Slang_lab will serve as an open forum that will foster a necessary discourse on the “systems” of our social environment that we take for granted. We practice this lifestyle of “unawareness” so perfectly that we fail to question the continued viability of our way of life at a time when our established commercial culture is being assimilated by a larger percentage of the global society. The word slang plays intrinsically in this effort. It highlights an informal style that takes on an unassuming albeit relevant significance to the masses. It presupposes a regional origin or cultural association that, in the right circumstances, eventually incorporates itself into the fabric of the formal vernacular. In the same way that the informal specific oral conventions of one group can evolve into the formal vernacular of an entire culture, so too can the designed elements of our man-made environment. It is my intention to have this blog act as a public laboratory where the implications of this evolution, from that of a regional(traditionally Western)way of life to the accepted lifestyle of a global society, can be studied.
A few thoughts on Inception, several weeks after the rest of the world. James Benedict Brown’s review in Building Design nailed the aesthetic incongruity of how a group of architects with absolute free will (and no clients, budget issues or planning concerns) could end up with a cityscape that seemed only a few steps removed from a particularly hellish PFI contract. The protagonists’ ‘dream city’, some 50 years in the making, if you will, was particularly uninspiring; a place that mixed up the worst bits of Croydon, the Voisin Plan, Walden 7, wartime Beirut and Sao Paolo, a ‘utopia’ that at times seemed to be designed entirely by Richard Seifert on an off day. As Brown cynically (but probably correctly) noted, ‘Cobb and his wife always lived in a skyscraper city not because their characters believably wanted to, but because it was the most visually arresting landscape for the CGI artists to render as a ruin later in the film.’
When Cobb and Ariadne make the tremulous and altogether familiar-sounding decision (“No!” “But I’ve got to!” “But it’s too dangerous!” “But it’s our only hope!” “OK, but I’m coming with you!”) to move down into a fourth dream world, I hoped we might finally be headed for a riot of architectural invention. Instead, we get an odd, desultory cross between downtown Los Angeles circa 1965 and the urban-planning fantasies of the French Modernist architect Le Corbusier. Downtown’s 1965 Department of Water and Power building, designed by AC Martin and Partners, has been stretched in Seussian fashion to become a very tall skyscraper; on the horizon, meanwhile, appear dozens if not hundreds of Corbusian, tenement-like towers.
STARDUST MEMORIES W/ WE HAVE PHOTOSHOP
THURSDAY AUGUST 19, 2010 10:30 PM- ONWARDS
B.EAST 171 E BROADWAY
W/———SUMMER SCREENINGS AT B.EAST
Arnold Schönberg, L’Opera Pianistica, Amadeo (I Classici) SXAM 4176 stereo (1970) LP (via www.usc.edu)