Andrew Wagner handed me a modest package when I stopped by the American Craft offices on Tuesday. In the envelope, three issues of Dodge City Journal. I've had #3 in my collection since 1997, but this was my first glimpse of the others. What a thrill to see the orange and gray cover wrapping articles on Louisville, Baton Rouge, and Florida's Gulf Coast.
From the Publishers, Volume 1, Issue 1:
North American cities are many things: beautiful, dirty, homogeneous, diverse, rich, poor, awe-inspiring, and awful. In our cities we can find evidence of everything that this country has come to mean. A walk through an American city will not allow one to forget this nation’s past, nor will it allow one to ignore its future. Within the confines of the American city lie the answers to many of modern society’s problems. However, these answers are not cut and dry; they are as complex as the city itself. Each step taken to understanding our cities is a step towards unearthing the answers that lay hidden amongst the concrete, trees, and trash.
The kids over at Archinect are ringing in the new year with a bunch of 2009 predictions in the world of architecture and beyond. Among the twenty soothsayers are some of my favorite mouthy-types: Kazys Varnelis, Enrique Ramirez, Javier Arbona, Dan Hill, and Bryan Boyer. The economy, the future of architecture, Obama, and infrastructure are high on everyone's watch lists.
My entry, With Apologies to Paul Valery and Yogi Berra, written in a performative morning haze, took the turn of what the future isn't. The jumping off point is a phrase attributed to both the poet and ballman number 8, "The future isn't what it used to be." Google filled in the rest.
Here's a taste:
...the future isn't fun, the future isn't really my style, the future
isn't pretty in the persuasive mirror, the future isn't modern, the
future isn't orange, the future isn't what it claimed to be, the future
isn't now with videoconference, the future isn't rock solid, the future
isn't what they thought it would be in 1962....
face b is a cultural and theoretical architectural magazine based in Paris and New York, published twice a year.
face b presents in each issue interviews and essays of renowned and emerging critics, curators, architects, and artists.
face b is a generational project.
face b considers architecture as mass media.
face b is a propaganda tool.
face b: architecture from the other side is a publication after my heart. (Okay, I added that last one after I got a copy from Aurélien Gillier, one of three face b editors. I'm excited to include the first issue in the show.)
Lately, I've written a few pieces that focus on the techy and performance side of architecture. The experience made me get up to date on the language and processes of digital design, tout de suite. I have pretty rusty CAD skills, so I'm glad I am on the writing side of equation. Clearly, the forces of BIM and performance-based design are powerful and changing the profession from the inside out, leaving some folks scrambling and others guiding Utopian visions, so it looks like I'll be tracking (more like chasing behind a speeding bus) this one for a while.
A couple of days before I took an extended Thanksgiving holiday, a fellow zinester dropped off the full run of Infiltration at my apartment. All twenty-five issues of the staple and fold zine by Ninjalicious, the intrepid urban explorer who passed away in 2005. Each one about places where you are not supposed to go. To say I was giddy would be an understatement. The feeling was matched a day later when a comic book by Jimenez Lai hit my mailbox. There is something magic about these little publications. In the time since I last was trading in zines, I had nearly forgot the immediacy and intimacy of peering into a moment in history—someone's labor of love.
But I've been collecting again. I'm bringing together publications for the exhibition A Few Zines: Dispatches from the Edge of Architectural Production, which opens with a panel discussion on January 8 at Columbia's Studio X. Now before you can say Clip/Stamp/Fold, I'll let you know that this exhibit covers 1990s architecture zines and a few contemporary publications with similar attitude.
Keep checking back here more info on participants.
Here's the press release (PDF below):
A Few Zines: Dispatches from the Edge of Architectural Production January 8–February 28, 2009 Studio-X
In the 1990s, zines such as Lackluster, Infiltration, loud paper, Dodge City Journal and Monorail subverted traditional trade and academic architecture magazine trends by crossing the built environment with art, music, politics and pop culture—and by deliberately retaining and cultivating an underground presence. Much has been made of that decade’s zine phenomenon—inspiring academic studies, international conferences and DIY workshops—yet little attention has been paid to architecture zine culture specifically, or its resonance within architectural publishing today.
A Few Zines: Dispatches from the Edge of Architectural Production does both. Rather than attempting to present an exhaustive retrospective of architecture zine culture, it highlights complete runs of several noted zines that began in the nineties. The exhibition also features contemporary publications that continue to draw inspiration from the self-publishing tradition, such as Pin-Up, Sumoscraper, and Thumb.
To launch this exhibit, curator Mimi Zeiger has published a new issue of loud paper and organized a party and panel discussion, including: