weeknote 20

janet vertesi & i presenting at the media+modernity seminar

Beatriz Colomina, me, Janet Vertesi at the Princeton School of Architecture.

It’s been a wonderful month in Princeton and it’s about to heat up into a whole bunch of travel. I write this from Newark Airport, where I’m in the President’s Club on a friend’s membership, feeling sad to leave autumn on the East Coast and excited for Los Angeles and Shanghai.

On Thursday, Janet Vertesi and I presented to the Media+Modernity lecture series at Princeton. Media+Modernity spans several departments, including architecture, art history, history, German, English and comparative literature. (The program also offers a graduate-level certificate.) The lectures typically pair two people, often within Princeton but sometimes from outside. In this case, Janet meant an inclusion of sociology and history of science in our number.

It was great — good energy and a lively audience. Janet presented “Seeing Like a Rover” about her Mars Rover mission research, the ways that the researchers embody aspects of the Rover and the use of images. I presented my ongoing research about Cedric Price’s Oxford Corner House (1965–66) as well as the Birmingham & Midlands Institute Headquarters (1967–70). The two projects incorporate similar themes — BMI/HQ is a continuation of sorts from OCH — but neither have been written about or discussed with much frequency.

A panel titled “Responsive Architecture” for the ACSA (Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture) accepted my paper on the Oxford Corner House to their annual convention in Montreal (!!!) from March 3–6. You already know how much I love Montreal. I’m delighted to return and at that, to present the research I conducted at the Canadian Centre for Architecture.

Last night, we hosted a Hannah Arendt nightcap hour at my place in Princeton. It made sense: a few people are in a seminar devoted to her work; most of the rest of us have read her, she was the first woman to be a full professor at Princeton (a decade before women undergraduates could attend the university). Daniela and I made glühwein, Daria made bread, Anna-Maria made popcorn. Not sure who the next political scientist or philosopher will be who we fête, but I’m certain it will involve fondue and raclette.

Now, I’m waiting for a plane back to LA, where I’ll meet with my writing advisees and attend their Work in Progress presentations at Art Center and spend some time at home with my boyfriend. Next Tuesday, I go to Shanghai to help organize the Soft Energy Infrastructure workshop with Princeton’s Center for Architecture, Urbanism & Infrastructure. It’s my second trip to Shanghai–I was there in 2007 for a project–and my fourth to China since 1997. There’s so much more to say about it but rest assured, you’ll hear about it before I board a flight next week for points further west. I’m then back to LA just five days later at the beginning of November for crits at Art Center. Work continues on dissertation chapters, job applications, an article I’ll submit to Cabinet and um, I guess a bunch of other things. I’m excited for the travel but will miss my friends and my framework in Princeton and the gorgeous fall leaves.