When you teach at a university, as you know, there are the big three—research, service, and teaching. Research is something that can be confusing because typically we think of it as your exhibition record or the papers you’ve published, and that’s certainly the product. … So, then, what is research? There’s this period of not exactly knowing where it’s going, allowing a certain amount of chance, a certain amount of openness and letting yourself to go into a territory that is a little bit unknown.
For the last couple of generations, traditional architecture and modern architecture in the city have been set on opposite sides of a firm divide. Not for nothing did Tom Wolfe portray Charlie Croker as living in an old mansion in Buckhead while making his money as a builder of glass office towers along the interstate. Wolfe had it exactly right. In Atlanta, that’s what you do once you hit a certain demographic category. Classical architecture is what you live in, and modern architecture is what you work in. The number of modern houses of significant quality in Atlanta is very small. Atlantans want to live in Philip Trammell Shutze houses, but they expect to go to work in John Portman towers.
The experimental artist today is the un-artist. Not the antiartist but the artist emptied of art. The un-artist, as the name implies, started out conventionally, as a modernist, but as a certain point around the fifties began to divesting her or his work of nearly every feature that could remind anyone of art at all. The un-artist makes no real art but does what I’ve called lifelike art, art that reminds us mainly of the rest of our lives.
To remove the work is to destroy the work.
I think most work comes out of work and out of perception of work.
My goal is always to create something exceptional that enhances cities and enriches the lives of the people who live and work in them.
Powhida enlisted the assistance of other artists and fabricators to produce works that embody the worst art market tropes, such as the shiny object, the cool minimalist tower, and the incredibly bad painting of a skull. Alongside each piece he has added his signature touch: a trompe l’oeil painting of a hand-written note that details the process, budget and reasoning behind each work, with plenty of smart aleck-y remarks stuffed in between.
In the twenty-first century, we must learn to look at cities not as skylines but as brandscapes and at buildings not as objects but as advertisements and destinations. In the experience economy, experience itself has become the product: we’re no longer consuming objects but sensations, even lifestyles. In the new environment of brandscapes, buildings are not about where we work and live but who we imagine ourselves to be.
We will live in this world, which for us has all the disquieting strangeness of the desert and of the simulacrum, with all the veracity of living phantoms, of wandering and simulating animals that capital, that the death of capital has made of us —because the desert of cities is equal to the desert of sand— the jungle of signs is equal to that of the forests —the vertigo of simulacra is equal to that of nature— only the vertiginous seduction of a dying system remains, in which work buries work, in which value buries value—leaving a virgin, sacred space without pathways, continuous as Bataille wished it, where only the wind lifts the sand, where only the wind watches over the sand.
Thus each material possesses its special which one must know in order to be able to work with them. That is also true of steel and concrete. We expect absolutely nothing from the materials in themselves, but only through our right use of them. Then, too, the new materials do not insure superiority. Any material is only worth that which we make out of it.
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day…. The only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re going to try to see it. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t…. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness.
Every work of man is perceived as a natural organism in whose development man may not interfere; the organism should live its life out freely, and man may, at most, prevent its premature demise. Thus modern man recognizes part of his own life in a monument and any interference with it disturbs him just as much as an intervention upon his own organism. The reign of nature, including those destructive and disintegrative elements considered part of the constant renewal of life, is granted equal standing with the creative rule of man.
Inspiring work requires inspiring surroundings. Spoken or written words count for more if in their intervals the student’s eye rests upon an ennobling scene.
— Herbert C. Wise, “On the Educational Institution,” c. 1920
Flexibility is crucial to the idea of an all-use city, the kind of city that will emerge as zoning becomes obsolete. In our increasingly post-industrial environment, the need to isolate workplaces and residences ceases to be an imperative.