Today in class we started by discussed our design study 2 projects. Basically went over how everyone should blog their map and a description of their project. Then we watched a Parkour video on youtube. Parkour is bringing the gymnasium out to the streets. People run around buildings, parks, sidewalks in a new experimental way. It can give old buildings new meaning by using them and seeing them through a different perspective. Also, we took a look a a website that had taken pictures of a building for about ten years. Each year or so the time line would show different graffiti on the wall and how it has sometimes changed slitghtly or many times dramatically. Before then end of class, we analyzed a bathroom sign. We came to the conclusion that men do not wear dresses, all handicap people are in wheel chairs, and there are only three different types of people in this world, which is false because most people do not think about hermaphrodites or transsexuals.
P.S. Half of the class was missing and for those who do not know, if you miss five days you in danger of failing.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
On Tuesday, and please realize I’m writing this from memory, we talked about a few things in class including Invisible cities and we listened to a few audio walks. When we read a few Invisible cities excerpts, they were narratives of a fictional place, each having a unique story/description to it, some being described as a wonderful lifestyle, others as a shithole. The audio walk we listened to was very descriptive and gave such an aesthetic description that you can basically see it. Along with the description, sounds of footsteps and people talking and birds chirping makes it feel like your there. Can be a tad creepy from the narratives voice but overall very interesting.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
It's likely that most people (myself included – until now) don't really think about the emotional makeup of a city, yet that has just as much an impact on the entire culture as the politics or economy of the area. I think this reading could pretty much be applied to any city even though many of the anecdotes had to do with very personal things. For example, even if someone has described a specific cracked sidewalk in their city, that can affect anyone in that same city (or in another) in exactly the same way. However, I think the most interesting thing that this reading made me realize was that things like that can affect people in exactly the opposite ways – perhaps someone's happiest memory occurred on that same, bleak sidewalk.
At first I was thrown off, a little confused by what appeared to be random passages about mysterious cities, but then I began drawing conclusions about each city, its development, unique traits, and problems. I enjoyed the read, it was like puzzle, putting a picture of a city together from the pieces of each passage. My favorite one was Cities and The Sky 3. When asked to see the blueprint for their city, the people responded: "We will show it to you as soon as the working day is over; we cannot interrupt our work now," and when the sun set, they stopped work and said "There is the blueprint," referring to the starlit sky. I just thought that was awesome, it reminded me of theories on ancient civilizations like the Egyptians and Mayans constructing structures in correlation with the sun and stars in the sky, that may have been influenced by a "higher power/intellect". In Trading Cities 4, I thought Ersili’s problem lies with overpopulation. I thought Hidden Cities 1 illustrated the natural growth and expansion of cities, I really liked the comparison with the tree trunk, I thought that fit perfectly.
Monday, November 2, 2009
I appreciated the attention to detail in the description of these cities. They had almost an ethereal or religious quality to them and I couldn't help but imagine an M.C. Escher painting in conjuring the twisted and meticulous way these cities were envisioned. Ultimately, though, I was kind of unsatisfied by this reading because I didn't feel like I came away with something concrete. It complicates things, but there is an air of mystery to these cities, and some, especially Cities and Desire 5 and Cities and the Sky 3 feel like ghost towns. I looked for a discernible way to tie these cities together, but I couldn't find one. Perhaps they speak toward the people who inhabit them? Although we are given little background on the inhabitants, presented as mysterious as the cities themselves, the sense of a bond between city and citizen feels somewhat concrete
Something that I find very unsettling about the readings of Invisible Cities that were chosen is that they take cities in these anecdotes and somehow connect them to these stories, but they're so unclear about how these anecdotes involve the cities or what they're supposed to say or represent about the city. My favorite one is "Cities & Desire 5" in which somehow dreams and the structure of the city are intrinsically connected, somehow attempting to make a city a trap to achieve a dream but only ending up as an ugly trap that manages to end their dreams. I can really see how that applies in some way to how urban decay and business life can be almost a winding path leading to nowhere. In some bizarre way, it almost explains a city as an organism.
The short descriptions from the article were incredibly vivid in what they were trying to portray. Instead of talking about a city as a city planner or from an architectural or political point of view, the descriptions take on a more emotional quality. The anecdotes are all specific experiences and personally attributed aspects of cities. Specific sights and sounds are described in vivid detail with little or no value judgements. One can just take the words for what they are. There is also a certain sense of universality to the snippets that can apply to almost any city. Overall, it was a very interesting and engaging read.
I really enjoyed reading Calvino's Invisible Cities. All of the descriptions tie in different emotions and how each city was affected by them. The city described as Thekla talks about the inhabitants constantly starting more and more construction on their city in hopes to keep it standing with all of the work being done. They base their blue prints off the stars they see in the sky at night. All of these excerpts bring a really interesting organic life to the cities they are describing. It made me wish daily life was a little less complicated.
These were great readings; very descriptive and an enjoyable writing style. The invisible cities sound very interesting, almost enchanting. I wonder if this how cities are meant to be experienced- somewhat magical and all people interconnected (as the men with the dream were or in 'esrilia'). I wonder if the dreamlike description of these cities can be incorporated into our next design project. Can every city space be described in terms of mysticality?
It's interesting to dissect different parts within cities. We rarely acknowledge certain factors of physical components and emotional components. These factors have a direct affect on us. The sky is a great example. If the sky is grey, our mood can become gloomy even on the happiest of days. If the sun is shining, we tend to feel a little brighter as well. The same goes for sidewalks. If the sidewalk is smooth the emotion felt is different than cracks in the sidewalks. Also, cracks have a symbolizing of their own. We usually associate cracks with being broken in negative ways such as cracked bottles or cracked hearts. What sometimes is nestled in those cracks can be interesting and anything from trash to roots. This also affects the perception of the pedestrian.