[note] For some reason WordPress is destroying my line breaks. I'll have to tackle this issue when I get back to this in July. It's still readable though.. I hope [/note]The worn cup dripped water from its mouth happily as it glittered in the sun. A hand, wizened with age, held the cup, trembling ever so slightly. Carefully, the hand, belonging to a stooped man leaning on a cane, tilted the cup forward and emptied its contents on the lush vines below.“Grandpa, what are you doing?” pipes in a sharp, young voice, unsettling the reverie of the old man.“Oh, hey Kiddo! I’m just helping along these little ones,” responds Grandpa.“They don’t look they need any help, Grandpa,” reflects Kiddo.“These big vines don’t need any help, that’s for sure; but I was watering these little guys over here because they look like they’re struggling,” says Grandpa as he negotiates a thin vine toward the sunlight.“Hmm… I don’t know. Everything’s really thick. But it’d be awesome to build a fort here,” says Kiddo fingering the knotted mass of woody vines. Old growth is layered in such a dense display of gnarled fibers it is a wonder that anything new could grow in at all.“Yes it would. Or even a tree house up there in that Brewhouse,” muses Grandpa as he puts the cup away in his shoulder pack.“That’s a brew house? Grandpa, I never knew you worked here!” exclaims Kiddo.“Me? Oh no, no. I wasn’t even alive when this was a brewery! I just knew from growing up that there used to be a lot of breweries here before this area became parking lots. Used to be, I’m afraid. Prohibition closed them down,” says Grandpa, thinking back on his life.“Permission?”“Prohibition. You weren’t allowed to buy alcohol.”“Oh, you mean that smelly gasoline that Great-Aunt likes to keep in her house?”“He-he-he,” chuckles Grandpa, “Yes, that’s it. I really don’t understand why people like that stuff,” thinking of tequila. Read More »
Single form, I,Separated; my brethren from on high,Yearning to reach the bosom lest I die.Racing to the earth amidst –Fellow forms – trembling with a sigh.Split asunder. I gather my arms,And limp: limping does the charm.Pushed from afar, please come to no harm,As I, joined by friends, weave through the tarmac.A ravine we find,Beset with legends of forest and bind,Looming overhead tall cliffs of like kind,Channeling us closer to that bosom we so mind.A corner we meet –Suddenly – as we tumble about to greetthese old ruins.Time has not been kind, for the decay that weepsmeets no sleep.We run toward the exit, as if in heat,But we are met a form so thick, it might be peat.All is well; for we tumble again and slow…down… as we meet our keep.The sieve that held us back lets us through,in time, when our friends are few.We continue on, as stubborn beings do,‘Til at last we embrace what we sought,feeling as if we were new.
While I was looking up more information for the Vienna Brewery (the buildings on my site) I happened on information suggesting that the Stony Brook was culverted over and that it runs underground somewhere in Mission Hill/Roxbury. That's an exciting a prospect for a thesis bent on going underground! Furthermore, the culvert, constructed in the late 19th/early 20th century, is about 12 feet high by just as much wide, so it would be quite inhabitable if one chose to inhabit it (which is unlikely because of the mass quantities of water one might find in there). This is how the culvert looked while under construction:
Apparently these culverts were often wider as well:
Check out this interestingly amusing photograph:
So I've contacted the Boston Water and Sewer Commission; they confirmed that the conduit still runs under Parker/Gurney, and, interestingly enough, under the MBTA Commuter Rail/T Orange Line. The Providence<=>Boston line originally ran along the Stony Brook.. that's possibly why the current commuter rail appears in a trench "below" grade. I'll be going to Boston probably Wednesday to pick up some maps/imagery of this. I've also contacted Finegold Alexander + Associates because they did a Feasibility Study for the Boston Housing Authority on the Vienna Brewery in 1997. They must have some kind of imagery before the other parts of the Brewery were torn down (to become temporary parking for Wentworth). I also learned that Wentworth plans to build an athletic facility were this parking is, and that they have been thinking about what to do with the Vienna Brewery (like incorporating the courtyard for public use, using the Brew House for something and using the office building as Wentworth offices) since it is a protected landmark. The latter information I found on Historic Boston Incorporated, an organization which facilitates? between? landmark preservation and the public.
[note] The USGS PDF that I referenced in the above images can be found here: http://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/2005/1280/pdf/cir1280.pdf [/note]
November 11, 2009
Our rituals of existence have become banal. This rhythmic flow of narrative—to which we measure and quantify our lives—has lost its vitality as we have lost the memory of now abandoned landscapes. The overexposure, and the constant obligation, for communication has led to an unconscious concealment of profound and poignant thought.
The landscape of abandonment is rife for a potential shift of social convention. Accelerating this landscape’s decay with material overgrowth permits an experiential response of the unknown, the concealed, and the anticipation of the revealed. The wider perspective that this experience would grant enables individual introspection to become a ritual.
December 5, 2009
The landscape of ruin has lost its human occupation to time and memory. It is both a site of decay and a site of growth. Seldom are these qualities celebrated, as they are feared feral in a society stressing controlled conformity; but these crumbling, constructed wilds have the potential to act as passages for transcending our levels of experience as individuals.
Harnessing the disquieting energy of fear and encroachment, pushing the quality of material decay and growth so that it becomes material overgrowth, and capturing the limited stratification of light below grade permits the intellectual readiness for rites of passage. These rituals – these individual engagements – create an experiential response of the unknown, the concealed, and the anticipation of the revealed. A ritual of passage is both a single event and a journey through a landscape. How can stratified overgrowth act as a narrative for passage through a landscape of ruin?
February 18, 2010
The landscape of ruin has lost its human occupation to time and memory. It is both a site of decay and a site of growth. Seldom are these qualities celebrated, as they are feared feral in a society stressing controlled conformity; but these crumbling, constructed wilds have the potential to act as passages for transcending the levels of experience of individuals.
Harnessing the disquieting energy of fear and encroachment, pushing the quality of material decay and growth so that it becomes material overgrowth, and capturing the limited stratification of light below grade permits the intellectual readiness for trials of passage. Ruins have had the same neglect as have outsiders of society; those with uncommon ideas have always had the greatest need to transcend their own level of experience. To perceive with an articulated awareness can imbue refined perspectives to the anasporic audience from which they were exiled. How can stratified overgrowth act as a narrative for trials of passage through a landscape of ruin?
February 25, 2010
Ruins, deprived of their human occupation, are exiled from society just as intellectually gifted introverts are exiled in an overly expressive society. Commonly misunderstood, these Operators have the need to engage in a regenerative process to transcend their own level of experience to combat their external misinterpretations. Ruins – in a constant state of decay and growth – can serve as the ideal guiding game board for this transcendence because of the Operators’ attenuation to imaginative spaces and sensory stimulus. How can a landscape of ruin generate sensory overgrowth to transcend a level of experience?
February 27, 2010
Ruins, deprived of their human occupation, are exiled from society just as introverted students are exiled in an overly expressive society. Commonly misunderstood, these students have the need to engage in a regenerative process to transcend their own level of experience to combat their external misinterpretations. Ruins – in a constant state of decay and growth – can serve as the trial of passage for this transcendence because of the students’ attenuation to imaginative spaces and sensory stimulus. How can a landscape of ruin generate sensory overgrowth to transcend a level of experience?
March 3, 2010
Ruin is a place of discarded material: a site forgotten to time as its layers of former occupation decay, grow and overlap. As a record of the overdevelopment of these layers, overgrowth, the ruin has the potential to engage its visitors in their own active layering of material. How can a landscape of ruin generate a self-aware sense of presence with material overgrowth?
March 10, 2010
Abandoned spaces decay with discarded material. This discarded material can grow beyond its natural state to affect how we experience that space, not as an abandoned space, but as an inhabited place for changing our perceptional awareness of the landscape. How can stratification overgrow our sense of presence in abandoned spaces?
March 28, 2010
Abandoned spaces decay with discarded material. The record of that decay can be transformative as a process to change our perceptional awareness with the layering of both decay and growth. How can stratification overgrow our sense of presence in abandoned spaces?
April 14, 2010
Ruins sustain the validity that there can be many truths; that the ruin can be decaying – but that it can also be teeming with growth. The perception and experience of truth is difficult to navigate without a juxtaposition of context. How the displacement of stratified, ruined material generate a shift in perception?
April 26, 2010 [Final Version]
Ruins sustain the validity that there can be many truths; that the ruin can be decaying – but that it can also be teeming with growth. The perception and experience of truth is difficult to navigate without a juxtaposition of a physical context. The displacement of stratified, ruined material generates a shift in perception through the use of material overgrowth.
A few days ago while I was in San Diego, I was thinking that "ritual/rite of passage" is my program, and not a direct focus of my thesis. I may now disagree with the latter, but the former has merit if I consider what do with stratified overgrowth in a landscape of ruin. By itself it is a wondrous, mysteriously aggressive and dangerous landscape but what (designed intent) can you do with it? This is where these "rituals" of experience come to play. Perhaps I was subconsciously thinking that I was already thinking of program months ago with these rituals, but I felt it important to proclaim that I am.
The next step in this is to categorize the types of "rituals/rite(s) of passage" that would work with the three levels of experience, such as basing them on emotion(s), logic, etc. A sudden thought came to mind -- I've been playing recently Dragon Age Origins, a phenomenal RPG that, like all RPGs, involve directing a character which gains experience by accomplishing certain tasks like quests and battling monsters. Each "level" of "experience" has a certain amount of points that you must fill to progress to the next level. At the point of "leveling up" you have the option to pick new attributes for your character for strength, mental and physical perseverance and so on. Choosing new skills for defeating more powerful enemies is also possible. Thus, what I am attempting to design for my thesis is much akin to the narrative and mechanics of an RPG. But that is not the sudden thought that came to mind. Rather, particularly for Dragon Age, there is a type of enemy called a demon (part of a larger force called the darkspawn which of course you are battling) which assumes five different "strengths." From weakest to strongest: rage, hunger, sloth, desire and pride. Therefore, a rage demon is significantly weaker and easier to defeat than a pride demon. The sudden thought is this: what if I categorized a type of "ritual" as not only being a certain emotion but one that cannot be conquered until the adventurer has attained a new level of experience. For example, taking the above example, perhaps rage and hunger are only available to overcome for those who have reached Goethe's first level of experience (making observations of the world around them). To reach sloth and desire, one would have to defeat the first two and reach the second level, which is questioning the conditions of those observations. Finally, defeating/coming in terms with pride could only be reached once all previous engagements are complete and one has reached the highest level of experience, which is questioning the observations themselves.
This morning I had a mild epiphany in regards to my thesis. Over the weeks of December I was thinking about the core concepts of the thesis: stratified overgrowth as a condition/process which allows for "rituals/rites of passage" to happen and whereby transcending our level of experience through this narrative of "ritual". And it can only happen in a "landscape of ruin." I wrote in my thesis proposal that I am not designing a rite of passage, rather that I am designing for a rite of passage.
Back in December during our thesis proposal review, I was challenged with the question of what rituals/rites of passage do I want people to engage with in this landscape. Was it to be for passing from one status to the next (child to adult, single to married)?
From that perspective, I was uncomfortable with the notion that I was designing for, let's say, a marriage ritual. And this thinking cannot conform (easily) to transcending one's level of experience. I do not wish to force things to fit. I feel that Goethe's three levels of experience is absolutely essential in knowing this possible landscape, not just experiencing it. Therefore, perhaps I should be more aggressive, but not forceful, of the idea that I am designing a ritual in that I want people to transcend their way of knowing the world through this landscape. Existing rituals do not exist for this purpose, unless one is to consider going to a mountaintop and not eating for three days straight as they await an epiphany. It is unrealistic for the layman to engage in such a determination of will, as the precedent for embarking with the mountaintop ritual is usually done by a person with an already high level of (Goethean) experience. Therefore, I must design for spaces of incremental significance and then spaces that test the occupant so they may continue on to greater challenges.