weeknote 15

Oxford Corner House network analysis diagram by Cedric Price: a project management tool he adapted for his own purposes in his projects (1966).

These weeknotes haven’t exactly been weekly. I’ve been struggling with blogging when I’m thick in work. I’m heavy in a mix of chapter-paper-article on Cedric Price’s Oxford Corner House and find that it’s really hard to translate ideas outward into something short, immediate and public.

I’m a thesis writing advisor this year at Art Center in the graduate Media Design Program. One of my colleagues refers to blogging and writing about the design process as “being a public academic.” I’m looking forward to talking more to her about it, not to mention actually doing it so that I’m doing what my students are. I realize that it’s one thing to teach students about writing, blogging and presenting their work in written form, but it’s another for me to do so publicly — to let whatever audience comes by into your messy creative processes. Is it that I feel vulnerable? That’s less it — maybe it’s that all of a sudden, people are dropping by and the house is a mess and I haven’t showered and there’s not much to eat. It feels like it’s not organized enough to give someone an idea. What if we thought of writing as desk crits, something we do in design and architecture, and less as publishing?

Right now, I’m in the thick soupiness of writing about Cedric Price’s Oxford Corner House — the point where I feel like I hurl clay up on a table to make enough of it so that I can sculpt it away. At the same time, I’m writing a dissertation chapter, a paper for the ACSA “Responsive Architecture” session and an article for Design Observer’s Places journal. It’s all based on work I did in the archive and almost nothing has been written about the project, so I’m going through hundreds of documents and drawings, trying to come up with my own narrative for the project. It takes a lot of time to just create a narrative, let alone synthesize and contextualize it. I’m making headway.

For Tim Maly’s 50 Posts about Cyborgs project, I wrote “A Network of Constant Interactions and Communications,” the first of two pieces on cybernetics and the arts. This one is a brief bit on cybernetics as groundwork for another on cybernetics and architecture. I’ll write more about Cedric Price there, too.

The project I’m doing for Institute for the Future has begun. I’m greatly enjoying with Anthony Townsend and Jake Dunagan on it and applying some of my areas of research and expertise to a fascinating subject. We’ll be getting ready for a big kickoff next week.

There’s lots more: the upcoming Google Zeitgeist conference, where I’m doing the pneumatic tubes Ignite talk, a talk at Adaptive Path in 9 days on information and architecture, and a heap of deadlines. And there’s trying to be a more public academic, so I’ll write here more.