The Shallow Deep

"Concrete structures with walls designed to be rendered white make bad ruins..." Nikolaus Pevsner Architectural Review, 1959 "It was the first post-humanist Biennale,” said Aaron Betsky, curator of the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale, and went on: “If you follow the definition of modernism it is the production of completely rationalised states. Rem shows the elevator, the staircases, everything that moves you around. It creates completely reproducible and optimised space that is the same all over the world. What are eliminated, as Rem said, are not only the architects but also people. If that is where we are, and if that is what we have to build on, it is for me rather frightening but … [Read more...]

American Mausoleum

"'Yugen' as a concept refers to mystery and depth. 'Yu' means dimness, shadow filled, and 'gen' means darkness. It comes from a Chinese term 'you xuan' which meant something too deep either to comprehend or even to see." Donald Richie A Tractate on Japanese Aesthetics "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." Philip K. Dick "The soberest conclusion that we could make about what has actually been taking place on the planet about three billion years is that it is being turned into a vast pit of fertilizer. But the sun distracts our attention, always baking the blood dry, making things grow over it, and with its warmth giving the hope that comes with the … [Read more...]

White Blindness & Smiley Faces

The photo above, from the great Maneul Alvarez Bravo, is one I've been looking at a lot this week. I can't find where it was taken except that, obviously, it was Mexico. It reminds me a bit of Eisenstein's Que Viva Mexico. And of that famous snapshot of Zapata and the U.S. Council. This is a world increasingly remote from our own. I think that is part of the sadness embedded in the above image. "Satire? Call it instead a projection of existing givens—trends clear to those not already brainwashed, from escalation of war-making activities, counterrevolutionary in spirit and purpose, to the eradication of privacy of the individual on a global basis, and in-between, the stabilization of a … [Read more...]

The Color of Nature

"True poetry is a function of awakening. It awakens us, but it must retain the memory of previous dreams." Gaston Bachelard "If you are moved only by the color relationships, then you miss the point." Mark Rothko Almost everything in this culture that purports to be a sign of compassion or respect or care, is in every instance an expression of the exact opposite. Politically correct terms or labels, programs from the state claiming to assist the poor, reforms designed to protect consumers, etc. Humanitarian interventions, or the war on poverty. This trickles down, as both cause and effect, to the individual and his vocabulary. On an individual level people have begun to speak … [Read more...]

The Anti Orpheus

"Violence so permeates society that popular pleasures are organized around an 'aesthetics of vulgarity', with the state staging public rituals in which 'the masses join the madness and clothe themselves in cheap imitations of power to reproduce its epistemology', and when power, in its own violent quest for grandeur, makes vulgarity and wrongdoing its main mode of existence." Achille Mbembe (quoted by Randy Martin in Empire of Indifference) "Women are not drawn to indicators of evolutionary fitness. If they were, they'd be all over me.” Elliot Rodger "(fascism is) the sum total of all the irrational reactions of the natural human character." Wilhelm Reich "What needs to be … [Read more...]