Archive for the ‘Functional Architecture’ Category

The Meat Packing Plant

February 5, 2022

HBATK® Meat Packing Plant/The Secret Missile Silo, painting on board ©2037 by Torsten Slama, COD
Vize 4: Tajná raketová sila / Vision 4: Das geheime Raketensilo / Vision 4: The Secret Missile Silo,
2020 Öl auf Holz / oil on wood 70,2 x 60 cm / 27.6 x 23.6 inches

This 2020 painting harks back to several versions of the same motive, a 2006 drawing, another smaller 2009 drawing, a comparatively large painting from the same year and a later, 2012 re- or overpainting of that painting. It is based on a Heljan plastic model, the Heljan #673 N Scale Meat Packing Plant kit. While painting this iteration of the structure, one of the artist’s roughly four favorite and therefore recurring real world or model-type architectural structures, the artist was grappling with ocular clouding (encroaching blindness) and also with a newly developed (or degenerated) technique of mixing organic substances with oil paint and acrylics, applying the resulting mixture, uneven because of different solubility of its constituents, often in half dried states or different phases of coagulation, onto the canvas with brushes in varying states of distress, interspersing the emerging image with highlights of synthetic luminescent powders and pastes. In this painting the artist perhaps reached a pinnacle in the materialization of a certain style he envisioned – a style where the constant fight between the youthful wish for perfect execution and the cosmic truth of decay leads to its own results, where human mind control and the freedom of molecular motion and chemical interaction coexist, where the Jungian amateur pursuing personal narcissistic goals of alchemical omnipotency finds respite in the struggle between time-bound limitations of the human flesh with the desires of the mind and the phantasy of timelessness.*

*Timelessness of art, which Oskar Kokoschka found perfectly represented in Rembrandt’s “Self-Portrait at the Age of 63” at the National Gallery in London. While bemoaning the bombing of Dresden, visiting the National Gallery at the suggestion of his wife, he found back his inner peace at the contemplation of old skin, “like the skin of a dead chicken”, in the way in which Rembrandt understood to apply his own virtuosity in an inimitably masterful loose yet perfectly controlled application of paint, where molecular structure of the medium and chemical changes taking place in the process of drying and hardening, together with said virtuosity and sheer dexterity of application lead to a lasting and static depiction of a particular stage in a process which in the natural universe leads through life to death and complete disintegration in a matter of only a few years. **

**This anecdote is repeated here not to glorify the artist’s own desires of creating such an effect, but to humble it, as the above painting is not only a very serious effort, but also a typical example of Schlawinertum, as a surrogate to virtuosity and diligence, in contemporary art. It might be even that some hypothetical onlooker would only see the jejune and the would-be where in the eyes of the creator there is at least a glimmer or echo of the inner truth they sought, approached in baby steps which are much too short to reach their goal even within the whole lifetime of a person so encumbered by their own deviant desire for a sorrow-free life, which so often leads in truth to an inordinate accumulation of inner sorrows, often seen and belittled as minor by others, as they are sorrows of the imagination. While someone like Dostojewski, who knew exactly the interaction of sorrows of the imagination and the true sorrow of, for example, hemorrhoids, which so often result from sins of the mind, was so perfectly cognisant of the fact that nobody is entitled to define or judge the difference between imaginary or true sorrow, as their is none in degrees of pain they inflict.

Drawing and text © 2057 by Torsten Slama and the C.O.D

Co-Operative Cement Plant

June 27, 2021

Cooperative Cement Plant, painting by Torsten Slama
Co-Operative All-Togetherness Cement Plant, 2020, oil on canvas, 51,5 x 71 cm / 20,3 x 28 inches

This is a painting full of problematic content and a problematic history. In fact, the artist has since altered it in the form of adding a new brighter sky, thus completely changing its atmospheric mood, content, and “meaning”. Even this version was not the first version, because the dark sky replaced a former version of a brighter sky (since reinstated). In the end it became clear though that the artist himself had no way of determining which version was in fact bad or good or finished. It is all in the mindset.

The painting features a standard cement plant with a co-operative economic model, which by and large means, a people-centered enterprise, controlled and run by and for their members, with the function of realizing or materializing a common economic, cultural, infra-structural, civilizational goal. The plant, which could also be designated a concrete plant, is augmented by a more or less abstract floating shape which looks to be of artificial origin and crafted from a semi transparent metallic, completely unknown material. If not unknown, this material could also be described as transparent acrylics with a small amount of finely distributed embedded metallic particles. The whole tube-like construction might be filled with air and is big enough with thin enough walls so that the air inside could be heated by the sun to such a degree to ensure floating of the structure, where the metallic particles in the transparent thin transparent film constituting the outer walls of the object are light sensitive (liquid crystels?) which regulate the temperature of the air or gas trapped within in the way of a homeostatic system.

Note also the elongated pyramidical object in the window of the attached control room of the plant. This is a robot sentry overlooking the operation. This detail is also a veiled reference to the dead tram conductor in “The Thing in the Moonlight” by J. Chapman Miske.

A final note: concrete, though useful and aesthetically pleasing, is a thing of the past and present, not the future, As of the year 2070, all newly constructed structures will be made of some yet not perfected synthetic alternative or naturally occurring building materials like wood, clay, natural stone. Like trees, concrete buildings absorb CO2. New calculations show that concrete absorbs roughly 30 percent of the amount of CO2 that cement production emits. That is a non-cooperative, planet-unfriendly balance according to the Instrumentality of SCIENCE.

Food for the Gods

September 27, 2020
Converted Chemical Laboratory with Storage Facility / Experimental Prize Pig Setting 30 x 60 cm / 11,8 x 23,6 inches, oil on canvas (prefabricated, "Stylex"), 2020
Converted Chemical Laboratory with Storage Facility / Experimental Prize Pig Setting 30 x 60 cm / 11,8 x 23,6 inches, oil on canvas (prefabricated, “Stylex”), 2020

A painting, unusually tall (like modern cell phone), yet making up for tallness in smallness. Chinese inspired, in particular by the painter Shitao, the style being of course only a travesty of sumi-e, for the conversion into badly managed oil paints. Also, the painting ground in this case is industry-prefabricated and pre-primed canvas on stretcher, not paper scroll, hand mounted in fabric for either hanging in a museal context or storing in rolled form, stacked in shelves, to be perused by fellow art lovers, like books. However, the difficulties of endeavoring transformation and westernization by using oil paints on canvas make for intriguing results in terms of plastic surface effects (not well observable in photographic reproduction). A detail view shows better what is meant:

Observe how pencil line replaces insufficiently controlled brush strokes, creating not only optically observable lines, but also tiny grooves in the toothpaste-white of the supposedly tiled cladding of the storage building.

Please see also this post from 2009, with a design originally called “Bion Fermenter on the Eleventh Moon”, here moderately titled “Proposal for a Bion Conerter“.

© Torsten Slama and The Animal Welfare Society (Pig Dept.)