martes, 23 de diciembre de 2014

Research Week 2 Summary


Podshare is a 'hostel' company that is attempting to put a twist on typical hostel typology, out of San Francisco, I believe. They offer a communal type of sleep space where you get a bed, TV, some storage on one side, but on the other is a hall with other roomies. There are also bunk beds above them. They provide towel, toothpaste, body wash, shampoo, wifi, community kitchen, bathroom, shower, computer station. Their mission was to "create more privacy than traditional bed, without closing like a Japanese capsule". Their plan is to build a network of these across the country. There is also a membership number that is unique to the user, it is theirs for each future podshare experience. In the time they have been in operation, 90% of the users have been travelers, 5% temporary housing, 5% transitional housing. The overall goal was to give a sense of authorship to the hostel experience while offering a communal experience.

Takeaways - I wonder how much justice the sleep aspect of this set up is given as you sleep with an open view to complete strangers. I know, I know, we're all friends, but as far as SLEEP goes, it should be no doubt a safe environment. I get excited for things like this because just imagine the ideas that are allowed to be exchanged. If they are successful in given people what I have been calling 'faculty', the sense of feeling in control of your lifes actions, If they are able to achieve this, and everyone feels expressive, the ideas would be beautiful. But... travelers in general that would sign up for something like this would already be willing to be expressive. I am wondering how to enable the average work a day person to appreciate this type of lifestyle. I am wondering if a situation of 'vagabond' life could be attractive as a life for someone who isn't already a rebel. MAybe I'll be wondering that forever.

Villa Spatiale

This was a concept by Yona Friedman in which the city becomes more compact and goes upward. It would essentially be a grid of cubes suspended above the ground level where people are allowed to plan their own housing. He believed in a 'fundamental right of self expression'. He believed the flexibility of a housing situation enhanced the freedom of choice for the individual.

Takeaways - I began my thesis with the idea that life was for the ground plane, and rest was for the vertical. That is what drew me to this mans work. The 'cages' he designed were purposefully giving the ground for trade, activity, sharing of ideas, while the sky was reserved for the individual. I will probably research him further into his ideas for self expression and the like.

Adolf Loos - Architecture 1910

Adolf Loos wrote an essay talking about the profession of the architect. He broke down the difference between the master builder and the architect. The builder takes the present and puts a building together only for the purpose of usefulness. It is a more scientific process. He believes the architect is tainted by 'ornamentation' and indoctrination. The architect worries about how their building stands in relation to the history of buildings and other buildings in other parts of the world. The architect also seeks validation in publications. Both of these aspirations are detrimental to the actual building that is being put up, as long as he receives acclaim, he doesn't care if the building performs.

Loos also spoke on culture. His definition is: Culture: Balance between our physical, mental and spiritual being which alone can guarantee sensible thought and action. So basically, being in touch with the vibration of the universe and being present. This flies in the face of the way most of us think about culture and tradition. We generally call something traditional or cultural if it is what people do over and over again, usually non-essentially, artfully. But Loos is saying culture is alive and it is only in the present, you are culture.

Another point he made that I liked was; Only the real example has the power to influence as opposed to drawings or publications. This means only the built form, only the object can teach, not the article talking about the object. That is the purest communication. So to build for validation of publication and to 'get your work out' doesn't mean anything according to Loos, because those that might know your building on a web page can't 'know' your building in the real sense of all 5 senses.

Takeaways - I like his definition of culture. We are all futurists, some of us are in denial though. As people, our natural desire is to do things that matter, that other people notice. To exist. So why would people be so quick to be 'traditional' to 'blend in'? I don't know. I wish I could figure it out. Now, I'm not saying be different for sake of being different, but let yourself lead your way and do new things if your essence wills it. I bet if you knew that doing something new would win you acclaim and validation everyone would be 'avant-garde'. But for some reason, general culture is geared towards acceptance of sameness. To make sure I am 'normal'.

Here what I have to say about that:

If you can feel the warmth of the sun on your face, and think 'I feel the sun on my face', then that is all the culture and tradition you need. You are human, move on and create new!

The Lottery of Birth

I don't really remember the details of this documentary, but it mainly just validated everything I've been thinking about. Here is the imdb summary:

THE LOTTERY OF BIRTH is the first in a three-part documentary series entitled 'Creating Freedom' exploring the relationship between freedom, power and control in Western democracies. The series draws together interviews with some of the world's leading intellectuals, journalists and activists to offer an alternative perspective on today's society and the future we're creating. We do not choose to exist, or the environment we grow up in. Our starting point in life is one of passive reliance on forces over which we have no control. THE LOTTERY OF BIRTH shows that from birth onwards our minds are a battleground of competing forces: familial, educational, cultural, and professional. The outcome of this battle not only determines who we become, but the society that we create.

Takeaways - There were some ideas sparked about 'other-culture' as I have been thinking about it. There just needs to be an option of systems, that's all I want.

It's a Wonderful Life

1940's movie centered around a man that had to put off his dreams indefinitely to help others.

Takeaways - It was a nice movie, but it was kind of haunting that he had to be happy with his struggle, I guess I am used to the completely happy ending model. I guess the takeaway was that life has achievements that aren't as clear as winning a gold medal. The struggle is the achievement? And you can't know that until you die? Ahhh.

But anyway, during the movie, he was a man that gave people loans for houses. He was honestly for the goodness of people, whereas the other man in town was the classic heartless developer. It shows a sort of example of the choice I've been going on about. The bank the main character had wasn't the best about getting the money out, but it was more of a communal system, whereas the heartless guy's was secure and everything. The main character even went so far as to build a tract of houses for the community at discounted rates. Imagine the unity and culture of the place with that amount of shared trust.

lunes, 15 de diciembre de 2014

Research Week 1 Summary

Minimally Invasive Education-

The idea is that learning isn't something that needs to be forced, and that learning is something that transcends class. These slum children were able to conceptualize and learn 'advanced' material simply through curiosity. Incentive isn't a monetary monopoly. Existence is the umbrella. He talked of a self organized learning environment in which the children were able to set up their own path.

Takeaways- Imagine these children setting up a new system? Imagine these SOLE's outpacing traditional education time and time again. This could change the entire discourse on education and be a rumbling for culture. Now given FACULTY, these children will grow up and discern the world in a refreshed angle, rather than racing to conform.

Utah Homeless-

The state of Utah has a program to offer people homes with no strings attached. There is a program they are recommended to undertake but there is no pressure as there will be no revocation of their residence. The article states that it costs $16k to deal with a homeless person, and $11k to simply house them. The striking piece of the article was the reformation it talked about in addicts and abusers.

Takeaways- I believe there will be a day when we are able to realize that offering instead of coercing people will be the obvious choice in creating a safe and happy society. When people are given the option to do as they please, they feel a sense of responsibility to be part of the caring community that gives them life. That's why religion works so well.

POL- Degeneracy-

Common people in a forum taking about why culture sucks. They often came to the same conclusion that the economically driven projects squeeze out the value in suburbs, strip malls, etc. While these things are more convenient and are better for your dollar, they inevitably leave something to be desired. Life is a hard thing to build. They also touched on how beautiful the old town squares were. I think this has to with care in building and the closeness and accessibility of the places there.

Takeaways- Common people do feel the loss of bad design. Design is important in part because people feel their identity tied to it. They mentioned feeling like their civilization had gone to shit. They kept bringing up other civilizations like the Romans and Renaissance as envy. There is a fundamental problem when  you have present civilians wishing they lived in the past. There is so much opportunity given our technology to create for ourselves a much truer representation of the life we'd like to lead. And yet the designers who society has trusted to deliver are coming up short.

TEDx Tiny House-

Housing Cost is on average 27% of Income, we spend 2 of 5 of our working days paying for our house. Average house costs $50,000 for a down payment. A tiny house costs $35,000. Since 1973 housing size has increased 60%, while our households are smaller. Were given around 30'x30' per person. He talked about the proximity to others fostering relationships. Families now live in the same house technically, but have enough space to avoid each other.

Takeaways-  Why are we so easily fed this culture of living in castles? Do we really stop to think why we need the space we have? Can we think how oppressive too much space can be? We are so afraid of not having, that when we do have, we make sure we have too much, just in case. This addiction is so bad that we crashed the economy in 2008 buying McMansions, for no reason! They weren't good Architecture, the neighborhoods were sterile, there was no culture going on. But the prospect of being a land-owning lord was so attractive. These tiny homes give faculty, as they provide adequate housing needsm freeing up obligations and resources to maintain a cavern and allowing you more time to explore your world. Paying less on a house in turn frees you to change houses and dare to change your life more easily. More change, more expression, more culture.

Torre de David-

This is a community that has arisen in light of a financial meltdown. They occupy a tower that was going to be built for banking that stopped production halfway. The people in the community initially had the place rent free and there was a dangerous mood in there. But, it was still better than living in the slums. They eventually established a communal leadership system which was able to rid the community of bad things. The people here do not have to worry about break-ins and theft, etc. There is a bond of trust. There are many services and activities that occur here. Inhabitants are tasked with building their own dwellings.

 Takeaways- Imagine the view of the world the children of this place will have existing in a communal society that has built them. They have watched everyone around them have faculty and build their own dwellings. They have seen everyone 'employed' with different tasks and making their own way. What happens to culture here? Will people feel the need to hang onto old habits given a completely new paradigm (that is vertical!). Can this tower become a bastion of culture and innovation? New music, dances, fashion, shoes. Imagine if a shoe is built to handle walking up all those stairs, and what the society could learn about shoe design from that endeavor and spread to the world.

Fred Hampton Speech - Power Where There's People-

Hampton speaks on building a society that is not under the thumb of another society. He mainly speaks of socialist ideals and the lengths needed to protect those rights. He speaks upon a global revolution of many downtrodden people from all walks of life, instead of just blacks in america. He pushes for a society that is not reactionary to the capitalism which puts them into the sad state, but a society that forgives and promotes love for all. The most intriguing element was the Breakfast for Children program. And oddly, how the government was shook by it. This program provided free breakfast for the neighborhoods children, fostering a sense of community and a platform for dissemination of helpful information.

Takeaways- Hampton was attempting, and to a certain extent creating a culture (not counter culture) in another culture. He was attempting to provide an option of life for people that had no choice. Freedom comes when given a choice. The odd thing is how frightened the government was about these communist ideals that were becoming very attractive to the downtrodden during this period. Were they afraid of not being able to control and subjugate these people anymore? What was the real danger? Sure, it is easy to pass it off as 'they are a terror group', but what Hampton was pushing for and later killed for was the idea of a peaceful community that could do for its own.

Imagine the pure culture that can arise when people are given the option of paths?

You could say we have that largely now, but when you really think about it, that freedom only exists outside the hours of 8-5. We only have one system of gaining a life for yourself. Which ironically is what capitalism fights against. Imagine having an alternate system of establishing a life for yourself besides slaves for a dollar? How happy would those that work be if at least there was the option to work or not. Coercion breeds oppression.

You could say that artists and the rich have the freedom to choose. I would disagree. Artists are paid at the end of the day by benefactors who have to use this one system. An artist can't be popular if he doesn't play to the desires of this crowd, and this crowd's desires are inevitably tied to the dollar. The same goes for the reach. The rich have had to contort their lives to take in a stream of cash from one system. Their desires have been marred by a life of constantly keeping up appearances. That is why culture has always came from the bottom. The bottom is where people have nothing to lose, so they may as well be expressive.

domingo, 7 de diciembre de 2014

Black 2

I think what makes black is the desire to stunt. And this is not tied to race. It stems from a means of expression because the modes available to you to truly express yourself are not deemed useful or are not available. Our fashion is loud because it is one of few avenues to yell 'I matter!'. Our names are complex. Instead of stating our College on Monday Night Football, we state our High Schools, we want to leave a mark. We high-step into the endzone. We play our music loud to say, we are here, you can't shame me. We candy paint our cars and put 26 inch rims on them just so you turn your head.

In general, black does mainly deal with black people in America. We are in a rare case of not belonging anywhere. South Africans have tradition, history, pride. Jamaicans have their own country. Aboriginals may be slightly similar but they still have native status. We can't go to Africa because we have no mothers there. We live in the land where we suffered most and have no where else to turn.

Muhammad asked how long does it take historically to feel a tradition, or feel a sense of belonging, and I don't know. I think it takes something happening to identify with and take pride in. Black people don't have any of that right now. Athletics? It's so mirrors slavery it's hard to really feel prideful in that especially because we don't invent our own sports. And it is so often conflated with being an animal and being dumb, that it can't be a cure all.

The period during the Civil Rights Era was our proudest moment. We got something done, and we wanted more. There isn't actually much pride in getting people to just accept you, so far as allowing you to be part of their society. Government said, 'okay Negros, you can join us', but what if we just want our own? The argument for segregation gets interesting here. We had Black Wall Street and a vibrant culture when forced to do it ourselves, but at the same time it was ridiculously inefficient and completely unequal.

So after the Civil Rights Era, we decided to take it up a notch. Nation of Islam. Black Panthers. Many other organizations such as the Islamic Party, which is where I am a descendant. We even invented a holiday, Kwanzaa! These were the natural order of things, establishing a foundation to base yourself off of. And it was working, it was attractive. So attractive, the Government was legitimately concerned - COINTELPRO. That was a real thing. I'm convinced they made sure these groups appeared to eat themselves from within. 'Make them hate themselves, and look to us as the peaceful, righteous, path' Gov't said. Kanye said it best, the whole All Falls Down is so rich and precise. Kanye could have not written another rap and that would have been enough. 'Cause they made us hate ourselves, and love they wealth'. 'Even when your in a Benz, you're just a nigga in a coupe'.

So how did these groups fall? We were at the height of black pride, we had something to feel good about. We had leaders like Fred Hampton who advocated for a true culture building program that didn't concern itself with aligning or non-aligning with the 'white' way. Malcolm X shot. MLK shot. Fred Hampton shot, completely illegal. So we were scared and ran back to our normal roles collecting the scraps from the popular culture. And to completely blow everything to smithereens, CRACK happened.

So who really is going to care about extravagant things like establishing an identity when you have to worry about just getting out of the jails and projects? It became and still is a game of just reaching normalcy. You can't even think of being yourself until then. I've talked with Muhammad a couple times and he has said his main concern was to just not be poor. I went to college with that feeling as well. All I wanted to be was a shining example of a black man that isn't in trouble. But lately I have been feeling very empty having been able to reach a level where I can see what 'normal' life is like. Especially feeling that even when all your numbers line up, the fact that your background is different, you still can't truly participate in the culture you long for.

Now this is a feeling that a few of the population are even privileged to feel, most of us are either in the jailing system, dealing with hood problems, fatherless issues, substance abuse, have been sold the dream of material wealth, or have just accepted the role as 'house nigga'.

I never thought I would care about race as much as I do now. For as long as I can remember, my main goal racially was to show others blacks can be 'normal' too. Talking with Muhammad today, we both have felt the trap that exists there. You will never be normal. The best you can be is a good black that acts white. There is no such thing as a good black that acts black. 'Acting black' immediately bring up images of jungle behaviour, shootings, rudeness, danger.

So what is the point to all this? I think that as someone who has been fortunate enough to overcome the trappings of the 'system' (if you will), it is my duty to find a way to inspire new culture that isn't reactive, that isn't assimulative, but is simply pure. Expressive. My bet is that the advantage of the black experience is that we have less tradition and culture to hold us back from truly delving into ourselves and being who we want to be. We have the power to be the leaders of culture, and for the most part we have been, in a way. We can be the early adopters, there is no 'shame' we have to worry about bringing on our family.

Subversive - Counter Culture
Superversive - Reinforcing Culture

Think about the average white middle class family. Their main purpose in life is to keep up with the Jones'. It makes sense to them, it is what has been done forever. It is what all their relatives do except for their hippie uncle. They have their Christmas lights up right now, without thinking. They are superversive. Now Imagine a world where blacks are middle class and have the faculty to do as they please, live where they please, etc. I can't even imagine the culture that would develop there. Once you don't have to keep up appearances so as not to appear 'black', there is no precedent for what's next. What is the architecture of that typology? What is the fashion game like? What is the town layout like? Which sports would there be in the high schools? What type of shows would be on TV?

Just to reinforce, I am not speaking specifically to African Americans. I am speaking to the spirit of anyone who truly feels like they do not have a home, a mixed race, a poor white, anybody who feels let down by what society has promised them, gays, atheist, etc.

And I am advocating for these to be the leaders of culture. These have the freshest, most objective eyes in approaching new ideas and innovations.

The questions I want answers to are: 1. What is the best, most efficient way in promoting the feeling of faculty to express oneself? Fashion? 2. Where does culture and tradition root itself mostly? 3. Is it possible to engender in people a love for the scary/surprising/confusing? Is it latent within us?

Endnote - Some things happening that are important: - Puls, he is doing something along the lines of what I see doing
Kanye West- Donda, he is trying to make a design collective, has a open(?) studio in Chicago
Fred Hampton Speech - Rap Genius has the annotation, he has ideas I am trying to push for, and he started doing it e.g. Free Breakfast Program 

miércoles, 3 de diciembre de 2014


They chose the exercise I designed as the thumbnail!