“The Wild, Secret Life of New York City” by Brandon Keim
“We are in the habit of seeing untended nature as a sort of blankness, awaiting human work to fill it. It’s right there in the name: vacant lot. A place where spontaneous life is invisible, or at best considered so many weeds, the term used to lump together and dismiss what thrives in spite of our preferences.”
This Is Criminal Podcast: “He’s Neutral”
About a traffic island turned dump turned Buddhist shrine….
“Dan Stevenson has lived in Oakland’s Eastlake neighborhood for 40 years. He says crime has been an issue for as long as he can remember, but he isn’t one to call the police on drug dealers or sex workers. He’s a pretty “live and let live” kind of guy. Or he was. Before he finally got fed up and took matters into his own hands.”
Producing Waste / Producing Space event at Princeton
“This symposium brings together scholars engaging in innovative research on the origins, meanings and repercussions of waste landscapes in conversation with artists and architects conducting design research and interventions in spaces designated as waste or wasted.”
Listen to this 99% Invisible podcast.
I have a couple of theories about why pneumatic tubes are magic. I think they inspire wonder because they’re alive or it feels like they’re alive. They’re reaching out through the city they have tendrils and tentacles and they breathe and they throw things up and they feel much much bigger than we are. I also think they inspire wonder because they manifest communication. For us today, when we think of communication, all the 1’s and 0’s and digital things that we move don’t feel real tangible to us anymore. but i also think that they felt pretty magical to people back then too, that they were electrical and breathing networks of communication. You could scent a handkerchief and send it to your loved one via pneumatic tube, and it would still smell like you. So I think that we’re romantic as well and I think that’s part of the wonder today too.
So in a sense they’re both alive and mechanical. both high and low tech. and there’s also something to be said about the journey of a tube canister. You can imagine it snaking its way through these underground passageways, carrying your message. And so this idea of being able to go somewhere where you wouldn’t otherwise be able to go is amazing.
About 50 people set out on foot from the Swiss village of Fiesch at dawn on July 31. As the sun rose over 13,000-foot (4,000-meter) Alpine peaks, the procession moved slowly up a mountainside and into the cool of a pine forest, stopping at a tiny church.
By 7:30 the group had swollen to around a hundred—too many to fit inside the chapel of Maria Heimsuchung, or Mary of the Visitation, so a makeshift altar was erected outside.
“Glacier is ice, ice is water, water is life,” intoned priest Toni Wenger, before beseeching God to stop the glaciers high above them from melting.
By changing a few, crucial words in the liturgy, Father Wenger reversed a Catholic ritual that for 350 years had implored the heavens to push back the glaciers.
The Vatican had approved the change as the effects of global warming became all too tangible in the Alps…
…We prayed for the ice to recede, and our prayer worked—too well,” said Herbert Volken, mountain guide and mayor of Conches, the district that includes Fiesch.
Read more at National Geographic, article by Laura Spinney.
Also read a blog post by Andrew Revkin on the subject.
“Artifacts, just like people, animals or plants, have souls and historical memories,” said Turkey’s culture minister, Ertugrul Gunay. “When they are repatriated to their countries, the balance of nature will be restored.” — via The New York Times: Seeking Return of Art, Turkey Jolts Museums by Dan Bilefsky
“I believe in the lives of many things—not only living animals, flowers and so forth, but also a small cup, your camera, your watch, your shoes… everything has its own life. It was born somewhere, and it will be worn out and reborn. In Kyoto you find a very interesting tomb called fudezuka. It’s a tombstone for old pens. Once you use your pens, you cannot put them in the garbage, you have to preform a ritual.” — comments by Hidetoshi Kato found in the margin of Kenji Ekuan’s interview, under a caption entitled “spirit”.
fudezuka mound in Kyoto, image toranosuke
This tombstone performs a similar function as the Jamaica Bay Pen Project — treating even the most mundane things in our lives with respect.
Patricia Dominguez is feeding me images of shrines in Thailand. She says she’s seen hundreds, and “they all have small inhabitants inside them…”
… what these pairs of spray-painted dots are for:
But the people out in the field dealing with the pipiens [a mosquito] problem are not city workers but exterminators—in particular, the men and women at Kingsway Exterminating. Motto: “We kill with skill.” They are a family business, operated by Richard Kourbage, who responded to a call for bids from the city after the West Nile outbreaks.
Kourbage and his men visit each catch basin in the city, over 200,000 of them. In crews of two dozen men, they visit each about four times. They use bikes to speed the trip—folding bikes that can fit in cars or be taken on subways. At first, the men were mistaken for terrorists and reported to police. Now the police are aware of them. So they don’t repeat treatment of a single catch basin, they leave a colored dot on the basin when they’re finished; the history of the city’s war with pipiens is written on our curbs. “We’re not allowed to use red or orange,” says Kourbage. “We’re limited by the city to certain colors. Black we did once. Silver we’ve used.”
— “Out For Blood” by Robert Sullivan, in NY Magazine, May 20, 2012
From: Flushing Meadows Corona Park
To: Elastic City
Last Saturday was the final Elastic City walk. Thanks to Eve, Alex, and Mike for making it great, and to Tsubasa Berg for taking such amazing photos. More are posted here.
Thanks to Allison, Jeff, and Simone for coming out last weekend! Thanks to Jen Plaskowitz for the great photos! See the full set in this Facebook album.