Category Archives: architecture

THRILLING WONDER STORIES # 3

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[Image: From “Animal Superpowers” by Chris Woebken and Kenichi Okada; Woebken will be speaking at Thrilling Wonder Stories 3 at Studio-X NYC]

This Friday afternoon, Lindsay Cuff & I will be speaking at Thrilling Wonder Stories, a free 2-day event exploring the interdepedence between architecture and narrative from a variety of perspectives (architecture, cinema, sound design, comics, etc) as well as examining science and science fiction’s spatial impact on design. Emphasis on stories, emphasis on wonder. It happens simultaneously in London and New York.

Lindsay & I will discuss our experience in Nettle, creating a speculative soundtrack for an unmade remake of The Shining, set in a luxury hotel in Dubai…

Here in NYC, Thrilling Wonder Stories goes down at Studio-X, with a mind-expanding lineup brought together by new Studio directors Geoff Manaugh & Nicola Twilley. I mean, what other event could have Nettle talk on the same day as a historian of the iconic Apollo Spacesuit, novelist Hari Kunzru, and architect Bjarke Ingels?

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Thrilling Wonder Stories is free and open to the public, but space is limited, so please register in advance.

MUDD UP BOOK CLUBB: NYC EDITION – SAMUEL DELANY

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The Mudd Up Book Clubb marches to Manhattan with a tender, challenging work by one of the most important authors around: Samuel R. Delany’s Times Square Red, Times Square Blue. The book takes Delany’s 30+ years in the porn theaters and gay bars of Times Sq. on the eve of its mid-1990s Disneyification as a grounding point for an extended examination of public space, interclass contact, polymorphous intimate pleasures, the regulation of bodies and behavior, and lots more. Sex & urbanism in Delany’s hands — you can’t go wrong!

The humanity that animates his intelligence is inspiring, as is the deft ease with which Delany flows from frank, considered anecdotes about former lovers & friends to more sociologically-minded writing. Times Square Red, Times Square Blue is built from two long essays, which are themselves quite different: the longer one more personal, the 2nd one more theoretical — it includes a powerful section on contact vs networking that is more relevant now than ever, and uses a two-column layout to play with marginality in a direct way and further shake things up.

This is the Clubb’s first nonfiction selection (not to mention our first selection by a black author), and it will give you a lot to think about. The New York Public Library stocks a handful of copies, including a nonlending one up at the Schomburg. The Manhattan location for this Clubb edition is secret, but suffice to say it’s awesome and will be familiar to those who’ve seen Delany doc The Polymath. The tentative date is November 15th 13th. If you are interested, please join the mailing list.

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If you only know Delany from his sci-fi or fantasy, then you are in for a real treat! If you don’t know Delany at all, then perhaps short story collection Aye, and Gomorrah or its earlier incarnation, Driftglass, is a good place to start – “The Star Pit” is one of those rare stories that haunts me to no end. (I wouldn’t recommend starting with Dhalgren, only because I know a handful of people who couldn’t get into it and then didn’t investigate Delany any further.)

But Samuel R. Delany’s work has many, many entrances…

OK. Let’s keep those pages turning! For more online reading about this selection, Steve Shaviro wrote an excellent review of Times Square Red, Times Square Blue — indeed, all Steve’s Delany writings are great.

Stay muddy.

NEW NETTLE ALBUM: OUT OCTOBER 25th ON SUB ROSA

As Pitchfork announced on Friday – We’ll be releasing the new Nettle album on October 25, on avant-garde/experimental powerhouse label Sub Rosa! (Sub Rosa has been publishing quality weird for over 20 years, from archival material by James Joyce and Marcel Duchamp to albums by Pauline Oliveros, Luc Ferrari, and Tod Dockstader).

For this album, we imagined a remake of Stephen King/Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining set in a luxury hotel in Dubai, U.A.E. El Resplandor: The Shining In Dubai is our soundtrack for that nonexistent film.

Nettle-El Resplandor SR324

I produced and arranged El Resplandor, working with musicians Abdelhak Rahal, Jennifer Jones, Khalid Bennaji, Andy Moor, Brent Arnold, and Lindsay Cuff. Artwork is by Emirati photographer Lamya Gargash, taken from her incredible Presence series documenting “unwanted houses and structures in the United Arab Emirates that have been abandoned or left for demolition.” Architecture writer and Studio X co-director Geoff ‘BLDGBLOG’ Manaugh gave us some mindbending liner notes.

What else can I say? I put a lot of time into making this album & I hope you enjoy it. October 25 is the U.S. date; it should reach shops in Europe about 2 weeks before that.

This Wednesday I’ll be at the Decibel Festival in Seattle, giving a free, all-ages presentation of my setup for concerts with Nettle (laptop/gear/instrument- and vocal-processing): real talk about strategies to make live electronic music more dynamic and flexible.

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El Resplandor tracklist:

01 El Resplandor
02 Radio Flower
03 There Is a Hole in the Middle of the World Filled With Languages That Don’t Have Names
04 Espina
05 Empty Quarters
06 Nakhil
07 Simoom (Wasp Wind)
08 Red Masque Ticker
09 El Resplandor: In the Marsh
10 Shining One
11 Khalid’s Song

MILAN: DOMUS URBAN FUTURES

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This week is Design Week/International Furniture Fair in Milan, and I’ll be eating delicious #food then giving a special performance as part of Domus magazine’s week-long event series Urban Futures.

On Wednesday April, 13th, starting at 9pm, you can catch musician Giuseppe Ielasi (whose work may be familiar to listeners of my radio show), followed by DJ N-Ron and myself, bringing the party with video-projection accompaniment across a 28-meter long wall courtesy of dotdotdot‘s ‘architectural video mapping’. At the Salone 2011 (Opificio 31, Via Tortona 31).

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[dotdotdot’s rendering of their wild video wall]

Domus’s week of events looks fascinating. Includes talks on the Post-Oil City and The Open-Source City, bringing in heavyweights from OMA, MoMA, Fritz Haeg, and more. For the Twitter-view: @DomusWeb.

The Harlem Is Nowhere mix that I did with Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts early this year is part of Domus’s City Mixtape series. After Milan I return to Casablanca, where we’ll base the Beyond Digital project (instead of Marrakesh) this summer.

Casablanca is north Africa’s largest city. It’s big and gritty, center to Morocco’s music industry and art scenes… As well as an incredible vinyl spot, Le Comptoir Marocain de Distribution de Disques (26 ave. Lalla Yacout). Here’s a nice writeup on CMDD: pt 1|pt2 and some photos. One of the world’s great record shops!

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[Le Comptoir Marocain de Distribution de Disques, photo from Tales from Bradistan blog]

POSTOPOLIS DF: DAY 1

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[Postopolis DF, in the courtyard of Museo el Eco, from Aliviane’s twitpic]

Day 1 of Postopolis DF - blogger introductions & two presentations — went well: a full house despite the rain, a palpable sense of excitement, a magically stocked free bar, the whole thing dematerialized and re-transmitted via web streaming and realtime translation. Plus it’s hard to have a bad day that begins with fish like this:

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[perch @ Contramar, photo from Wayne&Wax flickr]

I didn’t really introduce myself or my work in my brief self-introduction, but instead took the time to discuss the people I’ve invited to present, and explain my thoughts on vulnerability and discourse: namely that true interdisciplinary communication involves the speakers being outside of their comfort zones (I only-half-joked that this, for me, meant speaking in Spanish). Listening and talking at the edges of how we would ordinarily relate to something. 100% clarity and seamless understanding are not the goals; translation, epiphany, friction, realization of the underspoken boundaries of one’s typical modes of presentation are. (Speaking of friction: the audience at Postopolis was hot, right?)

So a big part of what Postopolis means to me, as an exploded discursive space, a meatspace and tweetspace phenom happening in one of the world’s largest urban centers, is that conversations about our shared situations in cities and beyond – and the delicious possibilities for collection actions, thinking across typical disciplinary or procedural divides – involve listening very carefully. With active patience and the curiosity of the young. Without linga franca or various ‘master’ discourses be it language or other. (Yo <3 espacios Spanglish.) Events like Postopolis allow us to improvise and generate not only discussion, but the very frameworks for that discussion. How far it reaches & who. The edges of things are where (and how) they interface with other things. Welcome to our exploded house. You’ll find windows everywhere.

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The opening party @ Rhodesia unfortunately had one of my least favorite spatial arrangements for a club: the DJ booth about 20 feet above the crowd, completely isolated from the audience. You want to play with the people, not at them, and it’s hard to avoid the latter if you are spinning from a lofty pulpit… This is the same problem with upstairs at Santos Party House in NYC and countless other venues. Architects: never ever design DJ booths in distant corners of the room. This problem – unnecessary separation – served to underscore the realtime pleasures of people meeting and making introductions in the Eco, where, later in the evening (I had to jump out for soundcheck, alas), heavyweight architect Fernando Romero and punk/cumbia singer Ali of Kumbia Queers (check my recent post! can’t wait for their album of originals, out this September) both spoke.

Things kick off at 4pm today and we’ll go until 10pm. Platicando platicando platicando…

I’ll end this post with a tweet-foto of Eco’s courtyard last night, from materia:

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Self-organizing system #emergence #postopolis

RADIO EROS AND RUINS

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Gregory Whitehead – The Pleasure of Ruins (19MB)

This is the title track from Gregory Whitehead’s The Pleasure of Ruins, without a doubt the album that has held the most personal meaning for the longest time, for me. It’s not for everyone – maybe not even for you, but it melted my mind and opened doors of possibility when I first heard it ages ago, and still does.

*A brief aside in the form of required reading for anyone who has ever aestheticized ruins: Bryan Finoki’s brilliant essay The Ruin Machine. This is a deep one, give it your time.*

I’ve written about Whitehead on the old version of Mudd Up! (the one that is slowly turning into Cyrillic-spammer semantic compost-ruins), rather than link there I’ll just reprint what I wrote five years ago:

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QUALITY CREEPY + DEAD-ON SMARTS

In 2004 I got to meet with 2 true giants in my audio/cultural landscape: the Moroccan band Nass El Ghiwane & the American radio artist/wound technician Gregory Whitehead. Who?

UbuWeb just posted an MP3 anthology of 20 years of Whitehead’s radio plays, performances and outcasts, along with a few of his writings. The MP3s range from his early tapes (where I first heard Ziggurat) to an 11minute excerpt from The Loneliest Road, a 2003 radioplay for the BBC with music composed by The Books (as soon as I heard Thought for Food I sent it to Gregory, he loved it, contacted them, and the rest is…)

I’ve always been impressed with the way Gregory’s work circulates- looking for it directly is never the best option because his material moves simultaneously via several seemingly unrelated channels: cassettes traded in the old experimental mailswap circuit, pseudonym 7″s, screamscape studies for local radio & audience telephones, commissions from the BBC, articles here & there, editor behind some definitive books on sound & radio. He sidesteps the usual categories of musician/critic, academic/street, high art/no-fi art, documentarian/confidence man, thanatos/eros, etc. Even at its most theoretical, his writing remains rooted, relevant.

I heard the tapes first. Whitehead’s soundwork is viscerally compelling- a lot of it is simply words, gasps, and utterances. Additional sounds set a psychological mood or unnerve. Yet it’s playful–overtly funny, flirting with desire. It tells or suggests stories, though the narrative may be linear, cyclical, disarticulate, or straight-up impossible. Quality creepy + dead-on smarts.

from Gregory Whitehead -“Drone Tones and other Radiobodies”

Radio is mostly a set of relationships, an intricate triangulation of listener, ‘player’ and system. It’s also a huge corporate beast, and the awareness that you?re working within a highly capitalized network. Finally, there is the way in which radio is listened to, frequently in an extremely low-fi environment, with people listening on a car radio, or they’re in the kitchen and they’re cooking and they’re listening with only half an ear. To me, radio art comes to grips with all of that, it comes to grips with both the context of production and the context of listening.

& further quotes from Whitehead:

…I try to use [the disembodied radio voice] in a way that’s constantly hinting to the listener that they’re NOT listening to the voice of authority, though I will constantly play with the expectation for authority, because Americans are trained from a very early age that anything we hear on the airwaves has got to be the truth, that’s the voice of authority. Orson Welles seized on this with his famous Martian invasion, which in turn provoked a wave of regulation of the airwaves, as the government need to restore the fiction of authority and authenticity. Then there was the master radio delusionist , Hitler, who had an immediate grasp of the tremendous power of the microphone, and the amplified voice, and who mesmerized an entire generation to obey the projections of his own apocalyptic myth. I’m astonished at what people will believe, just because it comes down the tubes.

I mean if you think of the kind of news that you get on commercial radio: You give us 22 minutes and we’ll give you the world…

So for me, to listen to those formats and those hideous delusional aspirations and those grubby commercial models in a way, and think of ways to get inside them and take them somewhere else, is very intriguing. To begin with the arrogance of absolute certainty — the world in your ears —- and then gradually bleed, minute by minute, into a nebulous zone where all boundaries, bodies, voices, themes and ideas blur into a each other, or into a fog of thought and feeling that is closer to some kind of lived truth. The voice of authority is part of what I call ‘radio Thanatos’, the side of radio that vibrates with death, as weapons or as control over communities. Then there is ‘radio Eros’, a radio of play, and attraction, a radio of productive illusion, a radio that brings ears together into some kind of fresh network. The best radio art hangs in the turbulence between the two. I want my next work to be a kind of navigational system for the turbulence, between the scream and the laugh, perhaps, or between the horrific shudders of a sort of cultural Grand Mal seizure – for what else can we call the Age of Bush? — and the stubborn insistence of some other vibe: eros, affirmation, call it what you will. Life?

BACKYARD BUILDING – SUMMER SPACE

“…What is the temporary were forever? The goal is to design a public space with these precepts.”

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I’ll be on the jury of Temporary Publics Sketch 120 charrette competition in Brooklyn tomorrow, hosted by SUPERFRONT and The Architecture League of NY’s Design in 5. Should be fascinating – several community organizations from Bed-Stuy have submitted indoor/outdoor summertime public project proposals, and tomorrow around 30 designers and architects will be submitting designs in which to realize them — the winning sketch will be built in Superfront’s massive backyard and active throughout the summer!

Innovative public spaces are so hard to create and maintain – especially in dense, expensive cities like Nueva York – so it’s great to help coax one into being. I’ve been reviewing the communty groups’ proposals and it’s already exciting. You are welcome to come join us as the various design teams develop rapid-fire proposals…

Sketch 120: Sketch Cypher – Temporary Publics

Design in 5 Charrette
A program within SUPERFRONT’s spring series, “Cypher on Urban Affairs”
Jury: DJ/rupture, nARCHITECTS, and Slade Architecture
Saturday, May 15
2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
SUPERFRONT
1432 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn

“Participants will be randomly assigned a detailed program brief, submitted by community organizations through a SUPERFRONT open-call, with parameters for a semi-outdoor space to be managed for public activity in Brooklyn. The selected team will have the opportunity to construct their design in a 1,000 square foot outdoor space behind the SUPERFRONT gallery in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, in collaboration with SUPERFRONT. Construction will be supported through donated materials from Materials For The Arts, other partners, and novice construction volunteers. Winners will be given a budget of $500 for additional supplies. The temporary outdoor installation will open on June 26th and will run until August 15th.”

more details.

POSTOPOLIS DF: June 8-12

[El Eco, location of Postopolis DF]

Readers of this blog should know my love for Mexico City by now, so it’s with great pleasure that I announce my participation in Postopolis DF! A 5-day conference-conversation on urbanism in one of the world’s most amazing cities… In other words, if you were thinking of coming to DF this summer, now’s a great time… And don’t worry gringos, vamos a tener realtime Spanish-English translation for y’all. It’s going down the second week of June, June 8-12, at El Eco…

The basic setup is us 10 organizing bloggers each invite around 5 people or groups to present, with conversations from 4-9:30pm daily.

I’ll go into details soon, but I’m especially excited to announce my confirmed invitees:

David Lida, author of the must-read book on contemporary D.F., First Stop In The New World; Geraldine Juarez & Magnus Ericksson discussing Tepito, tunnels, and the internet (here’s a taste); architect and water systems expert Jorge Legorreta; Mariana Delgado of Proyecto Sonidero; Artist Ximena Labra & academic/zine-maker Carlos Prieto Acevedo presenting su nuevo zine físico, “Interregno” cuyo tema es cartografías de la crisis del espacio, poder y monumento, ciudad-fábrica de concimiento…

Main info below. Check Postopolis over the next few days for the final list of presenters and participants.VIVA MEXICO.

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8-12 June 2010
Museo Experimental El Eco
Sullivan 43, Col. San Rafael, Mexico City

From 8-12 June 2010, Storefront for Art and Architecture, in partnership with Museo Experimental El Eco, Tomo and Domus Magazine, will host the third edition of Postopolis!, a public five-day session of near-continuous conversation curated by some of the world’s most prominent bloggers from the fields of architecture, art, urbanism, landscape, music and design. 10 world-renowned bloggers from Los Angeles, New York, Turin, Barcelona, London and elsewhere will convene in one location in Mexico City to host a series of discussions, interviews, slideshows, presentations, films and panels fusing the informal and interdisciplinary approach of the architecture blogosphere with rare face-to-face interaction.

Each day, the 10 participating bloggers will meet in the magnificent courtyard of Museo Experimental El Eco, designed by Matthias Goeritz, to conduct back-to-back interviews of some of Mexico City’s most influential thinkers and practitioners – including architects, city planners, artists and urban theorists but also military historians, filmmakers, photographers, activists and musicians. The talks will be conducted in either Spanish or English, and translations will be available. Each day of talks will end with an after-party hosted by some of Mexico City’s most influential music blogs.

Participating blogs:
Urban Omnibus (Cassim Shepard) www.urbanomnibus.net/
Intersections (Daniel Hernandez) www.danielhernandez.typepad.com/
DPR Barcelona (Ethel Barona Pohl) www.dpr-barcelona.com
Toxico Cultura (Gabriella Gomez-Mont): www.toxicocultura.com/
Tomo (Guillermo Ruiz de Teresa) www.tomo.com.mx
Mudd Up! (Jace Clayton aka DJ /rupture) www.negrophonic.com/
Edible Geography (Nicola Twilley) www.ediblegeography.com/
We Make Money Not Art (Regine Debatty) http://we-make-money-not-art.com/
Strangeharvest (Sam Jacob) www.strangeharvest.com
Wayne & Wax (Wayne Marshall) www.wayneandwax.com

THIS SATURDAY: DIY PUBLIC SPACEMAKING

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This Saturday, Mitch McEwen and I will co-host a panel/teach-in on Do-It-Yourself Public Space Making at SUPERFRONT’s Brooklyn storefront gallery. The event is second in a series that leads up to the construction of a public space in the backyard of the gallery. raw data:

Mixtape on DIY (Do It Yourself) Public Space-Making. Sat April 10, 4-6pm. @ Superfront, 1432 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn.

Discussion panel with Cristina Goberna (Fake Industries | Architectural Agonism), Justin Moore, (New York City Planning, Brooklyn), Ena McPherson (Parks, Arts & Culture, Community Board 3), Jordan Seiler (New York Street Advertising Takeover), hosted by DJ /rupture and Mitch McEwen (SUPERFRONT).

Choose to participate in 1 of 3 teach-ins after the panel: 1) community zoning basics 2) spring gardening tactics 3) property disobedience and public dialogue.

$5 suggested donation for the 4pm panel and workshops, but no one turned away.

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SUPERFRONT & STUDIO X

TODAY, STUDIO X, NYC!

I’ve been collaborating with Mitch McEwen of Superfront on a series of projects combining architecture, audio, and public space. Things kick off today with a FREE presentation by Mitch, myself, and other Superfront folk at the Studio X space in Manhattan.

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Mitch is a next-level thinker, directing the interdisciplinary Superfront in both its L.A. and Brooklyn locations – she’ll be talking out recent curatorial projects and what we’re cooking up for summer.

I’ll be discussing the DUTTY ARTZ team CD which we put together for occassion (new exclusive mixes by Matt Shadetek, Mosholu Park, Taliesen, and myself), as well as going over how we’re intergrating DJ methodology into the overall project, and detailing my new sound installation for the Studio Museum in Harlem (FM radio processing: Hot97 as a wall of ambience tuned to Berber pentatonic scales, that sort of thing)

….and how everything ties in to 2 panels/workshops which Mitch + I will co-host at Superfront along with some stellar guests in the coming weeks: Mixtape on DIY Public Space (April 10), Mixtape Architecture as Activism (May 1).

Did I mention the whole thing will culminate in the creation of a community structure for summertime use in Superfront’s 1000 sq. ft. Bed-Stuy backyard?

Big tings a gwan, and it’s easiest to explain in person…

INFO:

SUPERFRONT at Studio-X
Thursday, 4/1, 6:30pm

SUPERFRONT’s “Architecture Mixtape” series launches at Studio X, co-hosted by JACE CLAYTON aka DJ /rupture of mudd up! radio. MITCH McEWEN, Founder and Director of SUPERFRONT, presents recent exhibits curated in both SUPERFRONT’s Los Angeles and Brooklyn galleries. The audience will be invited to participate in a public program that integrates music and community organizing into the production of architectural discourse. Catalog publications and the DJ /rupture-produced soundtrack will be on display.

Free and open to the public
RSVP: gdb210[at]columbia[dot]edu

Studio-X
180 Varick Street, Suite 1610
1 train to Houston Street

[Studio-X is a downtown extension of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation of Columbia University.]