Hello, Kibitzers! I am ferociously busy this week, yet still feel kinda crummy. The result of this is that I am tossing together a small photo diary of a place I have few pictures of, and worse yet, I won't even be home to act as your host until very late in the Eastern-time-zone evening. (If experience is any teacher, the word "evening" will not even be applicable to the time I get home.) I know you are a friendly bunch and can talk amongst yourselves, and I promise to drop in late and answer any questions I can. I apologize for being a bad host.
The Centre Georges Pompidou is a popular Paris tourist destination, which was sadly not on our "A" list for things that had to be seen in the short time we had. We went blazing past it, took a photo, and stopped by the Stravinsky Fountain for lunch before buzzing quickly off to somewhere else. But I will show you what I've got!
Pompidou Center is a 1970s-era museum, cultural center, library, performing-arts space, and striking piece of architecture. Its museum is the largest modern art museum in Europe, and its public library is enormous. There's a spectacular view from its observation deck, and a California-ish vibe in the large open plaza beside it, which draws performing artists of all kinds.
What makes the building so cool-looking from the outside is that the "guts" are all on the exterior, and color has been used not only to add interest but to inform about what goes into making a structure of that size. The walkways and escalators are outside the frame in glass tubes. Outside on the other side of the building, the pipes and ducts are painted blue for air, green for water, and yellow for electricity. Transportation elements like the elevator motors, and safety elements like fire extinguishers, are red. (The red box visible at the top of my photo is an elevator motor.)
This short video gives a reasonable introduction to the building. If you have more time and want to learn more detail about the architecture, there's a 25-minute YouTube here that's very interesting.
Below the orange croissant, we'll visit a fun adjacent landmark.
The Stravinsky Fountain is a 1983 work that's next to the Pompidou Center, and in fact sits on top of some of its associated underground facilities. Since these facilities are those of IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique), its founder suggested the works of Igor Stravinsky as a theme for the fountain. Because of its location, the fountain is deliberately designed to be lightweight, and has a shallow basin and light materials.
The fountain is colorful and playful, and that influenced us to stop there for lunch rather than wherever we were headed. It's the joint work of an artist couple, Jean Tinguely, who did the black machine-like pieces, and Niki de Saint Phalle, who did the brightly-colored ones.
I wanted [the fountain] to have charm, with the colors of Niki, the movement of the water, and a certain attachment of the heart that I gave to my sculptures. I didn't want artifices of color in the California style, with jets of water that were electronically controlled, things mysterious and bizarre. I wanted sculptures like street performers, a little bit like a circus, which was at the heart of Stravinsky's style itself when in 1914 he had his first encounter with jazz, thanks to the recordings which Ernest Ansermet brought from the United States, or when he wrote an homage to a circus elephant, all made up in colors, which he saw in a circus in Evian or Lausanne.
The fountain is such a kinetic work that still photos don't give you any real idea of it. Here are a couple of the short videos from YouTube. I apologize that the videographers don't move around more and focus on every piece -- I have been yelling at them for some time as I put this diary together, but it does no good. ;) The first one also gives an idea of the Pompidou Center and the performers in its plaza, and the Church of Saint-Merri on the other side. The tall, crowned avian figure in the fountain (whose backside is mostly shown) is the Firebird.
Kitchen Table Kibitzing is a community series for those who wish to share part of their evening around a virtual kitchen table with kossacks who are caring and supportive of one another. So bring your stories, jokes, photos, funny pics, music, interesting videos, and so forth. We would also appreciate links—including quotations—to diaries, news stories, and books that you think this community would appreciate.
Please note that pie fights will be unwelcome in this community, just as in most other series at DKos.
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