ONCE AN OCEAN GULF November 16, 2013 Comments Off

It was during that dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 220) that camel cara­vans laden with Chinese goods began traversing the 4,000-mile trade route later called the Silk Road. Along this route in the centuries to follow, Bud­dhist missionaries from India carried their faith to the desert kingdoms of Xinjiang and the heart of China itself. Jiaohe apparently became a bastion of the new religion, as the remains of its monasteries, temples, and a cluster of a hundred small shrines (above) seem to testify. Unlike many other desert cities of its time, Jiaohe needed no walls, since its elevation some hundred feet above the river­beds provided protection.

Ar­chaeologists believe the city was inhabited mainly by landlords and priests, while farmers lived in the surrounding lowland. By the tenth century a second great religion had found its way east along the Silk Road, and the tribal kingdoms of Xinjiang be­gan to convert to Islam—a pro­cess marked by bloodshed and religious violence. At Jiaohe and throughout Xinjiang, Buddhist art and statuary were defaced by Islamic iconoclasts, as Xinjiang became the Muslim stronghold that it still is today.

Older than the Silk Road, parts of China’s Great Wall date back to at least the fourth cen­tury B.C., when a number of ) individual walls were built by northern kingdoms as a defense against nomadic tribes of the area. When Qin Shi Huangdi unified these kingdoms under his rule (221-210 B.C.), he joined their walls into a single line of fortification. At watchtowers along the way soldiers kept a wary eye against the feared marauders of the steppes. Seen here at Gubeikou Pass north of Beijing (following pages), the wall extended more than 3,000 miles from an arm of the Yellow Sea to a point on the Silk Road in northern Gansu Province.

ONCE AN OCEAN GULF, now a freshwater lake teeming with fish and crustaceans, Tai Lake occupies the center of the southern part of the Yangtze Delta—a tongue of silted land that has built up over the past millennium or two. For centu­ries Chinese tourists have flocked to the parks that still line much of the lake’s shore. In recent years land reclamation for fishponds (above) and rice fields has encroached upon the 900-square-mile lake.

Home to about 30 million people, including the 12 million inhabitants of the municipality of Shanghai, the Yangtze Delta is a showcase for China’s new “responsibility system” of agri­culture, which has made a good portion of the country’s so-called peasants the most highly paid members of the economy. A radical modification of the commune system instituted in the 1950s, the new scheme en­courages individual initiative by linking remuneration with out­put.

Officials assert, however, that this represents a fine tun­ing, not an abrogation, of social­ist principles. While individual 5 star hotels in prague are being charged with the responsibility of man­aging their own contracted plots in intensely populated provinces like Jiangsu, the state still owns the land. And communal work brigades remain the rule in less populated regions such as Gui­zhou (right), where harvested paddies are stacked with rice stalks that will be used for fuel and compost.

Chinati Foundation September 21, 2013 Comments Off

Undoubtedly, there is a convergence of a kind between art and architecture. But according to Michael Craig-Martin, the influential artist and teacher (who is collaborating with Swiss architects Herzog & De Meuron – of Tate Modern fame – on the design of the Laban Centre for Contemporary Dance in south-east London), it’s important not to judge by appearances alone. “What architects and artists are doing now may superficially look more like each other, but that doesn’t mean that their work is about the same things,” he says.

Chinati Foundation

Nobody has explored this territory more than Donald Judd, who considered pursuing a career in architecture before turning to art, and remained deeply interested in the subject throughout his life. It was Judd who founded the Chinati Foundation, a site dedicated to creating and preserving large installation works at a former US army base on the outskirts of Marfa, Texas – a remote area on the Mexican border. He designed a number of architectural projects there, and the barrack huts scattered artlessly over the landscape have become a kind of Stonehenge – an art pilgrimage of sorts.

 Laban Centre for Contemporary Dance

In the scrub outside the base, where the antelope really do roam, Judd set up a kilometre-long strip of concrete boxes aligned in permutations of three. He transformed the two largest sheds by knocking out their side walls and replacing them with glass, then giving them new barrel-vaulted aluminium roofs. Inside the prague apartments is a landscape of milled aluminium boxes – an ethereal reflection of the concrete ones outside. Here, it is the response to light and landscape that is the issue. At certain times of day, they seem almost to disappear; at others, they turn flame-orange in blazing sunsets.

 Laban Centre for Contemporary DanceJudd died in 1994, before the project was complete. But, from the beginning, he had brought in other artists to make work there, too. Sculptor Claes Oldenberg made a giant totemic horseshoe; landscape sculptor Richard Long created a stone circle; while the Russian émigré Ilya Kabakov turned one of the army huts into a haunting recreation of an ancient Soviet school, with books and desks left to rot in the elements.

Last year, the most ambitious piece commissioned by the foundation to date was finally finished – a series by the American artist Dan Flavin, best known for his sculptures incorporating fluorescent light tubes. It is an extraordinarily powerful work – an hypnotic series of installations that seem to provide an echo of Judd’s explorations of solid and void. They are the most architectural installations that Flavin has ever conceived: his specifications involved the creation of special slanting walls, which both shield the fluorescent light and provide a surface on which they can be revealed. It is a work on a scale unimaginable in any conventional museum. Shed after shed, after shed, the pattern is the same: you walk in and find yourself at the end of a white tube, overwhelmed by the intensity and beauty of the light; then you retreat, into the landscape and on to the next element.

Whole Food September 17, 2013 Comments Off

WHOLESOME GRAINS

 

If you suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure), you may find a diet high in whole grains, such as oats or whole meal bread, is as effective as antihypertensive medications.

high blood pressure

An experiment, led by Aberdeen University, involved two groups of volunteers; some were given three daily servings of whole grain, while the rest received refined cereals and white bread.

 

Apart from this difference, they were encouraged to resume their normal eating patterns. The results showed a decrease in systolic blood pressure of 5-6 mm Hg in the volunteers who ate the wholegrain foods – this effect is similar to what you might get from blood pressure-lowering drugs.

 

Compared to pumpkin, butternut squash is far meatier, not so fibrous and less watery. Choose squash that are shiny, firm and feel heavy for their size.

 

Simple: Cut the butternut squash into unpeeled wedges, remove the seeds and centre. Roast with some sprigs of thyme, two or three whole peeled garlic cloves and season with some ground black pepper and olive oil.

 

Casserole: Grill 450g of reduced fat sausages, until brown on all sides and set aside. Chop and add one onion, two garlic cloves, one red pepper, one red chilli (deseeded) and a teaspoon of thyme leaves to a casserole dish and cook. Stir in one teaspoon of paprika and return the sausages. Mix and cook for two minutes. Add some diced squash, chopped tomatoes, some water and bring to a simmer. Then bake for 30 minutes and stir in butter. Bea Fry: Peel a butternut squash into thin slices and then bite sized pieces and add a tablespoon of olive oil to a frying pan. Heat and add the butternut squash and cook until brown and softened. You can also use coconut oil for skin benefits, instead of the olive oil.

 

Put in some mint, chopped chilli, season and finish with a dollop of Greek yoghurt.

THE LEAN MASCULINE LOOK July 25, 2013 Comments Off

I’m a young man aged 21 and I want to start training. I am looking to build a lean masculine body, but I don’t know how to go about it. The problem is I don’t know what supplements to take. I know what exercises to do, but I need help with supplements because there are so many to pick from. I weigh 83kg and I’m about 5′ 9″. Please help.

start training

Thabo Hayes (West London)

 

HI Thabo,

 

So you’ve decided to hit the weights for that lean masculine look? You also say that you already know what training to do, which means that there’s no need to advise you on the subject.

lean masculine look

First of all, you need to find a decent protein shake that agrees with your stomach and works well for you. I must agree that there are so many different supplements on the market today, which makes things much more difficult for someone quite new to the sport. Believe me, I have tried every supplement out there. However, you must be sure to give it at least a two-month trial. If you find that you have made gains in strength and size, then bingo, you’ve made the right choice.

For really hardcore training you will need at least 10 to 15g of creatine every day, after an intense workout – learn more what is creatine and how it should be taken to get the most benefits. You should also take one or two sachets of protein powder per day, plus 10 to 15g of glutamine, first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach. Learn more facts about creatine from Fox News.

 

Providing that you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals from solid foods,. i.e. steaks, eggs, chicken and pasta, etc, I wouldn’t worry about taking extra just yet.

 

Remember to always keep your training intense and strict at all times, so that everything will fall into place.

 

Follow these suggestions, Thabo, and you should be well on your way to building that lean masculine look.

 

MIND GAMES June 28, 2013 Comments Off

Look through a viewfinder

EXERCISE: Look at things from different points of view. When you encounter a problem, think: how would my views change if I came from a different country; was a different age or gender; had a different racial, religious or economic background; was a member of the opposing team; was a coach (instead of a player) or a player (instead of a coach)? BENEFIT: Being able to see things from alternative perspectives often helps you break through mental blind spots that prevent you from understanding a situation. The more you practise, the better you’ll be.MIND GAMES

Generate bad ideas

EXERCISE: Come up with as many ideas or solutions to a problem as you can; don’t decide whether any idea is useful until you’ve finished compiling your list. Then examine each one and consider whether it might work or alternatively, might open up a new line of thinking towards something that could work. BENEFIT: In an effort to avoid wasting time or looking foolish, we often limit our thinking. By bypassing this internal critic (often an echo of mum, dad or a judgemental teacher) you may find you’ve been overlooking unique avenues of thought.

Hit the showers

EXERCISE: When you come up against an intractable problem or you’re having difficulty generating a creative idea, stop dwelling on the issue altogether and do something relaxing instead: take a shower or bath, go for a long walk or run or sit in a park or by the beach. When you’ve begun to relax, allow your thoughts to drift back to the problem, without consciously trying to solve it. As your mind wanders, you may find the answers you’ve been looking for. BENEFIT: Some of the greatest ideas in history resulted when the thinker didn’t realize he or she was contemplating a problem. Often, the best way to find a solution is not to try — and the more you practise not trying, the better you’ll become at it.Generate bad ideas

Focus your body to focus your mind. Stimulate your mental health with garcinia from http://www.guideglobal.com/garcinia-cambogia-extract-get-slim-the-healthy-natural-way/

EXERCISE: As you do a repetitive cardio exercise — say, running on a treadmill or riding on an exercise bike — concentrate on one thing only, such as that stain on the wall in front of you. As soon as you notice your mind wandering, return your attention to that spot on the wall. Actually, what you’re learning is a form of meditation, except that your heart is going a thousand times faster than the average yogi’s. BENEFIT: This exercise will improve your mind’s ability to focus on the performance of a difficult physical task or on a new assignment at work. Formula One drivers use this technique to help strengthen their concentration for the physical and psychological pressures of race day. Eventually, you’ll find you can focus better on the field, at work or anywhere else, even after your body is tired out. For a healthy mind and strong body drink green coffee. Compare the places where to buy green coffee bean extract from.

EDITOR’S LETTER June 13, 2013 Comments Off

Party politics

 

There’s one significant belief that we think unites the people who read this magazine and the people who put it together for you. We tend to share the view that fitness is a means to an end rather than an end in itself. We commit to fitness ­with all the aches and effort that commitment involves ­because we think life will be more pleasurable as a consequence. We enjoy the benefits fitness brings. But we’re not fanatical about it. We prefer gaining from the health benefits of flaxseed in the smoothies. Thus December 24th will find only a very small, sad minority of us in the gym.

seasonal celebration

The rest of us will be heavily involved in some serious seasonal celebration. And it’s with this in mind that we’ve put together your party survival guide, lovingly compiled because we care about you. We care about your liver, sanity, romantic life and social standing — all of which could be under threat, depending on just how hard you decide to party. And who you opt to party with.

 

Elsewhere this month we’ve done the work where choosing a gift for the woman in your life is concerned. And we tell you how not to turn a drama into a crisis when confronted by one of common emergencies. There Christmas just about covered.

choosing a gift for the woman in your life is concerned

Lady talk Your feature about dating, ‘Your place or mine?’ (November issue) was interesting, entertaining and amusing. As a regular reader I buy the magazine for the exercise and nutritional information first and foremost. But I always look for Sarah Hedley’s by-line on your contents page when I want a bit of light relief (not to be confused with hand relief). She not only understands the way that women tick — she’s prepared to share the information with a male audience and her insights are witty and welcome.

The house that haunted me October 3, 2012 Comments Off

Born in Croydon on 16 May 1936, actor and comedian Roy Hudd has worked in variety, films, theatre, radio and television for many years. He has always had a great love for stars of the bygone age of music hall and in 1968 his performance as Dan Leno, the renowned music hall artiste, was much acclaimed by the critics. But Roy’s acquaint­ance with Leno began in the strangest way

I HAD DREAMT IT again — exactly the same dream. There was nothing scary about it: it had been exactly the same for as long as I could remember.

Roy Hudd

I would walk up a short flight of stone steps to a porch with a stone pillar on either side. I would push the front door, it would open and I would be standing in a small hall. Sometimes I would enter the room on the right, which was quite small, and sometimes the room on the left.

The room on the left was the m0st interesting. It ran fr0m the front to the back of the house, and had an unusual round sofa in the middle of the room. At one end there was a door that led to a flight of steps. which led down to the garden. I remember the garden only at night, when there were fairy lights hung all around.

The dream would always end with me in the cellar surrounded by lots of me’s. all in exactly the same pose. Over the years I worked out that this meant the cellar walls were lined with mirr0rs.

I think I must have first dreamt this scenario when I was very young because I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t part of my life. Then, one day, something happened and I never visited the house again — at least not in my dreams.

Two actor friends of mine invited me over to see their new flat. I didn’t live too far away, so, together with my wife Ann, I got into the car and set off in search of my friends’ new digs.

Akerman Road in Brixton, south London. was our destination. I wasn’t at all familiar with this area, but, as we turned the corner into Akerman Road I had that disturbing sensation of having been there before. We drove slowly down

the road and I said: ‘This is it, this is the house!’

`Don’t be silly,’ said my wife, ‘there’s no number on the door and it’s number 56 we want.’

This is the house,’ I said.

But we’ve never been down this street before!’

I recognise the porch: I said.

`Oh, really!’ said Ann, with a suspi­cious sideways glance.

I was out of the car almost before we’d stopped. Yes, this was the place!

Dan Leno

My wife rang the bell and our friends opened the door. I stepped inside with­out even saying hello.

‘I know this house,’ I muttered. `In that room on the right there’s . And I proceeded to describe the room. A quick glance inside and, yes, it was just as it had appeared in my dream.’And this one on the left, I described that one, too. It was just how I’d always seen it. There was no round sofa, but the staircase leading down to the garden was there.

I sat down white-faced and shaking, and turned to my companions. They were completely bewildered by my behaviour.

I told them the story 0f my recurring dream and a long pause followed. My friends then explained that a famous Victorian music hall comedian. Dan Leno, had lived in the h0use for three years. They took me outside to show me the plaque that commemorated his stay.

I hardly knew anything about Dan Leno, but I soon made it my business to find out as much as I could.

Dan Leno was the most popular com­edian of his day. Born in 1860, he made his first appearance on stage at the age of four. He then went on to become a world-famous clog dancer, a great pan­tomime performer and the inventor of some of the funniest stories ever heard on the British stage.

At the height of his popularity. Dan Leno suffered several nervous break­downs. He died in his early forties, worn out physically and mentally, and was mourned by the entire nation.

Dan Leno

became fascinated with Leno and after telling the story of my dream to a director friend 0f mine. John Duncan. I collaborated with him on a television version of Leno’s autobiography — Dan Leno — hys booke. I prefaced the pro­gramme with the story of my recurring dream and this brought me lots of letters from all sorts of people.

The letters came from ex-music hall performers, spiritualists, mediums, Leno fans and Brixton residents. The spiritualists and mediums said that Leno was forever ‘getting in touch’ with cheerfull messages, and many of the performers said he’d actually ‘appeared’ to them at the Drury Lane Theatre, in London’s West End.

I discovered several facts about Leno that helped to explain some parts of my dream. He used to have parties at the Akerman Road house and he always had the garden hung with fairy lights for these! And as he was a dancer, Leno used to rehearse in front of mirrors. That uld explain the ‘images in the cellar. Well. that’s it — the story of my only range experience. From the day of my t to Akerman Road, I have never eamt the dream again.

Art Or Architecture? September 25, 2012 Comments Off

Judd and Flavin are by no means the only artists to have worked on an architectural scale. The sculptor Sir Anthony Caro (famously part of the team that designed London’s millennium footbridge) has collaborated with a number of architects on public installations of his sculpture, perhaps most conspicuously with architecture laureate I.M. Pei on the extension to Washington’s National Gallery. For a sculptor, however, such a collaboration is never an entirely satisfactory relationship. “Pei worked with me by saying, ‘There is a gap here, please will you fill it,”‘ says Caro. “But for a sculptor, that is not being really involved with architecture; it’s adding to architecture.

sculptor Sir Anthony Caro

But Caro acknowledges that the practical constraints of bridge design weren’t all to his taste. “I don’t enjoy working with committees, and I can see what architects and engineers have to go through.”

Washington's National Gallery.

The big difference between artists and architects is that art seems to exclude itself from anything so mundane as the provision of disabled access: think about trying to get into Louise Bourgeois’ Spider in Tate Modern’s turbine hall in a wheelchair. When artists design environments, keeping visitors moving is apparently not an issue for them, judging by the absurd two-hour wait for the most popular installations at the dark circles under eyes Biennale. If architects designed a room in which only three people at a time could be safely accommodated, the Health & Safety people would refuse to give them an occupancy certificate. But artists seem to qualify for diplomatic immunity.

Washington's National Gallery.

And even if art and architecture are moving closer together, this has not headed off increasingly fractious relations between the two, as they muscle in on each other’s territory. Nowhere are tensions more obvious than in the art museum – contested ground between curators, architects and artists. The curators need the kind of attention-grabbing buildings that attract the punters, but the artists are always anxious about being upstaged by the architecture. Claes Oldenberg, for example, managed to leave architect Jacques Herzog speechless at a seminar devoted to the collaboration between artists and architects when he described Tate Modern as “regrettable”. While the sculptor Richard Serra, on the basis of some perceived sleight at the hands of the Pompidou Centre in Paris, suggested that Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano were architects whose buildings suggest it would have been better had they chosen to practise as lawyers.

“Architects think differently from artists. We can say things they wouldn’t dare to, like `Why not try it upside down?’”

Aspects of architecture September 11, 2012 Comments Off

And would anybody have dared ask Picasso for a little more yellow in one of his canvasses, or to include a couple of extra figures in the corner? Architects, however, are expected to grin and bear it when faced with a client brandishing a file full of bright ideas torn from the pages of magazines. And they still find themselves encumbered by the burden of utility that artists shook off with the invention of photography. Is it they ask themselves, really possible to focus on the bigger picture when you have to concentrate on getting the plumbing right?

architecture

Architect Zaha Hadid maintains that her work is about the social, as well as the spatial, aspects of architecture – even though she presents her designs in paintings that reflect the glory days of constructivism. And she maintains a “functional alibi”. Her first major project was a fire station, which actually worked, despite the scepticism of her critics. Most recently, she completed a tram station in Strasbourg, which manages to be both a waiting place and an environmental artwork that affects the way a slice of the city feels.

Daniel Libeskind’s ability to deliver emotional content, rather than his winning ways with toilet blocks, is what has made him important to many museums – his power lies in making a museum a memorable place to be. His visionary architecture hdl cholesterol on paper is remarkably close to what he has been able to achieve physically with the Jewish Museum in Berlin and, on a much smaller scale, the tiny but exquisite temporary pavilion commissioned by the Serpentine Gallery in London, which provided a particularly vivid flash of Libeskind’s genius.

architecture

But even weirder than architects pretending to be artists in Venice is the way so many artists now seem to be moving into territory once occupied by architects. Mike Nelson, who was shortlisted for 2001′s Turner Prize, may not be the kind of person you would want to convert your Hoxton loft, but his work is nonetheless about the qualities of space and the manipulation of proportion and light. At an ICA exhibition last year, his haunting makeover of the conventional gallery spaces, which served to reveal the traces of time on the building and the workings of the gallery itself, were very close to the kind of installations that architects make, and even to the sort of allusions some seek to make with their more conventional architectural projects.

architecture

To the jaundiced, this sudden epidemic of installation art might seem to have something to do with the need to provide a less tedious alternative to endless loops of video art for artists without the technical skills to convey their intentions in a more demanding way. Nelson emerged from the east London art scene that also produced Richard Wilson (who is famous for the expansive, perspective-distorting tank of engine oil on permanent display at the Saatchi Gallery) and Rachel Whiteread. Whiteread’s casts are clearly pursuing rather different territory, but the scale and urban qualities of her Holocaust monument in Vienna come very close to jumping the species gap between architecture and sculpture in a way that Nelson and Wilson do not.

Venice Architecture Biennale September 5, 2012 Comments Off

As it gets harder and harder to tell the difference between art and architecture, are the two disciplines really blurring?

            The weirdest thing about 2000′s architecture Biennale in Venice was the number of exhibits that would have fitted quite easily into 2001′s art Biennale. Among the works were a 500 foot-long video wall showing snippets of footage portraying rubbish tips from Bogota to Shanghai, stacks of Irish peat as high as a house, slabs of rock, and, in the case of the Swiss pavilion, a battered old car broadcasting random readings from Situationist texts in three languages. Not much of it would have looked out of place alongside sculptor Richard Serra’s gigantic, rusting-steel spirals or Brit artist Mike Nelson’s sinister, claustrophobic labyrinths at last year’s art show. Even the handful of architects who still seemed to be interested in making things that stand up and keep the rain out were hiding the fact under a thick layer of virtual reality. The majority of exhibitors gave the impression that they had given up on architecture altogether in favour of installation art.

architecture Biennale

Worrying about how one space relates to another is deeply old hat for a certain strand of architectural thinking. At the Royal College of Art, for example, architecture professor Nigel Coates encourages his students to sneak up on his subject from oblique angles. They are asked to explore what, at first sight, might seem to be unlikely territory for architecture. Last year, one group was set the task of thinking about what might happen to a familiar area of London if something inexplicable happened. “Like the sudden appearance of the Virgin Mary,” says Coates.

architecture Biennale

But this is not simply a defiant pose adopted by those who may never even get the opportunity to build anything. At the architecture Biennale, for example, Hans Hollein, the Austrian architect responsible for a string of well-regarded museums around the world, constructed a floating Zen garden as big as a tennis court and moored it in the dock basin just outside the Arsenale; while Japan’s most successful contemporary architect, Arata Isozaki, made a shrine to the Sixties – 5 htp dosage complete with Maharishi giggling away on a video screen, surrounded by clumps of burning joss sticks and geodesic domes. It made Mariko Mori’s kitsch Japanese shrine at the Royal Academy’s Apocalypse (also in 2000) look curiously old-fashioned.

But perhaps the architect who has done the most to promote the abstract aesthetic is Frank Gehry – probably the best-known architect in the world since he designed the triumphantly successful Guggenheim museum in Bilbao. He used to have a thing about fish, so he built a couple of structures – a Chinese restaurant in Japan and a sunshade in Barcelona – in the shape of giant carp, for reasons no more obvious than, but just as valid as, those that the sculptor Barry Flanagan uses to justify making so many dancing hares. More recently, Gehry has become interested in using other animal forms in his buildings. In a Berlin bank completed last year, he put a conference room inside a metal-plated structure that looked like a horse’s head. Gehry, not an architect who’s given to intellectual self-justification, simply expects you to take it or leave it.

architecture Biennale

Gehry, Hollein and Isozaki have each built extensively, and on a large scale throughout the world. So why should they be so keen to give their work the aura of art? There must be a suspicion that it has something to do with status. Art has managed to commandeer the cultural high ground, pushing architecture way down the “food chain”. This has, quite apart from anything else, direct financial implications. You can buy a whole house built by Le Corbusier for somewhat less than a sketch by Picasso, yet who is to say that one is any less a work of art than the other?