Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

image

San Diego, November 25, 2011. Third Avenue Pedestrian Bridge.

image

San Diego, November 25, 2011. Third Avenue bridge and context (canyon).

Bridge, De-constructed.

” In recent years , the modern understanding of social responsibility as functional program has been superseded by a concern for context. But contextualism has been used as an excuse for mediocrity, for a dumb servility within the familiar. Since deconstructivist architecture seeks the unfamiliar within the familiar, it displaces the context rather than acquiesce to it. What makes it disturbing is the way deconstructivist architecture finds the unfamiliar already hidden within the familiar context. By its intervention, elements of the context become defamiliarized. In one project, towers are turned over on their sides, while in others, bridges are tilted up to become towers.”

Mark Wigley

Read Full Post »

image

image

image

Everytime it rains in San Diego, I get giddy.

I used to dislike rainy days but now, they are just…”Paris days.”

The city acquires a new depth, a warm, poetic melancholy.
That feeling of being inside a Caillebotte painting, where the real city, what I see, what i inhabit, what i fall into, is the image in the water; that wet,beautiful canvas. The rain on the asphalth, rivulets, currents, puddles become a mirror that scrambles, abstractizes, seduces….

The rain on the windows when you are sitting in a literary cafe’, and the place becomes a haven not only for the soul (as it usually is), but a toasty, welcoming,peopled orange-glow that will shelter the body in the intemperate, stormy weather. So seeing the sign of the cafe’ in the rain, in the mist,  is what the ship, no longer wreck-bound,  feels at the first glimpses of  the watchtower in the fog, keeper of her dreams and saviour.

It is as though the rain is inside the cafe’. The window panes are frosted and dewy. We could be anywhere. We could be in Paris.

Or all of it sunk in an ocean, a majestic  ruin overgrown with algaes and debris. All of it, wooden tables and chairs from Lebanon, credenzas and tapestries from Jordan. The wine, the coffee, the tea jars. They are all tubling down. And us with them.

It is as though we are sinking in a sweet, decadent oblivion. We drink in the atmosphere while we happily drown in a vague past with no memories. Where everything is possible, allowed, forgiven. And everywhere else, outside of this retro submarine, is desert.

Read Full Post »

It has been ten long days since my last post, ten days of travels, of letters written and not sent, of (re) search.

In the middle of it all, I experienced the ‘biggest blackout in the history of San Diego county’. Thursday, September 8th, 2011, power went off for millions of people in Southern California, Baja California and Arizona. No ATM’s , shuttered stores, nowhere to buy food or water in a world where, when the machines stop, the city stops. The blackout lasted for almost nine hours, from 3.30 Pm till just before Midnight, and it was all it took to plunge my two neighborhoods in an atmosphere that was at times apocalyptic, at others, surreal, magical, “european”. Beyond the novelty, even excitement, felt by some there were people trapped in high-rise elevators, in trolley cars over canyons, in mid-rise buildings without water. It was a time where everything stopped and a battery radio and candles (my only emergency preparedness) help whiled away the hours. It was a movie. And a dream.

Before I share what I have been working on in the past few days, here is my dispatch from the Blackout and some urban moments caught on camera.

PS: From http://www.nakedtranslations.com/en/2004/entre-chien-et-loup  nakedtranslations.com:

Entre chien et loup is a multi-layered expression. It is used to describe a specific time of day, just before night, when the light is so dim you can’t distinguish a dog from a wolf. However, it’s not all about levels of light. It also expresses that limit between the familiar, the comfortable versus the unknown and the dangerous (or between the domestic and the wild). It is an uncertain threshold between hope and fear.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The night we saw the stars.

Full moon, venus, motherlight.

Flaws and flames

Not multiplied

It is so quiet

we can hear ourselves

If the end of the world comes

I want you to know

We are fine.

By Moon Light.

 

Read ”La Noche que Volvimos a Ser Gente”or “The Night We Became People Again” by José Luis González, a short story on the big blackout in New York City.

If you are left with a battery powered CD player when the world ends- and speak italian- you could do worse than listen to Caffe’ Letterario.

Read Full Post »

Various Graphite Media, depicting 'Dwelling for Imaginary Civilization of Little People,1998' by Charles Simonds. Made in clay, adobe, paint and housed in the New Mexico Museum of Art. August 2011.


Wabi-sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.

It is a beauty of things modest and humble.

It is a beauty of things unconventional.


From
Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers


Photo via minecaching.tumblr.com. Click for source.



Charles Simonds began building clay villages, ruins and what he termed ” dwellings for imaginary civilizations of little people” in the 70’s, in New York.

His microscopic urban interventions at one point could be found, among others, in Paris, Venice, Shangai, Dublin.

They are now housed as prestigious artifacts in art collectors’ homes and museums (like the Whitney in NYC).

Photo via whitney.org. Click for source.

Photo via whitney.org. Click for source.


Click for more Charles Simonds’ dwellings

Watch the video: Dwellings 1972

.                         .                         .                       .                          .                          .                       .



Simonds and Sarah



Salmon kisses,

I knead  essays at night

dream perfect poems–

lost silver strands become your hair.

I make collages of languid bathroom quotes,

images and cities.

Night drunk with words,

your eyes are full of them–

nestled in the cup of your arms

like Simonds’ tiny city in a new york warehouse.

A word thief,

of raspberry essence–

the poetry of portugal:

“Your toes are

little ducks

Sita to Shiva…”


You say I’m used to you like my mandatory doppio cappuccino,

Sarah’s velvet voice,

heaven in Corcovado nights.

You say my poems always have three words:

almonds, apricot, oil.

Here you go:

Downtown is on fire

Your almond eyes float like moons

Your skin is oil on water,

Apricot lips.


Berkeley, August 2011

Read Full Post »

Still from 'One Room in Rome'. 2011


Escape Velocity

I wake up in San Francisco.

I attained

Escape velocity

From you and your gravity

Your slate roofs

( to my terracotta tiles).

The bee drinks from the flowers in the fields

Liberally

There is only

So much happiness in one day.

I lost words

They slipped by and became dreams

And in dreaming, perfect sentences

(to poems that will never be, yet exist).

I asked my own

About a thousand years from now,

and if there’s a heaven for love stories

‘If there’s delight in love’, I said, ‘Tis when I see

that heart which others bleed for, bleed for me.’

Jilynnette said yesterday

her name like Ginger Ale

Gingerelle

our life is measured by streetlight time.

I told her about boulevards and run-on sentences

piazza, urban commas and periods.

I fell asleep reciting

Borges, Cortázar, the Center for the Art of Translation

as a rosary, not to forget.

You are gone at Harvest time

As the grains burst open

With sunshine.



Berkeley,  August 2011

Read Full Post »

Today I want to stray from the visual and go back to words (even though visual work is piling up by the scanner, waiting to be shared.)

The visual permeates every aspect of a designer/artist life…it is the expected outcome: something that all can see. Here in sketchbloom I share works and progress/process in form of JPEG images, pixels on the screen. Even my words are translated as pixels and a visual experience as I type. To truly appreciate words one needs to go back to audio, in a dark room, eyes closed, and listen to the sound…absorb its meaning. Listen to the words, embrace their message, intensity. In the visual world we hear people’s voices translated into impersonal pixels (emails, texts and, for those who partake, chats). The visual has become an acid which burns the eyes, making it challenging to sit still with a (pictureless) theory book, so dependent on visual candy have we become. The world of ideas, that I am so incredibly fortunate to inhabit as a profession, is threatened by the constant stimula and incessant buzzing of the digital revolution, which rides on the visual. The digital revolution that was supposed to connect us all (and it does, superficially) but in reality has made us feel alone in a different, emptier way. The comfort that one gets from the words of an author, from a book with paper and weight, is to me the comfort of flamenco guitar music on an analog cassette tape. Billie Holliday on a scratchy record, as opposed to the robotic voice of online text.

So today I just want to turn off and just listen- going back to dear words, words that imagine Bruce Mau reading to me, and to you.

  • Allow events to change you.
    You have to be willing to grow. Growth is different from something that happens to you. You produce it. You live it. The prerequisites for growth: the openness to experience events and the willingness to be changed by them.
  • Forget about good.
    Good is a known quantity. Good is what we all agree on. Growth is not necessarily good. Growth is an exploration of unlit recesses that may or may not yield to our research. As long as you stick to good you’ll never have real growth.
  • Process is more important than outcome.
    When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go to where we’ve already been. If process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to be there.
  • Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child).
    Joy is the engine of growth. Exploit the liberty in casting your work as beautiful experiments, iterations, attempts, trials, and errors. Take the long view and allow yourself the fun of failure every day.
  • Go deep.
    The deeper you go the more likely you will discover something of value.
  • Capture accidents.
    The wrong answer is the right answer in search of a different question. Collect wrong answers as part of the process. Ask different questions.
  • Study.
    A studio is a place of study. Use the necessity of production as an excuse to study. Everyone will benefit.
  • Drift.
    Allow yourself to wander aimlessly. Explore adjacencies. Lack judgment. Postpone criticism.
  • Begin anywhere.
    John Cage tells us that not knowing where to begin is a common form of paralysis. His advice: begin anywhere.
  • Everyone is a leader.
    Growth happens. Whenever it does, allow it to emerge. Learn to follow when it makes sense. Let anyone lead.
  • Harvest ideas.
    Edit applications. Ideas need a dynamic, fluid, generous environment to sustain life. Applications, on the other hand, benefit from critical rigor. Produce a high ratio of ideas to applications.
  • Keep moving.
    The market and its operations have a tendency to reinforce success. Resist it. Allow failure and migration to be part of your practice.
  • Slow down.
    Desynchronize from standard time frames and surprising opportunities may present themselves.
  • Don’t be cool.
    Cool is conservative fear dressed in black. Free yourself from limits of this sort.
  • Ask stupid questions.
    Growth is fueled by desire and innocence. Assess the answer, not the question. Imagine learning throughout your life at the rate of an infant.
  • Collaborate.
    The space between people working together is filled with conflict, friction, strife, exhilaration, delight, and vast creative potential.
  • ____________________.
    Intentionally left blank. Allow space for the ideas you haven’t had yet, and for the ideas of others.
  • Stay up late.
    Strange things happen when you’ve gone too far, been up too long, worked too hard, and you’re separated from the rest of the world.
  • Work the metaphor.
    Every object has the capacity to stand for something other than what is apparent. Work on what it stands for.
  • Be careful to take risks.
    Time is genetic. Today is the child of yesterday and the parent of tomorrow. The work you produce today will create your future.
  • Repeat yourself.
    If you like it, do it again. If you don’t like it, do it again.
  • Make your own tools.
    Hybridize your tools in order to build unique things. Even simple tools that are your own can yield entirely new avenues of exploration. Remember, tools amplify our capacities, so even a small tool can make a big difference.
  • Stand on someone’s shoulders.
    You can travel farther carried on the accomplishments of those who came before you. And the view is so much better.
  • Avoid software.
    The problem with software is that everyone has it.
  • Don’t clean your desk.
    You might find something in the morning that you can’t see tonight.
  • Don’t enter awards competitions.
    Just don’t. It’s not good for you.
  • Read only left-hand pages.
    Marshall McLuhan did this. By decreasing the amount of information, we leave room for what he called our “noodle.”
  • Make new words.
    Expand the lexicon. The new conditions demand a new way of thinking. The thinking demands new forms of expression. The expression generates new conditions.
  • Think with your mind.
    Forget technology. Creativity is not device-dependent.
  • Organization = Liberty.
    Real innovation in design, or any other field, happens in context. That context is usually some form of cooperatively managed enterprise. Frank Gehry, for instance, is only able to realize Bilbao because his studio can deliver it on budget. The myth of a split between “creatives” and “suits” is what Leonard Cohen calls a ‘charming artifact of the past.’
  • Don’t borrow money.
    Once again, Frank Gehry’s advice. By maintaining financial control, we maintain creative control. It’s not exactly rocket science, but it’s surprising how hard it is to maintain this discipline, and how many have failed.
  • Listen carefully.
    Every collaborator who enters our orbit brings with him or her a world more strange and complex than any we could ever hope to imagine. By listening to the details and the subtlety of their needs, desires, or ambitions, we fold their world onto our own. Neither party will ever be the same.
  • Take field trips.
    The bandwidth of the world is greater than that of your TV set, or the Internet, or even a totally immersive, interactive, dynamically rendered, object-oriented, real-time, computer graphic–simulated environment.
  • Make mistakes faster.
    This isn’t my idea — I borrowed it. I think it belongs to Andy Grove.
  • Imitate.
    Don’t be shy about it. Try to get as close as you can. You’ll never get all the way, and the separation might be truly remarkable. We have only to look to Richard Hamilton and his version of Marcel Duchamp’s large glass to see how rich, discredited, and underused imitation is as a technique.
  • Scat.
    When you forget the words, do what Ella did: make up something else … but not words.
  • Break it, stretch it, bend it, crush it, crack it, fold it.
  • Explore the other edge.
    Great liberty exists when we avoid trying to run with the technological pack. We can’t find the leading edge because it’s trampled underfoot. Try using old-tech equipment made obsolete by an economic cycle but still rich with potential.
  • Coffee breaks, cab rides, green rooms.
    Real growth often happens outside of where we intend it to, in the interstitial spaces — what Dr. Seuss calls “the waiting place.” Hans Ulrich Obrist once organized a science and art conference with all of the infrastructure of a conference — the parties, chats, lunches, airport arrivals — but with no actual conference. Apparently it was hugely successful and spawned many ongoing collaborations.
  • Avoid fields.
    Jump fences. Disciplinary boundaries and regulatory regimes are attempts to control the wilding of creative life. They are often understandable efforts to order what are manifold, complex, evolutionary processes. Our job is to jump the fences and cross the fields.
  • Laugh.
    People visiting the studio often comment on how much we laugh. Since I’ve become aware of this, I use it as a barometer of how comfortably we are expressing ourselves.
  • Remember.
    Growth is only possible as a product of history. Without memory, innovation is merely novelty. History gives growth a direction. But a memory is never perfect. Every memory is a degraded or composite image of a previous moment or event. That’s what makes us aware of its quality as a past and not a present. It means that every memory is new, a partial construct different from its source, and, as such, a potential for growth itself.
  • Power to the people.
    Play can only happen when people feel they have control over their lives. We can’t be free agents if we’re not free.

Read Full Post »

Digital Collage. May 16, 2011.

 

Ink drawing and digital manipulation. May 2011.

 
The Pretty Parking Lot
 
I have dreamt of perfect poems
faded like dewdrops upon awakening
 
About mice and buildings
built by men
 
Cities are sentences that haunt me
 
Book thieves, foreign movies…
the line is thin between memories and reverie
 
The fog has lifted
the rain felt soft (like a blessing)
yet I am in a pretty parking lot.
 
You left your eyes as you passed me by.
 
May 2011
 
…………………………………………………………………..
 

                     Where can I run? 
                    You fill the world. 
                   The only place to run is within you.

                        From Agata e la Tempesta| Agata and the Storm

 

 
……………………………………………………………………..
 

They miss the whisper that runs
any day in your mind,
“Who are you really, wanderer?”—
and the answer you have to give
no matter how dark and cold
the world around you is:
“Maybe I’m a king.”

               William Stafford

 

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: