_ _ _ _ _ _

i'm back in mex city. each time i land here i need a re-insertment period of a couple of days, when i only stay locked-up inside my parents' house and buy magazines and newspapers and read them and have take out and go through my old books i forgot i had and drink café americano and try to block out everything. it's like a f*ckd-up functional jet lag thing or something, i leave mex city and become so chicken and civilized that i can't deal at first when i come back. but today i go out.


american pie

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

"i've made my own luck because i looked at what was available, and i didn't want to eat the apple pie they offered. i don't care to have car payments to impress somebody. i don't care to have a mortgage to impress somebody..."

from forclosures by bruce gilden
via slate


nov. 4

i was nervous going to bed tuesday night. i woke up automatically at 3.19 a.m, when the first polls were closing (7 hour difference). i can't fucking believe how globalized i am. even my subconscious is globalized. i got out of bed in the dark and tried desperately to find a free wifi connection with my ipod to log onto nyt.com and track the first results. no luck. i sms'd my sister in boston: sms me when obama wins. i sms'd the news service, got 3 replies: one about eta terrorist attack, one about something going on in congo, one about AMERICAN ELECTIONS: OBAMA LEAD IN OHIO, OBAMA 51% MCCAIN 49%. got even more nervous. couldn't sleep. seant another sms at 4.30 a.m. DEMOCRATS TAKE 4 STATES. another sms close to 5 a.m BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENTE DE EEUU. sis called at 5 something a.m. ecstatic yelling obama had been declared the propsective president or the projected president or something like that. could hear american teenagers yelling mad happy in the background. couldn't sleep but kept smiling in bed till 6 a.m. walked out early. papers were coming out with martin luther king on the cover: NOT A DREAM ANYMORE they said. i went for a swim and thought about how fucking fantastic everything was. after i showered got a voice message from boyfriend: have you heard? they killed mouriño. they shot his plane down, it fell on periférico. i called him back. the day turned bittersweet. reading parallel newspapers. happy u.s. shitty mexico. it all felt unreal. we truly are melting into the air i thought. then california voted to strip gay people of a basic right. i thought joni mitchell singing california coming home and how shitty california has become not that sunny free place anymore. and how everything is messed up and confused and open.



if only i could spend this weekend in df
and party like the dead

happy muertos


sad scott matthew

i was riding the metro this morning listening to
sad scott matthew
and one of the fluorescent light-bulbs overhead
was ailing too
blinking and flickering on and off a little
the train was one of those long, continuous, corridor-trains
with no dividing doors
so i could see everyone riding till the end
it felt like looking at a screen
and everyone was silent and gloomy and bursting with
like scott and me



if mexico could vote on nov. 4, this is what our electoral map would look like:

reforma, one of mexico city's main newspapers has put up a poll on its website to determine if takers lean more towards obama or mccain in terms of policy affiliation. over 5000 have responded so far and results are pretty categorical. (by the way, yucatán—the only red state on the map—considers itself an independent republic; it's like the mexican alaska).


posting drought

expect something interesting, mañana.


i'm only happy when i shop

– – – – – –

of course, denial is always an option

go read @ brandavenue


high windows

_ _ _ _ _ _

i leave you with a little poetry for the weekend. i first heard this poem when i was 19, out of a teacher that smoked a pack of non-filter cigarettes per class, making his voice deep and scruffy. i had a mad crush on him and every time i read this i get jittery and a bit ruttish. ejem.

_ _ _ _ _ _

High Windows

When I see a couple of kids
And guess he's fucking her and she's
Taking pills or wearing a diaphragm,
I know this is paradise

Everyone old has dreamed of all their lives--
Bonds and gestures pushed to one side
Like an outdated combine harvester,
And everyone young going down the long slide

To happiness, endlessly. I wonder if
Anyone looked at me, forty years back,
And thought, That'll be the life;
No God any more, or sweating in the dark

About hell and that, or having to hide
What you think of the priest. He
And his lot will all go down the long slide
Like free bloody birds. And immediately

Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:
The sun-comprehending glass,
And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows
Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless.

Philip Larkin (1974)


this is the end

_ _ _ _ _ _

1. this is the end of architecture for me. it is somehow tied to my growing out of puberty.

2. with the passing of years and events, my love of architecture has waned and i've overcome my childhood reverie of becoming an architect, for good.

3. as a kid i didn't really know what architecture was about. i just liked to build dinosaur skeletons on this really ancient 2-d computer program i had, and constantly drew megapalaces and encased cities and flying walkways and underwater capsules in notebooks. when i was like 9 or 10, i thought i had it figured out: i wanted to be an "architect by computer." computers were pretty rare in the tropics back then, and people would ask me: –what the hell is that? and i would just answer –well, i'm going to build buildings, but by computer.

4. on of the things i hate most about architecture today is the fixation on renderings; second only to future-of-architecture review boards:

5. i don't see how we can become enthralled and jolted by architecture anymore. i think architectural ideas and concepts might still hold some sort of power, but architectural practice right now seems just about as promising as investment banking.

6. architectural remains, on the contrary, will be more significant than ever, particularly as we move away from physical and visual concerns, into the abstract yet predominantly material domains of program, process and hidden meaning.




_ _ _ _ _ _ _

this morning i woke up. i rose and shone. i put on a pair of flannel pants. i went to the kitchen and made scottish breakfeast tea. i poured the tea and drank it. i took a shower. the drain was clogged. a gooey velvety whiteness remained. i dried myself well, especially between the legs and between the toes. i rubbed my armpits with an unscented deodorant stick. i sprayed my wrists with man perfume, rubbed them against my arms and neck. i put on a pair of underwear, baggy black pants and a gray t-shirt with skinny horizontal yellow stripes running across it. i chose a pair of sneakers. i brushed my teeth with tooth-whitening paste, proceeded to floss and mouthwash. i called my boyfriend and caught him lying. i pulled the laundry off the rack and threw it into a pile somewhere. i locked the door and took the elevator. i said hi to the doorman and walked the usual fifteen minutes to the metro, spotting the usual construction workers swallowing their usual foot-long subs wrapped in tinfoil for breakfast. i smoked two cigarettes and listened to country music on the way. i thought about the beautiful persons that died over the weekend, and about the downfall of the american empire and about mexico burning with narco-anxiety attacks. everything was terribly familiar, and yet terribly different. i realized how cities are the perfect imperfect receptacle.


we *heart* crisis

– – – – – – – – –

1. the party is over. take a look at all those little downward charts in the newspapers

2. a crisis is a threshold

3. architecture—like any other productive enterprise sustained and fed by the long lost boom—is near the low, quiet breaking point between the tipsiness of the last of the few-too-many and the start of a brutal hangover

4. hopefully we won't have to look at those tawdry glowing renderings everywhere anymore



cities as piles, composed of:

bad metaphors
burning sensations
empty containers
erotic transfer
frames of reference
group dynamics
half-finished structures
hidden alternatives
(processed) materials
(raw) materials
peaks and valleys
pointless systematizations
power struggles
(chinese) products
things dead
things living
things we’ve lost
things we’ve forgotten
variations on themes
visual impressions

plus whatever else you might want to add.



dash snow, untitled ("dead man"), 2006.

one of my personal highlights from the babylon: myth and truth show at the pergamon museum in berlin, along with a tiny engraving of louis XVI as the whore of babylon, blake's nebuchadnezzar, the posters from d.w. griffith's intolerance, and the early modernist portrayals of the metropolis as babel, was the dash snow series of cum-stained, glittered tabloid portratis of saddam hussein.

the show in general was hot and unorthodox, like anything you would expect from berlin.



much has been said about barack obama's globalized upbringing and his sousing in chicago city politics. but what about his contender? no, i don't mean mccain. think more moose-hunting, gun-loving, hockey-mom-cum-vicepresidential-candidate. slate treats us to a lovely journey through dame sarah palin's hometown (and even sheds light on the great architectural feats of her term as mayor there). not to be missed.



off to berlin for a microvacation. new post next friday.



i don't know
if it's the news
about foreclosures
and airplanes exploding
on runways in madrid,
or if it's just
all this stravinsky i've been
listening to
doing shitty text corrections,
but i'm feeling terribly shaky.


loos note

"a work of art is brought into the world without there being a need for it, a house meets a need. a work of art has no responsibility to anyone, a house to everyone. the aim of a work of art is to make us feel uncomfortable, a house is there for comfort. a work of art is revolutionary, a house conservative. a work of art is concerned with the future and directs us along new paths, a house is concerned with the present. we love anything that adds to our comfort, we hate anything that tries to pester us into abandoning our established and secure positions. we love houses and hate art. so a house has nothing to do with art and architecture is not one of the arts? that is so..."

adolf loos, architecture


introduction to dodospace

the word dodo comes either from the portuguese doudo or doido (stupid) or from the dutch doodaarsen(fat-arse). the dodo was a large non-flying bird native to the isle of mauritiana, famously exterminated by human senselessness. It was also known as walghvogel (disgusting bird) , for its unpleasantly tasting meat. a queer, unattractive and relatively unaggressive specimen that had adjusted to a detached environment, the dodo was only dominant because it remained secluded and free from menace. the arrival of foreign colonial exploiters, pigs and other prowlers sealed the fate of this lowlife yet innocuous creature. before the dodo disappeared, a few live specimens were taken to fairs and colonial shows, but the bird never generated much interest, and its ugliness prevented it from being collected and bred like other more attractive exotic creatures— the peacock, for example—. very few people had actually seen or known about the bird, to the point that it came to be considered a mythological creature. around the nineteenth century, two events brought the dodo back to human conscience: the discovery of a fossilized dodo skeleton and lewis carroll’s self-portrayal as a dodo in his alice tales.

as the name implies, dodospace is extinct: a space that has disappeared and left little evidence of its former existence. even in the likely case of remaining fragments—a familiar detail feature, a hint of the former structure, a trace of paint—dodospace only survives in recollection. thus, it is deformed; renditions of it are usually (helplessly) inaccurate, clouded by nostalgic—or even mythical— delusion. dodospace is what is left of the useless architectures isolated from chronic, accelerated change in a city. dodospace is like the lingering after the clearing of crash sites, those sudden, violent standstills.

what is the use of dodospace? before it actually disappeared, dodospace did have a function, albeit a marginal one. nonetheless, this minor role was deemed unimportant—occasionally dangerous, or at least uncomfortable—and the space was therefore ruthlessly and carelessly erased. dodospace was once a place for outcasts and odd types: unproductive twelve o’clock drunkards and hookers switching shifts, petty thieves and pushers, queers out to mingle, class clashes and infrasocial frottage.


loosing my ballardian virginity (part two)

i felt like an atheist touring a church, like a skeptic lured by an outlandish cult, on verge of giving in. ballard’s work, his style, his writing, his contributions themselves became irrelevant. it was his obsessions, his morbid lucidity, his flair for shocking and rocking that were on display. the autopsy show is a lesson in fetishism –the author as a substitute pop totem.

the show turned to showmanship in the “pornography and technology” room, which very much looked like a crossbred between bride of frankenstein and a cheap xxx film with a visit to the dentist theme. you had these creepy operation tables with pictures of car-wrecks. you had cronenberg’s crash playing. you had a letter report about wanting to fuck ronald reagan. you had joy-of-(twisted)-sex-style documentaries from the seventies, and a huge video pastiche of clinical, endoscopic porn.

i moved on from the awkward and fleshy to the cold, pasteurized “asepsis and neobarbarism” section. here the layout was more basic: a couple of digital signs hanging from the roof, again, with fragments of text that, unless you’d actually read whatever book they were from, one couldn’t really make sense out of. then four or five screens showing the shoddy 3D promos for hypothetic luxury developments that have become the staple of post-dubai urban marketing. “only injections of violence can disrupt the lethargy and make a new utopia possible,” read the little tag for the room. but isn’t that what all these new developments are about, spoonfuls of sugared violence? isn’t dystopia the new utopia?

the last part of the exhibition is a series of rooms that basically amount to the church of jgb. first off, a “reading room,” or all you can eat buffet, with a neat encased row of first editions—like the plastic foodclones on display in low-grade japanese restaurants—dominating the tables stashed with library copies that visitors can flip through. even though this was the perfect chance for me to at least read a paragraph of ballard, i avoided the books and just kept moving. i really like the idea of reading rooms in exhibitions, but not once have i seen anyone actually taking the time to sit down and read anything. let alone a novel.

the ballardly altar room was my favorite of them all. it was presided over by a fragment of the unlimited dream company, a 1983 film by sam scoggings, were ballard is asaulted with 90 two-second questions from eyckman’s personality quotient. do you enjoy meeting new people? are your feelings easily hurt? do you often feel fed up? do you enjoy hurting the people you love? would you call yourself a nervous person? Are you a warrior? do you worry about awful things that might happen? do people who drive carefully annoy you? as the postmodern inquisitional trial unfolds, the camera zooms into ballard, till you can see the sweat on his forehead and his eye looks like a fly trapped in a jar. in the context of the exhibition, the film feels like a contemporary relic of sorts, digital cartilage stripped from the ominous saint.

the show closes with visual epistles of ballardian apostles. a full iconography can be drawn from the black and white pictures of ana barrado, or from the barrage of michel lord’s future ruins series. the preaching of the word is present in the bits of ballardian techno-following (the ballardian blog, jgb groupie homevideos playing on cellphones).

the autopsy reveals the voice of this man that lives in a world that can’t believe anymore, but doesn’t know how to stop believing.


loosing my ballardian virginity (part one)

having never opened a j.g. ballard book in my life, it seems terribly inadequate that i cover and review the very first exhibition dedicated exclusively to his life and work. still, adequacy has never been my forte, and after being seduced by the show’s promotional poster planted right in front of the door to my building—“crec en res,” it read, I believe in nothing—i decided to go to the cccb and see what all the fuss was about.

upon entering the exhibition, i found myself sucked into this darkened, blue neon nothing. it was a little disorienting. there was probably an opening statement and bio pasted on the wall, but i skipped it and decided to make my first time as visceral and uninformed as possible. after a boring strand of interviews with writers on the subject of ballard, and a terribly anticlimatic “conceptual” “videoart” piece (very barcelona. if there is one thing i hate about the culture scene here is that it's overstuffed and heavily subsidized, meaning that practically anyone with decent connections and a catalan pedigree can show his or her crap in even the more established museums and galleries.) the show actually began setting its pace.

a striking ballardian background room featured a caged “inside” collection of mementos and minute watercolors of the lunghua internment camp where ballard and his family were detained during ww2. at the end of the room ran a projection of the bbc documentary home, where ballard return to the camp in the early 2000s. on the “outside” half of the room, behind a wooden pallet divisory wall, are eerie black and white snapshots of wartime shanghai. the overall effect of the room is subtle and shattering, a very effective way of exposing the roots of ballardian spirit.

soon enough, it struck me i really wasn’t as ballardly vestal as i thought. even though i’ve never had a go at j.g. himself—i’m still not sure why—i realized that a certain ballardian sensibility had penetrated my development early on, that it was very much a part of my pop upbringing. from the re-run of the empire of the sun movie—which impressed me as a kid, and might have led to some preemptive crush on christian bale—to the melted cheese aesthetics of stop-motion sci-fi and illustrated pulp, i began to fathom the idea of a non-ballard-reading ballardian…

to be continued