Mondrian Windows

Mondrian windows471
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One Essay Response

  1. S. James Press | University of California at Riverside says:

    For me, these pictures of dwellings in different cultures are a reflection of the differences in income and standard of living of peoples across the world. Each house represents a summary of life in that part of the world. I remember being shown around a one room house for many people, in a village in Zimbabwe. The “Cuban Blue Street” took me back to the poverty I saw in Cuba, Central America, Brazil, and elsewhere in Latin America. The Guatemalan houses, by contrast, reminded me of the contrast in housing that people prefer, regardless of wealth. People are different, and like to remain so.

    The Mondrian window is fascinating. It is the essence of the combination of art and science. There is a science to arranging different squares of colors to make a pattern, but the art is found in the combination of the arrangement of colors and squares to be pleasing to the eye, and yet functional. It shows that the path between art and science often is blurred by a natural continuity that was understood by the photographer, Rachel Tanur, and one which pervaded and unified all of her architecture, her photography, and her legal work.

    The “African Village,” with the view of the variously shaped rooftops, reminds me of the explanation I was given of how a census was carried out in the South African homelands under apartheid. When I asked what method was used in South Africa to determine the population of a Black homeland I was told that they flew over the area in an airplane, took pictures, and counted the number of roofs. This includes the many roofs made out of a single section of corrugated aluminum. Then they estimated the maximum number of people who could possibly be living under such a roof, and multiplied the two figures.