JAMES THOMAS

Clippings to read, watch and listen

Archive for September 2010

Free Basin

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SIMPARCH
Free Basin, 2000
Plywood, concrete, steel, skateboarders

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Written by James Thomas

30/09/2010 at 21:03

Ville Invisible

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From http://www.leakystudio.com

see: PARIS VILLE INVISIBLE

Paris: Invisible City | Paris: Ville Invisible existed firstly as a french publication written by Bruno Latour with photography from Emilie Hermant and designed by Susanna Shannon. The book presents us with a new way to approach sociology, namely through a series of of ‘dis-locals’, or small elements of the functioning of the city that are not apparent when using conventional sociological approaches. The book takes us through a simultaneous photographic and written exploration of Paris, and leaves with a question as to what holds this collection of dis-locals in tact – what is the binding Plasma?

The web version of the book which exist for both English and French speaking audiences uses the chapters in the book as differentiators of sorts, which allows for varying interface possibilities. The first section of traversing, uses an ambigous image navigation system, similar to the feeling of wandering and being surprised by the images you see as you turn a corner in the city. The entire screen contains hit zones which generate an animated image sequence, resting upon one, which is the destination.

The second section [proportioning] refers to a lateral scaling, where every image appear the same size, even though the actual scale of the images is greatly varied. Through the lateral movement of the images as they enter the screen, when gain a short glimpse at the relations between the images, before one fills the entire screen, thereby showing only a fragment of the sequence. Movement is lateral.

The third sequence [dimensioning] takes us through an archive where there is the movement of leafing through old files and documents. In this leafing through one image comes abruptly after the other and dominates our view – hiding the other either recently passed or near to come. When transferring this sensibility into a web platform the act of clicking was too certain a gesture to activate the interface, so the user simply runs their mouse across the tabs of the ‘files’ in order to swap positions and have a new image dominate over the other. Movement is leafing through, or for a screen environment, z-depth swapping.

The last sequence takes us back to a panorama, an updated version. in this sequence the question is posed as to what the connective plasma is in this configuration of ‘dis-locals’ we just experienced. Since this space is undefined, the user is free in this section to modify the rhizome structure which binds the images together. Upon activating a node of the structure, the background image switches to correspond to the selected node. Movement: sprawling and variable.

This project was slightly revised in 2007, for inclusion in the Airs de Paris exhibition at Centre Pompidou, Paris.

Written by James Thomas

28/09/2010 at 12:17

Posted in 001/ Archi Spatial

Urban Sound Institute

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http://www.urbansound.org/eng/project_item.php?url=usit_intothenoise.xml

INTO NOISE

Art Based musical, architectonic and acoustic investigations of contemporary urban spaces, Urban Sound Institute 2008-10, funded by the Swedish Research Council.

The project aims to critically challenge conceptions of noise as undifferentiated urban drones, and investigate it as a rich material with concealed details.

To understand sounds as hidden micro-events within noise, the project will extract sonic elements, model their relations to surroundings and elaborate their spatial subtleties through artistic experiments. The goal is to increase possibilities to articulate variations in noise, improve sound design and develop musical-architectonic-acoustic qualities of urban space, as spatial compositions.

Art experiments and theoretical reflection will also investigate how awareness of sound can contribute to more differentiated conceptions of public space, and affect architectural thinking. The research group Urban Sound Institute, uniting Chalmers Architecture, Konstfack and the Academy of Music and Drama, Göteborg, has competence in musical composition, architecture/urban design, soundart, sound design and technical acoustics.

Investigations combine art experiments on urban sites, acoustic measuring, explorative work at Konstfack sound laboratory and pedagogical workshops and courses. The project expects to render a rich material to be displayed and discussed successively in several forms of representation – sound productions, site specific installations, film, art exhibitions, workshops etc. Important new knowledge is also expected through development of theories, concepts and methods on sound environment and sound design.

Written by James Thomas

26/09/2010 at 18:11

Posted in 005/ Tunings

Barrier Kult

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“THE MILITANT AND VICIOUS WORSHIP OF THE TIGHT TRANSITION ALTAR – THE BARRIER.”
BA.KU. interview. http://www.payinginpain.com
youtube video here

photo found at http://www.concreteskateboarding.com

Written by James Thomas

25/09/2010 at 13:55

Abstract Concrete: Francisco López and the Ontology of Sound

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Cabinet Magazine : Issue 2 Mapping Conversations Spring 2001
Abstract Concrete: Francisco López and the Ontology of Sound
Christoph Cox

­5 October 1948, Paris
­ ­
In August of 1944, Pierre Schaeffer, announcer for Radiodiffusion Française, celebrated the liberation of Paris by playing a reco­rding of “La Marseillaise” to an ecstatic France.1 Four years later, Schaeffer heralded the liberation of music. Under­ the title “A Concert of Noises,” Schaeffer broadcast a set of “Études” he had composed entirely from recordings of train whistles, spinning tops, pots and pans, canal boats, percussion instruments, and a lone piano. In contrast with traditional musique abstraite, which passed through the detours of notation, instrumentation, and performance, Schaeffer called his new music musique concrète—music built from the sounds of the world and assembled directly by the hands of the composer via the manipulation of phonograph discs or the splicing of magnetic tape. Schaeffer gleefully abandoned the space of the concert hall, celebrating the fact that radio and recording made possible a new experience of sound. He termed the experience (following Edmund Husserl’s procedure of “phenomenological reduction,” which aimed at isolating the pure datum of experience) “reduced listening” or (following the Pythagoreans, whose initiates, the “akousmatikoi,” listened to the master from behind a veil) “acousmatic listening.”

Schaeffer’s profound influence on late 20th-century music led in two directions. On the one hand, along with John Cage, his experiments fostered musical post-modernism. His concrète procedures would later be developed and perfected by hip-hop DJs from Grandmaster Flash to Q-Bert and sampling artists from John Oswald to David Shea. “Acousmatic listening” would soon become the norm, as telephones, Muzak, Walkmen, and car stereos filled the sonic spaces of everyday life with disembodied sound. On the other hand, Schaeffer himself saw another set of possibilities in the “acousmatic” world of musique concrète: the affirmation of a metaphysical impulse characteristic of Romanticism and High Modernism. By recording sounds, altering them (slowing them down, speeding them up, reversing them, chopping off their attack or decay), and playing them back over radio or phonograph, Schaeffer hoped to isolate a world of pure sound cast adrift from the sources of its production and indepenent from the domain of the visual. What began in the quotidian and the commonplace was, by a set of mechanical procedures and instruments, cast into another ontological realm.2

8 July 2000, Queens, New York

“I have a completely passional and transcendental conception of music,” remarks the Spanish sound artist Francisco López after his DJ set at P.S.1. “Of course, I have lots of ideas about the world and politics and whatever, but I think these things shouldn’t contaminate, shouldn’t pollute the music. I’m very purist.”3

Manipulating two turntables, a Powerbook, and a mixer, López has just subjected a blindfolded audience to deafening blocks of granulated noise composed, it turns out, of Death Metal recordings sliced, diced, and piled up ad infinitum. López is perfectly comfortable on a DJ platform; but his guiding æsthetic is hardly the postmodernist pastiche of the hip-hop turntablist. On the contrary, López is a resolute modernist who unabashedly deems his work “absolute music” and talks earnestly about summoning the “ineffable.”

Though he draws his material exclusively from field recordings and found sound, López is a musical abstractionist obsessed with sonic substance. He is critical of what he calls the “dissipative agents” of music, which is anything that distracts attention from the pure matter of sound: language, text, image, referentiality, musical form and structure, technique and process, instru-mental virtuosity, etc. His compositions are dramatic and elegant, abounding with sonic subtlety and intricacy and exploring the extremes of aural perception. Often an hour in length, they unfold slowly; layering, juxtaposing, fading, and dissolving slabs of sound that rumble and rasp, buzz and hiss, grate and whir. The recent Untitled #89 (Or/Touch), for example, begins with minutes of silence and gradually builds into a mælstrom of metallic or insectile hums that pulse and swirl, albeit just within earshot.

Musical modernism is generally associated with academic composition, for which López has nothing but contempt and which he considers moribund and obsolete. But López is a key figure in a new modernism—a neo-modernist underground populated by an international network of DJs, experimental musicians, and sound artists (among them Bernhard Günter, Masami Akita, Christian Fennesz, and Zbigniew Karkowski) working with the pure matter of sound and reanimating crucial moments in the history of audio experimentation.

4th Century, b.c.e., along the River Ilisus, outside of Athens

In Plato’s Phædrus, the “sweet song of the cicadas’ chorus” prompts Socrates to recall a musical and philosophical myth. The cicadas were once human beings, recounts Socrates. When the Muses first introduced song, these men and women were so overtaken with the joy of singing that they forgot to eat and drink and soon perished. As a gift, the Muses transformed them into cicadas, insects capable of singing continuously without nourishment. Upon their death, the cicadas were obliged to report to each of the Muses a list of those human beings that had honored them. To Calliope and Urania, oldest among the Muses, the cicadas reported those who had lived the rarest and noblest of human lives: the philosophical life, one dedicated to the apprehension of pure Being abstracted from its worldly instantiations and connections.4

Rainy season, 1995–1996, Costa Rica

Trained as an academic entomologist, López’s conversion to his musical vision took place in the rain forests of Latin America. The notes to his 1997 recording, La Selva (V2_Archief) offer this account:

La Selva, like many other tropical rain forests… is indeed quite a noisy place. The multitude of sounds from water (rain, water courses), together with the incredible sound web created by the intense calls of insects or frogs and plant sounds, make up a wonderfully powerful broadband sound environment of thrilling complexity. The resulting sound textures are extremely rich, with many sound layers that merge and reveal themselves by addition or subtraction, challenging perception and also the very concept of individual sounds.

López continues:

There are many sounds in the forest but one rarely has the chance to see the sources of most of them. In addition to the fact that a multitude of animals are hidden in the foliage, the foliage also hides itself, keeping away from our sight a myriad of plant sound sources… Many animals in La Selva live in this acousmatic world, in which the rule is not to see their conspecifics, predators or preys, but just to hear them. This acousmatic feature is best exemplified by one of the most characteristic and widespread sounds in La Selva: the strikingly loud and harsh song of the cicadas. During the day, this is probably the most typical sound that naturally stands in the foreground of the sonic field. One can perceive it with an astonishing intensity and proximity; many times you hear the cicada in front of your face. Yet, like a persistent paradox, you never see it.5

1964, Central Brazil/Paris

The paradoxes of musique concrète baffled the anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss, a contemporary of Schaeffer. In the course of justifying the traditional symphonic scheme through which he presented his analysis of Bororo mythology, Lévi-Strauss wrote:

There is a striking parallel, between the ambitions of that variety of music which has been paradoxically dubbed concrete and those of what is more properly called abstract painting. By rejecting musical sounds and restricting itself exclusively to noises, musique concrète puts itself into a situation that is comparable, from the formal point of view, to that of paint-ing of whatever kind: it is in immediate communion with the given phenomena of nature. And like abstract painting, its first concern is to disrupt the system of actual or potential meanings of which these phenomena are the elements. Before using the noises it has collected, musique concrète takes care to make them unrecognizable, so that the listener cannot yield to the natural tendency to relate them to sense images: the breaking of china, a train whistle, a fit of coughing, or the snapping of a tree branch.6

It is a parallel and paradox embraced by López and deployed in his polemics against John Cage and acoustic ecologist R. Murray Schafer.7 Like Cage, López urges the dissolution of conventional distinctions between music and noise, composition and reception. Yet, for López, Cage too quickly abdicated the role of creative artist, substituting “chance” procedures that continued Western art music’s obsession with methodology and structure to the neglect of its true essence: sonic substance itself. Like Schafer, López calls our attention to the richness of the sonic environment and considers the world “the best sound generator there is.” Yet, for López, Schafer, too, neglects sonic matter in his ecological focus on the relationship of sound to place, health, and communication. Acoustic Ecology and the Nature Sounds movement also foster what López considers a false or restricted conception of nature: nature as a bucolic refuge from human civilization. Acoustic Ecologists, in their Rousseauist fantasy, seem to forget that nature is also noisy and violent, the province of crashing waterfalls, howling hurricanes, and screeching monkeys.

“I like frog sounds as much as I like machine sounds,” López replies. “And I use both in my work. The question is not: Do the sounds com­e from nature or come from machines? To me, the point is that the sounds by themselves have their own entity. From that point of view, it doesn’t matter if you’re working with frogs in the jungle or with machines in the city. If you’re interested in the sounds, you can combine these two things and can also focus on the specific sound matter you’re getting from those sources.” Paraphrasing René Magritte, López warns his listeners “La Selva is not La Selva.”8 To Cage and Schafer, López replies: “Let us Schaefferians have the freedom of a painter.”­9

Autumn 1964, Brooklyn, New York

López is deeply critical of Western culture’s obsession with the visual. Yet he contin- ually draws on metaphors from the visual arts, which clearly provide the model for his ideal of sonic abstraction. In conversation, he is likely to explain his concrète proce-dures by analogy with sculpture or photo-graphy. To focus the listener’s attention on sound alone, he abandoned composition titles in 1997 and began releasing his work in clear slimline cases all but devoid of verbal and visual information. This strategy recalls that of abstract expressionist and minimalist painters and sculptors, who freed their arts from figural representation so that they could explore their real stuff: color and shape, space and mass.

Like López, Morton Feldman hoped that his music approximated the sublime stasis of an abstract canvas. Though he worked closely with Cage, his mentor and friend, Feldman’s æsthetic was more profoundly shaped by his association with the painters Phillip Guston, Willem DeKooning, Mark Rothko, and Franz Kline. “[T]here was a deity in my life,” Feldman told an inter-viewer, “and that was sound. Everything else was after the fact.” Working at the height of serialism, Feldman confounded the systematizers with his delicate, drifting compositions, in which sounds came and went free of melody, rhythm, aim, or goal. The story goes that Karlheinz Stockhausen once chased Feldman around a conference, hounding him with the question, “Mort, what’s your system?” Feldman is said to have replied simply, “I don’t push the sounds around.” Commenting on Stock-hausen’s colleague, Pierre Boulez, Feldman spat: “Boulez…is everything I don’t want art to be. It is Boulez, more than any other composer today who has given system a new prestige—Boulez who once said in an essay that he is not interested in how a piece sounds, only in how it is made. No painter would talk that way.”10

1936, Santa Fe, New Mexico

In a 1958 article written for It Is, a short-lived magazine dedicated to abstract art, Feldman repeated his condemnation of Boulez and instead celebrated the music of another Frenchman:

Noise is a word of which the aural image is all too evasive… But it is noise that we really understand. It is only noise which we secretly want, because the greatest truth usually lies behind the greatest resistance… And those moments when one loses control, and sound like crystals forms its own planes, and with a thrust, there is no sound, no tone, no sentiment, nothing left but the significance of our first breath—such is the music of Varèse.11

Two decades earlier, Edgard Varèse had turned away from tone, melody, and rhythm and toward a new conception of music that he called simply “the organization of sound.” Speaking to an audience at the Santa Fe home of radical naturalist, Mary Austin, Varèse imagined a music of the future.

When new instruments will allow me to write music as I conceive it, the movement of sound-masses, of shifting planes, will be clearly perceived in my work, taking the place of the linear counterpoint. When these sound-masses collide, the phenomena of penetration or repulsion will seem to occur. Certain transmutations taking place on certain planes will seem to be projected onto other planes, moving at different speeds and at different angles. There will no longer be the old conception of melody or interplay of melodies. The entire work will be a melodic totality. The entire work will flow as a river flows.12

Feldman’s and Varèse’s visions offer fitting descriptions for much of López’s output. Beginning and ending nearly imperceptibly, López’s compositions mobilize fluid masses of noise that course, slide, and crash with a force at once serene and threatening in its awesome power.

11 March 1913, Milan

Outlining his program for an “art of noises,” the Futurist painter Luigi Russolo wrote his friend, the composer Balilla Pratella:

It cannot be objected that noise is only loud and disagreeable to the ear. It seems to me useless to enumerate all the subtle and delicate noises that produce pleasing sensations. To be convinced of the surprising variety of noises, one need only think of the rumbling of thunder, the whistling of the wind, the roaring of a waterfall, the gurgling of a brook, the rustling of leaves, the trotting of a horse into the distance, the rattling jolt of a cart on the road, and of the full, solemn, and white breath of a city at night. Think of all the noises made by wild and domestic animals, and of all those that a man can make, without either speaking or singing. Let us cross a large modern capital with our ears more sensitive than our eyes. We will delight in distinguishing the eddying of water, of air or gas in metal pipes, the muttering of motors that breathe and pulse with an indisputable animality, the throbbing of valves, the bustle of pistons, the shrieks of mechanical saws, the starting of trams on the tracks, the cracking of whips, the flap-ping of awnings and flags. We will amuse ourselves by orchestrating together in our imagination the din of rolling shop shutters, the varied hubbub of train stations, iron works, thread mills, printing presses, electrical plants, and subways.13

Back at P.S.1, López is celebrating the pleasures of urban noise. “I have many sounds on my releases that are very similar to the sounds you can hear on the street,” he notes. “But, people don’t listen to those sounds very well. So recording is important because it leads people to listen.”

20 October 2000, Amherst, Massachusetts

López’s discourse abounds in paradoxes: a Romantic/modernist in the heart of DJ culture; an auteur who aims to bear wit-ness to sound itself; a sonic abstractionist who insists on the priority of field recording; a metaphysician whose medium is the sensual. One would have thought that æsthetic postmodernism had discredited such Romantic and modernist claims to æsthetic purity and abstraction. Yet perhaps the choice is no longer one between modernism and postmodernism.

From Schaeffer onwards, DJ culture has been guided by two figures: the cut and the mix. To record is to cut, to separate the sonic signifier (the “sample”) from any original or natural context or meaning so that it might be free to operate otherwise. To mix is to reinscribe, to place the floating sample into a new chain or machine of signification. The mix is the postmodern moment,in which the most disparate of sounds can be spliced together and made to flow. But the mix is made possible by the cut, that modernist moment in which sound is lifted and allowed to become something else. Before it is reinscribed, the sonic signifier can achieve, momentarily, a kind of pure potentiality, abstraction, and freedom. To sustain this moment is impos-sible, for meaning and signification are ever ready to capture and reinscribe the way-ward mark or sound. But the genius of Schaeffer—and of López—is to call our attention to the cut, that elusive moment in the constitution of recorded sound, and, for a minute or an hour, to break the flow.

Small portions of this essay appeared previously in The Wire (September 2000), pp. 32–33. Thanks to Molly Whalen and Dan Warner for contributions.
1 ­Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre, Is Paris Burning? (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1965), pp. 256–57, cited in Lowell Cross, “Electronic Music, 1948–1953,” Perspectives of New Music (Fall/Winter 1968).

2 See Pierre Sch­aeffer, La Musique Concrète (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1967), pp. 9–24, and Traité des Objets Musicaux (Paris: Éditions du Seuil), p. 91 ff, p. 261 ff.

3 Unless otherwise noted, quotations from López are drawn from my interview with him at P.S.1, Queens, New York, July 8, 2000.

4 Plato, Phædrus, 230c, 258e–259d.

5 Francisco López, liner notes to La Selva: Sound Environments from a Neotropical Rain Forest

(V2_Archief, V228), pp. 11–12.

6 Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Raw and the Cooked, trans. John and Doreen Weightman (New York: Harper & Row, 1969), pp. 22–3.

7 See R. Murray Schafer, The Tuning of the World (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1977).

8 López, liner notes to La Selva, p. 8.

9 López, “Schizophonia vs. l’objet sonore: sound-scapes and artistic freedom,” eContact! 1.4, http://cec.concordia.ca/econtact/Ecology/Lopez.htm. For López’s critique of Cage, see “Cagean philosophy: a devious version of the classical procedural paradigm,” http://www.franciscolopez.net/cage.html and the interview with López in ­Révue et Corigée (May 1999), available at http://www.franciscolopez.net/int.html.

10 Morton Feldman, “An Interview with Robert Ashley, August 1964,” Contemporary Composers on Contemporary Music, Expanded Edition, ed. Elliot Schwartz and Barney Childs with Jim Fox (New York: Da Capo, 1998), p. 364. The Stockhausen anecdote appears in a number of places, among them Paul Griffiths, Modern Music and After: Directions Since 1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), p. 303. Morton Feldman, “Predeterminate/Indeterminate,” in Morton Feldman: Essays, ed., Walter Zimmerman (Berlin: Beginner Press, 1985), p. 47.

11 Morton Feldman, “Sound—Noise—Varèse—Boulez,” It Is 2(Autumn 1958), p. 46.

12 Edgard Varèse, “The Liberation of Sound,” Contemporary Composers on Contemporary Music, p. 197.

13 Luigi Russolo, The Art of Noises, trans. Barclay Brown (New York: Pendragon Press, 1986), pp. 23–30.

Christoph Cox teaches philosophy, critical theory, and contemporary music at Hampshire College. He is the author of Nietzsche: Naturalism and Interpretation. A regular contributor to The Wire, Artforum, and Pulse!, he is currently editing a sourcebook of writings on theories and practices in music since 1948.

Written by James Thomas

23/09/2010 at 14:58

Posted in 005/ Tunings

BUG

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[BUG Facebook page :]

BUG is a permanent sound installation by MARK BAIN and a partner event of CTM.10gallery and studio building Brunnenstrasse 9 / 10119 Berlin

Via a headphone jack in the façade of Brunnenstrasse 9 (Berlin) you can plug in and listen to the building. Mark Bain implemented a system of geodata and seismic sensors in the infrastructure of the building by Arno Brandlhuber as well as in the concrete as the building was raised. These hyper-sensitive instruments capture all mechanic and acoustic micro sensations happening in and around the building, like the wind passing by the façade, footsteps on the stairs, raindrops on the roof and termic material expansion. ·

// opening 22 January 2010 9:30 p.m
with a performance by Mark Bain in collaboration with the gallery Koch Oberhuber Wolff

artist: Mark Bain (US/NL)
architect: Brandlhuber + ERA, Emde, Schneider
permanent sound installation commissioned and produced by tuned city

http://www.tunedcity.de/
http://www.kow-berlin.com/
http://www.brandlhuber.com/

tuned city Berlin was funded by Hauptstadtkulturfonds.

Written by James Thomas

23/09/2010 at 14:17

Posted in 005/ Tunings

Reverse Engineering

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Cabinet Magazine: Issue 8 Pharmacopia Fall 2002
‘Skateable Reverse Engineering’
Jocko Weyland

Skateboarding’s evolutionary leap from flat ground to the vertical walls of Southern California’s empty swimming pools in the mid-70s was the starting point for an inspired re-appropriation of familiar sites. This was followed by a construction boom in commercial skateparks, almost all of which had gone bankrupt and been bulldozed by 1985. The­ subsequent dry period made skateboarders a breed of connoisseurs unique to the building arts: they possessed an instinct for evaluating every type of manmade object from the sole standpoint of whether or not it was skateable. For the last 25 years, a growing number of virtuoso manipulators of wood and cement have been using this criterion as a template for large-scale orchestrations of physical space that combine utter functionality with sensuality of form. ­ ­
­


Photos Jocko Weyland, Newburg, 2000.­
­
­The epitome of renegade, untrained skatepark construction, where architecture and engineering come together, is Burnside in Portland, Oregon. Started in 1990, it lies under a bridge ­that used to be frequented by drug addicts and other undesirables. It was the perfect place for a dedicated group of self-taught designers to build without any meddling from city authorities. Over an eight-year period, Mark Scott, Mark Hubbard, and their colleagues led the effort to transform the desolate 50-by-80-yard plot into an unprecedented urban renewal project. They started with one banked wall and from there went forward, learning by trial and error, until they realized the current mind-boggling conglomeration of bowls, corners, and vertical walls. Burnside has enough quarter pipes, funboxes, curves, blob-like shapes, and radical contours to rival efforts by the avatars of the new architectural language that eschews ninety-degree angles.

Lacking an adequate place to skate, Scott and Hubbard started building out of necessity. While they illegally assembled Burnside, they also worked as masons or built residential swimming pools to learn how to pour slump and to mix sand and 3/8-inch pea rock to suit their special needs. What Hubbard calls “reverse engineering” means imagining the craziest skateable surfaces possible and then fabricating them. As Hubbard claims, “Anything with a curve, any shape that could be skated, especially rooftops … you look at it and then figure out how to make it happen.” The city of Portland belatedly gave them an award in the late 1990s for civic improvement, but the real proof of their success is defined by the pilgrims who travel from around the globe to enjoy the free-flowing, intricate environment.

Hubbard, Scott, and their company DreamlandSkateparks have built, in addition to Burnside, five free city-funded parks in Oregon and have recently completed projects in Washington state and Austria. The undulating cement moonscapes they have realized at Newburg, Lincoln City, and Aumsville in Oregon take the Burnside model to a level never reached in the commercial parks of the 1970s or the backyard halfpipes of the 1980s. Their new parks are organic and fluid, allowing skaters to roll unimpeded until they fall down or drop from exhaustion. When filled with skaters perambulating from side to side in an instantaneous choreography, they provide an arena for numerous riders rushing to and fro, zigging and zagging, flying above the coping in a poetry of motion that Hubbard likens to “a play where people are making up their lines as they go along.”

Jocko Weyland is an artist and a writer based in New York. His book The Answer Is Never: A Skateboarder’s History of the World is forthcoming from Grove Press in September 2002.

Written by James Thomas

23/09/2010 at 14:14