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January 4, 2014

No Single Point of View

I found this newswire photo particularly refreshing given how sure people tend to seem these days.

• Everyone admires a virtuoso performance. Shades of Escher or Turrell, it’s one sweet example of positive/negative space.

• To the extent cities oppress, a portal’s a little thrilling, a little soothing.

• It’s got that sci-fi twist also. The day the starship came to town.

• And then, top, bottom or side, it’s a window.

Via Phil Bicker’s always interesting Pictures of the Week gallery at Lightbox.

(photo: Alex Ogle—AFP/Getty Images. caption: Jan. 2, 2014. Apartment blocks form a symmetrical pattern in Hong Kong.)

  • black_dog_barking

    Twice a year the sun passes directly over this negative space and for a few minutes direct sunlight hits the pavement beneath us. Other than that it’s just sky, glass, and concrete. And symmetry.

  • bystander

    Viewed in halves (either top to bottom or side to side) the geometry is so mirror image perfect that I could imagine one half *was* actually a mirrored/reflected image of the other. And, of course the space between is just as precise. So, a bazillion years from now when this space is a ruin, and some space traveling “archeologist” stands in the same place as the photographer, and looks up…. What inferences will s/he draw about the builders of such a space. Will s/he imagine that such a deliberate construction was supposed to mean something significant to its former inhabitants? And, what steps will that individual take to develop their hypothesis – position of the sun, constellations, or something that has yet to develop in the skies above of which the builders could have no knowledge.

  • Scarabus

    “Look! Up in the sky! Is it a duck facing left? Is it a rabbit facing right? Yes!!” Sorry. Couldn’t help flashing back to the old Superman TV show.

    Definitely a cool photo. Looks like a landing/takeoff portal in Darth Vader’s “Death Star.” In other words, yet another visual ambiguity: Is the camera aimed horizontally? or vertically?

    Looking at the positive space, the sameness of the four mirror-image towers seems oppressive to me. Wouldn’t have seemed so to the designers of 1950s “Yale boxes,” of course. In respect to culture, I wonder if the sameness would strike the Chinese the same way it does me.

    Anyone know whether Hong Kong has set-back laws like New York’s?

  • Enoch Root

    The architect made that, not the photographer.

  • bks3bks

    Painting by Henry Kettle, 1770. That’s a mirrored pyramid in the middle.

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