? @
, mph

The Decorated Teapot



“Porcelain enameling is the  process of fusing a thin layer of glass to a metal object to prevent corrosion and to enhance its beauty. The base item is low carbon sheet iron formed in the shape of a utensil by pressing or drawing by spinning and by trimming. Handles spouts and ears are welded or riveted in place. The base item is cleaned by pickling in acid. A coating mixture of ground glass, clay and water is applied and dried. The ware is then fired in a furnace.”

Other names for this cook ware are granite ware, agate ware, glazed ware, granite steel ware, enamel ware and speckle ware.

Types of cooking utensils that were covered with this glaze were endless. Typical pieces were kettles, teapots, roasters, pots, pans, utensils, plates,cups, bowls, wash basins, pitchers and chamber pots. There were also butter churns, rolling pins, high chair trays, table tops, and toy cooking sets. Porcelain enamelware’s use was extended to stoves, iceboxes and sinks.

Don’t you think there is enough anxiety at present?

CHRISTOPHER ALEXANDER: The thing that strikes me about your friend’s building — if I understood you correctly — is that somehow in some intentional way it is not harmonious. That is, Moneo intentionally wants to produce an effect of disharmony. Maybe even of incongruity.

PETER EISENMAN: That is correct.

CHRISTOPHER ALEXANDER: I find that incomprehensible. I find it very irresponsible. I find it nutty. I feel sorry for the man. I also feel incredibly angry because he is fucking up the world.

Peter Eisenman and Christopher Alexander discuss architecture.


Tiny Homes

Tiny Homes
Lloyd Kahn
Shelter Publications

Postodern Sophistications

Postmodern Sophistications

David Kolb

University Of Chicago Press


Jorge Luis Borges
New Directions

Production of Space

The production of space
Henri Lefebvre

Desert Solitaire

Desert solitaire
Edward Abbey
Simon & Schuster

  • Hammer Drill
  • Spray Foam
  • Chisel Bit
  • Laser Level

Saul Bass made a movie

its got dystopia, ants, the desert and looks amazing:

Beyond the Commodity

Liubov Popova Fabric Designs Watercolour on paper, mounted on paper 355 x 379 mm

Under capitalism, objects are created, bought, and sold as myriad commodities. But if we were to think about life after capitalism, what might our relationship to things be? Art historian Christina Kiaer discusses the innovations of Russian Constructivist artists in the early years of the Soviet Union and their attempts to reconfigure art, everyday objects, and human desire in a new society.

Listen: Against the Grain with Sasha Lilley – January 11, 2011 at 12:00pm

The morning conversation suddenly took a turn towards form and function. As Lance hazily described Adolf Loos connection to the Bauhaus, Garth offered, “I like froo froo“.


The allure of post and beam goes far beyond function.

Beams, posts and the substantial metal connectors that join them define the soul of a structure. As design elements, they may appear traditional or contemporary, but never trendy or transitory. They do not fly by night. They speak with authority, permanence, stability, steadfastness. They say,
“I am here to stay.”

from the simpson strong-tie product catalog.

And What's wrong with Totality?

Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram Building is not a friendly building. It is a building that tells you what to do and how to behave. We can brush those claims aside but they are real. Bauhaus tableware dominates its surroundings. It doesn’t go well with anything else. It doesn’t get along with other styles. You can’t put Bauhaus furniture in a room with other kinds of furniture. It looks wrong and it feels insane. A Bauhaus room wants to be all Bauhaus.

This brings up another undeniable fact. There is something deeply satisfying about an all- Bauhaus room in an all-Bauhaus building. The scary fact about Bauhaus is that its practitioners made the claim to totality and then damn near pulled it off. A Bauhaus city might really be a better city, maybe the best city. But you’d have to destroy everything else to find out. No one ever had the balls to try. No community has ever been able to live up to the demands of Bauhaus. The closest we’ve ever gotten is in the widespread infiltration of Ikea. A hybridized stepchild of Bauhaus, Ikea designs manage to blend the basic utilitarianism of Bauhaus with an accommodation to color and ornament that allows an Ikea room to contain non-Ikea items.

But the original Bauhaus was not interested in that kind of compromise. Whenever I look at original Bauhaus creations I thus feel an essential fear. I am being challenged, attacked, called out. That is a side of Bauhaus that doesn’t go away, no matter how ecumenical a tale of the movement we try to tell. Bauhaus is a 20th-century beast. It will tear you apart and reconstruct you if given half the chance. Appreciate its brilliance, but don’t forget to be afraid, very afraid.

from Bauhaus Tour – Reconsidering the influential design movement on its 90th anniversary By Morgan Meis.

On Froo Froo

Do not weep. Do you not see the greatness of our age resides in our very inability to create new ornament? We have gone beyond ornament, we have achieved plain, undecorated simplicity. Behold, the time is at hand, fulfillment awaits us. Soon the streets of the cities will shine like white walls! Like Zion, the Holy City, Heaven’s capital. Then fulfillment will be ours.

Adolf Loos has no pity for ornament.


A 100 galloon and a 55 galloon is

more than enough for just the three of you

A day shitting?

A week

And you empty it out?

No, it empties itself out.

So if the garden is back here below, then you would want to do the methane digester right above it?

Ok, pause.

The first tank has a drop sleeve in it, where it comes from your toilet, you lift that drop sleeve everyday and whatever is in your toilet you collect in the drop sleeve. Put a little bit of water in it, slurry it, pull up the sleeve and it runs into the first tank. Then drop your sleeve again so it stays pressurized and the gas stays in there. Then there’s a pipe with an angle up that’s in the first tank. The gas pressurizes the top of it forcing the material down. As the pressure builds up in the tank, it forces the slurry up the pipe into the second tank. The second tank has a pipe coming out of it, but again, it’s also at an angle. Your taking the excess slurry from the bottom of the tank. Slurry goes up this pipe it falls into this tank, it gets into this little pipe and the excess weight pushes it out. And literally you’re left with compost on the back end. It’s a very passive system. At the bottom it releases organic matter and you just spread it out into your garden.

And how big are the two tanks?

I think 50 and 100 gallon, but if you can get a 200…ones the size of my cooker, you know. You need a bigger tank like a 200 or 100 and I swear you’ll never have a problem. If you just do 50 and 100, you’re gonna max it out and you’re going to have to wait a couple of days.

Do you have to add anything for the smell?

[headshake no]

I put a bacteria in it, the bacteria eats the shit, dissolves it, breaks it down, and separates it into methane gas and organic matter

And those are sunk underground?

The tank is not open on the top it has a little pipe. It’s fucking easy.

So you think we could run the shower down the back of this rock?

Again, if I put a shower in the back of this place i would put it…The thing is you could put a nice big water tank right in here somewhere, if it’s on the high side of your house you can have the shower on the low side and you don’t need a pump. A water tank on that side of this rock, and you run the pipe right down the floor here, and you put the shower down there. Then the gravity is down, water pressure is high and grey water is flowing out the back of your house.

You could have a porch right here and the shower on the back of the rock, and just stand and bare yourself to nature.

That’s why I don’t like working for rich assholes. “Can you move it this way?” “Can you move it 6 inches back?” Sure. Just leave me alone for 4 hours

We believe in you
I moved a rock 6 inches to make somebody happy

That’s a nice flat one

Now, we’ve gotta do the real tricky push, if I tell ya what i’m doing you’re gonna freak out. Cause you guys don’t know. What I’m doing is I’m pitching it at an angle

So you wanna pivot it out?

No, No, No. Watch, you guys are learning. I’m not tipping the rock or pinching it, I’m pitching the angle of the push to get more leverage.

Distance plus force, then I can just teeter it one way or the other

[Wind interference, digging]

what do you think?

Thursday March 1st, 2012. High winds, low 50’s.

Mixing bentonite clay, Terra, water and cement, for finishing the foundation of the rocket mass oven inside Nicodemous’s house.

[ ]…If your house is on the ground, and you have one flood your house is wrecked, all the wood will just buckle right off. That’s your house that you’re trying to maintain. I mean that’s not even rain or sun damage. A house out of the ground, you have 60% of your heat hitting the house because you have a big flat painted wall. Trying to cool a house on the land, in this environment is ridiculous.

Doesn’t matter how much the wind chill factor is because you can’t protect the heated surface from the wind. When you’re on the ground, any environmental storm, Tsunami, whirlwinds, you’re done, on every level.

What do you think about strawbails?

What climate?

In the desert.

The problem is with strawbail is you think you can build your house quick…You’ve got three factors why I’d say no…Rodents, biggest population of ground ferrets right here. The other thing is everything else is dry, literally you have to bring the straw in, it’s not even from the area, and that’s another good reason I don’t use it. Because I have to ship it in to where I’m using it. Doesn’t matter if it’s a wall that big, it’s still a trailer. I’m telling you, when you think about it, two people to manhandle each bail off the truck, then you gotta peg it and put it in. Two of you guys could fill 40-50 sand bags in the time that you’ve gone to fetch a load and pegged like 5 bails. Literally you’d be driving, most of your cost would be gas.

If we wanted to build some sort of like open studio structure…like a box…

You could do that too, this doesn’t have to have a roof on it. You could build just a wall.

But what if we wanted some sort of rectangular enclosed space.

Rectangular? Your always into your fucking squares..Again, square doesn’t work in here..

But what..

OK, WHOA, just stop. Hear me out.

When you’re working the environment, when you’re an ecologist, ok, or a permaculturalist, show me anything that nature gives me that’s a square, or rectangular…That’s the problem, the second you build a square out here, it’s gonna look like a fucking box, it’s gonna stick out like a soar thumb, because nothing is fucking square.

If I look at Garth’s teepee I can go..spccceeuuyyu..speecceeuuyyuu..sticks out like a soar thumb.

but then ok, so what if we want to have some sort of open space…

Again, I can show you a hundred different ways of building a shape, and I betcha if I go up there the shape is already 2/3 constructed by looking at what you have been given, and that’s what I mean, you walk in there and you’re like..Gonna build my house here, that’s where it’s gotta be..but literally you turn around and there’s the rocks and there’s the arch, and a little wall here. That’s what happens. 9 out of 10 times people fixate on something so square…It’s not concrete.

In the mindset of looking for something organic, you walk in from the city and boom, and you keep telling me square and I’m gonna kick your ass if I walk out there and it’s looks rectangular…because it’s gonna be like, that’s your house. Nothing in nature is square…this whole shape the way it’s built, wicks water , because it’s round. What’s the strongest symbol in any cycle?

A square?

No, it’s not, its a circle.

What builds culture? What builds unity?

What about triangles?

Triangles are not on this plane, ok, they’re all elevated stakes for the stars…

What about Buckminister Fuller?

You’re living in a triangle.

I know the guy, and he studied plants, and that’s how he got the idea for it. because all plants on a basic level when you look at them, it’s poly. I mean you can go polytetrahedran, crossahedran, all these shapes you think they’re square,..go and look at them, they’re the most elaborate stars. There’s certain types of rock formations that are block, the only reason why that happens is from water going through them and breaking out layers between layers, and that’s all it is…the whole…the Asian mind about permaculture…the reason why I say the Asian mind, is because a lot of the things I’ve learned are built in to asian culture, so we’re trying to learn ecology, but nobody wants to look at China or Japan, I’m telling you, on a level of stupidity, there is so much out there that is 1000’s of years older than us, and then you go and you have a look at it and you’re like why is this like this still..and I’ll tell you, it’s because it’s been built with nature in mind, Wind and water are the two factors that you have no control over, and you go and look at Asian design , everything is round, and you look at their tiles, round and a half round, round and round…They know that wind wraps around you. If you have a square surface, you hit angles, and you have to reinforce the building against those shearing factors.

You know why I love this house? Because one day I will have an excavator, and right on the flat area here, about 2 meters from the sand bagged wall I’m gonna dig a hole. 10 feet down, and I’m gonna make a whole tunneling system, and you walk through that door, and I could have fifteen hives all built on this hill and you won’t even know it.

How do you retain those?

I dig a hole…I have this whole house ok, this house looks like, a half round here, entrance here, here’s another window bay there, here’s the kitchen over here…So basically, here’s my retaining wall. I go outside and I excavate a tunnel. Ten feet down from the ground. Then I cut out this wall and I start building with sandbags until I get up to eight feet, then when I get to the top all you do is you build your self a plywood frame, with an arch in it, between the walls, and you post. And then you pack your sandbags on edge…knock, knock, knock, knock. and then you compact the whole thing and you pull out your jacks and you go to the next one down. You can make arches, windows, anything, out of sandbags.

And so if your building off of a boulder is it the same principle?

I go up to my boulder like this, I go and put my sandbags right up to it. Boom, boom, boom. Right next to the boulder, and when it gets up to four feet, I take a drill and I drill a whole, buuuuueechhhst. I take a piece of rebar and run it through the bags. Then I build my next layer. bbuuwwwrrrrruupp..four bags up. Drill a hole. Brruupp. Put some rebar from the top down. Done. The problem is it’s only as blank as you allow yourself to see it. Options are open, literally I mean if you get a masonry drill bit and you can drill some anchors, six inches is more than enough. I mean literally you’re drilling into solid rock, I can’t pour concrete that thick. It’s the joke.

Would you be worried about earthquakes?

Again, think about it, when the earth moves, it moves all at the same rate.

This is all retained, because the walls are leaning out. Everything moves at the same rate. If your house is a sand bag wall, and it’s on the ground and the rocks on the ground, and the whole ground moves it all moves at the same rate. The earth cannot compress against itself like that. It’s one shear movement. Put it this way, anything bigger than you in a rock formation, is two tons. So anything bigger, like if it’s the size of this room…How many of you could you stand in this area?

Like 50?

So now you’re talking 50 to a 100 tons, it’s not gonna move. You’re talking about earthquakes. That’s how I’m building this thing, it’s closer to a rock than a house. Because when your walls are compressed and they lean…Really, flat out, you try and move something that’s compressed. Any building they build a footing and they put it on. Compressed building is when they build a skyrise, and then they go and they take these anchors and they shoot them, poooooffttt, poooofftt, deep into the ground, and then they put tension cables on there and they tension the foundation down with bug rubber blocks under it to keep the pad level. and that’s tension. Houses aren’t built with that in mind.




On Obfuscation

… There’s no better way to seduce someone than by being impenetrable. To love the Fall is to love something that you can never explain…

Sasha Frere-Jones on the allure of the Fall.

The Pursuit of Architectural Happiness

Alain de Botton makes a contention that most modern architecture is an abject denial of reality.

Tax the Rich

Venture capitalist millionaire Nick Hanauer on how the rich should be taxed, not the middle class.

It is astounding how significantly one idea can shape a society and its policies. Consider this one.

If taxes on the rich go up, job creation will go down.

This idea is an article of faith for republicans and seldom challenged by democrats and has shaped much of today’s economic landscape.

A Great Thunder

A Great Thunder. An open letter to striking students.


Christian Nadeau is a professor in the Philosophy Department of Université de Montréal.

This letter was originally published in French here:http://journal.alternatives.ca/fra/journal-alternatives/publications/dossiers/opinions/article/un-grand-tonnerre-lettre-ouverte?lang=fr and distributed in the above video.

Dear students,

Please allow me firstly to address you as a group in its entirety and not solely to your spokespeople, nor to those the media label as your “leaders”, an expression that reflects the moronic servility of our current era. I wish to speak to the student movement’s activists.

I am writing you this letter in order to salute you and to humbly ask that you help us follow through with your endeavor. Your struggle is becoming the rebirth of of the left in Quebec, asleep for years thanks to the privilege of the few and dizzied by its own prefabricated rhetoric. You are liberty’s workers. You have denounced the sugary splendor of our artificial paradise. You have reminded us of what a nation is when it is at its best: a great act of confidence. You spoke to us, you offered us your hand even when we did not answer. But it is not too late. We will first be a few hundred, then thousands who will work alongside you. The question of violence remains, which is the wall between us. But what violence do we speak of precisely?

to the desert

Left L.A. this morning at 8 am, arrived in the desert and ran into Garth at the entrance to Gamma Gulch. He was waiting the arrival of the cement mixer, and said a “crew” is up top and waiting. This provokes interest as we’ve been promised a plaster crew from the valley for the past four Mondays. Nicodemous is at Randy’s again, helping out in exchange for the medium-size Zip Lock bags of mexi-haze shake. A blend of Randy’s. New crew members today including Josiah’s friend Ezra, an earnest man from Portland, tall with short curly hair. The french couple, Kilo and Emmanuel are back from a three month trip to Mexico. They are impeccably dressed and ready to help lay cement. Radically neutral. Josiah, Don, and Zael, are in attendance and trying to dig up scrap metal to unclog the bubbler. The cement mixer finally arrives, just in time as everyone is stoned out of their morning gourd. We lay a scrap layer of cement down on the rest of the exposed roof. Good days work in 4 hours. Garth makes a potato salad for lunch. We take him up to our site and talk about leveling grades, and shoot some video for the Kickstater to raise money for the water pump. We head into town to send emails and work for an hour or two at Crossroads. When we return to camp, Nic is back from Randy’s, and hot to catch the bus to Los Algodones, Mexico to get an absess in one of his molars fixed. Fortunately, we had word from Garth and had well researched the venture. The town of Algodones is 3.5 hours by bus, which leaves from palm springs at 2am. If Nic can catch that bus he can arrive there by 5am and hopefully be seen the same day. Easy plan.

Palm springs is an hour south of Yucca. We talk to Nic about the rocket stoves ups and downs, and a smaller alternative the pocket stove and the importance of the size of the gap of  the third chamber in the stove. Palm springs train station is completely empty, not too many people taking the bus from Palm Springs to Mexicali at 2am on a Tuesday. A cop stops by and reassures us the bus is on the way. Not too worry. 15 after 2 he informs us the bus dosent usually stop here, it stops at the gas station down the street. Would have been nice to know. So we chase the bus a half hour south to Indio CA, to arrive again at an empty station, except for one traveler with all of his belongings removed from his luggage and categorized individually by some incredible logic. We drop Nic off at a motel down the street, we opt out swimming in the pool, and head back to Yucca where Neil, Spirit,and I, to avoid ground critters, all crash in the dome on Nic’s bed.

Garth wakes us up at 7am to talk about the roof engineering. Plan sounds good to us. Not enough support from the inside. The exterior  scratch coat is flexing and cracking. The mysterious and all powerful plaster crew has again cancelled. So just the desert drifters today to lay another coat on the exterior.

On the ride home to L.A. we listen to a talk about the early writings of Walter Benjamin. Lots of interest in the car. Turns out Ezra is really interested in nostaliga, and had a defining moment in his life a few years ago in Chicago. As his notion of life was collapsing around him, he came upon a song from Final Fantasy VII, which he played as a child, and began to weep. He spent the next few years running an Internet research group about plausible relationships between archetypes from the tarot and music composition. I think he said it failed, but it’s still online, or maybe he just fell out of interest.


Error 400 (Bad Request)!!1

400. That’s an error.

The server cannot process the request because it is malformed. It should not be retried. That’s all we know.

Our project is a five year, multi-phased, experimental design studio that integrates living and working, exploring new models of design practice. Each year, the studio will inhabit a different location with changing geographic and material conditions, and the work produced will respond to these changing contexts. Projects will be disseminated through a publication series, website, and exhibitions.The practice will operate under a different name and a different set of parameters each year. The name adopted each year also describes the work created. The years and studio names in order are: Connections, Encounters, Impressions, Recursions, and Reflections.

The first year is called Connections, and is conceived as a radical beginning. We plan to move to Joshua Tree, California and build a studio practice from scratch, using available materials and craft to re-connect with the natural world and engage the local community in a series of workshops and interventions.

During the second year, Encounters, the studio becomes nomadic. Travel by foot, bicycle, bus, hitch-hiking, and RV, are peculiar ways to encounter places and people and create a fabric of relationships. Engaging with various communities on the move, the work produced will embrace chance, narrative, and mobility.

The studio broadens and deepens this nomadic methodology in the third year, Impressions, operating in 4 countries for a period of 3 months each. By engaging with communities outside of our own cultural contexts, the resulting work will necessarily incorporate local vernaculars, national differences, and outside collaborations.

In the fourth year, Recursions, we will partner with a larger, established design firm, operating as an agency-within-an-agency. Investigating issues of scale, management, and what it means to be an “agent” within an existing organizational structure, the work produced will respond to the concrete needs of the larger company and offer unsolicited proposals and scenarios that challenge typical ways of working.

The final year, Reflections, will archive and disseminate the work produced during the first four years. A publication and website will be completed documenting the entire practice for the larger art, design, and cultural communities.

It's about how people feel for what they're doing

Pinar & Viola:
You have a great interest for the vernacular, can you explain what it means to you?

Ed Fella:
The vernacular is done with great care imagination and love. It’s done with the endeavor that people have. It’s like the history of two masons, one is lying bricks, the other one is building a cathedral. The vernacular is about how people feel about what they are doing. Human beings decorate themselves, it’s part of our evolution, we started with painting our caves. You can compare it to animals. For sexual attraction they grow beautiful hair.


Hodgetts Jams

1. Trumpet Concerto in E-Flat Major
2. Nature Boy – Miles Davis
3. A Hard Day’s Night – The Beatles
4. In C – Terry Riley
5. Main Titles (from Blade Runner) – Vangelis

Listen to Craig Hodgett’s top five.



Our present financial ethos no longer even resembles conventional capitalism, which at least implies a brutal Darwinian free-for-all, however one-sided and unfair. Instead, we have a situation where the banks seem to be an untouchable monarchy beyond the reach of governmental restraint, much like the profligate court of Charles I.

Alan Moore on the appropriation of V for Vendetta’s main character in the Occupy protests.

The Rocket Stove


A rocket stove mass heater or rocket mass heater, is an innovative and efficient space heating system developed from the rocket stove, a type of hyper-efficient wood-burning stove, named in the 70’s, but dating back millenia in concept, and the masonry heater. Wood is gravity fed into a ‘J shaped’ combustion chamber, from where the hot gases enter a heavily insulated metal or fire-brick vertical secondary combustion chamber, the exhaust from which then passes along horizontal metal ducting embedded within a massive cob thermal store. The thermal store is large enough to retain heat for many hours and typically forms part of the structure of the building. They have proved to be popular with natural buildings and within permaculture designs; they are normally self-built and are not yet recognized by all building codes which regulate the design and construction of heating systems within buildings. via

thanks Nicodemus!


A Presence Library

The Reanimation Library was established in order to:
build a collection of resources that inspire the production of new creative work
pan for gold in the sediment of print culture
emphasize the visual content of books
encourage collaboration among human beings
call attention to the generative potential of libraries
contribute to our cultural commons and gift economy
explore pathways between digital and analog worlds

You are invited to join the library in these endeavors.

Rounding out the library themed trifecta of posts is the Reanimation Library.

thanks Katie!

About U b u W e b

And yet . . . it could vanish any day. Beggars can’t be choosers and we gladly take whatever is offered to us. We don’t run on the most stable of servers or on the swiftest of machines; crashes eat into the archive on a periodic basis; sometimes the site as a whole goes down for days; occasionally the army of volunteers dwindles to a team of one. But that’s the beauty of it: UbuWeb is vociferously anti-institutional, eminently fluid, refusing to bow to demands other than what we happen to be moved by at a specific moment, allowing us flexibility and the ability to continually surprise our audience . . . and even ourselves.

Kenneth Goldsmith on the complexities of operating an archive that is free and open to all.

Why we built this library

Though libraries live on (and are among the least-corrupted democratic institutions), the freedom to browse serendipitously is becoming rarer. Now that many research libraries are economizing on space and converting print collections to microfilm and digital formats, it’s becoming harder to wander and let the shelves themselves suggest new directions and ideas. Key academic and research libraries are often closed to unaffiliated users, and many keep the bulk of their collections in closed stacks, inhibiting the rewarding pleasures of browsing. Despite its virtues, query-based online cataloging often prevents unanticipated yet productive results from turning up on the user’s screen. And finally, much of the material in our collection is difficult to find in most libraries readily accessible to the general public.

via the Prelinger Library.

On the Organization of the Prelinger Library
To Build a Library
Library Brochure

Abbey’s Road

Q: What is your role?

A: My role… I see myself as an entertainer…

Abbey’s Road, an interview with Edward Abbey in 1982.

"I’m not an architect… for me its a search"


Screen Shot 2012 02 18 at 8 22 35 PM

Screen Shot 2012 02 18 at 7 40 11 PM

B. V. Doshi worked in Paris then for four years with Le Corbusier. He returned to Ahmedabad to supervise Le Corbusier’s work. His studio, Vastu-Shilpa (environmental design), was established in 1955. Doshi worked closely with Louis Kahn and Anant Raje, when Kahn designed the campus of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. In 1958 he was a fellow at the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. He then started the School of Architecture (S.A) in 1962. via


At the end of Biosphere 2 the ants destroyed the cockroaches. They then proceeded to eat through the silicone seal that enclosed the world. Through collective action the ants worked together and effectively destroyed the existing system. They then marched off into the Arizona desert. Who knows what they got up to there.

TV Party Manifesto


Non-Goal Orientation

The conscious mind gives us one way of making sense of our environment. But the unconscious mind gives us other, more supple ways. The cognitive revolution of the past thirty years provides a different perspective on our lives, one that emphasizes the relative importance of emotion over pure reason, social connections over individual choice, moral intuition over abstract logic, perceptiveness over I.Q. It allows us to tell a different sort of success story, an inner story to go along with the conventional surface one.

Tongue Twister

For building is not merely a means and a way toward
dwelling—to build is in itself already to dwell.

—Martin Heidegger

thanks Montse

F.L.W. + M.B.C

I’ve been standing on the side of life, watching it float by.
I want to swim in the river. I want to feel the current.

—Mamah Borthwick Cheney

Mamah on her clandestine love affair with Frank Lloyd Wright

thanks Katie

An Architecture of Reassurance



“In the mountains of California, above the Mojave lies a plateau overlooking the desert, sloping to the East, facing the morning sun, into the West where San Gorgonio’s snow-capped peak reflects the glow of the setting sun. Here, The Institute of Mentalphysics is planning and building its city. Moved by a sense of the tranquil nobility and eternal beauty of the desert, I have planned, not a city of asphalt, paving and steel, or of tight mechanical grid and congested living barracks [but] a city of the Desert, spacious, free-sweeping; its broad floor carpeted by myriads of desert blossoms; its residents dwelling at peace, and sharing with the soil, sky, and trees, their joy of living, its centuries old Joshua trees standing like sentinels above its homes.”

—Lloyd Wright, Architect

Spirit Duplicator


A spirit duplicator (also referred to as a Ditto machine in the United States or Banda machine in the United Kingdom) was a low-volume printing method used mainly by schools and churches. It was also used by members of science fiction fandom and early comic book fandom to produce fanzines. Sheets printed on such a machine were sometimes called ditto sheets, or just dittos in the U. S. (an example of a genericized trademark). The term “spirit duplicator” refers to the alcohols which were a major component of the solvents used as “inks” in these machines. They are sometimes confused with the mimeograph, which is actually a different technology.

The duplicator used two-ply “spirit masters”. The first sheet could be typed, drawn, or written upon. The second sheet was coated with a layer of wax that had been impregnated with one of a variety of colorants. The pressure of writing or typing on the top sheet transferred colored wax to its back side, producing a mirror image of the desired marks. (This acted like a reverse of carbon paper.) The two sheets were then separated, and the first sheet was fastened onto the drum of the (manual or electrical) machine, with the waxed side out.
There is no ink used in spirit duplication. As the paper moves through the printer, the solvent is spread across each sheet by an absorbent wick. When the solvent-impregnated paper comes into contact with the waxed original, it dissolves just enough of the pigmented wax to print the image onto the sheet as it goes under the printing drum.



Mauveine was the first synthetic organic dye. It was discovered serendipitously in 1856 by an 18-year old chemistry student William Henry Perkin, who was trying to synthesize the anti-malaria drug quinine. The dye soon caused an explosion of purple in the fashion world.

via Gere

The Situation

What Happened to Obama?
By Drew Westen
Published in the NYTimes, August 6, 2011


IT was a blustery day in Washington on Jan. 20, 2009, as it often seems to be on the day of a presidential inauguration. As I stood with my 8-year-old daughter, watching the president deliver his inaugural address, I had a feeling of unease. It wasn’t just that the man who could be so eloquent had seemingly chosen not to be on this auspicious occasion, although that turned out to be a troubling harbinger of things to come. It was that there was a story the American people were waiting to hear — and needed to hear — but he didn’t tell it. And in the ensuing months he continued not to tell it, no matter how outrageous the slings and arrows his opponents threw at him.

The stories our leaders tell us matter, probably almost as much as the stories our parents tell us as children, because they orient us to what is, what could be, and what should be; to the worldviews they hold and to the values they hold sacred. Our brains evolved to “expect” stories with a particular structure, with protagonists and villains, a hill to be climbed or a battle to be fought. Our species existed for more than 100,000 years before the earliest signs of literacy, and another 5,000 years would pass before the majority of humans would know how to read and write.

Stories were the primary way our ancestors transmitted knowledge and values. Today we seek movies, novels and “news stories” that put the events of the day in a form that our brains evolved to find compelling and memorable. Children crave bedtime stories; the holy books of the three great monotheistic religions are written in parables; and as research in cognitive science has shown, lawyers whose closing arguments tell a story win jury trials against their legal adversaries who just lay out “the facts of the case.”

"That’s eh… that’s the crux of the thing for me"

Robert Irwin calling it like he sees it. In conversation with Richard Meier architects, a pivotal scene from a Concert of Wills, the story of the construction of the Getty Center.

out there

“we should direct our view outwards, away from ourselves, into the world, not into the distance, but onto those things that are neat, within a hand’s reach.”

— Goethe via Paul Renner.

Average High/Low Temperatures for Palm Springs



“It may be when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.”



Theses on Punk Rock by John Maus1

after Pisaro2 after Badiou3

  1. The only workable name for the musical4 truth procedure that begins with Elvis Presley, and continues through the Beatles, the Sex Pistols, et al.5, is “punk rock.”
  2. Punk rock, like every truth, is (a) singular6, (b) open to all7, (c) without being8, (d) proceeded upon9 by subtraction10, (e) giving of the impossibility of totality11, and (f) disordering of the Police12.
  3. Punk rock, like every truth, is the void13 of a particular, immanent, situation. This situation is presently Global Capitalism14.
  4. Punk rock, like every truth, is anarchist15 in this sense: it gives itself as a disordering of the Police.
  5. Emphasizing the difference16 between moments of a truth procedure, rather than the singularity they proceed upon, which is their truth, is a type of Policing.
  6. Punk rock has often been flamboyant, however, not the smallest shred of musical truth has ever been wrested by17 hopping around in a band uniform with epaulets.
  7. Proceeding upon punk rock by subtraction means over-concentrating (a) this situation’s particulars18, (b) the materiality of these particulars19, and (c) under-concentrating (subtracting) the differences amongst these particulars by the singularity so proceeded upon20.
  8. While finally irreducible to any particular, punk rock has something to do with youth21. (Although, it has nothing to do with childishness)22.
  9. Representation by the Police usually speaks to a moment’s untruth. This means: to the extent that a work is, e.g., played on the radio, discussed in magazines, sold in stores, etc., it is probably not punk rock23.
  10. Like the subject of any musical truth, the subject of punk rock is fascistically anti-fascist, not as the “tolerant” who would hypocritically hide their intolerance, i.e., their intolerance of intolerance. The punk rocker, through their moment, absolutely embraces the absolute denial of any absolute as creativity, and so defeats the nihilist, the ironist, and/or the cynic, who do not embrace this, but rather concile themselves to the dominance of evil in the world.
  11. There is no scale for the ranking of a work; its self-identity mocks the dimension of “more or less”24.

History of the Bean Bag


The first bean bag chair was created by the Italian designers Gatti, Paolini, and Teodora while working for the Zanotta Company in 1969. These first bean bag chairs were called Soccos which were pear-shaped leather bags filled with Styrofoam beans.

When the Socco went into mass production, after several failed attempts, it became the basic model for all bean bag chairs to come. Although unconfirmed, it is rumored that the Socco was actually discovered by accident. This discovery came from a Styrofoam factory that put all the leftover pieces from the production line in a bag. This new fad soon became a very popular item because the Socco was the first chair to move with the person sitting in it.

A Pattern Language

In short, no pattern is an isolated entity. Each pattern can exist in the world, only to the extent that is supported by other patterns: the larger pattern in which it is embedded, the patterns of the same size that surround it, and the smaller patterns which are embedded in it it.
This is a fundamental view of the world. It says that when you build a thing you cannot merely build a thing in isolation, but must also repair the world around it, and within it, so that the larger world at that one place becomes more coherent, and more whole; and that the thing which you make takes its place in the web of nature, as you make it.

via A Pattern Language

Sheila Levrant de Bretteville

Cover of Art in Society magazine, designed by Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, 1970


Poster for School of Design, California Institute of the Arts, designed by Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, 1969


(top) Instructions for newspaper used at International Design Conference at Aspen designed by Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, 1971. (botom) Spread from newspaper used at International Design Conference at Aspen designed by Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, 1971. Participants at the conference were asked to fill out a diagonal module. The panels were grouped, pasted up, printed, and delivered as a newspaper record of the conference.


Entrance to 207th St. subway station for New York City Metropolitan Transportation and the Inwood community. Designed by Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, completed 1999.



Sheila Levrant de Bretteville is a graphic designer, artist and educator whose work reflects her belief in the importance of feminist principles and user participation in graphic design. In 1990 she became the director of the Yale University Graduate Program in Graphic Design and the first woman to receive tenure at the Yale University School of Art.

In 1971 Levrant de Bretteville founded the first design program for women at the California Institute of the Arts, and two years later co-founded both the Woman’s Building, a public center for women’s culture, and its Women’s Graphic Center in Los Angeles. In 1981 she initiated the communication design program at the Otis College of Art and Design.



Rip it up and start again

Orange Juice, Rip it up (1983)

Generally Optimistic Faces

A series of pastel knobs with generally optimistic faces.

Each is ceramic, has a brass insert, and mounts with the included bolt. All are 1-1/2″ in diameter and just over 1″ in height

via Face Knobs – Lee Valley Tools.


It is not easy to translate into English the Italian word autoprogettazione. Literally it means auto = self and progettazione = design. But the term ‘self-design’ is misleading since the word “design” to the general public now signifies a series of superficially decorative objects. By the word autoprogettazione Mari means an exercise to be carried out individually to improve one’s personal understanding of the sincerity behind the project. To make this possible you are guided through the archetypal and very simple technique.

Therefore the end product, although usable, is only important because of it educational value.

from Autoprogettazione? by Enzo Mari

Marjetica Potrč

Marjetica Potrč is an artist and architect based in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Her interdisciplinary practice includes on-site projects, research, architectural case studies, and series of drawings. Her work documents and interprets contemporary architectural practices (in particular, with regard to energy infrastructure and water use) and the ways people live together.

via katie


A palapa (a Spanish word of Malayan origin, meaning “pulpous leave”) is an open-sided dwelling with a thatched roof made of dried palm leaves. It is very useful in hot weather and, therefore, very common in Mexican beaches, such as in Acapulco. It is perhaps one of the most important architectural contributions of Philippine culture to Mexican West cultures.



manual for


WALKING HOUSE is a modular dwelling system that enables persons to live a peaceful nomadic life, moving slowly through the landscape or cityscape with minimal impact on the environment. It collects energy from its surroundings using solar cells and small windmills. There is a system for collecting rain water and a system for solar heated hot water. A small greenhouse unit can be added to the basic living module, to provide a substantial part of the food needed by the Inhabitants. A composting toilet system allows sewage produced by the inhabitants to be disposed of. A small wood burning stove could be added to provide CO2 neutral heating. WALKING HOUSE forms various sizes of communities or WALKING VILLAGES when more units are added together. WALKING HOUSE is not dependant on existing infrastructure like roads, but moves on all sorts of terrain.



Bas Jan Ader, In Search of the Miraculous (One Night in Los Angeles), 1973. Copyright Bas Jan Ader Estate, courtesy Patrick Painter, Santa Monica.

Bas Jan Ader, In Search of the Miraculous One Night in Los Angeles, 1973. Copyright Bas Jan Ader Estate, courtesy Patrick Painter, Santa Monica.

Forgetting and Remembering the Instructions of the Land: The Survival of Places, Peoples, and the More-than-human

Economy originates with the Greek oikos, meaning dwelling place, and nomos, to distribute. Oikos has the derivatives oikein, to inhabit, and oikoumene, the inhabited world.

The word economy, small e, connotes the flow of goods in an inhabited place, a particular community, informed by the criteria of merit and mercy and true value.

The Make-Up

“The problem is that the high creatures are the server mechanisms of the technology and the system they have created, meaning that we’re dictated to as much by cars. We’ve turned the world into a parking lot. Similarly we use musical technology that we create, and it finds a use for itself”

Utopia Is No Place: The Art and Politics of Impossible Futures

A growing number of artists are abandoning truth-telling political art for a boldly utopian practice, recognizing that political problems can’t be solved by an atrophied collective imagination. With examples ranging from Thomas More’s 16th-century tome Utopia to the Yes Men’s recent “special edition” of the New York Times, Stephen Duncombe explores the creative terrain within this new world of dreampolitik. Duncombe is an associate professor with the Gallatin School at New York University.



February 2011


How Buildings Learn

Stuart Brand’s concept of a building’s “shearing layers” that suggest a single building is changing at various speeds all at once.


How to Construct Rietveld Furniture

Many people construct their own Rietveld furniture in the evening-hours. Apparently these designs are an invitation to do so…


by Adam Werbach

I am here to perform an autopsy.

Autopsies begin with these words.

Hic locus est ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitae

Translated from Latin, this means: “This is the place where death rejoices to teach those who live.”

I tremble at them, because this is not an easy speech for me to give.

I know in my mind that to forego the examination of death is to fail to honor the dead. But all I can think about right now is my love for what environmentalism was.

Nobody enjoys an autopsy, and yet its value to life is indisputable.

The word “autopsy” means to “see for yourself.” An autopsy is the key tool that doctors use to determine whether their diagnosis was correct, and to see if the treatment was effective. In the past, autopsies were common — in the 1950s, 50 percent of deaths had autopsies performed. Today, that number is barely 10 percent.

We will perform an autopsy tonight. We will question our diagnosis of the problem and prescribe a new treatment.

With fond memories, a heavy heart and a desire for progress, I say to you tonight that … Environmentalism is dead.

Plywood House

Principal-in-Charge: Ricardo Scofidio

The Plywood House is built on the foundation of a house that burned to the ground the year prior. The construction budget is based on the limited fire insurance settlement. Standard wood frame construction is sheathed with off-the-shelf 4’-0” x 8’-0” plywood panels, stained gray and pre-cut to receive stock windows. The facade is the product of interference between a serial strategy of exterior cladding and specific demands of the interior program.

diller scofidio + renfro.