Philip Johnson's Empire

I've posted the text to my lecture, "Philip Johnson's Empire" to the site. Off to the Glass House today for a tour.
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Johnson Symposium

The brief silence on varnelis.net is due to my being at Philip Johnson and the Constancy of Change, hosted by the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Yale School of Architecture.

Zillow

Mimi Ito sent me word of Zillow, another online Geographic Information System (GIS). This time you can idle away your hours by finding out how much homes in neighborhoods are worth. Overhead views (including satellite) and house by house estimates mean you can find out just how much the bubble says you're worth or just how hard it's going to be for you to get a foot in the door of our "ownership society."
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The Economist on the Networked Worker and the New Organisation

In "The New Organisation", the Economist tackles the question of how the workplace has changed in the fifty years since William Whyte's the Organization Man. I'd like to venture further here and suggest that the 20th century was determined by hierarchies””?Fordist, top-down hierarchies in the first, modern half, Post-Fordist flattened hierarchies in the second, postmodern half””?while the 21st century will be determined by networks. In network culture, your role isn't so much where you fit into a hierarchy or what you do as an individual, it's where you stand in the network.
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Reality Hacking : The Art of Peter Regli

If you google Reality Hacking, the highest ranked site is Swiss artist Peter Regli's realityhacking.com Regli has been working on the theme of "Reality Hacking" for ten years now, undertaking subtle, humorous, weird, and sometimes not-so-subtle interventions into everyday reality that he subsequently records on his site. More about Regli in this ArtForum article.

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Mimi Ito's New Look

My friend and Networked Publics colleague Mimi Ito has a new look, or rather her blog has a new look and I'm delighted that she credits varnelis.net with influence in creating some balance between static (articles, student work, projects) and temporally based content (blog). Ever since last May, I've been spending a bit of time on this blog and recently on kazys.varnelis.net to develop a site that might better suit my readership and myself (after all, I am probably this site's biggest user). Anyone who doesn't know Mimi's work should investigate. Mimi is an anthropologist studying new media use and her work on portable technologies is crucial for anyone working with questions of place today (that means you: architects).

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Notes on the Portable Kit

43Folders brought to my attention the Burdens of the Modern Beast, a Washington Post article on how today's networked individual (43Folders suggests we might call them urban crap wranglers) is carrying more and more stuff around with them. This article has personal resonance this week: as I've been working simultaneously on my lecture on Philip Johnson at Yale as well as my Network City, and Networked Publics work, I've found myself carrying not just my laptop bag, but a giant orange Patagonia bag filled with books. With the lecture at least temporarily under control, I suppose I can focus and just carry a book or two with me. But still, as this flickr tag set (this one too) shows, we have this insatiable desire to take stuff with us. The most interesting observation in the Post article is from cultural historian Thomas Hine, who suggests that this proliferation of items in our personal kit reflects “the tendency of our society to dispense with sources of shared stability -- the long-term job, neighborhoods, unions, family dinners -- and transform us into autonomous free agents.” Hine suggests that the Walkman: “probably set the precedent; it allowed people to be physically in a space, but mentally detached. The plethora of ‘communications’ devices we carry are also tools of isolation from the immediate environment. And, in the words of the recruiting ad, we each become ‘an army of one’ carrying all our tools of survival through a presumably hostile world.” But speaking of the Army of One, the Objective Force Warrior, a.k.a. the networked Soldier of the future will need a robotic mule to help schlep all their junk around.

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The Battle Over Net Neutrality Heats Up

Net Neutrality is a crucial issue for networked publics and the topic of one chapter of the collaborative book we are pursuing will address this topic. On Tuesday Internet content providers such as Google and last mile telecoms such as telephone and cable companies clashed over regulatory policies that might enforce net neutrality. The stakes aren't so much the current implementation of broadband as the future. Telecoms have expressed their desire to build what would amount to a second, super-fast network that would deliver only privileged content to the consumer. For example, your DSL or Cable Internet provider would be able to transmit HDTV-quality content to your home in real time whereas other content providers would have access only to a slower network. Founding father of the Internet and Google evangelist Vint Cerf spoke in favor of Net Neutrality, arguing "We risk losing the Internet as a catalyst for consumer choice, for economic growth, for technological innovation and for global competitiveness."

Meanwhile, at a conference marking the 10th anniversary of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, John Thorne, a senior vice president and deputy general counsel at Verizon stated bluntly "The network builders are spending a fortune constructing and maintaining the networks that Google intends to ride on with nothing but cheap servers. It is enjoying a free lunch that should, by any rational account, be the lunch of the facilities providers." In contrast, Om Malik's blog, Daniel Berninger fires back, stating that the future of the Internet and even of the technology industry in this country depends the adoption of Net Neutrality.

Another opinion is emerging on Slashdot, where the consensus seems to be that Google can win simply by letting the carriers have their way. After all, who really wants to go to whatever passes for a Verizon portal? If end-users feel that their carrier isn't delivering the services they actually want fast enough, they will vote with their feet.
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1966

The February 2006 issue of the Journal of Architectural Education is out. Look for it in your favorite school of architecture.

Why? Because this issue is edited by George Dodds of University of Tennessee, Knoxville and myself. Hatched at Jacques-Imo's in the Riverbend/Carrollton area of uptown New Orleans in September 2004, this issue looks back, to 1966, 40 years after Robert Stern put together the seminal 40 under 40 exhibit. An interview with Stern about the show is a highlight, as are Simon Sadler's essay "Drop City Revisited," Hadas Steiner's "Brutalism Exposed. Photography and the Zoom Wave," Mary Lou Lobsinger's "The New Urban Scale in Italy. On Aldo Rossi's L'architettura della citt?ɬ†," Stanley Mathews's "The Fun Palace as Virtual Architecture. Cedric Price and the Practices of Indeterminacy," and Peter L. Laurence's "Contradictions and Complexities. Jane Jacobs's and Robert Venturi's Complexity Theories." In the book reviews section, Andrew Ballentyne reviews Sadler's The Situationist City and Patrick Harrop reviews the CCA's The Sixties: Montreal Thinks Big.
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