Saturday, November 29, 2008

Victor 2 Humpback Gramophone in Asheville, NC

The Biltmore Estate was built in Asheville, North Carolina between the years 1888 and 1895. The city itself was founded in 1797 in the Swannanoa Valley within the Blue Ridge Mountains. A motif I’ve started to see is the idea of isolation—something I think can also be applied to the city of Asheville. Listening to the Victor 2 could completely cut you off from the outside world, enveloping you in music, creating an escape. Geographically speaking, Asheville does the same thing (just without the music). Being nestled in the mountains of western North Carolina, Asheville was more difficult to reach than other cities in the late 19th century. Even the Biltmore Estate itself isn’t in the busy part of Asheville—it’s an outlier. There’s a 3-mile-long road that leads to the mansion, furthering the idea of isolationism. Another attractive feature of Asheville is that it’s situated in a huge forest (now Pisgah National Forest). Being close to nature is also something highly desired. The Biltmore Estate was built in this area because the Vanderbilt family liked the climate and geography there so much. Even the Victor 2 mimics forms found in nature. The horn of the Victor 2 can be seen as the same form of a flower. All in all, I think isolation is the main idea of Victor 2, the library, the Biltmore Estate, and Asheville. I also think this is a luxury. Not everyone can afford to live in secluded areas where the woes of city life can’t reach.
In contrast with the Victor 2, the Tiki lamp seems to be a more temporary artifact that was highly influenced by another culture. The Tiki lamp was part of a movement in the mid 20th century that was a result of US soldiers returning from the Pacific and bringing part of the Polynesian culutre back with them. However, the Tiki lamp probably was not a symbol of wealth like the Victor 2 could have been.
Like the Victor 2, however, the Herter Brothers' Library Table is a symbol of power, sophistication and wealth. As it is placed in a lawyer's office in this case, the table reflects the level of status the owner has in society.


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