Thursday, February 28, 2013


One step staircase
sliding my foot on the edge,
there is no pause
But yet it fades,
as do the temperatures in my fingers,
I learn about the height of the railing.

Friday, December 07, 2012


Buds a flower.
But before
its petals disperse,
at opportune power
rises a path we traverse
across a distance
brighter, assumed than
the sky. In a coiled
record we immerse,
every hour paid,
whose stillness of light,
growing no shade,
to questions.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

full moon

Sparkling to the liquid lenses of my little face, I stared. Its dark iris, one half of the equine monocular. Itching and burns, the bigger eye sees backward through the skull to examine the other in shadow. It winks slowly, this Inverted Pupil. Tonight it splay open.  I live in the yoke of its brain.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


A motivated future is one formed from the accumulation of every, everyday. Like water, it becomes necessary for human survival. And yet because of its own chemistry changes - from gas to liquid to solid and back - into a logic requiring us to work through it. Our selves are no different. Disdain should not be had for such things making us beyond our will, forcing with a burdened weight, to enable transformations inside us that create and move things the way we are compelled to desire.

Saturday, February 05, 2011


"is beauty ever bad? and is ugly ever good? ( )

my reply:

1. Beauty and Circulation
ordered, hierarchical, heterarchical, emergent, field, rhizome, pinwheel, labyrinth, linear, enfilade, enjambment, transparency, centralized, decentralized, raumplan, free plan, structuration, metaphorical, narrative, cinematic, programmed, serial, versioned, aggregated, parameters, kinetic, chaotic... it all boils down to clear versus unclear.

meaning kahn

On my recent trip to the Salk Institute, we met my good friend who had worked on the project with Kahn and designed the Salk's Administration Buildings. A deeply meaningful experience to me in many ways, I was struck by his description of the architecture as being all about meaning. I discovered meaning in the Salk with regard to the co-presence of different materials and elements. Before I continue I must bring up a frequently quoted phrase of Kahn, that to build with brick, for instance, one must ask the brick what it wants to be.

And now I will proceed: in reflecting on the Salk and meaning, I noticed that two materials were particularly dominant, though not equal, in their expression and use, concrete and wood. On the exterior one finds most of the building as an aesthetic experience of concrete, made porous through its ingenious deployment into elements that enable the movement of light, air, human use, sights, and with joints created by the concrete's constructive process with formwork, and a process of site-casting. And wood, which on the exterior is located when viewing the building from the side of the theater of the ocean -- what I term the central plaza -- looking toward the complex's entrance. The wood fills on alternating levels the space of the walls in the offices of the towers framing the sides of the plaza. While small, in a cumulative aggregation, in comparison to the material of concrete, the wood stands out in its application of its warm, textured bars that enable windows nested in them. These two materials and elements -- wood and concrete -- are in a relationship with one another on the exterior.

On the interior of the administrative floor of the library of the north side of the complex, which is where we went inside, wood had enveloped almost the entire interior, swelling and expanding as a surface coat on almost all of the walls. As we approach a window, from the interior, I noticed the corner between the floor -- covered in wood -- and the wall -- covered in wood -- and in this small crevice, extending briefly outward in both axes (on floor and wall) for about a half inch, a sliver of concrete lay bare, thus exposing the layer below. Here on the interior the was a different relationship between the wood and the concrete, though one not any less important than the one on the outside.

In these two instances I realized meaning. Wood and Concrete met, much like two people in an intimate relationship must at first meet. And much like an intimate human relationship, these two partners explore and develop their relationship through the different encounters -- different experiences -- that as parts to the whole of their relationship -- as meetings, as interactive experiences, as dates or dinners, conversations, traveling, and more -- characterize that whole, and give it meaning. The wood and concrete encounter with each other in one way on the exterior and on another way on the interior. Theirs is not but one encounter of wood and concrete but many. If we return to the question of asking a brick what it wants to be, and reflect: what is it that wood wants to be, or concrete? The question must be answered with meditation on a bit of Hegelian logic. There is no a priori of the brick, concrete or wood. While the material does know very well what it wants to be -- it does not know until it encounters another. To ask Wood what it wants to be in the scope of the Salk is to give an opportunity to meet Concrete, in many ways. And the whole of what it wants to be is expressed through the differentiated parts, the experiences of encounter, that shape its knowing of being. In this sense while there is no a priori, the material does simultaneously assert itself, and express its own identity through these moments -- this is the "essential" found within Kahn's work. There is meaning created in both instances of events of encounter between wood and concrete. And in the simultaneous temporal and spatial presence and observation of these different material encounters, meaning is created within the interaction of the materials and elements.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

ownership of self, the commodification of being

The foundation of self value, value of others, value of life, evaluation of being, and jealously all lies in what seems to be a fact that people are always in a state of desiring to own themselves (and working to convince themselves that they do). Though really, that is impossible because we don't actually OWN ourselves -- we are ourselves. (We are in actuality not objects, one would argue.) The body and mind are both in the prior case objectified as a package, sometimes separated, but both objectified. As we struggle to grasp the reality that it is impossible to literally own ourselves, and yet at the same time we do try, and we desire to do so; we gain different senses of satisfaction when we learn that what we think we own is validated as being a good purchase and something worthy to own as deemed by the desire of other potential owners (other people). In other words, through the perception of the desire to own the bodies and minds of other people as objects that can be re-appropriated into potential selves for our self through ownership, one simultaneously recognizes that oneself as a body and mind can be objectified by others, entering into the same wager. Through this we desire to evaluate our own objectified being through the evaluations of potential owners, thus giving it value. It seems none other than supply and demand economics. When the product is rare -- as we are all rare, unless we objectify large quantities of people (such as slaves, races, through epithets, abuse, etc.) -- and the demand is high, the value goes up. When product is non-rare the value goes down. The same can be said for the products of people, the objects associated with those objectified. And thus goes the cycle of objectification of self and others -- a commodification of being.

Monday, June 16, 2008

To shape change into relationships

One of the great abilities of people is our ability to see and build relationships between things. Whether abstractly -- crossing through immateriality, referencing the invisible -- or concretely -- touching the material world, felt and interacting formally with the air -- our ability for relationships is one of our greatest skills. We are still learning this art, slowly. We can building relationships with other people, with places, with objects, with ideas, with memories... these are the things of the landscape of life. To get to know the landscape, one doesn't need to exploit it.

The element of a relationship is never lost, it is never won, but rather it is a process of 'how,' much like the question of 'change.' For change is a dynamic static. And a relationship is never beyond its finish, nor permanently before its commencement. But these states are also always present, like an idea forged in the mind and manifested with skill into reality, thus ideally expressing in the next stage a deeper immateriality. People mold change into relationships; this is our human genius. Change being our material, with relationships the most primal and potent of our sculpture.

to learn

One of the most important things I've learned is learning the importance of re-learning, and re-learning how to learn.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

living narrative

Density of time and space is activated by narratives: the interaction of people and their movements overlaid on top of the material nature of space and time. This is a spark to ignite the beauty of living.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

generational dimensions

Sometimes people speak of "parallel dimensions:" universes where another world exists, similar to our own, possibly with even the same people, but at the same time completely different and divergent. These parallel dimensions exist, to some degree. Okay, I know that sounds kooky but just hold on a second, I'll explain. When I speak of parallel dimensions I'm not talking about physics, string theory, or new age mysticism, but rather the condition of large scale groups of human generations separated by time -- I call these groups "generational dimensions."

At this very moment there is a large population of people living on the planet Earth. A large segment of this group of roughly 6.7 billion people was here yesterday and will be here tomorrow. And other segments of the population were here yesterday but not today (they have died), and are not here today but will be here tomorrow (they will be born). This population is constantly shifting as people come and go but at any given moment the bulk of people remains the same. But what happens when we look at this global population in 200 years? It is most likely that all of today's population will have died and a new population, shifting into place gradually, will have emerged. The differences between these two global populations -- between the one today in contrast to the one 200 years from now -- can be described as generational differences separated by a large amount of time, as each population is an entirely different generation of humans. The same situation exists in the past: 200 years ago there was an entirely different group of people living on Earth than there is now.

But how is this related to "parallel dimensions?" If we recognize that by most logical accounts there will certainly be that new generation 200 years from now as there was also a different generation 200 years ago, we can assume the future generation with an entirely different population will exist and that entirely different populations existed in the past. Each of these generations, which are entirely different when compared to one another over time, can be likened to the idea of parallel dimensions. The people of the future are a group of completely different living organisms that will share a likeness with us today and live -- paradoxically -- in the same world and an entirely different one. And like the idea of parallel dimensions, each "generational dimension" -- the large scale group of human generations that is distinctly unique from another -- is always in existence running parallel to our own generational dimension due to its due existence in its own time. Parallel worlds do exist, separated by time.

Each dimension is also cut off from other dimensions by the type of communication taken for granted within the life of a single generational dimension. The different dimensions can communicate with one another but only in a non-horizontal fashion (unless there is a way for instantaneous time-travel). Communication can occur vertically or diagonally across parallel generational dimensions through interpretations of the past, human record, archaeological remains, and the biological threads of genetics. And we can leave bread crumbs for the future in time-capsules, human record, our archaeological remains and genes, and the ability for future generations to interact with our present and near future generations through recorded and algorithmic, interactive media, environments, and the virtual domain of narratives, fiction, lore and their freshly minted adaptations.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Louis Kahn, the great architect, wrote that the birth of education came when a boy and an old man were sitting under a tree, both sharing experiences and stories with one another. Neither boy nor old man knew what they were doing; their act created the institution of education out of the implicit desire to share, learn, and live together.

Kahn had noted that, in his opinion, most institutions had strayed from this original being. The work of a good architect and teacher is to return to this collaborative vision.

Education is about bringing together teacher and student, the young and the old, the tried and the fresh, together.

Teaching is about having faith and the long-term. To teach one must have a faith in the student’s own mind, abilities and future. One must respect the student’s ability to connect things together, and their ability to do so as an individual person. When a student takes a class, it has the potential to effect them for the rest of their life and any of their own teaching and work, friends and family. Knowledge has the potential to unravel new worlds of insight, spreading deep and far into the future.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


The future is that which, paradoxically, is permanently both the untied threads of the living, a world yet to be creatively woven and made into anything at all, and a firmly pressed garment, an item of fashion, existing in a form as truthful and real as the world of today.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

vision across the depth of a canyon's breadth

One's Vision must not be clouded by the sands of a desert storm, the winds of Poseidon, the fog of swamps, or the depth between a canyon's breadth.

Vision must shade from the pain of a storm, and push through the bite of cutting desert sand balding the skin. The swells of the land may swirl and move but the body can still track the topography below and the stars above.

Vision must hold forth when the fate of God turns His hand onto you. The wind and wet of rough seas can be survived.

Vision must be within one, seen and known, where no fog rising from swamps of darkness can blur.

Vision must peer across the canyon. Cut by water and time, the rupture in path is but another vision running perpendicular, deep and cut, rough and old, set and inhabited.

Vision can cut new path into old soil.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Problem of Models for Sustainability

Last Friday I attended a regional transportation summit for the bay area looking toward 2035.

The keynote speaker, over our catered lunch, was San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom. In Newsom's clever and talented performance he spoke about how San Francisco and the bay area can become a great model of sustainability for cities around the world. This was how he ended his half-hour show. The speaker following Newsom expressed his excitement about the Chinese. He had just been in Beijing the week before to attend meetings about the nation's next five year plan, and to continue Newsom's thread, he said the Chinese took him and other bay area civic leaders aside and wanted to specifically learn from their achievements.

From my experience in participating in the campus sustainability movement at universities in California to my fairly-wide understanding of the contemporary, evolving sustainability movement as a whole, the wish to make one's city, campus, project, anything, a model for others to use, is commonly expressed.

But there is a problem with speaking of one's city to be a model.

To speak of making a city -- or anything for that matter -- great with the vision of it becoming a model in which others may use dilutes the value of one's city, and it bothers me greatly. (This problem resonates also with another idea I have seen in sustainability circles: that the best models work across every scale. This is a dangerous assumption.)

I understand many use the term with the desire others will learn from their city and achievements. I know models are very useful, especially within the process of creating something. But I am still bothered about the use of the term in this context, a context where "gathering best practices" can be lauded as innovative research. And while best practices can be learned from and are valuable, they tend to be sifted through like a bag of sweet candy jelly beans. One digs for the tasty flavor in the bag that makes the mouth water most.

To speak of making a city to be a model -- as the goal -- means one really desires others to copy from it. ...Picking and choosing, photographing and copying, digitally simulating, mass-producing a bag of city jelly beans.

To wish a city to be a model for others means that any purported greatness achieved will be many other cities with a likeness of one's own. Great cities have no cities of likeness. Great cities, of past, present and future, speak of their own identity, their own individuality. There is only one Kyoto, for example.

A great city can inspire, and it is a great process when it occurs. But inspiration, through the process of synthesis and abstraction, can produce the genesis anew and carry forth the building of greatness elsewhere that is imbued with its own distinct identity.

I am bothered by the desire to make something of our world simply in the end be a model -- it is a very post-modern thing to wish -- to wish many will copy you and become a likeness of you.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

man of city and sea

I wrote this poem in February 2007. I had gone to Santa Cruz to say goodbye to a friend and attend a fun going-away party. The next morning I went down to the promenade along West Cliff Drive and stood outside in the brisk, cold, wet, windy air. Breathing in the smell of the sea and gazing forever into the rolling swells toward the vast horizon of the water I love so much, I was swept up into memories of sailing and the greatness of what I saw before me. In love with the giant clouds of volume and blurred white grain and rushing in the air, I wrote this poem:

A man of the city and the sea,
It’s the land in-between that makes me.
I can be with you for eternity,
As a man of the city, with the sea.

Always we are alone, you and me – I and the beautiful sea.

The smells and my pearls,
My winds’ guiding grace,
My clouds’ breaking; great beauty, perfect pace.
You shall come spinning, dancing with the gulls above,
You and I, I will take you for eternity.

I will never rest but I will never leave,
Look into my eyes and we will dance endlessly
My hands will carry you, dear man of the city, now of the sea

Ah yes, I am a man of the city in love with the sea!
I am listening – your rain and great thunder:

From the clouds above -- light breaks upon you
I will grab it with my palms and roll it under
Where only my shadows will see it through
Come stay with me, says the sea, to me.

Come stay with me!
I will never leave you and I will never break – ah, maybe in the surface it’s true
But deep within I’m only calm,
Stretching from land to land – a bridge just for you.

Let me fall into your hands!
It will have been the journey that had made me!
As thus, I am a man of the city, now forever fallen with the sea.

the nature of a 'likeness'

The nature of a 'likeness' is such that when upon viewing a photograph or a painting or other faithfully provocative depiction of a human being (or for that matter scene of anything assumed to have a real counterpart), the person doing the seeing is caught up with the relationship between them and the person in the picture and notices, or is at least affected by, the identity of that person being a real, lived life somewhere else in the world and captured here so still. But then, when around the corner the actual living human depicted in the frame arrives in front of the gazer, this person greets them anew and is curious as to why the other looks at them with a hint of curiosity, the kind of curiosity reflecting a likeness of wonder about why the person in the picture now seen for real doesn't know of their own image, or think of it now, or the relationship already budding on the other end.
Global Warming is teaching us that Nature is not "just" natural nor determined, but that it too, like us humans, adapts -- its future something created and yet to be made!

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Let me tell you a story of the beyond. See that field? Past the house and the road, beyond the porticoed shed, that open field. It is always there, you notice it when you walk by on the road, you see it from the front porch in the distance. That continuous channel of space between your body and its own, pulling you ever so slightly and cleverly forward. The desire to place one's own body within the field and to sense and feel its scale anew, its space, volume, and openness... of such a swath, a tapestry of carpeted grasses rolling up and down as it sinks and swells, sown to the land itself, a mass below the surface harken through terraform! And is it the field itself that pulls you, is that the beyond? The field is the suggestion, the deliverance of a prompted question sometimes seen through the rising heat inhabiting the distance before us, rippling the green and yellow grasses into the air. For one knows that once one breathes the air held within those rolling cupped hands, there is still a beyond spoken by the edge of the forest which defines it. The forest edge, a tangible mass of trees moving up into the hills, stirred together into its own distinct image characterized by a dominant pattern of varying, shapeshifting, meshed fractal-like changes in color, detail, and shadow and light of bushes and trees seen from a distance. Such a pattern-image lingers, asking one to look deeper and to make a guess -- educated by what we see and know -- about the deeper beyond assumed to be spatially persistent and dense like the volume of the field stretching before us. The forest, in contrast to and also much alike the field, must be a massive being! A presence full of continuation from what we assume to grow beyond the edge. And now move into the field, and into the forest. Does this change? From our position, the pattern shifts but the image remains, adjusted to a new view of the beyond.