Time & Magazines

A visit to Harvard GSD was postponed and, suddenly, having prepared to be away for a week, I found myself with some extra time in my hands. Which is extraordinary and welcomed. The  weather was great in Lisbon this week, and taking the laptop to the beach was a first – a specially enjoyable first if one wants to start working leisurably on a new piece of fiction. 

The other good thing about the spare time was catching up with the magazines. One day, when I have the patience, I’ll feed you on my collection of premiere issues – which I consider a most revealing anthropological survey of our times. But for now, I just felt like spreading the word about three items that caught my attention.

First comes DAMnº, one of the most interesting magazine around Europe these days, specially for the omnivorous reader that has abandoned Wallpaper around the turn of the century, got tired of Surface soon after, and never really got into both Monocle‘s need to be a trendier Intelligent Life and Tank‘s secret desire to substitute Interview‘s classical lure in the mind of the selfconscious culture vulture… 

DAMnº is mostly design based but goes into architecture and art with quite poignant articles that manage to provide you with a sort of an essential air du temps… As such, issue 21 ends up revealing how, after Africa, after recently oilstruck Brasil and after all the rest of the developing world, everybody else is now trying to make the most out of their own waste. From Mathieu Maingourd’s great piracy acts and Stuart Haygarth’s scrap sculptures to Cindy Sherman’s cynical social garbage or Thorsten Brinkman’s investigations from the bin, there’s a real trend out there…

More importantly, though, there is an excellent interview with Elemental‘s Alejandro Aravena – who I was seeing coming up everywhere in the media without really understanding why… Now that I do, I can only say he deserves all the media exposure coming from his Venice Silver Lion for Promising Young Architect. An interesting blow at the current architectural star-system… and legitimated by the star-system itself! Well done, Alejandro!

The second reference goes to Bypass, a new Portuguese architecture magazine that deserves a compliment for its ambition. The glossy book-like bilingual publication describes itself as hyperdisciplinary – which is the sort of epitome that makes me nostalgic for a time in which interdisciplinarity had to be fought for – against the academic stance of the moment. That was the time when I started publishing texts right after architecture school and quoted Swedenborg and Baudelaire and their correspondances. Now that we have welcomed inter-, trans- and multi-disciplinarity, let’s see what we’ll make of the concept in the age of hypertext…

My third reference is also biographically biased… As an architect with a penchant for interiors I cannot but welcome the idea that the insides of architecture are finally a theme of high public concern. With Nest long gone, and Apartamento filling the gaps for only a small audience, the latest issue of the Harvard Design Magazine is aptly named “What about the inside?” and, as far as I’m concerned and Mohsen Mostafavi suggests, it finally brings forth the question of the significance and frailty of the architectural interior as against the modernist promotion and protection of the wholesome shoebox.

As many architects today have only the arena of interiors to express their ideas about the world, one should not forget that this is also the most temporary and unconsidered of architecture’s operative fields. As such, and as interiors subsume to ever faster economic cycles, many of these expressions will vanish sooner than anything else… Never again to be the potential objects of beautiful acts of rereading, such as those suggested by Sigmund Kracauer.

One response to “Time & Magazines

  1. Pingback: Fresh Portuguese Architects, Bloggers and Spatialites – MovingCities.org

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