World Philosophy Day

At the National Library and Archives of Iran a conference celebrating the World Philosophy day was held this morning. Scholars from Iran and 42 other countries participated at this event. The decision of holding this event in the Islamic Republic is a welcomed one because we all know the importance Persian thought had and has on our understanding of the world.

The head of the Congress of the World Philosophy Day, Gholamali Haddad Adel gave the opening speech.
A philosopher has a deep and perceptive mind and great philosophers are the elites who devote their main attention to human beings.

Iranians comprise a nation that has inscribed their history with peace, justice and thought. Iran has trained great scholars and philosophers over the centuries, one of whom is Avicenna.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke next:
Man grows as his knowledge of the world and its Creator increases; man is greater than any single phenomenon of which he has knowledge. If an individual gets to know God and mankind, he/she would naturally get to know the other creatures, the main concern for man is getting to know himself and his Creator.

I don't care what some people say about Iran's president and I generally refuse to see an individual in only one color, the words presented above are worth keeping in mind.

UNESCO sadly refused to participate at this event, probably for political reasons.


Bab-Toma by Abdullah Chhadeh & Nara

Bab-Toma comes from the album ”Seven Gates” which refers to the seven gates of Damascus. Bab-Toma means Thomas's Gate, it is situated in the north-east corner and it leads into the Christian quarter. Abdullah Chhadeh is from Syria and has a wide artistic development along with math and physics. He started with playing the oud but soon was fascinated with the sound of the Kanun. For more, read here.


Armonia by Remedios Varo

What you are about to see is something deeply rooted to the mind. Remedios Varo is a Spanish artist and she lived the last part of her life in Mexico. More about her life and works in the 4th issue of Awil-um Magazine. Now I will get you acquainted with her stile, which some of you will find familiar.

1956 - Armonia
Her works, at least those dating after 1949, have powerful symbolistic meanings. This is why I said that the art created by Varo is deeply rooted to the mind. Among other thinkers and writers, she enjoied Gurdjieff and Ouspensky (see In Search of the Miraculous). Enough said, more in the 4th issue.


Adrian Păunescu, rest in peace

Today, in the morning of Friday 5th, 2010, Adrian Păunescu, a well known Romanian poet, politician and journalist died because of heart problems. He was active during Ceausescu's presidency with Flacăra, the name of a magazine and a show held in different cities and towns where people attended folk and pop concerts, offering to the young Romanians a chance to be free in a difficult period for the nation. With this tragic event I once again realized the fragility of our lives and the importance of doing good and helping others. Personally I found in him a model and artist that knew how to talk directly with the soul of the listener, something that in this day and age is rarely achieved.

(20 July 1943 – 5 November 2010)


Marine Research Center, Bali, Indonesia

A very interesting project is underway in Indonesia, more exactly 100 meters from the shore of Kuta Beach, in Bali. This construction is destined to become a home for marine researchers and a relaxing place for tourists. Far from being a boring box on stilts, the designers from Solus4 found a way to integrate a man made structure in what could be described as a paradise.

The idea for this project came from the 2004 disaster when an earthquake in the Indian Ocean brought a devastating tsunami to Indonesia, this is also one of the main research areas, everything related to tsunamis. Arquitectum and Pelita Harapan University are the ones who decided on the construction.

When finished it will be a 2500 square meter building that will look more like a resort, but let's not be fooled, research is the main activity, in fact, why shouldn't it look good. It will have a swimming pool, a bar, but also underwater labs, an auditorium and bedrooms for the scientists.

When it comes to energy be sure that the team from Solus4 gave their best. The building will be implementing cutting edge technology, from PV cells in the exterior "skin", tidal/current generators, rainwater collection and seawater conversion systems, to circulating deeper seawater through the "skin" for radiant cooling and temperature control. This is actually a very nice idea because in most modern buildings air does this job (see Burj Khalifa for a reference).

Overall the exterior looks great, it could be considered an intelligent building as well as a green (or rather blue) one. Now we just have to wait for it to actually be built.

The wave is actually at the base of the design

For info about the competition (that was won by Solus4) go here.
Images from designboom.com

Concerto for Violin B minor (III) by Edward Elgar

Edward Elgar (1857 - 1934) is one of my favorite English composers and his Violin Concerto in B minor was described by David Dubal as "the greatest English contribution to the treasury of Romantic violin concertos". I am not really in the position to review classical works, instead I just want to present them to you all, from one music lover to another.

The Concerto was performed by Hilary Hahn, an American violinist with Sir Colin Davis as conductor. The album was released by Deutsche Grammophon in 2004 and on it we can also hear ”The Lark Ascending” by Vaughan Williams also performed by Hilary Hahn.

This recording is provided for educational purposes only, please buy the album.


Baladă by Ciprian Porumbescu

Ciprian Porumbescu is one of the greatest Romanian composers, in fact there are only two that count to the world, he and George Enescu. I am happy to present to you one of Porumbescu's best known works, The "Ballad for Violin and Orchestra" (also with piano). He also composed the music for what became Albania's national anthem.

Finished on October 21, 1880, the Ballad for Violin and Orchestra soon became the best known work by Ciprian Porumbescu, and a reference work in Romanian classical music of the 19th century. In seclusion at Stupca, the composer meditated, drafted and then finished the piece, full of poetry and bitter nostalgia, with light and shade, a mixture of "doina", old dance and song, everything in the environment of serene melancholy. - Wikipedia