2.15.2003

working on getting my archives fixed ---

so in the meantime you will be loading ALL of the posts, since day one (event horizon) of ockham's razor.... sorry for the delay in load time (this is the only way to enable the side bar index links for now....)


cranbrook sculpture studios (the view near my room)

check, check, check, one two, check, one two,

can you hear me.
is there anybody out there.

12.10.2002

too much easy beauty


INput :
Eric Orr
Jannis Kounellis
Dove Bradshaw
Alighiero e Boetti
(also here)

OUTput 10.03.02-12.08.02:
The Container And The Thing Contained
........2.5"x2.5"x3" sketch :
........nylon spacers, cardboard
More Floor Than Wall, More Wall Than Floor
........80"x70"x7" sketch :
........wood slats
Square Water
........8'x8' sketch :
........water, wax, concrete floor
BYOB
........16"x16" fluid flow :
........clear plexiglass, coffee, orange juice, milk, wine, water, whiskey, beer, tequila
CMYK
(with Tarisa Tiberti)
........30'x30' week-long progressive installation :
........colored photo gels, icing gel

Continental Drift
........40"x70" week-long evaporation :
........salt water, steel plate, clear acetate
Arcadia
........textile designs : 20 intervals :
........color acetate copies, photoshop

OUT 12.08.02
(1) guache drawing

OUT 12.09.02
(8) 11x17 drawings (1 keeper)
(5) 18x24 drawings (2 keepers)

11.13.2002

cranbrook.edu

re: the increasingly re-told (because so easily mis-remembered) importance of the simple act


commitment
the message of Mexico
the importance of ritual
the foreign to be found within the familiar

- L's person-fragments, with framed voids
- N's "problem" exercises with 2 pals
- Nz's digital video, presented within the same ephemeral language as the subject itself
and, my earlier artist statement: re: presence, absence and repetition....

from the past 2 months:
Christine Tarkowski, visiting artist, Cranbrook Fiber
Hamid Dabashi + Iranian Cinema, critical studies speaker
Tom Friedman and also here
(to be both dumb (obvious) and mysterious (complex))
Gabriel Orozco
(to probe the object inside + out. simultaneously)
my buddy Ludwig
(there is no answer, why are you still asking the question?)
Glen Seator (presence/absence)
Hella Jongerius (smart hands)
David Dunn, artist in residence,
Cranbrook October 2002


oh, and: paradox
para - (beyond) doxa (opinion)
para - (beyond) dokein (thought)
event horizon.1
13 November 2002

6.27.2002

THIS WEEK with SAM RANDALL
coming to you LIVE from Austin, TX
...Sunday 8am
eat
hoist
prepare
prepare
draw
swim
eat
sleep
...Monday 7 am
meet
draw
eat
prepare
meet
draw
meet
draw
eat
prepare
sleep
...TUES 6:00am
prepare
eat
meet
teach
eat
meet
meet
weld
eat
draw
sleep
...WED 6:00am
prepare
eat
lecture
meet
eat
draw
library
draw
jobsite
meet
grocery
eat
draw
sleep
...THURS 4:30am
laundry
draw
eat
pack
post...................................


I'll let someone else do the math.




Life reduced to a set of verbs.
Or nouns that beome verbs ...."to library"

still to come:
prepare
meet
teach
meet
drive............


Leaving today on a brief trip, back July 1 (next month!). Two months to go before I head north (more on that soon). Why can't I get more in the rhythm of posting?

hmmm. see above list.

6.19.2002

"I like it when you come home at the end of the day from recording and someone says, 'What happened to your hand?' And you don't even know. When you're in that place, you can dance on a broken ankle."

--Tom Waits

6.16.2002

..........just woke up from a 20 minute REM-filled nap (is it possible?) and the sort of dream that encompasses several lifetimes -- no recollection of the circumstances, but lives were lived, with happiness and tears; years passed, with much goings on. When I wake up from such a dream, I am momentarily disoriented; upon becoming re-oriented, I am still strangely disconnected with myself.

no.... I am actually MORE connected with myself in this state. I look at my surroundings and am acutely aware of my present situation -- REALLY REALLY aware, where things are so real as to become unreal, thinking thoughts in rapid succession based upon my re-engagement with my physical surroundings. The thoughts are abstractions, but if I could assign words they would be : "....this is my stuff, and there are my cats, those are my shoes, this is where I live..." moving quickly into: "these are the people I know, and these are the people I love, and who love me, these are the places I have been, and this is what I enjoy doing, these are my hands, this is me..." Neurosis or self-doubt seems completely foreign, and laughable; everything just IS. A matter-of-fact-ness without prejudice (prae- before + judicium, judgement)

Can I think of this as a state of extreme self-awareness without self-consciousness? An understanding of my place in the world without assignation of (or reflection upon)its value? Sometimes D. and I will watch his dog (Bella) and wonder if this how animals feel, that they just are? A curious blend of physical, emotional and mental intuition (in-, on + tueri, to look at), but absent any rightness or wrongness...

The feeling begins to fade after a few minutes, but leaves a residue of calm. If I could articulate it better, then it wouldn't be such a wonder. I remember staring at my hand when I was younger, or at my face in the mirror, and having a similar experience, marked by a nervousness and confusion as to the person I was becoming. This is marked by a warmth and acceptance of the person I am (have become) --

oh, for more of this, more more, more,
this state of suspension.


"it's only life after-all"

6.14.2002

metal shop
apparently Austin Community College has one of the best metals/welding facilities in the entire country -- and it is amazing. Almost everyone I know in Austin has taken a class from the department at one time or another. There are these incredible racks full of hand-made tools - pokers, wedges, bending wrenches -- whatsits galore... (manifolds of kind...)

what am I learning?
in a good metals shop, you draw directly onto the tables with a soapstone, or chalk, to illustrate a technique, or work out a dimension (all the tables are made of steel, but they're so old and worn, they look like leather). This fascinates me to no end... Like on a construction site, where you draw a detail directly onto the wood framing, or plywood....

and welding is all about the not-touching. You create this little place between the cone of the torch and the metal, and like a wizard, you work the torch to work the metal without actually touching cone to surface.

more on fluid dynamics soon........

6.11.2002

side-bar links/archives are working again (I think)

6.10.2002

ok, so I've been chastised for my (false) (re)-start....

here's my latest project...once I get the class further along, I'll document what the students are up to onto this site (working on getting image-savvy as well)...


Topics in Architectural Theory:
MATERIAL STUDIES LABORATORY
summer session 2002
School of Architecture, UT Austin

[COURSE DESCRIPTION]
The MATERIAL STUDIES LABORATORY combines theory+studio practice in an investigation of materiality within architecture, art and design -- to engage the possibilities of material construction by considering MATTER (both hard and soft) through aspects of surface, pattern, substance and structure, and as an instrument of perception, measure and memory.



THEORY SESSIONS:
examine the relationship of matter, inhabitation, and concept across evolutions of art, technology, philosophy, architecture and popular culture in the 20th century. Discussions will include a survey of architects and artists whose projects engage a particular sense of materiality (the fluidity of a solid, the tautness of a skin...) and the environment in which it exists (water, light, inhabitation, weather...)


STUDIO WORK:
- visual + tactile studies of surface aspects
- constructional exercises exploring specific materials
- sculptural assemblies combining material, process + structure
- full-scale "material structures"/"perceptual fabrics"


first class, 6.6.02 (last Thursday)
had them do an initial exercise based upon work by Sal Randolph :

EX.1 [MATERIAL | PROCESS | STRUCTURE]

step 1:
as a group, generate a set of at least 40 of the following:
- a material description
- a procedure for altering a material
- a mathematical or formal structure of organization
print each onto small cards and place into the separate piles

step 2:
for each M/P/S:
1. draw one card from each pile to determine a set of instructions
2. generate a construction based upon your reading of those instructions

....after coming up with words for each, and drawing their lot -- one material (some sort of stuff), one process (something you can do to stuff), one structure (ways to organize stuff) -- the students ended up with instructions-phrases like:

punch leather infinitely
push a bottle of sunlight
melt into a slurry of two
close stretched latex
herd industrially-processed skins
float less paper
the canvas limited the squish

in under two hours they had to make something based on their set of instructions, using large-sheets of newsprint and chipboard as base materials (they could add in others).

the goal is to get the students to engage a material more fully, to investigate its specific nature, to understand the implications and possibilities depending on what you do to/with it -- and to be resourceful. Often, when asked what something is made of, a beginning architecture student will reply "metal," not engaging the reality that there are different types of metal, different types of things you can do to metal, different finishes, configurations, applications...

We also discussed the parallel of the material/process/structure relationship to linguistic structures of subject/verb/direct object,

jack and jill (material)
went up (process)
the hill (structure)

to fetch (process)
a pail (structure)
of water (material)

I am pleased with how well the exercise worked... the regurgitated newsprint (slurry) pooling together was very poetic... and I can't stop thinking about what it means to push a bottle of sunlight



more of the same for them later, with "real" materials required...

5.30.2002

sabbatical : sabbaton, SABATH : Heb. shabhath : (s)he rested
respite : Lat.: respectus, refuge: respicere, to respect

resume : Lat.: resumere : re-, again + sumere, to take up.

(for Mitsu and Dirk and Bruce... )

...He said: "It is all useless, if the last landing place can only be the infernal city, and it is there that, in ever-narrowing circles, the current is drawing us."
...And Polo said: "The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live everyday, that we form by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn who and what, in the midst of the inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space."
Italo Calvino Invisible Cities


why now?
EVA HESSE b Jan 11 1936 d. May 29 1970
retrospective currently at SFMOMA

more on that later (sooner)

10.31.2001

from an interview with Richard Serra
Mark Simmons: ...In an interview in 1993 you said you wanted architecture to be a neutral background. How has the Geffen Contemporary here at MOCA in Los Angeles fit in with what you said you wanted?


Richard Serra: Well, I basically think this (building's) architecture is like industrial shit and there are two of them (buildings which comprise the GC at MOCA)...

...The way that they've used this building I think in the past for the most part is a little disappointing and what they do is they kind of egg crate containers of sheetrock walls. And the sheetrock walls act as frames in here and usually tend to neutralize everything that's within the box. So basically what they do is they cut this place up make little boxes or whatever but it reduces it it's even worse than a car show if you went to see a car show. At least you get more open space at a car show. What I decided to do when I came here is to strip out all of that notion of the neutralized space. The frame of sheetrock.

MS: Right. As opposed to Out of Action which made the Geffen (Contemporary) look like a honeycomb.

RS: Yes, I saw the Out of Action. I thought Out of Action was better as a catalogue than the honeycomb because the honeycomb was like walking into one compartment and then another compartment. You might as well turn the pages of a book. And that's how the show was, like a book laid out. Like a grid. What I'm trying to do is return the building to its primary use. Function. And bring another function into that function. Its primary use, before it had sculpture and art in it, was to repair police cars. I think that's what this was. Right? So I tried to use it as the kind of industrial gesture that it was made for. And try to use the scale of it to try accommodate my work so the scale and the scale of the building would have some relationship that seemed apparent.

So you kind of know things amongst things. You don't know things independently of things. If these pieces didn't have the kind of scale they have, I think you'd have an Easter Egg hunt. And if you had an Easter egg hunt in here you were going to get lost in the space. And then you'd probably want to confine the space into some sort of box. But that's not what we had to do. We've used the shit as the container. Both shits as the container. And having said that I'm not disappointed with how the interrelated spaces between the pieces function as well as the internal pieces of the vessels or the elongated pieces.


MS: ...One last question. Do you have any advice for sculptors and artists?

RS: Work out of your work. Don't work out of anybody else's work.


Arata Isozaki and Frank Gehry: MOCA and the Geffen (originally called the Temporary Contemporary)

10.25.2001

RECORD :
- n. an account, set down as a means of preserving knowledge.
- tr.v. to set down for preservation in writing or other permanent form; to register.
[ME recorden : OFr. recorder : Lat. recordari, to remember :
re-, again + cor, heart]

REGISTER :
[ME registre : OFr. : Me.Lat. registrum : LLat. regesta : Lat. neuter pl. or regestus, p.part. of regerere, to record:
re-, back + gerere, to carry.]

vs.
DOCUMENT :
- n. something serving as evidence or proof
- tr.v. to support with evidence or decisive information; to annotate.
[ME, precept : OFr. : Lat. documentum, lesson < docere, to teach.]

The American Heritage Edition, Second College Edition




Dan Hoffman, on Michael Williams' Necessary Frictions
+ text
The Architecture Studio, Cranbrook, May 1991
"The surface upon which the movement is recorded is a layer of grease spread upon a steel sheet. Like felt, the choice of the grease as a recording surface reveals a precise understanding of the poetic function latent in the recording act. As a material, grease is used to reduce the friction between surfaces in motion. As such, it is a sensitive indicator to any inscription placed upon it. Its use is also a sign for the inevitable frictions that a recording process produces. For a recording inevitably involves the transfer of a phenomenon from one surface to another. The presence of grease recognizes the entropy latent in the expenditure of the recording act.

A recording is a transfer from one surface to another over time. This may be understood more clearly when we compare recording to measurement which occurs in time but always with reference to a specific point outside of time. This point outside of time is the end to which the means of measurement are organized. The ends of a recording are not fixed; its point, if this metaphor holds, is to produce an exact reproduction of the phenomenon, an end is transparent to itself, a simultaneous reproduction of phenomena over time.

The considerations given to the instrumentality of recording should indicate that, by definition, a recording involves interference of a phenomenon with a surface. A recording involves the extension and expenditure of means. The recording instrument is always between the phenomena and its reproduction. The transparency between the phenomena and the reproduction exists in the lure of the multiple mirrors of reflexivity where reading and interpretation become simultaneous, when the object and its interpretation are collapsed."

note : see also Architecture Studio 1986-1993
................................

my thoughts -

: The etymology of terms, especially the notions of re- (again) -cor (heart), and re- (back) -gerere (to carry). Combined, these describe a process wherein "the heart" is "returned", in a recording and "carried back" through registration. The heart, the essence, the nature of the experience, is actually, physically brought to bear. This, as different than a document, docere (to teach), where something serves as evidence or proof for something else, is representantive (metaphor).

this IS this, as opposed to this means that.

: And the aspect that "recording instrument is always between the phenomena and its reproduction" can be applied on a number of levels, I believe. I have been working with my students on the notion that we, in the design process, are also recording instruments, and that we, then, are what provides for the transfer of a phenomenon from one surface to another. That there should be inevitable frictions that occur; a strong recording will register (carry back) the experience (the heart) to the surface and materials engaged in the recording act. That a drawing could be thought of as a recording, or a construction, of an idea, as opposed to a representation of an idea. This begins to explore how drawings and models can also be read through "multiple mirrors of reflexivity" allowing for the collapse of object and interpretation (drawing and concept).

10.22.2001

EVOLUTION:
THE INFLUENCE OF NEW TOOLS ON CONTEMPORARY CONCEPTIONS OF FILM LANGUAGE AS A MODE OF EXPRESSION
a project paper by Maria Dora Genis Mourão
and Joel Yamaji (assistant)

interviews with ARTHUR OMAR, GIANNI TOTI, and others,
along with
PETER GREENAWAY:

Will the use of computers supporting video and film techniques determine a new language?

"...I suppose that ever since the 1850's when notions of color and form divorced from content, there has been an enormous explosion in the business of visual manipulation. The new technological inventions, the post-tele-visual technologies have enabled me again to become a painter, a painter not just with the freedom, should we say, of Leonardo da Vinci or David, but the freedom of a Picasso or a post Picasso. So now anything is possible. I am absolutely delighted about that.

Another situation which is very important to me is the idea of a multiplicity of screens. There are two great filmmakers, both French who used multiple screens, one Abel Gance used them in Napoleon right back in 1929, and the other was Alain Resnais in the late 1950's and 1960's who played around with a confabulation of tents. Both filmmakers in some sense, have not been followed up. They created a circumstance, and then there seems to be a drying up of a technology. But now Abel Gance' Napoleon and all the ideas that are associated with Last year at Marienbad, Muriel, etc., can now be picked up, and we can all run with those ideas after an interlude of forty or fifty years..."

comment upon the electronic cinema, and the crisis of representation:

"...I would like to make some analogies. So, if we have this one monoculture, everybody is upset, politically, economically. I am constantly asked to serve on boards to protest against the American cinema, but I think is a little bit like the evolutionary situation of the dinosaurs, or even like salon painting at the end of the nineteen century. The formulaic presentation of a cinematic monoculture produces a bland cinema which is highly predictable. You know virtually all the plots, you know all the circumstances, you know the vested interests. I just feel like making the evolutionary parallel, and also remembering how the Salon refused the Impressionists at the end of the nineteenth century. It is the little animals, the independent, working in new specializations, new technologies, that create a new cinema. After all, Twentieth-century painting, which has seen so huge an explosion of language, didn't came from the salon painting in the middle of the 19th century. It came from the impressionists, the people who were working on the grass underneath the feet of the dinosaur. We know that salon painting completely disappeared, and I am quite certain that, maybe in a couple of decades, Hollywood too will completely disappear. It will collapse under its own weight. It will become too bland, too widely assimilated. It will not satisfy the human imagination. And out of, as it were, the small grasses, underneath the rocks, just like the mammals developed, the whole age of mammals will have developed while dinosaurs disappeared. It's those animals, those marginal technologies, those new inventive spirits, that will very largely be responsible, for the post-cinema of the twenty-first century. Cinema is dead. Long live the cinema!"



[sub]culture has also been looking at Greenaway lately....

and see other notes on the Greenaway short : "The Man in the Bath"

10.19.2001

from a friend:
Subject: lovely little story
Date: Sat, 22 Sep 2001 01:25:45 +0000
To: circa@jump.net

"....A philosophy professor stood before his class with some items in front of him. When class began, wordlessly he picked up a large empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks about 2" in diameter. Then he asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar of rocks. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the spaces between the rocks. The students laughed. He asked his students again if the jar was full. They said yes, it was. The professor then picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. They laughed again.

"Now," said the professor, "I want you to recognize that this is your life. The rocks are the important things - your family, your partner, your health, your dearest friends. Anything that is so important to you that if it were to be lost, you would be nearly destroyed. The pebbles are the other things in life that still matter, but on a different, smaller scale. They are things like your job, your home, your clothes, your essential "stuff." The sand is everything else. The small stuff. Your luxuries. Your conveniences.

If you put the sand or the pebbles into the jar first, there is no room for the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your energy and time on the small stuff, material things, you will never have room for the things that are truly most important.

Pay attention to the things that are critical in your life. Play with your children. Go on a long walk with your partner. Read something. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, do your hair, or fix the disposal. Take care of the rocks first - the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just pebbles and sand."

a timely reminder, and a reminder for all time -- though this story seems to be a lesson for those who have the luxury of forgetting. And there are people for whom shelter, clothing, food are first priorities, for survival.

An additional thought: There are "small things" -- the photo of my father at age 10, grinning defiantly into the camera, the separate stack I have of books that have been most influential in my life -- that are indeed very precious to me, and the thought of losing them is awful. They are part of who I am. But they are symbols of the rocks -- my family, my mental/intellectual health -- and not rocks in and of themselves. These symbols serve very powerfully as talismans of the things that matter most, which is why so many returning to their homes NYC have been dramatically affected by the site of their things, their precious things, covered in layer upon layer of dust and debris. It seems that it is not the actual loss of these things that is so upsetting; but as symbolic items, they represent the subconscious -- and for many the conscious -- recognition of the destruction of the things that matter most. Family. Health. Happiness.

Imagine living this way all the time, living with the constant destruction, or at least disruption of both the real and the symbolic aspects of life. Whether in South Central LA or the West Bank.... or Afghanistan.

For many in the "developed world," though, this is an anomaly, an aberration, and so we have the luxury -- and therefore the responsibility -- to actually focus upon what the important things are. I would rather that than have terror do the reminding for me.

There are many reports of Americans being "friendlier" and more patient with each other, allowing others to pass through a long line, holding doors, welcoming a merging car. When much has been -- and is being -- reduced to rubble and dust, we are, of course, forced to see the rocks more clearly. However, I find that I wish pebbles and sand for all the people of the world. When conditions allow for the addition, and proliferation, of the "smaller things" (for many this would be clothing and shelter!) then the rocks can at last gain a solidity and nestle into one another -- and begin to form something resembling a foundation....

10.12.2001

got an email today regarding yesterday's post on "little-boy threats," which prompts a clarification:

it was a reaction to one man, though applicable to many. And the threats are only the tip of the bloody iceberg, obviously. More accurately : make them all stop!

my post was in reaction to the press conference Bush gave yesterday, in which he could barely keep his thoughts together as he moved from one garbled mouthful of "evil-doers" to another. I believe that clarity of craft (in words, in deeds) reflects a clarity of thought. And name-calling never got anyone anywhere. There are times for passionate, incoherent emotion, and a press conference, broadcast to the world, is not one of those times. Emotion, yes, but incoherency, and ham-handed table pounding of sensitive issues like missile treaties is not going to help us keep the amazing coalition that we have. The most frightening thing I have seen lately is Bin Laden's broadcast, where he spoke clearly and methodically, though still passionately, and moved systematically through all his points, without teleprompter, probably without speechwriters. NOT that we should in anyway respect him for this, but when the terrorist state has this capability, and we don't, I think it is something to be worried about.

It is hard to tell if America's "deeds" with the bombings in Afghanistan have a clarity of deed. Right now, all we can go on is what is broadcast, and the reassurances from our own government. At some point, all I see is people dying, and in misery, and I only see more of that to come. Something needed to be done, however, and I will stand among the many who agree with that. Of all the possible options, the approach our government is taking may indeed be the lesser of all the necessary evils. I am willing to accept that things progressed to such a state of affairs that we had to take military action.

But how did we get here? Why are thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people dying, in these attacks, and in all of the ongoing conflicts between the ideologies of christian, muslim, jew. The "little boys" haven't been able to prevent this from coming to such a horrific state, though warning signs have been plenty. Even now, a Saudi Prince comes to America, gives a $10 million dollar check, and says, "by the way... maybe America should think a little harder about their policies in the Middle East," which results in Giuliani promptly rejecting the offer. NOT that he should immediately say "ok, sure, whatever you want, thanks for the cash." But we cannot exist in a vacuum of our own beliefs. We must at least engage in talks with as much openness and honesty about our own policies as we look for in others.

I don't think, as some do, that America is a tyrannical state. I have a belief, despite political differences with some of our past and present leaders, that we largely do have the desire for peace and freedom at the heart of our actions. But I think we have to at least consider that we have made mistakes, and be willing to REALLY address them, because there are many good people in the world who do not see us as optimistically as I do. It is these people for whom the name-calling and little boy threats need to stop. For all sides. I know it never will, it's human nature to be passionate and illogical at times. But we have to start somewhere.

I am so grateful to see the education people are getting about Islam, and the troubles of the Afghan people. Many have asked, where were we before the attacks? I suppose I must rely on the "better late than never" crutch, and I hope we will continue to open our minds to the lives and cultures of the rest of the world.

Work, play -- "going about our daily business" -- is the living proof that there are things stronger than disagreements in ideology, that there are many, many who share lives in peace everyday, despite differences.



10.10.2001

Just when you thought things couldn't get any stanger.... All over the internet is some version of this: from caterina:

I had to post this. Have a look at the guy behind Osama's ear. It's a pro-bin Laden poster photographed in Bangladesh, and, I assume, it's completely in earnest. And that's Bert from Bert is Evil, though the image that was used to make the poster is no longer on that site, you can find it here. And here's the second sighting. And the third. Sesame Street is apparently not aired in Bangladesh, so we can only assume either they didn't know who Bert was, or some graphic designer in Bangladesh has a perverse sense of humor. Follow the Metafilter thread as we get to the bottom of this surreality.


the Bert image in the poster is in every poster that has been broadcast, on multiple news sources. It is not just a single image re-touched for the internet. Either the conspiracy is a vast one, across the media, or it is isolated, but located at the source -- the poster-creator. Either way, it only seems to parallel the absurdity of this whole situation... i.e: the "frogs falling" scene of Magnolia -- as things become so absurd, anything becomes possible, including muppets.


here is an "occam's razor" theory by hipstertrash

10.06.2001

a strange duality, a clustering of everything into two frameworks:
1. THE ATTACKS;
EXPERIENCES OF, THINGS AFFECTED BY, REACTIONS TO, REFLECTIONS UPON, POLITICAL, CULTURAL AND SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS OF...

2. ALL OTHER THINGS




a long passage from Paul Ford, of Ftrain, describing his particular swirl of emotions. He was in Israel at the time of the attacks, and his emotions careened swiftly and unpredictably through the different "stages of grief" that many have been experiencing:
denial and isolation
"...Around then I mentally left Israel for New York. I went out in Tel Aviv and couldn't hear what my friends were saying to me. I thought about getting off the train at Penn Station at night, right by Macy's, the way the lights come off the buildings. When asked questions I nodded, smiled...."

anger
"....Somewhere in there I was in my room sitting on my bed and I began to cry out in rapid animal pulses and I tried to get myself under control, but it was merciless, and I thought of the buildings falling and began to shout through clenched teeth, conscious of being overheard, and then I found myself kneeling with my face pushed into an ottoman, so I stayed there for a few minutes, crying out into the fabric, all muffled, until my throat hurt...."

bargaining?
"...Then today all I thought about was sex and touch, how good any human contact would feel right now. But I am not sure if there will be much touch for me in NYC, not to mention sex....if she would justsit quietly by me for a few minutes, and she agreed, so at least there will be that, something I can count on and know is there for me..." see also Mitsu's post on the increase in need for human contact, and for sex.

aknowledgment and depression
"...And what I really need is for someone to just tell me how sorry they for me, just me, me alone, me in my fucking aloneness in this tiny country and my stupid lost job and my meaningless trivial bullshit life, even in comparison to the horrid, horrid things that happened. I need some sympathy, and I may not get that for an extremely long time, because I don't want to ask for it, don't fully know how..."

acknowledgment and acceptance
"...I am scared of the sudden grieving punctuating a quiet, tranquil persona, the madness of my reactions to small triggers. But somewhere in there I'll figure it out for myself....

... cannot bear any more shrill annotations added to the footage of the falling buildings by newspaper writers and anchorpersons. Everyone wants ownership, to stake their claim, to link to the most Web sites, to make the most accurate predictions, to criticize every possible leader, to cast blame, to matter. But they don't matter. The dead matter. The grieving matter. The war matters. The media is throwing up walls of content, filled with instructions on how to feel, when there is absolutely no right way to feel, when this will not be going away, when there is no way to own what happened, to way to possess the misery for yourself. Why would you want to?

...I am telling you all this not so that you pity me, because it is clearly a privilege to grieve and feel emotional pain, at this point. Some people have spaces in their lives as great as those in the skyline. Those people will need help.... I am telling you this because I figure you might be feeling just as stupid, hopeless, and helpless, confused, and lonely. And I'll never meet you, but at least you'll know that you're not alone....

...It was like the oceans calmed, when I learned I could go home, like tornadoes stopped and loud cannons stopped blasting... I will take the train back to my apartment. I will transfer a few times, then get off the F train at Smith and 9th St and look out, if it not raining, and I will see what is gone from the platform, which has an amazing view of downtown Manhattan, and I will spend some time looking at that, and then I will take my bags down 90 steps and walk the block to my apartment, and turn three keys in their locks, and go inside and put my bags down and then I don't know what I'll do, but hopefully it will be something useful, something decent, something that moves the world forward."


Thank you, Paul. As Arhundati Roy in The God of Small Things might have put it, there is a heart-shaped hole in the universe now. For all of us.



Elizabeth Kubler-Ross : the woman who first began seriously looking at the processes humans have for coping, and dealing with death. She proposed the five stages of grief that I employed above, though her theories have also come under criticism. Be skeptical of attempts to sum emotions up into neat packages... yet let us not deny the range of Paul's emotions, and how closely they mirrored mine.






10.05.2001

Philip on Film : New Shorts, a screening of 5 works with live accompanyment by the Philip Glass Ensemble.

On a whim, I stopped by after a meeting to see if there were still tickets available, just 15 minutes before the start. Ended up seated third row center, maybe 10 feet from Mr. Glass himself. Half price, faculty, orchestra seating. All the headaches are sometimes worth it. I hadn't planned on going; seeing him play from the back of the balcony seemed a little fetishistic to me. But the descriptions of the films kept whispering in my head, and then the fortunate seating turned this into one of those experiences that felt specially concocted just for me, at that moment, in that way, on that day. serendipity, eh Bruce? I scribbled in the back of my class roster book. Here it is, without translation:
- peter greenaway : "THE MAN IN THE BATH"
...when a body is wholly or partly immersed in a fluid, the fluid exerts upon the body an upthrust which is equal to the amount of water displaced...
willfulness
atomization of image
text as fluid, tugging at images
lines that weave and fold and become themselves again
p.glass ensemble?:
are all his musicians mathematicians?

- shirin neshat : "PASSAGE"
people walking in groups
movement : natural correlation to glass music?
gliding over rocks in field of desert
: same correlation
men and sand and shadows, child clearing rocks
bass pushing, (pulling?) like undertow
music as manifold

- atom egoyan : "DIASPORA"
sheep, many, multiples, movement
again, a manifold
movement back with camera forward
blues, splitting, layering, with solo red panel

- godfrey reggio : "EVIDENCE
extreme closeup -- flattening of face?
the insistence of children
the flute!

- michal rovner : "NOTES"
people and their movements
2 becomes 1 and 1 becomes 2
groups become individuals become groups again
and snow!
stretch and expand and collapse
coming, going, turning, shapes our bodies make
(when standing, when bending over)
(with hands in pockets)
(holding arms out for equal spacing)
humans: the world's most naturally random generators

- godfrey reggio : "ANIMA MUNDI"
more, and more, and more manifolds!
light upon water, swelling of ocean
swaying of a body
glass' sounds are as if pushed by a force
(he sways with each insistence...)
stretch, collapse, stretch
teeming throngs
smoke billowing
volcanic eruption
lava flow
rock slides
raindrops
waterfalls
amoebas, cell generation
fish in schools
birds in flight
air bubbles, blood
seals
kelp
quick, quick, slow
quick, slow, quick, quick

manifold of forms implies difference within sameness
manifold of movement is also possible
(with the addition of time?)



this led to thinking about how a multiplicity of manifolds forms a field but it is the individuality of each manifold that creates the evolution of form (ie: movement) within that field..........



10.02.2001

women
The Taliban's Bravest Opponents

also : The Afghan Women's Mission
Interestingly, they are also opposed to the Northern Alliance, which has been lauded as the just and rightful opposition to the Taliban. The women of RAWA call them the "other Taliban."

on a redirect page for RAWA, there is a greeting that says :
"thank you for visiting the homepage of the most oppressed women in the world."

a DoubleSpace of simultaneous forward-backward-ness. Like fish-market peddlers with cell phones, these women have an amazingly sophisticated website, with links and scolling pages and buttons and pop-up windows, yet the content is of executions and rape, of sobbing in the streets as an everyday occurance.




And, in the same breath, I think of men.

firefighters, policemen, rescue workers, welcomed to the stage of Saturday Night Live; men who went into the buildings even as they were coming down, men who carried others from the upper floors; construction workers, steel men. Their faces : tired, and rough, and manly. I know these men, for I work with them on jobsites, we joke and tease each other, both enjoying the friendly flirtation that seems to take place. The guys I know (Mike, with Waterloo Welding, known as "the cowboy poet," singing his poems from the top of the girders as loud as he can so I am sure to hear it; Ted, with Bach Brother's Construction, keeps asking if he can come visit my students to see what they are working on), they would also have been some of the first to the scene, hardhat in hand, ready to do whatever it takes to "get the job done..."

The faces of these men, and the faces of many men, these days -- the men in the legislative chambers, the suits -- while manly and determined, seem openly vulnerable, and tender. You can see it.

And then, again, the women,
whose faces, though vulnerable, are strong, and full of passion.

My good friends, Harvey and Holly, gave birth to Weatherly Clare, at 3:15 on that afternoon, Tuesday, September 11th. (as ye reap, so shall ye sow...) Harvey's face held the same vulnerability, in his new role as a father, and Holly's was strong, and willful in her new role as mother.

       tragedy and joy scratch the same surfaces.

Leave behind the priveleged, (almost) "gender-blind" academic and professional design world. This is much more interesting :
    the humanity -- "...human beings collectively..." --
the inter-dependent, simultaneous and balancing poles of men and women, in concert with each other. Each with a particular presence of character, each different from the other, supplement and complement.

(REMINDER: find again John Hejduk on "the woman's breath")





9.27.2001

new finds at half-price:

The Pritzker Architecture Prize: The First Twenty Years
(often described as the "Nobel of Architecture"... the book brings together representative projects of all the laureates, which serves as a good overview of the big shots for reference, especially since I have no desire to buy individual monographs for many of them. This award was initiated in 1979. There is not a single woman laureate among them. Not one. Read the list. Is there another field in which you can say the same?

here are the names of some prominent women architects, for those (including me) who sometimes have a hard time thinking of any....
Zaha Hadid
her work has been criticized for being difficult to understand, and she seems to piss a lot of people off, but that could be said of many of the male laureates, as well.
Denise Scott Brown
her husband+partner, Robert Venturi, received the Pritzker in 1991
Liz Diller
Billie Tsien
Merrill Elam
Adele Naude Santos
Maya Lin
Karen Bausman
Leslie Gill

some no longer living:
Charlotte Perriand, collaborator with Le Corbusier
Eileen Grey
Lilly Reich



also purchased:
The Ground Beneath Her Feet, my first Salman Rushdie venture....

Experiencing Architecture by Steen Eiler Rasmussen (an old dog-eared copy of a first-year-architecture-school standard)

and Arquitecturas del Tiempo (endearing english translation of that page here and amazon ordering info here) monograph of installations, furniture and architecture by Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue:
"Time Architecture brings together sixteen projects in which the temporal factor is as important as the spatial, the obvious basis of all construction. In these works, however, 'temporal' is not necessarily synonymous with 'ephemeral'. In fact, Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue believe less in a conception whose meaning is directed towards a final closure than in an ongoing work made up of instants in which, as Goethe remarked to Eckermann, each step along the way is, without ceasing to be a step, a goal in itself. Between space, time and movement, these architectures bear witness to a journey which extends from exhibitions in Harvar, Venice and Copenhagen to the Contemporary Art Fair in Madrid, taking in the play of shadows a building produces, the design elements destined for other, childhood, games, and the changing set design of an opera premiered in the architects' own Barcelona studio. The projects presented here combine architectural reality with its representaion to create a new reality that enables a constructed and essentially immovable space to move -- in time -- from continent to continent. Thanks to their migratory nature, these works are consistently different without, for all that, ceasing to be themselves..."

9.25.2001

one day, one entry.
I double-dog-dare myself.

today --
two meetings with clients that I knew would be long meetings, involving lots of nodding and listening as they told their tales (both are talkers). One for lunch, lasted 4 hours. The other (dinner) lasted 3 1/2. The surprise is that I actually let go of the "get through this meeting, get things accomplished" mode and really listened. Discussions ensued of Vietnam, Matagorda Bay, fishing, strings of lights like a necklace around the shore, the Ant Farm artists, quilting, pornography, friendship, betrayal, Salman Rushdie, sea bass.... (not necessarily in that order)

9.14.2001

I find I am grieving not only for the dead and the bereaved, and for the horror of this particularly vicious act, but also for those whose hatred of us is so great, for those who see the arrogance in this "superpower," and for all of the misunderstandings and the gridlocked minds throughout the world. It makes me think of how, in the few, unfortunately, heated arguments I have experienced, I feel an overwhelming sense of my brain being tied in knots, of the foggy, dense greyness of attempting to communicate when walls and defenses are rising up quickly all around me.

At the noon remembrance ceremony here on the campus of the University of Texas, thousands of students and faculty overflowed the Main Mall, softly singing the national anthem, and then the "Eyes of Texas Are Upon You" (the same tune as "I've been working on the railroad...). Whoever was brought in to lead the singing made, I think, a powerful choice by singing both songs very slowly, and simply. The crowd responded in kind, and the singing slowly drifted over and through all of us, voices so, so soft and gentle. It ended with a single bagpiper, playing the "Eyes of Texas" main melody, repeating over and over. This was supposed to be the end of the ceremony, the signal for all to make there way from the campus, but everyone stayed, EVERYONE -- silent, and observing, some with hands lifted in either the school "Longhorns" symbol, many with the peace symbol. After a VERY long time, people finally began drifting away, and you could hear the whispering and shuffling of feet.

And then, I watched an amazing thing. At the center of this very large crowd, at the main flagpole, a group of students holding hands slowly drew a circle, with others joining in, expanding its circumference as the crowd thinned. It looked as if the circle had been drawn in space BY the movement of the crowd. Some people were holding signs asking peace, some wore black armbands. I stood and watched as the circle grew, and the green lawn inside was left empty, with the flagpole at the center. Students who were leaving turned and watched the circle grow, and some more joined in. It reached the outer limits of the lawn, and held stable, with probably 200 students all joined. And then I heard, VERY VERY quietly, so quiet, in fact, that I thought it was coming from somewhere else, or it was something I was imagining, the soft, soft singing of "all we are say-ing......is give peace a chance.....all we are say-ing......is give peace a chance....." A quiet quiet, quiet plea. This continued, with a respectful silence (and many photojournalists) all around, for quite some time. Tears ran slowly down my face, and I stood with them, in a second, looser circle of witnesses for their simple, powerful act.

Often speaking softly, but deliberately, is the most passionate expression and most effective way of getting a message across. This floored me. No enraged demonstrations, no cries for attention, no rhetoric, just a simple, sad plea for humanity.

I watched the local news to see how this was covered, as the stations were surveying all of the various events of remembrance across Texas. They showed the large crowd, discussed the display of school, and patriotic, spirit, and turned to a different story. Something about how Walmart had sold out of flags. The quiet plea didn't make the cut, apparently.

And as I type this, there is a map up on CNN, with expert commentators outlining the possible offensive stategies, diagrams being drawn in yellow delineating the access routes into Afghanistan. The game, I'm afraid, is well underway.




wood's lot has an extensive compilation of views from ALL sides of the issues.

Caterina's friend Chad writes "I woke up yesterday with a line from T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land" reverberating through my head endlessly..."

I find I must post it here as well. Enough talk.
Let the poets speak.




What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust

. . . . .

Unreal City,
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.
Flowed up the hill and down King William Street,
To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours

. . . . .

What is that sound high in the air
Murmur of maternal lamentation
Who are those hooded hordes swarming
Over endless plains, stumbling in cracked earth
Ringed by the flat horizon only
What is the city over the mountains
Cracks and reforms and bursts in the violet air
Falling towers
Jerusalem Athens Alexandria
Vienna London
Unreal

9.13.2001

with all of the rhetoric, all of the experts commentating, all of the press conferences, the thing that stands out above the mindless talking TALKING TALKING, is the word "literally."

I hear it everywhere:
Diane Sawyer "...with backhoes literally dragging the rubble apart..." victims "...then it was literally raining down on top of me..." witnesses "...you could hear people literally screaming for their lives..." politicians "...this nation has literally been brought to a stand still..." agencies "...the FBI has put literally every agent on this case..." Peter Jennings "...cabdrivers have literally ripped the seats out of their cabs to be able to help carry victims bodies..."

Listen for it. It's all over the airwaves, the radio, in print, on the internet. Many Americans (and many others) live in such a figurative, virtual society, and it has now all been wrenched into the literal. Into the real, sensory world, filled with direct, analog implications. This means this, instead of this means that. Nothing digital about it.

In their search for frameworks of reference, people are using metaphors and similes they are familiar with: "...it was like night..." "...it's a battlefield down there..." But for those moments when the towers came down, it was night. It is a battlefield. My fear is that people will respond with other frames of reference that they do have -- the posturing and irresponsible crys for ACTION by the good people of every Armaggeddon movie. It's already happening. Someone fired shots into a Muslim community center in Dallas, just north of Austin. Somewhere else, a school bus of Muslim children has been attacked, with people throwing stones.

This is not a movie. This is literal. This is real. This is shocking and sickening and sobering. Yes, we need heroes, and pride, and strength. But please, let us be characters with depth, and not merely a teeming angry throng of extras, playing our patriotic parts.

9.11.2001

I visited the World Trade Center for the first time this past January. I rode the subway in to the stop located in the basement of one tower, bought a green and yellow checkered scarf in the hall of shops there, and ate a Krispy Kreme Donut while sitting in the sunshine out on the plaza.

It was early in the morning, sometime around 9am.

9.10.2001

back in... the saddle... again......
coming soon: elaborations on the themes of the past few weeks:

more insubordination of habit, notions of record vs. document, subterranean spaces, planes and points, materiality and the brick project, architecture as narrative vs. architecture as need, classroom dynamics, rollercoaster physics, birthdays, birds and bella.

8.25.2001

ON LOOKING, REALLY LOOKING,,, THE WAY THAT CHILDREN DO,
AND INSUBORDINATION (OF HABIT)
Guy Debord, The Theory of the Derive
and Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography:
...Among various more difficult means of intervention, a renovated cartography seems appropriate for immediate utilization...

...A friend recently told me that he had just wandered through the Harz region of Germany while blindly following the directions of a map of London. This sort of game is obviously only a feeble beginning in comparison to the complete creation of architecture and urbanism that will someday be within the power of everyone. Meanwhile we can distinguish several stages of partial, less difficult projects, beginning with the mere displacement of elements of decoration from the locations where we are used to seeing them.

For example, in the preceding issue of this journal Marcel Mariën proposed that when global resources have ceased to be squandered on the irrational enterprises that are imposed on us today, all the equestrian statues of all the cities of the world be assembled in a single desert. This would offer to the passersby — the future belongs to them — the spectacle of an artificial cavalry charge, which could even be dedicated to the memory of the greatest massacrers of history, from Tamerlane to Ridgway...

8.21.2001

James Joyce: Ulysses, end paragraph :
...and the sea the sea crimson sometimes like fire and the glorious sunsets and the figtrees in the Alameda gardens yes and all the queer little streets and pink and blue and yellow houses and the rosegardens and the jessamine and geraniums and cactuses and Gibraltar as a girl where I was a flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.


Samuel Beckett: Krapp's Last Tape, end paragraph :

TAPE:
--gooseberries, she said. I said again I thought it was hopeless and no good going on and she agreed, without opening her eyes. [Pause.] I asked her to look at me and after a few moments --[Pause.]-- after a few moments she did, but the eyes just slits, because of the glare. I bent over to get them in the shadow and they opened. (Pause.Low) Let me in. [Pause.] We drifted in among the flags and stuck. The way they went down, sighing, before the stem! [Pause.] I lay down across her with my face in her breasts and my hand on her. We lay there without moving. But under us all moved, and moved us, gently, up and down, and from side to side.
[ Pause. KRAPP'S lips move. No sound]
Past midnight. Never knew such silence. The earth might be uninhabited.
[Pause.]
Here I end this reel. Box --[Pause.]-- three, spool --[Pause.]-- five. [Pause.] Perhaps my best years are gone. When there was a chance of happiness. But I wouldn't want them back. Not with the fire in me now. No I wouldn't want them back.
[KRAPP motionless staring before him. The tape runs on in silence.]


one of my favorite minds has been looking at Samuel Beckett lately; one entry, from a friend of his, remarks upon Beckett's love of cricket:

     "... I know cricket must sound like an odd pursuit to the non-converts, but suffice it to say that Beckett worshipped the game and it is in my opinion the most exemplary model of an Event Structure, weaving space, death, technology and repetition perfectly together...."

reminds me of this notion I once came across (and must find again): Samuel Beckett had a great love for the game of cricket, and an inclination towards physicality in general -- and was a master at spatial constructs, both in the staging of his plays and in the structure of his writings (many are mathematically structured down to the sentence, to the very word). James Joyce, however, was less physically inclined, though an accomplished vocalist, with a great love for song, and opera -- and his writings are extremely lyrical.... filled with growls and chirps, bass tones and arias. Each approached their writings, and their passions, from different inclinations: Beckett primarily through space, and Joyce through sound. Both dealt with notions of memory and experience in time and space, though differently manifest.

...it would be good to look especially at the aspect of repetition in their works, and how repetition is used to create a sense of space in both approaches....

...repetition, also, in visual languages (architecture, film, art, graphic design) to enhance, expand, compress space... (hmmmm, do all roads lead to Last Year at Marienbad)

8.19.2001

an exhibition curated by my friend (and amazing man-about-town) Andy Colquitt:
      Mas!Mas!Mas! Porque?Porque?Porque?
       A Show of Curious Collections

prompts a discussion regarding the difference (or lack of?) between collection and manifold.
from 6.9.2001 manifold as process, type/variant
manifold :
--adj: 1. Of many kinds; multiple. 2. Having many features or forms. 3. Consisting of or operating several of one kind.
--n.: 1. A whole composed of diverse elements. 2. One of many copies. 3. A pipe so fitted that it has several apertures for making multiple connections. 4. Math: A set of elements sharing a number of properties, usually of a topologic nature, such as orientability, differentiability, and dimensionality.
--tr.v. -folded, -folding, -folds. 1. To make several copies of. 2. To make manifold: multiply. [ME < OE manigfeald: manig, many + -feald, -fold.]


versus:
collection :
--n.: 1. the act or process of collecting. 2. A group of objects or works to be seen, studied, or kept together. 3. An accumulational deposit. 4.a. A collecting of money, as in church. b. the sum collected

and collect :
v. --tr.: To bring together in a group; gather; assemble. 2. To accumulate as a hobby or for study. 3. To call for and obtain payment of. 4. To recover control of.
--intr.: 1. To gather together; congregate, accumulate. 2. To take in payments or donatings [ME collecten: Lat.colligere : com-, together + legere, to gather.]



Interesting that collection is considered always a noun, though has its root in the verb collect, while manifold is in itself a verb in certain circumstances. To make manifold (manifold as process). One discussion (thanks Gian) centered around a notion that collection implies stasis (things that are the SAME) and manifold implies change (things that have EVOLVED). Note the word "implies." (imply : to involve or suggest by logical necessity; to say or express indirectly; to entangle [ME implien, to enfold])

One might also propose that a collection describes multiples of form where a manifold describes multiples of kind (and context -- see 7.8.2001razor). So, a gathering of locks of red hair is a collection. A gathering of people with different styles and manifestations of red hair (curly, straight, on the head, on the chin, under the arms) is a manifold????

Or, maybe better -- a gathering of random men named Cecil B. Smith is a collection. But a gathering of the 5 generations of a family of Cecil B. Smiths is a manifold. Again, the implication of evolution. The 5 generations of Cecils may not look anywhere near identical, but the threads of commonality are discernable in the shape of the eyes, a certain gait when walking (...usually of a topologic nature, such as orientability, differentiability, and dimensionality...). And, more importantly, the knowledge of the shared heritage creates a further perception of the additional unseen commonalities.

The collection shares a form (the name Cecil B. Smith) but the manifold also shares an idea (the particular Cecil B. Smith-ness of a particular group of Cecil B. Smiths). This example is tricky because the form in this case is the name, and the concept is the genetic structure. But the multiplicity of conceptual manifestations through the genetic structure is key here -- the form (the name of the man) can be repeated, but without some evolution of its ontology (the being of man), it remains a collection. The manifold is delineated by a change in form through this evolution: either of type (of kind, of kin) or of application (of context) (evolve : Lat. evolvere, to unroll -- Hmmmm... to unroll... to unfold......... mani- fold).

........................
D. reminds me of the difficulty of establishing a difference between the two -- that perhaps manifold is a subset of collection.

Take random examples of collections and run them through the wringer to see if they hold up to the notion of manifold. (eventually my head starts to get foggy and the distinction seems pointless, as many linguistic distinctions can be... but, still, there seems to be something to it...)


8.17.2001

OPPOSITIONS [linguistic: Contrast between two phonemes or other elements of a language that have a relationship such that the contrast is significant.]

to live a life that is simultaneously
   precise : adj 1. Clearly expressed or delineated; definite. 2. Capable of, resulting from or designating an action, performance, or process executed or successively repeated within close specified limits. 3. Strictly distinguished from others. 5. Distinct in sound or statement. [OFr. precis, condensed: Lat. praecisus, p.part. of praecidere,to shorten : prae- , in front + caedere, to cut]

to live deliberately, and with economy.
to be attentive and alert.
to take care.
to listen and consider.
to be diligent, to follow through.

and
   authentic : adj. 1. Having an undisputed origin; genuine; worthy of trust, reliance or belief. 2. Executed with due process 3. Authoritative. [ME autentik : OFr. autentique : LLat. authenticus : Gk. authentikos : authentes, author.]
to welcome the unknown, the overwhelming
to day dream
to be reckless
to act intuitively
to live simply and with immediacy




(reduce, reduce, reduce)

8.15.2001

been traveling again -- this time to Marfa, TX -- last official visit to a project now completed. The clients are living (making a life) in the house, and at last can call it home. An enormously strange phenomenon to make a PLACE...

the trip:
with D. and dog, we stayed at the Hotel Limpia in Fort Davis, the Capri in Marfa, then camped in the Davis Mountains for 2 nights. One whole glorious day spent lounging about on a blanket under the trees, listening to the birds and the wind, reading, playing a paradoxical game of double-solitaire, and generally doing nothing, with great joy. Saw an enormous shooting star (one of the perseid meteors) complete with sparks, like Disney would want it, like tinkerbell.

COMPRESSED SPACE
reading Blue Highways (by William Least Heat Moon), which follows his travels around the States in the back of a modified van. Steinbeck, without the dog. In the book, Least Heat Moon eventually passes through Louisiana, stopping in Shreveport, (where our good friend Harvey, and the Gourds hail from), and on into Texas.

And so it was that over the course of our return drive from Marfa (7 hours), heading east -- from Fort Stockton to Ozona, Junction, Fredericksburg, Johnson City, and Austin -- Least Heat Moon was heading west. A strange inversion between reading and doing. As I moved east, the space compressed, the scrabbly desert giving way to dots of live oaks and juniper, then rolling, grassy hills, cars, and lights. My external experience became complicated, dense and distracting, the more we drove. My mental, internal space was expanding, however, as I followed Least Heat Moon westward -- stopping for a spell in Dime Box, Texas then through Austin, and on to Johnson City, Fredericksburg, Junction....

...when I finally settled into my home-sweet-austin bed, he was watching the lights of Fort Stockton grow brighter, quietly approaching across the plateau.

8.08.2001

a multitude of diversions lately:
designing, building, making, reading, teaching, traveling -- alas, not much writing...


and having various discussions regarding approaches to teaching, especially students of architecture and design -- the differences between programs, their short-comings (and, also, long-goings?), raising questions of:
structure
scope
focus
and, especially, how to teach communication:
how to make an argument
how to listen and consider
when to expand upon an idea, and why
when to let things go
potential areas of miscommunication
and process:
methods
alternatives
influences and resources
techniques
advantages and disadvantages
inherent flaws


And what about all that is learned "between the lines???" What the faculty teach the students through their own processes of teaching, and through their own methods of communication with other faculty, and with students? We were once and always children, and, just as parents teach their children healthy and unhealthy patterns of communication, so are students highly impressionable. A wise teacher, it seems, will use these unscripted moments to teach by example.

on architecture v. design education:
Architecture Faculty in some academic environments seem to be largely engaged in political positioning around the role of architecture (are you a classicist, a modernist, a theorist, a realist, a phenomenologist). The discussions can be provocative, but language is often used that is egoist, exclusionary, and often dismissive. In contrast, the Design Faculty I know engage in conversations that are curious and inquisitive, usually about the work within the field itself (is this good, what makes that not so good, what are the implications, what are the referents?)

Is this in part because the design field is "younger" and still sorting itself out, therefore it is more focused on the actual work? Whereas architecture comes with this huge behemoth of a history with many political implications and established structures (and strictures) for critical debate? My friend V., who is well-versed in and vexed by the politics of academia, proposes an additional thought -- that it was Eisenman who unleashed structuralist and linguistic approaches of critique upon architecture, and, since then, education has been more focused on the critique and positioning of the work, and less on the evolution of the work itself.

But there is also the very real fact that architecture concerns itself with a form of product that will always be an enigma -- who is to say what a really good house is, what is a great building -- dealing with largely personal, subjective, and yet staunchly-held views about public and private space. Its positions will therefore always be arguable, and vehemently so. This brings out the manifestos in all of us. The design dialogue, on the other hand, is, perhaps, inherently more inclusive (though it has its own nasty strains of -isms and -ists), as it is usually more focused on product and cultural anthropology rather than enigmatic ideology.

The issue at hand, then, is how the argument [ME:OFr.:Lat. argumentum: arguere, "to make clear"] is made.

Many things being taught as primary components of "design" education (communication, methodology, objective and subjective modes of understanding, design synthesis) would be of great benefit within an architecture school. These involve larger dialogues regarding process, comprehension and persuasion, some aspects of which were once taught at the high school level, in language and rhetoric classes, but have been lost in the thundering waves of the science and math focused college-prep curriculum. But they are not adequately being addressed in architecture schools either, lost behind the posturing, and behind the myopia of autonomously-taught studios. Faculty, with all of their talk, are not talking to each other about their own product -- the education of an architect. What is most ironic is that the current rhetoric of architecture is a false rhetoric, as it encourages little debate, and puts forth even less in the form of persuasion and argument. The manifesto approach is exactly that -- a declaration, and not a conversation. This is what the students are learning, and they get precious few examples of how to hold a meaningful dialogue that encourages understanding, and little that invites any sort of exploration and synthesis.






7.30.2001

MOVEMENT:

picked up at the local used-book store in Madison:
THE ORIENTATION OF ANIMALS: Kinesis, Taxes and Compass Reactions
by Gottfried S. Fraenkel + Donald L. Gunn

PART I Introduction
"The study of animal behaviour extends over a wide field; only a small part of it is covered in this book. We shall deal with the orientation of animals, the directions in which they walk or swim, and the reasons why particular directions are selected..."
[Fig. 37, p.92]
"Tracks of hermit crabs (a and b) and an isopod Aega (c) in a two-light experiment. Each part of the track is directed towards one light only."

[Fig. 47, p.110]
"Elysia viridis (mollusc) circling round a candle with an orientation angle of about 90 degrees, first on its left and then on its right."

see also:
Chronobiology for the Interested Layman and in Adult Education Courses

7.29.2001

re'cru'desce intr. v.
To break out anew after a dormant or inactive period.[Lat. recrudescere, to grow raw again: re-, again + crudescere, to get worse: crudus, raw.] --re'cru'des'cence n. --re'cru'des'cent adj.
many, many things seen lately: posted at ockham's other


TRAVELS: Madison, Wisconsin, a place I'd never been. Built on an isthmus (a word that demands to be said out loud).

...D. tells me, magically, that he grew up thinking WATER IS LIKE AIR -- free, and always accessible, and part of everyday life...

A very CIVIC place, with people always out on "the square," (the central capitol grounds) and at "the Union," the meeting grounds for the University of Wisconsin, Madison. This is a typical large, old venerable university structure, but it is the outdoor space that makes it unique -- an enormous plaza reaches out to the south side of Lake Mendota (or Lake Monona, I kept getting the two sides of the isthmus confused), terracing down to the water's edge, swarmed with tables and giant shade trees, with a stage by the water where bands play most every night. Beers are served up in giant half-gallon cups, with small brown bags of popcorn. There is an outdoor pavilion where staffers grilled sandwiches and such, served with yet more beer, in an endless supply. Which is necessary, because it seems the entire town finds their way down to the union by late afternoon to watch the sun quietly set over the lake. And I mean everyone -- children eating ice cream, young teens clustered in flirtatious gangs (so coltish, and SO dramatic), older couples, families, and, of course, crowds of college kids.

We would sit on the steps by the water and watch the demographics shift as the evening wore on, and the clothing shift from the shorts and sandals of those ending their night at the Union, to the hot pants and haltertops of those who were just beginning. Christopher Alexander's Pattern Language made manifest, with different sizes and shapes and types of spaces and places for every activity and mood. William H. Whyte comes to mind as well, the famous studies he did of public spaces and patterns of human interaction:
(film: The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces)
(text: City: Rediscovering the Center)

A large portion of the population has Germanic or Norwegian roots -- and you sense it in the places: very much about community, the land and the water, good, simple, hearty food (and did I mention beer?). We were in Madison four days, and went to the Union every afternoon (and one morning). We would sometimes come across the same people there, or walking down State Street, on their way to or from. Once a year the Union has an amnesty day when people return any of the terrace chairs or tables that may have been "borrowed."

...you can watch the sun rise over the lake in the east and set in the west without ever moving from your seat...


Now have 6 of These United States still yet to visit: Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Alaska and Hawaii.

7.11.2001

"to paint not the thing itself, but the effect that it produces..." Mallarme
and from: "Stephane Mallarme's Influence in the Visual Arts"
"During his visits to Manet's studio, he solidified his theories of poetic language, and began using visual descriptions as a way to represent meaning, and to describe specific objects, without mentioning them specifically. Mallarme does this by eliminating the reference of specific objects and ideas of the real world by conjuring up certain feelings or a remembrance of specific ideas or objects. His poems are "...meant to be read like music, perpendicular as well as horizontally, with all of the various possibilities constituting the harmony and with the lyric lines nothing more than an impression or an intention""
(5-day excursion begins tomorrow (an outing, says Ms.(mary) Poppins) to points north. No posts until next Wednesday.....................)

7.08.2001

CHARGED VOIDS: NOT THE THING
from 5.30.2001razor
"...concepts of writing as a "clear window" or a pure mechanism come to mind --not the thing itself but the enabler of the thing...." --B.R.
more on MANIFOLDS
cryptic biodiversity (via: Alamut via: Metaforage)
references the idea of "parallelism: a situation where two organisms independently come up with the same adaptation to a particular environment..."

so seemingly familial manifolds might, in fact, be distinct from one another in their evolution, though related in their manifestations -- with those manifestations being the products of environment. One could discern, then, between manifolds of KIND [ME:OE (ge)cynd, nature]
and manifolds of CONTEXT [ME, composition: Lat. contextus: p.part. of contextere, to join together: com-, together + textere, to plait]

7.07.2001

CHARGED VOIDS
see: december10.net under: "new projects" goto: "anti-aperture"
Anti-Aperture Project: descriptions of image-moments that were uncapturable for one reason or another, paired with the correspondingly missing image.
"...all descriptions are actual accounts of things that I thought would have made beautiful photographs but were impossible to catch. So rather than cry about it, I have turned these impossibilities into another method of shooting."
.....description of the image as the image, thereby creating a charged void within the (image) absence.
.....also could be: DESCRIPTION OF A PERFORMANCE AS THE PERFORMANCE.
this opens up the notion that the idea is often stronger than the reality. Not the thing, but the idea of the thing. Not the thing, but the forces contained within the thing.

7.04.2001

the Declaration of Independence - worth a read, for its clarity of language and argument alone:

(ignoring, for the moment, the obviously arguable issues of religious affiliation, the current myriad of questionably tyrannic actions by the United States and also intending no animosity towards our now allied British friends across the Atlantic):
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration
of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
   --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
   --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
   --Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world....


read further: (list of repeated injuries and usurpations by the king, and final proclamation of independence)

7.02.2001

more MOVEMENT
from a television commercial (for what, I can't remember. proof, once again, that so-called "smart" advertising doesn't really work in the way they all wish it worked, as I blithely scoop up the visuals and filter out the product)
:::::::: one particular scene shows a 3/4 aerial view of people crouched in long, long lines behind garbage cans/telephone poles/mailboxes, hiding from the multiple lines of site of a man who is searching for them. As the man's position changes, the lines of people all shift with his lines of sight...... swinging wildly left and right....

(TEMPEST... remembering the geometric fractals of the field of play and fluid sweep of the game piece......... lines of movement and stasis made visible)

6.28.2001

notes on MOVEMENT : SPACE and SOUND
caught a 3-part documentary last night on the evolution of dance in the black community. A few things of note:

- Trisha Brown, speaking of the Judson School :
"we were the first modern dancers to take the hyperbole out of the work."

and Alvin Ailey :
"spirituals were a music that I felt I could actually SEE..."


STRAPPING TO, WALKING ON, MODIFICATIONS, AMPLIFICATIONS
    - a performance by Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane
wearing 16" thick block shoes, strapped to his feet
    - someone named "Solomons"
suspended, with ropes perpendicular to a tree, parallel to the ground and walking, quite miraculously, around the tree trunk, in an unwinding spiral (must find out more about that fellow).
    - Ulysses Dove, choreographer, came out of the Ailey troupe
working the dancers in rehearsal with the shapes and sounds of his voice..... half-words...........nonsense, the BREATH, the RHYTHMIC tttTTT-ba-da-ba-da paaaaahhhhhh....... stopped me in my tracks. mesmerizing. SOUND and SPACE. undeniably linked, perceptually and conceptually. Like the shape and sound of a writer's voice. Like the way music is often thought of in terms of the SPACE it creates. And I, also, often describe how a space, or a wall will feel by using a sound, or series of sounds and breath.....


Of the dancers mentioned above, 3 out of the 6 are now dead because of AIDS.

6.25.2001

This weekend: saved a turtle's life, and two crickets.

(The point is not to do remarkable things, but to do ordinary things with the conviction of their immense value)
-- Teilhard de Chardin

6.23.2001

NEW razor format --

Willa Cather, On the Art of Fiction (1920)
"Art, it seems to me, should simplify. That, indeed is very nearly the whole of the higher artistic process; finding what conventions of form and what detail one can do without and yet preserve the spirit of the whole -- so that all that one has suppressed and cut away is there to the reader's consciousness as much as if it were type on the page."

Mitsu is writing about the shifting nature of relationships...
"...to get into a holding pattern is the problem: to assume that the point is to maintain, rather than to constantly renew. One has to begin again every day, no matter what great things happened in the past. For fear of losing what we have, we often fail to realize that everything has to start over constantly, so we end up losing it anyway"
This prompted me to pull out a set of index cards typed (on an actual TYPEWRITER) one summer, my own "cliff's notes" of a text on meditation: Mindfulness in Plain English, by Henepola Gunaratana. Found what I was looking for:

"Mindfulness, and only mindfulness, can perceive that the three prime characteristics that Buddhism teaches are the deepest truths of existence."
anicca: impermanence
all conditioned things are inherently transitory

dukkha: unsatisfactoriness
every wordly thing is, in the end, unsatisfying.

anatta: selflessness
the absence of a permanent, unchanging entity called self.
I struggled - REALLY STRUGGLED - with these notions, and I think it is this sort of abstract thinking that many people feel they cannot relate to in Buddhism or other similar practices. How can one embrace this in any sort of a concrete way? How can I possibly apply this in "regular" life and still be a critical, thinking person? The great shift in understanding is to realize that the art of mindfulness is grounded very much in the concrete, and in its application within moments of everyday perception. This ability is perhaps one of its most important aspects: to notice that the true nature of ALL phenomena is impermanent, unsatisfactory, and self-less.

I bring this into ockhams' razor because, although I do not practice a true meditation, I have found that being aware of these characteristics in a sort-of waking meditation has significantly impacted not only my relationships, but also my work. For example, it is especially difficult to accept the "every wordly thing is, in the end, unsatisfying." But when I allow for that AS A POSSIBILITY, suddenly I am able to release issues of doubt and disappointment and worry. If everything is inherently unsatisfying, and I go into my life being ok with that, then pressure is released and graceful acceptance (and action) can begin. Art-making, and design, can be as fraught with self-doubt, worry and disappointment as any relationship. Some would say more so, given the potential neuroses of the creative act. But releasing the expectation of fulfillment, releasing the neurosis of the self (because there is no self) enables me to focus my bare attention (sati) on the work, and not on the expectations for the work.

Similarly, it has enabled me to focus my bare attention on the relationships I have, and not on my expectations for those relationships. To focus on the concrete, tangible perceptions of being with another, of being a part of a family, of being in this world. This has made all the difference.