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This image may be an odd turn at hero worship, but whilst really planning the design of my church, I looked at the work of Alberti, and subsequently made the above image from a drawing of his face. After my trip to Florence in 2008, as with Ghiberti, I was amazed with his work. Santa Maria Novella is possibly one of the most surreal yet perfectly balanced structures in Italy. His architecture carries this same style. Balance, classicism, harmony, colour, detail, yet still open and not over-crowded. He was a minimalist in comparison to Brunelleschi and other Renaissance Architects.

I’ve attached a few architectural drawings from Alberti’s work.

There’s a reason I’m particularly interested in Alberti beyond his Architecture practice. He embodied the true Renaissance Man. Someone who acted and innovated between industries and sectors. He worked as a Humanist writer, philosopher, mathematician, theorist and architect. He was not bound by the confines of a single profession and such used the skills and knowledge from one to enhance another. This is where I feel the harmony in his architecture comes from, a deeper understanding of wider values and ideals that have nothing what so ever to do with architecture.

Its worth mentioning that he was wholeheartedly a city man. His philosophy and architectural aesthetic were born on a foundation of urban understanding. Living amongst others, on top of others, and the pressures this can have on both family life and architecture. These ideals drove his practice across a number of areas.

I’m swaying from the point a bit. I’ve seen his work as a significant influence. Obviously not in any way as influential to my practice as Nam June Paik, Virilio or Mcluhan, but still influential in Unit 2 specifically.


Gates of Hell / Gates of Paradise

This may only be post number 2, but as can probably be guessed, there’s been a bit of a backlog in the pipeline that I’ve been hoping to share. Mostly to do with inspiration, process and general happenings towards the end of this MA.


It would be wrong not to mention Rodin’s Gates of Hell. I distinctly remember standing under a replica of the door outside the Royal Academy of Arts 10 years ago. There was a retrospective exploring the range of his works.

The Gates are particularly interesting in his body of work as it includes a number of his most well known works including The Thinker and The Kiss. The sheer talent and exceptional skill shown in this sculpture is breathtaking. It is a reminder of Greek, Roman and Renaissance sculptors, and plays on the idealism drama and romanticism of Dante’s Inferno.

I’ve bought this up not just because its a door, and I made a door (or a door-frame / extended fireplace found in a skip), but because of the impact it had on me 10 years ago. Standing in front of such a disproportionate object with endless intricacies has had an effect on me. I’ve felt the same way in front of a number of classical, (or classically inspired) sculptures. It is both the sense of realism, tradition and brute labour that attract me. Then, last but not least, there is the sobering story of the work. Dante’s Inferno, the first book of his Divine Comedy. Rodin meticulously visualises the circles of hell, and places, The Thinker at the helm, looking down on it all. Historians have thought that Rodin meant for this to be Dante himself.


Perhaps I should have begun here, (appears less sinister, or then again, maybe we like happier endings.) We can’t talk about Rodin’s Gates of Hell without considering its key inspiration.

Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise.


This piece was created considerably earlier and in fact Rodin’s door was a direct response to it. The door’s name was coined by Michelangelo. After he saw the door, the name seemed to stick. As these are the doors to Florence’s baptistery of San Giovanni, each panel represents a different biblical tale.

These are the East Doors of the building. On the North side is a door made by Fillippo Brunelleschi who is accredited to have produced the first sculptural panels with linear perspective. Perspective became the rage across artists and thinkers in the 14th and 15th centuries. It began a new way of seeing, and capturing everyday life. No longer were altars and panel paintings fixed to 2 dimensions. The use of linear perspective is clearly seen in a number of Ghiberti’s panels, in fact, the third panel down on the right would have been particularly difficult. He manages to show a circular building in perspective.

Anyway, again, its another set of doors, and again, I have a distinct memory of being mesmerised as I stood in front of it 8 years ago. Perhaps there’s a link between my experience as a viewer and my interest in creating a door of my own, perhaps not, but these overwhelming and elaborate doors are common place in buildings of worship. As you step through them, there is an immediate impact of surrounding, spirituality and serenity. Then again, just like my door, you can’t walk through either of these Gates. Perhaps there’s meaning in there as well.


Minimalist Architecture – Tadao Ando

I’ve been interested in the aesthetics of architecture and its potential in virtual reality environments. The simple ability to create full sized buildings virtually is to me an exciting prospect. We could only imagine what Gaudi or Alberti would have made with this technology.

After looking at Franco Bertoni’s book on Minimalism in Architecture I came across Tadao Ando’s church:



The way in which Ando has used simple structure and natural light to perceive the crucifix in the church defines the beauty of minimalist architecture. Its beauty and meaning thrive from its simplicity.

Gateway VR – Rendering

Thought I’d do a quick post on the rendering process going into my VR piece. I’ve confirmed today that I’ll be displaying the piece on a Samsung Gear headset, which is considerably better than my iPhone 5. (Bigger screen, better resolution.)

The rendering has been a nightmare. I’ve learnt more about the process of rendering in the past month than I’d ever thought I’d know. I’ve gone through render layers, passes, batch edits, shell scripts, render farms, network rendering… all in the space of a month. I’ve had to find quick and creative solutions to ensure that my piece will be viewable.

Re-creating my VR piece has been the biggest struggle over the last 3 months. I’d originally made the environment as a Unity game for an Oculus Rift or an HTC Vive, however, due to not being able to get one for the show, I had to re-make the piece.

Early last week I managed to set up a number of farms to get the animation going:

From tomorrow onwards will be a similar story. I’m basically just running around with a memory stick looking for computers.

I’ll do a further post on the content of the VR piece and how I’ve found ways to get around the issues of equirectangular content creation.

Gateway Build 2706 – 010716

I realised early last week that a wall was going to be necessary for the door. It was something I considered, but I didn’t think I’d be able to do it. With some sound advice from Ed, Jonathan and Jack I built a fake wall to give the doorway a little more belief, as well as more functionality. The lighting and circuitry can now be hidden behind the walls. Originally, I hoped to make it completely self-contained. This gives Ed and I more room to work with.

Ed began to install the circuit. After some time we managed to get the sensor working in the top of the door as hoped.

I’m entering the final finishes of the piece. I need to put everything together including the scrim and the print. Due to some issues with the scrim this week, I’ve re-thought how to display the work. Instead of attaching the scrim straight to the frame, I’m building a stretcher. The scrim will be stretched over the frame, and the adhesive vinyl print will be fixed to the pack of the scrim. This will allow the lights to give the desired effect through the scrim.

I’ve attached some images below:


Beyond Belief: Social Media.

BBC Blurb:

In the virtual world of social media, religious communities are now global. But is this at the expense of local relationships? Does lively discussion on social media translate into to social action? And does social media genuinely have the power to reform religious institutions, challenge extreme views or change someone’s personal religious experience? 

Ernie Rea discusses the relationship between religion and social media with Michael O’Loughlin, journalist and author of “The Tweetable Pope”; Dr Bex Lewis, a Christian and Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University; and Shelina Janmohammed, a Muslim writer and blogger. 

Producer: Dan Tierney
Series producer: Amanda Hancox.

Albert Einstein: Living Philosophies.

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead —his eyes are closed. The insight into the mystery of life, coupled though it be with fear, has also given rise to religion. To know what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms—this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.”