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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Triple Canopy

Issue #6 of Triple Canopy is titled "Model Cities," the first of two issues devoted to "examining various forms of and approaches to urbanism, considered in relation to the current economic crisis, from the perspectives of a number of writers, researchers, artist, and architects." The various contributions are presented on a well-designed web page, formatted in a unique yet simple and straightforward manner, a mix between a slideshow and a scroll. The design and interactivity acknowledge the importance of pages in reading, even in a digital format.

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Of course one needs good content to accompany the quality design, and that is not a problem here. Some of the projects included in Issue #6, with descriptions by the editors:
:: "Index or Constructed by Way of Experiment," by artist José León Cerrillo, is an Internet-specific, interactive collage of archetypal abstract and architectural forms, drawn from the modernist idiom and from Latin American metropolises, respectively. Departing from Brazilian poet Oswald de Andrade's 1928 "Cannibalist Manifesto," the project effectively cannibalizes the sites and structures of modernism in Mexico City. Cerrillo's work has been shown at PS1's "Greater New York" and at Dispatch Projects in Manhattan and Galería OMR in Mexico City.

:: Artist and Detroit transportation scheduler Neil Greenberg’s "Boom, Bust, Burn, Blame: The Story of Fake Omaha," portrays the development of a painstakingly constructed paper-and-ink city–through maps, fabricated municipal reports, agency memos, and other internal documents–in order to explore the real urban planning issues facing American cities. Greenberg's work has been published in Espous magazine and featured at New York's Storefront for Art and Architecture.

:: In 1966, New York's new mayor, John Lindsay, launched a series of far-reaching plans to transform the city. Most of the projects, which aimed to find a middle ground between Robert Moses's grand schemes and Jane Jacobs's emphatic embrace of the neighborhood, were never realized. Ian Volner and Matico Josephson’s densely illustrated essay, "He is Fresh and Everyone Else is Tired," recovers that vision and its lessons for urban development under the Obama administration, drawing on original archival research and conversations with Lindsay-era architects and planners.

:: Joseph Clarke’s "Infrastructure for Souls" traces the parallel histories of the American megachurch and the corporate-organizational complex over the last century, from the Crystal Palace to the General Motors Technical Center to Googleplex, from Charles Spurgeon to Richard Neutra to Rick Warren. Illustrated with a striking series of images juxtaposing ecclesiastical and office buildings.

:: In "The City that Built Itself," Joshua Bauchner writes about and photographs a Caracas slum where residents have turned utopian modernism on its head, transforming a fifty-year-old superblock housing project into the locus of sprawling improvised developments.
The second "Urbanisms" issue, again per the editors, "will feature Lucy Raven on a grand Utahan suburb nurtured by coal-mine tailings; Thomas Moran and Rustam Mehta of the VPL Authority on a planned mega-eco-city in the desert Southwest; a new recording from the band Zs; and conversations with architects Teddy Cruz and Kazys Varnelis." I'm looking forward to it.

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