"The city is being swept away by the metropolis. This action does not just replace one noun with another, but radically turns one state of affairs into a state of perpetual motion. As a collective action -- a verb more than a noun -- the metropolis destabilizes our concepts of time and place. With the dissolution of the city into the forever- emerging metropolis, our existence slides into permanent mobility." - L. Lerup, in After the City



like a good relationship, a blog is difficult to 'end' without feeling as if one is killing something that has been worthwhile, and to which one has grown inadvertently attached. i have decided to continue to use it as a forum for further speculation back here in the U.S., where collation of Branner material and thesis preparations begin to meld into an exciting panoply which considers the nature of urban documentation, the generic global city, and the existence of the minute particular, all tied together and navigated, of course, by the linescape. it's not readership i am hoping for so much as an actualization of a ghost-reflection of my own thoughts which might, in the process of creation, spit something back out at me (or convince someone else to).

last night during thesis discussion there was much talk of Architecture's debatable relevance to the contemporary human body, and it's role in articulating 'space' vs. 'place,' two terms which both de Certeau and Team 10 utilized. de Certeau conceived of 'place' as the geometric bookmark, as on a map, while 'space' is the nuanced, volumetric, ever-shifting actualization of a 'place' in use by multiple players, under variable conditions. (in parallel: grammar is to place as spoken language is to space). Team 10, however (and as i understand it), criticized the universalizing 'space' of Modernism's technophilia and called for a re-discovery of 'place' as particular locale. the use of the terms is not contradictory -- a place holder certainly signifies a particular locality, and Modernist space is not necessarily unoccupied or unpracticed (one could even argue that Modernism placed practice/occupation above particularity). one could also argue that Team 10 is re-asserting geography over humanity, a humanity which the Modernists used as a justification for their universalizing style (i.e. human needs became fulfilled by technological standardization). in both arguments, the concepts are inseparable, and the contemporary question might be what is the nature of practiced space WITHOUT its demarcation in place, and vice-versa?

Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset's project in Marfa, TX was mentioned in our discussion as alluding to this debate: http://www.texasescapes.com/TexasArt/Prada-Marfa-Update.htm. what does a locked Prada store (never to be used) in the middle of the Texas desert (hardly to be seen) signify? is there architecture without humanity? and when does the intent of the creator give way to the work's own momentum? ostensibly the store was supposed to be left untouched -- to be scoured by the elements, marked by passers by. unfortunately, it seems that the maintenance has been conscientiously pursued.

a blog, or at least, this one, is not art or architecture, but i have similar questions about when its work is complete, and thereafter, what becomes of it. a concluded discussion turns into a memoir, which suggests...death? without further ado i shall add to the mess.

photo: aquatic park freighter on its way to Oakland.

1 comment:

Forrest said...


good to hear all is well. i actually (unexpectedly) saw the prada store on my way to marfa. we were driving through pitch black desert in the middle of west texas--i mean absolutley nothing. i passed this totally out of place, brightly lit box going about a hundred. i more or less slammed on the brakes to turn around and see what i missed. i had never heard of the project, so it was a pretty great surprise. there were a lot of shotgun holes through the front window. it is about 40 miles outside of marfa, which is an amazing place if you ever get to visit.