30.4.16

Ando's brother

This building is right next to our office. It's not so much fun, but tonight the offices within were still lit, despite weekend vacancy. The city has rules, but the rules for writing the rules are very elastic.

16.4.16

Silence in Hiroo - Violence in Kumamoto

See the TV-antenna? That's the extent of "context" in Tokyo.

11.4.16

memory

very strange.
those things we keep seem to tell us everything about who we were at that point
until we cannot remember anything else, and start to shift who we were
with what we seemed to be.

Tokyo tomorrow ...
where have I ever been?

9.4.16

suddenly Hertzell

Like walking through a Barbican confusing itself with Stirling and a repainted Hunstanton School. Everyone stealing from everyone, no longer knowing who they are but liking it anyway.

6.4.16

I always wondered why they called it EDM

Especially considering that EDM began as a catch-all term intended to neutralise the idea of genre in electronic music, but then, haha, it became a genre itself. I suppose it's because of the abbreviation. EDM is like EBM (Electronic Body Music) and IDM (Intelligent Dance Music). And, if you will, "Dance" and "Electro" in themselves, which, arguably, can be said to represent distinct sounds - although electro more than dance, I think.

I also smile at the fact that few mention that EDM (I will treat it for what it has come to be known, in this post) is basically epic trance. Most of us probably thought it would finally die with dubstep, but, horror oh horror (to the purists), it was the opposite. Dubstep married epic trance and became EDM. And then set out to conquer the world with its new incarnation of the almighty anthem, the almighthy, eh, basswobbleranthem.

On the plus side, maybe I can listen to house now without an incessant stream of Calvin Harris and Avicii recommendations in my YouTube and soundcloud playlists.

So, EDM is now douchebagmusic number one. But how much are the producers to blame? In a way, dance is always about dance, so it makes sense that the DJs spun it to keep the dance going. And I don't really have a problem with either Skrillex or Pryda, in fact I like to entertain myself by annoying newly-arrived connoisseurs by chopping up stuff like that in sets - to show that, it's actually quite creative and interesting music in all its silliness. They also seem like nice people true to themselves. They're basically making nerd music.

That doesn't go for everybody, though. David Guetta is still pretty much a joke, as is... most of the tops, actually. No need to go into names, mostly because I don't follow them well enough to be able to distinguish the differences between their sounds. All in all they feel like cover artists endlessly covering each other.

There are parallell tracks of course: deep house is still there, but somehow got lost in stupidly repeating the worst sides of its own sound. If you don't have experience with funky basslines, I don't think you should try to program funky basslines. Over and over again. Then add terrible vocals and... not much more. The 4-4 beat, I guess. As if you'd be shot in the church of deepness if you put in a syncopated hihat.

Then there's tropical house, which I didn't even realise was seriously called tropical house until today. The trajectory is of course clear: it's space house teaming up with balearic, and while the balearics weren't exactly tropical, well, they had palms and stuff. So that motivates the album art, I guess. As for the sound, everything seems to be going the same way, experimental music losing all experimental edge. While it became both self-indulgent and self-motivated to have reeeeeaaaaaalllllyyyy slow beats around 2008, at least it challenged people on the floor, inspired them to dance in a new way, like with dubstep. Tropical house stays slightly below regular house, to add vibe but not to much vibe to kill the vibe. Good balancing? Sometimes. Not all of the music is terrible. The Orb were pretty silly in the 90s in the same respect, and the giant pulsating brain is still a nice track.

What else is going on? Moombathon? Is it alive still? Don't think so, I'm not even sure I spelled it correctly. Ghettotech? Probably not much happening, although it was great when it reached Chicago as footwork. But then DJ Rashad died, and no-one else seemed to have come out of his shadow. The Monstercat thing is still going, with its syrupy interchangeable Madeon-mashing Canadian invasion receiving some playtime in my headphones, especially when it decided to do robot jazz or happy hardcore, but then it made the common label-error and made label-music.

I suppose I should bring up techno, but who these days want to listen to minimal except the Germans? Aphex Twin came back, so that was fun. It's even more fun that people insist that his music should not be danced to. But if not even Stockhausen could get it right, I'm sure it's easy for a plebeian headphone enthusiast to make the same mistake. Although mr AFX/Caustic/Bradley/Universal/wasithim? probably doesn't make a difference between dancing in your head, your bedroom, or in a warehouse.

So, I guess that's it then? Electronic Dance Music is dead with the cool kids, and hence electronic dance music (lower caps) must die as well. Well, fortunately I don't think you can kill instruments. The synthesizer is an instrument as much as the digeridoo, the koto, or the human voice. Differences are cosmetic and procedural, they still make sounds. So, wherever electronic music will go, it is unlikely we will stop doing it. And as long as we keep on doing it, it is unlikely that at least some of us want to dance to it.

So what if the future might not be drumandbassanddubandstepandelectroandhouse? Sounds come and sounds go, priorities shift, attentions shift. Some arists emerge and become more important than others. Most of us disappear after a brief dance with the underground, a select few with stardust on vinyl as a result. Let's not look back when we've lost ideas, but when we want to measure up to them.

(Most of you should notice I don't really know much about electronic music from the past 5 years. I do have a nose for historical continuity though. Something I enjoy much more in electronic music than in architecture.)

5.4.16

what to do?

At a certain distance from London, I'm still more or less dragged into it, the architecture scene, of course, because, well, it does have the media, and it did have Zaha. Sadly, it doesn't have Zaha anymore ... just ZHA, which, I fear, will soon be renamed ZH+PSA, then to PS+ZHA, to PS(ZH)A, and then to PSA (formerly ZHA). Please prove me wrong, PS. Or, better yet, do whatever Zaha wanted.

"Turncoats" is apparently becoming a phenomenon. Or, at least it is marketing itself as one. And I did see a few likes on Facebook from friends. So I went to the site, and felt ... several emotions. Part of me started to laugh at the infantile-still-worn-out rebellion against "a stagnant present"; all good I suppose? But, it *is* a bit strange when you do your best to fight the (vapid! self-congratulatory! hero-worshipping!) media, the (inefficient! out of touch! stuffy!) academic institutions, and the (morally bankrupt! conceited! self-absorbed!) architects themselves. Apparently the suggestion is to quit architecture. OK. That is, quit it but basically just staying in the building industry - becoming a Peabody hero (I thought they were loved by architects...?), or Bompas and Parr (I thought they were loved by architects...? #2). I still think the AA graduate who turned into a proper chef and didn't really care about architecture anymore would've been more interesting in this respect. Or, you know, a person who is still an architect, but also the "first architect in the world to acquire the qualification of sommelier" (this guy).

Furthermore, it *is* strange to hate the media and the schools, but then relying on them for attention, influx and panel participants. Partnering up with dezeen, in this aspect, seems absurd. Anyway, the solution to it all, according to turncoats, seems just to be to have shitloads of fun, which is also only possible by getting drunk, saying ostensibly rude things, and turning everything on its head. But reinventing the format, style or setting of the debate is, to me, like reinventing the table because the table is boring. But, then again, I read an article on the flight from Poland showcasing awesome designer remakes of grand pianos - mostly making them 10 times more expensive - so perhaps it resonates with the larger public. Whether that's inherently a good thing, is another thing.

The thing that irks me more is this: how do you counter it? It's like the Venturi debate once again, where you're a "bore" if you don't play. van Eyck certainly did play, but, I find, that if I do the same, I really just become an awful person. I can of course do like I've just done, point out some of the flaws, but even then I cannot avoid being sucked into the generally quite acid style of arguing. It doesn't seem reasonable to put fire out with fire.

I'm worried about it. These days, I don't feel that architecture itself is dying, I feel that architects seem desperate to kill it, reinvent it, subvert it, build it up from scratch. Again. So, nothing can be kept in its present state, nothing seems worth keeping. But fighting seems nice. What does make it even more worrisome is that fighting, the way people fight these days, is safe, because you don't risk anything. The most you can risk is by not fighting, because then, you're a conservative. Nevermind that the idea of fighting the artistic system is as old as Modernism gets, retroactive avant-gardism. In a society of free-speech, speaking freely is the safest thing you can do. In fact, it's come to be expected. The acid stuff, that is. Getting drunk is fairly legal too, because getting drunk has been a part of the avant-garde since the beginning as well. Smashing up the venue is nice too, I guess, unless it was designed by someone in the panel - which it probably was.

Meanwhile, the storm rages on outside. People dying, being beaten up, exiled, tortured, executed, raped. Here as well as there. And, in the midst of this, people love and make love. Children are being born to grow up to kill others, kill themselves, or continue to make love. The world is an absolutely horrible place and a beautiful place, at the same time. You can walk through a park one day, and being thrown into 12 hours of physical interrogation the other. One moment you cheer, the other one you cry, and you don't even know when the switch will take place. When you have, and when you don't, and when you have again. So we play it safe by being naughty when and where it's safe. Of course we can call bullshit on the ornament-is-crime, today, because no-one believes in it. Go to any design site today and you'll be hard-pressed to find something that couldn't be called ornamental. Also, I don't understand the desire to escape academic debate by adressing academic topics. Ornament ought to be the safest one there is. Whether you hate it or love it is irrelevant, it's in the box.

I'm often a bit sad these days that it is so hard to find truly strange, odd and weird buildings. I mean, everyone (outside of Barcelona) must've been positively shocked by Gaudi when he got into his gears, and I guess in a way Las Vegas could be shocking, but did a culturally alternative architecture just stop there? Search for buildings outside of the "contemporary" mantra, and you either have novelty (a strange term, since it's basically just ducks and strawberries made into buildings), neo-Gaudi (absolutely none with the genius, save perhaps Bruce Goff and Hundertwasser, although I haven't heard them mentioned for a long time, probably because they're "too obvious"; as if Mies should be dismissed because he's also "too obvious"), or stuff right in the tracks of the genuine avant-garde (Smithsons to Archigram to Superstudio to Eisenman to Tschumi to Koolhaas to Woods to Pask to Lynn to ... seems to have died after him, can't really call Aravena avant-garde). At the same time, it's sad that it is so hard to find truly strange, odd and weird - but, here's the thing, relevant - debates, articles and discussions. I'm sad probably just because of personal reasons, but... I always felt architecture was more than bickering, pyrotechnics, showmanship, marketing. It IS of course. I know that. And I know that my view of good architecture will always be different from yours. But do we have to fight about it? To we have to renounce the other's existence? Do we have to fuck up the institutions that fucked us up, just because we and a few of us feel that way? Is it fair?

In Candide, Voltaire's final insight seems to be for the wise one to retreat and cultivate his garden, as you will know once you remember it (if you, like me, went through it in high school, at least partially). He cannot win, he cannot change the world. But, is that a resignation? Isn't this, really, Voltaire's most uplifting point? That when we all cultivate our own gardens, we don't have to scorch the land around us. Perhaps what Voltaire saw, was the lack of inherent value in confrontation. In fact, it became counterproductive. You don't have to be wise to realise that, or to practice it. I think we all know it, but when it becomes easy and permissible, even encouraging, to strive for personal dominance, we naturally go in that direction. I wouldn't go so far as to say I am a social determinist, but people are easy to mould.

I think architecture has a future - I just hope it's a good one. Not a callous one, like it is now. It really does feel that way nowadays, callous. Because being callous is being safe.

11.3.16

language mixups

When you want to say "oneiric" and you end up saying "onigiric"
then start to wonder which one is the strangest.

When Koolhaas-san arrives in Tokyo, to be greeted with a:
"Koolhas-san, you alived!"

Also just when you insist on living "proper shitty life"
in the city, and you realize that the two are quite interchangeable.

7.3.16

Unsharp Mask / The Fog over Cerulean Tower

When I went to bed last night, I could hardly use the computer. My vision had deteriorated quickly, because of overwork, sloppy use of eyedrops, careless rubbing, and lack of sleep. When I woke up today, it was much the same. Reading text gave me a headache. Looking at floorplans gave me a headache. The only thing that relieved me somewhat was looking towards the yellow-green window towards the garden, frosted, filtering the overcast morning sky, and casting a thin light onto the coffee-coloured curtains. The room was dark, but not terribly dark. It comforted me somehow. Not the hard plasterboards or the rectangular LCD-screen, but soft textile, soft light.

I called in sick in the morning, distressed with what I saw. Normally - that is, a year before - I would've been shocked, seized by fear, for whatever had happened, for whatever could get worse, for however I would learn to live with this. Nowadays, I adapt quite quickly. I arrived at work after lunch, no changes to the eyesight. Using Illustrator or Photoshop was a pain. Reading the news too, although, stubborn as I am, I continued reading anyway.

I don't know why it happened, but after a while I began to reflect upon this new condition. And speculate. Move. In the head, and with the body, with these eyes I had suddenly been given - or, rather, an exaggerated version of something I've lived with now for about 4 months.

I tend to describe this changed vision as "blurriness", because that's the only word people seem to understand. But, what is actually happening is a strange, if not opposite, then at least very different track. I call it the unsharp mask. As if every line I see, every letter I read, has an outline whiter than the whitest of the paper, jittering and vibrating noisily - as if shining. Perhaps you're making a face now: why is he complaining, if he sees *sharper* than before? Of course, that is not entirely true. It is a form of blurriness as well, but technicalities aside, it makes it very unpleasant to face strong contrasts and sharp lines. The intensity of the unsharp mask takes away the actual ability to see the image.

I think this is where some kind of unique, driving artistic motivation comes from. Not from an imaginary concept, an invented controversy, a temperament willing to piss paint on the canvas. It comes from necessity. The necessity by which we see. Only a man who does not see what we see can do and choose what he wants to change the world into naturally - because for him, there's no choice.

I cannot do a Libeskind, not because I'm thematically opposed to his techniques. I cannot do a Schumacher, not because I do not agree with his political leanings. Today, I couldn't do a Libeskind or a Schumacher simply becaue they gave me a headache. I couldn't look at them. They made me feel physically sick. The buildings themselves. No architects, no contexts, no moral or immoral agendas. And, I thought, why not? Why not accept it? It's not like I can do anything about it, anyway.

I looked in other directions, like a man refusing to eat a certain kind of food because he no longer tastes salt or sweet - like my father, for instance. I went to Rembrandt, to Goya - artists I had no interest whatsoever in before, and perhaps still do not have, other than for the fact that some of their paintings (certainly not all) provided me with a perceptional absence of pain. It was neither cerebral or unconscious - I was just happy being able to look at something without wanting to close my eyes after four seconds. I even enjoyed an interior by SANAA.

When I left the office about an hour ago, I looked towards the skies of Shibuya. It was foggy, for the first night since October - or the first one I will remember, at least. The Cerulean Tower stood only with its red lights popping through the uppermost layers - and even then, much weaker. It was as if the city itself acknowledged this twist of fate and softened the city around me. Strangely enough, by then, the exaggerated unsharp mask I woke up with had started to abate, probably due to a more frequent use of eyedrops during the day. I was a bit torn on how to react. In a way, I was happy to return at least partially to a functioning, regular human being - one being able to rack up Rhino hours for the projects to be .pdffed into the outbox. At the same time, I was a bit sad I had lost this new vision of mine. I had seen things and thought of things I had never seen or thought of before.

Such as how the present condition values sharpness - in times when we're all losing our sight quicker and earlier, a form of visual tinnitus, countered by turning up the volume (maximising the histogram span). The city throws sharpness at you, in every white-brick-black-mortar facade, in every halogen sign, in every window, steel, steel - even the wood refuses complete seamlessness. Text, text everywhere, there to be read. Advertisements, road signs, product descriptions, cars, subway ventilation outlets. If we counter sharpness, it is intellectual - a willingness to "question" and "subvert" the "present condition" which I've just described. Not out of necessity. And hence, it is just a poser's position, as unable to deter sharpness as surely as it will be blind before turning 60.

It also brings me to wonder about the graphicality of our artificial world. Not "graphical" in the sense of "graphical violence", "graphical promiscuity", or similar, no, "graphical" in formal terms. Early Modernism is its sharp lines, wherever we go. Architecture. Art. Sculpture. Writing. From Mies to Corb to Duchamp to Moholy-Nagy. Kandinsky and Klee enter from the idea of contrast. Bright colours, intense colours. Turrell and Klein bring it to the extreme and LeWitt combines them. Simple vast spaces of evenness, and a punch of black, or throbbing red.

Even as of a few days ago, Anish Kapoor acquires the rights for the "blackest of black", a new material of this intense search for the utmost contrast.

All these things come *after* the way I see. Not before.
It is a prime example of the body operating way before the mind
of the eye seeing before there is a word to describe what it sees (and wants).

I still see this way. Not as intensely as a few hours earlier, but it's there, and it keeps me thinking. I will keep it. I will adopt it. Maybe it leaves me, I don't know. It's there now, at times, sometimes less, sometimes more. I make use of it because I need to, and where I don't want to use it, I don't.

Maybe it should also be mentioned how all of this started: not very surprisingly, with a medicine. The withdrawal from Olanzapine. I won't go into the details, but it is a weird thing to think of: that while the avantgarde is speculating on how biochemical interventions may change our way of perception, I have become an unlikely specimen and outcome of an experiment of this calibre. It's rare, of course. It's very rare. The only similar account I've read about was from a woman in the US, whose hearing became extremely intensified and augmented after she quit - and stayed that way. I suspect a similar thing has happened to my eyes.

This hasn't changed the world, but it has pulled me in a different direction. I cannot design buildings the way I've designed them before, quite literally because they discomfort me. I need something else, of which I don't know of yet. How it will look like. A blurred building? (Not the Blur Building.) Without the white and without the black? With hardly a line? I don't know, but I want to see.

21.2.16

haters gonna hate, potatoes gonna potate

We need some sort of change, but not necessarily through the architect's traditional demand to be more publicly recognised and consulted. This he doesn't deserve, and will frankly continue to be estranged from as long as he insists that cultural merit alone suffices in this respect. He can fool himself and his equals into believing that the current theoretical framework is relevant, failing to notice where it isn't (which is most of the time).

I still believe in building, but I'm not sure if we need architects in order to build. The architect, if he wants to survive the marginalisation, needs to sever ties with himself, with professional justice and etiquette, and reestablish first-hand attention to the world which he no longer sees with the same eyes as before - rather with remarkably more limited eyes. Architecture opened up things for us, made us realise the importance and depth of human inhabitation - but - now it is time to go beyond it, beyond what we know and into what we forgot, to reclaim it, and to push everything we know into it and and forward. All other things are things of a stagnated past.

The wushu master studies how to fight with a sword for 10 years.
Then, he spends 10 years forgetting about how to fight with a sword.
Finally, his mind will be the one that does the fight
and anything his hands pick up will be a sword.

30.1.16

1

The southwest exit-corner of Komazawa-Daigaku Station has late-night food holes receding from the street in mute light, or mauling the cars with fluorescents to tire the drivers, all face-front. There's a chain there - it is a chain not because I know it, but because the printed menu photos on the wall are as plastic as the meals in bespoke windows of average noodle bars - which serves gyuumeshi. The beef there comes without ponzu sauce, and oomori (large )is a necessity, not a choice.

The same could be said for the skyscrapers for Tokyo Bay, "tenkomori"-portions (sky-high) of retired dreams, for a city now beginning to shrink. If the rice can be stacked, if the sashimi has no bottom, then let us now measure the servings of Kohn Pedersen Fox as manga-versions of vertical engineering. When the mountains are not enough (yamamori), and when the haikus no longer has that comical tint to them, we go for the heavens.

After a few "irrashaimase!s", you eventually figure out that there's a shokken/meal ticket hanbaiki/vending machine outside, under plastic covers for the rain, permanently. The alcove isn't noticeable inside, and in the dark of a commuter's midnight, it's easy to miss in lieu of the illuminated doors. It's the businessmen hurrying home to their wife that serve the revealing custom.

If there's not a vending machine for it, it's not necessary, at least not for those craving for time. One could be led to think that they had them already in '64, when the expressways were erected at a pace unmatched by anything before the idea of dropping a couple of million yens from the tax funds into the construction industry took form. These funds were not endless, of course: concrete is cheaper than land, as were the expressways routinely erected over rivers and canals, something the Nihombashi bridge knows well. Neither are those drunk kaishain trading their beds for a Friday night safe pavement doing so with money in their pockets. Meanwhile, convert the machines into workers (instead of the opposite), let the workers sleep, and you'll have all of Norway piping the drainage of this ageing infrastructure.

As with most short stops for food, the counter runs a U around the two employees, one cleaning, one serving. The place does not offer disposable chopsticks, so the box, a kind of house for machine-made colonnadic finger extensions, cannot be allowed to go empty. The 1000 yen I put forward for my bowl - so unaccustomed! - is shifted to a cashbox on the third shelf beyond the U. It takes less than 3 minutes for the tray to arrive.

The food you eat is the food you saw, and the cook you watched was smooth or sloppy, a student or an old woman with eyes thinner than sumi brush strokes. One room, no kitchen, no need for walls (except for the toilet). They call it LDK (Living-Dining-Kitchen) in the real estate brochures - perhaps fitting for this establishment as well, the difference being: that in the presence of strangers, there are no physical signs of affection. You eat, you trace the walls, you eat. Save your curious hands for the koshitsu izakayas, drinking-eating-bars, private rooms.

25.1.16

23.1.16

1964, now void

Two policemen stand outside the gate to the prince's palace, calm, smiling to each other. I walk by. In the other direction, old men and young women run their rounds around the palace, a Saturday jog, sweating and panting but not stopping, not for a moment.

A five minute walk away, I see baseball grounds, expats playing tennis under American East Coast instructions - they move to gain heat. There are no English instructions to the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery. There were no visitors, but, I greeted the man in the reception with a bow, and the woman on her lunch break with a smile.

The Olympic Stadium is gone. I've only seen it in pictures, but now I just saw a big empty hole with a wall around it, sometimes punched through with plastic windows. Demolition done. No more machines. No more workers. Puddles of water here and there. The grass had returned. To think, this was what this valley next to the Sumida River once looked like, 400 years ago. It could be like that - no, it *will* be like that - sometime in the future, as well. Tokyo reached peak population in 2015. 37 million. Imagine them all gone. Imagine all the buildings gone. All the streets. What do you have? Hills and rivers. New sprouts of grass.

A big hole in the middle of Tokyo.
It is scary to behold - a sort-of third catastrophe.
An earthquake. A war. And now, a sports event.

There is still snow on Fumihiko Maki's Metropolitan Gymnasium. There are benches on the court in front of it, next to the soda vending machines, four out of very few benches in this city. I sit there and eat a hotdog. I am the only one sitting. There are good views to behold from the upper deck of the gymnasium, I can tell, good views for a few seconds, before we are bored, order a coffee and talk about next May's vacation plans, instead.

In Shiodome, few people. Schlagers from hidden speakers, restaurants on several floors, with one, two customers, waiters constantly worried about their next salary constructing the widest of smiles just greeting disinterested strangers.

The Yamanote to Shibuya is surprisingly empty.
The journey is surprisingly short. In Shibuya, of course
the masses of black suits, jackets and coats never cease
to wade beneath the neon.

18.1.16

buying juice for the blueberries that we see on the package

Snow on the tracks, and the city is stunned. Hat on, but no gloves. My hands attach to the laptop case, one at a time, shifting, to exercise the blood. Expecting an easy journey to Shibuya, but stunned as well when I reach Komazawa Park Entrance. What looked like people waiting (for no reason) turned out to be a waylaying snake into the underground, twitching, hit by the fever of a train that might be coming, might be not, and moving onward.

2½ hours. I smiled at times, had time to put on my headphones and put them away again, and the reverse with my hat. Four trains arrived, two with me first in line, but with every new pair of doors that opened, people seemed to be beamed in with a cascade of tired faces to fill up the carriage even more. Snow melted on the doorframe, a grey-haired man closed his eyes and soaked his face, voluntarily? I don't know. I spent time guessing whether a bag or an umbrella would get stuck in the door.

The feeling of having the weight of another person on top of you
only that you're standing.

How does one remember this?
People share their commuting stories over lunchtime.
It's normal during snowfall.

17.1.16

I left the humidifier on all night

Dust accumulating on the floor, skin flakes and fragments of crisps that turned dour with time - now gone. Sucked up and stored away - and then, the question of who takes care of it. Not me. Not yet. Unless I am forced. Such as with recycling.

I do not yet know if it is a cloudy day outside, but I've made a guess I hold for more than a guess. The window is grey, hence whatever is out there ought to be grey.

This temperature does not sooth me, but it soothes my face. Chills it, reduces it to principles of humidity. If the remote is on the bedside drawers, and the filter needs cleaning, we prefer silence and ice. Clothes reveals themselves as heat, as preserved air, as my survival in this room.

Meanwhile, on a Japanese game show, bubble soccer players do not want to be associated with clothes anymore than Lucio Fontana wanted to be associated with the canvas. A roommate says: I'd really like to do that some day. So is the wish for smashing an inflated plastic body into another stronger than being intellectually and spiritually uplifted by a slashed piece of fabric. It's what is.

My lamp has three modes. The first: full-on. The second: hardly any difference from full-on. The third: too weak to be considered purposeful for anything, at least as long as we have the other lamp by the bed, which we fail to turn on at 3 AM without tipping over the precious bottles of eyedrops we've placed next to us. I see little with these eyes, and hence, until this room has built its own glasses, I wear the world on my nose.

Across the street: Fumihiko Maki's Spiral, and a dusk that falls over the KFC sign. All that money, all that time, all those drawings, and now I care more about how the pepped cola retreats from the ice cubes as I suck up the last of it. It is as should be. Wax-infused haircuts focusing here on the spotlights reflecting in the window, there on the ex that they consider texting again. All is as should be.

When we want a playlist for the customers, we call in a marketer.
Nobody asked L. M. Young whether music needed a purpose.
With or without him knowing it, we took a purpose for it.

16.1.16

the Tokyo that is

What is it really that matters to us, and
do we really need to call it architecture
in order for it to be architectural?

These days, I do not think so much on whether I have a responsibility to architecture anymore. For me, it is more important to be responsible for my work at the office, to be responsible *for* the office, within it, its success, its contributions. As I was showering today, I wondered to myself: what does public and private mean here? Truth to the medium and the solid and the function and the context and everything else we know of, or should know by the time we graduate? What purpose - really - does this language of architects serve, beyond serving the architects themselves, their community, their thought of influence that - naturally - in the eyes of every architect - is representative for (yet apparently never authoritarian to) the greater society, the greater good?

It seems to me that architecture doesn't really exist because anyone particular particularly needs it beyond the architects. Buildings are buildings. Meanwhile: electromagnetic clouds might be our new cities, fashion steals terminology from architecture in order to gain the same credibility that the dippers gain from hijacking Popper, Benjamin, or TEDx. And so, we like to think that hard-earned facts, the skills of Raphael, are worth more than scribbles from a three-year-old (if he's not eating the crayons) - all while, ironically, great artists try to undo, rewind and unlearn these skills they so silently were born with from the start. Funny. But maybe not so funny once we consider our loneliness (despite the drama), impotence (despite the budgets), and dedication to architectural culture - the culture I was so caught up with in London.

Example. Let's see. Free-space. Coined as flexibility by Mies, developed as radical form by Woods, applied heavy-handedly by me in 2009, now all the rage again as a heroic pragmatism and ironic resignation at the point where intellectual freedom has to extend beyond the super-control of a liberal market state controlled by franchised autocracy. What is it really? Is it relevant? More to the point: WHO SAYS that it is relevant? Philosophers? Architects? Architects wanting to sound like philosophers?

Actually, let's be frank. Who gives a fuck about "free-space"? What am I going to do with it? It's like saying that the skin is a piece of "free-clothes." However, that would be missing the point. It exists because someone wills it into existence. That someone is the architect. He fabricates terms for that which "other people" take for granted, something they need (he claims), but lack the expertise to formulate with proper agency. Hence, the architect exposes ideas instrumental to advancing practical culture - the application of ideas. How delusional isn't this? Wherever I went, I sure needed the supermarket more than served/serving, the sexual fantasy of the shower room more than the typologico-stylistic variations of Rossi.

Architecture is an inbred culture, and, to be honest, I preferred it more when it was consciously aware of this contradiction-of-a-criticism-of-contradictions and screwed itself from within in trying to fabricating some kind of monstrous child that could screw itself one more time once it had grown up, than pretending to extend research that is speculative at best to problems we get an altruistic kick out of bringing to an Architizer thread. So let's look at it from the other point of view. Let's forget that we're architects. Let's forget architecture. Let's just never use this bloody term again. What do we have? And what matters?

If he doesn't use a kitchen, and never will
why give him a kitchen?

komazawa

7.1.16

lies lies lies

There's a place hidden in Omotesando. I cannot tell you what it is yet. There, between Aoyama's glittering thunder junkies (those who overdose in situ), and the lions guarding the entrance to darkness, there stands something which I thought I could live without, but which - like the china in the vitrine and crushed on the table with a fiver next to it - dragged itself back to my mind, to remind me, you will never be free - you will suffer - you will be ripped apart - but, as we know that it is the way of perception - at some point we will be free (for a minute) - we will be pleased (from the rush) - and we will be sewn together again. But

it's a funny thing, that what rips us apart again are our hands, the same hands that held yours in innocence, before we knew what could break us - it was not a substance, unless you think of love as a substance in your blood - and now ... what do we have ... a mess ... another mess ... another decaffeinated evening, reverse excitement, that of fearing to not be excited at all, and therefore forced to abandon a life that you had fantasised over for a fiver - five dollar years - and five years of fifty-thousand dollars.

Life has no time for those who have no intention to live.
It kills them swiftly.

For those who seem to not even see a future in death
it grants them life, but the courage

that they need
to live on their own

that, they will also have to find on their own.

6.1.16

I really don't like long flights

The motorway follows me through Tokyo, even when I can't see it, when my body is hidden on the wrong subway train, exiting at the wrong station, taking the train back, missing the train, altogether tortured by the same halogen light that is due to be replaced by batteries charged by angry passengers. I should've taken this motorway, I thought, I should've caressed the steering wheel (if I had one) and I would've enjoyed the acupunctural massage coming from each fringe where concrete slab #1289 ends and concrete slab #1290 begins - or the reverse, of course.

The night fell, and the city lit up, in some kind of attempt to create stars of its own, to compete with what we see above us, and even that which is below us - because in a city, the strongest light is found where it is the most needed, naturally: on the platform (we may take a misguided step, or push someone over the edge), in the carriage (so we know that we are sufficiently avoiding the eyes of another passenger), but not in the tunnel itself. The rats know that they've seen enough, and, hey, if I were a rat, I would've preferred darkness as well.

As far away from humanity as possible. What we cannot get in voices or in embraces, we can get by speaking to the echo that the wall leaves behind, and by carefully making love to a concrete pillar. As I look at David, the statue, I wonder how much humanity is within, how the caryatids may have found something here that is crucial to the escape of anything human. I see a body, but it is a dead body, one forever dead, never born, one proving even that death is not the end, and mummified he dances without moving a limb, while the rest of us go on pretending (knowingly or unknowingly) that we've found something that celebrates life. It is wrong. It was dead, altogether, since the birth that never began, and from the death that was always the case.

I look at the motorway again. I have never rode it. God knows I have rode beneath it, where the taxi scavengers pick up mid-level businessmen without a word. It goes fast, we race through and the signs turns to lines and the elevated motorway just continues, ahead and ahead, beyond my capacity to pay the fare, and perhaps even beyond my patience to discover a city that has - so far - not been able to bore me.

Adieu, Shibuya. Let me bathe in your grasshopper-scripted stars, before I go to bed, dream of you, and wake up to the same reality that will have me forced to say: bon matin.

29.12.15

I should read more books

Architecture preceding definition, definition after architecture is revealed, architecture knowing it is architecture before we even are able to speak ...

I'm leaning towards Sou Fujimoto. Not that I want to work for him, and not that I share his philosophy - too simplistic, although I suppose Duchamp-light also has its place in the world ... but the thought of "architecture is everywhere" is good. Not that I would like to stack potato chips or staplers and attach witty observations to them - or throwing urinals/fountains at the audience, for that matter - but I reminds me that I am given, as is being, appreciated consciously or not. The TR-909 was there before the Brighton scene, just as the beginning of the universe was there before we thought of a way to fabricate its end (perhaps the best ascendance to divinity we can ever attempt).

It's such a poor world if we leave it up to buildings to declare what buildings should be. Yet people seem happy, not least the El Croquis readers. The history of architecture smothers all attempts at discrediting it as an illusion, and the danger of nostalgia is at its most dangerous when it hasn't been identified as such, when we go on replicating the same spaces and ideas that were prominent some 60-70-80 years ago. I often feel like the architects are just exaggerating dated concepts in a vain (but sometimes deveivingly well-made) attempt to resuscitate their relevance. Hence students keep on quoting Marshall McLuhan, Aby Warburg, Frederick Kiesler, Siegried Giedion - with evermore radical agendas. And then they graduate, after which, formally, they go on to churn out such heaps of boring shit it makes Chip look progressive. It could be worse, though. It could be the 90s. The Pritzker could go to Cesar Pelli.

Doesn't anyone want to move forward, any longer?