The Ant Hill and the City

This week we marvel at the throbbing energy of the anthill and the city. The sources highlighted in this issue are intended to evoke a sense of a higher belonging without sacrificing the individuation of the belonged.

Daily experimenter Allan Wexler is either an architect or an artist, depending on who is asking the question. As an architect, he is unconventional in nearly every sense of the word; opting for a methodology that is spontaneous and experiential, Wexler defies the predetermined and patient approach expected from architects. As an artist, he is both the conductor and the performer – he imbues his iterative programs with essences of chance, yet unearths a deconstructive and reconstructive depth characteristic of only the most conscious and purposeful of creators. Wexler believes that architectural transcendence does not need to be literal; a clear gesture is enough to evoke a lofty idea, or a series of parts is enough to summon the image of the whole.

German architect Jürgen Mayer H. brings into being sprawling, amoebic structures so markedly organic, it is a wonder they did not erupt from the soil by their own volition. In his interview, Mayer expounds on the ecological experimentations of his recent projects, like reclining amidst the bustle of Times Square or skydiving in a Belgian shopping center. Some dissenters view Mayer’s employment of cutting edge technology as a threat to local history, but only before recognizing in the finished product a reality that had previously been hidden – the metropolis is a perpetual state of reinvention. Mayer speaks at length of emerging typologies, intersecting programs, and the artificial rituals and rhythms of the city.

Additional interviews include: Robert C. Morgan, Suzan Woodruff, and Lynn van Rhijn.

What have you been reading lately? Our user Anne-Marie Morice is digging into Walter Benjamin’s Baudelaire, an essential text on the French modernist that has been discovered and published only in the last three years. Benjamin was a 20th century German historical and cultural theorist, whose analysis of the arts has been widely revered in architectural circles for its insights into the cerebral and spiritual effects of urban life.

Until October 21, Muze’um L in Belgium is collecting proposals from pan-disciplinary artists interested in dotting the 3°7’45” E latitude with in situ creative installations that celebrate light, line, and nature. The invisible meridian traverses an eclectic series of landscapes, spanning two continents and eight countries. The project is an exercise in collaboration – to unify private associations, public authorities, galleries, foundations, and landowners on a societal level, and to unite artistic conception and topographical minutiae on a metaphorical level. Those who believe in the power of site have the opportunity to play a role in erecting and connecting monuments of a shared human and natural history.

The brilliance of the spiderweb is made possible by a simple recipe of lines and points.

Like always, here are the links to the interview archive and free resources page.

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