Latest Posts

Archive for January, 2006


Tuesday, January 31st, 2006


You are not supposed to pay attention to the parking structures that sit next
to (rather than under) suburban office buildings such as this one in Addison
Texas. These structures built for automobiles are supposed to be invisible, not
part of the official design of the primary structure. Sometimes it’s hard to
figure out which one is uglier.

While I was interviewing him in Addison
, Andres Duany looked
at these structures and said “it couldn’t have taken more than 15 minutes
to design the whole facade.”

Pretty generous of him, I thought.

Memory Bench

Saturday, January 28th, 2006

Memory Bench

Benches and chairs have become decorative. They are like vestigial relics of a time when people really did sit in front of their houses.

Bubble 2.0

Sunday, January 22nd, 2006

OK this
is funny. I played a part
in Bubble 1.0 and if we are in a Bubble 2.0 - there certainly is a frenzy over
social software
- then this
may have it down pat. One thing that was lacking in Bubble 1.0 was
irony, not to mention doubt. We were all caught in this mass hallucination that
looked something like the cover of The
Robb Report
, except younger and with email.

After the sales of myspace
and flickr, a lot of people
raised their heads from their gmail and went “hmmmm. So people really do
want to connect with other people?” Well of course they do - at least via
the mediation of a screen. Most of the built environment precludes opportunities
for interrelations. We all get to have our stuff, our houses, and our cars,
all of which keeps us at increasing distances from one another. And a good deal
of recent technology is itself to blame for the spiral of disconnectedness.

As I finish my film Subdivided
I am continually reminded how no matter how violently some societal forces push
us away from one another, we always find ways to connect, even if it’s just
groping in Second Life

A Little Tree on a Concrete Island

Monday, January 16th, 2006

A Little Tree on a Concrete Island

This is a sad little tree behind a new shopping center in Frisco, Texas. We can thank thoughtful zoning rules for this lovely scene. Everything was scraped away, paved and cemented, and then they made a little island for this lonely, pathetic tree.

Still image from the documentary film “Subdivided” - to be released this year.

Welcome to Second Life, Let’s Grope

Friday, January 13th, 2006

Second Life Online Virtual WorldWelcome
to your Second Life, your new virtual world awaits you! The hope of a new life,
free from all the real people you know and the sorry state of your own appearance.
You can look like you’ve always wanted to look! Plus, no smells!

Oh, but wait. First this guy wants to put his hand in your pants.

And this is just what happened to a student of mine as he entered Second
for the first time. Second Life is an online world that allows you
to own virtual land and engage in various business and interpersonal activities:
flirting, gambling, building things, groping, etc.

While I’m not opposed to groping in an of itself, and I’m certainly not against
online worlds, this quite common event shows just how far these worlds still
need to go.

In the near future most people will have multiple avatars in multiple, interconnected
worlds engaged in all manner of activities - not just games and diversions.

And just as the pornography industry blazed many an Internet trail, so too
will they work out the kinks (so to speak) in online worlds. In Second Life
you can go to stripper bars and watch naked pixel women writhe before you in
all their herky jerky, motion captured glory. If you give them Second Life currency,
they will do other things for you.

One of the big problems with these worlds at the present time is that they
are all privately owned, commercial ventures. Yes this will move the technology
and the ecology of virtual culture forward, but certain areas will be ignored,
such as shared spaces. The immersive digital commons.

For this we need an open-source movement in virtual worlds. One they are available,
people will want virtual “rooms” and they will want to interconnect
them, just the way they interconnect now with flickr
and facebook, and all the
other social
tools. People will connect their spaces organically, like the blogosphere,
free from any overarching dictator - which is exactly how online worlds are
governed now.

Once we have real public space in online worlds then we’ll have an online world
worth entering.