words written in the week of
November 3rd to November 9th
in previous years.
This was 7 years, 6 months, 5 days ago

last year, in a conversation about real estate development, C, says something about how growing roots and staying put to belong to a city can make you go further, further. now I begin to understand.


this frission is the sensation of lipid bilayers separating and joining, tearing and combining, vesicles joining. little static shocks like the click-clack-clack of two bowls of hundreds of small neodymium magnet balls being poured into each other.

This was 13 years, 6 months, 2 days ago

the question is:

to what degree does linear text (html) describe an interactive experience (a website)? does 1d thread turn into volumetric fabric, fashion? how do you render a spatial narrative in a flat, static image? etc.

and right now my question is: in the absence of a current project, what do I do? what do I want? what do I want from this building? more exactly, how do I feel about what I am letting myself want? I want a form, and an aesthetic, and a concept, and I want them to be justified, whatever that means, "to be justified". as if I desire the solidity of a concrete floor stamped on, !, !. there, it's solid. to the question: why?

maybe it's because a freeform form directly and literally reified as structure is easy, or arbitrary. parametric/algorithmic fun (and really, sincerely, fun) slingshot across a manifold generating: valleys, peaks, landscapes, peninsulas, holes, ruptures, breakages, membranes, fleshes. of course, 'easy' or 'arbitrary' doesn't mean that the project is not 'resolved' (which is an architectural term for internal coherence and consistency, an a-priori way of grasping a criterion of judgment in an arena where judgment is hard anyways), or 'successful', or interesting. but it's when I can be convincing, I think, when I myself convince myself into believing that 'this' is right, that this works, that this makes sense, that a project really shines -- the solidity of dense finished-ness combined with the spark of a strong core concept..

questions: why is this, why is this justified, why do I hold myself to seeking justification? it's like, really, there is this discontinuity here, two different segments of architecture, the square root of ( x - 5 ) when x < 5, or dividing by zero, a little blip/slice/fragment/discontinuity/rupture here: before building, and after building. reified, anything is fascinating. the details live, because the wonder lies in the specific phenomenological experience, and the sense of scale you feel to a piece, I think, so the small gestures don't matter as much, because you perceive a space spatially, not optically. like the minimalists would have wanted you to, or at least how robert morris wanted you to, to encounter a sculptural form with such an immediate gestalt that you perceive it instantly and encounter it as a bodily presence.

but for the smaller thing, the image, maybe it reads optically by default. the challenge is twofold: to represent it as a space, to be sucked into reading it as a space despite its flat presence, and at the same time to take this interplay of images and messages on the planar surface and with it to engage in the dialogue of imagery, aesthetics, history, technicality, diagramming, representation, modification, mediation, and so on.


so? what do I want? I should just make. sometimes, there is a productivity to be found in mindless creation, not because I don't put any thought into it, or because it comes out of an unconscious (and thus has some heightened sur-real meaning to it, ala automatic drawing) -- but because the power of distance is so great, critical distance, a distance of awareness, of desire, of coherence...

This was 13 years, 6 months, 2 days ago

squeeze. vectors pulling inwards. 

I need: a pair of headphones. a coffee machine. twenty pairs of purple, yellow, and cyan socks from uniqlo. hummus from hummus place, massaman from gaw gai, banh mi from saigon banh mi,

maybe I should start obsessively twittering, only because it would be like having little incremental section cuts throughout my life. extruded and lofted together they would be the cumulative volume of presentness, me-being-here-ness, the weight of my body on top of this chair cushion, and so on. 

This was 13 years, 6 months, 7 days ago

california, and an old friend. here the streets at night have the timbre of headlight-lit yellow and white street markings, the pointed red glow of car brakelights staring back at you, the shadowy silhouettes of leaves passing by underneath a dark sky. the muted vibrations of the street. this is all new to me always, every time I re-encounter this: this alterity, this quietness, this solitude. the 1920s was the decade when fully-closed bodies in cars rapidly became the absolute norm. these enclosures on top of chassis become more thick, expansive, and thus segregatory. the car generates such isolation.

(tangential parenthesis: I recently saw someone's architecture portfolio about illegal islands outside of territorial waters and thus in international waters. the immediate question I couldn't help but ask was: the illegal is a transgression and thus inevitably defined in relationship to the legal; how do you have something illegal that operates within a zone that altogether postpones a hundred and ninety three questions of legality/illegality?)


the question that I'm always asking myself is of the role of the aesthetic, I think. I can justify the concept: I have this metaphor of: you, wandering through a record store flipping CDs and LPs over and over, trying to find that song that's just on the tip of your tongue and the edge of the brain. you snap your fingers. how does that song go? and so you perambulate through the space of the store, weaving slowly among aisles, motivated by a mirage.

but the aesthetic, I think, is a tool, bolano's grinningly overt braggadocio in the savage detectives maybe, a one-two-punch of hey I am going to hit you BAM there I have hit you, see?. how amazing is it that this technique is both overt about its efficacy ('yes, I can see this drawing for the aesthetic thing that it is') yet ruthlessly capable in its execution, despite that? ('yes, I can see this drawing for the aesthetic thing that it is, but even though I know what it's doing I like it for its prettiness anyways')

and I mean, of course, it's a fallacy to claim that the aesthetic is somehow this supplemental factor that intrudes on the primacy of the original essence, the data of the diagram, the composition of the plan and section, the atmosphere of the perspective. at the very least, aesthetics is something that cleaves open a space of debate, I think, clears out a space in which the viewer becomes receptive to the internal logic of the diagram, is touched by a sense of communication. this is a meta-communication almost, where the aesthetic qualities of the image grasp your attention to the thing and indicate an importance of content. perhaps that's as valid as any other form of communication that transmits data, information -- it's just that in this case the data in question is the presence of data, the focusing of the viewer's interest, signified signification.

the question is, though: with how much nonchalance/sincerity/honesty does one have about the relevance of the meta-communication (of signified content) to the communication (of content)? or is the narrative of presentation and pin-up and communication itself another narrative to be crafted --- that is to say, not only the narrative of the project, but the narrative of the description of the narrative of the project should also be molded and formed? (most probably.)


so many songs stuck in my head. my god.

This was 15 years, 5 months, 29 days ago


took an hour walking up new york's crooked backbone, broadway.

once again grabbed, grasped, held by this city.

bad iphone photos for a good night.

This was 15 years, 6 months ago

if there's a point that serves as a core of motivation it's a flashing moment of some soho/midtown/ues (like in the 90s)/wall street buildings, old cast-iron buildings standing tall, ghostly empty streets, maybe it's sometime in the am, a car passing by here or there.

there is a core that I want to probe, which is the carpeted room in which someone finds his motivation, sticky, wet, tangible.

there, there, there--. motivation differing from internal logic? perhaps.

here's a fitting and timely quote, for when I go back and try to match up private dates with public occurrences:

"The best I can do in the face of our history is remind myself that it has not always been the pragmatist, the voice of reason, or the force of compromise, that has created the conditions for liberty. ... I'm reminded that deliberations and the constitutional order may sometimes be the luxury of the powerful, and that it has sometimes been the cranks, the zealots, the prophets, the agitators, and the unreasonable - in other words, the absolutists - that have fought for a new order. Knowing this, I can't summarily dismiss those possessed of similar certainty today - the antiabortion activist who picket my town hall meeting, or the animal rights activist who raids a laboratory - no matter how deeply I disagree with their views. I am robbed even of the certainty of uncertainty - for sometimes absolute truths may well be absolute."
Obama, The Audacity of Hope

and then remaining is? the uncertainty of uncertainty, meta-foundations crumbled, but only so for the pursuit of another meta-moral.

it's always good to see other's words resonate with what I was thinking:

"I dispute the availability, and thus the value, of that reason which is cultivated in any especial form other than the abstractly logical. I dispute, in particular, the reason educed by mathematical study. The mathematics are the science of form and quantity; mathematical reasoning is merely logic applied to observation upon form and quantity. The great error lies in supposing that even the truths of what is called pure algebra, are abstract or general truths. And this error is so egregious that I am confounded at the universality with which it has been received. Mathematical axioms are not axioms of general truth. "
Edgar Allan Poe, The Purloined Letter

yes yes yes. correllating question -- to what degree is symbolic logic a fitting system for analytic philosophy? I know too little to answer this. yet, that is.

This was 16 years, 6 months ago

When You Sleep - My Bloody Valentine

I'm awake, it's late outside, I open my door and walk downstairs. I sit across the door and watch snow/rain fall, and see the occasional car pass. The common room smells like chips without salsa and 2-liter bottles of dr. pepper. Someone else comes down -- I can't tell who it is in this AM light -- and we prop open the door silently, sit back together and feel the cold air come in.

A series of T trains, the Boston MFA. I take another photo. I'm not sure yet about the composition but I take it anyway, because it looks nice and I put little thought on things. I am involved in the process: later hours later I will walk into an old building and go downstairs and wander around towards a room that smells of dust and vinegar; I will drop rolls of film in a box with my name on them and retrace my steps. Leaving the building I will smell H2SO4 and burning calories; through the windows comes a snowy weekend afternoon's sunlight, shining through statues of children bending down, picking up objects, immortalized in bronze play.