i've decided to start a new blog (yet another). it's called borderlandia, bite-size bits of my ongoing “research” (it’s more of a pop fixation) on things past at the mexico-u.s.a. border; particularly architecture, border mystiques and failed urbanisms of the early 1900s up to the late sixties. avoid if you're spanglish intolerant.
derek jarman was in this black cottage by a nuclear power plant in dungeness, kent. there he wrote:
"i’m alone again. i sit watching the sun go down, peach as my grandmother’s table-cloth behind the nuclear power station. A great orange moon hangs over the sea and the winds die bringing in the night.
i am tired tonight. my eyes are out of focus, my body droops under the weight of the day, but as I leave you queer lads let me leave you singing. i had to write of a sad time as a witness - not to cloud your smiles - please read the cares of the world that I have locked in these pages; and after, put this book aside and love. may you share of a better future, love without a care and remember we loved too. as the shadows closed in, the stars came out.
i am in love."
then he died.
*great post + pics found @ shorttermmemoryloss
1. to make active again.
2. to restore the ability to function or the effectiveness of.
3. to rouse from a state of inactivity or quiescence.
4. to cause (as a repressed complex) to reappear in consciousness or behavior.
*beautiful lil' pic by gay sexy geek angelo plessas
according to the nytimes, mexico recently opened its 47th consulate office in the u.s., this time in little rock, arkansas. over a dozen mexican consulates dot the border itself, and states like texas and california have over 10 consulates each. since mexican migrants (some legal, but specially undocumented workers) have spread out extensively throught the past few years reaching places like nebraska, minnesota and indiana, a flexible representational resource has followed. mexican consulates in the u.s. have gone beyond their usual stiff roles as places for mexican citizens to reach "in case of trouble with the law" or promoting binational business. in the void of general national policies -both mexican and u.s.- dealing with undocumented mexicans in the u.s., they have reached a pragmatic but very significant function. they work as midpoints, intermediaries, directly affecting (helping) the people they're supposed to, not only the affluent mexican jerkoffs on holidays that get in trouble for peeing on the unknown soldier's eternal flame and putting it out, lets say (btw, this actually happened, in paris, where another big mexican community of spoiled rich brats usually spends a year of their lives or so). anyway, the thing is that the consulates have become an efficient resource for illegal mexican immigrants through their "matrícula consular" cards, an i.d. that people with no papers (passports, visas, etc.) can solicit directly at their consulate. these cards are accepted as official i.d. in certain banks (through which they can open an account and transfer money back home and pay their bills), police departments and workplaces. now these and other basic outreach services are provided in places like omaha, raleigh, indianapolis, and even saint paul, minnesota.
1. from chinook jargon, "a gift," from wakashan (nootka) patshatl "giving, gift." a ceremonial feast among certain native american peoples of the northwest pacific coast, as in celebration of a marriage or accession, at which the host distributes gifts according to each guest's rank or status. between rival groups the potlatch could involve extravagant or competitive giving and destruction by the host of valued items (such as property) as a display of superior wealth.
see also : situationist international
first is a problem of definition and meaning (fear)
what can you talk about? not ‘war on terror’, definitely not ‘war on islam’ (maybe ‘political islam’ or ‘yihadism’) … even bush retracts from calling it ‘war on terror’, so… what is it they are fighting against? who is the “we” and “they”?
things we ‘don’t know’ are the most dangerous… ‘unknown unknowns’ … incalculable dimension of the threat … inevitable (fatalism)… in this sense terrorism is on the level of other ‘theological’ threats (global warming, etc.)
no contemporary dominant fear (no fear is strong enough to produce authentic solidarity... like unemployement in the great depression or god or whatever) … in the end fear becomes a divisive force … fear is personalized, individual hierarchies of fear (terrorism, crime, migration, carbohydrates, etc.) … today the threat is suicide bombers tomorrow portugese kidnappers of a 3-year-old british girls, the next day it’s faulty surgery, etc.
terror is detached from the actual act of terrorism (it is about the fear of terror)
xxist century notions of personhood is about vulnerability, not coping, not strength… we see ourselves as walking targets… passive experience of threats… this leads to ‘securitization of everyday life’ … (when enrolling their toddlers for preschool or kids in elementary, parent’s don’t ask about programs or faculty anymore, the first question is ‘will my kids be safe?’
terrorism / counter-terrorism / intersections with urbanism
responses to terrorist attacks (S11) - - wtc attack supertelevised event … traumatic / taboo … limited analysis (sort of analytical repression)
dual response : 1) legitimate response (safety) : actual protection from danger 2) false response (security) : psychological, perceived danger
“existential insecurity” : pervasive sense of danger, displacement / channeling of typical urban fears (economic insecurity, displacement, fragmentation, fear of other, naturalization of risk, competing values and moralities… nostalgia for primitive ideal / order / community) on terrorism ?
budget : (in)security is now part of big-business, urban security as major industry (with generous government subsidies). media : fox news “terror survival guide” … paranoid concepts trickle to academia… questions not to be questioned … terror becomes fixed unknown
physical / urban effects : control, barriers, fragmentation, checkpoints, chauvinism, restrictive measures (freedom tower is now tower of fear)
class character in the use of terrorist threat (compare response to wtc attack and response to katrina, one symbol/center of power and wealth, the other displaced, marginal, poor and discriminated population). what interests were affected by one and the other?
evaluation of risk : is the risk of (abstract) terror greater than the risk of (concrete) injustice
*scribbles from architectures of fear conferences
one of the 3 existing maisons tropicales by jean prouvé will soon be auctioned by chrisitie's. an article in the nytimes describes the house's trip from congo to paris to queens (where it has been installed for viewing at a vacant lot on vernon blvd in long island city). i wish i had the 4 to 6 estimated million dollars the house is supposed to go for. not only is the house 50s and tropical and pretty to look at at the same time, but it's actually a fascinating piece of history: an artefact of dead modernism, colonialism, utopianism, protoprefabrication, pop culture and politics.
prouvé designed the house as a nomadic structure:
"while his compatriot le corbusier sculpted forms inspirad by evocative mud-packed buildings that he discovered in saharan africa, prouvé was advocating nomadic architecture for African states, modular houses that could be shipped, erected, dismantled, and shipped again like so many tinker toys. prouvé manufactured the components of his furniture and houses from a detailed understanding of fit, connections, materials, and the conveyor belt."
the times describes it as "plug and play" architecture:
"it’s cash and carry. the structure is a kit of metal parts, like an ikea piece, but bigger...the maison is also plug-and-play: there was never any plumbing, and it is wired for electricity. it ships in six containers. christie’s is compiling a short list of potential bidders with substantial properties in mustique, antigua, the hamptons — name your playground — who might like a 59-foot-by-32-foot--by-16-foot-tall folly/outdoor sculpture/guesthouse/vintage metal toy to park on the lawn, with a designer label attached."
so the house has been rebuilt in l.a. and on the roof of the pompidou. so it's become fetish and frivolous. that's our fault. and it doesn't make it any less fascinating. this particular house was "rescued" from distress in brazzavile, the capital of the republic of congo (built to compete with its belgian counterpart, léopoldville/kinshasa across from the river, now capital of the democratic republic of congo, formerly zaire...see heart of darkness). the house has been wiped of blood and bullets (its former location has been stage for a series of gruesome civil conflict, guerrilla clashes and political rivalries), but despite the revamping and the glitz surrounding it, it is still a powerful and quiet testimony of failure (of the colonial project, of the modernist project, of the funcionalist utopian project, etc):
"what went wrong? well, it turned out that, despite its clever engineering, the house was not cheap to build. how efficiently did the brightly colored, well-insulated and ventilated metal box keep its inhabitants from baking? what does it sound like inside a metal hut when it rains? who finds multiple portholes a plus and not prisonlike? indeed, there is photographic evidence that the tenants cut rectangular windows into the panels... it is also worthwhile to place the house in a broader context: after gaining its independence in 1960, congo by 1963 became a marxist republic supported by the soviet union. with the collapse of the USSR, congo drifted into a democracy that was shattered in 1997 by civil war and the return of marxist leadership. at that time, several parties in france located prouve's battered and bullet-riddled building, bought it, and arranged for it to be dismantled, packed, and shipped back to france, a final, enfeebled symbol of the end of the colonial moment. there, it was substantially reconstructed and renovated so that today's version, now on world tour, is largely cleansed of its past. somewhat akin to the "current reissues" available at such stores as design within reach, this is vintage modernism presented in a new, replicant version, untarnished and sturdy, ready to support the fantasy of a better modern life."
too bad the sanitized house isn't understood as what it is: a sign of us fucking up again.
45. detachment is the prerogative of an elite; and as the dandy is the 19th century's surrogate for the aristocrat in matters of culture, so camp is the modern dandyism. camp is the answer to the problem: how to be a dandy in the age of mass culture.
46. the dandy was overbred. his posture was disdain, or else ennui. he sought rare sensations, undefiled by mass appreciation. (models: ees Esseintes in huysmans' à rebours, marius the epicurean, valéry's monsieur teste.) he was dedicated to "good taste."
the connoisseur of camp has found more ingenious pleasures. not in latin poetry and rare wines and velvet jackets, but in the coarsest, commonest pleasures, in the arts of the masses. mere use does not defile the objects of his pleasure, since he learns to possess them in a rare way. camp -- dandyism in the age of mass culture -- makes no distinction between the unique object and the mass-produced object. camp taste transcends the nausea of the replica.
47. wilde himself is a transitional figure. the man who, when he first came to london, sported a velvet beret, lace shirts, velveteen knee-breeches and black silk stockings, could never depart too far in his life from the pleasures of the old-style dandy; this conservatism is reflected in the picture of dorian gray. but many of his attitudes suggest something more modern. it was wilde who formulated an important element of the camp sensibility -- the equivalence of all objects -- when he announced his intention of "living up" to his blue-and-white china, or declared that a doorknob could be as admirable as a painting. when he proclaimed the importance of the necktie, the boutonniere, the chair, wilde was anticipating the democratic esprit of camp.
48. the old-style dandy hated vulgarity. the new-style dandy, the lover of camp, appreciates vulgarity. where the dandy would be continually offended or bored, the connoisseur of camp is continually amused, delighted. the dandy held a perfumed handkerchief to his nostrils and was liable to swoon; the connoisseur of camp sniffs the stink and prides himself on his strong nerves.
49. it is a feat, of course. a feat goaded on, in the last analysis, by the threat of boredom. the relation between boredom and camp taste cannot be overestimated. camp taste is by its nature possible only in affluent societies, in societies or circles capable of experiencing the psychopathology of affluence.
susan sontag, notes on camp
"when i lived in mexico city at the end of the 1940's, it was a city of one million people, with clear sparkling air and the sky that special shade of blue that goes so well with circling vultures, blood and sandthe raw menacing pitiless mexican blue. i liked mexico city from the first day of my first visit there. in 1949, it was a cheap place to live, with a large foreign colony, fabulous whorehouses and restaurants, cockfights and bullfights, and every conceivable diversion. a single man could live well there for two dollars a day. my new orleans case for heroin and marijuana possession looked so unpromising that i decided not to show up for the court date, and i rented an apartment in a quiet, middle-class neighborhood of mexico city.
i knew that under the statute of limitations i could not return to the united states for five years, so i applied for mexican citizenship and enrolled in some courses in mayan and mexican archaeology at mexico city college. the g.i. bill paid for my books and tuition, and a seventy-five-dollar-per-month living allowance. i thought i might go into farming, or perhaps open a bar on the american border.
the city appealed to me. the slum areas compared favorably with anything in asia for sheer filth and poverty. people would shit all over the street, then lie down and sleep in it with the flies crawling in and out of their mouths. entrepreneurs, not infrequently lepers, built fires on street corners and cooked up hideous, stinking, nameless messes of food, which they dispensed to passersby. drunks slept right on the sidewalks of the main drag, and no cops bothered them. it seemed to me that everyone in mexico had mastered the art of minding his own business. if a man wanted to wear a monocle or carry a cane, he did not hesitate to do it, and no one gave him a second glance. boys and young men walked down the street arm in arm and no one paid them any mind. it wasn't that people didn't care what others thought; it simply would not occur to a mexican to expect criticism from a stranger, nor to criticize the behavior of others.
mexico was basically an oriental culture that reflected two thousand years of disease and poverty and degradation and stupidity and slavery and brutality and psychic and physical terrorism. it was sinister and gloomy and chaotic, with the special chaos of a dream. no mexican really knew any other mexican, and when a mexican killed someone (which happened often), it was usually his best friend."
by june 1950 bill and joan were living at 37 cerrada de medellín, an architecturally eclectic one-block street now known as calle josé alvarado. this was an apartment (third floor, rear) in a modern building that still stands. just five blocks away was the bounty bar and grill, in a five-story building at the northeast corner of chihuahua and monterrey, number 122. john healy was one of two american bartenders there, and the clientele was largely m.c.c. (mexico city college) students—a wild, hard-drinking crowd. burroughs and bollmer were right at home in the bounty...
i think the problem with ruby’s notion of v-effect is a subtle deviation of meaning, not from the heavier notion of estrangement, but actually from the added term, effect. this is a highly ambiguous word, with two poles of signification. one tends more to the surface, the other to function. i think ruby leant towards effect as impression or mark, more than effect as an active conductive or catalyzing force. in the end, it fell even further to the pole of surface, where effect refers to illusion (against brecht's intention of "uncovering" and "bringing down the fourth wall").
ruby began the seminar by showing gonzález-iñarritu’s “powderkeg”, a bmw film (commercial), considering this confusion of “art” and advertising an example of the v-effect (huh?) the second example was a massive attack video that looked like a fucked-up zombie biotech commercial (mhm…), and finally he showed pictures of the toilets at amsterdam’s schiphol airport, that feature reproductions of artwork as part of a gag-promotion strategy for an inside-the-airport wing of the rijksmuseum. *cough*
i have to admit his lecture was more sophisticated and well structured. he presented some great slides of olafur eliasson's tinted rivers and indoors environmental interventions, and then shifted to the cute cheesewhizzy reconversion of the groeninge museum in brugge by 51n4e architects. i like these plays on space, but they don't seem particularly challenging to convention or reflexive. people laying down on the floor of the tate's turbine hall in front of a fake sun or sitting down on a red carpet in front of a flemish primitive painting simply doesn't seem that radical or thought-inducing.
ok, so the architect / artist breaks with the usual rules and plays with contextual adulteration, expecting uncontrolled responses from the audience. the problem is that in our sweetened apathetic times, these responses rarely go beyond amusement. it's no longer easy to shock, we are a sedated generation. estrangement in this sense falls to the background, to styling, to a quaint footnote experience or even a sales strategy.
i think ruby got it wrong. the artist/architect should drop the self-flattering position of the catalyzer and the innovative subversive tactical blabla missionary. curiously enough, he had a much more interesting possibility right under his noses. at one point in the lecture, he showed clips from kubrick's 2001, commenting on the weird superposition of xviiith century and future anterior hypermodern motifs. but what's more suggestive, i think, and appropriate for recovering brecht's v-effect as technique and not style, is an attitude similar to the one we're confronted with in the film's last sequence. leading (modern) man is sucked in by the future debris of his own cultural production, hero falls powerless to his own action's and culture's inescapable effects. meaning must expire (along with traces of common sense-belief-morality) to be reappropriated or discarded. instead of insisting on producing, the architect/artist must first him or herself be estranged. in this sense, architecture (like art) should be more a process of revealing and unravelling, instead of additional layering (think audc's exposure of one wilshire or francis alÿs's quietistic mexican martyrdoms). effectist architecture further cloaks, hides behind fancier and lacier veils. it perverts the tactic of making strange by making cool.
agendas in the summer are usually limited to open-air pop bacchanals or scheduled trips to the beach. so, before the sun makes us unbearably lazy and horny, here’s two events to heat up your brains:
may 12-13 : the situational drive : complexities of public sphere engagement @ the cooper union, new york city.
what is at stake today in terms of public domain experiences? how do we know the impact of cultural projects upon the imaginations of citizens? do we believe in the possibility of transforming publics? what is the nature of our situational drive?
“in the network society everyone puts together their own city. naturally this touches on the essence of the concept of public domain…public domain experiences occur at the boundary between friction and freedom” (maarten hajer and arnold reijndorp, in search of new public domain)
organized by the tijuana-sandiego insite transborder art initiave and n.y.-based creative time.
speakers include teddy cruz, mark beasley, shuddhabrata sengupta, michael sorkin, kyong park, markus miessen, saskia sassen, laura kurgan, anton vidokle, krzysztof wodiczko and others.
download the full program here
may 17 and 18 : architectures of fear. terrorism and the future of urbanism in the west @ cccb, barcelona
new york, 11 september 2001. madrid, 11 march 2004. london, 7 july 2005. the spectre of terrorist attacks has come to dominate the collective unconscious of many cities of the west. planes, trains, underground transport, features of urban infrastructure that were once symbols of cosmopolitan freedom and prosperity, have now become, in the hands of terrorists, lethal weapons that threaten the very life of the city. in the aftermath of the attacks, many urban spaces are being represented as objects of total security within the framework of a recently declared war against global terrorism that has no clear end in temporal terms and no fixed geographic limits. not only terrorism but also counterterrorist responses have begun to influence urbanism in the west and may be striking at the heart of an urban way of life that is founded on inclusion, anonymity and pluralism. the aim of this symposium is to reflect upon the ideology of fear that has characterised the international scene since 9/11 and thus to draw conclusions about the reshaping of the politics of security in the west, its impact on city design and the difficulties this entails for keeping democratic principles alive. directed by stephen graham (university of durham) and hosted by the cccb, the present debate forms part of an ongoing series reflecting on the intersections of power and territory.
speakers include peter marcuse, francesc muñoz, michael sorkin (again), eyal weizman, jordan crandall, et.al.
download the full program here
* javier téllez, one flew over the void (bala perdida), mex-usa border, 2005
“the concept of estrangement (german: verfremdung) was introduced in the late 1920s by german dramatist bertolt brecht in his "theory of epic theatre" as a means to counter the traditional concept of "empathy" (german: einfühlung) that formed the dramatic goal of theatre since aristotle. "to estrange a character or action means first and foremost to strip it of anything that appears evident, familiar and understandable about it and to arouse curiosity and astonishment about it instead." this estrangement was to cause a critical reflectivity in the viewer towards what he or she sees on stage, rather than passively empathizing with the fate of the play's heroes. ultimately, brecht understood estrangement as an artistic technique to symbolically counter the effects of alienation ("entfremdung") that according to karl marx characterized the default mode of relationships of the late-capitalist individual to its physical and social environment. much of contemporary architecture seems to inscribe itself in this lineage in that it uses various atmospheric, narrative or formal scenarios to estrange the familiar appearance of a program.” (andreas ruby)
as usual, i was not that optimistic about this seminar, particularly after reading that last line about “much of contemporary architecture” being “inscribed” in brechtian (theatrical) revolutionary canons. ¿where?
in fact, the brecht himself borrowed the concept from the earlier russian formalism notion of остранение (ostranenie), which means defamiliarization, or “making strange.” viktor shklovsky developed this idea with respect to literature and art (poetry, to be exact) in his 1917 essay on “art as device” :
“habit devours works, clothes, furniture, one’s wife and the fear of war. if the whole complex lives of many people go on unconsciously, then such lives are as if they had never been. the purpose of art is to impart the sensation of things as they are perceived and not as they are known. the technique of art is to make objects “unfamiliar,” to make forms difficult, to increase the difficulty and length of perception... art is a way of experiencing the artfulness of an object; the object is not important.”
brecht adapted this concept in his own plays. he didn’t want a pleasantly intoxicated audience seduced by fake narratives, lost at a comfortable distance and with faint and regulated emotion. brecht expected to disrupt consciences and challenge viewers into thinking, to pull them away from convention and conformism, slap them out of soporific and passive spectatorship. the estrangement effect, or v-effect, goes beyond pantomime or scandal, seeking to activate a reflexive response in the audience. it all sounds great up to here, right?
the problem is we eventually got to the contemporary architecture part…
*olafur eliasson, green river, moss, norway, 1999
these days i’m having a hard time coping with a full time job and a part-time "masters" program. so i guess you’ll just have to bear with me. i can’t assure you it won’t get awfully boring, but for the next few weeks i’ve decided to post my notes for and from seminars. i will try to filter them as much as i can so they actually make some sense. look on the bright side. at least you don’t have to pay 10,000 euro for your share of this posmo pretentious crap.
*marcos castro, untitled (detail), 2006
1. the act or an instance of erasing.
2. the state of being erased.
1. a correction.
2. a surface area where something has been erased.
3. deletion by an act of expunging.
4. a place where something has been erased; a spot or mark left after erasing.
see also : neobarbarisms
*gerhard richter, phantom interceptors, 1964.
i was skipping through the pages of the latest issue of celeste, scrapbook for the mexican pop aristocracy (the “art world” in mexico is very much a friends&family affair, run and fed –with some notable exceptions- by the twenty-to-forty-something litter of big-business), and came across a note on the recent pedro reyes show, “the principles of social typology” at the yvon-lambert gallery in ny.
like the name suggests, reyes wanted to unravel mathematical strictures to make the easy-access. literally. he built a huge warped klein’s bottle with wire and vinyl thread (the material essentials of the acapulco chair) a small group of people could climb into and chill, playing on abstract notions like convergence and connectedness.
his 3-d “ambigrams” read differently depending on the side you stand in front of. “esquire” on one side is “empire” on the other.
reyes came up with the name from the show taking from kurt lewin’s research on topological psychology, specifically from the concept of “field theory,” where the “field” is “the totality of coexisting facts which are conceived of as mutually interdependent.” individual action and emotion is submerged and tied to situation and environment.
but reyes is not just preoccupied with bridging between concept and physicality. his work is actually strongly political. he describes the klein bottle as a “structure that creates no exclusive domain, as it is a modality that, through a structural twist, unifies the inside and outside surfaces into a continuous surface…the topological principle of the klein’s bottle would enable a decisive shift from an “either/or” critique to an array of “and/or” scenarios.”
a short interview with antanas mockus, mathematician, theorist and former mayor of bogotá; reyes reveals an active political (and urban) intention in his work, referring to mockus’s use of mathematical principles as social/urban “parables” of transformation (in a somewhat superficial but actually telling move, mockus’s campaign featured a moebius strip, and a slogan that called for “everyone on the same side,” a call against the bloody antagonisms that have typically marked colombia’s social and political realities).
reyes talks of different approaches to city governance and planning as differences between hairdos and haircuts: “one is homogenous by giving everyone limited movement while the other is homogeneous by allowing every hair to spin and sponge”.
"the concept of risk is a modern concept. it requires decisions and attempts to render the unpredictable consequences of civil decisions predictable and controllable…the novelty of the world risk society lies in the fact that we, with our civilizing decisions, cause global consequences that trigger problems and dangers that radically contradict the institutionalized language and promises of the authorities in catastrophic cases highlighted worldwide…the political explosiveness of the world risk society lies precisely in this fact. its heart rests in the mass media, politics, and bureaucracy—not necessarily at the site of its happening…political explosiveness does not allow itself to be described or measured in the language of risk, number of victims dead and wounded, nor in scientific formulas. this causes it to “explode”—if the metaphor is permitted—with responsibility, demands of rationality, legitimizations through reality checks; for the other side of the present danger is the failure of institutions that derive their legitimacy through a declared mastery of danger."
*alex ross on the cover of the village voice
"today, networked connection replaces abstraction. information is less the product of discrete processing units than the outcome of the networked relations between them, links between people, between machines, and between machines and people. contrasting the physical sites in which the digital and the network operate illuminates the difference between the two. the site for the former is the desktop microcomputer, displaying information through a heavy crt monitor, connected to the network via dial-up modem or perhaps through a high latency first generation broadband connection. in our own day, there is no such dominant site. to be sure, the wi-fi enabled laptop is now the most popular computing platform, but the mobile phone, keitai, and smart phone compete with and complement it. what unites these machines is their mobility and interconnectivity, making them more ubiquitous companions in our lives, key interfaces to global telecommunicational networks. in a prosaic sense, the turing machine is already a reality. a supercomputer, smart phone, laptop, ipod, wireless router, xbox game platform, mars rover, video surveillance camera, television set-top box, and automobile computer are essentially the same device, running—or capable of running—operating systems derived from unix such as linux or vxworks and becoming specific only in terms of scale and their mechanisms for input and output, for sensing and acting upon the world. instead, the new technological grail for industry is a universal, converged network, capable of distributing audio, video, internet transmissions, voice, text chat and any other conceivable networking task."
go read the rise of the network culture @ varnelis.net
* cute little painting by milos manetas
before global warming gets full-fledged, at the moment its effects are somewhat picturesque. the nyt reports that constant slightly increasing temperatures are changing the u.s. plantscape.
"there are palm trees in knoxville and subtropical camellias in pennsylvania...already, some states are facing the possibility that the cherished local flora that has helped define their identities — the ohio buckeye, the dansas sunflower or the mississippi magnolia — may begin to disappear within their borders and move north. by the end of the century, the climate will no longer be favorable for the official state tree or flower in 28 states, according to “the gardener’s guide to global warming,” a report released last month by the national wildlife federation."
(sub)tropicalization has other secondary effects, like shifts in aesthetic taste. it happened to lecorbu, it can happen to you. take dominique gonzalez-foerster, for instance.
if ever méxicocity decides to go back to the days of monster projects and city-head-architects, my pick would go to pedro reyes.
this young quirky nerdy bearded fellow is probably my favorite contemporary mexican architect, especially because he isn't really an architect. "he perceives buildings as skeletons in which we live and interact." i love this simple, neat, and open definition. his work is just as simple, neat and open.
he's behind the most astounding building project for mexico city in recent years (by now it's pretty clear that it will never actually be built): the parque vertical, or vertical park, set for one of the city's amazing and much over-looked modernist ruins, the "torre insignia" or "torre banobras", designed as the iconic building of mario pani's 1964 tlatelolco housing megaproject.
the tower has remained empty since it was abandoned after suffering structural damage after the tragic 1985 earthquake (a couple of pani's housing megablocks didn't withstand, and dozens of people died amidst the rubble leftover from the authoritarian mexican developmentalist state's dreams of modernist grandeur.
his work also includes a pink moebius strip acapulco style woven plastic chair.
the carpenter center recently showed a retrospective of his work.
if you can, head down to queens for the abcdf exhibit at the queens museum of art. luchadores, quinceañeras, tragafuegos, boings, and other infraexotic goodies from my exhuberant hometown:
"one day the title came to us: abcdf. immediately thereafter the project became a dictionary, a repertory of images that referred to mexico city, organized from a to z...we began to build a list of words that, after several months, numbered more than 900."
you'll find francisco mata rosa's happy-nihilist depictions of "the last city" and screening-party to the apocalypse shots, stuff by maurycy gomulicki, the genius between the all-electric-pink sexshops of the mexcity erotika chain, and the poorlittlerichgirl portaits of daniela rosell, along with works by lourdes grobet, pedro reyes, pablo león de la barra and others...