June 2011

I do not think humankind will die out in the way we sol much like to portray it. We are just too damn smart.

Even if a huge tidal wave hits Manhattan, it will change the location of our areal, but not the species itself.. Even if an asteroid hits us, we will find a hide-away and a way to grow plants artificially..

This is not optimism – this is a fact.  We’re like a virus – in all senses.


There are too many images.

By “images” I mean, pictures, graphics, ads, commercials, printed materials, photos, and so on.

It is hard to imagine how many terabytes of images there are in the personal computers of all the people around the globe. Mona Liza is reproduced in thousands of amateur variants all around the globe by individual museum visitors, who believe that if they personally take a picture of Mona Lisa with their camera, something changes, or, somehow, they start owning her; they get to own a part of it, or something. They believe that the picture they take of her is worth more than the painting itself. Are our memories – the memory of me being in Paris or New York – if put into a photograph, more concrete, than what (used to be) our own memory? Is our memory – our pictures? Are our photos – our memory? Do we think that if we snap a picture of ourselves on the Brooklyn Bridge, faking the smile (to look good and happy) while our boy/girl-friend takes it, it really means something? Do you really believe that smile? Do you believe that that picture will represent or bring back something you felt back then (if you did)? Or is it just another image? How often do you look at those images? After you’ve come back from the trip and shown everything to your parents, who won’t understand and won’t be able to feel anything of it anyway, but the ride for their children “who have been to New York!”, how often do you look at those pictures (except some truly great ones, that DO mean something to you)?

I do not usually take pictures of places I go to, unless those pictures are worth it.  I do not believe EXPERIENCE can be contained in a Polaroid. I do not believe a feeling of space you experience can be snapped and taken with you in any other form, but in the form of experience, that becomes a part of you and transforms you from within. By extension, I do not really believe in Architectural photography. True, there can be great architectural photos – I do not deny 100% of it. I am just saying that “architectural photography” has nothing to do with architecture. Same goes for the renderigs, as they are, essentially, a photography of an object not yet existent.

With all this, however, I have to acknowledge, that there ARE good renderings and there ARE good photographs just as there ARE good books or films. What I am battling against here is that there is just too much junk! And we produce that junk without even realizing it.

A true individualist/existentialist would say that if I do something for myself and it brings me pleasure, even if momentary, it makes for a good enough justification. I do not disagree, neither do I agree with this. I am just saying that along with some things that will truly stay with you, you produce too much totally useless garbage too, which, frankly, does nothing else but pollutes your hard-drive.

Call me old-fashioned, but the next time you automatically grab your camera to snap another picture, think, whether you really want to do it, or you would instead prefer to forget about your camera and just LIVE that moment, EXPERIENCE, BE in that moment, TAKE IT IN with the whole of your body and as many senses as you might have, so that it would become a part of you. If that experience doesn’t succeed in doing that, I guess, it did not deserve a photograph anyway.

It’s been bugging me for quite a bit and the more I get into it, the more interesting it becomes.

My thesis is: What is universally called “Good Design”, exists not for people; it exists for its own sake. (I know it’s an obvious statement for all of us people going to art and design schools. But should it be? – this is the question)

The more I look at design – be it architecture, graphics, web, or whatever – the more I see that design does not care about a person whom it is targeting as a “user”. Design cares about itself. Of cause, Design doesn’t just happen – it is created by someone. Design is someone’s own expression, which has nothing to do with who will become the object of that expression, that is, people. Design is an incarnation of an idea of its creator. Nothing else. And that idea, in the design world, is extremely rarely “a Human”. Human is not a part of design. It is a “program”, a number, a “flow”, a “particle”, an “agent” – anything, but Human.

I am not here to say that such design is bad. After all, Good Design IS pleasing to the eye. What I am trying to say is that Design does not want People. Design lives by itself and for itself. Design is design. We simply happen to use it. Is this the way it should be?

I had a “visionary” idea tonight:

Can you imagine, if Google applied its Earth’s “Street view” approach to the best museums in the world, so that you could walk around the most famed museums virtually and look at pieces on your own screen without actually going to the museum physically?! The museums would get reimbursed by the ads places sneakily on every page, and promoted by some sort of “Google Maps business-integration” system, where you have ads and reviews for businesses right there on the map. This way you personally don’t have to pay anything and can see Mona Lisa right on your HD LED-screen. Now how cool would that be?!

Guess what – Done! – the Google’s Art Project. A while ago, actually.. (Hence a lesson: always check for things, guess where –  in Google! – before you proudly claim that something is your own original idea, only to find later that it’s already been conceived, worked out and implemented!)

The “Art Project” makes me wonder, however:

How much more delirious can we get?

Now that Google has totally eradicated any (rational) necessity for (architectural) “site visits”, and even traveling, by their “Earth” platform, we don’t any longer have to go to museums neither!

Hip-hip hooray to the omni-encompassing Digital domain!

Are museums and galleries as an architectural typology, so beloved by show-off’y architects, bound for extinction? Why not! “What is art anyway and why does it need so much space, effort and resources to keep up? Digitize it all!”

… Right?

Poster-girls and Yellow cabs. Welcome to the City!

What is it about this city that keeps us so mesmerized?

And why is it so easy to forget where you are once you’ve been there for a bit? Not been, but lived rather. “Been” happens when you’ve traveled to a place, but never made it your home. “Lived” is when you did..

After a while even the view of Empire State becomes a wallpaper. Is it just me, or is it a common thing? I bet down in the Chinatown some have never seen the Empire State at all, and could not have cared less. At the same time, Donald Trump, I guess, does not think about the fact that he is in New York neither, except in some special cases.

So what is it in a city, in this particular one, that we are actually after?

It took me a long look at the panorama of the Midtown to remember that I am in city where everything happens. The stores I read about in the design magazines, sitting behind my desk at the office, are a couple of blocks away. Heck, I can actually see a couple of them from this window right here. Jay Z and De Niro have their apartments also just a couple of streets down the island. How do I know, Jay might be brushing his teeth in the very same moment that I am writing this!..

New York is not about the beauty. It’s never been. This city stinks, if you be true to yourself. But we’re still here.

It is about the ultimate urbanity of it – the (melting) Pot.

But how do you appreciate the City on a daily basis? Everyday life devours you and after a while, you might be anywhere – “a place with high buildings”.. New York seizes being New York and becomes… nothing really. Just becomes.. Home. I guess…