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.