Monday, July 30, 2007

BOTC: Noble Amateur

Over the weekend, BOTC read The Cult of the Amateur by Andrew Keen.

Keen asserts that the current Internet, the "democratic" and participatory internet of Google, YouTube, My Space, etc. is essentially killing American culture (music, literature, etc.) drowning the voices of expertise, eradicating copyrights, and smothering the main stream media. Keen fears that the internet is morhphing into a hyper-Wild West which more often than not endangers rather than enlightens.

Do you agree or disagree? It is worth a read. The arguments made will tug at your moral core while simultaneously enraging your libertarian leanings. BOTC has posted previously about the use of the blog and internet as a public service.
Keen first appeared on the critical scene after penning an article for the Weekly Standard, equating the Internet to Marxism.

Friday, July 27, 2007

What's good for the city was __________

Although BOTC was fearing a disastrous event, MOCA's "What's good for the city is ____" event was quite interesting, varied, funny, and at times painful. Again, the idea for the event was for 20 people to finish the sentence "What's good for the city is _____" in 90 second responses. Here is a list of ideas / reflections that were offered last night.

What's good for the city (of Cleveland) is . . . .

. . . a Cuyahoga Urban Volcanic Archipelago Commission
. . . Nothing. The city is irrelevant in the age of the internet.
. . . Respect
. . . De-construction rather than destruction + demolition
. . . New Herbinism (230,000 acres of "funny weed" farming)
. . . the Irreplaceable (from the single house to the the skyscraper)
. . . non-architects
. . . Opinion
. . . Leadership Accountability from Political + Design Leadership
. . . Graffiti
. . . Pleasant Sidewalks
. . . Memory
. . . MTV's Real World
. . . Temporary Occupation of vacant developer-owned land
. . . Closed-door enlightened design policy creation
. . . Less Master Plans
. . . Global Warming
. . . the City working for Us

Look for MOCA to present streaming video of the event sometime in the future.

Breuer Ingenuity Ideas Competition

One of the highlights of the Ingenuity Festival was the Breuer Tower Ideas Competition Exhibition. While it was not really a competition since no one won anything, the resulting show exhibiting everything from the sedate + subtle to the absurd + offensive was very enjoyable to peruse.

You can see the entries at various sites and blogs:

@ RealNeo
@ Green City Blue Lake
@ Flickr

Over the past year there have been several local competitions (AIA Cleveland, Cleveland Competition, Ingenuity Breuer) and well as several architectural + urban design exhibitions + related events (Cleveland Public Art's "Influence + Imposition" + MOCA's "What's good for the city is _____") that have stirred the pot a little bit. BOTC hopes that this momentum continues and that the design discourse matures and blossoms. Look for the Cleveland Design City Network to continue pressing the issues, ruffling feathers, and having a little fun with our local design absurdities + entrenched architectural politics.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

What's good for the city is __________

What is good for the city?

That is the question that several emerging designers will answer in sequential 90-second responses at a discussion event at MOCA on Thursday night, starting at 7 PM.

BOTC anticipates much sarcasm, criticality, frustration, rational absurdity, farce and even some glimmers of hope. Maybe a fight or two also. Such discussion will be lubricated with a cash bar.

Look for your favorite Cleveland Design City blogger there, including Design Rag, TOI, and maybe even Rockitecture.

Look for a review on Friday.

Monday, July 23, 2007

How does Cleveland become "Design City"?

BOTC wants Cleveland to become a hub of design. There are various ways that this may happen over several years. There have been several positive steps that have been taken in that direction already:

1. The launch of the Cleveland Competition
2. The District of Design
3. FOA's + MVRDV's emerging work at Case
4. Kent State's graduate design program move to downtown Cleveland
5. Grassroots involvement with the Breuer Tower
6. CIA's continuing excellence
7. The evolution of such events as Ingenuity

But maybe another avenue for the substantiation of the Design City could involve local universities acquiring the fantastic archives of leading architects. See this New York Times article about the archives of such architects as Peter Eisenman and Frank Gehry. Would it not be fantastic for CWRU or Kent State to buy Gehry's archive and establish the Center for the Study of Late 20th Century Design? Such an archive located in Northeast Ohio would instantly establish credibility for such a Center and would make the institution a instant player in international design scholarship. Such an archive would soon attract other archives that would not necessarily have to be bought, just acquired.

Maybe Peter Lewis can buy it and donate it.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Ingenuity Festival

BOTC was rather underwhelmed by the Ingenuity Festival last night. We were rather disappointed in several things that may improve over the next few days. Here is a list:

1. Way-finding: A visitor has no idea where and where-not he can tread, especially in the IdeaCenter and the Playhouse Square venues. Exhibition venues are not clearly delineated along the street scape, or even on the doors and entrances to buildings.
2. Un-informed docents: Many the of the docents at the various exhibits had no real idea what the exhibits were about, what they meant, or what they were trying to say. The docents at the IdeaCenter really did not know much about anything, really. A lot of people at the NASA exhibit looked rather confused and unsure what to do, what was going on, etc.
3. Organization: BOTC walked into the Festival, paying our $5, around 5:30. Things were still being set-up, or exhibits were not set up at all. I know the drums were playing over at CSU, but there should have been music going at the main stage. Everthing seemed very un-organized and rather sloppy.
4. Lack of Content: BOTC may have missed some things, but the content of the festival seems rather weak. The "Architecture Cluster" at Gallery 1305 was the highlight of the exhibitions, which is not saying much since most of the gallery was utterly empty.

Conditions may change over the next few days of the Festival and BOTC hopes that they do. BOTC feels that this a valuable event that needs to succeed, but based on last night's experience, we are not overly optimistic.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Various things . . .

After several weeks of vacation time BOTC is back. There is a lot going on lately:

1. Steve Litt starts his own architecture blog at We here at the Cleveland Design City network (TOI, Design Rag, BOTC, Rockitecture, Cleveland Competition) welcome Cleveland's lone print design critic to the fold. We encourage Steve to look beyond built work and seek what is brewing in the "architectural salons" of emerging architects.
2. The Ingenuity Festival hosts an "Architecture Cluster" and exhibits entries in the Breuer Tower competition. See Green City Blue Lake for the entries. See Steve Litt's article on the exhibit here.
3. The long-awaited Akron Art Museum opens. Coop Himmelblau's first American project has received praise from many rags, including the Plain Dealer, Washington Post, and New York Times. The Akron Beacon Journal and its readers remain skeptical and parochial.
4. The Ingenuity Festival begins tomorrow. It will be interesting to see several thousand people tyring to enjoy a festival while dodging orange barrels, construction equipment, and a lot of missing pavement.