Strange Bedfellows

I am often asked what Las Vegas, the Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Arizona, and Iceland, have in common. To all appearances the answer would be nothing.   I know they seem to make strange bed fellows indeed but juxtaposing objects and contexts create unexpected consequences of meanings. Let me explain.

While on sabbatical, I have rediscovered the luxury and simple pleasure of reading. Those luscious afternoon hours spent tucked into a favorite chair, in the sunlight, just reading. Its a beautiful thing, reading. Recently, I’ve been reading the futurist (and senior editor of Dwell magazine)  Geoff Manaugh’s “The Bldg Blog Book”, which uses, as a starting point, his blog (one of my favs-see blogrolls column on the right) where he builds upon his favorite themes: architectural conjecture, urban speculation and landscape futurism. Right from the get go Manaugh advocates for wide leaps of the imagination. He states “Talk about Chinese urban design, the European space program, and landscape in the films of Alfred Hitchcock in the span of three sentences-because it’s fun, and the juxtapositions might take you somewhere. Most importantly, follow your lines of interest.” (his italics).

Robert Smithson shares Manaugh’s sentiments:  “”In the illusory babels of language, an artist might advance specifically to get lost, and to intoxicate himself in dizzying syntaxes, seeking odd intersections of meaning, strange corridors of history, unexpected echoes, unknown humors, or voids of knowledge…but this quest is risky, full of bottomless fictions and endless architectures and counter architectures…”

And so I have. Las Vegas’s fabrication and design of nature, the Biosphere 2’s attempt to orchestrate and manage nature, and Iceland’s primordial post-nature, all lend themselves to unimaginable leaps of imagination…. Along the way, a tapestry of unexpected intersections of meanings happens…usually ones that I could never, in my wildest dreams,  have imagined.

Will Ferrell takes the leap!

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