weeknote 10

Listening to Peterlicht and sipping a glass of grüner veltliner on my last Sunday in Venice. I smell like sunblock even after a shower. It’s my last Sunday in Venice after being here for six weeks. It’s been anomalous and unusual, but good. I’ve missed Princeton and will look forward to the start of springtime there, to immersing into my dissertation proposal and chapter.

There’s South by Southwest. I need to write about that separately, especially about the panel I moderated: “Maps, Books, Spimes, Paper: Post-Digital Media Design.” This was the 13th year I’ve attended SXSW, the 12th I’ve spent on the advisory board. It was huge and messy and very inspiring. I didn’t know that it would offer that to me this time around, but it did. More on that soon.

I finally succeeded at updating, redesigning and moving Girlwonder to WordPress from Movable Type. I’ve had the Girlwonder domain since 1997 and websites of my own since 1995), but I vacillate between a personal site and a site that I create about my work, my interests and my professional presence. Over the last 6 years, I’ve had several sites– the latest of which is Active Social Plastic— that I used for writing on architecture, urbanism, social networks, literature. The inspiration for Active Social Plastic came from how Enrique uses Aggregat 456, his outstanding blog, for essays. I wanted to experiment with keeping separate the personal content. It turned out that I updated both sites less frequently. But also, it seems that the right mode for me is a hybrid, a blending of personal and academic/professional. Moreover, people readily know Girlwonder. So: I’ve blended the two sites. I’ve redesigned, though not quite as much as I’d like — the color palette needs work. After 8 years on the platform, I’ve left Movable Type for WordPress because it’s easier for me to redesign and manage. I also have an About page for the first time in a long time and will include more professional information there as well — articles, CV and such.

My writing continues on my dissertation proposal. When I go back to Princeton on Tuesday, I will be focusing very heavily on it, with the hope of presenting it in the first half of April. There’s not much to say till I finish it.

I wrote a remix piece titled “Today We Operate on Objects” for #lgnlgn that derived a set of rules on objects out of “The Great Gizmo” by Reyner Banham and “But Today We Collect Ads” by Allison and Peter Smithson. Rather than writing an essay, I wanted to create a set of operations from the two pieces that could be applied to objects. My overall body of work keeps coming back to how we interact with objects, whether 19th century interfaces to the postal service, or history of social networks, or digital systems, or holistic systems.

LA has been good in terms of art. We saw the Learning from Las Vegas exhibition at MoCA — a subject I devoted time to my first semester at Princeton in the Learning from Levittown seminar (the lost studio). We’ve been to the Rachel Whiteread drawings exhibition at the Hammer — lovely to see her working process in action. I saw her drawings as layers that build up to a final, cast and sculptural work.

It’s also been good in terms of architecture. We saw the London Eight panel and opening at Sci-Arc, with Peter Cook, CJ Lim, marcosandmarjan, Pascal Bronner and several other architects associated with the Bartlett. I loved their work: drawing as architecture in its own right is a subject dear to my heart, but found the panel discussion annoying. There were entirely too many people on stage, and the moderation dulled down what might have been much more interesting. A few days later, I returned to Sci-Arc to see my friend Michael Kubo speak about architectural publishing practices. The following night, I joined Alissa Walker at the Unplanned exhibition at Superfront LA and 2D3D: Fast, Cheap and Out of Control, a show on architectural drawings at the Woodbury University’s Hollywood Gallery. I liked the work at Unplanned (kudos to my dear friend and former classmate McClain Clutter for his work), but it could have been as easily perused online or in a book (much of it, at least). Interesting that LA has two shows right now on architectural drawing.

Meeting people here who teach and write about architecture and design is heartening and frankly, fun. It also inspires me to write more here — part of the reason for the website move and redesign. I’m curious to see what the next weeks will bring.

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