SWM Archive: Architecture

Collection by John Powers


This is a board for my own writings on architecture - mostly from the Star Wars Modern blog, but from elsewhere as well.

John Powers
In Hollywood films serial killers occupy lairs filled with magazine clippings, sketches, curios and bizar trophies (think & Silence of the Lambs), they deliver manifestos and preach - exactly like avant-garde (and would-be avant-garde) artists. Avant Garde Artists, Se7en, Lambs, Serial Killers, Films, Movies, Deep Thoughts, In Hollywood, Archive

The Architecture of Serial Killers

A few years ago I was seated next to a guy at a dinner party, where I had been introduced as an artist from New York. It was somewhere far enough out of town where that was exotic (we are like fleas on a yard dog in Brooklyn), and my dinner companion, who was an accountant or some such thing, asked me what artists talk about when they get together. I said, "Movies. What do you guys talk about?" I was giving the guy a hard time, but I wasn't joking. There is good reason to believe its always…

Looking at Modernism with David Brin David Brin, Star Wars Film, Modernism, George Lucas, Critic, Cold War, Architecture, Science Fiction, Archive

Looking at Modernism with David Brin -6

Sith Architecture: Le Corbusier and Star Wars (Return to Part 5) When I originally sent David the link to my essay, Star Wars: A New Heap I knew he was an unlikely fan of my ideas about Star Wars. I understood what he disliked about the film's plot and the franchises influence on the world of scifi publishing. In no way, shape, or form, did I think I would change David's judgment of the movie (or even wanted to). But because he counts himself a contrarian, I hoped he would enjoy the spirit…

I am not a Post-Modern (an essay written in real time on Twitter) - Less a post about architecture, and more about theory, musing on what exactly makes a paradigm, and what it is to be modern (vs Modernist or Postmodernist). Post Modern, Postmodernism, Essay Writing, Theory, Archive, Arts And Crafts, Architecture, Twitter, Blog

I am not a Post-Modern (an essay written in real time on Twitter)

I've never liked the term #PostModern - not because of the styles & Ideologies it is attached to, but because I question the premise. #PostModern is founded on the premise that there was a fundamental change made durring the post War Years: a "paradigm shift." Thomas Kuhn defined a paradigm shift a fundamental break in understanding between to regimes of understanding - in science. Late 70s theorist like Jean-François Lyotard & Rosalind Krauss began using the term paradigm shift to describe…

-January 2050 - Object Orientated Speculative Fiction: An Introduction John Power, Frank Gehry, City Life, 21st Century, New York Skyline, Past, Fiction, Sculpture, Architecture

2H2K -January 2050 - Object Orientated Speculative Fiction: An Introduction

My sculpture, Die Die Die (2003), set just about where Frank Gehry's Downtown Guggenheim was slated to go. This past spring I started a collaborative project with my friend Greg Borenstein. Greg came to me with an image: one of my sculptures scaled up until it dwarfed the New York skyline. Because of my interest in urbanism and SciFi, he wondered if I might work with him to imagine an urban future. While I had no idea this project was coming my way, I was immediately ready with two…

The Architecture of Inception: Combat Archaeologies - Utopia, Phalansteries, Cartesian Towers, and favelas; Towers, Cinematography, Archaeology, Archive, Knowledge, Architecture, Movies, Slums, Arquitetura

The Architecture of Inception: Combat Archaeologies

Combat Archaeology In a discussion of the methods he laid out in his book, The Archaeology of Knowledge, the French philosopher Michel Foucault admitted: A nightmare has haunted me me since my childhood: I am looking at a text that I can't read, or only a tiny part of it is decipherable. I pretend to read it, aware that I am inventing; then suddenly the text is completely scrambled, I can no longer read anything or even invent it, my throat tightens and I wake up. I can't read in my dreams…

Image of Democracy: Why I Want to Build Nine Freedom Towers in Tiananmen Square Park Benches, Place Holder, Lawns, Dividers, Towers, Architects, Flower Arrangements, Concrete, Things I Want

Image of Democracy: Why I Want to Build Nine Freedom Towers in Tiananmen Square


The Urbanism of Superheroes - From Machiavelli and Sir Thomas More, to Batman and Superman, to Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses. Jane Jacobs, Batman Begins, Batman And Superman, Golden Age, Ephemera, Archive, Star Wars, Comic Books, Comics

The Urbanism of Superheroes

Batman Begins (2005), Friedrich Nietzche (1844-1900), Superman Returns (2006) In his book about the creators of golden age comics, Men of Tomorrow, Gerard Jones writes: The superman was scarcely a new idea and was in fact a common motif of both low and high culture by the early Thirties, the inevitable product of those doctrines of perfectibility promoted by everyone from Bernarr Macfadden to Leon Trotsky. The word had descended from Nietzche’s Übermensch through Bernard Shaw’s Man and…

Without Space, They Can't Hear Us Scream - an explanation of a series of proposal models I made for possible public spaces in New York, DC, and Beijing. Public Spaces, Beijing, Scream, Proposal, Archive, York, Models, Canning, Architecture

Without Space, They Can't Hear Us Scream

Model of the Nostromo, Alien (1979); Model of proposal for Tiananmen Square Extrusion (2012) For those in Hong Kong, I have a series of architectural models at the Saamlung Gallery, in a group show there called "No One Can Hear You Scream." The show takes it's title from the tagline of the original 1979 film Alien: "a primal scene in its graceful collapse of science fiction and a broader spatial concern, and it is this possibility--space as something generated by a cultural object." My…

Police carry away a participant in a march organized by Occupy Wall Street in New York on Saturday Sept. Wall Street, Die Revolution, Bail Bondsman, New Trailers, New World Order, New York Street, Writing Services, Cops, Change The World

Freedom Towers and Political Fear

David Childs presenting his "Freedom Tower" design (2006); Occupy Wall Street protester being bodily removed (2011) Recently I was asked to contribute a piece for a group show in Hong Kong about the "ways objects produce space." Rather than contribute a sculpture and hope for some sort of latter-day phenomenological experience between ‘object’ and ‘subject’ however, I decided to revisit an urban design project that I had not worked on for over a decade. In addition to recreations of three…

Frank Gehry, Beekman Tower Frank Gehry is an architect I do not feel should be a guilty pleasure, but for some re. Frank Gehry, My Struggle, Skyscraper, Believe, Archive, Tower, Architecture, Arquitetura, Skyscrapers

I Struggle To Believe That Frank Gehry Has The Force

3B6-RA-7 (1977); Frank Gehry, Beekman Tower (2010) Frank Gehry is an architect I do not feel should be a guilty pleasure, but for some reason, he really really is.

Toren Condos Do Not Have The Force Condos, Archive, Star Wars, Architecture, Modern, Arquitetura, Trendy Tree, Starwars, Architecture Design

Toren Condos Do Not Have The Force

Toren Condos Do Not Have The Force

 Police and anti-war demonstrators clash in the streets of Chicago as the Democratic National Convention nominates Hubert H. Humphrey for president. Chicago Riots, Chicago Illinois, Chicago Usa, 1968 Democratic Convention, Chicago Convention, Richard Serra, Old Photos, American History, Nostalgia

Indicator Spaces [John Powers]

Indicator Spaces - This is my first essay on the architecture of public space. It was written for a solo show that opened in March of 2001. In it I argued that the aesthetic of minimalism that requires large amounts of empty space could amount to a positive ethic if applied to public art. I used the example of three art works, Rachel Whiteread's 3rd Plinth, Maya Lin's Vietnam Veteran's Memorial, and Richard Serra's Tilted Arch.