robertogreco + modernism   138

Black Mountain College Museum en Instagram: “"Civilization seems in general to estrange men from materials, from materials in their original form. The process of shaping these is so…”
""Civilization seems in general to estrange men from materials, from materials in their original form. The process of shaping these is so divided into separate steps that one person is rarely involved in the whole course of manufacture, often knowing only the finished product. But if we want to get from materials the sense of directness, the adventure of being close to the stuff the world is made of, we have to go back to the material itself, to its original state, and from there on partake in its stages of change." - Anni Albers (Black Mountain College Bulletin. Series 1, No. 5. Anni Albers, Work With Material, November 1938)⠀

Emerging in the aftermath of WWI and revolting against the consumerism of the Industrial Revolution, the Bauhaus was based upon the philosophy that good design, intentional design, the melding of function and art, can change the world. The quote above, from Anni Albers' essay "Work With Material," showcases how materials play a role in this philosophy - which travelled with the Alberses to BMC. A new, modern approach offered the promise of reconnecting with not only the things we use and surround ourselves with, but with our own humanity.⠀

BAUHAUS 100 and Materials, Sounds + Black Mountain College come together to tell the story of how modern approaches to design, art and craft reconnected us with the materials our world is made of. This philosophy has inspired artists and craftspeople to continue investigating the potential of these materials. We look forward to opening these two exhibition next Friday, June 7th and hope you'll join us for opening weekend (more info through the link in our bio). [http://www.blackmountaincollege.org/material-sound/ ]"

Image: Student Bill Reed's hands at the loom, Black Mountain College, ca. 1938–42. Photograph by Claude Stoller. @albers_foundation"
annilbers  craft  making  slow  small  process  bmc  blackmountaincollege  materials  manufacturing  modernism  consumerism  bauhuas  design  art  artmaking 
june 2019 by robertogreco
Masters of Modern Design: The Art of the Japanese American Experience | KCET
"From the iconic typeface of “The Godfather” book cover to Herman Miller’s Noguchi table, the influence of Japanese American artists and designers in postwar American art and design is unparalleled. While this second generation of Japanese American artists have been celebrated in various publications and exhibitions with their iconic work, less-discussed is how the World War II incarceration — a period of intense discrimination and hardship — has also had a powerful effect on the lives of artists such as Ruth Asawa, George Nakashima, Isamu Noguchi, S. Neil Fujita and Gyo Obata."

[via: https://twitter.com/LangeAlexandra/status/1123656364839067648 ]

[See also: https://www.curbed.com/2017/1/31/14445484/japanese-designers-wwii-internment ]
towatch  ruthasawa  georgenakashima  isamunoguchi  sneilfujita  gyoobata  2019  alexandralange  design  history  japanese-americans  art  modernism  internment  incarceration  wii  ww2 
may 2019 by robertogreco
Froebel's Gifts - 99% Invisible
"I the late 1700s, a young man named Friedrich Froebel was on track to become an architect when a friend convinced him to pursue a path toward education instead. And in changing course, Froebel arguably ended up having more influence on the world of architecture and design than any single architect — all because Friedrich Froebel created kindergarten. If you’ve ever looked at a piece of abstract art or Modernist architecture and thought “my kindergartener could have made that,” well, that may be more true than you realize."
froebel  foebelgifts  kindergarten  education  design  toys  play  friedrichfroebel  modernism  normanbrosterman  tamarzinguer  alexandralange  2019 
may 2019 by robertogreco
Tarsila do Amaral: Translating Modernism in Brazil - Words Without Borders
It seems the role of the translator is not so different from that of a curator. Just as a translator will often introduce a new text, a curator of an exhibition might present something entirely new, which is certainly the case with the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition of work by Tarsila do Amaral. Entitled “Tarsila do Amaral: Inventing Modern Art in Brazil,” it is the first US show devoted exclusively to the Brazilian artist.

A curator, like a translator, acts not only as a mediator but also as an interpreter—another curator, another translator, would tell a slightly different story. When I asked MoMA curator Stephanie D’Alessandro what narrative she and her colleague Luis Pérez-Oramas set out to tell, she admitted it was “a hard story to write.” Their ultimate goal was to engage audiences who were both familiar and completely unfamiliar with Tarsila; to do justice to her legacy while also making her story accessible.
tarsiladoamaral  translation  brazil  brasil  modernism  art  curation  2018  elisaoukalmino  srg 
january 2019 by robertogreco
Very Slow Movie Player – Bryan Boyer – Medium
"Walking around Brasília some years ago I had the distinct feeling that I was doing it “wrong” because, of course, I was. The center of Brasilía is organized along the Exio Monumental, featuring an array of government and other important buildings that form a long spine. This is a place designed to be “read” at the speed of a vehicle, so taking in Brasília by foot is like watching a movie in slow motion. It turns out, both can be rewarding in unexpected ways.

With a little bit of patience, the details of both reveal unexpected and delightful moments. In Brasília, pedestrians are rewarded with an opportunity to discover the subtle variations between what look to be mega-scaled buildings. Rhythmic reflections and shadows bring surfaces to life under the tropical sunlight in beautiful and nuanced ways. Just don’t forget to put on sunscreen, because the distances are intended to be enjoyed from the comfort of a motor vehicle.

On the other hand, watching movies in slow-mo is not something that I’ve had experience with outside of seeing the occasional Bill Viola installation. Until, that is, I started to tinker with ePaper components and Javascript in the depth of Michigan winter, looking for a way to celebrate slowness.

Can a film be consumed at the speed of reading a book? Yes, just as a car city can be enjoyed on foot. Slowing things down to an extreme measure creates room for appreciation of the object, as in Brasília, but the prolonged duration also starts to shift the relationship between object, viewer, and context. A film watched at 1/3,600th of the original speed is not a very slow movie, it’s a hazy timepiece. A Very Slow Movie Player (VSMP) doesn’t tell you the time; it helps you see yourself against the smear of time.

I’ve described VSMP in more detail below, but watch this video [https://vimeo.com/307806967 ] explains it more readily."
bryanboyer  slow  film  brasília  brasilia  modernism  urban  urbanism  raspberrypi  class  diy  movies  billviola  vsmp  cars  travel  movement  time  moments 
december 2018 by robertogreco
Overgrowth - e-flux
"Architects and urban practitioners, toiling daily at the coalface of economic expansion, are complicit in the perpetuation of growth. Yet they are also in a unique position to contribute towards a move away from it. As the drivers of growth begin to reveal their inadequacies for sustaining life, we must imagine alternative societal structures that do not incentivize unsustainable resource and energy use, and do not perpetuate inequality. Working on the frontline of capitalism, it is through architecture and urban practice that alternative values, systems, and logics can be manifest in built form and inherited by generations to come.

Editors
Nick Axel
Matthew Dalziel
Phineas Harper
Nikolaus Hirsch
Cecilie Sachs Olsen
Maria Smith

Overgrowth is a collaboration between e-flux Architecture and the Oslo Architecture Triennale within the context of its 2019 edition."

[See also: https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/overgrowth/221902/editorial/ ]

[including:

Ateya Khorakiwala: "Architecture's Scaffolds"
https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/overgrowth/221616/architecture-s-scaffolds/
The metaphor of grassroots is apt here. Bamboo is a grass, a rhizomatic plant system that easily tends towards becoming an invasive species in its capacity to spread without seed and fruit. Given the new incursions of the global sustainability regime into third world forests to procure a material aestheticized as eco-friendly, what would it take for the state to render this ubiquitous material into a value added and replicable commodity? On one hand, scaffolding offers the site of forming and performing the subjectivity of the unskilled laborer—if not in making the scaffolding, then certainly in using it. Bamboo poles for scaffolding remain raw commodities, without scope for much value addition; a saturated marketplace where it can only be replaced by steel as building projects increase in complexity. On the other hand, bamboo produces both the cottage industry out of a forest-dwelling subject, on the margins of the state, occupying space into which this market can expand.

Bamboo is a material in flux—what it signifies is not transferable from one scale to another, or from one time to another. In that sense, bamboo challenges how we see the history of materials. In addition to its foundational architectural function as scaffolding, it acts as a metaphorical scaffolding as well: it signifies whatever its wielders might want it to, be it tradition, poverty, sustainability, or a new form of eco-chic luxury. Bamboo acts more as a scaffolding for meaning than a material with physical properties of flexibility and strength. Scaffolding, both materially and metaphorically, is a site of politics; a space that opens up and disappears, one that requires much skill in making.

Edgar Pieterse: "Incorporation and Expulsion"
https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/overgrowth/221603/incorporation-and-expulsion/
However, what is even more important is that these radically localized processes will very quickly demand spatial, planning, and design literacy among urban households and their associations. The public pedagogic work involved in nurturing such literacies, always amidst action, requires a further institutional layer that connects intermediary organizations with grassroots formations. For example, NGOs and applied urban research centers with knowledge from different sites (within a city and across the global South) can provide support to foster these organizational literacies without diminishing the autonomy and leadership of grassroots movements. Intermediary organizations are also well placed to mediate between grassroots associations, public officers, private sector interests, and whoever else impinge on the functioning of a neighborhood. Thinking with the example of Lighthouse suggests that we can think of forms of collective economic practice that connect with the urban imperatives of securing household wellbeing whilst expanding various categories of opportunity. The transformative potential is staggering when one considers the speed with which digital money systems and productive efficiencies have taken off across East Africa during the past five years or so.

There is unprecedented opportunity today to delink the imperatives of just urban planning from conventional tropes about economic modernization that tend to produce acontextual technocracy. We should, therefore, focus our creative energies on defining new forms of collective life, economy, wellbeing, invention, and care. This may even prove a worthwhile approach to re-signify “growth.” Beyond narrow economism there is a vast canvas to populate with alternative meanings: signifiers linked to practices that bring us back to the beauty of discovery, learning, questioning, debate, dissensus, experimentation, strategic consensus, and most importantly, the courage to do and feel things differently.

Ingerid Helsing Almaas: "No app for that"
https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/overgrowth/221609/no-app-for-that/
Conventionally, urban growth is seen in terms of different geometries of expansion. Recent decades have also focused on making existing cities denser, but even this is thought of as a process of addition, inscribed in the conventional idea of growth as a linear process of investments and profits. But the slow process of becoming and disappearance is also a form of growth. Growth as slow and diverse accretion and shedding, layering, gradual loss or restoration; cyclical rather than linear or expansive. Processes driven by opportunity and vision, but also by irritation, by lack, by disappointment. In a city, you see these cyclical processes of accretion and disruption everywhere. We just haven’t worked out how to make them work for us. Instead, we go on expecting stability and predictability; a city with a final, finished form.

Peter Buchanan: "Reweaving Webs of Relationships"
https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/overgrowth/221630/reweaving-webs-of-relationships/

Helena Mattsson and Catharina Gabrielsson: "Pockets and Folds"
https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/overgrowth/221607/pockets-and-folds/
Moments of deregulations are moments when an ideology of incessant growth takes over all sectors of life and politics. Returning to those moments allows us to inquire into other ways of organizing life and architecture while remaining within the sphere of the possible. Through acts of remembrance, we have the opportunity to rewrite the present through the past whereby the pockets and folds of non-markets established in the earlier welfare state come into view as worlds of a new becoming. These pockets carry the potential for new political imaginaries where ideas of degrowth reorganize the very essence of the architectural assemblage and its social impacts. These landscapes of possibilities are constructed through desires of collective spending—dépense—rather than through the grotesque ideas of the wooden brain.

Angelos Varvarousis and Penny Koutrolikou: "Degrowth and the City"
https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/overgrowth/221623/degrowth-and-the-city/
The idea of city of degrowth does not attempt to homogenize, but rather focus on inclusiveness. Heterogeneity and plurality are not contrary to the values of equity, living together and effective sharing of the resources. Difference and plurality are inherent and essential for cities and therefore diverse spatial and social articulations are intrinsic in the production of a city of degrowth. They are also vital for the way such an idea of a city could be governed; possibly through local institutions and assemblies that try to combine forms of direct and delegative democracy.
]
growth  degrowth  architecture  overgrowth  2018  nickaxel  matthewdalziel  phineasharper  nikolaushirsch  ceciliesachsolsen  mariasmith  ateyakhorakiwala  edgarpieterse  ingeridhelsingalmaas  peterbuchanan  helenamattsson  catharinagabrielsson  angelosvarvarousis  pennykoutrolikou  2019  anthropocene  population  sustainability  humans  civilization  economics  policy  capitalism  karlmarx  neoliberalism  systemsthinking  cities  urban  urbanism  urbanplanning  urbanization  ecology  consumption  materialism  consumerism  oslo  bymelding  stability  change  predictability  design  africa  southafrica  postcolonialism  ethiopia  nigeria  housing  kenya  collectivism  dissensus  experimentation  future  learning  questioning  debate  discovery  wellbeing  intervention  care  technocracy  modernization  local  grassroots  materials  multiliteracies  ngos  autonomy  shigeruban  mumbai  bamboo  burkinafaso  patrickkeré  vikramadityaprakash  lecorbusier  pierrejeanneret  modernism  shivdattsharma  chandigarh  india  history  charlescorrea  scaffolding 
november 2018 by robertogreco
We interrupt this broadcast
"Between 1975 and 1982, The Open University broadcast a series of televised courses on the genealogy of the modern movement: A305, History of Architecture and Design 1890–1939. We have asked Charlotte Lydia Riley, Owen Hatherley, and Jonathan Bignell to watch the course television programmes with us. They interrupted them to add context for a contemporary audience, from the perspective of history, architecture, and media studies. Their live annotations invite a reflection on the timeliness of authoring new histories and what it means to disseminate these histories in an always-particular moment in time."
1970s  1980s  massmedia  television  tv  video  towatch  annotation  charlottelydiariley  owenhatherley  jonathanbignell  architecture  history  mediastudies  media  modernism  design 
april 2018 by robertogreco
How to Teach Art to Kids, According to Mark Rothko
"If you’ve ever seen Mark Rothko’s paintings—large canvases filled with fields of atmospheric color—and thought, “a child could do this,” you’ve paid the Abstract Expressionist a compliment.

Rothko greatly admired children’s art, praising the freshness, authenticity, and emotional intensity of their creations. And he knew children’s art well, working as an art teacher for over 20 years at the Brooklyn Jewish Center. To his students—kindergarteners through 8th graders—Rothko wasn’t an avant-garde visionary or burgeoning art star, he was “Rothkie.” “A big bear of a man, the friendliest, nicest, warmest member of the entire school,” his former student Martin Lukashok once recalled.

Rothko was a thought leader in the field of children’s art education. He published an essay on the topic (“New Training for Future Artists and Art Lovers”) in 1934, which he hoped to follow up with a book. Though he never completed the project, he left behind 49 sheets of notes, known as “The Scribble Book,” which detailed his progressive pedagogy—and from which we’ve taken five lessons that Rothko wanted all art teachers to know.

Lesson #1: Show your students that art is a universal form of expression, as elemental as speaking or singing

Rothko taught that everyone can make art—even those without innate talent or professional training. According to the painter, art is an essential part of the human experience. And just as kids can quickly pick up stories or songs, they can easily turn their observations and imaginings into art. (Similarly, he believed, taking away a child’s access to artmaking could be as harmful as stunting their ability to learn language.)

For Rothko, art was all about expression—transforming one’s emotions into visual experiences that everyone can understand. And kids do this naturally. “These children have ideas, often fine ones, and they express them vividly and beautifully, so that they make us feel what they feel,” he writes. “Hence their efforts are intrinsically works of art.”

Lesson #2: Beware of suppressing a child’s creativity with academic training

As Rothko saw it, a child’s expressiveness is fragile. When art teachers assign projects with strict parameters or emphasize technical perfection, this natural creativity can quickly turn to conformity. “The fact that one usually begins with drawing is already academic,” Rothko explains. “We start with color.”

To protect his students’ creative freedom, Rothko followed a simple teaching method. When children entered his art room, all of their working materials—from brushes to clay—were already set up, ready for them to select and employ in free-form creations. No assignments needed.

“Unconscious of any difficulties, they chop their way and surmount obstacles that might turn an adult grey, and presto!” Rothko describes. “Soon their ideas become visible in a clearly intelligent form.” With this flexibility, his students developed their own unique artistic styles, from the detail-oriented to the wildly expressive. And for Rothko, the ability to channel one’s interior world into art was much more valuable than the mastery of academic techniques. “There is no such thing as good painting about nothing,” he once wrote.

Lesson #3: Stage exhibitions of your students’ works to encourage their self-confidence

“I was never good at art,” recalled Rothko’s former student Gerald Phillips. “But he…made you feel that you were really producing something important, something good.”

For Rothko, an art teacher’s premier responsibility was to inspire children’s self-confidence. To do this, he organized public exhibitions of his students’ works across New York City, including a show of 150 pieces at the Brooklyn Museum in 1934. And when Rothko had his first solo exhibition at the Portland Art Museum a year earlier, he brought his students’ works along with him and exhibited them next to his own.

These exhibitions gave Rothko’s students a newfound excitement about their work, while educating the public about the potential of children’s art. “It is significant,” Rothko writes, “that dozens of artists viewed this exhibition [of student works at the Brooklyn Museum] and were amazed and stirred by it.” Rothko wanted critics to see that fine art only requires emotional intensity to be successful.

Lesson #4: Introduce art history with modern art (not the Old Masters)

When teaching young students about art history, where do you start? For Rothko, the answer was clear: Modernism.

With 20th-century art, children can learn from works that are similar to their own, whether through the paintings of Henri Matisse, Milton Avery, or Pablo Picasso. These iconic artists sought pure, personal forms of visual expression, free from the technical standards of the past. “[Modern art] has not been obscured by style and tradition as that of the old masters,” Rothko explains. “It is therefore particularly useful to us…to serve as an interpreter to establish the relationship between the child and the stream of art.”

But while exposure to modern art can help boost children’s confidence and creativity, it shouldn’t interfere with the development of a unique style. Rothko discouraged his students from mimicking museum works as well as his own painting practice. “Very often the work of the children is simply a primitive rendition of the creative ends of the artist teacher,” he warns. “Therefore it has the appearance of child art, but loses the basic creative outlet for the child himself.”

Lesson #5: Work to cultivate creative thinkers, not professional artists

In addition to fanning students’ creative instincts, great art teachers can help students become more self-aware, empathetic, and collaborative—and this generates better citizens in the long run, Rothko believed. At the Brooklyn Jewish Center, he hardly cared whether his students would go on to pursue careers in the arts. Instead, Rothko focused on cultivating in his students a deep appreciation for artistic expression.

“Most of these children will probably lose their imaginativeness and vivacity as they mature,” he wrote. “But a few will not. And it is hoped that in their cases, the experience of eight years [in my classroom] will not be forgotten and they will continue to find the same beauty about them. As to the others, it is hoped, that their experience will help them to revive their own early artistic pleasures in the work of others.”

And, in turn, Rothko’s own creativity was revived by his students’ unabashed expressiveness. When the artist began teaching, his works were still somewhat figurative, depicting street scenes, landscapes, portraits, and interiors with loose brushwork. Upon retirement, his style had transformed to complete abstraction, taking the form of vivid, color-filled canvases that he hoped would intuitively resonate with adults and children alike.
markrothko  education  teaching  arteducation  art  howwetech  children  lcproject  openstudioproject  creativity  learning  unschooling  deschooling  modernart  modernism  academics  pedagogy  2018  expression  human  humans  conformity 
february 2018 by robertogreco
Adventures in lifelong learning: Towards an Anti-Fascist Curriculum
"Yesterday's Warsaw demonstrations were shocking in their scale (60,000 nationalists marched on Poland's independence day; many calling for 'a white Europe of brotherly nations'), but were also disturbing in the way that, whilst confronted with new displays of far-right extremism almost daily - we just don't seem shocked enough. Fascism is like that, of course. It is out-there in the Charlottesville marches, echoed in the words of Nigel Farage and Tommy Robinson, yet it is also insidious. It creeps into lives - and becomes normalised in our language and behaviours. As Umberto Eco wrote in 'Ur-Fascism' (1995, p.8), 'Fascism..can come back under the most innocent of disguises. Our duty is to uncover it and to point our finger at any of its new instances – every day, in every part of the world.'

The warning signs

I won't use this blog to attempt to summarise important political discussions or try to analyse fascism in any detail; I am not a historian. But given the international rise of the far-right I believe that, as educators, we have a duty to be sensitive to these shifts and as a result should be reshaping our curricula and pedagogy to take account of it.

According to Merriam Webster, fascism is 'a political philosophy, movement, or regime... that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition'. Eco suggests a list of features that are typical of what he calls Ur-Fascism, or Eternal Fascism. As he states, 'These features cannot be organized into a system; many of them contradict each other, and are also typical of other kinds of despotism or fanaticism. But it is enough that one of them be present to allow fascism to coagulate around it'. The first principle, that fascism derives from individual or social frustration, is enough in itself to set alarm bells ringing. Four other key features are:

1. The cult of tradition. The desire to return to a better age, and a fear of modernism: 'Truth has been already spelled out once and for all, and we can only keep interpreting its obscure message'. (It should be noted that the first thing that fascist states seize is the curriculum).

2. Irrationalism, and the promotion of action over thought. 'Distrust of the intellectual world'.

3. Fear of difference (fascism is racist by definition). 'The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an appeal against the intruders.'

4. The fostering of a spirit of war, heroism and machismo. 'Since both permanent war and heroism are difficult games to play, the Ur-Fascist transfers his will to power to sexual matters. This is the origin of machismo (which implies both disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual 8 habits, from chastity to homosexuality).'

An anti-fascist curriculum

I suggest here that an anti-fascist curriculum should take account of warning signs such as Eco's, and should also pay heed to Lawrence Britt's 'Fourteen signs of fascism' which include Cronyism and Corruption, the suppression of organised labour, obsession with national security and identification of scapegoats as a unifying cause.

The word 'curriculum' here refers to more than just the syllabus; it incorporates all influences on a child (or adult's) education (buildings, pedagogy, classroom management, the implicit and explicit things that are taught). As teachers we often distract ourselves from the bigger picture; arguments about the specifics of practice give a sense that our classrooms operate as micro-entities, where children are unaffected by the social dysfunction surrounding them. Managing behaviour is seen as a battle of 'them versus us,' and the 'othering' of pupils causes us to neglect the development of our own self-awareness. For this reason, such a curriculum can only start with the teacher.

Below are a few ideas for what an anti-fascist curriculum manifesto might practically include. It can only ever be a guideline; wanting it to become policy or enacted in some way defeats the object of a movement that should sit outside the state. Likewise, it should not dictate the behaviour of teachers, only act as a stimulus that has the potential, not to make large-scale change, but to spark a 'line of flight' that disrupts the status quo. If any of the manifesto chimes with you or you want send any thoughts or ideas as I continue to extend it, please do not hesitate to comment or get in touch with me.

Towards an Anti-Fascist Curriculum - A Manifesto for Educators

1. We start by examining the 'fascist inside us all.'

“The strategic adversary is fascism... the fascism in us all, in our heads and in our everyday behavior, the fascism that causes us to love power, to desire the very thing that dominates and exploits us.” (Foucoult, 1983)

We recognise our own interior desire for power and accept our responsibility as educators to reflect on this with others in spirit of critical challenge. We undertake critically reflective processes that make us question our own assumptions and prejudices, such as tests of cognitive dissonance to expose gender, race, age, disability bias, and intersections of these and other identities. We examine our own values, as individuals and within our organisations and consider the roots of these and their influences on our practice. Our reflective activity extends to our roles as leaders; we aim to continually refine and develop ourselves as human beings, alongside our students.

2. We promote difference over uniformity.

This includes de-centring the Enlightenment idea of the 'perfect human' in order to augment the voices of oppressed 'others'. We celebrate the living knowledge of our students, and examine the genealogy of the subjects we teach to decolonise and diversify our curricula. We make efforts to connect with others globally to inform our practice and maintain perspective. We challenge the threat of toxic masculinity through deliberate educational approaches which liberate men and boys from the need to conform to 'gender-specific' ideals (which further male supremacy). We reflect on our own privilege.

3. We accept complexity and uncertainty.

Whilst welcoming research-informed practice, we reject the fetishisation of science and the search for the 'ultimate truths' of education theory, which can limit educational autonomy.

4. We resist the reduction of 'education' to instrumentalism.

We widen the purpose of education to take into account the socialisation and subjectification of our students (Biesta, 2010). We believe in education as the practice of freedom (hooks, 1994) and consider each subject we teach as a potential vehicle to promote agency and social justice.

5. We are pro-social, critical pedagogues.

We use teaching methods that place an emphasis on the building of community, togetherness and belonging, which have a strong critical and reflective focus. Specific teaching innovations may include philosophical inquiry, restorative practice and thinking environments (and would include the implementation of critical digital pedagogies)."
fascism  sfsh  2017  education  uniformity  difference  complexity  cv  uncertainty  instrumentalism  schools  learning  freedom  community  togetherness  belonging  criticalpedagogy  pedagogy  bellhoooks  teaching  howweteach  openstudioproject  lcproject  restorativejustice  thinking  socialization  agency  socialjustice  science  scienticsm  autonomy  truth  enlightenment  humansism  othering  others  decolonization  diversity  curriculum  masculinity  gender  race  reflection  disability  power  responsibility  canon  love  exploitation  xenophobia  irrationalism  action  machismo  war  heroism  nationalism  tradition  modernism  cronyism  corruption  classroommanagement  manifesto  foucault  supremacy  patriarchy  privilege  disabilities  michelfoucault 
november 2017 by robertogreco
crap futures — Back to nature
"We live on a remote island - mountainous, mid-Atlantic, still heavily forested and pretty wild - and for that reason nature sometimes sneaks into our otherwise technology-centred work. It is hard not to think local when you live in a place like this. We’re neither farmers nor pioneers - except in the sense that resident aliens on this island are few - but lately our reading has got us thinking about ancient paths and rural places. We’ll discuss the paths today and save most of the farm talk for a future post.

Paths v roads

In his 1969 essay ‘A Native Hill’, Wendell Berry - the American writer, farmer, activist, and ‘modern Thoreau’ - makes a useful distinction between paths and roads:
The difference between a path and a road is not only the obvious one. A path is little more than a habit that comes with knowledge of a place. It is a sort of ritual of familiarity. As a form, it is a form of contact with a known landscape. It is not destructive. It is the perfect adaptation, through experience and familiarity, of movement to place; it obeys the natural contours; such obstacles as it meets it goes around. A road, on the other hand … embodies a resistance against the landscape. Its reason is not simply the necessity for movement, but haste. Its wish is to avoid contact with the landscape. … It is destructive, seeking to remove or destroy all obstacles in its way.


Aside from conversation as usual, the reason we are talking about Berry is the arrival of a new film, Look & See, and a new collection of his writing, The World-Ending Fire, edited by Paul Kingsnorth of Dark Mountain Project fame. Berry and Kingsnorth, along with the economist Kate Raworth, were on BBC Radio 4’s Start the Week recently chatting about the coming apocalypse and how it might best be avoided. It is a fascinating interview: you can actually hear Berry’s rocking chair creaking and the crows cawing outside the window of his house in Port Royal, Kentucky.

The normally optimistic Berry agrees somewhat crankily to read ‘the poem that you asked me to read’ on the programme. ‘Sabbaths 1989’ describes roads to the future as going nowhere: ‘roads strung everywhere with humming wire. / Nowhere is there an end except in smoke. / This is the world that we have set on fire.’ Berry admits that this poem is about as gloomy as he gets (‘blessed are / The dead who died before this time began’). For the most part his writing is constructive: forming a sensual response to cold, atomised modernity; advocating for conviviality, community, the commonweal.

Paul Kingsnorth talks compellingly in the same programme about transforming protest into action, although in truth no one walks the walk like Berry. Kingsnorth says: ‘We’re all complicit in the things we oppose’ - and never were truer words spoken, from our iPhones to our energy use. In terms of design practice, there are worse goals than reducing our level of complicity in environmental harm and empty consumerism. Like Berry, Kingsnorth talks about paths and roads. He asks: ‘Why should we destroy an ancient forest to cut twelve minutes off a car journey from London to Southampton? Is that a good deal?’

It’s a fair question. It also illustrates perfectly what Berry was describing in the passage that started this post: the difference between paths that blend and coexist with the local landscape, preserving the knowledge and history of the land, and roads that cut straight through it. These roads are like a destructive and ill-fitting grid imposed from the centre onto the periphery, without attention to the local terrain or ecology or ways of doing things - both literally (in the case of energy) and figuratively.

Another book we read recently, Holloway, describes ancient paths - specifically the ‘holloways’ of South Dorset - in similar terms:
They are landmarks that speak of habit rather than of suddenness. Like creases in the hand, or the wear on the stone sill of a doorstep or stair, they are the result of repeated human actions. Their age chastens without crushing. They relate to other old paths & tracks in the landscape - ways that still connect place to place & person to person.


Holloways are paths sunk deep into the landscape and into the local history. Roads, in contrast, skip over the local - collapsing time as they move us from one place to the next without, as it were, touching the ground. They alienate us in our comfort.

Here in Madeira there are endless footpaths broken through the woods. Still more unique are the levadas, the irrigation channels that run for more than two thousand kilometres back and forth across the island, having been brought to Portugal from antecedents in Moorish aqueduct systems and adapted to the specific terrain and agricultural needs of Madeira starting in the sixteenth century.

Both the pathways through the ancient laurel forests and the centuries-old levadas (which, though engineered, were cut by hand and still follow the contours and logic of the landscape) contrast with the highways and tunnels that represent a newer feat of human engineering since the 1970s. During his controversial though undeniably successful reign from 1978 to 2015 - he was elected President of Madeira a remarkable ten times - Alberto João Jardim oversaw a massive infrastructure program that completely transformed the island. Places that used to be virtually unreachable became accessible by a short drive. His legacy, in part, is a culture of automobile dependency that is second to none. The American highway system inspired by Norman Bel Geddes’ (and General Motors’) Futurama exhibit at the 1939 New York World’s Fair almost pales in comparison to Jardim’s vision for the rapid modernisation of Madeira.

But when you walk the diesel-scented streets of the capital, or you drive through the holes bored deep into and out of towering volcanic mountains to reach the airport - and even when you think back in history and imagine those first settlers sitting in their ships as half the island’s forest burned, watching the dense smoke of the fires they lit to make Madeira favourable to human habitation - it’s hard not to think what a catastrophically invasive species are human beings.

Bespoke is a word we use a lot. In our vocabulary bespoke is not about luxury or excess - as it has been co-opted by consumer capitalism to suggest. Instead it is about tailored solutions, fitted to the contours of a particular body or landscape. Wendell Berry insists on the role of aesthetics and proportionality in his approach to environmentalism: the goal is not hillsides covered in rows of ugly solar panels, but an integrated and deep and loving relationship with the land. This insistence on aesthetics relates to the ‘reconfiguring’ principles that inform our newest work. The gravity batteries we’ve been building are an alternative not only to the imposed, top-down infrastructure of the grid, but also to the massive scale of such solutions and our desire to work with the terrain rather than against it.

Naomi Klein talked about renewable energy in these terms in an interview a couple of years ago:
If you go back and look at the way fossil fuels were marketed in the 1700s, when coal was first commercialized with the Watt steam engine, the great promise of coal was that it liberated humans from nature … And that was, it turns out, a lie. We never transcended nature, and that I think is what is so challenging about climate change, not just to capitalism but to our core civilizational myth. Because this is nature going, ‘You thought you were in charge? Actually all that coal you’ve been burning all these years has been building up in the atmosphere and trapping heat, and now comes the response.’ … Renewable energy puts us back in dialog with nature. We have to think about when the wind blows, we have to think about where the sun shines, we cannot pretend that place and space don’t matter. We are back in the world.


In a future post we will talk about the related subject of sustainable agriculture. But speaking of food - the time has come for our toast and coffee.
2017  crapfutures  wendellberry  paths  roads  madeira  bespoke  tailoring  audiencesofone  naomiklein  sustainability  earth  normanbelgeddes  albertojoãojardim  levadas  infrastructure  permanence  capitalism  energy  technology  technosolutionsism  1969  obstacles  destruction  habits  knowledge  place  placemaking  experience  familiarity  experientialeducation  kateraworth  paulkingsnorth  darkmountainproject  modernity  modernism  holloways  nature  landscape  cars  transportation  consumerism  consumercapitalism  reconfiguration  domination  atmosphere  environment  dialog  conviviality  community  commonweal  invasivespecies  excess  humans  futurama  ecology  canon  experientiallearning 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Vito Acconci, Performance Artist and Uncommon Architect, Dies at 77 - The New York Times
"Some performances might have gotten him arrested, though Mr. Acconci also seemed to possess the instincts of a cat burglar. In one of his most famous early works, “Following Piece,” from 1969, he spent each day for almost a month following a person picked at random on the streets of Manhattan, sometimes taking a friend along to photograph the action. The rules were only that Mr. Acconci had to keep following the person until he or she entered a private place where he couldn’t go in.

Mr. Acconci saw himself not as a stalker but as an unmoored soul searching for direction.

“It was sort of a way to get myself off the writer’s desk and into the city,” he once told the musician Thurston Moore. “It was like I was praying for people to take me somewhere I didn’t know how to go myself.”

The dozens of performance pieces that followed through the early 1970s, many of them now little-known, featured varying elements of bodily discomfort, exhibitionism and gender play — elements he shared with other artists of the time, particularly female — as well as a devious wit and a Svengali aura that were Mr. Acconci’s own.

In “Seedbed” (1972) — Mr. Acconci’s most infamous piece, which came to overshadow much of his other work — he constructed an angled false floor at the Sonnabend Gallery in SoHo and hid himself beneath it with a microphone; as people walked above him he spoke to them as he masturbated. The piece became a touchstone of performance art in part because of its sheer, outlandish audacity.

But it also underscored Mr. Acconci’s abiding interest in art that did not exist as an object set apart from the world, in a frame or on a plinth, but as something deeply embedded in everyday life.

“I wanted people to go through space somehow, not to have people in front of space, looking at something, bowing down to something,” he said of the performance in an interview with The New York Times in 2016 on the occasion of a retrospective at MoMA PS 1 in Queens. “I wanted space people could be involved in.”

That ambition took hold fully in the mid-1970s, when, in a radical career turn, he abandoned the gallery world and remade himself as a highly unorthodox architect and designer, creating works like public parks, airport rest areas and even an artificial island on a river in Austria.

The move confused his peers and caused his profile in the art world to recede, to the point where many younger artists who were indirectly influenced by his work had little idea who had created it. In his later years, Mr. Acconci sometimes agonized over this situation, but he said he had no choice but to follow his interests where they took him — which was no less than an ambition to change the way people lived.

“I wish we could make buildings that could constantly explode and come back in different ways,” he said in one interview. “The idea of a changing environment suggests that if your environment changes all the time, then maybe your ideas will change all the time. I think architecture should have loose ends. This might be another problem with Modernism — it’s too complete within itself.”

Vito Hannibal Acconci was born on Jan. 4, 1940, and raised in the Bronx in a tightly knit Italian-Catholic family. His father, Hamilcar — Hamilcar Barca was the father of the Carthaginian general Hannibal, hence Mr. Acconci’s unusual middle name — was a bathrobe manufacturer whose business was never very good. His mother, Chiara, known as Catherine, worked as a school cafeteria attendant to help makes ends meet.

Mr. Acconci spoke often about how his father’s unusual name, and his love of literature and opera, sparked a fierce interest in words at an early age. (“I prefer Hannibal to Vito,” he once told an interviewer, “but, then again, that was before ‘Silence of the Lambs.’”)

His father died when Mr. Acconci was in his early 20s. He said he was spoiled and protected long into adulthood by his mother, whom he labored to keep in ignorance of the shocking specifics of his work.

In 1962, he enrolled in the graduate writing program at the University of Iowa, in thrall to postmodern writers like Alain Robbe-Grillet and John Hawkes. He married a fellow artist, Rosemary Mayer (they divorced in the late 1960s), and with her sister, the poet and artist Bernadette Mayer, he published a journal called “0 to 9,” after the numeral paintings of Jasper Johns.

By 1969, in what he called “a kind of fever,” he was making performances at a rate of sometimes several a week, documenting them in a decidedly analog archive of metal filing cabinets that grew vast toward the end of his life, taking up a large room in the studio in the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn, where he and Maria Acconci ran Acconci Studios, a design and architecture firm.

Holland Cotter, describing Mr. Acconci’s sui-generis performance persona in The Times in 2016, wrote: “Thirty-something, hirsute, in slack shape, he looks and acts the part of sleazoid voyeur, stand-up comic, psychopath and self-martyred saint.”

He added: “In ways not so different from Cindy Sherman’s in photography, he was creating multiple characters who happened to share a body — his — that he wanted both to explore and escape, and that was coming apart under stress.”

In 1980, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago organized a retrospective, and by that time videos, photographic documentations and other works of his had entered numerous important public collections, including those of the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

To support himself throughout a career that was never careerist, he taught and lectured in art schools around New York, and his classroom presence became legendary, a kind of performance work itself — with his long unruly hair, his all-black wardrobe, his gravel-bed voice with its distinctive loping stutter and, before he quit, the endless cigarettes he would light, stub out, pocket, retrieve and light again.

Even when thinking about the end of his life, he seemed to conceive of it as consonant with his work, a performance. In a letter to an unknown recipient in 1971, he spoke of his fears of dying on a plane trip to Canada and stated that before the flight he would deposit an envelope with a key to his apartment at the registrar’s desk at the School of Visual Arts.

“In the event of my death,” the letter, a kind of will, concluded, “the envelope can be picked up by the first person who calls for it; he will be free to use my apartment, and its contents, any way he wishes.”"
vitoacconci  2017  names  naming  art  artists  public  architecture  design  careers  careerism  body  bodies  multitudes  modernism  change  environment 
april 2017 by robertogreco
California Today: The Rise of a Design Capital - The New York Times
"Overseas, California as a brand is now a crucial selling point for product makers when it comes to technology, automobiles and architecture.

“If you’re able to say, ‘Hey, this is truly Californian,’ there is a real appeal to it,” said Kevin Klowden, the executive director of the Milken Institute’s California Center.

That cachet, of course, has been supercharged by Silicon Valley. Design scholars point to Apple’s devices. Even as its manufacturing moved overseas, the company added a line to its products: “Designed by Apple in California.”

But what does California design say to consumers?

Simon Sadler, a professor of design at U.C. Davis who is principally interested in architecture, talked about the Golden Gate Bridge, the Pacific Coast Highway, the open style of modern homes, as well as an intangible sense of “magic and possibility.”

“We don’t do monuments, we do nodes,” he said. “And this is how we end up with the most famous California design of modern times, which is the iPhone. You know, it’s barely there. It’s always just an interface.”

Kevin Starr, the California historian, said global enthusiasm for the Golden State was in some ways recasting landscapes well beyond the state’s borders. On the roads, cars by nearly every automaker that sell in the United States are now designed in California.

And take a look at architecture around the world, Dr. Starr added: “Places like New Zealand, Australia, Argentina — they are all beginning to increasingly look like California. It’s the internationalization of design out of California.”

Many design experts still point to New York, with its recognizable monuments, as America’s design capital. There has long been a feeling in architectural circles that New York looked down on California. But that may be changing.

“What is surely exasperating for our colleagues on the East Coast is whether or not we’re ditsy, we’re onto something,” Professor Sadler said. “And the ascent of California as a center of design has been unstoppable.”"



[and at the end]

"In the 1960s, when a new bridge bisected the largely Mexican-American neighborhood of Barrio Logan in San Diego, residents were outraged.

They responded by painting colorful murals on the bridge’s concrete columns that depicted Chicano heritage and heroes. Over time, Chicano Park, as it was named, became home to dozens of the soaring artworks along with sculptures and landscaping.

Now, a campaign is underway to designate the park as a national historic landmark.

Representative Juan Vargas, a Democrat in San Diego, introduced a bill last year that would require the secretary of the interior to assess the park’s suitability for the designation.

On Wednesday, the measure was unanimously approved by a congressional committee.

Nominees for the National Historic Landmarks program are chosen for their historical as well as aesthetic value. In California, 145 structures bear the designation, among them bridges, forts and churches.

In a statement, Mr. Vargas said Chicano Park deserved to be included, calling it “a cultural mecca that highlights the activist and artistic contributions of our local community.”"
california  design  2016  architecture  technology  apple  simonsadler  kevinstarr  iphone  cars  homes  barriologan  chicanopark  sandiego  modernism  nodes 
november 2016 by robertogreco
Home Economics: author Jack Self on creating a manifesto for 21st century living
"Home Economics is a book designed to complement the exhibition of the same name. Normally, this would make Home Economics a catalogue – but this publication is the exact opposite.

It does more than simply represent or record, it proposes, and it reframes the publication as a project in its own right. Home Economics aspires to be a clear statement of intent, a (rather modest) manifesto, and a book with a proposition that can function entirely independently of the exhibition it was commissioned to accompany.

Featured are essays from Britain’s foremost writers and critics; architectural projects (including those commissioned for the show but not exhibited); photographic artworks that capture the spaces and provoke our assumptions about the home.

So why did the curators of the British Pavilion – myself, Finn Williams and Shumi Bose – conceive of such an ambitious book to mirror our exhibition at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale? And why did The Spaces support such an idea?

An important reference for the curatorial team when planning the book was the catalogue that followed the Acceptera exhibition, which took place in Sweden in 1931. We tend to think of Modernism as a movement that tried to sweep away the past and make a clean break with history – what makes Scandinavian Modernism practically unique is that the first major exhibition of Modernist architecture argued for the polar opposite.

Its instigators pointed to Victorian lace and dim rooms filled with dusty ornaments and said that in the past Scandinavian spaces were always clean, simple, filled with plain wooden furniture and brightly lit. With a clever twist, they suggested that Modernism was an extension of the most authentic forms of traditional architecture. It was this point that contributed to its success and mass acceptance (in fact Acceptera translates as ‘you must accept!’).

Their ‘catalogue’ was released almost a year after the exhibition closed. This book, also titled Acceptera, put the cart before the horse in catalogue terms: it was really a manifesto for Modernism and, since there were so few Modernist buildings in Scandinavia, it used the buildings of the exhibition to illustrate its argument. This is contrary to what one might expect, when the buildings are presented first and captioned to explain their purpose.

Home Economics, like Acceptera, is an exhibition of architecture at a life-size full-scale level. And while it is unlikely to be the beginning of a new movement, it does try to use the idea of an accompanying publication as a way to bring ideas about ownership, new forms of life, changes to domestic use, and the economics and politics of the home to a mass readership. The book is designed for a general audience, to be as engaging and as inclusive as the exhibition itself.

Of course, a big difference for Home Economics is that we couldn’t wait a year to release a book. It had to be ready and available on the first day of the show. To do this and include exhibition photography we had to pull installation forward by two weeks and use cutting-edge printing technologies (so-called ‘just-in-time’ production). This put the photographer whose beautiful photo-essay features in the catalogue, Thomas Adank, under immense pressure – he worked almost round the clock for several days to get the work completed.

Home Economics (the exhibition) contains almost no wall text, which is provided instead in a small pamphlet. The idea behind this is to give visitors more freedom to engage and explore with the spaces, rather than force them to stand and look at walls.

But this also creates a layered experience: someone with no knowledge could enter and grasp certain aspects from their time in the spaces alone; another person might read the pamphlet and have a deeper understanding of the themes and the works; and a third, armed with the book, would be able to fully understand the research, complexity and ambitions of the exhibition.

The book should not be seen as an addendum or addition – it is integral and a central part of the exhibition.

This publication is the product of a long chain of creative decisions: the British Council, who took a chance on commissioning the youngest ever curators to execute the pavilion; us curators, who then conceived and edited an extremely ambitious book (with design by OK-RM); and most importantly the publishers, The Spaces and the REAL foundation.

As one of the curatorial team for the pavilion, and as co-publisher for REAL foundation and editorial director for this book, I have to say that the partnership formed with The Spaces has been a meeting of minds. They have supported every proposal – even those that seemed impossible, like including show photography. Their experience from their own practice, which asks many of the same questions about what it means to live today, has been invaluable.

The quality of the book has only been made possible by their support for radical creative projects and a desire to have a long-term commitment to the promotion of new ideas about architecture."
ok-rm  jackself  architecture  modernism  1931  sweden  shumibosefinnwilliams  books  economics  politics  thomasadank 
july 2016 by robertogreco
How These Wooden Fences Became A Symbol Of Gentrification Across Los Angeles: LAist
[via: http://www.curbed.com/2016/6/29/12009800/oakland-flip-leaning-house ]

"It's not clear where or when this wooden slat revival started exactly, but it was roughly a decade or so ago and has been creeping through Los Angeles like kudzu ever since. In decades to come, it'll be a signifier for the exhaustive pace at which the city has changed in the past 5 to 10 years—for better or worse. And even though it can be spotted throughout the greater L.A. area or other markets entirely, architectural designer Marc Cucco finds the slat to be "specific to Eastside L.A. There's a variation in other 'hot' markets, like Austin or Denver. But the speed at which prices surged in northeast Los Angeles, as compared to the rest of the country, means that the aesthetic look is the result of a 'process' designed to provide quick curb appeal to properties which have been thinly, and cosmetically, updated."

Over the past decade we have a dominant theme in American cities: neck-snapping rates of (depending on your ideological slant) development/gentrification/transition as many parts of our cities have become desirable again. In so many ways, L.A. looks very different than it did a decade ago, and the wooden slat fence—a.k.a. the hipster fence or the flipper fence—will be the defining architectural symbol of an L.A. and the desire to own one in this period.

The slat fence is not some anomaly but instead a logical extension of the 21st century middle-upper class obsession with mid-century modern aesthetics and case studies, extending from inside the home with Eames chairs and Noguchi tables spilling into our yards. The main reason the slat has become so dominant is that wooden fences—a relatively affordable addition—might be the most direct and cost effective way to attract prospective home buyers who want a want a touch of design without breaking the bank. But maybe it's not just a cheap trick for looks. Having any sort of fenced in front yard in modern homes might be a holdover from the '80s and '90s violence in L.A., a way to barricade oneself from "super-predators" or whatever shitty euphemisms that are creeping back into the lexicon. The wooden slat fence splits the difference between barred windows and no barrier at all between the house and its exterior. Through its semi-privacy and vague nod to affluence, the slat becomes the most direct symbol of transition.

Architectural designer Dave Bantz has lived in L.A. for the past decade, and finds the slat fence to be "most prevalent in neighborhoods where an owner or potential buyer senses some kind of right of crime or burglary in the neighborhood, or their lot is small enough to where they need a defensible and contained space to play with children and pets." He adds, "I think we see this fence in transitioning neighborhoods because it can be built cheaply and quickly and it exudes a modern appeal that signals that the home itself may also be updated." So, in that respect, the slat is a wordless billboard with the subtext, "this neighborhood has potential. But it's still a place where you're going to want a sense of protection from the street."

Before the slats came in, northeast Los Angeles was and still is also heavy on stone and wrought iron front fencing, prevalent in Latino neighborhoods in particular. "My Guatemalan neighbor actually told me that he and many of his older friends in the neighborhood consider a metal wrought iron fence to signify wealth, quality, durability much more than a wood fence," Bantz explains. "My neighbor asked my why I wasn't building a metal fence with masonry posts like the rest of the home in the neighborhood and I told him that it was a matter of style and preference (and cost)."

To be fair to the slats, it's not just fences. There's a whole flipper design element starter set: a fresh gray paint job, san serif minimalist address numbers, or a Nightmare on Elm Street blood-red door. You can pick and choose or get the combo. Either way, if you see any of these telltale symbols, odds are the house has recently changed hands or will be soon. And there's a high chance that if you go inside, you'll see subway tile, exposed bulb fixtures, or a farmhouse sink in the kitchen. And in the backyard, there's at pretty good chance you'll find a gas fire pit.

These flipper design elements are increasingly common but also so commonly just slapped on. It's like a magic trick—in order for it to work, the quality of execution has to be high. Even though the real estate market in these flipping neighborhoods is in many ways bonkers. Bantz explains, "Buyers of these flips are not stupid. They know the difference between a well-maintained original craftsman, a new construction stucco flip, and a renovated modern bungalow... and the real estate agents and pricing shows this clearly. Many people buy a flip knowing full well that they will have to invest in replacing or fixing much of the work that was done by the flipper."

It's difficult to speak on the subjects surrounding the these architectural accoutrements without acknowledging the housing crisis L.A. is buckling under. The oversimplification of the problem is that there isn't enough affordable housing to meet the demand. There isn't enough rentable property at a given moment, and it's become too difficult to build in California, zoning-wise.

The politics and prevalence of the slat run parallel to the history of mutli-family versus single-family units and the battle over L.A.'s density. From the Dingbat to the craftsman to the Orsini, how we break down living is inherently politicized and tells the story of how living in L.A. is changing in a physical sense. The slat can be a visual correlative of a neighborhood's demographic shift, and that change curves towards the more professional and wealthier, higher educated, and whiter.

But slats—as a design element, at least—are not inherently bad. Like anything in our copycat culture, a good idea can easily replicate into oblivion through mis- or over-use. Joe Tarr—architectural designer and Angeleno of eight years—admits it's not the slats' fault. It's how people use them. "I don't think these [wooden slats] are necessarily 'bad' design elements," he says. "Just that they are often over-used and applied in a formulaic way that doesn't pay attention to the specifics of the house or the combination of elements as an overall composition." So it's not concept but execution. The same complaint might be levied at paint-by-numbers xeriscaped front yards or a standard grass lawn with no barrier structure or landscaping choices.

Could slats be the L.A.'s new glass bricks and stick around for decades upon decades? Architectural designer Melanie Freeland doesn't think so. "I don't think the flipper fence is a material that will last as long as glass brick," she explains. "I would say plywood cabinetry, or reclaimed wood is this generation's material of choice. That or white subway tile."

Every trend cycle has its inflection point. Sadly, even the slat fences seem like like they might be on the way out, as even cheaper solutions—like corrugated metal—have been creeping up in style, especially in northeast Los Angeles. But if we've learned anything about our cannibalistic design culture, it's that nothing ever really dies. Especially if it's associated with mid-century aesthetics."
fences  gentrification  losangeles  sandiego  california  oakland  jonnycoleman  2016  modernism  davebantz  housing 
june 2016 by robertogreco
From A Pedagogy for Liberation to Liberation from Pedagogy [.pdf]
Gustavo Esteva
Madhu S. Prakash
Dana L. Stuchul

"At the end of his life, Freire wrote a short book, Pedagogía de la autonomía. (Freire, 1997) In it, he offers a meditation on his life and work, while returning to his most important themes. Freire reminds us that his education, his pedagogy, is pointedly and purposively ideological and interventionist. It requires mediators. Here again, it addresses those mediators: a final call to involve them in the crusade.
The leitmotiv of the book, the thread woven through every page as it occurred everyday in the life of Freire, is the affirmation of the universal ethic of the human being --- universal love as an ontological vocation. He recognizes its historical character. And he reminds us that it is not any ethic: it is the ethic of human solidarity. (Freire, 1996, p.124) Freire promotes a policy of human development, privileging men and humans, rather than profit. (Freire, 1996, p.125) He proclaims solidarity as a historical commitment of men and women, as one of the forms of struggle capable of promoting and instilling the universal ethic of the human being. (Freire, 1997, p.13)

Similar to liberation theology (an option for the poor) courageously adopted by an important sector of the Catholic Church in Latin America, Freire finds a foundation and a destiny for his theory and practice in the ideal of solidarity. Solidarity expresses an historical commitment based on a universal ethics. Solidarity legitimizes intervention in the lives of others in order to conscienticize them. Derived from charity, caritas, the Greek and Latin word for love, and motivated by care, by benevolence, by love for the other, conscientization becomes a universal, ethical imperative.

Certainly, Freire was fully aware of the nature of modern aid; of what he called false generosity. He identified clearly the disabling and damaging impact of all kinds of such aid. Yet, for all of his clarity and awareness, he is unable to focus his critique on service: particularly that service provided by service professionals. Freire's specific blindness is an inability to identify the false premises and dubious interventions --- in the name of care --- of one specific class of service professionals: educators.

In its modern institutional form, qua service, care is the mask of love. This mask is not a false face. The modernized service-provider believes in his care and love, perhaps more than even the serviced. The mask is the face. (McKnight, 1977, p.73) Yet, the mask of care and love obscure the economic nature of service, the economic interests behind it. Even worse, this mask hides the disabling nature of service professions, like education.

All of the caring, disabling professions are based on the assumption or presupposition of a lack, a deficiency, a need, that the professional service can best satisfy. The very modern creation of the needy man, a product of economic society, of capitalism, and the very mechanism through which needs are systematically produced in the economic society, are hidden behind the idea of service. Once the need is identified, the necessity of service becomes evident. It is a mechanism analogous to the one used by an expert to transmogrify a situation into a "problem" whose solution --- usually including his own services --- he proposes.

In this way, Freire constructed the human need for the conscience he conceived. In attributing such need to his oppressed, he also constructed the process to satisfy it: conscientization. Thus, the process reifies the need and the outcome: only conscientization can address the need for an improved conscience and consciousness and only education can deliver conscientization. This educational servicing of the oppressed, however, is masked: as care, love, vocation, historical commitment, as an expression of Freire's universal ethic of solidarity. Freire's blindness is his inability to perceive the disabling effect of his various activities or strategies of conscientization. He seems unaware that the business of modern society is service and that social service in modern society is business. (McKnight, 1997, p.69) Today, economic powers like the USA pride themselves in being post-industrial: that is, the replacement of smoke stacks and sweatshops moved to the South, with an economy retooled for global supremacy in providing service. With ever increasing needs, satisfaction of these needs requires more service resulting in unlimited economic growth.

Freire was also unaware that solidarity, both the word and the idea, are today the new mask of aid and development, of care and love. For example, in the 1990s, the neoliberal government of Mexican president Carlos Salinas used a good portion of the funds obtained through privatization to implement the Programa Nacional de Solidaridad. The program was celebrated by the World Bank as the best social program in the world. It is now well documented that, like all other wars against poverty, it was basically a war waged against the poor, widening and deepening the condition it was supposed to cure, a condition that, in the first place, was aggravated by the policies associated with the neoliberal credo.

Freire could not perceive the corruption of love through caring, through service. Furthermore, he was unable to perceive that the very foundation of his own notion of universal, globalized love, God's love for his children through Christ, is also a corruption of Christianity. (Cayley, 2000)

Freire was particularly unable to perceive the impact of the corruption which occurs when the oppressed are transformed into the objects of service: as clients, beneficiaries, and customers. Having created a radical separation between his oppressed and their educators, Freire was unsuccessful in bringing them together, despite all his attempts to do so through his dialogue, his deep literacy --- key words for empowerment and participation. All these pedagogical and curricular tools of education prove themselves repeatedly to be counterproductive: they produce the opposite of what they pretend to create. Instead of liberation, they add to the lives of oppressed clients, more chains and more dependency on the pedagogy and curricula of the mediator.iii.

During the last several centuries, all kinds of agents have pretended to "liberate" pagans, savages, natives, the oppressed, the under-developed, the uneducated, under-educated, and the illiterate in the name of the Cross, civilization (i.e. Westernization), capitalism or socialism, human rights, democracy, a universal ethic, progress or any other banner of development. Every time the mediator conceptualizes the category or class of the oppressed in his/her own terms, with his/her own ideology, he is morally obligated to evangelize: to promote among them, for their own good, the kind of transformation he or she defines as liberation. Yet, a specific blindness seems to be the common denominator among these mediators: an awareness of their own oppression. In assuming that they have succeeded in reaching an advanced level or stage of awareness, conscience, or even liberation (at least in theory, in imagination, in dreams), and in assuming, even more, that what their oppressed lack is this specific notion or stage, they assume and legitimate their own role as liberators. Herein, they betray their intentions.

In response to colonization, Yvonne Dion-Buffalo and John Mohawk recently suggested that colonized peoples have three choices: 1) to become good subjects, accepting the premises of the modern West without much question, 2) to become bad subjects, always resisting the parameters of the colonizing world, or 3) to become non-subjects, acting and thinking in ways far removed from those of the modern West. (Quoted in Esteva and Prakash, 1998, p.45)"



"In his denunciation of the discrimination suffered by the illiterate, Freire does not see, smell, imagine or perceive the differential reality of the oral world. While aspiring to eliminate all these forms of discrimination from the planet, he takes for granted, without more critical consideration, that reading and writing are fundamental basic needs for all humans. And, he embraces the implications of such assumptions: that the illiterate person is not a full human being.

Freire's pedagogic method requires that literacy should be rooted in the socio- political context of the illiterate. He is convinced that in and through such a process, they would acquire a critical judgement about the society in which they suffer oppression. But he does not take into account any critical consideration of the oppressive and alienating character implicit in the tool itself, the alphabet. He can not bring his reflection and practice to the point in which it is possible, like with many other modern tools, to establish clear limits to the alphabet in order to create the conditions for the oppressed to critically use the alphabet instead of being used by it."



"IV. Resisting Love: The Case Against Education

Freire's central presupposition: that education is a universal good, part and parcel of the human condition, was never questioned, in spite of the fact that he was personally exposed, for a long time, to an alternative view. This seems to us at least strange, if not abhorrent.
Freire was explicitly interested in the oppressed. His entire life and work were presented as a vocation committed to assuming their view, their interests. Yet, he ignored the plain fact that for the oppressed, the social majorities of the world, education has become one of the most humiliating and disabling components of their oppression: perhaps, even the very worst.



"For clarifying the issues of this essay, we chose to reflect on the life, the work, and the teachings of Gandhi, Subcommandante Marcos and Wendell Berry. Purposely, we juxtapose them to exacerbate their radical and dramatic differences. Is it absurd to even place them under the umbrella of public and private virtues we dwell on as we … [more]
gustavoesteva  madhuprakash  danastuchul  liberation  pedagogy  pedagogyoftheoppressed  wendellberry  solidarity  care  love  caring  carlossalinas  neoliberalism  teaching  howweteach  education  conscientization  liberationtheology  charity  service  servicelearning  economics  oppression  capitalism  mediators  leadership  evangelization  yvonnedion-buffalo  johnmohawk  legibility  decolonization  colonialism  karlmarx  ivanillich  technology  literacy  illegibility  bankingeducation  oraltradition  plato  text  writing  memory  communication  justice  modernism  class  inequality  humility  zapatistas  comandantemarcos  parochialism  globalphilia  resistance  canon  gandhi  grassroots  hope  individuality  newness  sophistication  specialization  professionalization  dislocation  evolution  careerism  alienation  self-knowledge  schooling  schools  progress  power  victimization  slow  small 
may 2016 by robertogreco
No. 225: Helen Molesworth, Jennifer Raab | The Modern Art Notes Podcast
"Episode No. 225 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features curator Helen Molesworth and art historian Jennifer Raab.

Molesworth’s “Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957” is on view at the Hammer Museum through May 15. It is the first exhibition to examine Black Mountain College, an experimental, inter-disciplinary and immensely influential liberal arts college in the mountains of western North Carolina. The school attracted faculty and students from all over the world at a time when World War II was forcing significant global emigration, and thus provided a place where questions of globalism and the role of the artist in society were considered and furthered. Among the artists who spent time at Black Mountain and who are included in Molesworth’s exhibition are Ruth Asawa, Willem de Kooning, Josef and Anni Albers, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, Ray Johnson, Jess and plenty more. Ninety artists are included in Molesworth’s show. The show’s outstanding, must-own catalogue was published by Yale University Press.

Molesworth is the chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Her previous exhibitions include “This Will Have Been,” which examined the impact of feminism on the art of the 1980s, and “Work Ethic,” which looked at how mostly 1960s artists merged everyday life with art-making.

On the second segment, art historian Jennifer Raab discusses her new book, “Frederic Church: The Art and Science of Detail.” The book examines how and why Church used unusually detailed passages in enormous paintings to engage contemporary debates about Union, nation and science. Raab teaches at Yale University."

[Direct link to SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/manpodcast/ep225 ]
helenmolesworth  jenniferraab  leapbeforeyoulook  bmc  blackmountaincollege  2016  art  curation  history  education  artseducation  liberalarts  diversity  highered  highereducation  progressive  progressiveeducation  learning  howwelearn  pedagogy  teaching  howeteach  inquiry  modernism  postmodernism  form  process  materials  via:jarrettfuller  interdisciplinary  interdisciplinarity  collaboration  disciplines  ruthasawa  mercecunningham  josefalbers  theastergates  rebuildfoundation  lowresidencymfas  bardcollege  oberlincollege  vermontcollege  bhqfu  noahdavis  undergroundmuseum  mountainschoolofarts  andreazittel  greggbordowitz  artinstituteofchicago 
april 2016 by robertogreco
MODERN BAGHDAD
"Visual archive of architecture, art, and culture in modern Baghdad

أرشيف مرئي عن العمارة والفن والثقافة في بغداد الحديثة

This site is part of a non-profit academic project that aims to do justice to an exhilarating period in the history of modern Iraq. If you know of any reliable sources with documentation of art and architecture in 1950s-1960s Baghdad, please help by contacting:

هذا الموقع جزء من مشروع اكاديمي و غيرتجاري يأمل ان يلقي الضوء على فترة مهمة من تاريخ العراق الحديث. ان كانت لديك معلومه عن مصادر موثوقه عن الفن و العمارة في بغداد الخمسينات و الستينات، فالرجاء المساهمة باثراء
البرنامج بالاتصال بالبريد الالكتروني

modernbaghdad@gmail.com "
baghdad  iraq  modernism  tumblrs  architecture  art  culture  1950s  1960s 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Aesthetic Radicalism and the Counterculture — Magazine — Walker Art Center
"The counterculture was too preoccupied inventing a new world of cultural experiences and social rituals—acid rock music; guerrilla or street theater; anarchic literature; Eastern-infused spirituality; freestyle dancing, 'de-schooling' and the free university; androgynous fashion and hairstyles, including flying the long hair of one’s 'freak flag'; gatherings of campus protests, be-ins and sit-ins, and communal living, etc.—to be concerned about a separate category called art. To the hippie, life was art and art was life. At the time, it was referred to as 'life-style.' Long before the word lifestyle became synonymous with aspirational marketing and consumer hedonism, it was in fact used to describe what geographers and anthropologists might call a way of life (genre de vie). It is therefore surprising from today’s vantage point to see the word, then typically hyphenated, in contemporaneous accounts being used in a positive or at least neutral way to signify what were, indeed, new and even radical ways of living, thinking, and making."



"In their struggle to create a new social, cultural, political, and ecological utopia, the counterculture expressed its political activism and activated its cultural radicalism in new and imaginative ways. By doing so, it created a new sensibility or aesthetic in the broadest sense. It is this sensibility that I’ve defined as a hippie modernism—an aesthetics of refusal—one that rejects the given parameters of a practice, obviates the boundaries of a defined field, or alters the course of an instrumental technology."
aesthetics  radicalism  andrewblauvelt  counterculture  modernism  hippies  hjorvardurharvardarnason  hippiemodernism  california  history  design  1960s 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Apple’s Modernism, Google’s Modernism: Some reflections on Alphabet, Inc. and a suggestion that modernist architect Adolf Loos would be totally into Soylent | Works Cited
"These temporal aesthetics, Google’s included, tell us something about the repurposing of modernist style for post-Fordist capital. Modernist style still succeeds in evoking newnesses even when wholly “unoriginal” because it so successfully dehistoricizes.20) That it still totally works, and that it remains congenial to capital in the face of capital’s transformations, hints that we have in modernist ideology a powerful actor.

Consequently, the study of early twentieth-century style can be understood as neither irrelevant nor innocent. The quasi-Darwinian, developmentalist ideologies of Silicon Valley have their correlates in styles that disguise their basic violence as design. Its results are, among other things, political transformations of the Bay Area that seek to do to San Francisco what Rob Rinehart did to his apartment—rely heavily on exploited labor that has been geographically displaced. It imagines people of the future living side by side with people who lag behind—but not literally side by side of course! because the laggards commute from Vallejo. Anyone who isn’t on board with the spatial segregation of the temporally disparate is an “enemy of innovation.” Again, this is actually less about time than about hierarchy. After all, the temporal difference between any two people in existence at the same time is completely made up: it’s an effect of style, which is in turn (if we follow Loos’s logic) a proxy for economic dominance. Time is, so to speak, money."
modernism  nataliacecire  2015  apple  google  siliconvalley  design  economics  atemporality  robrinehart  adolfloos  childhood  primitivism  developmentalism  aphabet  puerility  naomischor  siannengai  power  systemsthinking  displacement  innovation  ideology  californianideology  history  newness  exploitation  labor  segregation  hierarchy  technology  technosolutionism  domination 
august 2015 by robertogreco
Prototyping Risks when Design is Disappearing
"Our current unsustainability, especially when understood in terms of materials intensity, is in large part a result of design— whether imposed by modernist design experts or tempered by user- or even human-centered design research. Generative design is not especially culpable—at its best it tries to access what might finally be truly needed by its participants rather than just-another creative-yet-still-feasible idea. However, generative design research’s materials-based techniques do tend to encourage creative innovation mostly with respect to more thing-based solutions to latent concerns (rather than leading to service systems for instance, or structural dissolving of those concerns, such as no-build options, value- or lifestyle shifts, etc).

A second thing to note is that our unsustainability is a massive problem, of a size that demands truly radical responses. It is as if there is a kind of problem beyond wicked: in addition to being complex (a large number of interdependent variables) and wicked (because some of those variables are people, who act in not always fully rational ways and change their minds), sustainability is also just a big problem—solutions will require nation-sized infrastructure rebuilding (fuel switching, city renovation and even relocation) and similarly nation-sized notion re-conceptualizations (new ideas about freedom and autonomy, cost and responsibility, etc). Can we get this level of “Big and New” from processes like generative design research?"



"What is dominant in commercial design at the moment are methods that do nevertheless have proactionary elements, by which I mean a deliberate ignoring of imagining future consequential risks. I am referring here to, for example, Agile and Lean product development. These are distinct forms of design management and each a broad church, but consistent across them is a commitment to accelerated iteration of products released to live markets. Design is driven by real-time feedback on how “Minimum Viable Products” (MVP) are being used. The rationale is that many high consequence risks, and opportunities, are unanticipatable. Rather than imagine or sense what these “blackswans” might be, designers should instead focus on being able to respond immediately to what emerges. These Lean Agile philosophies eschew the grand visioning aspects of proactionary advocates, 
but are sympathetic with the downplaying of risk anticipation. As Joi Ito, head of MediaLab at MIT is fond of saying (though I am not sure of his evidence for this claim), “the cost of assessing risk is 
now often greater than the cost of failing” [7].

If Lean Agile, etc, aim at accessing the realizably innovative, the other end of the design dialectic might be Maker culture. These neo-tinkerers also pursue multiple iterations in order to discover serendipitously new uses for existing combinations of technologies, software and/or materials. There is a similar antivisioning driving these hackathons, and in all the rapid building there is also no anticipation of consequential risk.

In either case, the approaches deploy what could be called a “generalized prototyping.” Lean Agile beta-releases and hacked systems are more than prototypes; they are live products being used by people who are not explicitly structured "



"Transition Design aims to promote staged change, not forever changing.

1. A VISION FOR THE TRANSITION to a more sustainable society is needed. This calls for the reconception of entire lifestyles in which communities are in symbiotic relationship with the environment. Lifestyles are place-based yet global in their exchange of technology, information and culture.

2. The vision of the transition to a sustainable society will require new knowledge about natural, social, and “designed” systems. This new knowledge will, in turn, evolve the vision.

3. Ideas, theories and methodologies from many varied fields and disciplines inform a deep understanding of the DYNAMICS OF CHANGE in the natural and social worlds.

4. New theories of change will reshape designers’ temperaments, mindsets and postures. And, these “new ways of being” in the world will motivate the search for new, more relevant knowledge.

5. Living in and through traditional times requires a MINDSET AND POSTURE OF OPENNESS, mindfulness, a willing-ness to collaborate, and “optimistic grumpiness.”

6. Changes in mindset, posture and temperament will give rise to new ways of designing. As new design approaches evolve, designers’ temperaments and postures will continue to change.

7. The transition to a sustainable society will require new ways of designing that are informed by a vision, a deep understanding of the dynamics of change and a new mindset and posture.

8. New ways of designing will help realize the vision but will also change/evolve it. As the vision evolves, new ways of designing will continue to be developed."
camerontonkinwise  2015  design  sustainability  materials  prototyping  via:anne  openness  mindfulness  collaboration  optimism  criticism  change  technology  culture  makers  makermovement  agiledesign  iteration  vision  foresight  modernism  neomodernism  consequences  systemthinking  criticaldesign  designcriticism 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Inside the Getty's Initiative to Save Modern Architecture | Architect Magazine | Technology, Historic Preservation, Historical Restoration, 2015 AIA Honor Award, Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA, Getty Research Institute
"Projects at the Salk Institute and Eames House are part of a larger effort to preserve our midcentury heritage."



"It’s hard to believe that the Salk Institute is nearly a half-century old. Louis Kahn’s masterpiece, perched on Pacific bluffs in La Jolla, Calif., has always had a conflicted relationship with time. Critic Esther McCoy, in a 1967 issue of Architectural Forum, wrote that “Kahn has said that he builds for today, not the future, but Dr. [Jonas] Salk maintains that in the laboratory building the future was built into today.”

The Salk Institute might be enduring in its design. But even icons age. Today, the landmark needs significant work on its concrete and glass façade, as well a plan for maintaining the limestone courtyard. Kahn couldn’t have predicted that fungus spores would drift on marine air from nearby eucalyptus trees and take root on the building, discoloring and eroding the teak window screens."



"Modernist buildings do pose some particularly daunting challenges. That era witnessed an expanded range of building typologies—schools, universities, hospitals, industrial buildings, health centers—which were designed for very specific uses. But as those initial purposes become defunct, buildings owners are left with the task of adapting a particular design to a new program. Which is when that old adage—form follows function—becomes more of a curse than a blessing."
getty  salk  2015  architecture  modernism  mid-centurymodernism  design  preservation  mimizeiger  conservation 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Alexandra Lange on craft, making and gender
"The journalists, artists and curators at the press preview for the Museum of Arts and Design's new exhibition, Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft and Design, Mid-century and Today, were about 90 per cent female – an unusually high percentage, according to the museum's publicist.

But the imbalance seemed about right, in that it reflected the continuing, uneasy, and gendered relationship between people who make things out of yarn, clay or cloth and people who make things out of glass, steel or plastic. The editors of a few blogs seemed unsure whether the contents of the show – four hanging woven-wire sculptures by Ruth Asawa, screen-printed geometric textile designs by Anni Albers, a test panel for the gold-embroidered tapestries for the Ford Foundation by Sheila Hicks, along with work by 39 other artists – even counted as "design" for their purposes.

"In the 1950s and 1960s, an era when painting, sculpture and architecture were dominated by men, women had extensive impact in alternative materials such as textiles, ceramics and metals," reads the wall text.

Starting with the Bauhaus weaving workshop, eventually led by the supremely talented Gunta Stolzl, modern women with visual talent were shunted into creative professions closer to traditional women's work, and many of them found what they made then treated as lesser-than. Half of MAD's collection is work by women, and with this exhibit, curated by Jennifer Scanlan, the museum hopes to expand ideas about who, and what, constitutes mid-century design.

The problem of terminology has bedeviled this work from the start. When the Museum of Modern Art first showed fibre art in the 1969 show Wall Hangings, artist Louise Bourgeois wrote, in the magazine Craft Horizons, "the pieces in the show rarely liberate themselves from decoration." Fear of fibre, it seems, lives on.

The irony is that, while women were largely unwelcome in architecture and industrial design as practitioners, male architects and manufacturers found they couldn't live without them. Most of the highlighted mid-century designers worked with architects to bring nature, texture and colour to their hard-edged spaces, and several worked with manufacturers as designers and translators – for publicity purposes – of new styles and materials for a mass audience."



"Today craft seems to be heading in two directions simultaneously. Handicraft has never been more popular among women – it seems like every third person on Instagram has bought a handloom to ape Hicks or Maryanne Moodie, while companies like Wool and the Gang give you the option of ready-made or knit-your-own trendy, chunky apparel.

There is a renewed interest in personal making that has been nourished by social networks and is now being reabsorbed by mainstream consumer culture, without the politics and made by who-knows-whose hand. Urban Outfitters, which once sold an Anni Albers washer necklace kit, now sells the Magical Thinking Macrame Wall Hanging.

"On the flip side, there's the emergence of technological craft, with which architects seem to feel more comfortable and which does turn up on design sites like this one. (The computer defeminises everything.) Here again screens of various types provide a bridge between the hard and the flexible, the wall and the textile.

Petra Blaisse's contributions to many OMA projects (the carpets at the Seattle Public Library, for example) are machine-made textiles that, like Bertoia screens, humanise spaces as a form of permanent nature. The openwork pattern on her curtains for Machado and Silvetti's Chazen Museum nods to the sheers and geometries popular in mid-century designs.

Danish architect Mette Ramsgard Thomsen calls her work "digital crafting," and her 2012 Shadow Play installation demonstrates another way to introduce softness and hanging into built space. In that piece, long curls of pine veneer were bent into loops, connected with copper wire, and sandwiched between two pieces of glass in a storefront. The effect was like a carved screen, but lighter, and far less effort. It could be included in a new MoMA exhibition called Wall Hanging, one far more antiseptic than its 1969 predecessor.

I'll freely admit my preference for the wilder shores of the handmade, irregular and a little too bright. Even if Louise Bourgeois didn't find it challenging enough on first encounter, the continuing gender politics around craft, as well as the difficulty around the classification of the work of people like Albers, Asawa, Bryk, Hicks, Tawney and Phillips, reveal a spikiness that continues to command attention."
design  craft  alexandralange  gender  architecture  2015  industrialdesign  materials  glvo  annialbers  louisebourgeois  guntastolzl  bauhaus  ruthasawa  art  history  modernism  makers  makermovement  handmade  textiles  petrablaisse  metteramsgardthomsen  sheilahicks  rutbryk  leonoretawney  marywalkerphillips 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Maisonneuve | Collective Independents
"A FEW MONTHS AGO I moved into a one-bedroom basement apartment. The landlord penciled the stipulation “one person only” into the lease. I superimposed memories of Anna’s perfectly appointed home over the windowless, lineoleum-floored, beige-walled reality that is my new place. But how exciting to live without anonymous hair clogging the drain! I imagined little designer flourishes that would soon fill my space—an Edison lightbulb for the stucco ceiling perhaps, or a hanging plant that will likely die from the lack of light.

It took weeks for me to stop hoarding my possessions in the bedroom and claim the terrain of the new kitchen, bathroom, living room. Here, on top of the microwave, I will put my laundry money, important receipts, my wallet and cell phone. Here, on my bedside table, I will keep my passport, diary and what I’m reading. This floating shelf above my bed will house my most presentable books. Not only will the electric kettle, with its crusty metal coil, be thrown away, but I will purchase a shiny new whistling model that will sit proudly on the gas stove.

The inside of my new refrigerator appears mammoth; sometimes there’s only one item to a shelf. So much time I’ve wasted digging through shared fridges, only to discover diseased-looking tubs of yogurt and yellowing broccoli inside that cold jungle. What a pleasure to buy food that needs preserving.

How I love these little groupings of objects, all in their appropriate places where I might need them most. Playboy’s description of the bachelor pad is an understatement—this space feels as intimate as the compartments of my brain. I delight in the quirks of my domain—the way the gas element clicks three times, with a little stutter on the third beat, before bursting into blue flames. The silence around me has deepened to such an extent that I startle at the sound of water moving through the pipes or, when I’m lying in the bath, the sound of footsteps which turn out to be my own heartbeat.

But, a month and a half into living alone, I woke feeling wretched. Overnight, a throat tickle had morphed into full-on infection; my lymph nodes had hardened into painful, pronounced gills. I could barely swallow. I was nauseated and weak. Dirty dishes accumulated in the sink. My hair exploded into a greasy rat’s nest. I rotated sleeping shifts on the couch and the bed, never changing out of my sick-person uniform of the same sweat pants and flannel shirt.

By the third day, the novelty had worn off. Who cared that I could watch and re-watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes for days on end? I missed the outside world and, worse, I was nowhere near coming out of quarantine. That night, my throat as raw as a ragged tailpipe, I tossed and turned until dawn. When I woke the next afternoon, the sun was already low in the sky. My apartment was dark and silent. The fridge and cupboards were bare. No one had called or emailed or texted or tweeted or Facebooked.

As I lay in bed spinning dark thoughts, like how long it would take someone to find my body if I died right then and there, grunts and groans and sighs came through the ceiling. The couple upstairs was having sex. Now? Of all times? I took a deep breath and dived into a downward spiral of self pity. In my mind, beloved friends and family acquired dark shadows. If they were sick and lonely, I certainly would have taken care of them—so where were they now? As soon as I got better, I resolved to look out for myself and only myself. Why stick your neck out for people if they only leave you in the end? These thoughts, at the time, felt all-consuming and true. That is the self-reinforcing power of loneliness."
loneliness  isolation  modernism  2015  lauratrethewey  housing  introverts  community  intimacy  independence 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Residential Archaeology – MAS CONTEXT
"The cultural phenomenon of customization, the appropriation of things to make them personal, has been the focus of study for years. We can see it daily in the objects that we transform and recycle, between efficiency and aesthetics. If we extrapolate this idea to the discipline of architecture, it becomes even more interesting, albeit of varying intensity: from the wallpaper to the added floor level and through various degrees of appropriation in between.

The approach of Modern Architecture, such as the universal space from the early 20th Century, becoming even more common in the 1950s in houses by Craig Elwood or Richard Neutra among others, has been transformed nowadays into the idea of neutral space, empty, ready to be occupied.

There are also curious examples such as the Appliance House and the Put-Away Villa by the couple formed by Peter and Alison Smithson. In the first one, architecture and household goods are the same, taking to the limit the idea that we are only passing through the spaces. Ideas such as comfort are taken to the extreme in the growing amount of advertising of autos and appliances.

From the industrialized architecture of those spaces we had to extract the particular aesthetic related to the prefabrication process. It is time for architects and manufacturers to address the problem from the opposite end of the scale and make buildings that emanate living habitats and reflect the needs of those who inhabit the spaces.

In the second example, a few years later and almost in opposition, the warehouse house, where we all collect, resulting in the need for a deposit, which requires the occupation of a third of the house: the place for objects-that-you-don’t-use-now-and-that-perhaps-won’t-be-used-anymore. Ultimately, it is the domestication of the spaces.

Let’s recall the performance “I Like America and America Likes Me” (1974) by Joseph Beuys. In it, Beuys is separated from his usual space in order to be placed in a single space along with a coyote, also separated from its natural habitat. Cohabitation and making the space human, space domesticated.

Finally we are generally talking about two things: first, how we get to the spaces and second, how we fill them and therefore, how we transform them.

We must pause and think, how do users (of different social class) personalize their spaces? What can we learn and understand from the materiality of life? Does this have anything to do with the materiality of the projects designed by architects and with any social commitment?

Le Corbusier, Mario Pani, Teodoro González de León, among others, have focused on the constructive materiality, in methods of self-construction or low-cost construction. But, what about the materiality of the everyday? What happens between the mere representation that the architect proposes and the everyday occupation by the resident?

Residential Archaeology consists, therefore, of:

1. Drawing in an archeological way three things: the space occupied by the architecture itself; the everyday life infrastructure, that is, furniture; and the elements that provide use to the furniture, those that humanize them.

2. Studying the impact in terms of occupancy, density and time. An archaeological GPS that subtly gets transformed by the passing of the hours and the collecting of objects, and sometimes their final destination. What we called earlier the objects-that-you-don’t-use-now-and-that-perhaps-won’t-be-used-anymore. How do they alter and reconfigure the space?

3. As a result, the project proposes the registration of these styles-modes-adjustments of life in an electronic file in order to observe their impact and make the design and use evident. Additionally, the project makes a 1:1 scale comparison of each unit: a rug-map, as if drawn by hand on the floor itself, recalling the images we have of when we did so as children on the street or sidewalk. It is, in the end, a recording as George Perec explains in Life A User’s Manual.

The project places the Unité d’habitation in Marseille, the Tlatelolco housing complex, the Mixcoac Towers, the CUPA and Unidad Esperanza under equal conditions, like it does with its authors: Le Corbusier, Mario Pani and Teodoro González de León. All are perhaps pieces of the same puzzle that builds and shows more faithfully what, perhaps, we should take more into account, how we domesticate the spaces.

Citing [furniture and interior designer] Clara Porset, “we could not impose the tenant to acquire the furniture that had been created specifically for his home, nor did we think about convincing him. Instead, we chose to instruct him about design in general, providing him with a culture of housing.”"
housing  architecture  archaeology  residentialarchaeology  tlatelolco  mixcoactowers  lecorbusier  mariopani  teodorogonzálezdeleón  space  everyday  infrastructure  furniture  juancarlostello  residential  cupa  mexicocity  mexico  marseille  france  customization  josephbeuys  humans  domestication  habitat  craigelwood  richardneutra  modernism  df  mexicodf 
march 2015 by robertogreco
454 W 23rd St New York, NY 10011—2157
"Anonymous asked: do you want to be famous?

In 1928 the architect Mies van der Rohe was commissioned to design a pavilion representing Weimar Germany at the 1929 International Exhibition in Barcelona. The building ended up becoming justly famous as the most eloquent definition of what was later gathered into Modernism. This definition would be something like, ‘Not only doing way more with way less, but becoming so good at it that you could thread a way out of the bewilderment and perversity which gnaw at modern lives of otherwise unparalleled bounty and convenience.’

The pavillion was designed to be doorless and mostly made of glass. In almost every way a building could be optimistic for the century it wanted to predict, this one was. The evidence for class oppression that great houses bear, like backstairs and basement kitchens are gone. Blank walls on which evidence of wealth could be displayed have been replaced by windows. Reality is the thing that transparent walls force your attention to confront. The pavillion even does away with the convention of a ‘front’ or a ‘back.’ Without a face on which to project how we want to be seen, duplicity becomes more difficult than simply being honest. The building hopes that without anything to hide behind, the very ideas of secrecy and guile will become too cumbersome to survive.

But in the very temple of delight. There was one place in the pavillion that showed a terrible shadow on the 20th century. Beyond the main room there was a reflecting pool. In the middle of the pool stood a statue of a nude woman. This choice to place a statue at a remove from anyone who would look at it is as elegant a definition as anything else in the building, but what is being defined is hideous. The fact that a statue has been taken out of the round and put in a position that allows only one point of view is an example of something our era has done on an industrial scale—the reduction of volumes to images. A statue by definition fills a volume, but limiting our perspective makes it flat. An image.

The act of reducing the freedom to see from whichever perspective suits you, down to only one, is as old as the allegory of the cave, where statues were reduced to their shadows. But the pavillion predicts that this process will come to dominate everything the statue represents: Art, diversion, beauty, and eventually, people themselves. All of us will buy, favor, love and appreciate from across an impassable distance. We will be segregated from everything we admire and from everything we want, because images are all we are presented with and flatness cannot be embraced.

Over and above every other example of this process is fame. If we are tricked by advertising into buying a phantom, wanting to be famous is wanting to become the phantom. It’s a desire that mistakes isolation for rarity, loneliness for exceptionality, and distance for height. The popular desire for fame is the crowning achievement of a hundred year campaign to iron out any aspect of being alive that calls for a complex and irreducible expression of humanity.

So no."
2012  via:robinsloan  game  humanity  complexity  freedom  reality  advertising  miesvanderrohe  modernism  duplicity  honesty  images  imagery  perspective  pointofview  power  control  flatness  art  diversion  beauty  distance  phantoms 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Metamodernism | Adbusters
"To be more precise, metamodernism is not a new art movement replacing the old but rather a new “structure of feeling” that “reveals” itself in different everyday and artistic practices. With the term “structure of feeling,” the authors refer to British philosopher Raymond Williams, who invented this concept in his 1977 text Marxism and Literature as an alternative to very general terms such as “worldview” or “Zeitgeist.” To Williams, a “structure of feeling,” very broadly speaking, refers to a shared set of values, notions and meanings of a culture, subculture or generation, which mainly reveals itself in the artistic practices of that culture, subculture or generation.

"Taking this into account, “metamodernism” could be considered the dominant structure of feeling of a generation born in the peak of “postmodernism,” roughly between 1960 and 1990. A generation that grew up in economic prosperity, but which, because of the financial crisis, witnessed the collapse of the neo–capitalist dream and, as a result, the evaporation of the political essence of the 1990s."
metamodernism  generations  modernism  raymondwilliams  2014  capitalism  postmodernism  collapse  worldview  zeitgeist  subcultures  nielsvanpoecke 
january 2015 by robertogreco
The Breakthrough Institute - Love Your Monsters
"Dr. Frankenstein's crime was not that he invented a creature through some combination of hubris and high technology, but rather that he abandoned the creature to itself. When Dr. Frankenstein meets his creation on a glacier in the Alps, the monster claims that it was not born a monster, but that it became a criminal only after being left alone by his horrified creator, who fled the laboratory once the horrible thing twitched to life. "Remember, I am thy creature," the monster protests, "I ought to be thy Adam; but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed... I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous."


Written at the dawn of the great technological revolutions that would define the 19th and 20th centuries, Frankenstein foresees that the gigantic sins that were to be committed would hide a much greater sin. It is not the case that we have failed to care for Creation, but that we have failed to care for our technological creations. We confuse the monster for its creator and blame our sins against Nature upon our creations. But our sin is not that we created technologies but that we failed to love and care for them. It is as if we decided that we were unable to follow through with the education of our children.4

Let Dr. Frankenstein's sin serve as a parable for political ecology. At a time when science, technology, and demography make clear that we can never separate ourselves from the nonhuman world -- that we, our technologies, and nature can no more be disentangled than we can remember the distinction between Dr. Frankenstein and his monster -- this is the moment chosen by millions of well-meaning souls to flagellate themselves for their earlier aspiration to dominion, to repent for their past hubris, to look for ways of diminishing the numbers of their fellow humans, and to swear to make their footprints invisible?"



"4.
The link between technology and theology hinges on the notion of mastery. Descartes exclaimed that we should be "maîtres et possesseurs de la nature."10 

But what does it mean to be a master? In the modernist narrative, mastery was supposed to require such total dominance by the master that he was emancipated entirely from any care and worry. This is the myth about mastery that was used to describe the technical, scientific, and economic dominion of Man over Nature.

But if you think about it according to the compositionist narrative, this myth is quite odd: where have we ever seen a master freed from any dependence on his dependents? The Christian God, at least, is not a master who is freed from dependents, but who, on the contrary, gets folded into, involved with, implicated with, and incarnated into His Creation. God is so attached and dependent upon His Creation that he is continually forced (convinced? willing?) to save it. Once again, the sin is not to wish to have dominion over Nature, but to believe that this dominion means emancipation and not attachment.

If God has not abandoned His Creation and has sent His Son to redeem it, why do you, a human, a creature, believe that you can invent, innovate, and proliferate -- and then flee away in horror from what you have committed? Oh, you the hypocrite who confesses of one sin to hide a much graver, mortal one! Has God fled in horror after what humans made of His Creation? Then have at least the same forbearance that He has.

The dream of emancipation has not turned into a nightmare. It was simply too limited: it excluded nonhumans. It did not care about unexpected consequences; it was unable to follow through with its responsibilities; it entertained a wholly unrealistic notion of what science and technology had to offer; it relied on a rather impious definition of God, and a totally absurd notion of what creation, innovation, and mastery could provide.

Which God and which Creation should we be for, knowing that, contrary to Dr. Frankenstein, we cannot suddenly stop being involved and "go home?" Incarnated we are, incarnated we will be. In spite of a centuries-old misdirected metaphor, we should, without any blasphemy, reverse the Scripture and exclaim: "What good is it for a man to gain his soul yet forfeit the whole world?""

"via this string of tweets from @infrathin:

2 months later, still processing this B. Latour essay http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/journal/past-issues/issue-2/love-your-monsters …"
https://twitter.com/infrathin/status/544737470605451265

"LT how to be responsible in the way we conceive of what our responsibility is +?"
https://twitter.com/infrathin/status/544737846280863745

"Like responsibility, love is an allegiance to follow through with the monstrous dilemmas created by it. +?"
https://twitter.com/infrathin/status/544738933566083072

"Love and responsibility both require setting aside what we want them to look like. +?"
https://twitter.com/infrathin/status/544739636665651200

"LT so difficult that i don't know how to do it and have never been able to--except briefly in song. How can i expect "us" to do it?"
https://twitter.com/infrathin/status/544740052379901952

"so.... um, love you monsters y'all http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/journal/past-issues/issue-2/love-your-monsters …"
https://twitter.com/infrathin/status/544740320005853186 ]

[Related: Audrey Watters’s “Ed-Tech's Monsters #ALTC ” https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:42f77ca711c1 ]
brunlatour  anthropocene  responsibility  love  technology  2012  frankenstein  science  descartes  nature  environment  sustainability  care  nonhumans  emancipation  exploitation  environmentalism  climatechange  modernism  postenvironmentalism  morality  ethics  legal  law  epistemology  reason  decisionmaking  politics  policy  caregiving  intervention  stewardship  posthumanism 
december 2014 by robertogreco
more than 95 theses - Michiko Kakutani, who writes reviews for The New...
""Michiko Kakutani, who writes reviews for The New York Times, is the same way. She’ll review a book like David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks, which is one of the best novels of the year. It’s as good as Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, has the same kind of deep literary resonance. But because it has elements of fantasy and science fiction, Kakutani doesn’t want to understand it. In that sense, Bloom and Kakutani and a number of gray eminences in literary criticism are like children who say, ‘I can’t possibly eat this meal because the different kinds of food are touching on the plate!’"

— Stephen King: The Rolling Stone Interview [http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/stephen-king-the-rolling-stone-interview-20141031?page=6 ]. Exactly. Exactly."

[Compare to Ursula Leguin on “The Critics, the Monsters, and the Fantasists” [.pdf]: http://www.rc.umd.edu/sites/default/files/imported/reference/wcircle/leguin.pdf

"The modernists are largely to blame. Edmund Wilson and his generation left a tradition of criticism that is, in its way, quite a little monster. In this school for anti-wizards, no fiction is to be taken seriously except various forms of realism, which are labeled “serious.” The rest of narrative fiction is labeled “genre” and is dismissed unread.

Following this rule, the universities have taught generations of students to shun all “genres,” including fantasy (unless it was written before 1900, wasn’t written in English, and/ or can be labeled magical realism). Students of literature are also taught to flee most children’s books, or books that appeal to both children and adults, as if they were ripe buboes. Academic professionalism is at stake — possibly tenure. To touch genre is to be defiled. Reviewers in the popular journals, most of whom come out of the universities, obey the rule. If the reality of what people read forces a periodical to review mysteries or science fiction, they do it in separate columns, coyly titled, at the back of the journal — in purdah.

To declare one genre, realism, to be above genre, and all the rest of fiction not literature because it isn’t realism, is rather as if judges at the State Fair should give blue ribbons only to pigs, declaring horses, cattle, and poultry not animals because they’re not pigs. Foolishness breeds ignorance, and ignorance loves to be told it doesn’t have to learn something. But nobody can rightly judge a novel without some knowledge of the standards, expectations, devices, tropes, and his- tory of its genre (or genres, for increasingly they mix and interbreed). The knowledge and craft a writer brings to writing fantasy, the expectations and skills a reader brings to reading it, differ significantly from those they bring to realis- tic fiction. Or to science fiction, or the thriller, or the mys- tery, or the western, or the romance, or the picture book, or the chapter-book for kids, or the novel for young adults.

There are of course broad standards of competence in narrative; it would be interesting to identify those that span all genres, to help us see what it is that Jane Austen and Patrick O’Brian have in common (arguably a great deal). But distinction is essential to criticism, and the critic should know when a standard is inappropriate to a genre.

It might be an entertaining and mind-broadening exercise in fiction courses to make students discover inappropriateness by practicing it. For example: judge The Lord of the Rings as if it were a late-20th century realistic novel. (Deficient in self-evident relevance, in sexual and erotic components, in individual psychological complexity, in explicit social references. Exercise too easy, has been done a thou- sand times.) Judge Moby Dick as science fiction. (Strong on technological information and on motivation, and when the story moves, it moves; but crippled by the author’s foot-drag- ging and endless self-indulgence in pompous abstractions, fancy language, and rant.) Judge Pride and Prejudice as a Western. (A pretty poor show all round. The women talk. Darcy is a good man and could be a first-rate rancher, even if he does use those fool little pancake saddles, but with a first name like Fitzwilliam, he’ll never make it in Wyoming.)

And to reverse the whole misbegotten procedure: judged by the standards of fantasy, modernist realist fiction, with its narrow focus on daily details of contemporary human affairs, is suffocating and unimaginative, almost unavoidably trivial, and ominously anthropocentric.

The mandarins of modernism, and some of the pundits of postmodernism, were shocked to be told that a fantasy trilogy by a professor of philology is the best-loved English novel of the twentieth century. People are supposed to love realism, not fantasy. But why should they? Until the eighteenth century in Europe, imaginative fiction was fiction. Realism in fiction is a recent literary invention, not much older than the steam engine and probably related to it. Whence the improbable claim that it is the only form of fiction deserving the name of “literature”?

The particular way distinctions are made between factual and fictional narrative is also quite recent, and though useful, inevitably unreliable. As soon as you tell a story, it turns into fiction (or, as Borges put it, all narrative is fiction). It appears that in trying to resist this ineluctable process, or deny it, we of the Scientific West have come to place inordinate value on fiction that pretends to be, or looks awfully like, fact. But in doing so, we’ve forgotten how to read the fiction that fully exploits fictionality.

I’m not saying people don’t read fantasy; a whole lot of us people do; but scholars and critics for the most part don’t read it and don’t know how to read it. I feel shame for them. Sometimes I feel rage. I want to say to the literature teacher who remains willfully, even boastfully ignorant of a major ele- ment of contemporary fiction: “you are incompetent to teach or judge your subject. Readers and students who do know the field, meanwhile, have every right to challenge your igno- rant prejudice. — Rise, undergraduates of the English Departments! You have nothing to lose but your grade on the midterm!”

And to the reviewers, I want to say, “O critic, if you should come upon a fantasy, and it should awaken an atrophied sense of wonder in you, calling with siren voice to your dear little Inner Child, and you should desire to praise its incomparable originality, it would be well to have read in the literature of fantasy, so that you can make some compari- sons, and bring some critical intelligence to bear. Otherwise you’re going to look like a Patent Office employee rushing out into the streets of Washington crying, ‘A discovery, amazing, unheard of! A miraculous invention, which is a circular disc, pierced with an axle, upon which vehicles may roll with incredible ease across the earth!’”"

via: http://designculturelab.org/2014/10/23/three-uncertain-thoughts-or-everything-i-know-i-learned-from-ursula-le-guin/ ]

[Also compare to Sofia Samatar:
http://post45.research.yale.edu/2014/12/interview-sofia-samatar/

"SS: The relationship between fantasy fiction, and the whole African literature thing... So, I get questions a lot, where people ask me why I write this, and I try to answer them as best I can.

Is that an antagonistic question? As in, "why do you write fantasy rather when you should be writing real literature?"

I think it's a little bit antagonistic, but I also think it's genuine. I don't think people are asking it to be confrontational. They honestly want to know. But genre fiction—you know, science fiction, fantasy, Western, romance—all of them are set apart from literary fiction, in the way that our literature is divided. And since literary fiction is generally felt to be realist—which is totally not the case, but it is what people think—the question becomes, well, here is this dominant literature, here is The Novel, we have this idea of the novel as a realist form... That's where the question "why" comes from, the idea that writing fantasy is not a normal thing to do.

One way I address this is to turn things around, and look at how much older fantasy is than realism, how much more widespread in the world. How deeply a part of oral tradition fantasy is—and say, you know, explain to me, "Why write realist fiction?" Because fantasy is not the fringe, really, if you take narrative as a whole. It is the center.

So, there's that answer. But that doesn't work, right? Because we are still looking at things the way they are now, the way literature is divided. So then I go to my other answers. One of them is that I don't know. I wrote my PhD dissertation on the Sudanese writer Tayeb Salih: I wrote it on the uses of the fantastic and the uncanny in his work, plus a comparative piece where I was looking at Ibrahim al-Koni of Libya, Ben Okri of Nigeria, and Bessie Head from South Africa/Botswana. I was looking at how all of these writers are using the fantastic and the uncanny in their work. I did this, in part, to try to figure out why I am drawn to this literature. And I failed! I failed, Aaron. I still don't have a satisfactory answer for my attraction to this kind of literature."
genre  criticism  literature  fantasy  sciencefiction  2014  stephenking  michikokakutani  nytimes  genres  ursulaleguin  narrative  modernism  magicrealism  edmundwilson  postmodernism  realism  sofiasamatar 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Speed Kills: Fast is never fast enough - The Chronicle of Higher Education
"In the past 50 years, two economies that operate at two different speeds have emerged. In one, wealth is created by selling labor or stuff; in the other, by trading signs that are signs of other signs. The virtual assets scale at a speed much greater than the real assets. A worker can produce only so many motorcycles, a teacher can teach only so many students, and a doctor can see only so many patients a day. In high-speed markets, by contrast, billions of dollars are won or lost in billionths of a second. In this new world, wealth begets wealth at an unprecedented rate. No matter how many new jobs are created in the real economy, the wealth gap created by the speed gap will never be closed. It will continue to widen at an ever-faster rate until there is a fundamental change in values.

One of the most basic values that must be rethought is growth, which has not always been the standard by which economic success is measured. The use of the gross national product and gross domestic product to evaluate relative economic performance is largely the product of the Cold War. As the battleground between the United States and the Soviet Union expanded to include the economy, the question became whether capitalism or communism could deliver more goods faster."



"The problem is not only, as Michael Lewis argues in Flash Boys, finding a technological fix for markets that are rigged; the problem is that the entire system rests on values that have become distorted: individualism, utility, efficiency, productivity, competition, consumption, and speed. Furthermore, this regime has repressed values that now need to be cultivated: sustainability, community, cooperation, generosity, patience, subtlety, deliberation, reflection, and slowness. If psychological, social, economic, and ecological meltdowns are to be avoided, we need what Nietzsche aptly labeled a "transvaluation of values."



"The growing concern about the effectiveness of primary, secondary, and postsecondary education has led to a preoccupation with the evaluation of students and teachers. For harried administrators, the fastest and most efficient way to make these assessments is to adopt quantitative methods that have proved most effective in the business world. Measuring inputs, outputs, and throughputs has become the accepted way to calculate educational costs and benefits. While quantitative assessment is effective for some activities and subjects, many of the most important aspects of education cannot be quantified. When people believe that what cannot be measured is not real, education and, by extension society, loses its soul.

Today’s young people are not merely distracted—the Internet and video games are actually rewiring their brains. Neuroscientists have found significant differences in the brains of "addicted" adolescents and "healthy" users. The next edition of the standard Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders will very likely specify Internet addiction as an area for further research. The epidemic of ADHD provides additional evidence of the deleterious effects of the excessive use of digital media. Physicians concerned about the inability of their patients to concentrate freely prescribe Ritalin, which is speed, while students staying up all night to study take Ritalin to give them a competitive advantage.

Rather than resisting these pressures, anxious parents exacerbate them by programming their kids for what they believe will be success from the time they are in prekindergarten. But the knowledge that matters cannot be programmed, and creativity cannot be rushed but must be cultivated slowly and patiently. As leading scientists, writers, and artists have long insisted, the most imaginative ideas often emerge in moments of idleness.

Many people lament the fact that young people do not read or write as much as they once did. But that is wrong—the issue is not how much they are reading and writing; indeed they are, arguably, reading and writing more than ever before. The problem is how they are reading and what they are writing. There is a growing body of evidence that people read and write differently online. Once again the crucial variable is speed. The claim that faster is always better is nowhere more questionable than when reading, writing, and thinking.

All too often, online reading resembles rapid information processing rather than slow, careful, deliberate reflection. Researchers have discovered what they describe as an "F-shaped pattern" for reading web content, in which as people read down a page, they scan fewer and fewer words in a line. When speed is essential, the shorter, the better; complexity gives way to simplicity, and depth of meaning is dissipated in surfaces over which fickle eyes surf. Fragmentary emails, flashy websites, tweets in 140 characters or less, unedited blogs filled with mistakes. Obscurity, ambiguity, and uncertainty, which are the lifeblood of art, literature, and philosophy, become decoding problems to be resolved by the reductive either/or of digital logic.

Finally, vocationalization. With the skyrocketing cost of college, parents, students, and politicians have become understandably concerned about the utility of higher education. Will college prepare students for tomorrow’s workplace? Which major will help get a job? Administrators and admission officers defend the value of higher education in economic terms by citing the increased lifetime earning potential for college graduates. While financial matters are not unimportant, value cannot be measured in economic terms alone. The preoccupation with what seems to be practical and useful in the marketplace has led to a decline in the perceived value of the arts and humanities, which many people now regard as impractical luxuries.

That development reflects a serious misunderstanding of what is practical and impractical, as well as the confusion between the practical and the vocational. As the American Academy of Arts and Sciences report on the humanities and social sciences, "The Heart of the Matter," insists, the humanities and liberal arts have never been more important than in today’s globalized world. Education focused on STEM disciplines is not enough—to survive and perhaps even thrive in the 21st century, students need to study religion, philosophy, art, languages, literature, and history. Young people must learn that memory cannot be outsourced to machines, and short-term solutions to long-term problems are never enough. Above all, educators are responsible for teaching students how to think critically and creatively about the values that guide their lives and inform society as a whole.

That cannot be done quickly—it will take the time that too many people think they do not have.

Acceleration is unsustainable. Eventually, speed kills. The slowing down required to delay or even avoid the implosion of interrelated systems that sustain our lives does not merely involve pausing to smell the roses or taking more time with one’s family, though those are important.

Within the long arc of history, it becomes clear that the obsession with speed is a recent development that reflects values that have become destructive. Not all reality is virtual, and the quick might not inherit the earth. Complex systems are not infinitely adaptive, and when they collapse, it happens suddenly and usually unexpectedly. Time is quickly running out."
speed  health  life  trends  2014  via:anne  marktaylor  filippomarinetti  futurists  futuristmanifesto  modernism  modernity  charliechaplin  efficiency  living  slow  thorsteinveblen  wealth  inequality  values  us  growth  economics  writing  finance  education  highered  highereducation  communication  internet  web  online  complexity  systemsthinking  systems  humanities  liberalarts  stem  criticalthinking  creativity  reflection  productivity  reading  howweread  howwewrite  thinking  schools  schooling  evaluation  assessment  quantification  standardization  standardizedtesting  society  interdisciplinary  professionalization  specialization  transdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  learning  howwelearn  howwethink  neuroscience  slowness  deliberation  patience  generosity  consumption  competition  competitiveness  subtlety  sustainability  community  cooperation  nietzsche  capitalism  latecapitalism 
october 2014 by robertogreco
High modernist subjectivity gives an extraordinary... • see things differently
""High modernist subjectivity gives an extraordinary privilege … to judgement and especially to cognition…. The modern predominance of reading….

High [modernism] … furthermore … privileges the cognitive and moral over the aesthetic and the libidinal, the ego over the id, the visual over touch, and discursive over figural communication.

…the individual [is] somehow ‘closed’ instead of open; to be somehow obsessed with self-mastery and self-domination."

Lash, S. & Friedman, J. (Eds.). (1993). Modernity & Identity. Massachusetts: Blackwell, pg. 5"

[See also: http://linguisticcapital.wordpress.com/2011/11/05/modernism-in-the-streets/

"High modernist subjectivity gives an extraordinary privilege, for example, to judgement and especially to cognition. It correspondingly devalues the faculty of perception, so that vision itself is so to speak colonized by cognition. The modern predominance of reading fosters epistemologies of representation, of a visual paradigm in the sphere of art [...]. High modernist subjectivity seems furthermore to privilege the cognitive and moral over the aesthetic and the libidinal, the ego over the id, the visual over touch, and discursive over figural communication. It gives primacy to culture over nature, to the individual over the community, As an ethics of responsibility, high modernist personality and Lebensfürung [life-course] it allows the individual to be somehow ‘closed’ instead of open; to be somehow obsessed with self-mastery and self-domination."

Lash, S. & Friedman, J. (Eds.). (1993). Modernity & Identity. Massachusetts: Blackwell, pg. 5]
modernism  highmodernism  bias  cognition  morality  aesthetics  libidinal  ego  id  visual  senses  touch  discursion  figurative  communication  reading  literacy  gutenbergparenthesis  self-mastery  self-domination  modernity  identity  1993 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Eh, Flynn on Twitter: ""Oh, I guess I should see if anyone made a solarpunk board on pinterest." THERE ARE 46 OF THEM."
[great thread here]

[Starts with:]
"Oh, I guess I should see if anyone made a solarpunk board on pinterest." THERE ARE 46 OF THEM."
https://twitter.com/Threadbare/status/517715485106790400

[some highlights:]

@Dymaxion Been reading Seeing Like A State for book club and reflecting on how much of solarpunk comes out of 'fuck high modernism.'
https://twitter.com/Threadbare/status/517726051984633856

"@Threadbare Yeah. I confess I'm still unsure about it. I guess I feel like the way forward is half solarpunk, half walmart+socialism."
https://twitter.com/Dymaxion/status/517738774298886144

"@Dymaxion Yah, I ponder that; even if you have a bunch of idyllic yeoman maker communities, you still need an industrial base + governance."
https://twitter.com/Threadbare/status/517739529277427712

".@Threadbare Yes - "Maker" is a charismatic not-that-megafauna playing tricks with the last mile of the global infrastructural supplychain."
https://twitter.com/Dymaxion/status/517739932732096512

"@Threadbare And everything that really makes an impact is basically in the infrastructural/governance layers."
https://twitter.com/Dymaxion/status/517740048050315267

"@Threadbare Hong Kong and Sinagpore still feel more like the future than your average hackerspace, problematic governance and all."
https://twitter.com/Dymaxion/status/517740166220640256

"@Dymaxion My friend @ChrisBurkeShay once described Hong Kong as "eighties-future.""
https://twitter.com/Threadbare/status/517740315243851776

"@Threadbare @Dymaxion theme of fictional something I'm working on: how much does getting 'off grid' become an abandonment of solidarity?"
https://twitter.com/timmaughan/status/517740324492685313

"@timmaughan @Dymaxion This is partly why I've tried to focus on communities, not households, as the place to do things."
https://twitter.com/Threadbare/status/517740548719792128

"@Threadbare @timmaughan That's a big step in the right direction, because if nothing else we need to reinvent communitas anyway."
https://twitter.com/Dymaxion/status/517740732422316034

"@timmaughan @Dymaxion Communities/cities as largest polity a public can reasonably affect, lived experience transcends filter bubbles..."
https://twitter.com/Threadbare/status/517740795365830656

"@Threadbare @Dymaxion of course, but what differentiates those communities from say, seasteaders?"
https://twitter.com/timmaughan/status/517740990556557313

[continues]
solarpunk  anarchism  infrastructure  community  communities  cities  2014  communitas  polity  future  futures  governance  seeinglikeastate  jamescscott  highmodernism  modernism  yeomen  eleanoraitta  timmaughan 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Empires Revolution of the Present - marclafia
"The film and online project brings together international philosophers, scientists and artists to give description and analysis to the contemporary moment as defined by computational tools and networks.

It states that networks are not new and have been forever with us in the evolution of our cities, trade, communications and sciences, in our relations as businesses and nation states, in the circulation of money, food, arms and our shared ecology.

Yet something has deeply changed in our experience of time, work, community, the global. Empires looks deeply to unravel how we speak to the realities of the individual and the notion of the public and public 'good' in this new world at the confluence of money, cities, computation, politics and science."

[Film website: http://www.revolutionofthepresent.org/ ]

[Trailer: https://vimeo.com/34852940 ]
[First cut (2:45:05): https://vimeo.com/32734201 ]

[YouTube (1:21:47): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaTw5epW_QI ]

"Join the conversation at http://www.revolutionofthepresent.org

Summary: The hope was that network technology would bring us together, create a "global village," make our political desires more coherent. But what's happened is that our desires have become distributed, exploded into images and over screens our eyes relentlessly drop to view.

REVOLUTION OF THE PRESENT examines the strange effects — on cities, economies, people — of what we might call accelerated capitalism. Set against a visually striking array of sounds and images, 15 international thinkers speak to the complexity and oddity of this contemporary moment as they discuss what is and what can be.

Documentary Synopsis:
Humanity seems to be stuck in the perpetual now that is our networked world. More countries are witnessing people taking to the streets in search of answers. Revolution of the Present, the film, features interviews with thought leaders designed to give meaning to our present and precarious condition. This historic journey allows us to us re-think our presumptions and narratives about the individual and society, the local and global, our politics and technology. This documentary analyzes why the opportunity to augment the scope of human action has become so atomized and diminished. Revolution of the Present is an invitation to join the conversation and help contribute to our collective understanding.

As Saskia Sassen, the renowned sociologist, states at the outset of the film, 'we live in a time of unsettlement, so much so that we are even questioning the notion of the global, which is healthy.' One could say that our film raises more questions than it answers, but this is our goal. Asking the right questions and going back to beginnings may be the very thing we need to do to understand the present, and to move forward from it with a healthy skepticism.

Revolution of the Present is structured as an engaging dinner conversation, there is no narrator telling you what to think, it is not a film of fear of the end time or accusation, it is an invitation to sit at the table and join an in depth conversation about our diverse and plural world."

[See also: http://hilariousbookbinder.blogspot.com/2014/09/rethinking-internet-networks-capitalism.html ]

[Previously:
https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:ec1d3463d74b
https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:9f60604ec3b3 ]
marclafia  networks  philosophy  politics  science  money  cities  scale  economics  capitalism  2014  kazysvarnelis  communication  communications  business  work  labor  psychology  greglindsay  saskiasassen  urban  urbanism  freedom  freewill  howardbloom  juanenríquez  michaelhardt  anthonypagden  danielisenberg  johnhenryclippinger  joséfernández  johannaschiller  douglasrushkoff  manueldelanda  floriancrammer  issaclubb  nataliejeremijenko  wendychun  geertlovink  nishantshah  internet  online  web  danielcoffeen  michaelchichi  jamesdelbourgo  sashasakhar  pedromartínez  miguelfernándezpauldocherty  alexandergalloway  craigfeldman  irenarogovsky  matthewrogers  globalization  networkedculture  networkculture  history  change  nationstates  citystates  sovreignty  empire  power  control  antonionegri  geopolitics  systems  systemsthinking  changemaking  meaningmaking  revolution  paradigmshifts  johnlocke  bourgeoisie  consumption  middleclass  class  democracy  modernity  modernism  government  governence  karlmarx  centralization  socialism  planning  urbanplanning  grass 
october 2014 by robertogreco
It's About Time | The Evergreen State College
Quick—what time is it? Your answer probably comes from a smartphone that connects you instantly to information across the globe. New technologies drive new experiences of time and writers and artists respond to those new experiences with startling innovations in form and vision.

Through the critical study of art and literature, we will explore the experience of time in the modernist period—roughly defined as the first half of the 20th century. In those decades, airplanes, automobiles, telephones and radio sped up time and the modernists responded in kind. How did they experience time? How is this different from our own experience of it?

To answer those questions, we will not only study modernist art and literature, but also live like modernists. We will begin the fall quarter with a voyage, sailing the waters of Puget Sound on a 100-year-old schooner. We will slow down by using the technologies of the past. Students will write with ballpoint pens and typewriters, draw from observation and move into abstraction, use film photography, memorize poetry and go to museums, all in the hopes of living more slowly. During both fall and winter quarters we will study movements such as Romanticism, Impressionism, Post-impressionism, Cubism, Dada, Abstraction and Surrealism in visual art and literature. Students will engage with authors like James Joyce, Marcel Proust and Virginia Woolf and artists like Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp.

Students in this program can expect to examine art, literature and culture in the modernist period; learn how to draw, paint and write in various ways from naturalism to abstraction; understand the basic principles behind artistic and literary representation in the modernist period; and go on field trips using "slow" technologies (train, boat, walking).
evergreenstatecollege  coursedescriptions  programdescriptions  2014  arthistory  art  history  visualarts  writing  literature  trevorspeller  shawnosha  gregmullins  time  modernism  proust  culture  marcelproust 
september 2014 by robertogreco
MultipliCITY | Molleindustria
"SimCity promises endless possibilities. You can create the city of your dreams. But in reality you always end up with Phoenix, Arizona. The only type of city you can create is the modernist, car centered, grid based, North American city (Although in some recent versions like SimCity Societies they tried to add variety).

And it’s not just a matter of appearances. Here I tried to build an alternative city based on Situationist principles of Unitary Urbanism. I mixed work places and recreational place, I invested in public transportation and green areas.

But the citizens hated it. It was not a thriving city.

Another issue is the relationship between urban settlements and nature. You can start from an existing city and try to improve it, but the game is really meant to start from a tabula rasa, with a city built from scratch. The natural environment comes up as a blank slate, uninhabited and pre-packaged in discreet square units, ready to conquer and exploit.

It’s very common in games to have a territory that comes already partitioned in units of lands. Civilization uses a grid system too. There are technical reasons for that. But still, it suggests a very specific vision of the nature and ecosystems.

SimCity is not just about planning, you have to take decisions like how to tax your citizens. In pretty much all the titles of the series if your tax rate is around 12% or higher citizens get upset. Typically with a 20% tax, wealthy citizens will simply leave regardless of the services you provide. Some players even managed to run cities with 0 taxes.

This is a pretty clear libertarian bias. In many countries people tolerate high taxation if they feel like they get valuable services from the state.

It’s true that SimCity doesn’t have a stated goal but there is an implied goal which is growth. You can play subversively in many different ways, you can destroy things by triggering disasters. But the only truly rewarding way to play is by trying to make a big, functional city.
SimCity encourages endless growth without ever confronting the player with scarcity of resources. In SimCity 2000 when the map is full you can build arcologies that are cities within cities. And when you fill the map with arcologies, they simply take off to some other planet and you start over. It perpetually postpones the issue of the limits to growth.

Race and class conflicts are also sanitized. Crime can usually be addressed by building more police stations. And you’ll never see racial riots or experience disruptive suburbanization – the White flight. These conflicts were crucial for the development and the decline of North American cities (Detroit being a textbook case). And yet they are not included in the SimCity model.

Probably the most fundamental problem with SimCity is the premise itself: that a single person, the mayor/city planner/dictator, can address the contradictions of contemporary capitalist cities though judicious planning. Seeing the city as organism that can be in good or bad health is denying that there are irreducible conflicting interests at play.

Moreover, there are some more general bias that make SimCity a problematic artifact. Some bias are related to the mathematical, computational nature of the medium: everything is reduced to quantity, to numbers, variables, flows. Some bias are related to the management genre: this top down cybernetic approach is inherently reductionist. It embodies the modernist paradigm of city planning “from above” ignoring the city as lived at street level. This is the approach that informed carefully planned but ultimately unlivable cities like Brasilia.

But most of the bias and the issues I just mentioned come from the fact that between a real city and a simulation of a city there are actual people. People with their own values, experiences, and beliefs that inevitably affect the design of the game."
simcity  modernism  frowth  urban  urbanism  cityplanning  planning  urbanplanning  libertarianism  taxes  brasilia  multiplicity  paolopedercini  2014  brasília 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Energy That Is All Around | Art Practical
"But the exhibition’s linchpin is tucked into one of the vitrines devoted to correspondence, snapshots, and other ephemera. It is a page from one of McCarthy’s sketchbooks, in which she paraphrases Walter Benjamin: “Aura=relationship of distance/time and space.”3 Benjamin laments the “passionate…inclination to bring things close” (emphasis his) that spurs reproduction but strips a work of its aura.4 For the group of artists represented in this exhibition, the capacity to encounter their work without the attendant baggage of the Mission School moniker is almost impossible. But bringing the artists back to the place where they were students both collapses and expands the distance around the work, historicizing it even as we encounter anew its vibrancy, earnestness, and disruptive spirit. The gap of twenty years is felt in the juxtaposition of paintings that are heartbreaking in their youthful fervor with those that are sober with the received wisdom of age.

The ephemera also remind us why “school” was an applicable term for these artists’ activities. An academic institution indoctrinates certain ideological leanings and refutes others. The aesthetics of the Mission School reflect a conscientious rejection of modernist trajectories, and its collaborative activities corresponded to the predominant economic and social conditions of the Mission district at the time. As an ideology for San Francisco, the Mission School is still relevant even as its namesake neighborhood has radically transformed and derivative works have diminished the politics that informed the aesthetic choices of the original artists. If we remember why Glen Helfand coined the label in his 2002 article—to describe a group of artists committed to utopian ideals “about the power of fellowship and the possibility of being lifted up,” to resourcefulness in the face of economic hardship, and to radical personal politics—there are still lessons to be learned here.5"
missionschool  art  sanfrancisco  sfai  2013  aliciamccarthy  rubyneri  chrisjohanson  marharetkilgallen  barrymcgee  natashaboas  ephemeral  ephemera  ideology  education  academia  aesthetics  rejection  modernism  collaboration  glov  srg  edg  glenhelfand  fellowship  resourcefulness  personalpolitics  radicalism  aura  walterbenjamin  youth  utopia  time  distance  space  ephemerality 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Wendell Berry: Letter to Wes Jackson… | UKIAH BLOG
"From WENDELL BERRY
Home Economics (1982)

[This evening, August 3rd, will be our second First Friday of Neighbors Reading at Mulligan Books downtown Ukiah, 6-7pm. We share favorite passages from favorite books around topics of community, transition, resilience, or anything else, as part of the second semester of Mendo Free Skool. We video the readings for Community TV and invite your participation. I will be reading from one of my favorite authors, Wendell Berry... passages from an essay The Family Farm, from his book Home Economics. What follows is the opening essay from that book... -DS]

Dear Wes,

I want to try to complete the thought about “randomness” that I was working on when we talked the other day.

The Hans Jenny paragraph that started me off is the last one on page twenty-one of The Soil Resource:
Raindrops that pass in random fashion through an imaginary plane above the forest canopy are intercepted by leaves and twigs and channeled into distinctive vert space patterns of through-drip, crown-drip, and stem flow. The soil surface, as receiver, transmits the “rain message” downward, but as the subsoils lack a power source to mold a flow design, the water tends to leave the ecosystem as it entered it, in randomized fashion.

My question is: Does “random” in this (or any) context describe a verifiable condition or a limit of perception?

My answer is: It describes a limit of perception. This is, of course, not a scientist’s answer, but it may be that anybody’s answer would be unscientific. My answer is based on the belief that pattern is verifiable by limited information, whereas the information required to verify randomness is unlimited. As I think you said when we talked, what is perceived as random within a given limit may be seen as part of a pattern within a wider limit.

If this is so then Dr. Jenny, for accuracy’s sake, should have said that rainwater moves from mystery through pattern back into mystery.

If “mystery” is a necessary (that is, honest) term in such a description, then the modern scientific program has not altered the ancient perception of the human condition a jot. If, in using the word “random,” scientists only mean “random so far as we can tell,” then we are back at about the Book of Job. Some truth meets the eye; some does not. We are up against mystery. To call this mystery “randomness” or “chance” or a “fluke” is to take charge of it on behalf of those who do not respect pattern. To call the unknown “random” is to plant the flag by which to colonize and exploit the known. (A result that our friend Dr. Jenny, of course, did not propose and would not condone.)

To call the unknown by its right name, “mystery,” is to suggest that we had better respect the possibility of a larger, unseen pattern that can be damaged or destroyed and, with it, the smaller patterns.

This respecting of mystery obviously has something or other to do with religion, and we moderns have defended ourselves against it by turning it over to religion specialists, who take advantage of our indifference by claiming to know a lot about it.

What impresses me about it, however is the insistent practicality implicit in it. If we are up against mystery, then we dare act only on the most modest assumptions. The modern scientific program has held that we must act on the basis of knowledge, which, because its effects are so manifestly large, we have assumed to be ample. But if we are up against mystery, then knowledge is relatively small, and the ancient program is the right one: Act on the basis of ignorance. Acting on the basis of ignorance, paradoxically, requires one to know things, remember things— for instance, that failure is possible, that error is possible, that second chances are desirable (so don’t risk everything on the first chance), and so on.

What I think you and I and a few others are working on is a definition of agriculture as up against mystery and ignorance-based. I think we think that this is its necessary definition, just as I think we think that several kinds of ruin are the necessary result of an agriculture defined as knowledge-based and up against randomness. Such an agriculture conforms exactly to what the ancient program, or programs, understood as evil or hubris. Both the Greeks and the Hebrews told us to watch out for humans who assume that they make all the patterns."

[via Charlie's newsletter 6, 5 http://tinyletter.com/vruba/letters/6-5-hills ]
wendellberry  via:vruba  1982  mystery  science  random  patterns  patternsensing  zoominginandout  religion  belief  myth  myths  information  perspective  perception  modernism  indifference  ignorance  local  global  knowledge 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Walls, floors, house numbers: In Mexico City, all surfaces are activated.: Observatory: Design Observer
"In Mexico, everyone seems to be Alexander Girard. Not afraid of color, of two colors together, of tiles and stripes, of patterns on pattern, of humble materials made noble by aggregation. The Loeb Fellowship took me to Mexico City for a week in February, and there I found the roots of Girard's "opulent modernism" still growing. Everywhere I looked — underfoot, on the walls, over the doors — something particular was happening. I understood why he had been so inspired to collect and reinterpret Mexican precedents; more importantly I also saw Mexican designers and everyday people reinterpreting for themselves. Design with a small "d" was everywhere, reflecting a culture that seems to understand the small gestures that make a room, a building, or a city special. A church in Queretaro with checkerboard floors, a neo-classical facade, and a golden altarpiece of many doors. A museum in Mexico City with real Mayan artifacts, reconstructed Aztec facades, red-and-purple upholstery, bowls floating on plexiglass mounts. Girard distilled the elements of Mexican style, transforming them into an American modernist idiom, but it is not as if Mexican modernists weren't doing the same. Architect Luis Barragran spotlit a golden angel with a perfectly placed skylight. Artist, architect, designer Mathias Goeritz remade the baroque icon as a simple gold-leaf square. Contemporary projects embed ceramic trees of life in Art Deco hallways, or echo the peacock circles of traditional decor in industrial spiral staircases. At the studios of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, lines of cacti march past Bauhaus silhouettes.

As I made my way through the city, primarily on a large red-white-and-blue bus, I tried to take note of these extraordinary planes, posting PicFrames of walls, floors, and other details that simultaneously clashed and sang. How dull the medium-width oak floors of my childhood began to seem. The brick walls of my Brooklyn neighborhood. The cookie-cutter house numbers from the hardware store. The white subway tile on backsplashes, wainscots, walk-in showers. Why do we do this to ourselves? In Mexico City, it felt like all surfaces were activated. Why not get an artist to paint a mural on the concrete slot between a building's wings? Why not park a bike up the green wall in your restaurant garden? Diana Vreeland's observations about Indian color style apply equally here, with yellow swapped in for pink, cobalt for navy blue.

Architects from the global north may revere Barragan for the subtle cast of pink on a white wall, but many won't go beyond blush themselves. His Mexico City house, and the villa he designed for the family Prieto, suggested that cobalt and coral, sunshine and flame, are easier to live with than you might think. Seeing so many examples of skillfully deployed color and pattern over a handful of days, examples high (Casa Barragan, below), low (turquoise apartment building foyer, top), sacred (three-tone cathedral floor), durable (two-tone rubber garden path) allowed me to understand the intense patterns I snapped not as a precious, professional choice but as part of a larger cultural valuation of the visual. What I loved was the too-muchness of it all, which felt like aesthetic freedom. My current housemates make fun of my desire for everyday bling, which manifests itself in plastic necklaces from Forever 21 and silver sneakers and metallic sweatshirts. I saw that blinginess everywhere in Mexico and it made me feel unexpectedly at home.

Pictures of the houses of Luis Barragan tend to focus on the colorful moments, as I have in the rainbow collages above and below. But the white walls, and the windows on to sky and garden, are equally important. Barragan isn't trying to overwhelm you (as Ricardo Legorreta does at the Camino Real), but to get you through the day, in the house, with a series of views that surprise and delight. In his own home, each room is shaped to a particular activity and time of day. The pink cross is built in over the door of his solo breakfast room, to offer a wordless blessing. The sunshiny Albers painting is set next to a two-story window, providing an alternative sun on a rare cloudy day. At Casa Prieto, a tree with flame-like flowers grows out of a rock in front of a coral wall, emphasizing its heat from the cool of the aqua pool. Contemporary architects can't help but pay homage. I visited the clever, elegant Lisboa 7, designed by at.103, and found those murals tucked into slots. There, the hot colors are reserved for the sunken garage, flashes of orange through a block wall, common storage in lime. Upstairs, the palette is paler, allowing residents to create their own Barragan moments, or not. In the apartment we visited, the walls were gray and the rainbow palette provided by a collection of California pottery. It was fun to recognize an old friend, transformed by geography into a different reference.

My last night in Mexico was spent at the home of a Mexican architect and an American recovering landscape architect. Mark, the latter, traveled to Mexico on a Fulbright some years ago and never came home. His decor seemed to me another entirely accessible version of the simple and baroque, minty and regal, combinations that I was seeing outside. The homemade cork boards stood in for the tricky, intricate ceramic Trees of Life, incorporating photos and other mementos. The white-painted floor offered the simplified backdrop of the neo-classical ceilings in many churches. A Crate & Barrel table kept company with hand-stitched pillow covers in patterns made since time immemorial. He even had a vase full of hand-blown glass balls, an inadvertant homage to the oversized bowl of such bubbles at Casa Prieto. Maybe this is a stretch, though it was a charming apartment. It was fun to see what happens to your taste when you fall in love with Mexico City now."
architecture  design  df  mexico  mexicodf  color  alexandralange  2014  everyday  texture  surface  detail  details  querétaro  alexandergirard  modernism  mathiasgoeritz  tiles  luisbarragán  ricardolegorreta  mexicocity 
march 2014 by robertogreco
The poetic architecture of Luis Barragán and Lina Bo Bardi - FT.com
"My house is my refuge,” wrote Luis Barragán; “an emotional piece of architecture, not a cold piece of convenience.”

A direct challenge to Le Corbusier’s contention that “a house is a machine for living in”, Barragán (1902-88) offered a poetic view of the home as a retreat. His highly individual house in Mexico City, built in 1948, is a minimal masterpiece and curiously monastic. He was intensely religious and an obsessive reader of theological and philosophical texts, and his house embraced layers of public-ness. Some rooms are expansive and generous; the most private ones small and spartan.

Inspired by north African houses, Barragán’s house presents a blank face to the street: just a solid white wall and a small door with a sliding panel – the kind of feature you might find at the entrance to a nunnery. Its entrance hall is modest but its combination of geometric simplicity, flush surfaces, rough plaster and a floor of dark volcanic stone offer an idea of a house luxurious in its attention to detail yet ascetic in its architecture.

There is, however, a flash of colour that draws the visitor in: a canary-yellow door leading to a bright pink room. Where Le Corbusier and his modernist contemporaries might have used the odd colour highlight – typically red, yellow or blue – Barragán was renowned for soaking his houses in bold, unforgettable colour.

Take his most photographed work, the San Cristóbal stables outside Mexico City. For its vivid blast of pinks and fuchsias set against the bright blue Mexican sky (and its reflection in the pool), the stables are a powerful Latin American riposte to the notion that modernism had to be anaemically white and allergic to colour.

A tour through Barragán’s house reveals layers in which the more public parts of the house are gradually stripped away to reveal the sparse rooms inhabited by the architect himself, and intended only for him. Each room features some nod to Christian art, ritual or iconography.
In the guest bedroom, a Madonna is placed not directly above the bed (Barragán was sensitive to those who might not share his beliefs) but to one side, her eyes turned towards her infant son – a Madonna not dominant yet still keeping an eye on the spiritual wellbeing of the guest.





The Casa de Vidro (Glass House) in São Paulo was built three years after Bárragan’s masterpiece. It too rebels against Le Corbusier’s concept of the house as a machine or as abstract sculpture – even if it is at least in part inspired by his use of concrete. But unlike Barragán’s insular, contempl­ative house, this is a dwelling that opens up to the landscape, that scoops up the surrounding rainforest and sucks it in. The Casa de Vidro was designed by Lina Bo Bardi (1914-92) for herself and her husband Pietro Maria Bardi, director of the São Paulo Museum of Art, not long after arriving in Brazil from their native Italy.

The site, which has now developed into the upmarket suburb of Morumbi, was in the middle of the rainforest. Even now, enough jungle remains on the hillside to remind people of the original wilderness.

Where Barragán’s house resolutely looks inwards, Bo Bardi’s looks out. Its living space is purely public, glazed all round, and the dining and living areas flow into each other. Like Barragán, Bo Bardi and her husband collected artworks – many of them profoundly Catholic images. Both architects consciously play with the juxtaposition of the emotional intensity of religious imagery and the asceticism of modernist architecture.

Bo Bardi thought Brazilian architecture should look to its indigenous past as well as to modernism. “Its source”, she wrote in a 1951 essay, “is not the architecture of the Jesuits: it comes from the wattle-and-daub shelter of the solitary man, laboriously constructed out of the materials of the forest; it comes from the house of the rubber-tapper, with its wooden floor and thatch roof.” Her house exhibits some of those fetishes and crafted objects that express that urge to make, alongside Catholic artefacts.

Yet her house never feels like an exhibition space; instead these pieces form a landscape of memory that stretches from Italy to Brazil. If there is a difference (beyond the obvious openness of the façades), it is in the sense of hierarchy between the private and the social, which is much less pronounced in Bo Bardi’s house. This feels like a house for company rather than contemplation.



Both houses, in their preoccupations with the delineations of public and private space, their concerns for transparency or opacity and their treatment of landscape or street, are very Latin American in spirit. Both depart from the more showy aspects of their contemporaries in Europe and North America, where houses were seemingly built as much for public consumption as they were for the client, and with the photographed image in mind. They are also among the most influential houses of the past century, their genius apparent in their constant rediscovery by each successive generation."
luisbarragán  linabobardi  design  architecture  mexico  2014  color  lecorbusier  modernism  brasil  mexicocity  mexicodf  sãopaulo  brazil  df 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Victorian Occultism and the Art of Synesthesia | The Public Domain Review
"Grounded in the theory that ideas, emotions, and even events, can manifest as visible auras, Annie Besant and Charles Leadbeater’s Thought-Forms (1901) is an odd and intriguing work. Benjamin Breen explores these “synesthetic” abstractions and asks to what extent they, and the Victorian mysticism of which they were born, influenced the Modernist movement that flourished in the following decades."



"These sorts of underlying associations between words, colors and sounds were precisely what motivated Thought-Forms. In other words, the book was about synesthesia. The illustration of the music of Mendelssohn reproduced above, for instance, depicts yellow, red, blue and green lines rising out of a church. This, Leadbeater and Besant explain, “signifies the movement of one of the parts of the melody, the four moving approximately together denoting the treble, alto, tenor and bass respectively.” Moreover, “the scalloped edging surrounding the whole is the result of various flourishes and arpeggios, and the floating crescents in the centre represent isolated or staccato chords.” Color and sound had become commingled.

Yet Leadbeater and Besant intended not only to visualize sound, but to demonstrate their distinctive psychic gifts: the ability to detect spiritual “vibrations” of ideas, emotions and sounds as visual forms. This, in other words, was a sort of spiritual synesthesia, as much a religious act as a neurological one."
synesthesia  art  history  occult  religion  anniebesant  charlesleadbeater  benjaminbreen  mysticism  modernism  belief  color  sound  perception  via:alexismadrigal 
march 2014 by robertogreco
The ambassadors of the hinterlands [Diplomacy influenced the literature of Vinicius de Moraes, Guimarães Rosa and João Cabral] | Revista Pesquisa FAPESP
"If there are differences among the authors, there is, nevertheless, one similar point: the three were diplomats. “More than a coincidence, diplomatic work, which entails coming into closer contact with the exterior aspects of a system, an opening to a set of differences in social, cultural and political life, enabled the articulation of the extremely heterogeneous projects of all three of them, with different esthetic pathways, but sharing a single concern: the tension between the line of discourse of the development-oriented Brazil of the elite and the line of discourse of the archaic and needy Brazil, whether rural or urban,” notes Menezes. These writers-diplomats corroded the notion of a closed, toughened regionalism, alien to any connection with the external world. At the same time, they go against the pretenses of a development-oriented State focused on the idea of national unity. Their texts emphasize the diverse identities of the country, Brazil’s multiplicity of cultures and of social needs,” he analyzes. Just as the movement of diplomatic writing is underscored by “de-territorialization.”

These writers-diplomats were travelers in a Brazil lost in the labyrinths of modernization. “The tension created in the spirit at the same time bureaucratic (they were civil servants) and also as travelers casts a piercing look upon those native ‘foreigners’ that wander around their country like the mass of post-war refugees seeking a home. The dislocation, the exile, the complex adaptation to different lands, which are part of the life of diplomats, contributed to the de-territorialization of their thinking,” assesses the researcher. The social reality revealed in their texts is addressed from an overseas viewpoint.

“Diplomatic writing is suspicious of a limited link with places. Cabral, Rosa and Vinicius know that they cannot write ‘from within,’ as they lack the speaking style of the peasant or the inhabitant of the shantytowns. That is why they created ‘spaces from without,’ in which they have voices that resonate from ‘within’. This boundary-based perspective, that comes neither within nor from without, pursues a constant dialogue among various propositions, giving rise to new reflections, new esthetic configurations,” notes Menezes.

On the itinerary of the reverberations of the writer diplomats, approximations and translations among the cultural production of several parts of the world arise, precisely during times when the country was experiencing its belated modernity, when local production was articulating itself with foreign manufacturing and the concepts of dependence started to be influenced by the concepts of cultural simultaneity, even though the idea of modernity in Brazil arose before the modernization process. Brasilia is a symbol of this, as the capital of an “avant-gardist” state in a nation in which many modernity values had not yet even been assimilated. “In this, the three writers were wise to resort to diplomatic writing, in particular to the use of affection for the ‘other’ in the acknowledgement of foreignness in relation to established places,” analyses the researcher.

Diplomatic work functions like an allegory of the process of literary creation that involves writing as a type of relation with otherness. Hence the empathetic image that the authors reflect about these “foreigners” to modernity moving about Brazil’s territory."



“The writer-diplomats, when dealing with the politics of writing, know that the most important political work is not tied to the visible physical frontiers, but to the means of separating the invisible lines of prejudice, of discrimination,” states Menezes. It is in this “minor place” that they try to corrode separation and exclusion. “In official diplomacy, the work is carried out via the political, legal and economic institutions. In ‘minor diplomacy,’ it is conducted, for example, by the representation of the simple folks exposed to the cruelty of reality, by their way of dealing with biopolitics, with the limits that they must cross every single day in order to survive,” he observes. “Translating internal needs into external possibilities to expand the power of control of a society over its destiny is, to my mind, the task of foreign policy,” wrote the diplomat and University of São Paulo professor Celso Lafer in O Itamaraty na cultura brasileira [The Brazilian Foreign Office in Brazilian culture] (Instituto Rio Branco, 2001).

“Rosa’s ability to use various linguistic registers was, on the literary plane, the perfect correlate of the first item on any diplomatic agenda: the establishment of borders, the basis of foreign policy, which assumes that there is a difference between that which is ‘internal’ (the national space) and that which is ‘external’ (the world),” Lafer analyzes. “He translated in his literature one of the basic principles of Brazilian diplomacy, a line of action geared toward transforming our borders from classical, separation borders into modern cooperation borders,” he assesses. Unlike Rosa and Cabral, who experienced the hinterlands during their childhoods, Vinicius only gets to know the North and the Northeast of the country at the age of 29, in 1942. He joined the foreign office when he was discovering the country and internalizing his new ‘Brazilianness’ and, as a result, his artistic production started being influenced by the social reality of Brazil and popular culture."



"“The writings of the trio are not based on class struggles, parties or power, but on mediations, on negotiations,” observes Menezes. In the text of the three diplomats, a number of uncomfortable images arise that clash with the discourse of the development-oriented nation symbolized by Brasilia, which the trio, each in his own way, was able to admire and to criticize.

“During a time when the country wanted to join the concert of nations, investing in modernization and in progress, they trusted in the future, but mistrusted the processes employed to lead the country into this new political and economic stage,” notes the researcher. So they ventured into the hinterlands, hills and to the outskirts of the cities, in an attempt to acknowledge the value of the popular culture and creations. “The ‘minor diplomacy’ and the ‘frontier poetics’ had to find something capable of forcing thinking to emerge from its interiority. “The movement toward the exterior of conventional places contributed to the development of the imagination and to the authors’ critical view,” says Menezes."
diplomats  diplomacy  writing  interstitialspaces  outsiders  joãoguimarãesrosa  guimarãesrosa  joãocabraldemeloneto  viniciusdemoraes  2012  translation  literature  otherness  brasil  brazil  borders  sertão  hinterlands  culture  prejudice  discrimination  separation  exclusion  biopolitics  celsolafer  carloshaag  mediations  negotiations  modernism  modernization  progress  ronieremenezes  interstitial 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Margaret J. Wheatley: The Irresistible Future of Organizing
"Why do so many people in organizations feel discouraged and fearful about the future? Why does despair only increase as the fads fly by, shorter in duration, more costly in each attempt to improve? Why have the best efforts to create significant and enduring organizational change resulted in so many failures? We, and our organizations, exist in a world of constant evolutionary activity. Why is change so unnatural in human organizations?

The accumulating failures at organizational change can be traced to a fundamental but mistaken assumption that organizations are machines. Organizations-as-machines is a 17th century notion, from a time when philosophers began to describe the universe as a great clock. Our modern belief in prediction and control originated in these clockwork images. Cause and effect were simple relationships.   Everything could be known.  Organizations and people could be engineered into efficient solutions. Three hundred years later, we still search for "tools and techniques" and "change levers"; we attempt to "drive" change through our organizations; we want to "build" solutions and "reengineer" for peak efficiencies.

But why would we want an organization to behave like a machine? Machines have no intelligence; they follow the instructions given to them. They only work in the specific conditions predicted by their engineers. Changes in their environment wreak havoc because they have no capacity to adapt.

These days, a different ideal for organizations is surfacing. We want organizations to be adaptive, flexible, self-renewing, resilient, learning, intelligent-attributes found only in living systems. The tension of our times is that we want our organizations to behave as living systems, but we only know how to treat them as machines.



This faith in the organization's ability and intelligence will be sorely tested. When there are failures, pressures from the outside, or employee problems, it is easy to retreat to more traditional structures and solutions. As one manager describes it: "When things aren't going well, we've had to resist the temptation to fall back to the perceived safety of our old, rigid structures. But we know that the growth, the creativity, the opening up, the energy improves only if we hold ourselves at the edge of chaos."

The path of self-organization offers ample tests for leaders to discover how much they really trust their employees. Can employees make wise decisions? Can they deal with sensitive information? Can they talk to the community or government regulators? Employees earn trust, but leaders create the circumstances in which such trust can be earned.

Because dependency runs so deep in most organizations these days, employees often have to be encouraged to exercise initiative and explore new areas of competence. Not only do leaders have to let go and watch as employees figure out their own solutions, they also have to shore up their self-confidence and encourage them to do more. And leaders need to refrain from taking credit for their employees' good work-not always an easy task.

While self-organization calls us to very different ideas and forms of organizing, how else can we create the resilient, intelligent, fast, and flexible organizations that we require? How else can we succeed in organizing in the accelerating pace of our times except by realizing that organizations are living systems? This is not an easy shift, changing one's model of the way the world organizes. It is work that will occupy most of us for the rest of our careers. But the future pulls us toward these new understandings with an insistent and compelling call."

[via: https://twitter.com/JosieHolford/status/394627503668461568 ]
systems  systemsthinking  margaretwheatley  myronkellner-rogers  1996  organzations  management  humans  humanism  machines  modernism  organizing  resistance  self-organization  administration  leadership  structure  dependency  initiative  competency  rigidity  livingsystems  life  rules 
october 2013 by robertogreco
The straightforward logic of "A Handbook of California Design" makes it the first step in discovering (or rediscovering) two generations of makers.: Observatory: Design Observer
"Obviously a number of the names I just mentioned are those of women. By framing their compendium as on "craftspeople, designers, manufacturers" the museum also easily includes a large percentage of women, working across the design fields, both in partnerships and alone. Ray Eames, the best known of these female California designers, was not as exceptional as we might have initially thought, though her work always will be. I only recently found out about Victor Gruen's wide, Elsie Krummeck Crawford, who worked with Gruen on iconic retail projects like Joseph Magnin and Barton's Bonbonniere, and later designed public sculpture, textiles, toys and seating planters for Architectural Fiberglass. Marget Larsen, another name new to me, also did some amazing advertising and supergraphic work. It isn't just the women, either, that broaden the range of design histories included here. There is a biography of Marion Sampler, the longtime head of the graphics department at Victor Gruen Associates, who happens to have been African American. And one for Carlos Diniz, an architectural delineator who may actually be the reason we remember work by Gruen, Yamasaki, Gehry, SOM, and many others. (I will admit, I have never made deep study of California design, and some of these names and facts will be better known to others.)

Many of the designers and craftspeople mentioned in the Handbook were familiar to me through commerce rather than study. Everyone knows, and hence knows the price of, work by the Eameses. But Kenji Fujita, La Gardo Tackett and Architectural Pottery, Jade Snow Wong, were only known to me because I follow the hashtag #thriftbreak on Twitter. I've written about this virtual community before, as I am continuously impressed by their ability to pick museum-quality modernism out of the HomeGoods detritus of Goodwills, Savers, and tag sales. They know about these lesser-known talents because pieces and sets are still out there for the picking, particularly on the West Coast. While many on #thriftbreak will surely want to buy this book, they may be graitified to hear that most of the listed artists are illustrated by portraits. Finding all of those portraits is an accomplishment -- Tigerman offers special thanks to the photo research of Staci Steinberger in her acknolwedgements -- but it would have been nice to have images of the products alongside some of the portraits. After a while I began Googling each person whose biography interested me, to see whether what they made was as intriguing."



"Overall, the Handbook is a must-buy for those interested in mid-century design, and a model of the kind of scholarship and publishing that leads to less forgetting, and more knowledge, of the accomplishments of all kinds of designers."
books  toread  california  design  alexandralange  2013  modernism  crafts  rayeames  eames  victorgruen  elsiekrummeckcrawford  josephmagnin  carlosdiniz  kenjifujita  lagardotackett  architecturalpottery  architecture  jadesnowwong  #thriftbreak  stacisteinberger  pacificstandartime  losangeles  bobbyetigerman  irmabloom  dorothyliebes  lanettescheeline  herbertmatter  henrydreyfuss  lacma  strothermacminn  marionsampler  margetlarsen 
july 2013 by robertogreco
UCSD: A Built History of Modernism | ArchDaily
"At just a little over 50 years old, the University of California San Diego is one of the younger college campuses in the United States, but despite this it is one of the most architecturally fascinating universities around. In the official UCSD campus guide, Dirk Sutro emphasizes that “UCSD does not have a single example of the historical-revival styles prevalent at other University of California campuses… and at San Diego’s two other major universities”. The history of UCSD architecture is one of ambition, which has made the campus a display case of modernism in all of its forms from the last half a century.

Thanks to photographer Darren Bradley, we can now share this history and a selection of the exciting structures it has produced."
ucsd  sandiego  lajolla  darrenbradley  photography  architecture  2013  dirksutro  modernism  modern 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Albert Frey - a set on Flickr
"ALBERT FREY was born 1903 in Switzerland. He worked for the great Bauhause and International-style modernist architects in Europe (including Le Corbusier, where he worked on the Villa Savoye) before coming to the United States in 1930. Originally settled in New York, where he built the Aluminaire House in partnership with Lawrence Kocher. Came to Palm Springs in 1934 to supervise a project and fell in love with the place. He permanently settled there 1939, where he would design a body of work including residential, commercial, institutional and civic buildings, including the City Hall (in collaboration with others). He died in 1998."
albertfrey  palmsprings  california  design  architecture  modernism  darrenbradley  photography 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Subject, Theory, Practice: An Architecture of Creative Engagement on Vimeo
“Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you who you are.” José Ortega y Gasset

A 'manifesto' for the curious architect/designer/artist in search of depth, but in love with plenty, in the saturated world of the 21st Century.

"In a world where grazing is the norm, in which the bitesize is the ideal that conflates ease of consumption with value, where yoghurts are increased in sales price by being reduced in size and packaged like medicines, downed in one gulp; in a world where choice is a democratic obligation that obliterates enjoyment, forced on consumers through the constant tasting, buying and trying of ever more gadgets; a world in which thoughts, concepts -entire lives- are fragmented into the instantaneous nothings of tweets and profile updates; it is in this world, where students of architecture graze Dezeen dot com and ArchDaily, hoovering up images in random succession with no method of differentiation or judgement, where architects -like everyone else- follow the dictum ‘what does not fit on the screen, won’t be seen’, where attentions rarely span longer than a minute, and architectural theory online has found the same formula as Danone’s Actimel (concepts downed in one gulp, delivered in no longer than 300 words!), conflating relevance with ease of consumption; it is in this world of exponentially multiplying inputs that we find ourselves looking at our work and asking ‘what is theory, and what is practice?’, and finding that whilst we yearn for the Modernist certainties of a body of work, of a lifelong ‘project’ in the context of a broader epoch-long ‘shared project’ on the one hand, and the ideas against which these projects can be critically tested on the other; we are actually embedded in an era in which any such oppositions, any such certainties have collapsed, and in which it is our duty –without nostalgia, but with bright eyes and bushy tails untainted by irony- to look for new relationships that can generate meaning, in a substantial manner, over the course of a professional life.

This film is a short section through this process from May 2012."

This montage film is based on a lecture delivered by Madam Studio in May of 2012 at Gent Sint-Lucas Hogeschool Voor Wetenschap & Kunst.

A Madam Studio Production by Adam Nathaniel Furman and Marco Ginex

[via: https://twitter.com/a_small_lab/status/310914404038348800 ]
via:chrisberthelsen  joséortegaygasset  theory  architecture  cv  media  dezeen  archdaily  practice  nostalgia  actimel  marcoginex  2013  tcsnmy  understanding  iteration  darkmatter  certainty  postmodernism  modernism  philosophy  relationships  context  meaningmaking  meaning  lifelongproject  lcproject  openstudioproject  relevance  consumption  canon  streams  internet  filtering  audiencesofone  film  adamnathanielfurman  creativity  bricolage  consumerism  unschooling  deschooling  education  lifelonglearning  curation  curating  blogs  discourse  thinking  soundbites  eyecandy  order  chaos  messiness  ephemerality  ephemeral  grandnarratives  storytelling  hierarchies  hierarchy  authority  rebellion  criticism  frameofdebate  robertventuri  taste  aura  highbrow  lowbrow  waywards  narrative  anarchism  anarchy  feedback  feedbackloops  substance  values  self  thewho  thewhat  authenticity  fiction  discussion  openended  openendedstories  process  open-ended 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Fredric Jameson - Wikipedia
[Link points to the section below. See also: http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/us/jameson.htm ]

"The critique of postmodernism

"Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism" was initially published in the journal New Left Review in 1984, during Jameson's tenure as Professor of Literature and History of Consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz. This controversial article, which would later be expanded to a full-sized book in 1991, was part of a series of analyses of postmodernism from the dialectical point of view Jameson had developed in his earlier work on narrative. Jameson here viewed the postmodern "skepticism towards metanarratives" as a "mode of experience" stemming from the conditions of intellectual labor imposed by the late capitalist mode of production.

Postmodernists claimed that the complex differentiation between "spheres" or fields of life (such as the political, the social, the cultural, the commercial, etc.) and between distinct classes and roles within each field, had been overcome by the crisis of foundationalism and the consequent relativization of truth-claims. Jameson argued, against this, that these phenomena had or could have been understood successfully within a modernist framework; postmodern failure to achieve this understanding implied an abrupt break in the dialectical refinement of thought.
In his view, postmodernity's merging of all discourse into an undifferentiated whole was the result of the colonization of the cultural sphere, which had retained at least partial autonomy during the prior modernist era, by a newly organized corporate capitalism. Following Adorno and Horkheimer's analysis of the culture industry, Jameson discussed this phenomenon in his critical discussion of architecture, film, narrative and visual arts, as well as in his strictly philosophical work. Two of Jameson's best-known claims from Postmodernism are that postmodernity is characterized by pastiche and a crisis in historicity. Jameson argued that parody (which requires a moral judgment or comparison with societal norms) was replaced by pastiche (collage and other forms of juxtaposition without a normative grounding). Relatedly, Jameson argued that the postmodern era suffers from a crisis in historicity: "there no longer does seem to be any organic relationship between the American history we learn from schoolbooks and the lived experience of the current, multinational, high-rise, stagflated city of the newspapers and of our own everyday life" (22).

Jameson's analysis of postmodernism attempted to view it as historically grounded; he therefore explicitly rejected any moralistic opposition to postmodernity as a cultural phenomenon, and continued to insist upon a Hegelian immanent critique that would "think the cultural evolution of late capitalism dialectically, as catastrophe and progress all together".[12] His failure to dismiss postmodernism from the onset, however, was perceived by many as an implicit endorsement of postmodern views. From another angle, critics such as Linda Hutcheon have argued that postmodern artists show greater historical sophistication, by analyzing the discursive means by which historical narratives are constructed, than Jameson's account would allow.[13]"
fredricjameson  postmodernism  historyofconsciousness  metanarratives  skepticism  labor  intellectuallabor  capitalism  marxism  politics  society  culture  foundationalism  modernism  postmodernity  lindahutcheon  art  latecapitalism  theodoradorno 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Coast Modern
"Coast Modern Film. From LA to Vancouver, a legacy of inspired living by the pioneers of West Coast Modernist Architecture."
architecture  modern  modernism  film  losangeles  sandiego  vancouver  westcoast  design  history  documentary 
february 2013 by robertogreco
China Miéville: the future of the novel | Books | guardian.co.uk
"With the internet has come proof that there are audiences way beyond the obvious."

"In fact what's becoming obvious - an intriguing counterpoint to the growth in experiment - is the tenacity of relatively traditional narrative-arc-shaped fiction. But you don't radically restructure how the novel's distributed and not have an impact on its form. Not only do we approach an era when absolutely no one who really doesn't want to pay for a book will have to, but one in which the digital availability of the text alters the relationship between reader, writer, and book. The text won't be closed."

"A collection of artists and activists advocating the neoliberalisation of children's minds. That is scandalous and stupid. The text is open. This should – could – be our chance to remember that it was never just us who made it, and it was never just ours."

"We piss and moan about the terrible quality of self-published books, as if slews of god-awful crap weren't professionally expensively published every year."

"There's a contingent relationship between book sales and literary merit, so we should totally break the pretence at a connection, because of our amplifying connection to everyone else, and orient future-ward with a demand.

What if novelists and poets were to get a salary, the wage of a skilled worker?"

"This would only be an exaggeration of the national stipends already offered by some countries for some writers. For the great majority of people who write, it would mean an improvement in their situation, an ability to write full-time. For a few it would mean an income cut, but you know what? It was a good run. And surely it's easily worth it to undermine the marketisation of literature for some kind of collectivity.

But who decides who qualifies as a writer? Does it take one sonnet? Of what quality? Ten novels? 50,000 readers? Ten, but the right readers? God knows we shouldn't trust the state to make that kind of decision. So we should democratise that boisterous debate, as widely and vigorously as possible. It needn't be the mere caprice of taste. Which changes. And people are perfectly capable of judging as relevant and important literature for which they don't personally care. Mistakes will be made, sure, but will they really be worse than the philistine thuggery of the market?

We couldn't bypass the state with this plan, though. So for the sake of literature, apart from any- and everything else, we'll have to take control of it, invert its priorities, democratise its structures, replace it with a system worth having.

So an unresentful sense of writers as people among people, and a fidelity to literature, require political and economic transformation. For futures for novels – and everything else. In the context of which futures, who knows what politics, what styles and which contents, what relationships to what reconceived communities, which struggles to express what inexpressibles, what stories and anti-stories we will all strive and honourably fail to write, and maybe even one day succeed?"
writers  writing  publishers  democratization  democracy  futures  politics  selfpublishing  self-publishing  neoliberalism  copyright  hypertextnovels  fiction  literature  weirdfictionreview  ubuweb  lyricalrealism  zadiesmith  jamesjoyce  poulocoelho  oulipo  modernism  brunoschulz  lawrencedurrell  borges  ebooks  hypertext  hypertextfiction  text  cv  economics  publishing  leisurearts  bookfuturism  futureofbooks  2012  chinamieville  collectivity  money  artleisure  from delicious
august 2012 by robertogreco
Slovakia Gas Station / Atelier SAD | Architecture
"Cette station service de Slovaquie est une conception des architectes de République Tchèque de l’Atelier SAD."

[Love the name: Pausa]
gasstation  pausa  modernism  design  architecture  slovakia  from delicious
july 2012 by robertogreco
NFB/Interactive - OUT MY WINDOW
"One highrise. Every view, a different city.

This is Out My Window -- one of the world's first interactive 360º documentaries -- about exploring the state of our urban planet told by people who look out on the world from highrise windows.

It's a journey around the globe through the most commonly built form of the last century: the concrete-slab residential tower. Meet remarkable highrise residents who harness the human spirit -- and the power of community -- to resurrect meaning amid the ruins of modernism.

With more than 90 minutes of material to explore, Out of My Window features 49 stories from 13 cities, told in 13 languages, accompanied by a leading-edge music playlist."
global  perspective  outofmywindow  towatch  glvo  international  living  life  highrises  modernism  urbanism  urban  via:sebastienmarion  2012  nationalfilmboardofcanada  nfbc  interactivedocumentary  documentary  interactive  design  nfb  from delicious
july 2012 by robertogreco
An Essay on the New Aesthetic | Beyond The Beyond | Wired.com
[New URL: http://www.wired.com/2012/04/an-essay-on-the-new-aesthetic/
See also: http://booktwo.org/notebook/sxaesthetic/
http://www.aaronland.info/weblog/2012/03/13/godhelpus/#sxaesthetic
http://www.joannemcneil.com/new-aesthetic-at-sxsw/
http://noisydecentgraphics.typepad.com/design/2012/03/sxsw-the-new-aesthetic-and-commercial-visual-culture.html
http://russelldavies.typepad.com/planning/2012/03/sxsw-the-new-aesthetic-and-writing.html ]

"The “New Aesthetic” is a native product of modern network culture. It’s from London, but it was born digital, on the Internet. The New Aesthetic is a “theory object” and a “shareable concept.”

The New Aesthetic is “collectively intelligent.” It’s diffuse, crowdsourcey, and made of many small pieces loosely joined. It is rhizomatic, as the people at Rhizome would likely tell you. It’s open-sourced, and triumph-of-amateurs. It’s like its logo, a bright cluster of balloons tied to some huge, dark and lethal weight.

There are some good aspects to this modern situation, and there are some not so good ones."

"That’s the big problem, as I see it: the New Aesthetic is trying to hack a modern aesthetic, instead of thinking hard enough and working hard enough to build one. That’s the case so far, anyhow. No reason that the New Aesthetic has to stop where it stands at this moment, after such a promising start. I rather imagine it’s bound to do otherwise. Somebody somewhere will, anyhow."
machinevision  glitches  digitalaccumulation  walterbenjamin  socialmedia  bots  uncannyvalley  surveillance  turingtest  renderghosts  imagerecognition  imagery  beauty  cern  postmodernity  hereandnow  temporality  pixels  culturalagnosticism  london  theory  networkculture  theoryobjects  smallpieceslooselyjoined  collectiveintelligence  digitalage  digital  modernism  aesthetics  vision  robots  cubism  impressionism  history  artmovements  machine-readableworld  russelldavies  benterrett  siliconrounsabout  art  marcelduchamp  joannemcneil  jamesbridle  sxsw  brucesterling  2012  newaesthetic  crowdsourcing  rhizome  aaronstraupcope  thenewaesthetic  from delicious
april 2012 by robertogreco
TOC 2012: Tim Carmody, "Changing Times, Changing Readers: Let's Start With Experience" - YouTube
Notes here by @tealtan:

"unusual contexts in writing / reading text

“In a hyperliterate society, the vast majority of reading is not consciously recognized as reading.”

“What readers expect is more important than what readers want.”

Bill Buxton: “every tool is the best at something and the worst at something else”

skills, path-dependency, learning effects

“…we actually like constraints once we're in them.”"

And notes from @litherland:

"11:40: “I do things like … just obsess about weird little details. So, for instance … like, how do you do text entry in a Netflix app on the Wii? You know? I think about this a lot.” Your many other talents notwithstanding, Tim, you may have missed your calling as a designer. /

18:30: “I think it’s a tragedy that we have not been able to figure out a good interface for pen and ink on reading devices.” Holy grail. My dream for years. I would give anything. I would give anything to be smart enough to figure this out."
design  reading  writing  journalism  history  timcarmody  toc2012  via:tealtan  constraints  billbuxton  bookfuturism  ebooks  stéphanemallarmé  paper  2012  media  mediarevolutions  sentencediagramming  advertising  photography  change  books  publishing  printing  modernism  context  interface  expectations  conventions  skills  skeuomorph 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Norman Brosterman - Inventing Kindergarten: Seedbed of Modern Art | Video on PBS & NPR Forum Network
"Norman Brosterman discusses the history of kindergarten and its influence on such modernist giants as Frank Lloyd Wright, Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, Le Corbusier and the Bauhaus school.
In his book Inventing Kindergarten, Brosterman argues that within this lost world of women and children we can locate the seedbed of modern art. With its emphasis on abstract decomposition and building up from elemental forms, the original kindergarten system of the mid-nineteenth century created an education and design revolution that profoundly affected the course of modern art and architecture, as well as physics, music, psychology and the modern mind itself."
decomposition  design  education  music  physics  psychology  architecture  art  modernism  inventingkindergarten  bauhaus  lecorbusier  pietmondrian  wassilykandinsky  franklloydwright  normanbrosterman  2005  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
Explore the Era (Browse the Archive) » Pacific Standard Time at the Getty
"Delve into the postwar Los Angeles art world in this online archive, which provides additional material related to the exhibitions on view at the Getty Center. Learn about hipsters and happenings, and the venues across the city where all the action took place through images from the archives and first-hand accounts with the artists."
history  arthistory  art  pacificstandardtime  losangeles  getty  2011  1940s  1950s  1960s  1970s  modernism  socal  from delicious
december 2011 by robertogreco
Hypermodernity - Wikipedia
"If distinguished from hypermodernity, supermodernity is a step beyond the ontological emptiness of postmodernism and relies upon a view of plausible truths. Where modernism focused upon the creation of great truths (or what Lyotard called "master narratives" or "metanarratives"), postmodernity is intent upon their destruction (deconstruction). In contrast supermodernity does not concern itself with the creation or identification of truth value. Instead, information that is useful is selected from the superabundant sources of new media. Postmodernity and deconstruction have made the creation of truths an impossible construction. Supermodernity acts amid the chatter and excess of signification in order to escape the nihilistic tautology of postmodernity. The Internet search and the construction of interconnected blogs are excellent metaphors for the action of the supermodern subject."
supermodernity  supermodernism  hypermodernity  hypermodernism  modernism  networkculture  newmedia  postmodernism  postmodernity  truth  interconnectedness  interconnectivity  information  metanarratives  marcaugé  terryeagleton  space  place  interconnected  from delicious
november 2011 by robertogreco
10 Things To Know About San Diego's Craft History | KPBS.org
""San Diego's Craft Revolution: From Post-War Modern To California Design" opens October 16th at the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park. Since the show includes almost 70 artists and spans roughly 30 years of little-documented local art history, it's a lot to process. To give you a head start, we've put together a list of 10 things to keep in mind before you head out to see this groundbreaking exhibit."
sandiego  mingei  art  exhibits  craft  design  furniture  2011  history  glvo  allamariewoolley  jacksonwoolley  nortonsimon  harrybertoia  abstractexpressionism  enamel  alliedcraftsmen  convair  ryan  pointloma  kaywhitcomb  juneschwarcz  rhodalopez  jameshubbell  malcolmleland  svetozarradakovich  alinefisch  monatrunkfield  helenshirk  wnedymaruyama  johndirks  bauhaus  sdsu  jewelry  lynnfayman  california  marthalongenecker  ceramics  modernism  folktraditions  from delicious
october 2011 by robertogreco
Modernism did its immense damage in these ways: by... | Underpaid Genius
"Modernism did its immense damage in these ways: by divorcing the practice of building from the history & traditional meanings of building; by promoting a species of urbanism that destroyed age-old social arrangements &, w/ them, urban life as a general proposition; & by creating a physical setting for man that failed to respect the limits of scale, growth, & the consumption of natural resources, or to respect the lives of other living things. The result of Modernism, especially in America, is a crisis of the human habitat: cities ruined by corporate gigantism & abstract renewal schemes, public buildings & public spaces unworthy of human affection, vast sprawling suburbs that lack any sense of community, housing that the un-rich cannot afford to live in, a slavish obeisance to the needs of automobiles & their dependent industries at the expense of human needs, & a gathering ecological calamity that we have only begin to measure."<br />
<br />
—James Howard Kunsler, The Geography Of Nowhere
jameshowardkunstler  modernism  modernisty  scale  architecture  design  corporatism  environment  growth  sustainability  urban  urbanism  humans  from delicious
september 2011 by robertogreco
Between the By-Road and the Main Road: How Does School Environment Shape Teenagers' Behaviors?
"Childress explains there were 3 questions that framed his study:

I had built my study on 3 simple questions: How do teenagers use spaces? How do they apply meanings & values to any particular place? How do conflicts about those places arise btwn teens & adults & btwn particular subsets of teens, & how are those conflicts resolved?

In…answering those questions, Childress comes to name 13 pairs of competing ideas he labels as modernist & existential. I couldn't help but consider how the ambiguities that Childress frames in his study of how teenagers live & behave w/ the sensibilities that inform high school design. In what ways do our rather modernist secondary school environments shape teenager's behavior? What might happen if the assumptions that informed school design were less modernist & more existential?

[13 pairs listed]

Childress concludes his study by stating that the presence of joy is the factor most important in what works & doesn't…work in teenagers' lives."
maryannreilly  schools  schooldesign  adolescents  teens  modernism  herbchildress  2000  books  toread  lcproject  tcsnmy  learning  education  joy  well-being  environment  environmentaldesign  purpose  society  unschooling  deschooling  2011  from delicious
september 2011 by robertogreco
CYBER-COMMUNISM by Richard Barbrook | Imaginary Futures
"Within the Net, working together by circulating gifts is now a daily experience for millions of people. As well as in their jobs, individuals also collaborate on collective projects in their free time. Freed from the immediate disciplines of the marketplace, work can increasingly become a gift. The enlightened few are no longer needed to lead the masses towards the future. For the majority of Net users are already participating within the productive relations of cyber-communism…Having no need to sell information as commodities, they spontaneously work together by circulating gifts. All across the world, politicians, executives and pundits are inspired by the rapid expansion of e-commerce in the USA. Mesmerised by neo-liberal ideology, they fail to notice that most information is already circulating as gifts within the Net. Engaged in superseding capitalism, Americans are successfully constructing the utopian future in the present: cyber-communism."
communism  cyberspace  capitalism  richardbarbrook  internet  networks  networkculture  networkcommunities  communities  cyber-communism  californianideology  gifteconomy  economics  sharing  copyright  modernism  modernity  commodities  abundance  cognitivesurplus  1999 
june 2011 by robertogreco
49 Classics of Mid-Century Design We Need Your Help Identifying - Alexis Madrigal - Life - The Atlantic
"Collectors covet mid-century design for a reason: The clean lines and bright colors of the 1950s are beautiful. But there was more to the era's design considerations. The burst of creative energy that followed World War II spurred consumption by creating an endless array of new products, and when those were in short supply, new forms (and colors) for old products. The production of beauty was placed in the service of consumerism and anti-communism.

American Look showcases this design-industrial complex of ideas in beautiful Technicolor. Created in 1958 by the Jam Handy Organization, a large commercial filmmaking concern, with funding from Chevrolet, the 23-minute film surveys the landscape of late-50s aspirational life from interior dining sets to new work machines to speed boats. Taken together, the objects in the film paint a portrait of the variety of things that only American capitalism could deliver."
design  video  film  documentary  alexismadrigal  modernism  furniture  industrialdesign  2011  consumerism  us  mid-centurymodern  from delicious
june 2011 by robertogreco
The Faux-Vintage Photo: Full Essay (Parts I, II and III) » Cyborgology
"I am working on a dissertation about self-documentation and social media and have decided to take on theorizing the rise of faux-vintage photography (e.g., Hipstamatic, Instagram). From May 10-12, 2011, I posted a three part essay. This post combines all three together."

[See also (some of the tags reference): http://varnelis.net/blog/atemporality_the_iphone_camera_and_the_hipster ]
photography  twitter  instagram  hipstamatic  2011  nathanjurgenson  self-documentation  faux-vintage  hipsters  nostalgia  nostalgiaforthepresent  atemporality  networkculture  cameras  iphone  cameraphone  kazysvarnelis  timmaly  allegory  comment  postmodernism  modernism  furniture  from delicious
may 2011 by robertogreco
Mould Manifesto against Rationalism in Architecture · Hundertwasser Manifestos and Texts · Hundertwasser
"Painting & sculpture are now free, inasmuch as anyone may produce any sort of creation & subsequently display it. In arch, however, this fundamental freedom, which must be regarded as precondition for any art, does not exist, for a person must first have diploma in order to build. Why?<br />
<br />
Everyone should be able to build…as long as this freedom to build does not exist, present-day planned architecture cannot be considered art…Our architecture has succumbed to same censorship as has painting in Soviet Union. All that has been achieved are detached & pitiable compromises by men of bad conscience who work w/ straight-edged rulers."<br />
<br />
"Addendum 1964: …architect’ only function should be that of technical advisor, i.e., answering questions regarding materials, stability, etc. The architect should be subordinate to occupant or at least to occupant’s wishes.<br />
<br />
All occupants must be free to create "outer skins"–must be free to determine & transform outward shell of domicile facing street."
architecture  environment  philosophy  1958  1959  1964  gaudí  wattstowers  simonrodia  artnouveau  sausalito  houseboats  slums  vernacular  vernaculararchitecture  democratic  colloquialarchitecture  design  modernism  mouldinessmanifesto  rationalism  hundertwasser  via:bopuc  from delicious
april 2011 by robertogreco
MAS Context
"Francine Stock, president of DOCOMOMO US/Louisiana, writes about the current situation of the mid-century public schools in the city. Either demolished or in danger of demolition, these structures represent a type of type of architecture that was forward thinking and innovative in the way they were built and used by the public. The process to discuss their future when they become obsolete has failed to provide a fair space to listen to new options. Can we establish another way of approaching this problem?"
architecture  nola  design  masstudio  mascontext  schools  schooldesign  mid-centurymodern  modernism  modern  francinestock  neworleans  from delicious
april 2011 by robertogreco
Regional Modernism :: The New Orleans Archives
"Documenting the process of documenting modernism in New Orleans"
architecture  neworleans  nola  modernism  design  from delicious
april 2011 by robertogreco
docomomo_nola
"d o c o m o m o l o u i s i a n a is a regional chapter of an international committee dedicated to the documentation and conservation of the buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the modern movement"

"documentation and conservation of the buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the modern movementIn accordance with DOCOMOMO-US, the Louisiana chapter advocates the documentation and conservation of the City of New Orleans, State of Louisiana and the Gulf South region’s manifestations of the Modern movement."
nola  neworleans  modernism  architecture  preservation  conservation  louisiana  design  from delicious
april 2011 by robertogreco
Power « Adam Greenfield's Speedbird
"To me, power is…

- an ability expressed within an immanent grid of relations superimposed on the phenomenal world, from which it’s effectively impossible to escape;

- the ability to shape flows of matter, energy and information through that grid of relations, and most particularly through bodies situated in space and time (including one’s own);

- the ability to determine outcomes where such bodies are concerned;

- this ability consciously recognized and understood.

By this definition, power can be exerted locally or globally, at microscale or macro-."

[See also the comments, including further reading and a definition of lines by Fred Scharmen.]
power  adamgreenfield  definitions  richarddawkins  buddhism  feminism  anarchism  deleuze  guattari  davidharvey  gayatrispivak  naomiklein  antonionegri  michaelhardt  matter  energy  relationships  body  space  time  spacetime  scale  fredscharmen  lines  adamkahane  paultillich  foucault  zygmuntbauman  modernism  johnruskin  gillesdeleuze  michelfoucault  félixguattari  bodies  from delicious
march 2011 by robertogreco
what’s wrong with “prosthetics porn”? (part II) | Abler.
"How can technologies demonstrate an outward posture? I mean, how might they extend their forms and also their functions, beyond a single user? Couldn’t they both resolve & reveal, pose more questions than answers?…"

"A built environment, a city that accommodates—& indeed demonstrates—physical or cognitive interdependence doesn’t only call for limbs & ramps. We need wholly-spectacular impracticalities, & artistic research & collaboration, & public interactive art, & we need the most durable accessibility equipment we can design."

"Moreover, we might take the long view in order to get the short view more clearly in focus. This has long been said of science fiction in literature—that our ideas about the future are really an index of our attitudes in the present. I’m interested in futurism in prosthetics as an inquiry & spectacle, & I also want to make projects that help us harness our technologies for a more inclusive world."
abler  sarahendren  prosthetics  bikes  bikesharing  interdependence  cities  architecture  technology  assistivetechnology  art  publicart  accessibility  design  present  future  inclusiveness  inclusion  futurism  objects  objectfixations  prostheticsporn  modernism  utopia  structures  spatialagency  brunolatour  parasite  michaelrakowitz  rebar  adaptivetechnology  adaptive  eyeborg  eyewear  tandems  tandembicycles  biking  spoke-o-dometer  inclusivity  inlcusivity  from delicious
march 2011 by robertogreco
this is a456: Utopia For Sale
"somehow rings familiar. During early 20th century, art & architecture never existed wholly isolated from popular culture, consumerism, or corporate interests. This was the case in Europe as it was in US. As Le Corbusier’s Plan Voisin or various Reynolds Aluminum ads that would appear in US in 1940s demonstrate, corporate interests sometimes found an unlikely alliance w/ avant-garde. But with Bel Geddes & “The City of Tomorrow,” something slightly different was in order. The author of Horizons did see himself primarily as artist, but never in the same vein as would Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, or Erich Mendelsohn. As a person who always wore his commercial aspirations on his sleeve, Bel Geddes became a figure willing to leverage artistic inclinations not only as a kind of expertise, but as vehicle for transmitting ideas about contemporary urbanism to mass audiences. He was…person who popularized utopia by giving it its most tangible & visibly-appealing manifestation…"
design  culture  politics  history  theory  streamlining  stanleyrestor  henrydreyfuss  modernism  raymondloewy  walterdorwinteague  nomanbelgeddes  advertising  lecorbusier  thecityoftomorrow  architecture  art  commercialism  shelloil  gm  pedestrians  utopia  utopian  transportation  cars  broadacre  millermcclintock  from delicious
february 2011 by robertogreco
Does a strict upbringing make you a better designer?: Observatory: Design Observer
Coment from pboy: "Oh, barf! Even the Tiger Mom has expressed some ambiguity about the outcomes of her parenting philosophy, but to use the current craze over her as the excuse for yet another reification of the moldy-oldie of graphic design 'Modernism' is just pathetic. Beirut was lucky to have experienced the Kalman corrective to Vignelli's moribund fake discipline. ... romanticize the intolerant and didactic daddies all you want, it's the generation that finally walked away from what had devolved into a rigid and phony stance that let the 'discipline' grow. And that includes Beirut, even if he's too traumatized by his own experience with tough love to be able to recognize it, or to be able admit more clearly, and without the unnecessary flattery to Vignelli, that he learned to think for himself, and move on."
design  typography  modernism  michaelbierut  via:migurski  parenting  amychua  rigidity  graphicdesign  massimovignelli  authoritarianism  creativity  criticalthinking  toughlove  teaching  education  learning  identity  unschooling  deschooling  discipline  tiborkalman  rules  constraints  from delicious
february 2011 by robertogreco
An Aesthetic of Everyday Life: Modernism and a Japanese popular aesthetic ideal, “Iki”
"Nineteenth century Japanese popular cultural phenomena, most notably the Japanese woodblock print and painting, ukiyo-e, have made significant contributions to modernist artistic movements, in particular the Arts and Crafts movement, Art Nouveau, impressionism, post-impressionism, and fauvism. In addition, it is worth mentioning the influence of Japanese architecture on Frank Lloyd Wright, who also loved ukiyo-e.[1] These influences are primarily the result of applying Western values, specifically, aesthetic values to the interpretation of Japanese culture.<br />
<br />
However, this interpretation has had the tendency to be one-way, and there have been relatively few attempts to applying non-Western ideas to Western culture. Is this because it is futile to do so? Or because it is impossible?"
aesthetics  japan  culture  art  theory  modernism  yamamotoyuji  iki  ukiyo-e  franklloydwright  from delicious
january 2011 by robertogreco
Factory Studio, Spring 2011 | varnelis.net
"If modernity is defined by mass production, then the factory is modern architecture’s definitive typology. Early factories were widely understood as sublime, sites of awe & horror that could only be overcome by the exertion of human reason. Spurred by this challenge, from the 18th century onward, architects & social reformers envisioned rational & just factories, not merely workplaces but rather centers of human habitation, places of joy in labor, & envisioned societies built around them.

Today, the factory evokes images of structures either converted to art museums, lofts, or abandoned to decay. With factories outsourced, design has all but abandoned re-imagining this critical site of human activity, the one truly new building type of modernity. Our interest is to use architecture & most advanced thinking in network culture to construct new & better ways of life. In doing so, this studio is engaged first & foremost with institution building and shaping of social behavior."
kazysvarnelis  abundance  factories  architecture  design  modernism  modernity  networkculture  behavior  2011  society  work  social  socialbehavior  from delicious
january 2011 by robertogreco
radarq.net
"That Man from Rio (L’Homme de Rio). Scene filmed in Oscar Niemeyer’s nascent Brasília. + alebenevides :Belmondo en Brasília (1964). Grandes vistas de la ciudad recién inaugurada. Aún era posible ver los campamentos de obreros en los márgenes del Lago Paranoá."
architecture  brasilia  brasil  modernism  oscarniemeyer  niemeyer  1964  urban  planning  cities  film  brazil  brasília  from delicious
december 2010 by robertogreco
Alexandra Lange: Networks Before the Internet: Observers Room: Design Observer
"On the wall at the Noguchi Museum's excellent new show, On Becoming an Artist: Isamu Noguchi & His Contemporaries, 1922-1960, is the flow chart above, reducing the artistic collaborations of a lifetime to a series of black lines. Charts like these are a bit of an obsession for mid-century design historians. There's one on the cover of Gordon Bruce's monograph on Eliot Noyes. Metropolis published this chart of Philip Johnson's many tentacles. Charles Eames even doodled one of his own. They are a quick & pseudo-scientific way to make an important point: the worlds of art, design & architecture at mid-century were small, & all the players closely entwined. We think of Noguchi as a sort of Zen genius, Gordon Bunshaft as a pushy corporate pawn, but the two worked together for years. Bunshaft may have given Noguchi his best commissions, like Connecticut General, below, & even had a Noguchi at his lovely Hamptons house. Our idea of the personalities breaks down in the face of data."
isamunoguchi  eames  gordonbunshaft  modernism  networks  art  artists  design  connections  philipjohnson  architecture  designobserver  alexandercalder  constantinbrancusi  johncage  fridakahlo  buckminsterfuller  florenceknoll  stuartdavis  louiskahn  richardneutra  crosspollination  hermanmiller  georgenelson  alexandralange  from delicious
december 2010 by robertogreco
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