Tuesday, March 31, 2015

vivid pleasures

"Those stairs: there were five of them: I took three in a leap, coming home from school, and then four, and one day five, and have complicated feelings about the fact that it was one of the vivid pleasures of my life..."

It was years before I understood...
It's hard to see what you're seeing with..."

— excerpted from the poem "Consciousness" by Robert Hass, in Time and Materials (Ecco, 2007) p83-5.  This work is cited for the purpose of encouraging others to read/write what I like to call "archi-poetry."

Monday, March 30, 2015

the future... other people will pick up and go beyond

     "When I speak about a social goal, the goal of society...I don't say, 'This is exactly what it's going to be like.' I don't have a blueprint in mind. I'm thinking more of a vision, I'm thinking of direction and I'm thinking of steps. I'm thinking more in terms of signs pointing in the right direction than I am of the shape of future society because I don't know what that shape is going to be—I don't know of anybody who has predicted correctly...
     "I think it's important to understand that the quality of the process you use to get to a place determines the ends, so when you want to build a democratic society, you have to act democratically in every way. If you want love and brotherhood, you've got to incorporate them as you go along, because you can't just expect them to occur in the future without experiencing them before you get there.  I agree with Che Guevara: the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love. If that love isn't built in, you'll end up with a fascist society. 
     "A long-range goal to me is a direction that grows out of loving people, and caring for people, and believing in people's capacity to govern themselves. The way to know they have these capabilities is to see something work well on a small scale... I think your belief in people's capabilities is tied in with your belief in a goal that involves people being free and being able to govern themselves.
     "... A long range goal has to be something for everybody. It can't be a goal that helps some people but hurts others.
     "Goals are unattainable in the sense that they always grow. My goal for the tree I planted in front of my house is for it to get big enough to shade the house, but that tree is not going to stop growing once it shades my house. It's going to keep on growing bigger regardless of whether I want it to or not. The nature of my visions are to keep on growing beyond my conception. That is why I say it's never completed. I think there always needs to be struggle. In any situation there will always be something that's worse, and there will always be something that's better, so you continually strive to make it better. That will always be so, and that's good, because there ought to be growth. You die when you stop growing.
     "Your vision will grow, but you will never be able to achieve your goals as you envision them. My vision cannot be achieved by me. You may save the whales, but the dream must push beyond that. It's a dream which I can't even dream. Other people will pick it up and go beyond. To put it in a simple way, I once said that I was going to start out on a life's work. It had to be big enough to last all my life. And since I didn't want to have to rethink and start over again, I needed to have a goal that would at least take my lifetime. After making that decision, I never thought of doing anything else, because I knew that I could just hack away on it, and what little I could do would take my lifetime. And even if we had a revolution, the quality of that revolution wouldn't necessarily be satisfactory, so I'd have to try to make it better."

— Myles Horton, concluding chapter called "The Future" in The Long Haul (Doubleday, 1990) p226-8.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

architecture: how we touch the world, and the world touches us back

"All meaningful architecture mediates and structures our experience and understanding of the world... our being in the world. Moreover, architecture makes visible how the world touches us."

—Juhani Pallasmaa, "Voices of Tranquility: Silence in Art and Architecture" in Architecture's Appeal: How Theory Informs Architectural Praxis, edited by Marc J. Neveu and Negin Djavaherian (Routledge, 2015) p.199.

Friday, March 6, 2015

so difficult to sail away from your immovable home... To move from an apartment floor plan to the map of the world

"Should we build small houses on legs, a separate room, a studio for one person, so that he can be either with everyone else or completely alone? Or should we build huge buildings with elevators and maybe tram cars in the hallways? We don't know... Our house floats like a small steamship, exhaling heat through the funnels. It floats under the sky. That's probably called 'drifting'... The house drifts on the ground. Nothing has been decided yet. The way hasn't been found... Reader, it's so difficult to sail away from your immovable home... To move from an apartment floor plan to the map of the world. Silence befalls when you finish the book."

— Viktor Shklovsky "On Architecture" [1930] in A Hunt for Optimism [1933], translated by Shushan Avagyan (Dalkey Archive Press, 2012) p4-5.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Words work as release—well-oiled doors opening and closing... And despite everything the body remains

"Words work as release—well-oiled doors opening and closing between intention, gesture. A pulse in a neck, the shiftiness of the hands, an unconscious blink, the conversations you have with your eyes translate everything and nothing. What will be needed, what goes unfelt, unsaid—what has been duplicated, redacted here, redacted there, altered to hide or disguise—words encoding the bodies they cover. And despite everything the body remains."
— Claudia Rankine Citizen (Graywolf, 2014) p69. This is a must read book.