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Working Notes September 2013

Archiects' Journal & Argent Design Charrette Paradise Circus Birmingham
24 & 25.09.2013

"...a unique opportunity to create a successful gateway between the City Centre and the emerging civic centre, which is focused around Centenary Square and the new Library of Birmingham."

On 22.10.1883, J. H. Chamberlain died of a heart attack immediately after giving a lecture on 'Exotic Art' at the Birmingham & Midland Institute. He concluded this lecture by saying:

“Art without idea is altogether impossible. It is worse than a corpse; and the folly of this use of Exotic Art is that we can but get the form of expression and miss the idea.”

“A Klee painting named ‘Angelus Novus’ shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. This storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned.”
– Walter Benjamin: ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’ (1940)

The open hand is the only political act of my life. They say it’s anti-communist. No! The hand is open to give and receive. It’s a sign of optimism in this world of catastrophe.
– Le Corbusier: ‘Open Hand’, Chandigarh

Further information here.