“Crime and Perfectionism”

Posted: April 16, 2018 in Uncategorized

A post from the last time I taught this course.


A child is amoral. A Papuan too, for us. The Papuan slaughters his enemies and devours them. He is not a criminal. But if a modern person slaughters someone and devours him, he is a criminal or a degenerate. The Papuan covers his skin with tattoos, his boat, his oars, in short everything he can lay his hands on. He is no criminal. The modern person who tattoos himself is either a criminal or a degenerate. There are prisons in which eighty percent of the inmates have tattoos. People with tattoos not in prison are either latent criminals or degenerate aristocrats.

–Adolf Loos


A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that’s unlocked and opens inwards, as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push.

–Ludwig Wittgenstein

TEACHER: Dear Student: OK, I’m even more on board with you than before with respect to these key issues. Especially after going to the Smithson Effect exhibition yesterday. In case you can’t tell, I am absolutely exasperated, indeed infuriated, by the way many critics, or what Krauss calls “Historicists,” feel compelled to read all artistic activity, and by extension all political action, in the most beaming terms. In discussions of the most virulently antinomian acts and objects, the same nauseating words come up again and again: Beauty, Inspiration, Achievement, Excellence, Progress, etc. It’s so obvious to me that Smithson and Krauss saw that kind of meliorism for the pure ideology it is, an ideology which, for all its claims of benevolence and good will, performs a very specific kind of violence against those it seeks to boost and cheer. It’s maddening. In strict defiance of this mania for the upbeat, Krauss and Smithson begin to explore the notion of formlessness and wretchedness, as deliberately anti-aesthetic and, if you will hear me, anti-political positions. They begin, in a word, to embrace the Ugly. Both artist and critic take a deliberate turn toward the outrage of art as Vandalism and Crime. This is exactly what a piece like Glue Spill is all about – I don’t care what anyone else may say. If the great modernist architect Adolf Loos sought to establish modern Art and Cultural as the diametrical opposite of of Crime, then Krauss and Smithson have tried to undo Loos’s work, arguing in their respective theory and practice that Art and Crime are indissolubly linked, veritable cradlemates. Consequently, the two great artists of the ’60s and ’70s, for Krauss, will be Robert Smithson and Sherrie Levine, one a savage and the other a pirate.

Jean Dubuffet
Body, 1950
oil, soot and dirt on canvas

Advertisements

For those of you who can read Spanish.

Readings for April 18th

Posted: April 16, 2018 in Readings

image

Le Corbusier
L’Architecture d’Aujourd’Hui
(1929)



Image  —  Posted: April 16, 2018 in Uncategorized

Issued by The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Jackson Pollock Jazz
1. Jelly Morton and His Red Hot Peppers – Beale Street Blues
2. Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra – Lazy River
3. Louis Armstrong – Mahogany Hall Stomp
4. Count Basie and His Orchestra – One O’Clock Jump
5. Billie Holiday – I Got a Man Crazy For Me (He’s Funny)
6. Duke Ellington – Delta Serenade
7. Artie Shaw and Orch – It Had To Be You
8. Billie Holiday – When a Man Loves a Woman
9. Duke Ellington – Solitude
10. Fats Waller – Carolina Shout
11. Count Basie and Orch – Boogie Woogie
12. T Bone Waller – I Got a Break Baby
13. Lionel Hampton – Central Avenue Breakdown
14. Coleman Hawkins – Boff Boff (Mop Mop)
15. Coleman Hawkins – My Ideal
16. Lionel Hampton – Jack The Bellboy
17. Louis Armstrong – St. James Infirmary

Lots of cool photos to accompany Colomina’s “Split Wall.” Fascinating stuff!


“The look is directed . . . in such deliberate manner as to suggest the reading of these houses as frames for a view.”

— Beatriz Colomina, “Split Wall”

“But with all the interrogation of the word feminine, one sometimes forgets that in France in the late 1960s, it was the word écriture (writing) that was the common denominator for a wide range of explosive practices and publications.

Norton Anthology of Literary Criticism, “Introduction to Hélène Cixous”

“My architecture is not conceived in plans, but in spaces (cubes). I do not design floor plans, facades, sections. I design spaces. For me, there is no ground floor, first floor etc…. For me, there are only contiguous, continual spaces, rooms, anterooms, terraces etc. Stories merge and spaces relate to each other. Every space requires a different height: the dining room is surely higher than the pantry, thus the ceilings are set at different levels. To join these spaces in such a way that the rise and fall are not only unobservable but also practical, in this I see what is for others the great secret, although it is for me a great matter of course. Coming back to your question, it is just this spatial interaction and spatial austerity that thus far I have best been able to realize in Dr Müller’s house.”

–Adolf Loos, Shorthand record of a conversation in Plzeň (Pilsen), 1930

~

mller_0

Villa Müller
Adolf Loos, architect
Prague, Czech – 1930

CLICK!

~

Villa Savoye
Corbusier, architect
Poissy, France – 1928 – 1931

CLICK!


By close-ups of the things around us, by focusing on hidden details of familiar objects, by exploring common place milieus under the ingenious guidance of the camera, the film, on the one hand, extends our comprehension of the necessities which rule our lives; on the other hand, it manages to assure us of an immense and unexpected field of action. Our taverns and our metropolitan streets, our offices and furnished rooms, our railroad stations and our factories appeared to have us locked up hopelessly. Then came the film and burst this prison-world asunder by the dynamite of the tenth of a second, so that now, in the midst of its far-flung ruins and debris, we calmly and adventurously go traveling. With the close-up, space expands; with slow motion, movement is extended. The enlargement of a snapshot does not simply render more precise what in any case was visible, though unclear: it reveals entirely new structural formations of the subject. So, too, slow motion not only presents familiar qualities of movement but reveals in them entirely unknown ones “which, far from looking like retarded rapid movements, give the effect of singularly gliding, floating, supernatural motions.” Evidently a different nature opens itself to the camera than opens to the naked eye – if only because an unconsciously penetrated space is substituted for a space consciously explored by man. Even if one has a general knowledge of the way people walk, one knows nothing of a person’s posture during the fractional second of a stride. The act of reaching for a lighter or a spoon is familiar routine, yet we hardly know what really goes on between hand and metal, not to mention how this fluctuates with our moods. Here the camera intervenes with the resources of its lowerings and liftings, its interruptions and isolations, it extensions and accelerations, its enlargements and reductions. The camera introduces us to unconscious optics as does psychoanalysis to unconscious impulses.

–Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (1936)

The Optical Unconscious is a pointed protest against the official story of modernism and against the critical tradition that attempted to define modern art according to certain sacred commandments and self-fulfilling truths.
… Krauss gives us the story that Alfred Barr, Meyer Shapiro, and Clement Greenberg repressed, the story of a small, disparate group of artists who defied modernism’s most cherished self-descriptions, giving rise to an unruly, disruptive force that persistently haunted the field of modernism from the 1920s to the 1950s and continues to disrupt it today.

Umberto Boccioni
Unique Forms of Continuity in Space (1913)

Medal_of_Pritzker_Architecture_Prize_(front)
Kazuyo-Sejima

“I think the star architect is [Kazuyo] Sejima right now. … It has nothing to do with her being a woman. She will treat the job from the point of view of a radical.”

–Beatriz Colomina


Tokyo-Apartment-by-Sou-Fujimoto-Architect01


Leni Riefensthal
Triumph of The Will (1935)


Orson Welles
Citizen Kane (1941)


Walter Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in The Age
of Mechanical Reproduction” (1936):

Even more revealing is the comparison of these circumstances, which differ so much from those of the theater, with the situation in painting. Here the question is: How does the cameraman compare with the painter? To answer this we take recourse to an analogy with a surgical operation. The surgeon represents the polar opposite of the magician. The magician heals a sick person by the laying on of hands; the surgeon cuts into the patient’s body. The magician maintains the natural distance between the patient and himself; though he reduces it very slightly by the laying on of hands, he greatly increases it by virtue of his authority. The surgeon does exactly the reverse; he greatly diminishes the distance between himself and the patient by penetrating into the patient’s body, and increases it but little by the caution with which his hand moves among the organs. In short, in contrast to the magician – who is still hidden in the medical practitioner – the surgeon at the decisive moment abstains from facing the patient man to man; rather, it is through the operation that he penetrates into him.

Etienne_Jules_Marey_2

During long periods of history, the mode of human sense perception changes with humanity’s entire mode of existence. The manner in which which human sense perception is organized, the medium in which it is accomplished, is determined not only by nature but by historical circumstances as well. . . . This is the first consequence of the fact that the [film] actor’s performance is presented by means of a camera. Also the film actor lacks the opportunity of the stage actor to adjust to the audience during the performance to the audience during his performance to the audience in person. This permits the the audience to take the position of a critic, without experiencing any personal contact with the actor. The audience’s identification with the actor is really an identification with the camera. Consequently the audience takes the position of the camera; its approach is that of testing. . . . The shooting of a film, especially of a sound film, affords a spectacle unimaginable anywhere ar any time before this. It presents a process in which it is impossible to assign to a spectator a viewpoint which would exclude from the actual scene such extraneous accessories as camera equipment, lighting machinery, staff assistants, etc. – unless his eye were on a line parallel with the lens.

485275_10151380605126634_414041042_n

Dziga Vertov
The Man with the Movie Camera, (1929)
35mm film, black and white, silent, 65 minutes (approx.)

Sigmund Freud’s “The Interpretation of Dreams” (1900):

The idea which is thus put before us is one of psychic locality. We shall wholly ignore the fact that the psychic apparatus concerned is known to us also as an anatomical preparation, and we shall carefully avoid the temptation to determine the psychic locality in any anatomical sense. We shall remain on psychological ground, and we shall do no more than accept the invitation to think of the instrument which serves the psychic activities much as we think of a compound microscope, a photographic camera, or other apparatus. The psychic locality [the entirely virtual location where the mind itself actually resides, note: bk], then, corresponds to a place within such an apparatus in which one of the preliminary phases of the image comes into existence. As is well known, there are in the microscope and the telescope such ideal localities or planes, in which no tangible portion of the apparatus is located. I think it superfluous to apologise for the imperfections of this and all similar figures. These comparisons are designed only to assist us in our attempt to make intelligible the complication of the psychic performance by dissecting it and referring the individual performances to the individual components of the apparatus. . . . Accordingly, we conceive the psychic apparatus as a compound instrument, the component parts of which we shall call instances, or, for the sake of clearness, systems.

Zaha Hadid, Groundbreaking Architect, Dies at 65

41J2khkaPeL

[Rem] Koolhaas, Dutch architect, author (Delirious New York) and cult figure, wants architecture to be “a chaotic adventure,” and this massive tome certainly is. Created with Toronto-based designer Mau, it’s a huge collage splicing freewheeling essays, diary excerpts, photographs, architectural plans, sketches, cartoons and surreal montages of images. There’s also a running glossary of Zen-like definitions, plus fables and parables intended to shake modern architects out of conventional thinking and to dispel urban despair. In one essay, Koolhaas admires Japan’s metabolist movement, which fuses organic, scientific, mechanistic and romantic vocabularies. That approach seems compatible with his own innovative, eclectic vision as head of the Dutch firm Office of Metropolitan Architecture (O.M.A.), whose houses, villas, office towers, libraries, colleges, cultural complexes and other projects are showcased here. While some readers may be mystified by a nonlinear hodgepodge, architects, planners and designers will find this frequently outrageous assemblage a provocative repository of ideas.

–Publishers Weekly

Rem Koolhaas is founder of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (O.M.A.); the firm’s most important projects include the Lille Grand Palais in Lille; the Kunsthal in Rotterdam; Netherlands Dance Theatre in The Hague; Nexus Housing in Fukuoka; the Dutch House in Holland; and Villa dall’Ava in Paris, all of which are included in S,M,L,XL. Koolhaas is author of the seminal Delirious New York and professor in practice of architecture and urban design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Bruce Mau founded the critically acclaimed firm Bruce Mau Design in 1985. He is the author of Life Style and Massive Change.

REM

tumblr_l85pzduyyg1qzho4eo1_1280

mad-men-opener copy

PRINCETON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2013
PLAYBOY & ARCHITECTURE— 1953–1979
AUTHOR: BEATRIZ COLOMINA


Playboy’s Progress
Research Seminar Fall 2008–09

Beatriz Colomina with students: Luis Avilés, Marc Britz, Daniela Fabricius, Gina Greene, Margo Handwerker, Joy Knoblauch, Yetunde Olaiya, Enrique Ramirez, Molly Steenson, and Federica Vannucchi from Princeton University

The seminar was dedicated to the study of Architecture in Playboy: 1953–1979. The thesis of this research seminar was that Playboy played a crucial yet unacknowledged role in the cultivation of design culture in the USA. Through a wide range of different strategies, the magazine integrated state of the art designers and architects into a carefully constructed vision of a desirable contemporary life style. The seminar explored the ways in which Playboy was ahead of professional and popular magazines in promoting modern architecture and design.

The collaborative research seminar assembled and analyzed the magazines, the secondary literature on Playboy, the related archives, and conducted interviews with protagonists. As in previous Media and Modernity research seminars, the project will culminate in the collaborative production of a definitive book, exhibition, or event.

92136.original





What music did Jackson Pollock like?



Charlie Parker & Dizzy Gillespie

I suppose if there were more people this awesome we would not appreciate them as much.

BC PI

Med Mod Princeton

february-12-2013

Readings for April 12th

Posted: April 10, 2018 in Readings

These are for next Monday. It may look like a lot of reading, and the first reading is admittedly a bit daunting. But I’ll do my best to explain everything clearly in class. Let me reassure you that the second piece is little more than a series of photographs. In any case, you’ll have almost an entire week to survey this material. Good luck!

Beatriz Colomina
Princeton University
Architecture and Planning
Director of Graduate Studies

Split Wall: Domestic Voyeurism (1991)
(part 1 and part 2)

Domesticity at War (1991)

Enclosed by Images: The Eameses’
Multi-Media Architecture
(2001)

Photographers and reporters gather near Frenchman Flat
to observe the Priscilla nuclear test, June 24, 1957

Richard Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev
American National Exhibition, Moscow, 1959

Image  —  Posted: April 10, 2018 in Uncategorized