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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sex and City Images

posted by on August 29 at 16:05 PM

This is not a defense. It is a declaration of a debt. My debt to this book:
a0088842_22342367.jpg Every answer for how and why I blog (sexy images, buildings, bursts of words) can be found in Rem Koolhaas’ massive S M L XL. (Bruce Mau is also a part of this book, but a very small part of it: I came to this conclusion—of his minor creative role—after seeing his dull exhibit Massive Change at Vancouver Art Museum two or so years ago.)

S M L XL—which is packed with short essays, failed proposals, porn, buildings, images of emerging cities, a dictionary, fiction—was the most important and dazzling book of its decade, the 90s. But there was a problem: I could not locate it in a literary or philosophical tradition. The book was a lone, dancing star in a vacuum of night. There was nothing like it in the past. Even Benjamin’s Arcade Project, the closest work to it, was substantially different.

Benjamin had a clear vision and direction. He was examining the 19th century with the aim of making his moment, his present, the 1930s, meaningful. How did his society become a mass society? What happened in the 19th century to make the 20th distinctly different from the modern period, which ran from the 16th century to the French revolution. Koolhaas, on the other hand, was not at all looking back at the past for answers. He was instead in a hyper present and inventing a new way of thinking and writing about that present. That way of thinking and writing we now recognize as blogging.

Benjamin once described dadaism as an expression of cinema before it had arrived and became recognized as such. S M L XL is the first true expression for what is now recognized as blogging. Only with blogging did S M L XL finally make sense to me. The porn, the buildings, the words, the theories—all of it flowing from one page to the next. The space of a page as something that happens and then passes. Even the future eternity of blogging was mirrored by the enormous size of the book.

I’m hiding nothing. Read S M L XL and my discharge of images and words (Sharapova, Gong Li, modernists illusions, cultural examinations) will make sense:
CT_by_night1_1%281%29.jpg Cape Town at night: “How beautiful you are/Just like a movie star.”

MARIA_02.jpg “You belong to the city.”

helnwein_leda.jpg This is a Greek myth. Donald Duck as what he really wants to be: a God and a rapist.

RSS icon Comments


that would be donald duck, charles.

Posted by terry miller | August 29, 2007 4:13 PM

Yeah dude: All ducks are not created equal. Back to the drawing board!

Posted by Jude Fawley | August 29, 2007 4:20 PM

I don't see the duck as either a god or a rapist. Maybe Bugs Bunny, but if I say that, I'm continuing Charles' mistake of mixing up Warner Bros. and Disney. But both ducks are share more similarities than just having a rodent for a foil.

They are incompetent, stupid, and have a much higher opinion of themselves than reality warrants. They want to be like a god, but they fail at every turn, thwarted by their smarter and more skilled co-stars.

That picture is the duck's fantasy. He sees himself as an object of desire, as worthy of worship. But it is nothing but a dream.

Posted by L-Train8 | August 29, 2007 4:30 PM

Yeah, but Donald Duck at least joined the Navy. Daffy stayed at home and tried to make money. Typical Yellow Elephant!

(Or little black duck)

Posted by Horace | August 29, 2007 4:40 PM

Rem Koolhaas designs beautiful buildings, but his ideas about what a city should be are infuriating. Are you not angry? Rem Koolhaas would rather Cape Town be leveled and replaced with a gleaming, conceptual, history-free campus.

And in SMLXL he has the nerve to knock city planners who concern themselves with architecture before he goes into his own self righteous and wild argument about what a city should look like. He includes sketches. They all look approximately like the master plan for Evergreen State College must have looked when that atrocity was conceived. Fuck him.

SMLXL looks awesome in my book case, though. Thanks, Mr. Mau!

Posted by brad | August 29, 2007 4:46 PM

Oh, you were talking about the format of the book (sorry, I normally have to skim your posts). In that case, never mind. The book is cool and the design seemed very special in 1999. A second kudos for Bruce Mau.

Posted by brad | August 29, 2007 4:51 PM

How best to understand Mudede's persistent expurgation of the title he purports to adulate? How can we competently commiserate with the cut cohort of common punctuation? with their erasure, with the substitution of spaces?

Why does Charles fear and oppress commas?

Posted by Emma Leigh | August 29, 2007 5:49 PM

"... The porn, the buildings, the words, the theories—all of it flowing from one page to the next. The space of a page as something that happens and then passes..."

Hmmm-sounds like scrapbooking.

Posted by delfina jonesr | August 29, 2007 8:21 PM
9 Charles didn't know that...he didn't know...uh...never mind. I base all of my opinions on pictures from books that I never care to understand, too. All of the time. Oh wait. No I don't.

Posted by Mr. Poe | August 29, 2007 10:45 PM

Where fuck does chaz get ideas about what donald duck wants? is he projecting what he wants on donald duck?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | August 29, 2007 10:58 PM

It's funny to come to slog and see a debate about what Donald Duck wants.

Posted by arandomdude | August 30, 2007 12:56 AM

A nice tribute to a superb book. Skeptics really ought to read it and live with it for awhile. Koolhaas calls it "a novel," and, Charles, I am curious what you make of that. You have expressed skepticism about the relevance of novels.

But I'm commenting mostly to remind everyone that the more important collaborator here was Jennifer Sigler, credited as "editor," but who functioned as a co-author. She wrote all of the marginal notes, a fascinating alphabetized index that runs through the whole book. Why is she always forgotten? It's like that third person, I can't even recall the name, who co-wrote "Learning from Las Vegas" with Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. Who was that?

Posted by Matthew Stadler | August 30, 2007 5:07 AM

Maybe donald duck wants to be a woman.

Posted by -B- | August 30, 2007 7:28 AM

I always find your postings entertaining. That hyper heterosexual viewpoint. I know Dan covers most of the homosexual postings but even he is more well rounded in his writing since he often writes about hetro subjects too and how everything has it's place and contributes to a well rounded view of the world. But your postings usually concern themselves with buildings, typical sexualized images of women and intellectual muscle flexing in the form of quotes. To me they always seem like you have an idealized view of the world where you have to define your heterosexuality over and over by posting that seem to read and look the same most of the time.
The world is not just comprised of buildings and sexualized images of women and writings that tie them all together in a nice package void of anything that threatens that macho viewpoint. Women do not have to be defined by images of them being sexy all the time. The "enormous size of the book" (S M L XL) reference comes across sounding more like a cock reference. The bigger the book I read the more of a man I am.
I get the impression that only men build things and write something intellectual and women are to be sexualized most of the time from your postings.
But really to step outside of that view you would have to write more about women contributing something more than just sex and men would have to be far more equal they would have to be sexualized too and share achievements equally with women, even be allowed to cry once in awhile.
Sometimes I feel you should be one of the subjects in the Édouard Manet painting " Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe". A beautiful idealized world where all the men are clothed and talking and women are sexualized and silent.

Posted by -B- | August 30, 2007 8:22 AM

-b- for the win!

-b- 100, chaz nil

Posted by Bellevue Ave | August 30, 2007 9:44 AM

I think the Donald is the rapee in this image.

He can't help it if his bill sticks out.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 30, 2007 10:13 AM

pls send all the top site about sex and vedios to my mail

Posted by dinesh | September 1, 2007 10:44 PM

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