Saturday 30 January 2016

Lumiere London 2016 - Trafalgar Square and Westminster

Lumiere London is a festival bringing art installations created by artists from around the world. In total there were 5 installations in and around Trafalgar Square, Westminster and the Mall. The installations were on from Thursday 14 to Sunday 17 January 2016.

For one reason or another the installation by Pablo Valbuena created the kinematope for the mall wasn't on during the last day of the festival, unfortunately, I was not able to snap a picture for your viewing. The artwork would have featured streams of lights lining up on both sides of a road leading up to the fountain near Buckingham Palace.

There in total 5 installations on this trail:

Plastic Islands - Luzinterruptus

Centre Point Lights

Neon Dogs - Deepak Mann-Kier

The Light of the Spirit - Patrice Warrener



Friday 29 January 2016

Lumiere London 2016 - King's Cross

Lumiere is a series of light installations dotted around London with a selection of different displays such as sculptures and projections. The event is produced by Artichoke and supported by the Mayor of London. Some of it was at King's Cross from 14 to 17 January 2016. Asides from the gazing upon the wondrous beauty of these art pieces in the King's Cross area, there was a chance to get free candy floss at each point of the installation, which adds to the nice finish to the evening.

There are in total 11 installations in this trail at King's Cross:

Platonic Spin - Nathaniel Rackowe

IFO (Identified Flying Object) - Jacques Rival

Joining the Dots - Cleary Connolly

King's Cross Tunnel - Allies & Morrison / Spires + Major

Dresses - Tae gon KIM

Light Graffiti - Floating Pictures

binaryWaves - LAB[au]

Circus of Light - Ocubo

Litre of Light - Mick Stephenson, Central Saint Martin's Students & MyShelter Foundation

Spectra-3 Lux - FIELD.Io

Diver - Ron Haselden


Tuesday 5 January 2016

Tech Talk: MS-DOS Mobile

Launched last year as an Microsoft's April Fools' joke bringing the MS-DOS system, which was the "simplest operating system" Microsoft brought to the market that reached "millions of people". The app had its very own video to accompany it:
It runs like the fully-fledged MS-DOS system which has spiritually transformed into Command Prompt on PCs. To access the applications, you'd have to type the following the following path:
  • cd programs
  • cd phone
  • dir
This will give a directory of the applications from within that path:
  • Camera.exe - brings up the camera
  • Contacts.exe - brings up the contact list
  • Email.exe - brings up an option to open up the e-mail application
  • Internet.exe - Opens up internet explorer (with the added bonus of a dial-up tone)
  • Maps.exe - brings up the map application
  • Phone.exe - will ask for the number to dial and then confirm to call
  • Review.exe - review and rate the app in the market store
  • Search.exe - uses search tool/Cortana to search the locally and on the web
  • SMS.exe - send a text to an entered number or select from contact
The camera comes up with three settings: ASCII, B&W and CGA. It gives option to use the front or back camera. Once the picture is snapped, it can be saved to the camera roll and/or share online.
There are a lot of MS-DOS that are begging to be explored such as Windows 3.1 (typing the "WIN" command) and a real gem of a game Rock, Paper, Scissors. Cortland comes to play as well as she walks through the painstaking adventure of a process of loading up a game.

The app is available for download at the Microsoft App Store.

Monday 4 January 2016

Boadicea and Her Daughters

Boadicea and Her Daughters is a bronze sculpture statue gleaming at the western side of Westminster Bridge. The artist behind the statue Thomas Thornycroft with some assistance from his son William Hamo Thornycroft. It was conceived from 1856 to 1853 and erected in June 1902.
It can get very busy around Boudicca and is not always bridled with the best things around it. 

The sculpture features Boudica, Queen of the Iceni tribe of Britons, who led a rebellion in bringing down the Romans. She stands valiantly with arms raised and a spear in the right hand as she commands her horses forth. Her two daughters crouch on either side of her. The chariot that they ride on is of a Roman build as scythes are built into the wheels. No armour to speak of, Boudica dons a gown that drapes across her body while her daughters are clothed from the waist down.

The piece was commissioned in the 1850s when Queen Victoria as well as Prince Albert were impressed by an equestrian statue of Queen Victoria shown at the Great Exhibition in 1851. They became very much involved in the project. Albert’s aim was to have the statue erected at Hyde Park of the central arch of Decimus Burtun’s entrance. Thornycroft reflected Queen Victoria in the design of the statue and Albert allowed two horses to be modelled on as the ones for the statue.

A full size model came about in 1885 before the time of death of Thornycroft but there were no funds left for it to be cast in bronze. It was suggested by his son to erect it on the north side of Parliament Hill and yet again, there were no £6,000 in sight to cast the statue in bronze. Following this, a committee was set up to bring up the funds and ultimately raised the required amount in 1898 to which JW Slinger and Sons cast the statue in bronze for £2,000.
It was mounted on a plinth in June 1902. Inscriptions were added later and another inscription of William Cowper’s poem Boadicea an ode was added to another side. In 1958, the statue was listed as Grade II.


Sunday 3 January 2016

Star Log Entry 3: Tom the Cat

The first sighting of Tom the cat was actually because of a family friend’s cat Luna, who Ed and I were taking care of. Luna was an indoors cat which I managed to slowly introduce to the outdoors and was keeping a close eye on her so she doesn’t wander very far. On an outing in the communal back garden, Luna was sniffing around and exploring and then I locked eyes with a black and white cat in a neighbour’s cat kennel. I have never seen that cat ever so was surprised that what I assumed was my neighbour’s cat. That was my first sighting of the cat.
Cute overload! It's too much!
One morning, I got up and saw something was not right outside the kitchen window. I saw that very same black and white cat standing on a stool outside the window. It was just the cutest thing! I opened up the window and stroked it through the security bars of the window. Once I found him yet again outside the window so it gave me the thought to go play with him. Luna had actually become accustomed to the outdoors so I had the fullest confidence in her for exploring the outside. On this occasion, I didn’t actually realise she was hissing at Tom to get away from the window and they both proceeded to run away. Luna had vanished by then but Tom recognised me and stopped to approach me. By then, I nicknamed him “Sweetie” as I was yet to ask the neighbour of his name. So that was the first time we became friends.
He would usually let out the most adorable yelp each time he saw me at the window. He would grab hand by two paws and gently bite me sometimes when I stuck my hand out. He would mark himself by arching his back as there were always difficulty reaching through the bars to stroke him.
Meow! (He was actually yawning in this picture)
It was almost a matter of time before Tom popped in and he did! He walked about and had some of Luna’s food which I had to hide each time he came in. Luna did not take to Tom at all and Tom knew it by keeping his distance from her. On one occasion, I had finished bathing myself and Luna took off into the night beforehand. I actually found Tom had snuck in through the opening in the window which would usually only fit Luna through but on this occasion was big enough for him to get through. I guess it was context of the night (usually see him in the day) or that he was startled by the bathroom door opening that got him to quickly run to the kitchen window but did not manage to escape. He didn’t completely run away as Luna was inside as well. I was startled by her myself when I saw her. He just sat there and gave the cutest look to me. Ed opened the window wider and he was off in the night.
On another occasion, he explored the flat and ended up sitting on the sofa by the living room window. Luna was hiding from him behind another sofa. I eventually got her to come out and she sat on my lap as Tom took a look at her and then looked out the window thoughtfully. I wondered what he thought at moment.

Treats galore! Check out who is in the top right corner!
There’s also another neighbourhood cat which Ed had nicknamed Silver. This was another interaction between another cat that I have witnessed with Tom. Their gaze were exchanged and Silver calmly walked away, which was completely new to me.
The weird thing was that when Luna returned to her owner was the time I stopped seeing Tom. Ed joked that Tom couldn’t allow his one true love to escape so followed her back home, which I thought in some regards was true… I would usually shake a bag of treats to train Luna to get used to the outdoors but Tom would also pop up at the sound. I only realised this a few weeks after she left but at this time Tom had gone missing. I knew of this when Ed told me a flat around the corner - not out neighbour's cat! - had a missing poster of a cat similar to Tom. Unfortunately that was the way I learned of his actual name. It was unmistakably him when it came to comparing my photos to the poster and the added fact that it met the description of a black and white cat with a red colour and distinguishing figure around its nose.
Camera shy
Ed and I looked in the communal back garden and became concerned that he may have become injured by huge piles of bricks that had fallen. He wasn’t there either. Sadly, I do not know what has happened to him and Ed did say that he may have gone to cat heaven given his age of 13 years (quite an elderly cat!). I do have such fond and sweet memories of him that I always recount on and I wish him the best happiness for wherever he may be.

Saturday 2 January 2016

Instagram December 2015

Tower Bridge Chimney

A photo posted by The Vinh Hoang (@thevh5) on

The library of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

A photo posted by The Vinh Hoang (@thevh5) on

Covent Garden mistletoe-themed Christmas lights

A photo posted by The Vinh Hoang (@thevh5) on

Gibbon's Rent

A photo posted by The Vinh Hoang (@thevh5) on

Bishopsgate Institute

A photo posted by The Vinh Hoang (@thevh5) on

The South Bank Lion at Westminster Bridge #Southbank #Lion

A photo posted by The Vinh Hoang (@thevh5) on

Carnaby Street Christmas lights #Christmas #westend

A photo posted by The Vinh Hoang (@thevh5) on

Friday 1 January 2016

Adaptable House (6 Doughty Mews)

The Adaptable House (6 Doughty Mews) is an early 19th century mews house built around the same time Doughty Street was first laid down. The street was a gated residential reserve in between the London boroughs of the City and Westminster. The house was rebuilt in the 20th century possibly as a result of wartime bomb damage.
It was purchased by architects Cany Ash and Robert Sakula of Ash Sakula Architects, transforming the house into more than just a family home. At the time of purchase, it was completely derelict with the ground floor previously used as a printer’s workshop and the upper levels as storerooms. The house was rebuilt with an additional floor, roof garden and a bathroom. Over 30 years of design ideas and changes were made to meet the reflecting uses and demands implementing different strategies such as miniaturisation and spatial illusion.

Ground floor is the garage where it is used concurrently for storage but can be interchanged to become a wider space for recreational activities such as a playroom, party room, small theatre/cinema and events space.


Tree Room

The first floor contains the kitchen, tree room, bathroom and WC. Kitchen features open shelves and a large rack for crockeries above the sink coated in cast iron. Kitchen cupboard are covered in zinc. The tree room is a spare bedroom, which was previously used as an office and playroom. Two doors are used for the room, giving the first floor a circular motion through the kitchen into the tree room and back into the kitchen.
Small Front Bedroom
Large Front Bedroom
Fireplace Room

Fireplace Room
Fireplace Room
The second floor was previously the roof to the original two storey house but was extended with an additional floor and roof. The second floor contains the fireplace room, small front bedroom and large bedroom. The fireplace room is currently used as a bedroom and has previously been used as a living room, studio and playroom. The beams in the fireplace room used to hold up the roof doubles up as bookcases. The front small bedroom makes use of the space above the staircase while the large front bedroom used to hold the stairs to the roof bedroom until rearrangements allowed another bedroom.
Roof Bedroom
Roof Garden

Roof Garden

Roof Garden
The roof held the roof garden and the roof bedroom. The roof bedroom can be accessed from the second floor from a steep staircase or a door on the roof. The roof garden can be accessed from a spiral staircase. The roof garden’s table was an old door and the chimney can be used as a barbeque.
From down the road at 29 Doughty Mews comes another Ash Sakula Architects design which was completed in 1996 and won a RIBA award the year after.