Next time when you are strolling down the street, take a moment and smell, touch, taste, hear ~ surrender, how does your city feel?
By supporting The Urban Yoga Photo Book, you are contributing to a less stressful and more positive urban life. As an architect and yogi, I believe cities should not be regarded as something, which disturbs our harmony, but rather as a vital element that contributes to it. So, I went of the mat and into the city to change the way we feel, breath and think about urban environment.
Together we are raising the importance of urban spaces that are not only visually and technologically stunning, but are designed with human in mind. The book features utmost relevant architectural context and photos taken in New York, Madrid, Paris and Ljubljana.
Ten years ago, I was a top athlete in Slovenia, with several national track and field records, recruited by universities across the United States. However, running was not where my heart lied. I wanted to do art. Believing that all art comes from and returns to space, it became my primary objective to understand space itself. I stopped running the direction I was headed, going straight to the Faculty of Architecture to pursue my new goal.
In my third year I noticed there was something missing in the way we were taught to think about and feel architecture. As a young architect, who was intensely involved with yoga and dance, I found it difficult to design space based merely on geometry and function. I felt that by focusing on our bodily experience, keen intuition, the telling of stories, and the passing of time could open up new possibilities, new ways of thinking and living. In order to pursue this belief I begun a venturous practice, leading me from studying digital design in Denmark, video, photography and sound recording in Australia and to obtaining an architectural degree in Slovenia.
The photos are picturing my journey as an architect and a yogi using The Urban Yoga to explore alternative ways of understanding the relationship between the urban environment and our sensuous body. Photos were taken during the course of one year (2013/2014) in places I worked as a freelance architect and designer: New York, Madrid, Paris and Ljubljana.
Every city featured in The Urban Yoga photo series has a special place in my heart and shaped me as a researcher in architecture. I spent all my study breaks in New York, exploring dynamic relationship btw. an individual and space through modern dance, taking dance intensives with Alvin Ailey and Complexions. Later, I worked in New York as a designer and it was in NYC where The Urban Yoga got her first press release in Reserved! The magazine had its launch at Paris Fashion week, so, no wonder the next call came from Paris: The Urban Yoga was published in Cacao, a publication now being sold from Tate Modern, London all the way to Tokyo, Japan. In Madrid I worked as an architect at one of the best Spanish architectural studios Ecosistema Urbano.
I made a mockup of the book, because I wanted to give you a sense of the direction we are headed with it. However, the final version of the book, will be, unlike this one, sent to an offset print and will have an elegant hard cover made of canvas with a debossed image and letterpress.
The Urban Yoga Photo Book also contains utmost relevant architectural context behind The Urban Yoga. A manifesto that is a result of a thorough research that I begun in 2006: I was exploring parametric architecture in Denmark (our interactive pavilion NoRA was built an exhibited at Venice Architectural Biennial), photography and video in Australia, acquiring an architectural degree in Slovenia, working as a freelance designer in New York and freelance architect in Madrid.
All the photos featured int The Urban Yoga Photo Book are available as prints. In every city - New York, Madrid, Paris and Ljubljana - I collaborated with a local photographer. Because I have been living abroad a lot, my foreign colleagues were the first whom I reach for in order to send out calls for a photographer for The Urban Yoga.
Choosing the location depended on the photographer, the city and the time of the year. I had been always excited to hear the ideas of the photographer and I enjoyed trying them out. So, the final photo was a synergy between the photographer and myself. Sometimes we chose locations as we strolled through the city and sometimes in advance. With those chosen in advance, it sometimes happened that as we got there and tried them out we realized that they did not work at all. As far as the poses are concerned, my aim was to connect, intertwine and mimic the urban space, so that the photos functioned as a metaphor for the fact that while moving through space, we subconsciously mimic and measure spatial configuration. Moreover, to invite people to surrender to urban space with their whole sensuous body and give themselves up to feelings that are running through it.
I see The Urban Yoga not only as an architectural experiment, but also as a photo experiment. The concept and the context are the same, but the series vary, depending on the city and on the photographer. It has also been interesting for me to observe, how differently the photographers approached to depicting The Urban Yoga. Some took lots of time choosing the set, preparing and anticipating the light, so we made one photo a day. On the other hand some photographers leaned more towards a "guerilla" approach and we shot the whole series as we went: the photographer said look! There! And I jumped. If you look at the process of the making of The Urban Yoga it functions similar as when making street art. So, I was quite amused when I received a comment to my first press-release: "This is better than Banksi!"
It had been also very interesting to observe people in different cities and how they react towards the making of The Urban Yoga. In New York, for example, they saw it as a spectacle, stopping their cars to take pictures, making traffic congestions, clapping as we finished finished the shot. In Paris, on the the contrary, it seemed as if none cared at all, so it was much easier to focus. In Ljubljana, people were amazed, but,they were standing there and observing quietly. It was also a bit different, because it is my home town so people we knew were passing by and together we were making jokes, which made the shooting lots of fun. In Madrid people were really helpful watching over me so I do not fall or get hurt, which was really sweet.
As I mentioned above The Urban Yoga Photo Book contains utmost relevant architectural context behind the Photo-Series and deliberates the following topics:
The aim of The Urban Yoga photo book is to ensure that architecture will continue not only to provide the world with pragmatic buildings or on the contrary buildings which are visually stunning but functionally useless, but to design with human in mind: to express fundamental truths of the human condition, including our dreams, imagination, and desires: not just those of the designers themselves, but also of those who use these structures on a daily basis.
The Urban Yoga photo series presented in my book are metaphors for the experiment: how do we perceive space if we surrender ourselves to it with our whole sensuous body and give ourselves up to feelings that are running through space? As the very symbol of intense urban environment and life-style, New York was the ideal place to launch The Urban Yoga photo series, later taken also in Paris, Madrid, and Ljubljana.
The Urban Yoga book talks about how sometimes we feel like urban environment limits our freedom, causes stress, and disturbs our inner peace. But, only few people know that it is not geometry and function, but what we touch, smell, taste and hear that defines most whether we feel goof or bad in an urban environment.
Moreover, in The Urban Yoga book I talk about how we unconsciously measure and mimic spatial configuration with our skin, muscles, and bones. The reactions stored in the body and the senses have an influence at the unconscious level on our interaction with space and our experience thereof.
One of the topics covered is how we feel very comfortable with the subconscious sensory experience, because we learn it before we master verbal language. We often forget over the course of our lives about the element of unconscious communication, but we can revive it through art and architecture.
Last, but not least in The Urban Yoga book I address an idea for new methods for designing space that transcend geometry and function, spanning further away from the visible and the quantitative. It suggests that spatial design based on subconscious sensory experience can change our perception and enrich our existence by giving new meanings and possibilities to our life in the city. Namely, sensing and perception are inherently subjective, no matter what the reality is, there is no correspondence to reality other that what we as humans have agreed to agree upon.
Just like in yoga, where your body becomes your special place, also urban environment has a potential to become a place of self-reflection and self-realization. Balance between the space within ourselves and the space we live in is essential for our wellbeing.
To publish the book containing the context behind The Urban Yoga and the New York, Madrid, Paris, and Ljubljana photo series. The book contains treatises on Space potential, The physical and existential aspect of space, Experimental architecture and philosophy of sensation, Body and perception of space, Imagination and perception of space, Movement and perception of space, The body of an architect vs. the body of a user.
After publishing this book I will furthermore continue with an exploration of The Urban Yoga approach to interacting with space at The New School of Architecture and Design (NSAD), San Diego that is collaborating with Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture (ANFA).
The PDF version of The Urban Yoga photo book for you to hang (out) with me, even if you cannot financially contribute to this campaign for any reason. No worries, just share this Kickstarter with your friends and shoot us and e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add you to the list of people who will receive the PDF of The Urban Yoga book!
The reason behind my decision is that I would like to inspire and encourage as many of you as possible to start surrendering to space with all your senses (smelling, touching, tasting, hearing, seeing) at once. Your way!
Not only in New York, Madrid, Paris and Ljubljana, I can hang from your wall, too! Posters are printed on semi-gloss paper, size 19"x27" (50cmx70cm). To achieve an elegant and sleek effect I recommend you to frame the posters in glass. If you decide to mount the poster, you achieve a more casual appearance.
If you leave me hanging on your wall framed in a thin black aluminum frame, I can be around you all the time! You will be able to choose among all the photos from New York, Madrid, Paris and Ljubljana series. The prints are made on 1/2 pound (260g) semi-gloss photo-paper, size of 19"x27" (50cmx70cm).
This 100 page hard-cover book to-be has the size of 19.6"x11.8" (24.5cmx30cm). It contains treatises from my experimental research that has been in progress since 2006, while I have been studying and working as a freelance architect in the USA, Spain, Slovenia, Denmark and Australia. It has been wild and I loved every bit of it!
It is covering the following topics: Space potential, The physical and the existential aspect of space, Experimental architecture and philosophy of sensation, Body and perception of space, Imagination and perception of space, Movement and perception of space, The body of an architect vs. the body of a user.
For 80$ you get The Urban Yoga book and one print from The Urban Yoga photo series, size 19"x27" (50cmx70cm).
For a 100$ dollars we will send you The Urban Yoga book, a print, a poster and a pdf of the book. Something analogue and something digital: thumbs up for keeping up the balance!
For 220$ you get your favorite complete The Urban Yoga series - 6 prints in the size of 19"x27" (50cmx70cm), that you will be able to choose yourself among all the photos from all the cities. Prints look really smooth in a thin black aluminum frame as you can see on the images above.
This pledge covers The Urban Yoga Workshop, The Urban yoga Photo Series, A Photographer, Return Airfare and Accommodation. Basically, pretty much everything it takes me to get to and stay at your city during the workshop.
The UY Workshop consists of topics covered in The UY Book: Space potential, The physical and the existential aspect of space, Experimental architecture and philosophy of sensation, Body and perception of space, Imagination and perception of space, Movement and perception of space, The body of an architect vs. the body of a user.
The Urban Yoga photo series. If you have some special places, neighborhoods, areas that were just renovated, or are under construction - spaces that you think need attention from the architects, tourists, your citizens, from the wide world - do share, do tell and we can figure our how to make a great The Urban Yoga photo series from your city! As for the photographer I will choose a local one. I love photographers who are willing to dig into the unknown and approach to portraying space from another perspective - the one that reinterprets The Urban Yoga, yet again.
Believing that all art comes from and returns to space, it became my primary objective to understand space itself, so I decided to study architecture in Ljubljana, Slovenia. However, we were dealing mostly with geometry and function, whereas the subtle aspects of space: multisensory bodily experience and keen intuition remained unresolved. I believed that an architect's perception of the latter could open up new possibilities, new ways of thinking and living, so I enrolled in the Digital Design Department at Aalborg School for Architecture, Denmark.
We were exploring the architecture on the threshold between media and matter and our project - interactive pavilion NoRA - was built at Venice Architecture Biennial. This was a proof of my initial concept and belief. I began to branch out even further, exploring fields that at first glance had no connection with architecture: the dynamic relationship between the individual and space through modern dance and ballet. I spent months in New York taking master classes with dance companies, such as Alvin Ailey and Complexions.
Learning sound recording while studying in Australia, and working as voice actor and radio host, instilled in me a subtle sense for the sonic qualities of our contemporary environment. Moreover, in Australia, I created my first engaging method for analyzing space, the video method PLES. Its name is an acrostic of four phases (Primary, Latent, Experimental, Secondary) as well as the Slovenian word for dance. The video is not a reference for clear and focused imagery, but a possible tool for analyzing and documenting one’s personal experience of space referring to stories, atmosphere and the passing of time.
I created a laboratory for experimental architecture called Space Potential. Its goal is to ensure that architecture will continue not only to provide the world with buildings which satisfy merely the functional demands, or which are visually stunning, but functionally useless, but to express fundamental truths of the human condition, including the dreams, imagination, and desires not just of the designers themselves, but also of those who use these structures on a daily basis.
As a yoga teacher of twelve years I based my practice on the notion that our guiding principle is to live in harmony with ourselves as well as with the environment – any environment. Thus, I believe urban landscape should not be regarded as something, which disturbs our harmony, but rather as a vital element that contributes to it. Architecture with all its constructive fields makes up the urban landscape – the city, the inescapable environment of contemporary humans. This is where The Urban Yoga steps in.
Book and Poster Design Marko Humljan
Video Bright Visuals
Music (video) Blaž Gracar
Location Scouts (video) Riiba
Make-up artist (video) Eva Seljan
Business Advisor Niko Klanšek
Product Photos Primož Lukežič
Costume Design Tanja Zorn Grželj
911 Elvis Halilović
The team mastering two things: their profession and practical jokes. As for me, a perfect combination. Blood, sweat and tears, indeed (the latter was from laughing, of course). I utmost appreciate you being here. Thank you so much!
Risks and challenges
Everything is more or less ready. The photo series are made, the book is designed and written, the mockup printed. Due to time limitations the mockup of the book has been sent to digital print, so my challenge will be to choose the perfect offset printing shop that will print and bind according to our high aesthetic standards. We will be trying out different ways of printing on hard covers, experimenting with dust jacket and testing out various types of papers. The photos are ready to print and so are the posters. Hurray!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (42 days)