Footnote: Amereida at the Radisson

Tonight the contestants on Top Chef Chile travel to Concón, specifically the Radisson Acqua Hotel & Spa. For the novice School of Valparaíso scholar this is an inconsequential event. However, there are two important undercurrents of note. The first is pretty minor, though not for the School faculty themselves. They love food. In another life they would’ve been chefs, no joke. One look at their Instagram feeds or design projects on Flickr illustrates their preoccupation with gastronomy and how it relates to celebrations. I’m sure many of them will be watching. And if they are I hope that catch the pretty big connection between the Radisson and their School. According to Valentina Pérez’s excellent thesis, this is where the founders planned the first travesía in 1965. Back then, of course, this legendary group did not meet at the Radisson but at the Bucanero Restaurant, which is where the current hotel sits. According to Pérez, “A stone inscribed in homage to the site where the ideas of Amereida were gestated is there, recognizing the first travesía” (70n48). Unfortunately, I have never been to this hotel so I cannot confirm this memorial. However, since an alumnus of the School of Valparaíso—Harken Jensen—was the lead architect I’m confident this School of Valparaíso legend is more on the side of true things. If the cameramen of Top Chef Chile manage to include this stone in one of their shots, tomorrow’s review of this show will certainly be less salty.

To end on a high note, Cecilia Vicuña’s 2010 film Kon Kon presents another view of this resort town.

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Gaga about Godo

My dissertation has a new leading man. I had been sensing this shift for the past few weeks as I drifted farther away from Godofredo Iommi’s poetry and into the waiting arms of Alberto Cruz’s maps. Of course, I have always been about the maps. It’s just that Iommi has a consuming way about him; from his stint on television, to his captivating poetry, to his Homeric presence in photographs he is difficult to ignore. And today, after finding the most charming edition of his poems, I know I’ll never fully break away from him. Continue reading

Art as a Backdrop

In the past 48 hours I have had the uncanny luck of catchy two random summons of art history. It’s a cheap shot, but the first encounter was pretty lame. I won’t get into the chain of events that led to When in Rome (2010) appearing on my DVR, but it was there and I watched it. I actually find Kristen Bell kind of endearing. That is until this scene.

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Even a Brick Wants to Be Something

I caught Indecent Proposal (1993) the other night right at this masterful part. Though this film focuses on infidelity, honesty, and forgiveness Woody Harrelson’s turn as an architect is unforgettable because of this scene. Suddenly, the narrative shifts from a one-night stand to one of the best musings on creativity in any film I’ve seen.

Great architecture is only gonna come from your passion. And even that won’t assure you a job. Louis Kahn died in a men’s room in Penn Station and for days no one claimed the body. Look at that. Is that beautiful? The money men did not weep because the great ones are impossible to deal with. They’re a pain in the ass because they know that if they do their jobs properly, if they just this once get it right, they can actually lift the human spirit, take it to a higher place.

What is this? / A brick.
Good. What else?/ A weapon.

Louis Kahn said, “even a brick wants to be something.” A brick wants to be something. It aspires. Even a common, ordinary brick wants to be something more than it is. It wants to be something better than it is. That is what we must be. Continue reading