Yale School of Architecture (Enrique)

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    By Smokety Mc Smoke Smoke
    Jun 7, '07 12:35 PM EST

    It's interesting to see the call-and-response noise that the Postopolis! threads have created. I did participate in the event in two different capacities: not only as a school blogger, but also as a person that maintains and edits an ostensibly architecture-related website. I was not able to see all the presenters and panelists, but I just wanted to offer some thoughts now that we all have been able to gain some distance from the event.

    First of all, the energy devoted to the event is admirable. I am not talking just about the amount of preparation needed to maintain and curate the event. The Storefront was literally abuzz with designers, writers, musicians, architects, typographers, Mexican food enthusiasts -- everything under the sun. The crowd was good too, and it got better and better as the event unfolded.

    It is quite possible, however, that the event may have been too much. Because there were so many people involved, and so many of them from different disciplines, I wonder if the event's focus was somewhat lost in all the (literal and figural) noise. Inclusiveness is a good thing, but it can make for some curatorial landmines. Shortly after the event, I asked Bryan Finoki about the possibility of making this an annual thing. Bryan implied that some assessment as to the "core" of Postopolis! was needed.

    I'll take this as a statement of curatorial intent. Or a draft memo on curatorial intent. But as I see it, I think there are two levels of curation that must occur as Postopolis! becomes a frequent thing (I am clearly assuming and advocating this). The first level of curation is obviously related to the event itself. This means the identification and/or isolation of a particular theme, and choosing panels and participants that illustrate such a theme. The theme could be anything, geography, power, landscape, representation, media ... whatever. But a thematic structure would certainly help in the future.

    The second tier of curation is, I think, a little more problematic. It's definitely related to the actual content on architecture websites. I would not necessarily call it "editing", for this implies a small-ish response focused on grammar, dotting "i's" and crossing "t's." I wonder how as a community of designers and writers, we can create or promote some standards that will maintain a quality to architecture and design-related websites? The quality is not lacking. Not at all. I'm just wondering if this approach can solidify and embolden the architecture online community.

    I am not sure what such standards would be. But I think some Postopolis! participants had some great impulses and suggestions. William Drenttel, Tom Vanderbilt, and Michael Bierut talked about the importance of having focused, essay-like content. Miss representation, on the other hand, bemoaned the proliferation of architectural renderings and the lack of plans and sections. It seems to me that both of these approaches should be taken to heart. As for the first, Geoff, Bryan, Dan, and Jill obviously excel at maintaining quality content. As for the second, well, I guess that where the particularities of architecture practice come to bear. That's where all of you come in.

    Any discussion of lurking, idiots, etc. I think takes away from the more important issues of quality content. Of solidifying the online architecture and design communities. Of creating an alternative to Log, Grey Room, Cabinet,October, or any publication/site that concerns architecture and design culture.

    Did anyone ever consider, if only for a second, that Wigley was not being serious?


    • nice summary, mr. smoke.

      thing i like about archinect though is its lack of editing and its lack of intentional content.

      i read log sometimes for fun and spend hours a day reading articles with heavy research content much so that the fresh air of archinect is a perfect antidote to the daily would be sad to see it go all intellecty-babblish.

      And the news section is more than enough analysis/content for me. At least for archinect. although, unless i am mistaken, there is room for essays here too, isn't there?

      Jun 7, 07 7:15 pm  · 

      there use to be a views section, but the interest sort of waned. we'll have something soon, but i think all essay or op-ed content will exist in the featured section...that is until archinect META.

      Jun 7, 07 11:59 pm  · 

      what is "Log"? any link?

      Jun 8, 07 12:05 pm  · 
      Jun 8, 07 12:39 pm  · 

      oh, yes. please no editing of the content.
      Besides the impracticality of it, I don't agree with the premise that one should edit the content on archinect.
      I don't know why that thread got to be so long defining the word 'idiot' but wasn't that exactly Wigley's point, that what makes content alive (which to to me is more important than to keep it strictly intelectual) is allowing everyone to participate, uneditedly?
      Isn't this the beauty of a botom-up type of organization, that they can self-assemble and create rules without the intervention of a giant floating head?

      Jun 13, 07 12:23 am  · 

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