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February 28, 2008

Dancitecture in its truest form

In a totally unconstrained world, I would be able to completely transfer my thoughts to paper, to production in any form I choose. My guess is, most of the time, the form of which I would transfer my thoughts would be through dance and choreography. I am easily inspired by the visual appearance of choreography, however; there are fewer buildings which inspire ideas for choreography. And dance moves come much easier to me; they are easier to change and manipulate. I wouldn’t need to make models or drawings to understand the building. I would simply be able to choreograph the building into my memory through movement.
I would make music happen through motion and through stillness. I understand that I have the possibility of doing this now; however I have not learned to foster this into a capability. The ability to do such a thing is in our world, yet I’m not sure how my particular process can play out realistically. It is something I plan to explore for the rest of my days. Putting movement to paper, and paper to movement, and movement to structure, and vice versa? It is my dream! All of it, combined. Whatever it turns out to be…
I think that, though the architecture school format would be abandoned, I would still do massive amounts of my research within a studio, a dance studio. I feel like that is the easiest place to think of ideas. A wide open space just waiting to be filled with movement, shapes, tension, release—all these things are possible within such a space. Walking into a dance studio is freeing. Walking into an architecture studio is frightening.
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In an architecture studio, there is an intensity which scares me…sometimes it makes me question why people keep on chuggin’ through it. Though it is sometimes filtered with natural light, the architecture studio feels like a place of darkness and sometimes, suffering. I don’t completely hate this place; undoubtedly wonderful and amazing creations have sprung out of architecture studios. I just want to make it known that they have, at first, an unapproachable, impersonal atmosphere. Of course, these are my own fears. Some people wouldn’t know the first thing about how to go about interpreting a piece of choreography and transforming it into another work of art, and at the moment, I have little experience in the transformation part. However, I understand how to interpret a piece of work. And that’s the half of it, right? Some people walk into an architecture studio and think, “alright, let’s do this.?
I shouldn’t slam the architecture studio program, because I have no actual experience making models in the studio. I really don’t know how to start a foundation, or how to help a client meet his/her needs through sustainable design. Not as of today, anyways.

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“Dance first. Think later.? I think this is an extremely powerful idea that I would apply, and will apply to both the design and dance process. So often we critique our own work and ourselves about things we think of. But in the dance studio, I can’t think the movement is stupid, because it’s coming from a place that I have no control over. Once I recognize that, the true design process is allowed to take place. I think there are so many things holding us back from getting to the true genius of our designs, and for me, dancing is the easiest way to let go of those things which I put into my head as roadblocks. Taking chances and messing around are so important to the early stages of the design process. We need to do it more.
I think this practice of transforming choreographic works into buildings and structures would be influential for my environment, because the effects of the ideas would be two-fold. People work in different ways. Not everyone would see the idea played out in the building, though they might understand it through a dance performance. The opposite is also true for others; they might find the building speaks more directly than the choreographic qualities. The venues of which the ideas are put into choreography could be different from the area where the transformation into a building occurs. At the same time, it would be amazing to perform a work about the same idea in the very space that conceived the idea for the choreography.
In this thought, maybe people would be enabled to better understand the things which surround them if they were to experience them in different arenas of life: walking downtown and noticing an interesting structure vs. watching someone tell that same story the structure did, just through a different venue.

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This is the exciting thing: these possibilities are possible within reality! You and I have the chance to attempt all these endeavors, choosing to use our own constraints while staying within the laws of the universe. Defying gravity is possible; it just takes a certain amount of force and balance. If you can defy gravity, you can defy a lot of other things…like what other people think is a good way to approach architecture. As we’ve all seen, there seems to be a whole world of systems that attempt to find the perfect path to architecture. Let’s face it, there isn’t one. That’s why I’m boldly, yet with appreciation, forging forward into architecture…never forgetting to bring my best tools---my mind and body. With those things, gravity is defied. For me, it’s not through playing around with how far I can get a cantilever to go in the design studio, but understanding how to counterbalance my legs and arms so that I can sustain a movement for any given amount of time. These things inform me about architecture, about the laws of the universe; they allow me to take the knowledge I’ve acquired from the dance studio into the design studio. Maybe this way, architecture won’t be so scary.
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The idea that architecture comes from the mind to paper to model is not an idea I support. Ideally, I would go from body to mind to body again, and perhaps back to the mind. At one point, I would eventually come around to the building part. My process would not be a linear one, much like the world. The world is not linear, and as I’ve mentioned before, it is all connected. So in an unconstrained world, I would try to connect what I hold closest to my heart (dance and architecture) together, and somehow try to find a way to understand how both creative processes can uphold each other, and how they can feed into each other and into the world.

"Dance is the mother of arts. Music and poetry exist in time; painting and architecture exist in space. But dance lives in time and space at once."
-Unknown

February 18, 2008

My Values and Sustainability?

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How do I describe myself when it comes to sustainability? Well, as the assignment says, I am supposed to find some pictures, make a playlist, and get some quotes. So, I did just that, but I don't think these things fully reflect my decision to choose sustainability. Honestly I chose sustainability to learn more about it, to learn what it's all about. I have no agenda for it already, so this research project is really just that. I expect to do research on it, and form an opinion on it thereafter. Not the other way around.

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I think the most influential song would be Who Am I by Casting Crowns--it talks a lot about how we are here today, gone tomorrow. This idea is nothing new, but it gives me a fresh reminder that nothing is guaranteed. Like the gift of life, and the earth. God gave us this earth so we would work it and dwell on it. I plan to investigate how we've worked and dwelled over the years, and how it has affected the earth which He gave us. Right now, I see sustainability as an overemphasized idea---everyone talking about the CO2 emissions needing to be reduced, but at the same time, it's just been found that the large amount of these emissions is jumpstarting the growth of forests and plants. Record growth has been discovered with direct correlation to CO2 emissions. So, I'm looking to figure out where my values and sustainability fit in, because right now I'm not completely sure. Sometimes sustainability seems to have a political agenda behind it---like Al Gore...the man talks about pollution and taking care of the earth when he travels in a private jet. I'm just trying to fit my beliefs about Jesus Christ and what He says in the Scriptures into this whole thing. Fitting a Christian mentality into a secular, politically-charged issue presents its own problems. You may feel like I'm being hypocritical, because last week I said that it's all connected. God, the environment, everything. And it is, totally and completely. I still and always will believe that, however, actually getting out there and putting my words into action requires more work---people must understand God's love before they can understand why hurting His earth is bad. First and foremost, it's bad because it hurts what God created for us. Yes, there are lots of other reasons. But as far as I'm concerned, that's all that matters. At the same time, one day we won't inhabit this earth..so we shouldn't become too attached to it. A couple of articles written on raptureready.com encouraged me in writing this blog:

The only lasting issue is whether each of us will be around to see the day when the lion lies down with the lamb and every stream runs crystal clear with pure water. Knowing that the earth will eventually be put back in order, we need to be concerned with the preservation of our eternal souls.
“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?? (Mat. 16:26).
Any person who is truly a born-again child of God anticipating the rapture, and who has the attitude that he or she doesn’t care about our environment or in living as a good citizen, should earnestly check his or her Christian credentials. Jesus himself created this magnificent habitat. God said that it was “very good,? much like we might step back and look at a project dear to our hearts when finished in a pleasing fashion, and say to ourselves, “that is very good.? We are to care deeply about this earth upon which we have been placed. But, of course, we are not to worship it.


Another portion of an article from raptureready.com:
For some people, global warming has become a new religion. They pay homage to the god of conservation by purchasing energy saving bulbs; they view capitalists as the devil, and grant sainthood to people who share the gospel message.
This religion also has its hypocrites, like Al Gore, the reigning pope of environmentalism. When he went to deliver his famous warning at the U.N. Global Warming conference in Kyoto, Japan, he burned more than 439,500 pounds, or 65,600 gallons, of fuel flying on Air Force II. The most I've ever consumed in a single trip is 40 gallons. Oh, but there’s more:
• He has large stock holdings in Occidental Petroleum.
• Most of his personal property does not use green energy.
• He owns multiple homes, one of which is a 10,000-square-foot behemoth.
• While promoting his movie, he continued polluting the airways by traveling in his own private jet.

Now before you assume this article being too one-sided, I have something to say. I would say that you're right. It is one-sided. Because once you repent and have Jesus in your life, everything is His side. So for this man, though he may sound judgmental and offensive, he knows that the ultimate truth Jesus presents is and was offensive to most.
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He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather scatters.
- Matthew 13:20

Playlist:
Worthy is the Lamb by Hillsong
Life is Wonderful by Jason Mraz
Wonderful Maker by Jeremy Camp
Better is One Day by Kutless
Wheel by John Mayer
All Who Are Thirsty by Kutless
Agnus Dei by Michael W. Smith
Above All by Michael W. Smith
Beautiful One by By The Tree
How Great is Our God by Chris Tomlin
Who Am I by Casting Crowns

February 14, 2008

Open the Door

Finding a social-design issue isn't hard when you live in a city of over 300,000 people. What is hard, however, is finding one that you truly care about, one that you're willing to immerse yourself in, one that you're willing to advocate. There are very few things that get me fired up in this world, and many times, these things aren't about global warming or being green, or even being politically correct. No, these things are a part of a bigger so-called "social-design" issue.
The very word social has so many different meanings: 1) pertaining to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relations: a social club 2) seeking or enjoying the companionship of others; friendly; sociable; gregarious 3) of or relating to human society, the interaction of the individual and the group, or the welfare of human beings as members of society --For these purposes, I'll be focusing on the third definition, specifically the welfare part. The welfare of our city, our nation, our universe. It is social on the biggest degree.

Now, this idea of it all being part of a bigger picture may have lost some of you along the way. So, I'll step back just a pinch--last Sunday in church my pastor was talking about how he was reading Clarence Thomas', the second African American Supreme Court Justice, memoirs. In these memoirs, Clarence was speaking about how he felt that the minister was preaching on an irrelevant topic. It wasn't applicable to him, he thought. My thought is this: it's all applicable. Global warming, yes. Abortion, yes. Huge mansions that overtake the rest of the neighborhood, definitely. It doesn't matter..they're all applicable, to us, and to a bigger thing than ourselves.
I'm an advocate for Jesus Christ, I can not deny it(nor would I want to!). He is the foundation in my life, and I want everyone else to understand how He can be for them too. I must confess, however, I do not live up to this idea of every ear hearing the Gospel. This is an issue! In fact, its part of the greatest social-design issue in history. Believers, myself included, are not sharing the Good News of Christ frequently enough! Once this happens, lives are changed. Not through us, but through Him.
We fill our lives up with being advocates for so many other things: be it environmental, social, design-related, etc. What I'm saying: it's all relevant, and it all doesn't match up to the love of Christ. Once we have that, and understand it, things will change. We will care about the environment, because we know that God created it for man and his dwelling. Ultimately, it's His world! And we will care about the uncared for: the homeless, the refugees, the illegal aliens, because we know that they are God's people too; they don't deserve the Good News of Christ like the rest of us. Don't deserve? That's right, we don't deserve God. That's what makes the Gospel so beautiful; we are sinners who don't deserve a holy and loving God. But we get Him anyways, becase He's kind and merciful. At the same time, don't make the mistake of thinking He's unjust. God practices ultimate justice.
The ultimate social-design issue is that we are separated from God, we were meant to be with Him. But because of our sin (it all started with Adam and Eve), we can not be. The solution to this design problem is Jesus Christ: he was the only person who ever could and did lead a perfect life. He was the perfect Lamb, the perfect Sacrifice. So, please don't be a Clarence Thomas and think that where you spend eternity is irrelevant, or not applicable for you. Because, whether you believe it or not, God exists. He has ultimate control over everything, and He is your God. You may not call on Him, but He's always at your heart's door.

Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.

-Revelation 3:20

February 3, 2008

Energy Transformation in an Urban Community

Let's examine Minneapolis, specifically downtown (be it Nicollet or 1st Ave), for its ability to transform. From the days of horse and buggy to the nights of Escalade limos, Minneapolis has always seemed to be where it's at, as they say. I believe that Minneapolis, as well as other urban communities alike, has/have the distinct ability to transform good and bad energy. Undoubtedly, in downtown, any girl can feel as though she were Mary Tyler Moore, joyously spinning round and round without a care. But just five minutes later, someone cheapens our dream by asking for $1.50 to get home for the night. Is this a flaw in society, did someone push a wrong button somewhere? This crucial moment forces us to ask, does our urban community have the ability to permeate through ideas about right and wrong, good or bad, useful, useless?

Watching the people go about their business on a Monday morning at 9:00 A.M. is quite interesting. Not good, not bad; simply eye-opening. I find myself judging people, not on purpose mind you, but the feeling is still there. Is that woman really homeless? Why does that grumpy suit walk around like he owns the place? I find that it's all a part of a system, we all have our place. On this day, I was probably viewed as the random chick on the bench who watches people. Creepy, right? Maybe, but my place was still important. If I hadn’t taken that step to be the person on the bench, I may have never noticed how our treatment towards one another affects this “energy system? in which we operate. If we don't have positions such as this, with respect to Goldsworthy's attentiveness, we can never find what's underneath.

We must understand that, when it comes to the idea of people being carriers of energy in a system, the carriers have the power. The system does not. The flow of energy can't be stopped, but it can be transformed. All of us, in our respective positions, need to carry good energy to flush out the bad. A so-called negative energy (i.e. corruption, homelessness, cruelty) doesn't get flushed out in our city of Minneapolis. We just neglect the energy and move on. By now, though, I think it's quite ignorant to avoid Newton's Law---energy can't be destroyed. So, while we go on with our days of neglecting the bad energy, it doesn't go away, it doesn't get destroyed. It sits, accumulating like a sticky, Minnesotan snowball. Eventually, it's like that itch in the back of your throat you can't reach. Eventually, we forget to even look for it or see it. But as we all know, just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it's not there. So as I look at this idea of transforming energy from year to year, person to person, useless to useful, take your position. Be the creepy person on the bench who observes people, systems, energy flow. Because one day, that sticky snowball is going to run us good energy kids out of business.

I know that many of us feel as though we can have no impact on the world, that we don’t really have the ability to change things. A mentor once gave this comparison: if you were sitting in seat 12A on a crashing airplane, it’s your responsibility to get your oxygen mask on as well as seat 12B’s. It’s not, however, your responsibility to get seat 54C’s mask on. You see, by reaching out to the people we encounter, we can start to transform bad energy (or sticky, neglected energy) into good energy. I’m not saying Minneapolis isn’t a great place to live, because it is a great place to live. I’m saying that, in order to keep our system in equilibrium, we need to put our oxygen masks on and breathe. Help others to breathe, or help others to get home at night. Goldworthy’s attention to detail and intricacies in nature can give us inspiration to be sensitive to the ebb and flow of our own environment—be it downtown or otherwise. Let us not see the homeless man or woman on the street as a mishap in our system or a flaw in society. But let us just be compassionate enough to care about the sticky, neglected energy that they hold…and to transform it to a healthy, good energy which can sustain our environment and system so much more efficiently than we ever could on our own.


For photo of neglected energy: http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.photographyblog.com/images/photo_of_the_week/28030405/Homeless%2520Dinner.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.bestandworst.com/v/115204.htm&h=600&w=600&sz=60&hl=en&start=2&tbnid=h1iFwWy-4J6PuM:&tbnh=135&tbnw=135&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dhomeless%26gbv%3D2%26hl%3Den