Contemplating squares, circles, time and space over a cup of tea last Thursday morning in Russell Square, before heading north to Lancaster, I was considering the way nature and culture are framed by geometry in 18th and 19th century urban spaces like this one, composed with a loose circle of trees set into a square surrounded by the clamour of central London traffic, like a calm green oasis in the form of a Tibetan mandala; shapes echoed by the Great Court of the nearby British Museum.
Arial view of Russell Square
14th century Tibetan Mandala
The week before in Brussels at Notre Damme de la Chappelle I heard Paul Van Nevel and the Huelgas Ensemble perform choral works from the 17th century in a concert coinciding with the Zurbaran exhibition entitled, 'L'oreille de Zurbaran'. Using a circular formation for his singers, as he often does, set into a square, which clearly relates to and corresponds with the gothic architecture, he creates an equivalent 'geometry of sound', engineered like and echoed in the stresses and strains, weights and counter weights of the stone arches and groin vaulting of the roof and nave.
Notre Damme de la Chappelle