Category Archives: Travels

Friends of mine are in Berlin for a couple months.

This picture is in their honor. Of course, the Temporare Kunsthalle Berlin isn’t there anymore, but that’s not the point. The point is their honor.

Also, it does jibe well with a major theme from this summer’s readings: time. Photography “resists time” (Burnett, 2007) and rather than save some things, save things to say something (Lynch, 1972).

However, in this case, Berlin’s opted to create a small replica of what had been there before the Kunstalle’s socialism-tinged, bowling-alleyed, discotequed, and allegedly asbestos-laced predecessor, Palast der Republik: the Stadtschloss-Berlin. Only, and this is very important, the new Stadtschlosse will not  be a complete replica. Only the façades will be reproductions, the interior will be contemporary. It won’t be a castle, rather a museum. And the Federal Parliament isn’t paying (the Federal Parliament does not build castles), it’s privately funded.

This ill-conceived, protracted, neoliberal creative-city project says something, to be sure, but not much is flattering.

From inside the Temporare Kunsthalle Berlin to the Fernsehturm, March 2009. Photo by Brettany Shannon.

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Stop what you’re doing and go to the Henry Miller Memorial Library.

Last week amounted to the best pre-quals vacation a body could hope for. The property’s view and food (per below) were tremendous; I still managed to read Harvey, Habermas, and Lynch; and Colin and I met the loveliest primito-anarchist family in, well, ever. Actually, I’d like to clarify. I imagine they’d have been the loveliest family in ever, political philosophy notwithstanding. They were just that much greater for it. Who else is going to take you on forest hikes to forage for edible plants (wood sorrel, you vixen) and show you how to weave a basket out of English ivy? Nobody.

I miss Big Sur.

UPDATE: I just realized I should have included a link to the Henry Miller Memorial Library. Because its uniqueness warrants your attention.

Our view from the deck and our bounty from our lovely hosts’ garden. Photo by Brettany Shannon.

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Belated Reports from the Field: Berger and Burnett Inform my Trip to the 2012 Vernacular Architecture Forum Conference

The second weekend in June I attended the Vernacular Architecture Forum Conference in Madison, WI. It was, owing to the topic, a considerably analog affair. At the risk of being obvious, vernacular architecture is exactly like vernacular language; only here the text is the built environment. It subsumes everything from housing to bridges to farm buildings to gas stations, and so on, and scholars are particularly interested in it for its reification of cultural landscapes. And while we read Berger (1977) and Burnett (2004) in terms of the digital humanities, I was struck by how much this Forum’s particular object of scrutiny underscores both Berger and Burnett’s writings. [Sidebar: I study cultural landscapes, as well, but my primary reason for being there was to take a very nerdy vacation. It was time very well spent.]

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This picture and thousands of words

To love an old typewriter is to love nostalgia. But who can blame me? Besides, that ribbon looks how my head feels.

Masspro typewriter at Praca XV

Masspro typewriter at Praca XV, Rio de Janeiro, Photo by Brettany Shannon

 

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I feel like playing cards

And I’m glad I left the “nerding” in the blog’s subtitle because it permits me to include this picture apropos of nothing.

Knave and six from South Netherlandish (Burgundian Territories) playing cards, ca. 1475. Cloisters Collection. Photo by Brettany Shannon.

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Meet Spiral Jetty

It was underwater last October.

Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty (1970). Photo by Brettany Shannon.

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About this time, two summers ago, in winter

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All photos by Colin Peeples.

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