Saturday, June 23, 2012

Things that are Happening

[me, taking a moment from field research in the tobacco landscape of rural Puerto Rico to jot down some semi-coherent blog-thoughts]

Today’s post is an update on the state of this blog.  Readers (yes, that’s in the plural form, albeit not by much) have likely picked up on the fact that for the last few years we’ve been finishing a punishing (and rewarding) masters degree in landscape architecture at the University of Virginia.

Something of a capstone has now been put on that effort with the submission of the landscapes and instruments thesis project, and while I intend to continue this research in the future, the first proposal in that line of work is done and ready for your consumption.  If it has caught your eye for some reason and you have a few thoughts, criticisms, links to share, or ideas for making it better I would love to hear them via email or the comments on the tumblr (drawings) or the blog (theoretical and historical research).  

Excitingly, one of the early posts from that effort will be showing up in an intriguing collection of work in the forthcoming issue of Bracket 3: At Extremes.  In the fall I'll be presenting another piece of the thesis at the Society for Historians of Technology Conference in Copenhagen, and I wil return with a grey mustache, a gut, and elbow patches on my blazer.  I expect that after a rest of a few months I will pick back up on these projects, primarily using the tumblr to visually document the way instruments make landscapes.  I hope to use the LI blog to pursue some ideas about media and modeling related to landscape-making, especially focused on developing some approaches to landscape information modeling (NOT analogous to building information modeling- let’s just establish that now).  I anticipate this being a good chance to dive in to Bradley Cantrell’s new book, and to continue exploring some of the methods uncovered in the landscapes and instruments thesis.

I’ve very recently started tweeting things.  I imagine this to be a better outlet for some of the tiny-but-interesting factoids I’ve been elaborating in to overwrought blog posts over the years.  Follow me if you want @faslanyc.

Despite these diversions and developments you can expect continued, regular postings here.  I hope to maintain the sense of awe and irreverence, the theoretical and material interests, the use of an uncanny first person plural sense, and the cavalier roving all over seemingly random topics related to landscapes.  I expect the focus will get a little tighter and the posts shorter- because really, who wants to read 1000 words of landscape randomness every week?  The expected themes will not be a surprise- Latin America and the larger American landscape, material networks, speculative landscape histories, industrial shipping canals, thoughts on object-oriented landscapes, and on-the-ground criticism (occasionally).

In an immediate sense this will take the form of a forthcoming three-part interview with philosopher Graham Harman.  This is a project we are super excited about, and happy to keep pushing on.  Afterward, there will be a lot of posting on stuff in Latin America, because that’s where I’ll be for six weeks doing nothing important but hopefully having a lot of fun.

Lastly, in the fall I’ll be starting a job teaching in the landscape architecture department at Cornell University.  I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to join such an accomplished faculty and group of students, although I don’t anticipate sharing too much of that direct experience here; I’m never into that when I’ve seen it elsewhere on blogs, and I enjoy the heightened sense of remove the internet affords between my ideas and my everyday life- it gives everything a bit more space.  As always, feel free to drop me a note any time.
[perhaps now more than ever I aspire to attain the mustachioed heights of Raphy Leavitt on "Jibaro Soy", still one of the best american songs of all time]

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