passage as artist view of how forces of nature transform the landscape, excerpts from video and photographs of a 24-hour period during the passing of the hurricane in Sun Farm, a land art project in the Hudson Valley can be found at

Less powerful than expected yet Irene brought high wind and a relentless gush of rain which eventually resulted in flood. The vibrant summer hues turned into unsaturated, almost grey, tones. I was very impressed by how transient weather systems can transform the “permanent” landscape.

Excerpts from the conceptual multimedia project
“Axes Mundi: Perceptions and Understanding of Places as Intersections of Space, Time and Culture"

Saturday, August 27, 2011

camminando | Wind Power in Massachusetts

Anticipating the hurricane I am organizing photos, from my summer walkabouts —which did not cover a large geographic area, although quite concentrated from a cultural standpoint.
Approaching the Mohawk trail, a quite interesting view in the Berkshires was a wind farm —seen here from Hancock Road.

And below an aerial view of the wind farm from

Excerpts from the conceptual multimedia project
“Axes Mundi: Perceptions and Understanding of Places as Intersections of Space, Time and Culture"

Thursday, August 18, 2011

publications | SPACETECTURE

I am pleased to announce that the first e-book of the SPACETECTURE trilogy is finally out!

The fully illustrated version can be found at Amazon
the abridged, cheaper, version at Smashwords

SPACETECTURE is part of a trilogy of books and interactive content exploring space and its transformation in the information age.

The emphasis is on computing design applications, but the concept of space is also explored from an interdisciplinary approach ranging from geometry to psychology of perception. The content is presented in a rigorous theoretical framework and offers software independent methodologies, with the intent is to build rigorous foundations for design, from the virtual to the physical world. SPACETECTURE is targeted to both an academic and professional audience -in the field of geometry, engineering, architecture and design- and a general reader of popular science, as the series intersects several disciplines from science to art. The ambition behind SPACETECTURE is to bring the "wholistic" approach, which permeates the tradition of the ancient treatises of Palladio or Pacioli, to the digital age, in an organic fusion of theories and methodologies from different fields of knowledge.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

fitness | Roya Siroospour: an interview

After dragging, bouncing, hopping, lifting, bending, jumping and bopping my way through several states and three countries worth of gyms and myriad exercise classes, I am pretty clear on what circumstances make me want to work hard, and which conditions catapult me into threatening to bag the whole fitness thing and reconsider purchasing a muumuu and lifetime supply of crunchy cheesy snacks to enjoy on my new sofa. To maintain a certain level of physicality takes ramping up at various intervals in ones progress through time and space.

My "gym du jour" possesses an Instructor who manages to get me cranked up into struggling through routines that leave even the "big boys" with bulging eyeballs. The fact that there are males at all present in a fitness classroom is an anomaly; grunting through a set of rusty metal weight-lifting sets in front of other males and a smattering of nubile females is a more accepted behavior in the masculine tribe ritual. Taking direction "from a girl" is not in the Male Behavior Manual last time I looked.

Over the past several years I have been happily following a certain instructor; Roya is a bundle of kinetic energy and unending good will towards the sloth-like behavior of the average class attendee. Recently I began questioning why Roya, specifically, makes me want to work that hard; which in turn leaves me with a great sense of accomplishment and contentment. I have never been hurt by her class but have often ached with deep and prolonged muscle-usage, which, by the way, I consider a good thing.

To overcome perceived physical short-comings, which all too often are self imposed in origin, is proof that if you can push through the physical barriers, it is a short mental / emotional hop to a realization that one can override other difficulties .

I asked Roya what part of her motivational aspects were unscripted and which were purposefully calculated to control the energy in the room. I wanted her take on how this body-mind thing worked from her front-row seat.

How she gets the energy in the room rolling?

Roya: "When I come into the (exercise) room, I shut down all processes. I grew up a performer, so I know how to turn it on."

No matter what is going on in her life, physically or mentally, she makes it a point to put that aside and re-formulate the mood before entering her classroom.

" It is important to take control of the room. Who is in there also adds to the energy. There is an energy field and it has to be in a certain spot or I have to work harder to bring it up."

Roya needs the front row to be responsive and create the dynamism which will ripple into the receding rows and create a vibrance everyone feeds from and returns back to the group. If the right situation is not in place, Roya will have to work harder to bring it up. Occasionally she will feel logy energy in a class, leaving her drained from working without the aid of reciprocal exuberance. A group can merely take vitality and not give in return, or conversely share their joy and vigor. It becomes a spiraling eddy of "group think", much in the way a car can be sucked up in the "draft" of a large semi truck on the road.

"It's as if we're all rowing and someone's sipping a cocktail. I am consciously cranking up the energy" Roya explains.

In any social group, you can tell who is providing the "juice", the lower energy people plug into the other like an EV battery from a new electric car.

Roya: "I was always super energetic and loved big groups."

When she first moved to a Miami gym from Colorado she was concerned that no one would be interested in what she offered. It did not take long for her classes to fill to capacity. I was happened quickly. The draw is that "super energy" that creates others to want that degree of explosive pizazz. At first I didn't think much about it, but now find myself ruminating as to what, exactly, produces the magnetic force.

Gunning is a relatively new piece of exercise equipment in our gym which resembles a spinning cycle, but using the upper body, your hands on "pedals". Gunning on the KrankCycle was created by the same person who brought us the wildly popular "Spinning", John G. Krank. Adding a personal heart monitor linked to a screen above the class area, allows each participant to track and regulate his own heartbeat. The heart monitor is attached to each class member's torso and flashed onto the screen, allowing the student to note how his body is responding. The student adjusts his energetic output to stay within various zones prescribed by the instructor as the class progresses.

Roya can see how the mind and body are disconnected in some individuals when they first enter the Gunning arena. She notes, " It can be very hard to get people into Gunning because they are so detached; it can be as simple as too much caffeine and too little hydration."

Music is an integral part of the feel good dynamic. Roya's choices? "If it works for me, it works for everyone. I move better when there's music; it makes my body's part of my soul. If you can follow a rhythm, every part of your body will start to move; musical beats are cyclical, like your heartbeat or breathing. With Spinning (a repetitive movement ) you begin to feel trance-like and focus on the beat."

Yoga is about becoming one with your breath. Roya is taking this same yogi thought and bringing music into creating the "one-ness" quotient: music, the heart's rhythm and the breath become an intertwined beat. Fitness movements provide an environment to forego over-think mode allowing mind and body to meld completely into a cohesive whole; the body moving as one unit instead of a series of disparate parts threatening to to fly apart at any given moment.

I asked Roya about her experiences with one-on-one training; "I worked one woman hard for 2 months, but she never lost weight. Her background was fried food and cream, so I had to physically take her to the grocery store, walked her through, reading labels." The woman got it with that last ditch effort to educate, and lost 47 pounds. She began to make her own juices and recipes, excited by the new connection to her own destiny.

Roya has the added support of having a family on the same page with the mind-body connection; her father spent 30 years as a Yale-educated Surgeon, and is now an Holistic healer.

Roya always loved the gym, at 16 years old, the gym felt like home. She competed in gymnastics and rode horses. Today her schedule is exceptionally full of physical exercise. As well as a killer schedule at 3 Miami CRUNCH gyms, Roya manages to have plenty of energy to perform freestyle dancing. A prime example of positive energy breeding positive energy, which, happily she shares with her clients.

Roya Siroospour is Group Fitness Instructor And Personal Trainer


An excerpt from the "in-progress" project MOVING MIND

by daniela bertol and irene sperber

Monday, August 15, 2011

camminando | Water Power: Lowell

Not to far from the "ruins" of the water powered mill of Turners Falls, the city of Lowell offers another encounter with an industrial past, still vibrant in the post-industrial info-technological present.

Lowell is the fourth largest city in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; it was founded in the 1820s as a manufacturing center for textiles, located along the Merrimack River, about 30 miles northwest of Boston.

Lowell is also famous in literature as birth place and burial site of Jack Kerouac who staged in the city several of his autobiographical novels.

Lowell's National Park presents some of the greatest memories of the Industrial Revolution from the nineteenth century. Several mill buildings have been rehabilitated for commercial and residential developments.

Not to be missed unusual walks and boat tours among the canals, mills reflecting in the water and smokestack towers.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

camminando | Water Power: the Mohawk Trail

The Mohawk Trail (Massachusetts Route 2) takes you through an harmonious human use of natural resources, which seems to coexist even in an industrial (or post industrial) land use.

The first detour from the Trail is a visit to the Natural Bridge, a spectacular natural geological formation, from Cambrian period of the Paleozoic Era site of a marble quarry until 1947. The "natural bridge" is a 550 million year old bedrock marble, carved into an arch by the force of glacial melt water over 13,000 years ago and spans over the Hudson Brook. Nathaniel Hawthorne, visited the site in 1838 and wrote about Hudson's Falls in An American Notebook "The cave makes a fresh impression on me every time I visit it ... so deep, so irregular, so gloomy, so stern." a spectacular natural geological formation, from Cambrian period of the Paleozoic Era site of a marble quarry until 1947.

The next encounter is Turners Falls, a nineteenth century industrial center. The village was founded in 1868 as a planned industrial community according to the vision of Alvah Crocker, to attract industry to the town by offering cheap hydropower that was made by the harnessing of the Connecticut River, through the construction of a dam and canal.

Industrial ruins in Turners Fall

One of the many unfortunately closed stores along the Mohawk Trail

Excerpts from the conceptual multimedia project
“Axes Mundi: Perceptions and Understanding of Places as Intersections of Space, Time and Culture"

Friday, August 5, 2011

camminando | Central Park Summer Evening

A very pleasant mid summer evening and I am planning to go the MOMA Talk to Me exhibition. I get stuck in Central Park, hundreds of people participating (and viewing) to the Jamaica Underwear Run...Ah, New York, New York!
So my evening in the park ends instead in a quiet walk through the Ramble and Lake loop, tracing my yesterday morning steps.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

camminando | Framing Views of Central Park

My art | walking theme du jour is framing views.
I started this morning with a walk in Central Park, shortly after the sun rose behind the Fifth Avenue tall buildings. A loop around the lake, passing through the Ramble.

Here it goes, in space-time order:

Photo credit: Daniela Bertol

Map elaborated from Google Maps

Excerpts from the conceptual multimedia project
“Axes Mundi: Perceptions and Understanding of Places as Intersections of Space, Time and Culture"

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

camminando | Time Travel to Coney Island

Whenever you get tired (as I often do) of the Manhattan cliché, for an easy but radically change, get on the Q train to Brooklyn, Coney Island destination. A less than one-hour subway ride takes to you a 21K New World translation of a Fellinisque adventure.

Already at the exit of the train station, at 8th Street you encounter Vito Acconci’s Wavewall: the integration of the artwork into the station architecture makes the façade bulging out.

The Luna Park greets you with the aging iconic open frame megastructures: the Wondel Wheel and the roll coaster rides. And, of course, the no longer used Parachute Jump, built for the 1939 New York World's Fair in Flushing Meadows Park, and then moved to Coney Island for a thrill ride on cable operated parachutes.

If you don’t like (fearing motion sickness as myself) to indulge on the thrill rides, you can jog, power walk or simple stroll on a two-mile long boardwalk, parallel to the Atlantic coast, bringing you the mighty ocean breeze.
Coney Island offers you several miles of public beaches; the almost one-thousand foot Steeplechase Pier takes you to the ocean.

And back from the ocean to the land: the world famous boardwalk awaits you, with its is constellated by not-so-healthy food concessions —and several interesting pavilions providing shade and comfort stations.

And if you still have some energy left you can visit the New York Aquarium

Following my shadow on the boardwalk, at the end of the afternoon, on my way to Brighton Beach.

Excerpts from the conceptual multimedia project
“Axes Mundi: Perceptions and Understanding of Places as Intersections of Space, Time and Culture"