AF Exhibit

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Exhibit Flyer

Days from the printer’s deadline for completing the exhibit and everything is coming together with the help of Jonathan Linkus and our great closing team of research assistants (Jane, Ernesto, & Kevin).

One change worth noting is is the public reception has been shifted to Tuesday, December 3rd, 9am-11am!

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Fall mid-review

The public is invited to attend the fall mid-review presentations for LA301L and LA401L at Cal Poly Pomona on Monday, October 29th.

301L teams are identifying culturally relevant sites along the LA Aqueduct and discussing the landscape character. 401L students have mapped the water-energy nexus for Los Angeles and are selecting sites to enhance the resilience of the Aqueduct (plus there is a team who are hoping to win the EPA’s Campus RainWorks Competition).

Guest Jurors

  • 301L: Andrew Kanzler, Perry Cardoza
  • 401L: Robert Lamb, Jonathan Linkus

Cal Poly central campus map [pdf]

Please send a note if you are interested in being a guest juror for either mid-review session or final presentations (November 28th)

Moral Judgement on Climate Change

I missed this important sustainability article back in march, which is
comparable to Global Warmings Six Americas Report [pdf], but Grist got 
my eyeballs on it.

Climate change and moral judgement by Ezra M. Markowitz & Azim F. Shariff
Nature Climate Change,  2, pp. 243–247 (2012) doi:10.1038/nclimate1378
Published online 28 March 2012

[sorry there is a paywall unless your library subscribes to this journal]

Converging evidence from the behavioural and brain sciences suggests that the human moral judgement system is not well equipped to identify climate change — a complex, large-scale and unintentionally caused phenomenon — as an important moral imperative. As climate change fails to generate strong moral intuitions, it does not motivate an urgent need for action in the way that other moral imperatives do. We review six reasons why climate change poses significant challenges to our moral judgement system and describe six strategies that communicators might use to confront these challenges. Enhancing moral intuitions about climate change may motivate greater support for ameliorative actions and policies.

Why climate change doesn’t spark moral outrage, and how it could | Grist

And the solution to overcoming these biases are:

Why climate change doesn’t spark moral outrage, and how it could | Grist

via Why climate change doesn’t spark moral outrage, and how it could | Grist.

Unvailing Levitated Mass

The official dedication ceremony for Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass is set for 11am on Sunday, June 24th at LACMA. Christopher Knight of the LATimes has an early review of the work with photos by Mel Melcon (all the images used in this post). Knight’s piece is a solid review that pulls in a myriad of non-obvious precedents, potential influences and narratives that haven’t been part of the discourse to-date.

“Levitated Mass” is a piece of isolated desert mystery cut into a dense urban setting that’s home to nearly 10 million people. A water-hungry lawn north of LACMA’s Resnick Pavilion was torn up and replaced by a dry, sun-blasted expanse of decomposed granite. A notched gray channel of polished concrete slices 456 feet across the empty field, set at a slight angle between the pavilion and 6th Street. Like a walk-in version of an alien landscape painting by Surrealist Yves Tanguy, quiet dynamism inflects a decidedly sepulchral scene.

What really, really surprises me about the installation are the hefty steel brackets that the monolith is mounted to. All preliminary descriptions evoked a rock sitting directly on the concrete walls of the trench, not mounted on massive steel corbels. The maximalist brackets are a significant shift towards structuralism and away from from Heizer’s minimalist material palette of soil, stone, and concrete (artificial stone). If hidden mountings and connections had been utilized for the rock (I’m thinking about Brian Murphy’s Hopper House) or other highly refined mininalist architecture, then we could have experienced the illusion that the boulder was hovering. As detailed, those gusset plates express the shear mass being supported and bring the levitating mass crashing back to earth.

Lots of architects have used similarly proportioned gussets with Cor-Ten structural elements – this is no Gehry, Eric Owen Moss, or Thom Mayne building though – perhaps Michael Rotondi is part of their lineage. (Here are some images of similar details: 1, 2). The artists that pop to mind from these brackets include Mark di Survero with his structural steel sculptures and Serra for his pioneering use of weathering steel.

Continue reading

Infrastructure Gap

This post has been sitting on the back burner for two years since I came across the post’s title over on the EPA’s Sustainable Infrastructure for Water and Wastewater. The EPA uses the term to describe the lack of funding, not  physical or technological short-comings. ‘Infrastructure gap’ evokes a deeper range of issues and challenges that our society (and planet) face that aligns with my own interests.

Hillary Brown’s essay on Infrastructural Ecologies over at Design Intelligence (also discussed on Mammoth), brings up some interesting parallels – though it is also about the lack of infrastructure investment and less about the interaction of infrastructural systems (aka an ‘ecosystem’) or about infrastructure that provides ecosystem services.

  • First principle: Systems should be multipurpose, interconnected and synergistic.
  • Second principle: Infrastructure should work with natural processes.
  • Third principle: Infrastructure should improve social contexts and serve local constituencies.
  • Fourth principle: Infrastructure should be designed for resilience, to adapt to foreseeable changes brought about by an unstable global climate.

[I’m starting to hear echo’s of some of my earlier writing or maybe I’m just being egocentric…]

Architects seem to be appropriating the term ecosystem to describe typologies and hard relationships, like in Lisa Tilder’s & Beth Blostein’s Design Ecologies: Essays on the Nature of Design. Which isn’t about ecology (or nature) at all, but typologies of design processes. Perhaps this mis-use can be blamed on Jeff Kipnis (the overlord of architecture at OSU where Lisa and Beth both teach.) Full disclosure, Beth was a classmate of mine.

The proposed Mediterranean Grid is a project that aims to span technological gaps, a sea, economic and social gaps to bring Sahara desert based solar power to Europe, and provide power for desalination projects and cities in Africa. Continue reading

Heizer interviewed

The LAtimes scored a rare interview with the reclusive artist of Levitated Mass (opening June 24 at LACMA).

Photo: Mark Boster, Los Angeles Times / May 24, 2012)

“I think there is a draw from the rock itself, a magnetism we will see when the sculpture is completed,” he said. “But will the artwork have the same interest value as moving the rock around did?” … “I make static art, not dynamic art. That’s what I do.”

Static art” is Heizer’s shorthand for the longevity or durability of projects like the boulder installation, designed “to last 3,500 years,”

…”What I liked about this rock was 98% size, 2% looks.”

“The size thing is not some gimmick or attention-getting trick but a genuine undercurrent of the work,” Heizer said. “Frank Gehry for instance likes to imagine his buildings as sculptures. I like to imagine my sculptures as architectural.”

“The history of American art in a way begins with Jackson Pollock and his big paintings,” he said. “This theme of bigness — all painters and sculptors have dealt with it ever since.”

“My paintings are big too. I’m not very good at making small stuff,”

Narrative Los Angeles

For my 2nd year BSLA studio at Cal Poly Pomona this spring, I’m taking the students on a 3-day tour of narrative landscapes around the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

View 203L 2012 Narrative Landscapes in a larger map.

Here is the FINAL ITINERARY:  LA_203L_Field_Trip_LOS ANGELES [pdf]

From high art to outsider art, petroglyphs to historic places central to the founding of the city, the Southern California landscape is embedded with narratives. We’re avoiding most of the kitsch and crassly commercial in search of the authentic genius loci. Okay, the Getty Villa is perhaps one of the most gauche gardens in existance, but there is something worth learning about this over-the-top display of narcissism.

Tentatively, here is the itinerary: Continue reading