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    Reading List

    By Jon K
    Jan 27, '05 6:15 PM EST
    “In the broadest sense, our studio program will be to design an infrastructure, a game, buildings, or even a city within an inclusive general economy that we describe in this brief. We will look to the way that energy & information are stored in the landscapes of the world- cities, highways, airports, deserts- and attempt to inflect the paths they flow along.”

    You can actually tell a lot about your studio critic from the studio brief, especially if you bother to go through the required reading list that is always present in the studio brief. Having been used to the really common hardcore Deleuze and Foucault etc”¦ or related articles that appear in many of my past studio programs and classes; I was pleasantly surprised when I started exploring Ed's list of required readings.

    I started off slow with something I was familiar with: George Battaille's “The Accursed Share”, a fairly common architectural reading and it was more of a revision for me in understanding a “General Economy” with an infinite energy source and limited space; simultaneously I went through “Fire and Memory On Architecture and Energy” by Guillén Fernández and Bucky Fuller's “World Game”. Both documents were fairly interesting. I enjoyed “Fire and Memory” analysis architecture in terms of thermodynamics, material and information. “World Game” is an Archigram-like paper that deals with a hypothetical re-invention of infrastructure and the expeditious and efficient redistribution of energy on earth.

    Then I got hold of Neal Stephenson's “Diamond Age” and it threw me off track in terms of a typical architecture reading – it was in fact a sci-fi cyberpunk futuristic fiction novel. I got hooked onto it before deciding not to be too engrossed in the story that I lost track in trying to formulating my architectural thesis.

    And then came the movies. The reading “list” consisted of a series of obscure movie titles that I wasn't familiar with. Werner Herzog's “Lessons from Darkness” (1992) is ostensibly a documentation of Kuwait in the aftermath of the Gulf War, when oil fires were burning up the land and transforming the formerly beautiful countryside into a surreal new landscape. Mostly silent and accompanied by classical music, in a few segments local Kuwaitis bemoan the destructiveness of the fires and the war. Herzog, however, shoots the changed landscape in a way that makes it at once terrifying and beautiful and surreal.

    I'm still in the midst of plowing through readings and screenings; probably for another week or so before attempting to frame my thesis project – but so far I must say I'm enjoying it, I do not know other studio that demands reading sci-fi and watching movies.

    Now, going back to the image of the studio critic; Ed Keller's image can be described in a few keywords: pony tail, leather jacket, technophile, junkie, movie buff - I'm sure George will agree too.


    • George Showman

      Ah, my poor fellow... not leather jacket, leather PANTS. Which I had only previously seen in Montreal (where people love leather and fur, for some reason). Frequently Ed wears a fleece North Face jacket, which harkens back to his roots as a (professional?) climber. I think the climbing had a major influence on how Ed thinks, though I'm not sure I could put it into words as yet. It's certainly given him an interest in landscape; I think he used to climb at one of the places were going to visit near LA.

      You've done a lot more reading than I have... gotta get cracking, I guess.

      Jan 28, 05 4:44 pm  · 
      Derek Lindner

      Stephenson rocks. Snow crash has some good observations on interface design, which he handles in much greater depth in the non-fiction essay
      In the Beginning was the Command Line. Also read Mother Earth Mother Board, an essay about the history of large-scale networking and how laying fiber for global networks modifies the phyisical landscape (as opposed to just the virtual). Both are totally engrossing.

      Feb 10, 05 11:50 am  · 

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