UC Berkeley Geography

This is Javier's old retired blog.



Sep '06 - Oct '06

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    The exercise of intellect

    Javier Arbona-Homar
    Oct 2, '06 3:00 PM EST

    Some Pierre Bourdieu from last week.

    Being at home today, correcting some undergrad exams, I get to thinking about the discipline and work of ideas. How to do this? Treat it as a "normal" job? Get to reading by a certain time everyday. Devote a fixed number of hours? Break some time out to think about capitalism and alienation? I am reading some Bertell Ollman and Foucault this week, thinking about whether or not landscape architecture can go anywhere to alleviate people's sense of divorce from nature, given that so many post-Marxist critics allege that this is not possible no matter what under capitalism (and given that capitalism commodifies all land). Anyway, back to the question at hand... Can the production of ideas be more efficiently done by being disciplined and sticking to a schedule, or can I slip into an ascetic mindset of desks, books and typing that defies schedules, so that my ideas can be as second nature as the bowel movements of my landlord's dogs.



    The yard is bare; almost zen. The dogs are neither alienated nor connected to this yard. They just shit and pee. They don't harvest or contemplate the sublime. However, I do feel somewhat alienated from and by this yard and maybe some landscape architecture could narcotize me. Perhaps it's the landlord-tenant exchange that really keeps me from improving this land.

    And do you imagine a Prada-clad urban dweller getting down on the ground, taking her heels off and inscribing this into the wet cement?
    I could.

    I also did a little hometown integration this weekend... Went to the Pat Spurgeon benefit (the guy from Rogue Wave needs a kidney and I do hope they don't go buying one from a developing country, proving just how alienating capitalism can be). I rediscovered a band from my college years: Nada Surf
    flickr. There is a nice little show on xfm. i am digging their 2005 stuff.


    • AP

      re: routine - i know of many painters that set aside a period of time each day (often in the morning) - dedicated time and space for painting. Ideas are only part of it for them - the 'act of making' is perhaps primary...not sure how relevant this is for something that is primarily/wholly intellectual...

      Oct 2, 06 3:17 pm  · 

      i love the PRADA image....

      Oct 2, 06 3:45 pm  · 

      note that i didn't take it...

      Oct 2, 06 3:47 pm  · 
      liberty bell

      My dog won't poop in his own yard. He pees there, I guess because pee is a marker for dogs, but he soils others' yards with his poop. Would you say he has an unnatural relationship to the landscape of his yard, because he feels ownership over it? Is he actually a capitalist?

      Oct 2, 06 4:01 pm  · 
      brian buchalski

      i'm not sure if the production of ideas is a result of discipline. i recall reading that many of the ancient zen philosophers spent much of their time inebriated...of course, maybe they just had the discipline to drink each & everyday.

      hmmm...isn't fraternity rush this week? maybe it's time to get serious about my production of ideas.

      Oct 2, 06 5:08 pm  · 

      the yard needs some plastic furnishings and a bbq. i don't think shit and pee wants it any other decorative ideas. whats that? fuckin' outdoor heater? good one? maybe you need a hang shui adviser hypnotizing the ownerlandlord.

      i'd go with second option of; bowel movementism. at least most of the time. as if you don't know it...

      Ps; can you spare a 5 minute read for me?

      Oct 2, 06 5:11 pm  · 
      brian buchalski


      i can't stand dog shit. there's a rather nice park near where i live and it's popular with all the dog owners. anyhow, people are pretty good about picking up after their dogs but the trouble i have is with the design of the park. on the south side the park bottle necks and there is only one entrance. right next to that entrance is a trash can and apparently a number of the dog owners dispose of their little plastic bags of dog shit here as they exit the park and, oh-my-god, you can not believe how bad this smell can get, especially during the hot days of summer. yuck.

      Oct 2, 06 5:13 pm  · 

      javier, are the dogs conditioned to the yard or connected? because don't dogs typically sniff and hunt for their "place" and actually spend more time searching for their spot than us humans? i know some people actually won't shit or pee anyplace but home.

      i think the production issue is a little of both, with sex thrown into the mix, i have had some epiphanies after sex that free'd my blockages - so to speak.

      Oct 2, 06 6:46 pm  · 

      note that the dogs are all shitting over the previous dog's shit. they want to replace the previous dog's smell with their own, therefore marking the territory as their own ['appropriation' would be the archibabble word]. i'm not sure if this makes them takeover capitalists, though.

      Oct 2, 06 8:38 pm  · 

      I love liberty bell's idea of a capitalist dog.

      And I think the structure vs bowel movement debate is a daily decision. Some days it's good to impose structure, some days it's good to flaunt your ability to do whatever you want. But ever since my b.arch days, I really prefer to work during daylight hours. Sometimes I wonder if we are producing ideas, or just trying to write them up or just attach them to pieces of paper that we can shuttle around. And some days, I am clearly just indexing ideas for later retrieval, my ideas but mostly ideas from other people's books, whether or not that retrieval ever happens.

      Oct 7, 06 10:40 am  · 

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