Dancing Penguins

I have spent the last two full days working on Theory papers. I have to write twelve 500 word essays in 4 categories: Design Culture; Buildings in Los Angeles; 20th Century Architectural Movements; and responses to essays in our reader. I had six rough drafts finished on Friday, now I have 10 (twelve actually, but two are so bad that I have to scrap them). Tomorrow I have to write two more and edit, footnote and find images for all of them. I know that 12 essays doesn't really sound like that much, and it wouldn't be if that was all I had to do; there is studio finals, firm job, freelance job, structures final, physics final etc... And for some reason the fucking library is closed all weekend. I can understand closing Thursday and Friday for the holiday, but come on, there are two weeks of the semester left and I need the fucking library to be open. So I had to lug about 35 or so of my books to studio after digging and digging through my bookshelves (still arranged by color) to find relevant books. So, yeah, this isn't fun. I would say 6 or 7 of the essays were fun because they were topics I enjoyed and actually wanted to write about. But 12 is too many. It's interesting that 500 words can seem an unreachable goal when you are writing about something that bores you to death, and nowhere near enough when the topic excites you. Here are the topics/titles with a brief abstract/opinion about them below. If any of you have any ideas/sources for me to check out, leave them in the comments. Word.

-Design Culture

1. Skart- Skateboard art and its influence, as well as the path of the graphic artists to the gallery world. Additionally I thought it was interesting that these people were producing art that would quickly be completely scratched off and illegible as soon as the board was used. It's something I know a lot about and it was a pretty easy one to do. A little bit hard to research/cite sources because all of the ideas are mine and I know more about than most people and I can find a library that has any of the Sean Cliver books. 2. Dogme 95 and Modernism- I compared the manifestos/restrictions placed on filmmakers and architects by the modernist doctrines. I really see a lot of early modernism in the Dogme 95 manifesto. Plus I just really like the films of Lars Von trier. 3. Amp'd Design/Culture- I haven't written this one yet, and I need to formulate my argument. It seems like marketing (at least to like the 15-25 yr old demographic) has become increasingly violent, adrenaline-y, and militaristic. It almost seems like some sort of propaganda to get people to join the military. I need to find examples and get this one clear in my own head. Any thoughts/direction?

-Buildings in Los Angeles

1. The Gehry Grand Avenue Development- I was part of a team that worked on the Grand Intervention project (and subsequent LACMA presentation) and I computer modeled this entire scheme. So I had a pretty good idea of the scale issues/problems of Gehry's proposal, so this one was kind of easy and fun to write. And I had a good idea for the image to use for this one and it was my own property, so, yeah I like this one. 2. The Hollywood Sign- I took the stance of looking at the sign as simply a world famous billboard, and its influence on the billboard/advertising/consumerist culture of Los Angeles. This one isn't bad and was at least kinda fun. 3. Learn To Forget: In Defense of Tearing Down- I took a polemic stance in favor of tearing down historic buildings and doing away with HPOZ and any kind of conservation. I attempted to make the argument that this kind of thinking can stand in the way of progress. I also tried to tie in aspects of virtual tourism and illustrate that the "idea" of the building, and the photo and/or website are as or more important than the built structure. This came to me after realizing that I like photographs of the Guggenheim NYC better than visiting it. I also said that "the King's Rd. house shouldn't be treated like royalty" which I think is a nice play on words. Do I agree with this stance? Not really, but it was kind of a fun stance to take, and I have written 2 or 3 essays on the other side of the argument. But really I just wanted to use the title which is the chorus from one of my favorite X songs.


1. Situationism & the Sex Pistols- A totally fun paper to write because I am a fan of both the Situationists and the Sex Pistols. It's way too long right now and I need to edit out about 300 words. I bought Never Mind the Bollocks on vinyl (still have it somewhere) in 1985 and have been into Situationist ideas for at least the past 4 years so this one was an interesting culmination of two related topics. 2. Supermodernism and Hyper-homogeneity- I literally hadn't heard the term "Supermodernism" until two weeks ago, so this one requires research (umm, closed library, I'm looking at you). it's 500 words and done-ish, but I need to make sure that i even know what the fuck I am trying to say. The basic argument is that if you drop little Disney Halls everywhere than they are really no different than a Starbucks, just a lot more expensive. Banality is the theme here. 3. Postmodernism- I have never been able to get excited about Postmodernism, and this paper is unwritten for that reason. I plan on focusing on the antenna of the Guild House, its removal; the idea that sparked the decorated shed. But we'll see. This one probably won't be anything to write home about. 4. Futurist Manifesto Blog- I scrapped this one. It was an interesting-ish idea. I formatted the Futurist Manifesto into your everyday blog. Each numbered manifesto item was a blog post and the commentary came via my response in the comments. It's a little kitsch, though that isn't what killed it. I started noticing Fascism in the Futurists and after researching that a little bit found a real link to Mussolini. I read 5 books about Mussolini and Fascist Italy last summer and there is no way that I could write a 500 word essay on this. I need at least 10 pages and more than a 4 day weekend. so, scrapped and on to the aforementioned PoMo.

-Reader Responses

1. Digital Geography- This is an interesting essay by Joel Kotkin. Usually theorists and urbanists think that the digital revolution will make place irrelevant. Kotkin argues that digital = remote workers = a choice in places to live. We aren't tied to the manufacturing plant anymore and this makes place very relevant. I make the argument that LA is a very attractive city in this Digital Geography. I kinda like this one. 2. Hedge- I really liked this one. Hedge is cooperative design practice. I won't go into the specifics of this one, but as I read this essay I felt like I was reading my own ideas. Ideas I have discussed at length with those I plan to go into business with. There is only one fundamental difference in the business model of Hedge and the model I have been formulating for the past couple of years. 3. Bigness- Written by Rem at his Remmiest. I read a quote where he describes his essay as "dangerous". That sounds so cheesy, "My essay is dangerous!" But anyhow, I tried to decode it and figure out just who/what it is dangerous to. I wrote a decent essay but nothing to get too excited about.

So that's that. I should be done with this tomorrow (if the fucking library decides to open) and can begin the race to the finish, staying up three days at a time, that is studio finals.