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Digital/Physical: Joana Hadjithomas, Khalil Joreige and the Nigerian Prince

In A Sense of Place, 12. SOP 2.0 by Abigail2 Comments

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, two filmmakers from Lebanon, have been collecting scam emails since 1999. In interviews, they say they don’t know why they started, but that something in it “spoke to them,” and so here we are. The couple compiled some 4,000 plus emails into an installation piece in 2014. Emails like the Nigerian Prince scam, or the …

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Constructing Narratives of “Faux”

In A Sense of Place, 10. Placemaking by Abigail1 Comment

Faux places—places that are cheap, gaudy, imitative, or inauthentic. Faux places trick their visitors, they are the slick salespeople of the built environment: “You want Paris? We’ll give you Paris. And New York, too. Right here in Vegas. Isn’t that easier? Isn’t that better?” There are many kinds of faux places. There are the amusement parks: Disneyland, Universal, Six Flags, …

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Supermodernity On Deck

In A Sense of Place, 9. Placelessness by Abigail1 Comment

Does the open ocean have a “sense of place?” Visually, the landscape doesn’t offer much. There is no real variety—of shape, of color—available to its visitor. And those occupying open water are necessarily visitors: travelers, tourists, captains, officers, fishermen, pirates. Even those who live their lives at sea do not—and cannot—do so in one fixed place. Boats, then, are the …

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“Kedi,” and The Vernacular of the Street Cat

In A Sense of Place, 8. The Vernacular Landscape by AbigailLeave a Comment

Kedi is a movie about street cats. It’s also a movie about the streets: their patterns, their stories and their history. Cats have lived in Istanbul for centuries, arriving on ships docked in the bustling city’s harbor before becoming landlocked, and multiplying. Through those many years, cats have carved themselves a home within—and have in many ways directly shaped—the city’s …

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Choices in Places

In A Sense of Place, 7. Sprawl and New Urbanism by Abigail1 Comment

Here are all the problems with the suburbs as they have been articulated to me, a lifelong inhabitant of the most populous city in the United States: Sprawl. The suburbs do not build up, as a sky-rise or multi-family would, but outwards, like a strip-mall or an airport. Sprawl creates a dependence on cars and invites an environment that is …

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The New Is Inauthentic

In A Sense of Place, 6. Shock of the New by Abigail1 Comment

I’m not sure why many of the most famous examples of modern architecture feel alienating to me. But I am sure that this experience is shared by many of modern architecture’s critics, who form a quite large and somewhat diverse community. Having looked over the readings for this week, and done some cursory image searching, I think scale and distance …

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Reengineering Top Down

In A Sense of Place, 5. Visions of Utopia by Abigail1 Comment

City planning is done from the top down. The top-down is a visible in city planning on a structural level: builders analyze a space, government officials and financiers give approval, and workers build for public use. But top-down is also the primary perspective through which the earliest representations of cities are shown.Small scale models, taken from a distant birds eye …

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The Reporter’s Experience of Place

In A Sense of Place, 2. The Spirit of Place by AbigailLeave a Comment

What is the importance of place to a reporter? Often, references to place are essential to reporting: where did the assault take place? In what city? In which venue? In the event of an upcoming weather event or political appearance—what areas will face evacuation? what roads will be blocked?—places are discussed to inform and serve readership. And place, as much as topic, …

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Sidewalk Cafe

In A Sense of Place, 1. The Experience of Place by Abigail2 Comments

“Experience constructs place at different scales.” — Yi-Fu Tuan I worked my first restaurant job at seventeen, underage, a busboy at a burger place with some neighborhood history. My shift was brunch. My uniform was a long white apron, rolled up at the waist, until the hem landed mid-shin. Mornings began with the repetitive smack of rising steel shutters. Luis …