• Archive of "Dori reflections" Category

    Tradition and New Technology

    August 30, 2009 // No Comments »


    The traditions of Africa are great to observe. The ladies carry most things on their heads, to my understanding surely the best way to put loads on the human body. Not on the side or carry in the hands. People here have really straight spines and stand in a proud posture. Yesterday I saw two ladies on the way from the bottle store carrying boxes of the great bears of Mozambique. These two photos are telling about the street life and notice the mobile phone. Africa is reaching the digital world through mobile phones. We see them in use everywhere, from the forest to the city centre.


    Posted in DORI BLOG, Dori reflections

    Eiffel and the New Art School, ISAC

    August 17, 2009 // No Comments »


    The office of Madame Alda Costa, who is the leader of the group that is forming ISAC, the arts academy here in Maputo is in Casa de Ferro (de, do or di, depending on the reference). The building houses some of the offices of the Ministry of Culture and Education. I walk the three minutes from my apartment in the a block designed by the Mozambican architect Pancho Guedes to her office when we are planning and conferring. The Casa de Ferro is a very interesting building designed by Gustave Eiffel and is a kit building in the fashion that Bucky Fuller wanted to develop in his prefab heyday. It was probably shipped here and bolted together (I have not bothered to ask its history). The Google blurb says: “Casa do Ferro was constructed 1892 by the famous French architect Gustave Eiffel. The whole building is made of steel and was dedicated to the Portuguese governor. Due to the subtropical climate in which the building is heated to extreme tempertures nobody had ever lived in it.”

    I think it very appropriate that the new Arts and Design Academy is being created in this building, it has a cultural spirit, while also being prefab. It refers to history and is quick build. It is transportable and light but looks like out of heavy stone masonry. There are references to the classics in Europe and the technology that has been developed here in the colonies, of fast production and spontaneous adaption. The building has nothing to do with the African culture here and one wonders how it will be for ISAC and the designers that will  be educated here to deal with their own culture in the prominence of global design culture and mass production. The Casa de Ferro is a symbol of such struggle.


    Posted in DORI BLOG, Dori reflections

    People Prototypes and Service Design

    July 27, 2009 // Comments Off on People Prototypes and Service Design

    We went to a theater performance workshop on Saturday run by our friend Pedro Manuel. The workshop was about role models, representation of characters and dialogue with public representatives. The young people come from different theater groups here in Maputo and were quite professional in their performance and delivered their presentations well. The aspect that interested me most in Pedro’s experiment was how they had to represent volunters from the audience and in that way try to understand the character and deliver a truthful representation to the audience. The actors were to take a short question and answer dialogue with the voluters and then answer questions from the audience about various issues, mostly political. Then in the end there was an election amongst the audience to select the representative people most liked. The idea was of course about how can someone represent a group in a democratic manner and the interfaces that happen from one person and group to an other. This is very relevant to what we deal with in design, where the designer has to represent the user through herself while testing prototypes. In service design prototypes are very often people or representations of people to test the services provided. My feeling is that service design has much to learn from the skills that are inherent in theater. I for myself, since I am brought up in theater, always when working on architectural models create scenarios and even dialogues in my projects so as to test the viability of my proposals on paper. Almost like when I was small playing ‘make belief’ life with Matchbox cars. The images show the actors and the election in the end that became a great spectacle.



    Posted in DORI BLOG, Dori reflections

    Off the Beaten Track in Mozambique

    July 19, 2009 // Comments Off on Off the Beaten Track in Mozambique


    We spent a few days last week in the Mozambiquan part of the Transfrontier National Park that is to span over a very large area linkin together the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique, Kruger National Park in South Africa, Gonarezhou National Park, Manjinji Pan Sanctuary and Malipati Safari Area in Zimbabwe, as well as two areas between Kruger and Gonarezhou, namely the Sengwe communal land in Zimbabwe and the Makuleke region in South Africa. The total surface area of the transfrontier park will be approximately 35,000 km2.

    fillWe entered Mozambique through the Kruger park in South Africa where we had spent some time to visit mountains (something we badly miss from our home). Visiting Kruger is always great fun since animal sightings are many and varied. The services and infrastructure is great, one can buy food, petrol and visit many restaurants albeit those we have visited have the classic fast food feel about them. I have heard similar comments from people that visited Kruger before that it has become so commercial. But what can one do with progress? Many people want to visit and they should be allowed to do so and enjoy the nature and learn. The question becomes: How is it possible to help with access to nature while not destroying it with capitalistic voyeurism? This has been my preoccupation about our sensitive nature in Iceland.

    doriAnyway, coming over to the Limpopo Mozambiquan side was a revelation. There the park is almost untouched, the roads are part of the landscape as tracks, the animals have a completely natural habitat (not concrete watering holes like in Kruger) and the camp that we visited was completely a Bush Camp, just tents in the forest. When we arrived we were taken aback since the camp just appeared on a river bank with loads of baboons running around on the other side (reminding of Apocalipse Now arrival at Kurt’s location) and tents hidden in the trees. We were welcomed by Johan Kriek (an old hat in safari travels all over the Southern Sahara Africa) and his staff. The reception was warm and clear and on top of that an elephant was eating a tree just a meter from the eating tent so he had to tell us to wait and keep silent while the elephant had his way around the camp. They told us that the animals always leave the tents alone, – something which was nice to hear since we did later stay in one.

    konurnarThe camp is called Machampane Camp and is run on the philosophy of being completely in harmony with nature, not killing one creature, just observing and experiencing. They do not even wash textiles there since soaps etc could go into the groundwater. Local people from the nearby Massingir village and Velo Massingir work there as cooks and guides, actually taking training in bush guiding from Johan and Thorstein a German specialist bush guide working there. In the morning we went for a hike to see the bush in close up. We enjoyed a nice dialogue about nature and the resposibility of tourist facilitators to educate the guests and the fragile interface they have to manage between the local culture and the sensitive nature with the guests from afar. Many of the issues are just the same that we have been dealing with in our country of volcanoes and glaciers, where we have been involved as designers in developing facilities for foreign guests.

    verdirIt was really interesting to hear how Johan and his people handle things here in Mozambique and compare notes. Our impression was that the people running this operation have a philosophy of trying not to imitate the Kruger way but to complement it with much more sustainable eco perspective. One just has to hope that this will be successful. Here are some images from our visit.


    Posted in DORI BLOG, Dori reflections, TRAVELLING

    Video Art, Maputo

    May 8, 2009 // No Comments »

    We went last night to a video-art exhibition/event in Avenue des Artistes. This location is a very nice place here in Maputo, where they stretch canvas over the street in two places, put out furniture and run it as a bar/club. It is to be recommended to anyone visiting the city. We have been there for concerts etc. Last night there was a show of a collection of short films and video art. Soley’s student is one of those showing his work, but the evening represented ca 8 film makers with a variety of shorts. It was interesting to see the subject matter selection and the experiments. The work was not really technical, but documental in form, various clips of people from Mozambique demonstrating their skills or activities. The event was typically artistic in execution, a screen in a small room and we had to crowd somewhat to see something. But of course the most eager got the front seat at the sofa table.
    In the break there was a performance art event. I must admit that I do not know the name of the artist, but his activity was interesting, and again not very conceptual but demonstrative.



    Posted in DORI BLOG, Dori reflections

    Casa Velha in Maputo and Breaking Barricades

    April 22, 2009 // No Comments »



    Today I vent to visit the artists preparing for the performance in Casa Velha here in Maputo. The place is a cultural center, we are told it was very active earlier, but neighbours complained of disturbances late at night from the bar guests and as with many cooperatives there have been battles of control over the activity. But next friday the group of artists from Norway and Mozambique that work together under the name of a project named Breaking Barricades are doing a performance there. In my visit I fell for the building and the people there. The house is old yes, and has seen better days, there is so much history in every crack and paintpeel that I felt overwhelmed.

    022The theater itself is named TEATRO MAPIKO and is a great space in the form of a Greek classic theater, painted like a pool in the open air. The entrance is through the storage of worn down cars for a garage next door.

    I made a little photo album that you can access HERE. Here at the bottom in this post is the oversprayed stencil that Anatasio used to make the poster told about earlier.


    Posted in DORI BLOG, Dori reflections

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