Saturday, July 23, 2011

Intersections: Toronto and Amsterdam

Toronto and Amsterdam are world-class cities with different approaches on how to handle pedestrian and traffic flow.

In Toronto, the intersection at Yonge and Dundas Streets is one of the busiest intersections in the city, and a pedestrian scramble was installed in 2009. Also known as ‘X’ Crossing, a scramble stops all vehicular traffic and allows pedestrians to cross the intersection in every direction at the same time.

By contrast, the way Amsterdam handles the bicycle, pedestrian and trams at busy intersections reflects how the city encourages bicycle-riding. (Yes, there are cars, though not in the video above.) While it may appear chaotic, there is a beautiful flow and order, as I have mentioned in a previous blog post.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rothko at the Abstract Expressionist New York Exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario

In the Art Gallery of Ontario's Abstract Expressionist New York exhibition, the Rothko room has a dramatic display of the artist’s works. The lighting is dimmer than in other rooms, and there are floodlights highlighting each of Rothko's paintings.

Rothko said: "A painting is not about an experience. It is an experience." From this we can take that Rotko's aim was not to make representational paintings, but rather to transport viewers to an experience marked by an emotional response.

I'd recommend this exhibition as a stellar overview of the Abstract Expressionist movement. I'd also urge visitors to spend plenty of time in the Rotko room gazing at his paintings.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer Solstice in Amsterdam

In Amsterdam, bicycle-riding can be magical after dark. Red lights blink. Street-lights show the way along canals, over bridges. Sturdy Dutch bikes clank over cobblestones.

I shot this 30 second video the night of the Summer Solstice on Prinsengracht, one of the four main canals in Amsterdam, in the Jordaan district.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Amsterdam: Bikes, Trams and Scooters

Bicycles rule the streets in Amsterdam. It's the most common mode of transportation. The city's flat, there are bike paths everywhere, and bicycles have the right of way. Trams and scooters are also a big part of transportation equation. (Cars are, yes, also part of the math.) It's somewhat dizzying to behold a busy Amsterdam street. On another level, it's a thing of beauty.

I shot this short video at the intersection of Heiligeweg and Singel.