per rq: This retired man always wanted to live in a castle. The ‘blockhouse’ (direct translation, really just an apartment building) as shown in the photo is one of those common across the entire former Soviet territory. There’s jokes and movies about how similar cities look due to masses and masses of these buildings (they also used to be identical on the inside). Anyway, this guy is individualizing the stairwell in the most fantastic manner. I’d like to live in a castle, too, just maybe not so blue. Anyroad, this is most impressive!
Marcus Ranum says
It’s a crazy pastiche of what elegant and sophisticated looks like. Sort of like Mar A Lago.
Oh c’mon, that’s not nice. It is high Rococo, with a touch of Empire, and I’m not crazy about either style, but it’s certainly much nicer to look at than a bland, cookie cutter apartment hallway.
Marcus Ranum says
It’s definitely better than a bland hallway!!
I’m not sure “high Rococo, with a touch of Empire” really works. This is more like “The Neapolitan Guard marched through a gold-leaf factory in full parade gear then rolled around on the walls of a gingerbread castle while a dozen chefs from pastry academy shot frosting-bombs out of gatling frosting-machines and someone said, ‘WAIT! can we get some more green over there!?'”
Hahahahaha, okay, okay. At the end of the day, it’s not my castle, or hallway. I’m more of a dark, somber castle with many weapons and dungeons anyway.
Marcus Ranum says
I do think that there’s a common mechanism underlying this and Mar A Lago. It reminds me of some of the artworks in Baltimore’s Visionary Arts Museum (AKA: “art by people who have visions” i.e.: art by people who are at least slightly unhinged) lots of cars decorated with bottle-caps and beads, or furniture that has been decorated by hand with zillions of sequins. There is an embedded notion of conspicuous consumption or demonstration of wealth and power in empire and baroque decoration. I see “dictator chic” as a reference to wealth and power and I see Mar A Lago as “dictator chic”; this place is a visual reference to that.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with it. It’s certainly an aesthetic.
I am hugely in favor of people having fun with art, regardless!
Conspicuous consumption is an art style, expressed primarily by royalty and the wealthy. Regardless of style, all of it is one huge shout out which basically boils down to “lookit the size of my dick!” Even in cultures where there’s a sense of understatement and restraint, the underlying power of wealth is apparent, in having things which will literally last centuries, because you had enough money to buy truly good whatever. Terry Pratchett addressed that, many times, through the character of Sam Vimes and Lady Sybil. In one book, Vimes notes that Duchesses walk about in farm clothing, not giving one shit about their appearance, because they don’t have to, and because they have centuries worth of solid goods behind them, and they never throw anything out, all they have to do with money is hoard it.
It’s when you are caught up in having to buy cheapshit whatever, because that’s all you can afford, you end up spending much more on replacements in 10 years than you would have if you could afforded good stuff in the first place. That’s the economic theory of boots.
When it comes to the vulgar getting their hands on money, like Trump, they spend a fortune on cheap shit, which looks cheap, and requires a great deal of maintenance, repair, and replacement. One of the reasons for having so many mansions -- less wear and tear. Vulgarians don’t have any knowledge, they have no clear idea of art styles or history, so they kind of just go off on “hey, that looks rich!” and steal what they think demonstrates class, like Trump ripping off someone else’s coat of arms.
Raucous Indignation says
You two are having quite the infatuation with one another, aren’t you?
Raucous Indignation says
And don’t say it; yes, yes, I am a bit jealous.
We do get chatty, yes. I love talking about this stuff!
I think comparing this to Mar a Lago is quite unfair to Mr. Vladimir Čaiku, even insulting.
Allow me to start my explanation with personal anecdote, as per usual:
During my failed studies of art, I attended one semester of general aesthetics. On one session we ought to bring some little art piece for discussion. I brought a little bird that I carved out of wood. When it was my turn, I presented it as a piece of kitsch. The tutor examined it, commented on the rough carving but did no value judgement. The then posed a rhetorical question as to what purpose the rough carving could sere, it it slipped my tongue that it is a creation of my own hands (I said, “it is this way because I made it so”). He chided me for presenting it as an example of kitch. His words were (paraphrasing), “Kitch is not defined by its outward appearance, but by its purpose, which is crass consumerism and impotent showing off. If the work of your own hands pleases you and brings you joy, and that joy is the sole purpose for you doing it, then the resulting piece is true art no matter what anyone says.”
The Dump has not done a single piece of work at Mar a Lago, I doubt he ever even held a broom in his hand to sweep dust there. He has not done anything on any of his properties, I do not believe he even has drawn a sketch of a design with his own hands. He only ever ordered others to do his biddings and the buildings are a display of pretence at style he never posessed and never will posess, because he is the embodiment of the most vulgar common denominator.
Vladimir Čaiku on the other hand is doing this not to impress others, to show he has power over them, no, he does it to fullfill his dream, to do something that brings him joy and hapiness.
There is a difference between the two like between a rabid scavenger sporting a magnificent tail of feathres he stole from others by force, and a little finch who shows a humlbe beauty that is his own. It might look like a pastiche, but at least it is genuine.
I agree with you, completely. It’s certainly not to my taste, but it’s not my hallway, and it’s not my castle. It’s obviously a labour of love, and it exudes happiness because it’s a dream made manifest.
Ice Swimmer says
That hallway looks delicious, like a wedding cake decorated with marzipan and sugar icing.
I wouldn’t like to have decor like that in my apartment, but in the stairwell, that would be fun.
I think it would be great fun if this idea spread and took off, all over the world. You could find yourself walking into an apartment building, and have no idea of what world you might find yourself in when you’re in the hall/stairway.
A castle without the giant size rooms. I like it.
The stairwell of these buildings is usually the least-updated/renovated part of these apartment blocks -- drab, damp and the lights always seem to be out -- because they’re a kind of communal property (in smaller buildings, each week/month an apartment can be assigned stairwell cleaning duties, cleanliness is an extreme variable). The apartments themselves can be a beautiful surprise, so it’s nice to see someone take on the stairwell with a truly dream-like improvement project. Comparing it to Mar-a-Lago does feel insulting, for the reasons Charly mentioned, but also the public-private aspect. How much do people pay to go to Mar-a-Lago? This stairwell is a public art project. It will get vandalized (well, it might not…). It will get dirty and broken and considering his age might never be finished. This is a man sharing his passion (with the agreement of his neighbours) and making one of the uglier parts of a communal building into something some residents might never see otherwise (you can travel even here in Latvia to see renewed palaces in similar style -- not everyone gets to travel). And it may seem odd, but some people like this style of decor, not because they think it makes them look rich or cool, but because they think it looks nice. It’s certainly not to my taste (‘gaudy’ comes to mind), but he’s put his heart into improving something in his life and the lives of others.
I just hope he’s not otherwise an asshole. :/
That came off sounding a lot more ranty than meant to.
Marcus Ranum says
The Dump has not done a single piece of work at Mar a Lago, I doubt he ever even held a broom in his hand to sweep dust there. He has not done anything on any of his properties, I do not believe he even has drawn a sketch of a design with his own hands.
You’re right. I was being unfair.