Reception Desk

Reception Desk

Lynn Cohen, Reception Desk, 1978
Gelatin silver print, 8” x 10”

A la Planchette

A la Planchette

The interior of the Bradbury Building in downtown L.A. has been in dozens of movies and tv shows including, perhaps most notably, Blade Runner.

The building was commissioned by a wealthy gold mine magnate by the name of Lewis L. Bradbury (no relation to Ray apparently).

Bradbury offered the commission to a draftsman with no architecture training called George Wyman, who refused, presumably because he did not actually know how to do architecture.

However, after he and his wife used a planchette to contact his dead brother Mark during a séance, he received the message:

Mark Wyman / take the / Bradbury building / and you will be / successful

The design for the building was then based on Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward:

Many believe Wyman was inspired by Edward Bellamy, whose 1887 novel “Looking Backward” described a building of some future time. “A vast hall of light,” Bellamy wrote, “received not alone from the windows on all sides but from the dome, the point of which was a hundred feet above…. The walls were frescoed in mellow tints, to soften without absorbing the light which flooded the interior.”

Where would the private eyes of the forties have been without laurel shrubberies to lurk in, sweeping front drives to turn the car in, terraces from which to observe the garden below, massive Spanish Colonial Revival doors on which to knock, and tiled Spanish Colonial Revival interiors for the knocking to echo in, and the bars of Spanish Colonial Revival windows to hold on, or rambling split-level ranch house plans in which to lose the opposition, and random rubble fireplace walls to pin suspects against, and dream-bedrooms in which the sun may be seen rising in heart-breaking picture-postcard splendor over the Hollywood Hills…and the essential swimming pool for the bodies.

—Reyner Banham, Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies

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Other Ways Happenings

Other Ways Happenings

A multiple consisting of seven broadsides (each 27.5x20cm.) illustrated with b/w photographs documenting the six Happenings presented by Other Ways that “occurred in and around Berkeley, California, March 22, 23, 1969”.

( via beat books)

I’ve been interested to cross all these ways of knowing, to think about science as a kind of religious activity, and definitely as a secretly hegemonic culture within our other various cultures, while at the same time thinking about Buddhism or art as versions of scientific thinking, or some other permanently valid way of looking at things. The permanent necessity of philosophy and art, basically, so that we can decide what to do — that isn’t a question science takes on or wants to take on.

—Kim Stanley Robinson interview in LA Review of Books

Also: “Novels are good ways of putting these practices in dialog, by way of the characters’ lives, and the plots of the novels. It’s often struck me that the name “science fiction,” in some ways so inaccurate and wrong, is actually extremely powerful anyway, because the two words can be translated into “facts” and “values,” and the fact/value or is/ought problem is a famous one in philosophy, and often regarded as insoluble, so that if you call your genre “fact values” you are saying it can bridge a difficult abyss in our thinking. ”

Primary Structures

Primary Structures

Primary Structures exhibition catalog. See also: Other Primary Structures (on view at the Jewish Museum now).

If I were an American, I should make my remembrance of it the final test of men, art, and policies. I should ask myself: Is this good enough to exist in the same country as the Canyon? How would I feel about this man, this kind of art, these political measures, if I were near that rim? Every member or officer of the Federal Government ought to remind himself, with triumphant pride, that he is on the staff of the Grand Canyon.

—J.B. Priestly

Scott's Great Snake

Scott's Great Snake

The Anaconda Plan proposed by General-in-Chief Winfield Scott—an outline strategy for subduing the seceding states in the American Civil War.

( via Anaconda Plan)
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