Wednesday, 5 October 2016



  1. OGR 06/10/2016

    Hi Noah,

    Octavia it is - and you've got some moody thumbnails in the mix already. Students tend to assume Octavia is a bit macabre, mostly I think because of the 'spider-web' reference, when really this is description of the characteristic of the city's structure, not necessarily a comment on the mood of the place. Yes, they live precariously, but perhaps there's an argument that the people of Octavia live vibrant, colourful lives because they expect them to be short-lived - that life could end at any moment, so why not 'seize the day!'? In this way, Octavia might have more in common with the vibrancy of the butterfly?

    Thus far, things are at a pretty provisional stage - though I do like some of the 'woven basket' references on your maps. The one thing that might help ensure that Octavia comes into clear focus in regards to designing it might be to decide on the ethnicity of the city as it relates to geography - a simple trigger might be to look where there are actual mountains of the kind Calvino imagines - so for example:

    If Octavia was strung between the Amaro mountains in Ethiopia, you might expect the structures in the city to derive from Ethiopian basket weaving...

    But if Octavia was sitting between the Arfak mountains of Indonesia, then maybe the structures, materiality and colours of the cities various dwellings would derive from these:

    I'd want to take the guess work out of Octavia, and for me that begins always with some real world specificity.

    As helpful would be to think - as you've begun to - about specific buildings with specific functions that might offer great opportunities for the concept artist; for example, an Octavian cathedral or parliament - interiors with specific, special functions or significance.

    The trick with Octavia is to get past that initial fascination with the 'suspended city' and start treating like a 'real place'. I look forward to seeing you drill down deeper as you start to work towards your final three paintings.

    1. Thanks Phil, I really appreciate the feedback. Definitely think I need to look more into how the city actually functions. I had originally pictured the city as being dark and depressing, with the inhabitants living in fear knowing that one day the city will fall, but I hadn't even thought about picturing it from a different perspective so I definitely look into that!