Thursday, April 27, 2006

Lemony Snicket on architecture

"A person who designs buildings is called an architect, but in the case of Prufrock Prep a better term might be depressed architect."

-Lemony Snicket, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 5

Thursday, April 20, 2006

a meaningless crucifix

-Margaret Visser in The Geometry of Love

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Wendell Berry on the work of the body

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Digital Scriptorium

Check it out!
Kind of hard to navigate the site, here's a collection of works from italy. Great high resolution scans.
Thanks to Bibliodyssey for the link.

Friday, April 14, 2006

"Adam fell at a tree, and by a tree he was saved. At a tree Eve was seduced, and through a tree the bride was restored to her husband. At a tree, Satan defeated Adam; on a tree Jesus destroyed the works of the devil. At a tree man died, but by Jesus' death we live. At a tree God cursed, and through a tree that curse gave way to blessing. God exiled Adam from the tree of life; on a tree the Last Adam endured exile so that we might inherit the earth."

Check out Peter Leithart's beautiful Good Friday Homily

trees and cathedrals

"A similar architectural tradition identifies the origin of Gothic pointed arches and vaults in the interlacing of tree branches, and likens the view down the nave of a Gothic cathedral to a path through a wood of tall overarching trees." -Christopher Witcombe

After reading some of James Jordan's Through New Eyes, I was thinking about how appropriate it is that Cathedrals are made to look like forests with columns as trees and vaulting as intersecting branches. In the Bible trees are often symbols of men (psalm 1, Jesus's parables, shoot of Jesse) it makes complete sense that a church that is a group of people would look like a group of trees, a forest, especially if the people are 'living stones' building the body of Christ who is the tree of life.
(for some good images of Cathedrals, look at flickr's cathedral cluster)

Reminds me of Tomek Baginski's beautiful digital short Cathedral in which a cathedral is literally made of trees and people, although this has nothing to do with cathedrals as churches.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Doug Jones on the God of Trees

"The gospel starts with a tree, a Tree of Life detained, sequestered, impatiently waiting for man to grow up and see the heavy-handedness: a God who made trees to tell a story, to produce furniture, "Who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited." Trees picture humans, and trees picture God; they image the God-man. No surprise, then, when a carpenter shows up, Himself a Tree, Himself the God-man, to open the gate to that Tree, to be the gate, to be the door to that tree. One observer has noted that Christ lived about 33 years, ministering only the last three. He worked and played for thirty years. He spent most of his life then, working wood, transforming trees, mortising, joining, planing, shaping, designing, enjoying playing with His own miracles."

-Just Wood by Doug Jones

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

good worldbuilding: flights of fancy on wings of history

"The more specificity we feel in a story, in pictures or in text, the truer and more resonant that story becomes. We might have expected, given their reputation, that fairy tales should be illustrated with pure flights of imagination. But pure imagination, if it existed, would never fly. I'll take the most absurd and impossible things, when I illustrate them, with all the seriousness I would give a work of real history. That's what I hope will make it fly. There is no "authentic" version of a fairy tale like Rapunzel, but a good version should make you feel that its authenticity is absolute."

-Illustrator Paul O. Zelinsky in this CBC magazine article
His Rapunzel book is beautiful, painted in a renaissance style and technique.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Obscure Cities

I've seen something about this before, apparently it was a series of french graphic novels in the 80's, but it seems very hard to get a hold of, and I have no idea if it is available in english. Very rivenesque, though. This image reminds me of an image that I absolutely loved by two Spanish 3d artists Jorge Seva & Sergio Miruri. Unfortunately they seem to have dropped off the face of the internet in the last few years. But here's the image:

Anyway, I found a link to Obscure Cities from some website about Benoit Sokal. Sokal is the author and artist behind the games Amerzone and the Syberia series. Like any good adventure game, his games have great storytelling and worldbuilding. Here's a CGworld article on Syberia.
"...ya know: middle class, even working class, whoever lives there (working class, whatever that means, I think we all work, I work like a dog, so I'm working class, right?)"
-Ridley Scott (in commentary to Matchstick men)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

George McDonald on Law and Worldbuilding

Scott just posted the entirety of an excellent essay by George McDonald on Fairytales, here's a quote:

"A man's inventions may be stupid or clever, but if he does not hold by the laws of them, or if he makes one law jar with another, he contradicts himself as an inventor, he is no artist. He does not rightly consort his instruments, or he tunes them in different keys. The mind of man is the product of live Law; it thinks by law, it dwells in the midst of law, it gathers from law its growth; with law, therefore, can it alone work to any result. Inharmonious, unconsorting ideas will come to a man, but if he try to use one of such, his work will grow dull, and he will drop it from mere lack of interest. Law is the soil in which alone beauty will grow; beauty is the only stuff in which Truth can be clothed; and you may, if you will, call Imagination the tailor that cuts her garments to fit her, and Fancy his journeyman that puts the pieces of them together, or perhaps at most embroiders their button-holes. Obeying law, the maker works like his creator; not obeying law, he is such a fool as heaps a pile of stones and calls it a church."

Perhaps this has something to do with how David, in my favorite Psalm 19, can begin the psalm praising God's worldbuilding and end it delighting in his law.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Storytelling and Worldbuilding in Disney Land

"Stories are about order and control: first one thing happens and then another. So are poems and novels and films -and so is art for that matter. At Disneyland, Walt translated that verbal and pictoral narrative into a material, spacial dimension. He made a city, or a series of cities, that told a story, as a king or his visionary architect might do in drawing up a master plan for a loveley pleasure garden. First comes the fountain. Then, the statue. And then, the castle."

-Karal Ann Marling in Designing Disney's Theme Parks

It seems I never read books until I sell them or they are over due. I just sold this one, so I am scanning through it. Very interesting. Reminds me of Robyn Miller describing Myst and Riven as sort of their version of Disney Land. Storytelling through Worldbuilding. That's what I want to do.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Thoughts on graven images

Heaven will be full of graven images. Images of human forms, images made by hands out of some crude material. Graven images are not made to be worshipped, they are made to worship their makers. A cananite makes a graven image, not cause he can't find anything to worship, but because he wants to be worshipped, he wants to be God and wants the graven image to glorify him and thus serve him. So we are the images of God made of dirt to glorify and serve our maker.

Raskolnikov's World

Check out this set of photos of the actual locations and buildings in Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, very cool, this is outside of Sonya's room. These are by the Flickr user: huxleyesque

Saturday, April 01, 2006

John Howe on the Renaissance

"... remember back in school, when it was patiently explained to us how the murky shadows of the obscure, crepuscular and otherwise dark Middle Ages were at last pierced by the blinding light of the Renaissance?(Think of all those poor medieval families "Are we in the Renaissance yet mom? Are we, are we?" "Shut up and fasten your seat belt, we'll be there any minute." )
Accompanying this helpful information were always images - medieval ones with big people standing BEHIND smaller people and later pictures with omnipresent vanishing points. The former done by "medieval" artists who got it all "wrong"(who, by the way, were also commonly said to be too unsophisticated to have invented left and right shoes... guess they were too busy building cathedrals.)"

"All this was intended to show us how humanity had at last placed Man in the centre of the Universe, no longer in darkness, he now assumed his rightful place - number one. (Never mind that the Italy of the Renaissance had the highest percentage of slaves prior to Gone With the Wind"

(Check out his blog archives here, great stuff)