space: the convergence

But in the present situation, capitalism is no longer involved in production, which it often relegates to the Third World, even for the complex forms of textiles, metallurgy, or oil production. It’s a capitalism of higher-order production. It no-longer buys raw materials and no longer sells the finished products: it buys the finished products or assembles parts. What it wants to sell is services but what it wants to buy is stocks. This is no longer a capitalism for production but for the product, which is to say, for being sold or marketed. Thus is essentially dispersive, and the factory has given way to the corporation. The family, the school, the army, the factory are no longer the distinct analogical spaces that converge towards an owner–state or private power–but coded figures–deformable and transformable–of a single corporation that now has only stockholders. Even art has left the spaces of enclosure in order to enter into the open circuits of the bank. The conquests of the market are made by grabbing control and no longer by disciplinary training, by fixing the exchange rate much more than by lowering costs, by transformation of the product more than by specialization of production. Corruption thereby gains a new power. Marketing has become the center or the “soul” of the corporation. We are taught that corporations have a soul, which is the most terrifying news in the world. The operation of markets is now the instrument of social control and forms the impudent breed of our masters.
—  Gilles Deleuze, “Postscript on the Societies of Control”
4

Santa Maria Novella Station (in Italian Stazione di Santa Maria Novella, Florence, Italy
Photos by Caleb Racicot

My best friend and his husband are in Italy, where he and I have previously traveled on several occasions. He asked me what things I’d like him to bring home for me and among my requests was pictures of Italian Art Deco and/or Modernist and/or Fascist architect.

Since I knew they were going to Florence, I asked for at least a couple pictures of the station, which I recall as being amazing. I love the design of the central hall as well as the shopping arcades and those windows are spectacular.

The station as it is now dates to the 1930s when a mid 19th century station was remodeled. Here is background from Wikipedia on the design, which is a mix of several design schools:

In 1932 through a number of newspaper editorials, published in La Nazione, Florence’s main daily, Romano Romanelli a reputed and influential Florentine sculptor, criticized the original project by the Architect Mazzoni for the new Firenze Santa Maria Novella railway station.[2] A constructive debate resulted in the final choice of the project sponsored by the Architect Marcello Piacentini and designed by Gruppo Toscano.

The station was designed in 1932 by a group of architects known as the Gruppo Toscano (Tuscan Group) of which Giovanni Michelucci and Italo Gamberini, Berardi, Baroni, Lusanna were among the members; the building was constructed between 1932 and 1934. The plan of the building, as seen from above, looks as if it were based on the fascio littorio, the symbol of Benito Mussolini’s National Fascist Party, many documents give this explanation, but, that shape was forced by the pre-existing station. The “blade” represented by the first two passenger tracks and the postal ones were in fact the extension of the 1861 alignment which included the tracks of the line from Livorno.

The building is a prime example of Italian modernism, but has little to do with the Italian Rationalism movement, being more strongly influenced by the Viennese architecture of Loos and Hoffman, with perhaps a nod to Wright; but it is the building’s complete originality that makes it outstanding. The competition to design the station was controversial but the approval by Mussolini of the Gruppo Toscano project was hailed as an official acceptance of modernity. The station was designed to replace the aging Maria Antonia Station, one of the few example of architecture by I. K. Brunel in Italy, and to serve as a gateway to the city centre.

The Gruppo Toscano was only responsible for the main frontal building of the station. The heating plant, platforms, other facilities and details such as benches were all designed in a contrasting style by the official Ministry of Communications architect, Angiolo Mazzoni. The benches and baggage shelves illustrated on this page were not part of the Gruppo Toscano project. Outside and adjacent to the station is also Michelucci’s white marble Palazzina Reale di Santa Maria Novella, built to host the Royal family on visits to Florence.

While it is of a ‘modern’ design, the use of pietra forte for the station’s stone frontage was intended to respond to and contrast with the nearby Gothic architecture of the church of Santa Maria Novella. The interior of the station features a dramatic metal and glass roof with large skylights over the main passenger concourse, which is aligned perpendicular to the tracks and acts as a pedestrian street connecting one side of the city with the other. The skylights span the passenger concourse without any supporting columns, giving a feeling of openness and vast space and reinforcing the convergence of all the public functions of the station on the passenger concourse.

The Avatar solar system

arborine and I have been watching/rewatching (it’s her first time through) Avatar: The Last Airbender and Avatar: The Legend of Korra recently. We’ve just finished Book 1, and it’s been great fun (nice to know in advance what’s going to disappoint…)

At the end of Book 2 of Korra, there is a ‘planetary alignment’ or 'harmonic convergence’ which occurs in the setting precisely every 10,000 years. It is illustrated in the show by a set of planets moving onto an apparently completely perfect line:

When this episode came out I was of course mostly going “this is very very very silly”.

This time, I want to work out if it could be possible with an actual physical solar system. (Nevermind that a universe in which you can destroy the moon by shooting a fish clearly doesn’t run on real-world astrophysics!)

So this post basically uses that picture to try to work out the Korra solar system. Spoiler: I put a lot of effort into not finding a plausible solar system that looks like that. But we see some interesting (I hope) maths along the way!

Keep reading

Y'ALL.

WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME UNTIL TODAY THAT DOLLY PARTON WAS A PRODUCER OF BUFFY?

I love when my favorite things are all mixed up in my other favorite things. 

p.s. I put her over Dawn, because we can all agree that Dawn was the worst, right?

p.p.s. I’m CITING MY SOURCES, per Steve’s request. From this article about Gail Berman: 

She joined Sandollar Productions (owned by producer Sandy Gallin and Dolly Parton), which launched the Fox hit Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a series she went on to produce.