curiosities and the hawthorne effect

I was at the MIT Press bookstore the other day where I saw that the Infrastructural City is already available. Since Amazon has apparently already run out of stock, just minutes after the book finally became available there, MIT is your best bet for a few days.

I also bought the new issue of Perspecta on “the Grand Tour” since it features AUDC’s most recent piece “An American Pastoral.” This is our first project since Blue Monday and marks a new direction for us, away from the model of the cabinet of curiosities and toward a more universal understanding. If we were suspicious of master narratives when we began writing Blue Monday, by the end we realized that—pace to that grand narrativist Lyotard—fantasies of escape from the master narrative were dubious, if not impossible. To lead to anything at all, curiosities, like life demand master narratives (more, from a more theoretical perspective, on this soon!). After all, just because the academy gave up its ambition in favor of minor narratives doesn’t mean that power did. Take a good look at the last eight years for evidence of the utter failure of that strategy on the part of the academic left. In any event, our new work, of which this is a fragment, sets out as nothing less than an inventory of the contemporary world.

A few of you who saw the piece complained about the design making it hard to read the text. I know. I’m not really sure what to say about it except to observe that our experience is that many graphic designers think that a straightforward text with straightforward photos need a non-straightforward layout. Architecture is like that too, I suppose. Maybe it’s the Hawthorne Effect? Robert and I often observe that the Hawthorne Effect is nothing less than the operative principle for all culture. Is that, perhaps, the title for our next book? I ran it by Robert and he thinks so. Could be! 


I was at the MIT Press bookstore the other day where I saw that the Infrastructural City is already available. Since Amazon has apparently already run out of stock, just minutes after the book finally became available there, MIT is your best bet for a few days.

I also bought the new issue of Perspecta on “the Grand Tour” since it features AUDC’s most recent piece “An American Pastoral.” This is our first project since Blue Monday and marks a new direction for us, away from the model of the cabinet of curiosities and toward a more universal understanding. If we were suspicious of master narratives when we began writing Blue Monday, by the end we realized that—pace to that grand narrativist Lyotard—fantasies of escape from the master narrative were dubious, if not impossible. To lead to anything at all, curiosities, like life demand master narratives (more, from a more theoretical perspective, on this soon!). After all, just because the academy gave up its ambition in favor of minor narratives doesn’t mean that power did. Take a good look at the last eight years for evidence of the utter failure of that strategy on the part of the academic left. In any event, our new work, of which this is a fragment, sets out as nothing less than an inventory of the contemporary world.

A few of you who saw the piece complained about the design making it hard to read the text. I know. I’m not really sure what to say about it except to observe that our experience is that many graphic designers think that a straightforward text with straightforward photos need a non-straightforward layout. Architecture is like that too, I suppose. Maybe it’s the Hawthorne Effect? Robert and I often observe that the Hawthorne Effect is nothing less than the operative principle for all culture. Is that, perhaps, the title for our next book? I ran it by Robert and he thinks so. Could be! 

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