5 years of Klaustoon’s Blog

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(Image stolen from the Newman Lab at MIT)

5 years ago today, I posted my first entry on Klaustoon’s Blog. Actually, the blog itself had been active since the day before (March 9, 2009), thanks to Dan Cashen, who made up for my lack of digital skills and designed the blog himself. The cartoon I chose to start the blog with featured a comment on the preeminent presence of the architecture department on anything GSD-related, drawn on occasion of the publication of the first installment of GSD Platform. As some others that were featured afterwards, it had previously appeared on Trays, the late GSD online journal directed by Quilian Riano et al. After all, the point of these cartoons was to make tongue-in-cheek, in-house satire of everything that happened within the realms of GSD life. The blog was meant to be a mere spin-off where I could show some other non-GSD related -or less PC- stuff. As you see, everything was really low-profile.

That April, however, our friend Rem came over for his hilarious intervention in the Ecological Urbanism Conference, which obviously deserved some comment, and some days later, Kazys Varnelis deemed it interesting enough to illustrate his blog. So, surprised by this kind of attention, I decided to make a test: I took a cartoon I had started with a different protagonist, and reworked it into “On Starchitecture”. The cartoon started popping up everywhere on the internet and beyond (it still does), and that was that.

So, let me do some recap of what’s happened in these five years.

Since I opened the blog, most of its cartoons have been published here and there. A tip of the hat must go to Kazys Varnelis and Joseph Grima, who recruited me as the editorial cartoonist for The New City Reader (NY New Museum, 2010-11), and to Carlo Aiello, who was the first to commission a cartoon from me, for eVolo magazine. After that, they have been featured in Harvard Design Magazine, Clog (also here), Puerto Rico University’s (In)Forma, Milan-based Studio, Norwegian mag Conditions, the Russian Project International, Volume, the book Goodbye Topolinia and, of course, MAS context (here, too). I also have to thank the effort invested by many people to exhibit my work, starting with the retrospective organized in 2010 by the Society of Architects of South Portugal, the inclusion of my cartoons in the Celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the GSD, the mini-show within Jimenez Lai’s “Three Little Worlds” installation in the Architecture Foundation, MAS Context’s Analog Show in Chicago (again with Jimenez), or the “Klaus Korner” at the Building Comics exhibit in the 2013 Naples ComiCon. Next show, it seems, will take place in a city well known for its particular ‘effect’.

The most surprising aspect of all this is, however, its academic side-effect, which has taken me to speak to London, Barcelona (more here), or Naples, and to write articles for Clog, Conditions, Studio, MAS Context, to be interviewed for Volume (Jimenez, even once more, this time together with Brendan Cormier), and Mas Context   (there’s one more yet to be published) or even to work as a guest editor (happy 5th anniversary to you too, Iker). What a waste of time, those years spent on a PhD…

2013 marked my first ongoing collaboration with a magazine, the “Klaus’ Kube” section at Uncube (thanks, Jessica, Florian, Sophie), which will soon be joined by another one. Starting with the March 2014 issue, Mexican magazine Arquine will feature “Arquinoir”, where you will be able to behold -yet once more- my lack of ability in imitating André Franquin. There’s some more thrilling stuff bound to happen, but I’d rather not unveil it yet. Stay tuned.

So, thank you all for watching. See you here in 5 more years’ time.

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