A mass found trapped in an architectural digestive system.

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    A respite from academentia

    Javier Arbona-Homar
    Oct 20, '11 6:46 PM EST

    Some of you might have noticed that Orhan is hosting a series of talks at the VDL Neutra House in Silverlake, Los Angeles. Aside from doing my part to continue gentrifying the neighborhood, at least with my overaccumulated low-culture, I'll be in conversation with Stefano De Martino on November 19th.

    In anticipation of this event, I will be posting some provocations, questions, dialogs and stuff of that sort on this blog. Orhan emailed that he wants to talk about "the production of space," (whatever *that* means), so I figure, let's play around with it. I mean, after all, how can you talk seriously about "space" under the guise of a lecture series called "GLAM"?? Who came up with that? ;)


    More to the point, we could begin, you know, with some readings on Augustus Schmarsow as starts. Architectural space is an imaginative domain, but certainly not the only way in which to think of space. Yet it's incumbent upon us to learn Schmarsow, right? Or maybe that's just a big yawn in light of recent news.

    It's especially a challenge to rethink "space" now that space for activism and politics has become (again) a huge social concern. What is even left of validity from the architectural space discourse that can be reclaimed?

    The injection of "Occupy" into the discussion brings up interesting problems (and I don't, by the way, say the following as a full endorsement or in gawking admiration of said movement). To begin with, mainstream or establishment architecture, urbanism, and planning are disciplines that prescribe outcomes; that setup goals and plan for those. That is, one could say, what they do quite well; perhaps all-too-well. The Occupy movement has so far resisted these notions--notions like "demands" or desired results.

    But I see some of the architecture establishment running to appropriate "Occupy" language. Did you catch the competition that Storefront for Art and Architecture is running? What's that about? Is it about helping with the #OWS, or is it an occupation of the Occupy from the privileged position of being an elite cultural institution? In other words, is it a way to turn #OWS around and de-claw it? Or can Storefront's competition be turned on its head somehow? 

    The question, to me, is do "we" in the architecture-ish and landscape-y disciplines really have anything to provide to Occupy, and if so, what? Because it may just be that some of our notions of space have certainly *not* had anything to do with Occupy Anything. 

    Or did, what's-it-called... "Park(ing) Day" preclude the Occupy This or That? I would have to argue that if anything, Parking Day, clever as it was (or is)...was/is more of a mild, antiseptic, and certainly demand-filled practice (reduce car-traffic, for example). (One could ask if P-day saw its best days already). 

    Enough for now! Leave your comments or requests... The field is open.

    In all seriousness, it's an honor to be on a poster with Ray Kappe. I hope you'll join us!


    On another tangent: Berkeley Planning Journal has a call for papers out. An email message says:

    NOTE – the BPJ has extended our deadline to invite submissions responding to the specific theme “New Spaces of Insurgency” in addition to our earlier open call for papers.

    The celebratory 25th Volume of the BPJ will be focused around a theme reflecting the broad historical currents that are shaking the foundations of established orders.  Insurgence is manifesting in different spaces—not just geographical ones, but social, political, and technological spaces. It encompasses ideas about access, democracy, and participation, as well as ideas about new technology and tools. Bottom-up processes are emerging as people question established orders in many different settings and contexts. A growing atmosphere of contestation to established socio-politico-economic orders is embodied by disparate social movements ranging from the anti-authoritarian revolts of the Arab Spring, to anti-austerity protests by students in Berkeley and workers in Greece, to anti-establishment movements spanning the political spectrum from the Tea Party to the Occupy Wall Street movements in the U.S.

    We invite submissions reflecting on “New Spaces of Insurgency” that address how planning has created or ignored such new spaces. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

    ·       Democratization and participation in planning, across social classes and political borders

    ·       Virtual spaces and the changing role of technology in planning, with new tools for data visualization and online platforms for interaction

    ·       Informal development and challenges that it poses to the formal planning process and professionals

    ·       Struggles against privatization of infrastructure provision and planning services

    ·       Protests against tuition hikes and austerity measures in education

    Volume 25 will be published in a new, electronic-only format that allows us to feature new media content.  We encourage authors to contribute content specialized for the Internet, including hyperlinked text, high-resolution images, interactive maps, and audio/video content.

    The Berkeley Planning Journal (BPJ) is a peer-reviewed scholarly journal published annually by the graduate students in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley. Since its inception in 1985, the BPJ has become a forum for emerging and well-established scholars to explore innovative directions in city planning, public policy, and urban theory. The best student paper is awarded a prize, worth $150. Submissions will be accepted until January 15. More details about submission format requirements are available on our website.


    • eric chavkin

      Ray is Big Daddy to all us Sci-Arc Alumni. I hope that all of SCI-Arc show up for his should be a good one.


      eric chavkin

      Oct 20, 11 7:16 pm  · 

      Ray Kappe fucking A.

      are you going to include demilit here at all? could demilit or even OWS be thought of simply as paraformance ?

      Is there a necessary link between occupation and demand? Or can they be decoupled? Is it then just a happening..

      Oct 20, 11 10:45 pm  · 

      oh and what to make of this commodify dissent?

      Oct 20, 11 10:59 pm  · 

      some glamorous guy came up with the name. it ain't me.. well maybe we start from glamorous spaces first., like i was talking to this guy tonight as i was waiting for the food at the nightly taco stand at pico and fairfax (they used to have a truck) anyway, so this guy is a paparazzi on a lunch break getting a carne asada burrito, told me all about how to become a paparazzi and paparazzi rules of conduct, how to photoshop out  the unnecessary stuff from the pics etc... this is when the parking lot of the laundromat at night turns into social space where you meet all kinds of people. i showed him my camera which was in my pocket and he took one look at it and said i might get lucky and recommend that i get a shot of a mini skirted celebrity getting out of her car and if i capture the underwear, that's money. all this gulping down tacos and burritos. los angeles.., more it becomes like tijuana, more i like it.

      Oct 21, 11 12:57 am  · 

      I would say that no one's surprised about MTV or Fox or whomever trying to commodify dissent. I don't know what to make of it in general. I think you'd have to ask the true occupiers and not me. I do know, though, that it is notable how some art and culture institutions have tried to find meaning and perhaps ride the coat-tail of OWS. 

      About including demilit... I dunno. I have no plan to include anything as of yet. That's kind of why I'm writing some notes here... 

      I like the paparazzi story.

      Oct 21, 11 1:11 am  · 

      Fuck MTV.  Fuck MTV. Fuck MTV. Good god does that story make me want to get out of the human race entirely.

      Oct 21, 11 11:03 am  · 

      mtv is why I left hollywood the first time. Had a paparazzo friend in NYC who was missing one of his fingers (sort of like a yakuza) - but more fun to hang out with.

      more it becomes like tijuana, more i like it.

      That sounds like a good topic to start with!

      Oct 21, 11 3:02 pm  · 

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About this Blog

A bezoar is a mass of disparate pieces and materials. For this blog, you will find something somewhere between tweet-length posts and tumblelogging; inchoate thoughts; provocations and assorted scraps that don't fit anyplace else; criticisms of a political and geographic variety; ecoaffective ramblings; spatial imaginaries that don't conform. On Twitter: @AlJavieera; 1/3rd of @Demilit; bookmarked content: @AJFavorite.

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