Saturday, February 28, 2009

Intersections: Grand Concourse Beyond 100

The Bronx Museum has teamed up with Design Trust to host a design competition aimed at gathering ideas for the future of the Grand Concourse. Exemplifying how organizations are taking on the task of improving urban environments. This is an open call to anyone who can come up with a vision of the future for this portion of Bronx's urban fabric.

"This international ideas competition solicits bold visions that describe how the Bronx and the Grand Concourse can evolve in coming decades to cope with pressing needs for housing, green space, and transportation.
Winning proposals will be exhibited at The Bronx Museum of the Arts starting in November 2009. Honorable mentions will be on display at the exhibition and on this website."

What makes this so interesting?

Partnership between the Bronx Museum and Design Trust:

This project not only bridges public and private practice, engaging local governments and private companies, it expands the role of the museum and the artist. Traditionally, in a very brief and narrow sense, museums exhibit works of art as end products and artists make them. But the exhibition that will be presented in the Bronx Museum is different. Selected proposals will be on show and while these may not be complete plans for urban design they may very well influence the future urban environment of the Grand Concourse. They are images, representations of what could very well become a tangible infrastructure. On that note the exhibition opens an intriguing path for public feedback, putting the big ideas up for all to see means that those who do catch a glimpse can respond. Is the museum going to be recording public response? I doubt it, but it is certainly a interesting shift in the role of the museum and I am sure the images of Grand Concourse's future will prompt an interesting dialogue.

An expanded role for artists interested in the Urban Environment.

Art is often retro fitted onto the existing urban fabric. It takes a side seat, if any, to the design and planning role. This project opens the door for artists. It takes into account the value of art, innovation and creative vision. This competition challenges traditional design and development practices engaging diverse professions, providing a venue for exhibition that places the products of the competition in the domain of art, and opens the door to artists. This elucidates evolving processes in urban design and marks emergent inclusions of art, a valued role for the artist, and the sifting landscape of design professions. Urban design becomes art and the scope of the artist's influence acquires a new lens.

The Jury:

The jury here epitomizes the diversity of this project and its potential. Comprised of architects, planners, artists, a sociologist and an editor this jury covers a great spectrum of professionals.

Some notable Jurors just to get the picture:

Susan Szenasy :
Editor-in-Chief of Metropolis
TATS CRU : Bronz based professional muralists

Wilhelm Ronda : Director of Planning and Development for the Office of Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión.
Tim Rollins : Artist, Founder of Art and Knowledge Workshop
Dr. Clara E. Rodríguez :
Professor of Sociology at Fordham University’s College at Lincoln Center.
Walter Hood : Professor and former Chair of the Landscape Architecture Department at the University of California, Berkeley.
Stan Allen
: Dean of the School of Architecture at Princeton University.

It is great to see the explosion of design competitions in recent years. All are bringing imaginative ideas to the front of urban design and I look forward to charting this evolution of urban environment. I am certainly pleased to see the inclusion of art and the expansion of the artists role from a passive to active one.

To see more visit:

Intersections : Grand Concourse Beyond 100


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Impress: possiblities, extentsions and implications

Typically the human-technology relationship carries an air of physical rigidity. Computer displays, digitizers and other devices used by designers and artists are constructed of materials that are all too often cold and stiff. While devices that respond to touch and input through specialized sensors do exist these links between the real and virtual yield little to the tactile presence and provide practically no feedback to users extending beyond the visual domain. This sets up a one way street for input that limits the relationship between the tool and the user.

Artists working with materials like clay, metal, wood and plastics rely on the feedback provided by these materials. Each material, weather worked by hand or tool, responds to the presence of the maker on a physical and sensible level. This responsiveness enriches the human-material relationship. At the level of the designer and artist, creating tools that provide sensory feedback beyond the visual domain enriches the human-technology relationship; making way for a more engaging and inviting experience while affording opportunities for new interactive scenarios related to the design and creation of objects and environments.

This all comes to mind when I encounter technology like the Impress display unit. Combining a force sensitive display with an array of applications, this technology presents a unit that begins to provide a more interactive environment. Though it appears a rough model, having an almost toy-like quality, it does establish in crude form a two way path for feedback between users and technology. The foam bed harboring force sensors responds the touch of a user with about a 4" threshold. This display has a few immediate uses based on sound, topography, and browsing.

What I find most interesting is its potential. Increase the size, perhaps the shape and form, develop a method for changing the threshold, elastic response and sensitivity, connect it to specialized software like GIS or Autocad and there you have it, a modeling tool that works with human touch. Enriched interfaces like this could be used to shape and form surfaces and infrastructure in the virtual domain. Integrate this display with real time software application and the products of this combination may very well be the architectural landscapes of future cities. The possibilities go beyond topographic modeling but I will leave the imagination to do the rest.


impress - flexible display from Sillenet on Vimeo.

Images via:

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Huaxi City Center

Cycles, consistent ebbs and flows in my interests, form the boundaries of my work and research. A pliable delineation of art, design and environment defines the region of my inquiry. Fascinated with the entirety of the inhabited, yet bypassing the broader scope of this interest, I often focus on images of urban infrastructure that invite poetic impressions and engage my imagination through daydreams and an aesthetic sensibility. Emerging from increased ecological pressures combined with broad planning and design efforts of development professionals is a growing trend in competitions and proposals aimed at creating fully articulated urban centers. While many of these proposals remain imaginary they contribute to the mass of renderings and images available to the public, alluding to cities of the future. These plans look to make use of lessons learned over centuries of monumental construction practices; they merge programs for living and working while paying heed to growing demands for urban agriculture and ecological integration. Images of these projects inspire my work and afford countless niches for the role of artists.

Huaxi City Center:

Recent coverage of the Huaxi city center design contest, organized by Mad exposes some great images that bridge the domains of art, design and environment. Architects, engineers and planners are composing this master plan, working to bring this urban environment to life.

images via : design boom

There is a grand dialogue between environment and man, maintained through the imagination, that invests life into the spaces we encounter. With any project like the Huaxi city center there is a exploration of the unknown, imaginary and immaterial. Exploring the chaos of that which is unrecognized, bringing life to the ideas and images of the imagination through material manifestation is art. The dreamer, encountering images that afford raw impetus for creativity, becomes the artist.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Object+ : 1.1

As I move through this life the relationship I have with my environment develops. I have always been captivated by this idea. I am refreshed at times by the relatively simple form of stones and other objects that I encounter on a daily basis. There is something intriguing about the sensibility of objects. Stones that were once part of larger bodies, rigid and rugged, shaped by the elements have a particular presence in my life. Objects can act as vehicles for the poetry of life, channeling ideas and emotions. If I move slowly and shift the way in which I perceive my environment, life opens like the seed watered and nourished by the sun. Ideas of being, the passage of time, movement through space and translation of energy take on new meaning. I am opened to a dialogue with my environment, and the relationship I maintain is enriched.

I am currently using these open forms to communicate ideas and sentiments through the physical act of creating objects as well as through completed forms, compounded works and large compositions. This post is a written sketch. I am exposing some the central tendencies of my relationship to environment, stones and my resulting expression.

- Freedom, becoming, expression and being
- Object image as poetic image.
- Conception; Becoming through action and expression.
- Object as vessel for imagination, both habitat and body of the creative
- Object as landmark
- Object as micro-macro environment
- Object in relation the the physical environment and cognitive landscape

With me these objects have a rich existence, with each viewer they are opened and free to have another.

These objects are direct expression of my own being.
They exist as the body and habitat of my own being; an extension of my self.
They are landmarks used to navigate my own presence.
When opened to the public, into the realm of the viewer, they flux.
They become both empty and full, they retain the resonance of my experience and my being, and yet they are open, vessels to be filled by the experiences of each viewer.
Objects; Infinite degrees of freedom.
They are plastic forms transmuted and informed by the individual viewer.
They are in a constant state of becoming, acts of freedom that embrace the sentiments and evolve with each encounter.
Poetic Object Image.