31 October 2011


"Londinium was established as a town by the Romans after the invasion of AD 43 led by the Roman Emperor Claudius. Archaeologists now believe that Londinium was founded as a civilian settlement or civitas by AD 50. A wooden drain by the side of the main Roman road excavated at No 1 Poultry has been dated by dendrochronology to AD 47 which is likely to be the foundation date."

Poem shared by my mate John Hollinshead - a proud Londoner:

Message: "I've always liked this poem. I guess I thought it chimed with the frieze from the Parthenon and some of the other sculptures we looked at [visit to the British Museum - 10 October, 2011]. It's interesting looking at different translations of the same poem, it's astonishing how different they can be!"
"Archaic Torso of Apollo"
 by Rainer Maria Rilke (trans: Stephen Mitchell): 

"We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,

gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark center where procreation flared.

Otherwise this stone would seem defaced
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders
and would not glisten like a wild beast's fur:

would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star: for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life."

Thank you John, how to forget our friend at the British Museum drawing that torso! Wonderful poem indeed... I forgot the ending of this poem (probably I did not get it on the spot as my jet-lag was kicking-in! ) "You must change your life" It is great, so strong, how much/far can one really change its own life?... why would you so? and if so, towards which direction?... perhaps is a matter of getting through life experiencing it under various 'lenses' but not so much as changing it!.... perhaps is a matter of refining things as we live and achieving a level of sophistication in the way we perceive our surroundings and conduct ourselves while our short visit on earth.


Reply [15 Dec 2011]

Howdy Guillermo,

To continue our conversation, it's interesting to me that you find the Rilkean concept of changing one's life unusual. It's made me think about it some more from your perspective.

I assume from your perspective your core values and objective haven't changed - architecture/design. 

So embracing the Anglo/Australian and potentially Swiss academic/business world with that objective/core value is not changing your life? Whereas to provide a contrast, from my perspective, my career -  law - means nothing to me beyond a a living and a means of managing family problems. So for me moving from Mexico to Spain to England to Australia/Singapore to Switzerland would change the more  important aspects of my life  - like friends, contact with family, social environment, potentially even career - ie a change from law, my own business etc. 

In short, in contrast to you, probably most people are like me, work is not a core interest/value, but 'work' to me is not work to you, it's fun/play for you.Your idea of 'lenses' intrigues me, how does that work - I will analyse this situation/ news story using my perceived values of an architect/Buddhist monk/ Plato /a 'socialist'/ an 'Austrian' economist / a pirate / a Hollywood film star/, but retain my core beliefs and values - is that how your proposal would work? Your sign off is classic Socrates - '.. perhaps is a matter of refining things as we live and achieving a level of sophistication'  the unexamined life etc, which is great and I agree, but what is it that you use as an  intellectual framework from which you are examining your world? In my view change that and you change your life.

Over to you, and in the meantime, all the very best,  and a very merry Christmas and a happy new year,


The above photos were taken during my invite to the IBEA Conference London October 2011 where I presented on emerging Australian architecture. Especially the work done by Peter Elliot, Sean Godsell and Cameron Lyon for RMIT University and former RMIT PhD students, Agustin Chevez from Gayer, Drew Williamson from MCR and Dominik Holzer from VBN Architecture.

I dedicate this post to the friends I made while I lived in England (1996 - 2003).

Note: I experienced London under the influence of the following soundtracks:
  • Black Crowes: Shake your Money Maker; The Southern Harmony and Music Companion; Amorica; Croweology; the song "Good Friday" from Three Snakes and One Charm. 
  • Rolling Stones: Exile on Main Street; Beggars Banquet.
  • Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds. 
  • Black Sabbath: Volume 4; Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. 
  • Whitesnake: Come and Get It. 
(At some point Antonio Vivaldi's baroque kicked-in but lets leave it there!)
Thanks to DJ: JH


Muchas gracias por las fotos de Londres, me gustó mucho la del Big Ben desde la ribera del London Eye, también salieron los barquillos cubiertos que llevan a los turistas hasta Greenwich y paran en tres o cuatro puertos intermedios, incluyendo la Torre de Londres, me gustó mucho ese paseo (Dec 2001) y en Greenwich me tocó conocer el velero Cutty Sark, que luego se quemó, creo que ya lo reconstruyeron y tambien atravesé el río por el Foot Tunnel que pasa por debajo y fué construído en 1902, aparecen las entradas en el libro que me regaló Roy."

Copyright  © Guillermo Aranda-Mena 2011

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