16 April 2013

'Bigger, Farther, Filled with More Stuff'

"Never tell one story. Always tell a second. That way, the first one won’t fall over." Mark Feldman writing at the Design Observer about "Illuminating the Petrochemical Landscape", discussing "narrative cartography" and the task of navigating the difficult gap between strictly documentarian and mere aestheticism in environmental landscape photography...

"In an interview for Aperture, Orff explains that she perceived Misrach’s photos as suggesting 'phantom stories' waiting to be explored and communicated. Indeed, 'Pipeline' and 'River Road,' like many of Misrach’s images, does seem haunted, more gothic than sublime, menaced by hidden forces. As a style the gothic has long been used to register secret desires and unhealed historical wounds; here the environmental gothic registers the fear that someday a well will burst, a pipe will leak, a toxin will bio-accumulate."

The article centers on photographer Richard Misrach's latest project Petrochemical America; an expansion of his earlier series Cancer Alley into a three-part published collaboration with landscape architect Kate Orff.

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Also at the DO "Places" section recently: Post-critical architectural practice in the age of "Delirious Capital"...

"Teeming with ambition, modernity and difference, metropolitan culture, in the Koolhaasian perspective, functions as a modernizing force; and the architect has consistently sought out its latest manifestations around the globe. When he and three partners set up shop in 1975 — that is, in an era when cities were emptying out and post-modern historicism was ascendant — they went against the grain by calling their practice the Office of Metropolitan Architecture. And right from the start, in the spirit of Bataille, OMA has rejected what it sees as the rigid, repressive and divisive order of architecture in favor of the fluid, dynamic and productive disorder of the capitalist, market-driven metropolis. This is most evident in how the firm's projects — from individual buildings to urban plans — interweave diverse programs as a way to induce the culture of congestion. But they break from Bataille — and from the culture of critique — in their ultimate embrace of the power of capitalism to drive change."

Ellen Dunham-Jones weighs in with a lengthy walk-through of "The Irrational Exuberance of Rem Koolhaas." Adapted for the article from the author's contribution to a volume of essays to be published by Routledge in the late summer.

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