Saturday, September 27, 2008

Apocalypse #14, Architecture #32

It is one of the many grotesque ironies of our acceptance of technological totalitarianism that its most eager advocates among architects and all other categories of designer do not realize that they are committing themselves to voluntary castration. The artificial obsolescence syndrome has much deeper implication than the petty larceny of depreciation without service. It implies hatred of designed environment, an inability to love the things that make an identification of man and world possible. The inevitable and totally logical climax of this alienation by obsolescence is the spending of billions of national capital on a moon landing. Man's future in a space suit on a planet where neither organisms nor shapes nor continuity in time can be maintained will mark the final victory of the technocrat over man.

Sibyl Moholy–Nagy, "The Invisibility of Design" (Autumn 1962)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Manhattan #37

New York in the Future, Ideal Scheme, R.M. Bennett and G. Hicks (1940)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Iron Horse #5, War #10

Farmville, Virginia, vicinity. High bridge of the South Side Railroad across the Appomattox. Two plates from left and right half of stereograph pair. Photographer, Timothy H. O'Sullivan (April 1865)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Anniverseries #10, Manhattan #36, Architecture 31

The World Trade Center towers under construction
Minoru Yamasaki and Associates (1966-1973, photographed October 20, 1970)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Order of the Universe #14

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.—Great God! I'd rather be
A pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

William Wordsworth

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Automobile #17, Panorama #8

The handwritten caption reads: “Largest group in the world, Buick Employe's”



Wednesday, September 03, 2008

America #42

Given an old culture in ruins, and a new culture in vacuo, this externalizing of interest, this ruthless exploitation of the physical environment was, it would seem, inevitable. Protestantism, science, invention, political democracy, all of these institutions denied the old value; all of them, by denial or by precept or by actual absorption, further the new activities. Thus in America the new order of Europe came quickly into being. If the nineteenth century found us more raw and rude, it was not because we had settled in a new territory; it was rather because our minds were not buoyed up by all those memorials of a great past that floated over the surface of Europe—a movement carried on by people incapable of sharing or continuing a past. It was to America that the outcast European turned, without a Moses to guide them, to wander in the wilderness; and here they have remained in exile, not without an occasional glimpse, perhaps, of the promised land.

Lewis Mumford, “The Origin of the American Mind” in The Golden Day: A Study in American Experience and Culture (1926)