Thursday, March 10, 2011

Today's Newsdesk

Here at FASLANYC we do a relatively poor job of staying informed and up to the minute.  Nonetheless, it is spring time and that can only mean one thing- it’s time for SYMPOSIA!  In that spirit, we post this report from southern gentleman, bait shop owner, bicycle repairman and landscape architect H. Willis Montcrief on two promising events coming up at the University of Virginia School of Architecture.
[Two images from “The Park,” Kohei Yoshiyuki’s photographs of voyeurs watching people having sex at night in Tokyo parks. The series was last exhibited in 1979, image via New York Times]

Queer by Design is hosting a lecture and presentation by Philly-based artist Chad States:
Much has been accomplished by examining the built environment through lenses of marginalization. Race, ethnicity, economic status, and gender are increasingly considered germane, if not fundamental, to approaching design. Sexuality is inextricable from a host of contemporary concerns --erotiphobia, transphobia, homophobia, epidemiology, mental health, policy, and the policing of public spaces, to name a few-- and deserves its place at the table.
[chad states at the University of Virginia School of Architecture]

We don’t know States well (though you can read about it in the NY Times here and here) but love the chance to see some work regarding sexuality and hedonism in public spaces and consider it critical to a human and expansive understanding of what public spaces are, can do, and should be.  We assume it will be provocative and thoughtful and for those of you who will be too busy with Landscape Urbanism conferences, we’ll try and report back in a week or so.

From their website, Turning Urban:  Innovation in Megacities “This symposium will pose the question of whether extremely large cities and urban regions are loci of innovation and adaptation, or whether the rapid pace of change overwhelms adaptive processes. Participants will compare examples from cities around the world in an effort to identify spatial armatures, temporal trajectories, and conditions that invite innovation.”
[turning urban?  burning urban?  either way, should be interesting]

The symposium, which one of our correspondents is peripherally involved in, pulls together a cast of characters from across a wide range of disciplines including designers, environmental scientists, policy makers, economists and engineers.  While we aren’t sure what to expect from that group in terms of sexy images and pithy remarks about “inhabitation of synthetic operatives” whatever LU-bs you are after, we are excited by the possibilities inherent in gathering many disparate perspectives from afar and smashing them together OOO-style for three days.  Two of our favorite American megacities will be making an appearance as well.  Drop by if you are so inclined.


  1. i've got another biggie:

  2. any reports from these two lecture/symposia? was the first about landscapes of cruising?

  3. Also just came across this post which relates to my last comment, at least tangentally.

  4. hi Nam-
    the extend of my promised reporting on the conferences/lecture will probably be limited to this comment section. That said, thanks for the thoughts and for sending that link along!

    the Chad States talk was about landscapes of cruising. that post you link me to has a nice definition of queer space (by aaron betsky) as "not built, only implied, and usually invisible". The presentation was supposedly great (I only got it second-hand) and got in to a lot of the details- techniques and tactics- that gay (men, usually) use to create these landscapes of cruising. It seems there's a lot we could learn from that, given our interest in ephemera and urban phenomena, and a search for de-emphasizing the built form a bit, and structuring spaces through education, hedonism, and experimentation... these ideas, inserted into the public realm could really invigorate the debate around new modes of recreation and use of public space (I believe that the ability to do leisure-work is another strong way to force open this conversation...) Have you thought about it much?

  5. not much.... i do think two themes would be the ideas of a constructed and contested landscape. Re: the quote I think it isn't built but is continuously and actively made i think the post, used the term demarcated at one point?

    I think the two words you mentioned that resonate for me are tactics and education.

    As for leisure-work. Forget my day job, leisure work is the only work that I enjoy...