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Praxis 14 - True Stories Table of Contents

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Praxis 14, “True Stories”, guest edited by Ana Miljacki, with Amanda Reeser Lawrence and Ashley Schafer, considers the ways in which architects tell stories. Films, fictions, sitcoms, comics, and fairytales are among the types of architectural narratives featured in the issue. These acts of architectural storytelling are considered for their capacity as both critical and projective disciplinary tools. With Barry Bergdoll, Reinhold Martin, Jimenez Lai, MOS, Julia and John McMorrough, Keith Krumwiede, Carlos Teixeira, Keith Mitnick, Christina Goberna and Urtzi Grau, Klaus Roons [sic], Kazys Varnelis and Robert Sumrell, and Wes Jones.

This one was so long in the works that I ultimately forgot to post it. the triple AAA, Ana, Amanda, and Ashley, contacted me looong ago, and asked if I could do an illustration for -then- forthcoming issue #14 of PRAXIS: Journal of Writing + BuildingPraxis is one of those academic publishing efforts I have fond memories of, and the issue was so packed with old friends of this blog (Jimenez, Kazys Varnelis, MOS, Wes Jones…) that I couldn’t say no. Then, Amanda, Ana and Ashley became even more busy when they became appointed part of the curatorial team of the US Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale. I guess I’ll have to wait some time for issue 15. In the magazine, everyone was given a speech balloon (not bubble!) with their contribution title, authors name and page number written in it. Unfortunately, my copy is in a box somewhere, so you’ll have to get yourself one.

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Previous collaborations for CLOG: BIG here and here

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 “Et in Arcadia Ego”

 Poussin

“And it’s a question of how far we’re willing to go in order to let the ego shine, in order to let that beacon penetrate not only the local scene but the world.”

Taylor Hackford

For all its promise of unlimited connetivity, Apple´s design seems to leave almost everything out. Apple has built a style on impenetrability, providing us with sleek, polished technological gizmos that are not only, a product of design, but a symbol of designed obsolescence.

Apple is itself a brand and a symbol, a signifier of future and Buzz-Lightyear-ian progress towards infinity. However, its approach to design takes us back to a past, long gone vision of future utopia bred in hardcore modernism. When Apple´s New Wave was launched in 1984, cyberpunk had started to reshape the image of the future and future technology according to a postmodern sensibility. Star Wars, Alien and Blade Runner introduced an image of the future as a layered, additive and textured place, a dark but rich metropolitan –megalopolitan- reality whose productive (thanks, Chen&Young) dystopianism provided us with an inclusive approach to postmodernism, as opposed to the exclussiveness of academic PoMo, and a new way to conceptualise (a new eye to look through) our urban postmodern reality.It´s extraordinarily fitting that the man chosen to inaugurate the era of Apple Design in a commercial reminiscent of Owrell´s 1984 was precisely Ridley Scott, who touched in the lapse of two years on the two poles that, as Peter Lunenfeld notes, still rule contemporary culture thirty years after.

Apple´s present-future is not the system of constant retrofitting dictated by the permanence of every-thing that Syd Mead designed for Blade Runner, but the clean, plastic and semi-translucent reality of Alex Proyas´s I Robot, a reality of immutable and ephemeral objects designed to shine and die, as user-friendly as they remain impermeable to change (…the light that burns twice as bright, burns half as long). And in doing so, Apple leaps over postmodernity to recover the dream of a clean, antiseptic, white utopia dreamt in the age of pulp. Jobs´s dream of the future is that of William Cameron Menzies´s Things to come, of streamline design, of Norman Bel-Geddes´s Futurama, where Roman togas have been substituted for Mao collars and turtlenecks.

Looking like an alien mothership hanging gently in the middle of Arcadia, the new Cupertino campus resounds with echoes of Steve Jobs sitting in peaceful yoga position in his empty apartment in the 80s, and it really speaks of a dream of ascetic-aesthetic plenitude that goes back to modern utopianism. Foster´s design, bred in a sensibility nourished by Dan Dare, Werner Von Braun and the visionary 60s conjures an ultimate state of the Corbusian cult of the liner as a model for architectural assertion. The platonic exactitude of Cupertino´s rounded shell conjures the old ideal of ectopic utopianism: a technological eutopia of isolated perfection in an anthitetic relationship with natural beauty. Apple leaves behind the organic, anarchic ambiguity of postmodernity, substituting the visceral for the virtual; and somehow, this renewed dream of an (old) brave new world scares me a little bit.

But then, I´m a PC guy.

Image Captions: 1. Cupertino: Apple Campus 2. Foster and Parners, 2011. 2. Things to Come. William Cameron Menzies, 1936. 3. Heliopolis. Project for an Olympic Village in the Mountains of Tatras. Alex Mlynarcik, 1968. 4. Werner Von Braun et al.: Space Station. Across the Space Frontier, 1952. 5. Thalassa: Project for a Floating City. Paul Maymont, 1959.
Image credits: Heliopolis photographed by the artist. In RAGON, Michel:Histoire mondiale de l’architecture et de l’urbanisme modernes. T.3. Prospective et futurologie; 350. Thalassa: Photo by P. Joly/ Vera Cardot. In RAGON, Michel: Les Cités de l’Avenir. Paris: Editions Planète, 1968.  Space station: Illustration by Chesley Bonstell. In KAPLAN, Joseph et al.: Across the Space Frontier. New York, Viking Press, 1952. Everytown: Frame from William Cameron Menzies´s Things to Come. London Film Productions/United Artists, 1936.

Luis Miguel Lus-Arana: “Return to Ectopia: Apple Design and Futurist Classicism”. Published in MAY, Kyle et al. (edited by): Clog: Apple nº 2. NY: February 2012, pp. 96-7

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CLOG: APPLE. On 7 June 2011, Steve Jobs presented Apple Campus 2 to the Cupertino City Council. Due to Apple’s high profile – not to mention the scale and iconic nature of Foster + Partners’s design – the online reaction to the “spaceship” was immediate and strong. While Apple has been building retail stores throughout the world for over a decade, discussion, even among architects, has typically focused on the company’s famed product design. With one of the largest American office projects in history underway in Cupertino, it’s time to talk about Apple and architecture.
Contributors: Michael Abrahamson, Paul Adamson, Gary Allen, Collin Anderson, Haik Avanian, Rachel Berger, Freek Bos, Gabrielle Brainard, Tom Brooksbank, Keith Burns, Marcus Carter, Haiko Cornelissen, Philippine d’Avout D’Auerstaedt, Erandi de Silva, Kevin Erickson, Matthew J. Giordano, Hanny Hindi, Julia van den Hout, Allyn Hughes, Axel Kilian, Klaus, Austin Kotting, Michael Kubo, Jimenez Lai, Nicholas Leahy, Christopher Lee, Frank Lesser, Michael Ludvik, Luis Miguel Lus-Arana, Kyle May, Adam Nathaniel Mayer, Nicholas McDermott, Mark McKenna, Samuel Medina, Louise A. Mozingo, Rob Nijsse, The Office of PlayLab, Inc., Glenn Phillips, Graffitilab, Nina Rappaport, Jacob Reidel, Erin M. Routson, Mika Savela, Chris Shelley, Noam Shoked, Mike Treff, Kazys Varnelis, Ronald Wayne, and Human Wu.

Clog: Apple edited by Kyle May, Julia Van den Hout, Jacob Reidel and Human Wu. Design by PlayLab, Inc. Find it here.

Tha New City Reader Food Sperm DonorClick to Read

Ok, so let’s say I posted something else before this especially difficult month ended. This is the last of the four cartoons I did for The New City Reader: Food Section, that got lost in November’s posting craze, that time when we all thought that this blog could go into some kind of regularity. The other three, with the series of not-very-funny jokes on Phillip Johnson and friends can be found here, here, and (Voluto, my favorite) here (Or just go to the Food or New City Reader categories in the blog).

This last one, which clearly shows the same out-of-the-box-iness as the one my favorite sex maniacs, Kazys and Robert Sumrell pitched for me, was suggested by Nicola Twiley, from edible geography, who was one of the editors for the issue.  It directly illustrates a real conversation she found in the always amazing “Overheard in New York”. Don’t know this site? Well, check it out, if you dare. It features the weirdest verbal exchanges in urban settings I’ve ever read. So weird they can only be found in real life. There’s a chance once you enter you’ll never be able to leave. They even have a book or two.

So, all this just to make the point I have no obsessions with bondage or body fluids. Or, if I have them, that they don’t permeate through my work (‘permeate’ may not be the best verb to use in this context). At least, I haven’t received any letter from Michael Graves’s lawyer so far. I’ll keep my fingers (and legs) crossed.

(Ain’t the title clever, this time? No? Oh, for Roger Waters’ sake…)

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On Tue, Nov 2, 2010 at 8:27 PM, Nicola Twilley  wrote:

In line at an icecream truck:

Two big hip african american women and a 2 yr old girl in a princess dress were in front of me in line.

One woman says to the other: “Shit, we’re going to be late. I have to stop by her sperm donor’s barbershop before he closes up.”

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Cartoon for The New City Reader: Classifieds, guest-edited by Leagues and Legions and drawn quite in a rush, which explains the lack of shadowing. It will get done at some point (hopefully). Click on the images below to read the full issue, which also features a couple of other cartoons by Brady Dale and the inimitable Jimenez Lai, from Bureau Spectacular, or navigate through the assembled version on the New City Reader’s blog.

Update: As of 1.10.2011 it´s also downloadable from DSGN AGNC, thanks to Quilian Riano.


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The New City Reader: A Newspaper of Public Space is a project curated by Kazys Varnelis and Joseph Grima. The New City Reader is a performance-based editorial residency designed as a part of the Last Newspaper, an exhibit running at New York’s New Museum from 6 October 2010‒9 January 2011. It consists of one edition, published over the course of the project, with a new section produced weekly by alternating guest editorial teams within the museum’s gallery space. These sections are  available free every Friday at the New Museum and will also be posted in public throughout the city for collective reading. The permanent staff and list of guest editorial teams can be found in Varnelis.net.

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Cartoon for The New City Reader: Weather Section, a continuous 3-spread graphic that includes a large city expanse with magnified close-ups pertaining building materials/architectural objects and their relation to weather. The weather section has been guest-edited by Jeffrey Inaba/ C-LAB, and put together with the collaboration of  Justin Fowler, Simon Battisti, Nathalie Janson, Amanda Shi, Lauren Turner, Jeffrey Yip, Neeraj Bhatia, Charles Holland, Rory Hyde, Wes Jones, Sean Lally, Andy Lantz, Jürgen Mayer H., Markus, Miessen, Nicholas de Monchaux (http://nicholas.demonchaux.com/),  Philippe Rahm, and Dong-Ping Wong.

You can read it by clicking on the images below:

Or download the full pdf at C-Lab’s Weather Patterns.

Also, inside this issue you’ll find the Obituaries Section, guest edited by MOS (yes, these guys).



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The New City Reader: A Newspaper of Public Space is a project curated by Kazys Varnelis and Joseph Grima. The New City Reader is a performance-based editorial residency designed as a part of the Last Newspaper, an exhibit running at New York’s New Museum from 6 October 2010‒9 January 2011. It consists of one edition, published over the course of the project, with a new section produced weekly by alternating guest editorial teams within the museum’s gallery space. These sections are  available free every Friday at the New Museum and will also be posted in public throughout the city for collective reading. The permanent staff and list of guest editorial teams can be found in Varnelis.net.

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Subject: sex!
From: Kazys Varnelis
To: Klaus
Cc: Robert Sumrell

any chance you’d like to do some kind of terrifying orgy cartoon for our essay?

a tangle of bodies, a la hieronymous bosch meets the mitchell brothers?

i’m terrified… i’m sure you are too.

robert will elaborate.

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Subject: Re: sex!
From: Robert Sumrell
To: Kazys Varnelis
Cc: Klaus

I think it should be an orgy in the graves design section of wallmart

Sent from a tin can and piece of string

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Subject: Re: sex!
From: Robert Sumrell
To: Kazys Varnelis
Cc: Klaus

There is actually a pretty well know editorial cartoon of a bourgeois couple looking at a William Morris Teapot thinking “how can we ever live up to this”
Maybe this one could be a couple with a normal teapot looking at the Michael Graves or Martha Stewart Orgy thinking “They’ll never sleep with us, look at our teapot”
It would make sense with the content of the article…
R

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Subject: Re: sex!
From: Kazys Varnelis
To: Robert Sumrell
Cc: Klaus

Perfect.

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Subject: This is the cartoon
From: Robert Sumrell
To: Kazys Varnelis
Cc: Klaus


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Subject: Re: This is the Cartoon
From: Kazys Varnelis
To: Robert Sumrell
Cc: Klaus

Yes that is it. Perfect. except I think the couple should have the Michael Graves teapot. Could it be Brad and Angelina or some celebrities with design interest?

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Subject: Re: This is the Cartoon
From: Klaus
To: Kazys Varnelis
Cc: Robert Sumrell

Hey, guys,

Lacking some context here. Could anyone send me the article, or sth.?
I woke up this morning, read your emails and still have no idea what you’re speaking about!!!

Best,

K-

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Subject: Re: This is the cartoon
From: Kazys Varnelis
To: Klaus
Cc: Robert Sumrell

Oh yes! We (AUDC) are writing an essay on the history of the idea of lifestyle, for the style issue…

in the US, the term “the lifestyle” refers to swinging or group sex.

k.

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Subject: Re: This is the cartoon
From: Klaus
To: Kazys Varnelis
Cc: Robert Sumrell

So, in the article this would illustrate, there’s some commentary made of Michael Graves’s industrial design as compared to Martha Stewart?

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Subject: Re: This is the cartoon
From: Kazys Varnelis
To: Klaus
Cc: Robert Sumrell

There isn’t any particular commentary on them yet…

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Subject: Re: This is the cartoon
From: Klaus
To: Kazys Varnelis
Cc: Robert Sumrell

Well, I hope there’s some way to make the connection, or people will think I’m just going mental…

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Subject: Re: This is the cartoon
From: Robert Sumrell
To: Kazys Varnelis
Cc: Klaus

Hi Klaus,

We are writing an article for the style section about the development of the concept of lifestyle.

In short, the rise of commercial culture came with conflicting sentiments. The desire to emulate the luxury of previous eras, and the knowledge of the social repression and sexual deviance that they allowed.

The old cartoon epitomizes the relationship of an engaged couple hoping to show others the status they want to have through a teapot that will express them. In victorian times, the means of expression were reduced. Leisure activity was limited to religious and organized social outings. Tea was a safe way to interact with others and kept things from getting too sexy, which was a constant danger. The couple hopes the tea pot will complete them. It is ,after all a consumate object.

Moving forward and skipping a bit, with the rise of the internet came a new freedom in social interaction that coincided with women’s lib and equality. the early Well was rife with hook ups and dating offers. Singles bars came into being. The lifestyle developed as we had the peak moment of subculture. In the late 80’s material culture bloomed, sex hit a wall with aids. Subculture became marketed as Alternative and Alternative lifestyles became marketable Everything gained a place in marketing campaigns and that was the end of identity politics. With the internet and dot com booms modern lifestyle begins as do the creative industries. You define yourself as a story to be broadcast, complete with objects and clothing to match. Your image becomes as important or more important than your resume. The second cartoon would update the first. We expect others to judge us by how we present ourselves rather than by what we actually do (work is now completely abstracted to almost become unexplainable and no one produces anything). We go into huge amounts of debt to support this descriptive system. Not to sound too crude – but where the victorian couple was trying to maintain fidelity to an object we currently buy teapots so that we can enter into the orgy of consumption and find a place to belong with our peers…

I hope that helps.

R.

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The New City Reader: Music + Style. Edited by DJ Nron, DJ Rupture, Robert Sumrell and Andrea Ching. The New City Reader: A Newspaper of Public Space is a project created by  Kazys Varnelis, and  Joseph Grima. The New City Reader is a performance-based editorial residency designed as as part of the Last Newspaper, an exhibit running at New York’s New Museum from 6 October 2010‒9 January 2011. It will consist of one edition, published over the course of the project with a new section (Editorial, International News, Business/Economy, Politics…) produced weekly by alternating guest editorial teams within the museum’s gallery space. These sections will be available free at the New Museum and—in emulation of a practice common in the nineteenth-century American city and still popular in parts of the world today—will be posted in public throughout the city for collective reading.

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Cartoon for The New City Reader issue VII: Real State, with contributions by Peter Tolkin, Mabel O. Wilson, Carmen Argote, Chloë Bass, Brigette Borders, John Cantwell, Catherine Ingraham (not this topic, this time), Marisa Jahn/CUP, Olalekan Jeyifous, Alexandra Lange, Elizabeth Lasater, Zoe Malliaros, Mitch McEwen, Minna Ninova, Daniel Payne, Alan Rapp, Cassim Shepard and Matthew Vaz.

Available since November 19 at the New Museum. A peek at the cover and contents here.

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