Het Nieuwe Instituut has invited Santiago Borja to build an observatory on the roof of Sonneveld House. This space for quiet reflection is devoted to Madame Blavatsky, co-founder of the Theosophical Society. This event took place at the Sonneveld House. Speakers were professor Marco Pasi, artist Santiago Borja and theosophist Herman C. Vermeulen. Read the abstract of the lecture by Marco Pasi or listen to the audio below.
The connection that Borja makes between theosophy and architecture relates to the history of Sonneveld House. Brinkman & Van der Vlugt, the architects of Sonneveld House, came into contact with theosophy through Kees van der Leeuw, one of the of the directors of the Van Nelle factory. He was an active member of the Theosophical Society and commissioned Brinkman & Van der Vlugt to design the Society’s meeting room in Amsterdam, among other projects.
Marco Pasi specialises in the history of hermetic philosophy and related currents. He delivered a lecture on the connection between theosophy and modernism in relation to the intervention by Mexican architect and artist Santiago Borja in Sonneveld House. This was followed by a talk by Borja about his work entitled Thought Forms – Blavatsky Observatory. With an introduction by theosophist Herman C. Vermeulen. This event was moderated by Rianne Groen.
A Mental Image - Blavatsky Observatory, the observatorium by Santiago Borja, is on view from 13 February to 22 May 2016.
Artist and architect Santiago Borja (1970, Mexico) works on the boundary between art, architecture and anthropology. He has recently made works for the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the Mies van der Rohe pavilion in Barcelona and the VDL Research House in Los Angeles. He has built a silo-shaped pavilion, made from straw using the techniques of the Mayans, alongside Le Corbusier’s iconic Villa Savoye. Borja’s intervention in Sonneveld House is part of a series organised by guest curator Erich Weiss.
Marco Pasi is Associate Professor of the History of Hermetic Philosophy and related currents at the University of Amsterdam. His research interests include the relationship between modern esotericism, art and politics and the history of the idea of magic. He is a board member of the European Society fort he Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE).
Herman C. Vermeulen
Herman C. Vermeulen is director of The Theosophical Society Point Loma Blavatsky House and the affiliated I.S.I.S. Foundation (International Study-centre for Independent Search for Truth). He is chief editor of the periodical Lucifer, the Bringer of Light; he conducts courses, holds lectures and organizes annual symposia, national and international, always emphasizing on the practical use of Theo-Sophia in daily life.