Saturday, December 31, 2011

House of Trough: Jun Igarashi architect



1. Big box – almost a cube
2. Looks inward – exterior windows open into two loft spaces screened off from interior space necessitated by location in a mixed industrial / domestic use neighborhood. These windows are of various sizes, and line up randomly with one another though they all appear to be square, like some of Robert Venturi's windows.* The lofts isolate the interior space from its industrial surroundings and from the cold of northern Japan winters. The lofts echo - by way of a reversal - the more traditional engawa or veranda that is designed to connect the interior with the exterior space of the Japanese house.
3. All white interior
4. Minimal furniture and accessories accentuate the need for technological connections with few other absolutely necessary personal possessions
5. Minimal safety precautions as well – there are extremely minimal railings in stairways, and a thin wire as visual separation of loft from what appears to be a 12-foot drop into the central courtyard or trough of the house.


First, I am inclined to think of this minimalist box as stuck in the minimalist modernism of the first half of the 1970’s decade. However, the minimalist, space with its protective loft/verandas is conducive to the owner’s use of electronic technology for work and play. It provides for never ending change as the owners live, work and play within the space.

Second, I know my Western preoccupation with or need to fill space (horror vacui) leads to the distrust of such an empty living space with its minimal protections against falling. That fear of falling is also acquired from my 21st century American cultural preoccupation with safety, and I can’t help but be reminded of the unforgettable quote from the famous television Elderly Medical Alert commercial, “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up.”

"I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up." *5



Even though it provides for never ending change in views through the space as the owner’s use the Trough, none of the other characteristics of the Metamodern are present. These are; 1) a return to fantasy/viewer as participant dreamer, 2) the architecture somehow inhabits the space between and among and (I suspect) limitless series of oppositions including the Modern, and 3) the structural presence of the organic, and/or abstract form. While “The Trough” provides for the viewers/owners to be the dreamers, it is at the same time anchored visually to the minimalist modernism of the 1970’s, and does not begin to imply the incorporation and variation in and among oppositional styles. Instead, the structure is limited to the thousands of years of traditional geometric architecture. Thus, while I admire, and find so much about this piece of domestic architecture to be interestingly accomplished, “The Trough” cannot be classified as Metamodern.


• I refer to the Lieb House, among others designed by Robert Venturi, moved from Barnegat Light, N.J., to Glen Cove, N.Y., March 13, 2009.
• Igarashi, Jun, Architects, Architecture Daily Website,, viewed 7:46 PM., EST, December 21, 2011.
• “House of Trough,” Architectural Record, Posted December, 2011, viewed 5:22 PM., EST, December 21, 2011.
•4 Miyamoto, Selya, Photographer, in “House of Trough,” Architectural Record, Posted December, 2011, viewed 5:22 PM., EST, December 21, 2011.
*5 "I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up," Uploaded by Bubbajomama on Dec 17, 2007. Viewed 11:00 AM, EST, Saturday, December 31, 2011.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Christmas prayer…

is that ALL OF US TOGETHER, the 99% and the 1%, Tea Party Republican, moderate Republican, moderate Democrat, and liberal Democrat can make our broken congress and country work again.

As part of this entry I've included a photograph of coconut palms decorated with lights for Christmas, a YouTube video of the Mac Wilberg arrangement of "Still, Still, Still, and a partial list of the things that have made the USA great. They are three seemingly unrelated things, though I would maintain that all things are included in a complete definition of God and the universe.

First, the Christmas Coconut Palms.

Second, Wilberg, Still, Still, Still - As close to a heavenly experience of Chistmas and winter as I can imagine.

And, third - the list.

1. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the most important part of which is the First Amendment – “the right of the people to peaceably assemble.” (broken this year by mayors and police in cities across the country.)
a. The right of the people to bear arms.
b. The separation of church and state
c. Limitation of power of the various branches of government
d. States’ rights
e. A strong federal government
7. Public education available to all
8. Creativity and constant innovation
9. Middle class
10. The Rich
11. The poor
12. Increasing suffrage for all people regardless of religion, sex, ethnicity, race, and sexuality
13. Waves of immigration and immigrants.
14. Capitalism – Super Corporations as well as old style mom and pop capitalism.
15. Socialism – including VA medical benefits and the big 3 (Medicaid, Medicare, and social security.*1
16. A limited definition of family
17. An increasingly inclusive definition of family
18. Abundant natural resources
19. Destructive use of natural resources.
20. Beauty beyond measure
21. A constructive mythology
22. A destructive mythology

Notice anything odd about this list, I ask rhetorically?

The list includes items that we would tag as diametrically opposed, items that belong on a list of extreme conservative values, and items that belong on a list of extreme liberal values, and items that would be found on both those lists. I refuse to believe that our democracy is no longer capable of reconciling and building on a value system that includes binary oppositions. Yes, Western cultures have a bad habit of thinking in oppositions. However, our nation has not been built on them. Instead our nation has been constructed during its 235-year history by fighting for (literally and figuratively) the reconciliation of seemingly diametrically opposed values.

Today, we are once again engaged in a battle that is based on separating these values into two opposing lists. One group would go beyond separation, and would redefine the values so as to exclude any hint of the other, and that must stop, or we are doomed to fight a second internecine civil war.

I will say no more, but include here, a reminder of our most noble and actual inclusive Christian behaviors based on one of our beloved patriotic songs, the first verse of “America the Beautiful,” by Katherine Lee Bates, and Samuel Ward.

O beautiful for spacious skies,

For amber waves of grain,

For purple mountain majesties

Above the fruited plain!

America! America!

God shed his grace on thee

And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!*

P.S. Had to include this glass harp rendition of "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies."

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!


*1 In current American Western ideology, socialism is almost always labeled as morally corrupt, while capitalism is labeled as constructive and good. Most historians insist that that is a correct historical analysis. I maintain that the use of social institutions by democracies like our own has proven that a blend of socialism and capitalism is the best system available to date.

• Just to make sure there is no confusion caused by my inclusion of the word “Christian” above. I am not a born again. The accent here is placed on the words “inclusive,” and “brotherhood,” as it is my belief that Jesus Christ was all about inclusion, and his choice of disciples both men and women proved the point.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Full House is “Meta-modern?” *

Part of a continuing series about the possible influence of Metamodernism on Domestic Architecture

Full house is an expanded expression of domestic space as useful space – the ultimate retro-reference to the Modern notion that form must follow function. It is “a homeless home. That’s is more like a machine, than any of the Modernists houses has ever been.” * The authors continue to explain that the house is “Meta-modern” because it has no room left over for anything but the mechanisms of functionality. The authors also state that “dwelling is in the head, not in the house.” In other words, there is no room for a particular human to “be” in the room. The house negates the individual. It is more like the limited space occupied by the character John Isadore in the Postmodern Sci-fi novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” - a novel about what it means to be human - by Phillip K Dick. * 1

Such a space is antithetical to the Metamodern! At its core, the Metamodern represents a return to the individual as the romancer and dreamer, the maker of connections, the believer, the idealist despite the warmed over ironic Postmodern trope in the back of his/her mind that such may not be possible. The notion of a space devoid of individual reference is thus diametrically opposed to the Metamodern, and that makes it a small presence as one opposition of many linear oppositions in the 3-D model of interactive oppositional forces that I proposed (Metamodernism? Part II) upon reading Vermuelin and Van den Akker’s original description of Metamodernism. * 2 and *3 For example, “Full House” is far less Metamodern than the last example given here, “Porchdog House,” because “Full House” is emptied of individual reference, and because the Porchdog House references an architectural solution to problems a particular individual (among many) encountered and solved with the help of the architect, Marion Blackwell, and the Architecture For our Century Model Home Program. * 4 As is so often the case, theorists confuse the notion of the interactive technological “no-space” of our contemporary Twenty-first Century lives – it is but one interactive piece acting within the total epistemological space of human endeavor – with all human endeavor. Thus, Full House does not represent the influence of the Metamodern on domestic architecture despite the reference to it as “Meta-modern.” I can only conclude that the reference on the “Lab4arch” Website to Full House as being “ Meta-modern” references a conceptualization - recognized in the hyphenation of “Meta-modern” - that is only tangentially related to actual Metamodern theory.


* Johan de Koning, Architect. silver prize (cat. AJ), Second DBEW International Design Competition: Beyond East & West, Korea (2002). (I expect that the awkward English is due to the translation from Korean.), Viewed 11:14 AM, EST, Tuesday, December 13, 2011.

* 1 Dick, Phillip K., Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. New York: Doubleday (1968)

*2 Klomp, John Bittinger, “Metamodernism, Part II,” Thursday, June 2, 2011, Viewed, ll:05 AM, EST, Tuesday, December 13, 2011.

*3 Vermeulen, Timotheus, and van den Akker, Robin, “Notes on Metamodernism,” in Journal of Aesthetics & Culture, Vol. 2, 2010 DOI: 10.3402/jac.v1i0.5677. On line at, visited 10:35 AM, EDT, Thursday, June 23, 2011.

* 4 Klomp, John Bittinger, “Flying Armadillo,” Thursday, December 1, 2011, Viewed 11:30 A.M. EST, Tuesday, December 13, 2011.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Occidental Grand Xcaret Royal Club

The Second Time Around

Or as I titled my Trip Advisor review about our visit last year, “How to be Treated Like a Millionaire Whether or Not You Are One.”

Main Lobby, River Fountain and lounge Occidental Grand Flamenco Xcaret Hotel

From the moment you are greeted at the Concierges’ desk with a glass of champagne to the final moment when your luggage is delivered back to the huge portico of the hotel lobby you enjoy the most attentive staff and excellent amenities imaginable. From the Royal Club’s own private pool and restaurant, and meals delivered to your suite’s dining room - ours had a view overlooking lawns, coconut palms and Caribbean Sea – to the staff that treats you as though their life’s task is to take care of you personally, this experience exceeded my expectations on both occasions.

The View from our suite's dining room

The Royal Club lower Pool at Night (our suite was in the building in the background)

The Royal Club's practice does involve a bit more expense, but has little to do with prestige or lavish and pretentious expenditures. Instead it has everything to do with a truly relaxing vacation away from the “madding” crowd, with people who want you to feel as pampered and well cared for as is possible. There is the ubiquitous spa that one expects to find at any resort that pretends to Twenty-first Century perfection. I mention it so that those who adore being served in this way know that a spa with all the amenities is available. However, the most important element of the Royal Club is the flawlessness of care and service brought to each guest in an environment that is - honestly, and almost unbelievably in our technologically self absorbed culture - loving, and reminiscent of a different era in which the middle class could afford the occasional excursion into such restful luxury. We left the hotel with hugs from staff members who have through these two visits become friends, and left envelopes with small gifts - I refuse to call them "tips" because they were inadequate as such, and - in an all inclusive one is not expected to tip.

I could continue with a detailed description of all the other amenities that the hotel and the huge extended complex beyond the Royal Club has to offer, including a fun packed day at Xcaret Water Park. I prefer, however, to write only about the perfection this staff brings to the vacation experience of each guest precisely because it is so unusual, and they care to provide the best of service in a world that has forgotten that love of work and ones fellow human beings can be accomplished simultaneously. I believe that the Royal Club’s mission is to make each individual feel as though the Mayan Riviera is his/her home away from home. It is, however, a home without the problems that this fast paced contemporary life brings to each of us on a daily basis.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Flying Armadillo


It looks as though it is perched on its back legs, ready to launch into the air. It has an all-metal exterior 2nd story, and is raised 11 feet into the air in order to avoid any possibility of being destroyed by a future Katrina like storm surge in Biloxi, Mississippi. Owner, Richard Tyler has named it “Porchdog House” - I guess thats because he loves to sit on and enjoy the view from his living room porch with its cantilevered roof - the front porch being an extremely important part of the indigenous culture. The house is a modest 1492 square feet, based on the typical shotgun house of the region. However, Porchdog House stands the shotgun house type on its head, by cutting it in half and stacking the portions on top of one another. I like this house because it is not a house built for the 1%, and because the design program makes practical solutions of all the FEMA requirements for structures in the region destroyed by Katrina in 2005, and at the same time, it is fanciful and a bit surreal. I look at this house, and for some odd reason I think, “Flying Armadillo. “


The association makes sense because the armadillo wears his armor as protection against enemies, and makes him practically indestructible in his increasingly enlarged territory throughout the deep south. The contradictory image of a flying armadillo is humorous though dissimilar to Porchdog House. Instead, Porchdog is an elegant and fanciful solution to a program of necessity. The house was the last and possibly the best built under the Habitat for Humanity Biloxi Model Homes program by local architect Marion Blackwell, AIA. I am enthralled with it because the Metamodern has materialized in this working class neighborhood as a practical and inventive solution for an actual middle class individual and his family. How wonderful!

Mario Salvio Rage Against the Machine (1964)

Violation of the United States constitution - In light of the police pepper spraying peaceful demonstrators in California, and police violence against Occupy Wall Street nationally I'm posting this clip, and I will continue to move it and place it in future entries until the anniversary of the speech, December 2nd. Sad that our First Ammendment rights can be violated, but guns can be legally carried into the work place in Florida and peaceful gatherings nationally!


Spencer, Ingrid, “Porchdog House,” in Architectural Record: House of the Month, at September, 2010. Viewed 9:30 AM., EST., November 23, 2011.

* “Tyler Home: Tyler Residence/Porchdog,” in Open Architecture Network , Viewed 10:00 AM, EST, November 28, 2011. It is thougt that one time use of images for intellectual purpose is legal under U.S. copyright law as long as appropriate credit is given.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


An oft repeated subject – I think there may be four or five shots of flying pelicans in past journal entries. Here is why.

Last fall, 2010, a client insisted that she wanted a 32 x 40 inch pastel of a south Florida beach sunrise because she loves to take meditative morning walks on the beach. Well, I’m not a morning person, and I am generally sluggish and nasty until I’ve had two cups of morning coffee. Thus, I had never gotten up before 6:00 AM in order to shoot a sunrise. However, she insisted that the pastel had to be a beach sunrise, and that I should shoot multiple sunrises in order to get the right sky, the perfect clouds, water, birds in flight, and a full moon. Of course the client is always right, and was she ever. I enjoyed those mornings so much that I went back to the beach over and over again., and the client was so pleased with the result that she named the pastel painting “The Living Prayer.” I plan on returning as often as possible for more photographs this winter.

During those photo shoots I took many frames of pelicans in flight, and I’ve posted two or three of those photos in the past, because the birds are so graceful , and they always lift my spirits. The sun wasn’t above the horizon in this shot, so the shutter speed is too slow to stop the pelicans completely and they are a bit fuzzy. However, the slight blur gives a sense of their motion, and I like the rising line they make as they move through the picture frame from right to left.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Flying Wedge

Part of a continuing series of journal entries based on Metamodern architecture in which I ask the question – Has the Metamodern begun to influence domestic architecture? *


Residence F was designed by Meixner Schlueter Wendt Architects in Kronberg im Taunus, Germany. Because the floor to ceiling windows of the lower story are set back beneath the upper story it appears to float like a flying wedge hovering over the gently rolling landscape of which it is a part. The angle of the front top story reflects that of the hillside the house is built into. The glass lower story allows broad views of the hills surrounding the house, and the upstairs bedroom windows give expansive views of the hills behind the house. There are outdoor recreation areas including a game court above the house, and pool below the house that were created as part of the program for this family of five. As I look at the photographs of the house I can’t help but think, “It does look as if a B grade sci-fi movie flying metallic object is trying to land on this hillside in Germany. Ingrid Spencer writing about the house in Architectural Record likens the house to a stealth bomber. However, there is nothing stealthy about it because it seems to be poised to blast out of or into the hillside. The surrounding Countryside is made up of gently rolling hills, whereas the upper story of “Residence F” is all awkward angles and sharp edges that disassociate themselves from the gentle undulations. And, unlike the Libeskind “18.36.54 House,” discussed in my last journal entry, “Residence F” is not at all reflective of archetypal house form. *2 In its transgression of the “house paradigm” and sci-fi ironic kitsch flavor it is more like the Postmodern. Does form follow function as in the reductive Modern movement? No. The elaborate wedge shape of the mechanical shading device on the down-slope side is much too complicated and fanciful. Does the “sci-fi” kitsch give it the surreal/romantic touch of the Metamodern? To answer my own question, “I’m ambivalent.” I can’t make up my mind. Perhaps if the upper story had rounded edges instead of sharp corners – I don’t know! It is as though this program is trying for the Metamodern, but isn’t quite up to the task. Or perhaps, the architect(s) weren’t trying for the Metamodern. They just got caught up in the zeitgeist of the times and accidentally executed an almost Metamodern house.

House F caught my attention as I cruised through the Architectural Record Houses of the month. Never the less, I’m unsettled by the ambivalence I experience while writing about it. Therefore, based more on my “gut,” and less on logic, it cannot be Metamodern.


Spencer, Ingrid, “Residence F,” in Architectural Record, the Website, November, 2010. Viewed 9:30 A.M. EST, November 20, 2011.

* The author bases reference to the Metamodern on Vermeulen, Timotheus, and van den Akker, Robin, “Notes on Metamodernism,” in Journal of Aesthetics & Culture, Vol. 2, 2010 DOI: 10.3402/jac.v1i0.5677. On line at, visited 10:35 AM, EDT, Thursday, June 23, 2011.

*1 Kranberg, Christoph, photographer in "Residence F," Architectural Record November 10, 2010, viewed 9:35 A.M., EST., November 20, 2011.

*2 "18.36.54 House," this journal, November, 16, 2011,

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

18.36.54 House

A Vacation House built for a Powerful Art World Couple



In the journal entry dated November 11, 2011 I asked the following questions. Will the Metamodern influence domestic architecture, if not, why not? If so, what will the evidence of that influence look like? How will we identify that influence should it take place?*1

In order to answer the questions, I began by sifting through the Architectural Record Website, specifically the “House of the Month” section, and found a vacation house completed on a 56 acre site in Connecticut in July of 2010 by Daniel Libeskind.*2 The odd name for the house describes the 18 folded walls, 36 knife edged points, and 54 lines that include the folds and edges. The house looks as though a traditional domestic structure of wood and plaster had been converted into an extremely expensive metallic and mirrored fantasy, then folded through a time warp, something from a surreal dream. Thus, one of the criteria (a new romanticism) for a Metamodern presence has been met. *3 However, this expensive structure is not domestic architecture for the masses. Additionally Libeskind’s work has these unusual angles with walls, ceilings and floors that tilt creating a slightly disorienting kinesthetic feeling.

I know the criticism that is out there, and I find it irritating because Libeskind begins his work from a location outside our everyday experience. In short, Libeskind is the Jonathan Swift of Metamodern architecture because he puts into question, the very foundation of our daily lives. This architecture is designed to unsettle, not necessarily the best place to begin if one is designing a vacation house. However, looking at the interior photographs of this home - for it is exactly that – I see that the warm wood toned walls, furniture, book cases and books contribute to a space that is at once inviting and friendly. That Libeskind is able to achieve unity between the dichotomy - unsettling surreal architecture versus relaxing and warm vacation residence - is something of a minor miracle and reflects the needs and desires of his Art World client collaborators in this domestic architecture adventure. I might add that Libeskind designed the interior furnishings specifically to fit his goals and those of the couple who hired him, a project remeniscent of Frank Lloyd Wright.


Of course, this first example of Metamodern domestic architecture is not evidence of a major invasion of the housing market. These were clients with enough of the green stuff to pay for an extremely expensive architect to play with enormously expensive materials. However, it does make a mark. Perhaps others will follow. Perhaps they already have.

We shall see.


* Eberle, Todd, photographer in "18>36.54 Houser," Architectural Record, the Website, April 2011, viewed 9:10 A.M., EST, Wednesday, November 16, 2011. It is known that one time use of artwork to illustrate an article for intellectual purposes is within U.S. copyright law as long as it the origin is properly notated.

*1 The author bases reference to the Metamodern on Vermeulen, Timotheus, and van den Akker, Robin, “Notes on Metamodernism,” in Journal of Aesthetics & Culture, Vol. 2, 2010 DOI: 10.3402/jac.v1i0.5677. On line at, visited 10:35 AM, EDT, Thursday, June 23, 2011.

*2 Stephens, Suzanne, "18.36.54 House," in Architectural Record, the Website, April 2011, viewed 9:10 A.M., EST, Wednesday, November 16, 2011.

*3 See the November 11, 2011 entry to this journal, “The Metamodern in Twenty-first Century Architecture” for the summarized characteristics of Metamodern Architecture.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Metamodern in Twenty-first Century Architecture



What Are the Characteristics of Metamodern Architecture?

There are four major characteristics identified. First is a new romanticism often evidernced in a surreal quality, the use of the fantastic and the dream-like found generally throughout Metamodern Art. Second, the rather nebulous conceptualization of multiple unresolved oppositional confrontations capable of existing simultaneously is paramount.*1 These confrontations are often evidenced in the direct argument achieved through the incorporation of the contemporary with existing historic architecture.*2 As one among so many examples I point out the Allen Lambert Galleria at Brookfield Place, in Toronto, Canada by Santiago Calatrava.*3

Allan Lambert Galleria, Toronto, Canada, Santiago Calatrava 

Third, as I’ve worked on this series of journal entries, I have also identified an organic metamodern component present in many of the works, especially those of Zaha Hadid, and Santiago Calatrava. Fourth, the use of the computer and new technologies as an aid in the design of buildings, as in the works of Frank Gehry and others. Gehry's curvilinear (blobitecture) and/or abstract*4 shaped structures are the mark of Metamodern computer assisted architectural design.*5

Where do I go from here?

It is important to note that the Metamodern has materialized only in large programmatic works of architecture to date; convention centers, theaters, museums, and other large public projects. It is too early in the process of “Metamodernization” for these characteristics to have filtered down through the ranks of architects less able to take on the expense of huge projects, much less to influence domestic architecture. Thus, I arrive at a new question. Will the Metamodern influence domestic architecture, if not, why not? If so, what will the evidence of that influence look like? How will we identify that influence should it take place?

And with this last, I have pointed toward a future journal entry.


* Wolynski, Elizabeth, Vegas Images,, Created September 10, 2010, viewed 8:26 AM EST, Thursday, November 10, 2011. I used the image of the new Cleveland Clinic building in my montage of Metamodern architecture taken from Elizabeth Wolynski's journal. It is in the top center viewer's left portion. It is known that one time use of an image for intellectual purposes is legal under U.S. copyright law. I've since looked through Ms. Wolynski's journals, and found them worth taking a thorough look through.

*1 Vermeulen, Timotheus, and van den Akker, Robin, “Notes on Metamodernism,” in Journal of Aesthetics & Culture, Vol. 2, 2010 DOI: 10.3402/jac.v1i0.5677. On line at, visited 10:35 AM, EDT, Thursday, June 23, 2011.

*2 The opposition of historic with contemporary design in architecture was begun during the Postmodern as an ironic gesture in which historic architecture was saved from destruction as had so often been done during the 1950's through 1960's Minimalist Modern period.

*3 nformation |Description={{en|1=Allan Lambert Galleria (Brookfield Place), Toronto ON, Canada}} {{de|1=Allan Lambert Galleria (Brookfield Place), Toronto ON, Kanada}} |Source=Eigenes Werk (own work) |Author=Ansgar Walk | In Wikipedia on line Encyclopedia, Viewed Friday, November 11, 2011, 11:11 AM, EST.

*4 An abstract shape is characterized by angles greater and less than 90 degrees, and curved and straight lines of various irregular lengths.

*5  Waters, John K., Blobiteture:  Wave Form Architecture and Digital Design.  Minneapolis:  Rockport Publishing, 2003.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Two Things

1. My friend Steve died this past week.
2. Only once, when I was fifteen, God Spoke to me.

We interrupt the normal course of this blog…

No, I am not a born again Christian. In fact according to Evangelical Christian dogma, I cannot be a Christian. Let me explain.

First, I don't believe in an absolute biblical authority. Instead there are many possible interpretations, including the fact that each translation through various languages and periods has created various interpretations automatically.

Second, I do believe in the "good news" of Jesus teachings, though once again, there are so many variations as there are individual translations of the text and through the various authors, Matthew, Mark,Luke, including the non canonical the Catholic Church decided to exclude.

Third, my idea of the Trinity is tarnished by a personal understanding that God cannot be reduced to "he." God must be so much more than male, though inclusive of a patriarchal identity.

As to God speaking to me once at age fifteen - Actually God didn’t speak because there was no voice. I slept, and in my sleep there was an invisible darkness, total and almost complete. There was a single point of light, though I did not see in the ordinary sense. I, disembodied, was only aware of that light far, far away. And, God said, though, as I say, God didn’t speak.

“It is too soon. You must go back. There is something you must do.”

In an instant I was awake and sitting up in bed. I was shaken, and my immediate concern was that I had been where I had no right to be.

Many times since that night, upon doing something out of the ordinary, I wondered, was that it? Is that the “something” I had to do? However, I realized some years ago, that God wasn’t refereeing to a single special something I must do, and it didn’t have to be extraordinary. There are so many commonplace things I must do in my diurnal existence, and they all add up to the single thing that I must do, and that is to fulfill life’s purpose, to bring my life to completion. The most amazing part of that understanding is that God’s purpose is that I should live my life according to my own unique achievement, based on my journey, the decisions I make, the problems I solve or leave unsolved. God does not wish to control my life. God sent me back because he wanted me to live my life to its conclusion according to that which I must do, not that which God must do. There is no God given plan for my life. Instead, I construct my life as I grow into and through it. I do believe with all my heart and mind that God's plan is that each one of us live our life according to our own individual plan and that plan is a growing, changing and dynamic thing that evolves and changes with and/or without our consent. At the same time, I was closest to God when I was born, and will be closest once again when I die.

And that brings me back to Steve. I’ve only known Steve for seven years. I first met him walking his dog, and for two years our friendship was limited to the brief time we spent greeting and talking as he stopped in front of our house with Brigitte. However, over the years I got to know Steve and his partner, Ron better and better. We had many evening dinners at their house and ours filled with long conversations about our likes and dislikes. We agreed on politics one hundred percent, and in seven years I never heard Steve express a single prejudice or hateful thought though I would get totally riled about our broken political system and process during our conversations. Steve and Ron also visited us twice in south Florida during the past three years as Steve’s illness gradually worsened. Over time I grew to know Steve as the sweetest, kindest and least self-centered of human beings, a prince among men.

A few years ago I was amazed to hear from other mutual friends that they had had a very different experience of Steve many years ago, and that they no longer spoke with Steve. At first I wondered how such a thing was possible. However, over time I came to realize that Steve grew through his life experience. Steve made great changes in his life, and in the way he dealt with himself and others. These changes were positive, based in life affirming growth, and in due course, Steve filled his life with love and peace. As his illness deepened, Steve gave up so many worldly things. His physical life was regulated by a cycle in which each valley became deeper, and each peak lower, and my partner and I watched with alarm as Steve's life was slowly devoured by his worsening physical condition. Over time his manner grew ever more soft and quiet. Finally, this past week, Steve made his final journey into "the valley of the shadow of death."

Psalm 23 has particular resonance with my experience of Steve these past seven years.

1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.*

I’ve decided that those who refused to continue their friendship with Steve have suffered a greater loss than I because Steve fulfilled his chosen life’s course and filled it with his special purpose in an all to short period of 58 years.

I will miss our sweet prince.

* King James Bible

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

No entry today. I downloaded photographs taken of Cape Henlopen yesterday, then trashed the photos from the camera, just as I’ve done two thousand times before. And, presto/chango, the photographs disappeared from the folder on the computer. I must be getting senile as hell!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Shellshifting #1

The shortest blog entry of my life is this experimental image of shells - one of many to come, I hope. If printed with best resolution I want it to be 26" x 28." The original was made with Adobe Photoshop software at 300 dpi / sq. inch.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Museum of Image and Sound in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Museum of Image and Sound, Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, 2011 *

The museum is scheduled to be complete this year, and it is definitely a Modern design, though I’m not sure it is Metamodern. Diller Scofidio + Renfro is a much acclaimed 46 person interdisciplinary architectural design firm, noted for its design theory. The firm’s philosophy claims that all designs are so site specific as to be based metaphorically in the DNA of the location. and the designs do seem extremely suited to their location. The Museum of Image and Sound (hereafter MIS) folds itself into a crowded section of Rio’s Copacabana beachfront between two fourteen-story high-rise buildings. In fact the museum looks like a rectangular metal box that has emerged somewhat crushed from a 1970’s trash compactor. Yes, I know, that is a rather scathing comment. I could have said instead that it appears to have been warped through a 4th dimension. However, I find that I have a slightly uncomfortable reaction to many of the firm's architectural programs, which almost always are jammed into crowded metropolitan sites. According to the firm, the design of the building is meant to be a vertical extension of Roberto Burl Marx’s beach promenade stretched and folded through various venues and open-air spaces to the building’s rooftop theater. The concept is marvelous, and I do appreciate the interior and exterior views of the spaces despite the criticism above. Perhaps if I visited the actual site of the MIS I would have more enthusiasm for the building. After all, Diller Sofidio + Renfro won a competition to design this space. I am struggling here because I often find it a stretch to appreciate the wisdom of competition judges and committees.

In conclusion, I don’t find that the MIS design meets the criteria for a Metamodern approach. It does not achieve the fantastical and surreal aspect that seems to be part of so many Metamodern architectural works, nor does it possess an organic quality, despite the metaphorical DNA theory of the firm. Neither do I find the presence of oscillation between and among oppositions claimed by theorists Vermeulen and Van den Akker for the Metamodern. Finally I do not claim that this is a bad design, only that it is a bit awkward, and that it is not Metamodern.


Much of the notation of this article is achieved through the linked items above.

Dezeen Blog Archive, “Museum of Image and Sound by Diller Scofidio + Renfro,” August 14, 2009, viewed 10:26 AM EDT, October 15, 2011.

*EVolo, "Museum of Image and Sound in Rio de Janeiro / Diller Scofidio + Renfro," August 10, 2010, viewed 10:26 AM, EDT, October 21, 2011. It is known that one time use of images for intellectual purpose is legal under US copyright law.

Arcspace, Viewed 10:30 AM EDT, October 15, 2011.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Just a short five day visit to south Florida, then we travel north again. My partner and I went to the beach and the water was still about eighty-eight degrees Fahrenheit, crystal clear and calm. I did a good bit of swimming and sunning. However, as usual I had to take some photographs. So, just before the sunset I shot these shells on the beach. Because of the low angle of the sun the detail in the shells and sand is phenomenal, and the long shadows make all that detail pop. Because of the light quality, I find early morning and evening are the best times of the day to take photographs, and this photograph demonstrates the authenticity of that belief.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Santiago Calatrava

Part of the series of entries on Architecture of the Twenty-first Century


Santiago Calatrava, WTC Transportation Hub, World Trade Center, New York, (Designed 2007)

His designs often look like spinal cords suspended by cable. The Ground Zero transportation Hub appears to this writer like a chunk of human spine transmogrified into a flying crustacean complete with Superior articular process, though these last are long pointed extensions. The Turning Torso in Malmo, Sweden twists like a human athlete preparing to throw a discus as it rises 866 feet into the sky. The Milwaukee Art Museum, though designated Postmodern looks like a Cubist rendition of birds in flight. He has designed a planetarium that is like a human eyeball complete with hydraulic eyelid. He is an architect with an engineering degree, and all his structures are engineering marvels based at least in part on skeletal structure, which makes them organic, and coincidentally Metamodern rather than Postmodern

Calatrava, born in Valencia, Spain in 1951 was known early on in his career for the bridges he designed, the first of which was built for the Barcelona Olympic Games. During the 1990’s he designed many large public facilities and more unusual suspension bridges including the City of the Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain, the railway station, Care de Lyon Saint-Exupery, Lyon, France, and the Alamillo Bridge (Puente del Alamillo) in Sevilla, Spain. At the same time he began to exhibit abstract sculptures based on the same engineering techniques as his buildings and bridges.

During this century Calatrava has continued to create buildings and bridges based on skeleton-like structures. These include The Athens Olympic Sports Complex, Athens, Greece, The Turning Torso in Malmo, Sweden, and the Liege-Guillemins train station in Liege, Belgium. These structures often look like some fantastical creature - at once impossible, wearing its skeleton on the outside and surreal - has landed in the middle of the cityscape. They immediately meet the two most important criteria for a Metamodern designation. They are both fantastic/surreal, and organic. That they are often mistakenly called Postmodern fits in with Vermeulin and Van den Akker's notions of the Metamodern as oscillating between oppositions, and this author’s idea that a model for the Metamodern would look like pairs of oppositions moving and colliding with and among one another in a three-dimensional space.


Documentation for this article is established through the links above with the exception of the following two notations.

*1 "Santiago Calatrava Shows his WTC Transportation Hub at Queen Sofia Spanish Institute," Art Knowledge News, The Art Appreciation Foundation, Viewed Saturday, October, 8, 2011. One time use of images for intellectual purposes is acceptable within United States Copyright Law.

*2 Tzonis, Alexander, Santiago Calatrava: Complete Works, Expanded Edition, New York; Rizoli (2007).

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Digital Artwork for Steve Jobs

I've been an Apple fan since 1984, and I can't imagine the world without my Apple laptop and my iPod. I'm a product of my times, and Steve Jobs is responsible for my love affair with technology. All my artwork on this journal is prepared with the use of my MacBookPro. So, I'm placing this image in the journal which is part of the current mixed media distressed painting I'm working on. It's a fitting tribute because none of this, the journal, the artwork, nor the computer would exist without Steve Jobs.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Jean Nouvel:

A Metamorphosis of the Modern into the Metamodern

Jean Nouvel, Torres Algues, Barcelona, Spain (2003) *

Born August 12, 1945, the architect is this writer's contemporary, which would place him in the Postmodern according to the time he began producing. Looking at his oeuvre, however, his work is Modern and/or Metamodern in character, and I’m sure there are those who would place him among Modern architects, though I question that judgment. Let me explain.

The Torre Algues de Barcelona (Agbar), Barcelona, the ultimate expression of male vanity is also Jean Nouvel’s only adventure in true blobitecture. *2 He has designed other curved structures like the Louvre Abu Dhabi (a flattened flying saucer-like dome with a transparent tree branch latticed structure), and his barrel vaulted (Paulo Soleri Arcosanti-like) Winery at Chateau la Costa in Provence. However, these structures use modern forms that unintentionally echo ancient Roman architectural devices. Additionally, Nouvel’s design for the master plan and megalithic main building for the Port of Vigo in Spain (2007) has nothing to do with curves, but instead looks like a giant rock complete with plant growth that suggests time etched sedimentation. After searching for current status of the project on line, it appears to me that the economic crash of 2008, spearheaded by our own illustrious Wall Street has prevented the consummation of the project.

Jean Nouvel, Port of Vigo Spain, Office Tower (2007 design winner)

Of all the structures I’ve listed above, the first and the last are most indicative of a Metamodern disposition, though the others relate more closely to a 3rd quarter 20th Century Modernism. It would seem that Mr. Nouvel himself oscillates between a Modern and a Metamodern position, though the Port of Vigo project and others indicate that he is ever more invested in a fantastical surreal and organic nature that is typical of the Metamodern. For anyone interested in the ways Modernism metamorphoses into the Metamodern, a closer look at Jean Nouvel’s work is clearly warranted.


Goodman, Lanie, “Starchitects on Parade,” The New York Times Style Magazine September, 25, 2011, p 102-105.

Admin, “Jean Nouvel’s Granit Monolith Covered with Vegetation Overlooks the Port of Vigo,” eVolo, July 31, 2011, viewed 4:41 PM EDT, Friday, September 30, 2011.

Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Corporate Website at Viewed 4:30 PM EDT, Friday, September 30, 2011.

* Nouvel, Jean, Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, “Jean Nouvel,” image, "The Torres Algues," Last modified 7:52, September 30, 2011, viewed 10:00 AM EDT, Saturday, October 1, 2011. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled GNU Free Documentation License.

*2 That the Torre Algues is blobitecture might be desputed because it is not entirely curved. However, Frank Gehry's buildings (for one) are often sighted as blobitecture despite the presence of straight lines and trapazoidal form mixed with curves.

*3 Admin, “Jean Nouvel’s Granit Monolith Covered with Vegetation Overlooks the Port of Vigo,” eVolo, July 31, 2011, viewed 4:41 PM EDT, Friday, September 30, 2011. It is known that one time use of an image for intellectual purpose is legal under United States copyright law.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Metamodernism at Ground Zero

One World Trade Center Versus the Memorial Pools

The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, moderated by images. *

The tragedy is that the original surreal and fantastical Libeskind design was subverted by the developer Larry A. Silverstein who with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill architect David A. Childs - despite all the hype to the contrary - reworked the Libeskind spiraled asymmetrical trapezoidal building into a perfectly ordinary vertical structure.

The Libeskind design versus the Childs design for One World Trade Center

It may be politically incorrect to criticize the New World Trade Center site at this point in time, though everyone knows that the entire process of development has been mired in controversy and argument between the LMDC (Lower Manhattan Development Corporation), and its various component organizations and architects during its entire history. Despite Libeskind's protestations to the contrary, his original design is barely recognizable. Never the less, here I go. One World Trade Center will not be the original 1776 feet tall twisting and off center foil to the Statue of Liberty’s raised arm and torch, as envisioned by architect Daniel Libeskind. Instead, it will be truncated to approximately 1300 feet with a tragically needle-thin and weak decorative tower stuck on the exact center top in a vain attempt to reach the reiteration of our nation’s founding. Additionally, the twenty story base is unfinished because Childs’ overworked complex idea for translucent prismatic glass walls was impractical and, quite frankly, impossible to achieve. It is not amazing to this author that well-financed corporate and social forces have destroyed the originally creative artistic vision, as it seems to be a national practice to subvert the very creative power that once made the nation great.

The Memorial Pools, a video made by Crazy Dark One on YouTube at "," Viewed 10:30 AM EDT, Sunday, September 25.

At the same time – despite the arguments between Arad, Libeskind and others - the design for the commemorative pools and museum by Michael Arad and Peter Walker is stunning. Arad had to fight like a maniacal tiger to keep his design intact, and did alienate many of those surrounding the project including his partner in the design concept, Peter Walker. Never the less, the design, two pools surrounded by a forest grid follows the footprint of the original towers, but implodes into the earth with shimmering curtains of water that flow into a reflective pool and then disappear into another square void, a wonderful flight of the imagination and beautiful testament to the immense loss we feel as a nation and as individuals. The design is a triumph of the human spirit over the loss that exploded into our homes and work places that clear September morning in 2001.

These two structures, One World Trade Center, and the 9/11 Memorial Pools, embroiled in partisan controversy and internecine warfare create a metaphor, an oppositional paradox that is an enigmatic representation of our national state in this metamodern recapitulation of the twentieth century complete with a national economic tragedy equal to the Great Depression. I maintain that the Great Recession is equal to the Great Depression because the numbers of displaced people and the financial destruction wrought upon upper-middle class, middle class and working class Americans far surpasses that calamity. At the same time corporate America amasses trillions as the Republican Party plays Marie Antoinette to the splintered ineffective Democratic Party. One Trade Center stands in for our Twenty-first Century inability to save ourselves from our own mistakes. At the same time, the triumph of the human spirit represented in the Arad and Walker commemorative pools and forest represents the transcendence we must attain as a nation in order to heal the extremely splintered division we experience at the beginning of the second decade of this century.


* Debord, Guy, Society of the Spectacle, Black and Red, Detroit: 1983.

Hagan, Joe, “The Breaking of Michael Arad,” in New York Magazine: Art. Taken from the Website at, 10: 12 AM, EDT, Saturday, September 24, 2011. (May 14, 2006).

Libeskind, Daniel, Website homepage at Viewed 9:35 AM, EDT, Saturday, September 24, 2011.

Libeskind, Daniel, Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, Last modified 12:24, September 20, 2011, Viewed 10: 19 AM, EDT, Saturday, September 24, 2011.

Lower Manhattan Development Authority (LMDC) Website,, © 2002-7. Viewed 10: 27 AM, EDT, Saturday, September 24, 2011. Images used one time for intellectual purposes are thought to be legal within United States copyright law.

9/11 Memorial Museum Website, 10:00 AM, EDT, Saturday, September 24, 2011. Images used one time for intellectual purposes are thought to be legal within United States copyright law.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Marilyn Monroe Sighting at Characters Pub, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Marilyn, (4' x 10') Oil Paint on Canvas, John Bittinger Klomp

“Yes, just like Elvis, we saw her, and she was looking right at us.”

Actually, we sent the two 4 x 5 foot panels to the restaurant two weeks ago via a friend’s truck, and drove up this past Sunday and installed them while the restaurant was closed. It should have been an easy task, but of course, Murphy was busy at work, and we encountered several problems in addition to the anticipated one of making sure that it would be impossible for the artwork to fall. We did anchor them in such a way that it would take something like a Fukushima style earthquake and Tsunami disaster to bring them down. In fact, they are fastened so well, that, unlike the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Marilyn will not melt down. Instead, hopefully her glance will melt the heart of many a diner at the restaurant, and they will over indulge in Chef, Meghan J. Young’s wonderful fare.

We also tore down the old tchotchke shelf that ran along one wall a couple of weeks back, so that the graphite drawings of motion picture characters/stars are no longer crowded out by all the junk. You can see the way it use to look by going to this journal, Sunday, July 31, 2011.

If you should go to Characters Pub for lunch or dinner, call a head, and ask for Jose Fuentes or Meghan and tell them I sent you. They are friendly characters, the service is good, and the cuisine is world class!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Growth, Organization And Entropy in Cultural Process

An all too brief look at organic progress and regression as a natural occurrence in human cultural endeavor.


As described in the past several journal intries, the architecture of Zaha Hadid is a physical demonstration of organic growth and organization. In A Thousand Plateaus Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari proposed the notion of the rhizome as a process applicable to cultural processes. I dealt with the idea in this journal, particularly in “Metamodernism: Parts II & III, on June 2nd and 23rd, 2011” respectively. * 1 In those journal entries I stated that a rhizome has a two-dimensional growth pattern, and that the pattern of growth and entropy in human social organization would of necessity be a three- dimensional process. I based that observation in part on Vermeulen and Van den Akker’s ideation in “Notes on Metamodernism.” * 2 In those entries I also mentioned creationist criticism of all science that has anything to do with organic processes. I did so in order to debunk such a notion as less than plausible. Creationist criticism of organic science is based on the notion that the 2nd law of Thermodynamics (hereafter “the 2nd Law) is wrong. That creationist criticism of natural science is non sequitur. Let me explain. The 2nd law sets forth the tendency for all physical processes to tend toward equilibrium or stasis in a closed system. The non sequitur involves two missteps. First, life on earth is not a closed system in a mechanical process. Second, even if it were, the 2nd Law does not refer to random processes such as the variability of snowflakes, lightning, or planets. In short, the 2nd Law has nothing to do with evolutionary theory and/or the growth and organization of organic material. Perhaps they confuse the concept of homeostasis in organic processes with the 2nd Law. In any event, they are confused and illogical.

I have also stated that I'm ambivalent about the Deluze and Guatarri concept “rhizome” because it is two-dimensional. More often than not, human cultural process, including oppositional process is three-dimensional. Consider our own nation. Yes, we can trace a linear development from British colony to Twenty-first Century nation. Within that process, however, one must consider the development of our political two party system, the notion of separation of powers, and the sharing of power among the branches of government (presidency, legislature and courts),as well as the constitution and constitutional interpretation by the courts and others within the culture. Such variation can best be described in two dimensions. However, we must also look at the development of other newer institutions over time many of which are opposed by still other institutions in the larger culture of our democracy. These have proliferated, and their development is a random process that can only be described in more than two-dimensional terms. For instance – without casting aspersions on either side of the following binary opposition - take the cultural reaction to the reality of human sexuality as being variable. Michele Bachman and husband, PhD. Marcus Bachman own a Christian counseling service, “Bachman and Associates” that tries to counsel homosexuals out of their homosexuality. In opposition to that practice is the more largely held cultural position that homosexuality is caused by a combination of biological, genetic, and behavioral factors that are not amenable to counseling and change. Examples of cultural institutionalization of such binary oppositions are rife, and they demonstrate the 3-dimensional quality to cultural variability. I proposed a model for that 3-dimensional variability in the above mentioned journal entry of June 2nd 2011.

I also advance here the idea that Metamodern architectural practice as conducted by Herzog and de Meuron, Daniel Libeskind, Peter Cook and Colin Fournier, Zaha Hadid and others is - for varied reasons based on each architects oeuvre - a physical three-dimensional visualization of the random cultural processes described here, and I will spend much time in the future developing and describing that notion in more detail.


* images from archdaily at Viewed Thursday, August 18, 2011. It is understood that one time use of images for intellectual purpose is acceptable under U.S. copyright law.

* 1 Deleuze, Gilles, & Guattari, Felix, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism & Schizophrenia, Minneapolis: 1987.

* 2 Vermeulen, Timotheus, and van den Akker, Robin, “Notes on Metamodernism,” in Journal of Aesthetics & Culture, Vol. 2, 2010 DOI: 10.3402/jac.v1i0.5677. On line at, visited 10:35 AM, EDT, Thursday, June 23, 2011.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Nine Eleven

My Stand (An affirmation)

”My Stand” first appeared as part of Isaac Stolzfuts’ Diary on September 11th, 2003. Today, a decade after the horrible events of Nine Eleven I have altered it to fit my own persona.

I was born on September 11th, 1944.
I was in my classroom on September 11th, 2001,
I walked from desk to desk, and
On bended knee I was
Present to student supplication -
“What do you think about this shape here?”
“What about this line?”
“I can’t make this work –
How do I draw this hand?”
“This perspective isn’t right –
How do I get this sidewalk to look flat?”

My mind wandered, and I
Thought about cake, gag gifts and cards
Waiting in the office for lunch break.
My mind wandered, and I
Talked to myself, wondering,
“How did I get to be FIFTY-SEVEN!”

I n t e r r u p t I o n !

P. A. system sputter –

“Please stop what you are doing.
Turn your Televisions on,
And tune to any station.”

I hit the remote, and TV blinks,
Stentorian to my mind
The anchor’s voice, a fragment,
Even and measured announcing
And, no longer doing our Art,
We watch thousands die,
And it feels as though we are there,
Engulfed in that ebon cloud of dust,
The taste of death in our mouths.
Jenna cries (name changed to protect her innocence)
“That’s got to be just a movie, Dr. Klomp,
Right?” And Henry (NCPHI) says,
"Where are all the super heroes
When you need them?"

Today I have the answer for Henry.
The super heroes are everywhere – they
Are the fallen on Nine Eleven - they
Are the thousands that have died
Since Nine Eleven - you, Henry
Are one of the super Heroes -
Our public employees, police, firemen,
And yes, teachers too are the super heroes
Super heroes are fighting the foreign wars,
And we pray for their safety,
As we pray for the wars to end.

I was born on September 11, 1944,
Near the end of World War Two and that earlier Holocaust.
A Surreal world of horror both then and in 2001 -
Flowers and fireworks versus cinders and soot.
A world in which our best die on foreign soil.
A world in which the lost lives of foreign
Women and children are not counted.
A world in which stolen artifacts
Testament to the beginning of civilization
Are casualties to our “horror terrori.”
A world in which we each partake daily
In this Twenty-first Century crusade.

I do not believe in these wars.
I do not believe in this version
Of the "New American Century."
I do believe in a United States that stands for peace and trust.
I do believe in a United States that leads the world by GOOD example.
I do believe in a United States that bequeaths to the world
A vision of democracy and freedom.
I do believe in a United States in which
Each and every one is hero and patriot -
Laborer, CEO, people of all colors, straight
Lesbian, gay, transsexual, Protestant, Catholic,
Jew, Muslim, man, woman, and child –
I do believe in a United States in which
All American heroes have the right to peaceful dissent.
Dissent is one of the freedoms we believe in!
Do not call any of us anti-American.
Do not tell any of us that we are not patriots.

I was born on September 11, 1944.
My life always circled around “Nine Eleven.”
By birthright I am Nine Eleven,
And I am freedom.
Like Walt Whitman I am part of you
And all of you are a part of me.
And we are all American patriots.
I do believe each of us owes his due on our profligacy.
I don’t believe in a United States in which any American
Must be told he doesn’t have a job
While another is not paying his due.
I do believe that Nine Eleven demonstrates
That every American is willing to do his share.
I was born on September 11, 1944, and
I do believe in a United States in which
We are all 21st century American patriots!

Remember Them the Way They Used To Be.
Be a hero, and picture them the way they will be.
Be an American patriot and invent the way we should be.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sundance Auction Gladiolas

Every year my partner and I collect items for the CAMP Sundance Art Auction. On the week of the Sundance we work with a stalwart group to setup and takedown the convention center for the celebration of sun, surf, and our diverse community here in Rehoboth Beach. One of the rewards - other than knowing one has helped a great cause - is that after the Labor Day event we get to take home a huge batch of gladiolas from the Brobdingnagian bouquets that are placed along the serving tables around the periphery of the auditorium. This year we chose yellow and purple flowers from the bouquets’ rainbow colors.

I also have a photograph of our cat, Anna sitting next to and playing with the bouquet from 2008.

For me, the bouquets serve to emphasize the fact that we are privileged to live in this wonderfully diverse community that CAMP and its two founders, Murray Archibald, Steve Elkins and all the many volunteers have helped to create since its inception twenty-two years ago.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Zaha Hadid: Part V

Indications for Future Study

Zaha Hadid, Abud Dhabi Performing Arts Center, begun in 2009 (in process) *

Hadid’s architecture of this century is organic with specific references to the botanical concepts of growth, organization and entropy. In the last entry on this journal, I used the new Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Center as example. That structure looks like a branching vine or tree reaching toward the sparkling waters that surround Saadiyat Island. I make no claim here for the spontaneous acquisition of energy from nothing, which is the chief point in arguments against the conceptualization of growth and organization and evolution on the part of creationists. * 2 Instead, I site the fact that scientists have repeatedly observed phenomena based on growth and spontaneous organization in biological process both in the plant and animal kingdoms. The applied sciences have used this observed organic process to develop computer programming that generates multi-agent organization, which fosters the functionality of Websites like Facebook and Twitter. Zaha Hadid, fascinated by these organic processes uses them as inspiration for her architecture. She creates architectural programs that are an affirmation of life on Earth.

Interesting to this writer is the fact that the organic process involving growth, organization and entropy can also be used to achieve an understanding of cultural processes including languages, and human production like the arts. In the future I will look at how that cultural process works, though that will have to wait until I have had time to investigate both the process, and examples of actual function in the arts.


* “Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Center by Zaha Hadid,” in Archinomy:  Bridging the Gap, at  Viewed 10:31 EDT, Sunday, August, 28, 2011. It is known that the use of images for one time scholarly purposes is legal under United States Copyright law.

* 2 The creationist argument against evolution that nothing can come from nothing involves the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, which as far as I can tell is about the dissolution or movement of energy towards stasis/entropy. Thus, the 2nd Law is not about something coming from nothing, rather it is about the non-availability of energy for work. In other words it is about energy becoming useless. Quite frankly, I have difficulty finding a link between the 2nd law and evolution. The creationist argument is specious. Instead, Science is simply a tool to discover the amazing processes involved in God’s work. I don’t understand why the specificity of the Bible is so important to some Christians. The books of the Bible are products of the time in which they were written by men, and are limited by the lack of human understanding of God’s creation and/or intent. At any rate, the techniques of God’s creation are not so important. The fact of that creation is important.

Futagawa,Yoshio, "Special Issue, Zaha Hadid," Global Architecture Magazine: Document 99 (2007)

Hadid, Zaha, with Introduction by Aaron Betsky.  New York: Rizzoli, 2009.

Hadid, Zaha, Zaha Hadid Architects. at  Viewed 10:35 AM, EDT, Sunday, August 28, 2011.

Parunak, H. Van Dyke & Brueckner, Sven, “Entropy and Self-Organization in Multi-Agent Systems,” Proceedings of the International Conference on Autonomous Agents (Agents 2001), p. 124-130.

Zaha Hadid, Google  at  Viewed 10:39 AM  EDT, Sunday, August 28, 2011.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Zaha Hadid: Part IV

Growth, Organization and Entropy in Organic Processes 

The fourth part in an extended series of entries about the architect, this entry will also lead toward application of the above subtitle to human cultural processes as I play with metamodernism.  In particular I will discuss Zaha Hadid’s plans for the Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Center, part of the 270 Hectacre cultural district of Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi in relation to growth, organization and entropy in both organic and cultural processes.


The Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Center

The structure of the Performing Arts Center creates its own dichotomy because it is based on botanical imagery, a curvilinear crystalline metal and glass structure that is alien to thousands of years of architectural history.  I don’t want the reader to take that as a negative, instead it should be understood as uncomplicated observation.  Let me explain - if anywhere in the Western world you ask a 5-year old child to draw a house, you obtain the following image.

The pentagonal structure made up of a triangle-topped square is almost architectonic in that it is permanently constructed in each and every mind.  The entire history of architecture in the West is based almost completely on rectangular and triangular structures – until now.  Hadid’s work is not the only work that occupies this organic free form and/or abstract shape territory.  There is a list of architects whose works in part can be described as “blobitecture.”  Still others, like Frank Gehry, whose structures look as though the rectangle and triangle have been folded through a many layered but curved 4th dimension.  However, Hadid’s smoothly extruded curved forms are the only ones that appear to be based purely in botanical processes.  The Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Center specifically appears to be based on a vine or tree with leafing branches that reach for the sparkle of reflected light from the water surrounding Saadiyat Island.  The contrast between traditional structures and these botanically based constructs is so startling as to seem alien when first encountered, belying the appearance that the metallic and glass behemoths grow from a seed beneath the earth’s crust.

I’ve incorporated and documented a few images in this blog entry, but there is such a plethora of these Web images and text about them that it might behoove the reader to do some exploring of his/her own in order to discover the complexity of the design and its roots in growth, organization and entropy.



To be Continued


Hadid, Zaha, with Introduction by Aaron Betsky.  New York: Rizzoli, 2009.

Hadid, Zaha, Zaha Hadid Architects. at  Viewed 10:35 AM, EDT, Sunday, August 28, 2011.

Zaha Hadid, Google  at  Viewed 10:39 AM  EDT, Sunday, August 28, 2011.

* “Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Center by Zaha Hadid,” in Archinomy:  Bridging the Gap, at  Viewed 10:31 EDT, Sunday, August, 28, 2011. It is known that the use of images for one time scholarly purposes is legal under United States Copyright law.