SCI-Arc (Marlin Watson)



Jun '05 - May '06

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    By Marlin
    Jul 4, '05 6:47 PM EST

    Three Kings: Hector Rios 1990, Jimmy Jam, Ray Kappe

    Nunya Worry Coincident threads within Archinect. I'm at the all school meeting The Day After. In my blog, in the threads, I say nothing about the uneasy atmosphere at SCIArc following the trial. Three times a week for the past eight weeks I see Ray Kappe SCIArc founder. Three or so times a week I see Journalist Urbanist Sam Hall Kaplan, notorious hater of all things things, most passionately hater of all things Moss. Three times a day I IM brother Damon, inventor of the Joystick Corridor. Google it.

    Num Lock High School AP classes means access to a UCLA library card. My high school in Reseda is in reality a campus for 4-12 grades. Our high school library, then, is indispensable if every paper I write is a 5th grade caliber essay on Spaniard explorers. This is gulf war I pre internet early ninties. Like navigation around Los Angeles, I can live near UCLA and still have no clear sense of direction on this campus. In spite of spending many a weekend in the union arcades, UCLA consistently evokes a constant feeling of being “lost”, like stopping for a disembarking layover in a country I'm not visiting. Any sense of “being in” on this campus always unfolds into this weird ambiguity. I consult the campus map on the fridge, and I stroll down the street from my childhood home to the requisite library.

    Now boys. Here and now boys Suing fuckers and getting sued by fuckers is part of the normal cost of doing business in any industry. Kappe guarantees me “no bullshit” answers. I guarantee Sam's “no bullshit” with a bushel of kosher salt. Brother Damon deals in back end litigation and intellectual property so simpletons like me don't get fucked by contract and invoice ambiguities. This Thursday, the SCIArc board of directors will gather round the second floor conference table and, per Kappe, “figure out what the hell we just did.” Damon blackberrys the following: “inferrals through body language”.

    Novation Sometimes, I gotta take my two bucks and bet the trifecta. WinPlaceShow. Picked properly, I go home heralded a statistical, calculating hero. One slip in the order, I walk home broke to my departing wife and bank examiners. The territory that matters most is the fine line between hero and fall guy.

    No Soap Westwood has a morning scent, an airy crispness before noon. It is the chlorine and fluoride smell of tapwater evaporating off asphalt. The UCLA library I need is closed for renovation. I have to visit the temporary library at the other end of campus. Not on the map, it's temporary. Above that, it has the unpleasant distinction of “Towel library”, but no big sign appropriately announcing so: the name ”˜Towel' is colloquial, a nickname. Bad wayfinding, bad name, ambiguous campus, too young to drive. Standing there, facing a yellow shirted undergrad in a checkpoint box unwilling to be helpful beyond his workstudy pay, I resist declaring that I am already lost. “It's big, round and yellow, papaya, like my shirt”, he says. I start walking, per the Deke in a goofy outfit, “that direction”.

    Nonprofit Accounting In Fog of War, Former president of Ford Motors and former president of the World Bank Robert McNamara relays a statement he made to the WWII commander of Air Force operations in the pacific: “If we win, we come home heroes who brought the war to an end. We lose this, we'll be tried as war criminals.”

    NIMBY SCIArc. Trial. First refusal right. I can't adequately feel as though I am reflecting my day to day with any temporal significance without addressing the unpleasant outcome of the SCIArc trial. There is a lot to be said that isn't being said. Or rather, a side I feel fully takes into account the sequence of events as they happened sans hindsight. So, instead, while I continue to talk with professors, staff, lawyers, I thought I'd talk about B-movies and foam core caricature cutouts.

    Nidfy “Time equals Money” is not an equation but an adage. Sententially, it is (T) = (M). The contemporary adage is, “more money, more problems (hit me!)”, represented (^M) =( ^P). Therefore transversely, (^T) = (^P), or “more time, more problems.” Go on brush your shoulders off

    Nickel Nurse In studio 4A, to encourage the draining energy of my colleagues in the last stretch of studio, I made a cutout of my professor, Chris Genik's head from a photograph out of Metropolis magazine. A bubble extended from his grinning mouth exclaiming, “two weeks left, yo! Ya'll best get your shilznit dilznone ilznow bilznitches!” I super 77ed them to foamcore with a tiny triangle stand and placed them on the desks of my friends whom I felt were footdragging in the stress of the last week. I walk in to studio the next day and Chris has one in his hand, smiling. We reap what we sow.

    New School Old School We take an elementary school field trip to the Hollyhock house. I am eight, I could care less. Cattled through the house by the tour guide and my Gestapo teacher, I stray from the tour because I spy the fireplace from across the room. Moat. There's water around the fireplace! I remember the feeling wasn't of being in the presence of beauty or anything emotional. It was more like I knew I was in the presence of human decision. I think my childhood experience of architecture and space was passive: what existed was simply willed into being and here when I got here. Something about this fireplace though, as if it was, thoughtful. Only a tangible human being would put a channel of water around a fireplace. My teacher catches sight of me, and drags me back in line by my collar. Moments later, I don't care about architecture.

    New Jack We reap what we sow: I tossed a smile back to Chris Genik. I knew Chris understood the humor in the foamcore cutout. Clearly the finger of satire was being pointed at my friends. He understood that what the bubble said was so outlandish, there was no way it could be direct satire or even slander. Plus I think he noticed I shaved off a few years retouching the photo. Chris was by far one of the best, and most “holistic” studio professors I've had at SCIArc. This is my first semester with Mr. Genik at the reigns of the undergraduate program.

    Neophilia Morphosissiamondschoolroanchhigh. That snout looking thing looks like my trademark Graffiti arrow. Suddenly I'm twelve again, seeing a wildstyle piece off the freeway and aching to get off the bus, get home and beat it, mentally battle it on paper, piece a wall better than this masterpiece I photographed in my head. Hip hop does this. It just makes you wanna battle fuckers with style. I felt that way only twice before the Diamond ranch exhibit, when I was fourteen and Hexone, the greatest graf writer in LA history, allowed me to peruse his blackbook outside his Hip Hop Shop off Melrose. And, Roots at the House of Blues, but I can't rap. I stood in the audience and shat my pants.

    Nem Dos Gelt Really, what the fuck is architecture, anyways? I didn't have a clue until it hit me like a freight train my freshman year of college, which unto itself is a separate story. At some point during the following snowy winter, floundering around as a fine arts major, this traveling exhibit of Morphosis' Diamond Ranch High drawings came to the Architecture library on campus. At the time, without any background in architecture, and without any context or instinct to orient a ground plane, the words Morphosis Ranch High Diamond just looked like gibberish and carried no relevance to the renderings. But the forms, those forms. My eyebrows arched downward and slanted towards my nose. My jaw plus the fiber in my body dropped to my ankles. Somebody was pulling a fast one on me. How could I have never seen, whatever the hell these things are, before?

    Negative Correlation “emcees without a voice should write a book”- Evidence of Dialated Peoples, Cre82Devast8 crew. Now a superfamous rapstar, Evidence's nickname in high school was “one nut”. My nickname, Mars, is used by my closest friends, the ones who in high school gave it to me. It is endearing. As a child, My parents, their family and their friends nicknamed me Casper. To them it was satiric and endearing. Truth was, it was personally derisive and alienating.

    Nectarine Eventually I find the library, which turns out not to be difficult because it is, indeed, big round yellow. If, coming into puberty, I had paid more attention to the streetscape on Sunset Boulevard instead of the daily co-ed naked fitness marathon along UCLA's northern edge, I would have clearly spotted the iconic Towel library. The outerwear appropriate for a persistent springtime on campus also accounts for why I got no work done on my visit. The library, as I remember, was “fucking cool”. The space was a welcome contrast to the otherwise sterile spaces of brutal sixties campus libraries I had visited previously. So welcome, in fact, and as I'll tweenishly assert, so “fucking cool”, the regents decided to make the Towel library a permanent structure.

    Necktie Party Recently I recalled perhaps my only other childhood brush with architecture. I am maybe nine, attending another birthday party for VNSO AYSO (van nuy-yuys!) soccer teammate Brian Corman. Even though he's kind of a prick, his parents are rich and give out good party favors. This party is at Brian's brand new house. My mother drops me and my bestest friend and soccer teammate Ryan off at the curb, and he and I make our way up the driveway with cheap gifts in tow. Out of the trees pops this ferocious explosion of Miami pastel and glass block. I stopped. All the fiber in my body rushed up my throat. I taste reconstituted oranges. I remember just being disgusted, and pointed out to Ryan how ugly the house was. He agreed. While my memories are piecemeal, I remember the inside got worse: Lucite handrails, more glass block in the stairway, multi-colored neon. Teal everything. Every pastel crayon untouched used here without abandon. Giant b-movie posters everywhere, Killbots. One panel for The Dirtbike Kid, which made absolutely no sense, because why would anyone hang such a large poster up of that godawful movie? The eighties in a bottle. A haus of gaud. A palette of bad taste. This house made me vomit.

    Narshkeit As the years progressed and Double's career path to film direction became my motion picture education, the more a student of films I became. At some point it dawned on me that my childhood friend Brian was famed b-movie director Roger Corman's son. This memory occurred to me the other day while in the Kappe library poring over monographs for some thing, doesn't matter. It turns out their house was designed in the eighties by Hogetts+Fung, the design hand of Craig Hodgetts and SCIArc graduate director Ming Fung.

    Napiform Almost vomiting at the doorsteps of a Hollywood director heralds the wonderful nuances of being a native Angelino, and the judgement standards of a nine year old precocious little shit. This house willed itself into being. Professional experience has introduced me to the wonderful world of client relations. I speculate the king of exploitation films had a heavy hand in paint swatch selection for this fabulous ostentatia-fest. Brian had a built-in desk, a private balcony and bathroom off his bedroom. The desk was constructed in the nook of a wall, which meant it was enclosed on three sides. Brian would cover the desk with a bed sheet and turn the desk space into his own, off limits, kiss and tell booth. The desk supported the combined weight of more than three small children. In the hands of a nine year old, function is fluid. Could anyone anticipate their design of a built-in desk becoming a space specifically programmed for getting fresh with grammar school girls? As far as I can tell, Hogetts and Fung's Corman house is unpublished, only noted.

    Naked Option I depart the library with my horomones in a cruel tailspin and a lot of adjusting. I head up to Sunset Blvd. and realize the location of the library has cut my walk time by two-thirds. On subsequent visits to UCLA, the library becomes a useful point of orientation before heading into an otherwise ambiguous campus. For a temporary enclosure for book retrieval to become a permanent point of orientation and socializing is, for lack of a better term, “fucking cool”. If “fucking cool”edness hurried the decisions beyond the reach of designers to save every temporary structure managing to unintentionally achieve the same ends, I imagine the original Barcelona pavilion would still exist. In all earnest, Craig Hogettes and Ming Fung designed a cool library, and I applaud the half naked UCLA student body for asserting it was worth saving.

    Nailed to the Counter Coincident discussion posts in Archinect. A high school student began a thread looking for thoughts on SCIArc. Sadly, no one pulled any posting punches: his sex life will blow. The dry-erase post at the Starbucks reads, “Coffee! Do stupid things faster with more energy!”


    • liberty bell

      Wow - Marlin, I've never read your blog before - it's beautiful. I'll keep checking in. I'd like to write more but I'm out the door - may write more later when I have better digested what you've written. Thanks.

      Jul 4, 05 8:59 pm  · 


      Jul 5, 05 10:07 pm  · 
      Evan Geisler


      Hex One TGO Nice one bro!
      Big ups to the scene. RIP Belmont

      AM7 Crew


      Jul 11, 05 10:37 pm  · 

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