Groundless Sites

Monday, July 11, 2005

invitations posted

This evening I posted blog invitations to the academic friends of the McCall Design Group Summer Studio, including representatives from UT, Berkeley, Stanford, Harvard, and the ACSA. Keep an eye open for their input!

I'm looking forward to quarantined chatrooms tomorrow!

What is the language of the rooftop?

If language is a system of thoughts, signifiers and linguistic signs involving two or more people which transmits conceptual material from the mind of the speaker to the mind of the listener, I believe that you are defining, perhaps creating, the semiotics of the rooftop. I believe that you are establishing new ways to talk about the rooftop just as much as you are establishing new ways to utilize the rooftop.


subversion cont'd

Breaking up advertisements on multiple buildings so that they come together from certain ground level viewpoints but appear fragmented (and therefore ineffective) to rooftop viewers:

-- Emily

anti-advertising: sanctuary through subversion

Last week, I looked at rooftops as a site where urban dwellers can find sanctuary from all of the commercial images and messages that bombard us at street level. I first explored directly changing the rooftops to make them feel more like sacred, "apart" spaces. I ultimately decided, however, that such approaches, which included using vegetation and sculptural elements to edit views, did not do enough to address advertisement specifically.

I decided to focus instead on ways to change urban advertisements so that rooftop observers could not see them straight-on, in their entirety, or at all. Such fragmentation and distortion would render their rhetoric ineffective, and rooftops would become a safe space where city dwellers could take control.

I explored two different ways of creating this sense of rooftop sanctuary. The first involves limiting the heights at which any advertisements, corporate logos, signage, etc. can appear so that no such images or messages could appear in rooftop occupants natural fields of vision. Examining advertisements would require standing at the edge of a rooftop and looking down, and even then the distant advertisements would appear at sharp, distorted angles. The result would be an urban "treeline" similar to the mountaintop zones where forests abruptly cease above certain altitudes.

I then experimented with breaking up vertical advertisements so that different sections appeared on different buildings but appeared connected into a single, unified advertisement when viewed from specific point(s) at ground level. From rooftops, however, these images would appear fragmented once more.

(Images of the second approach to follow.)

-- Emily

Bastille Day

I'm not sure my other message went through. I look forward to meeting with you on Thursday (14 July).

In case any of you would like some light reading, there is a trilogy by William Gibson relating to various expropriations of urban topography (not necessarily rooftopography) in a post-apocalyptic Frisco (I know — don't call it Frisco!). The books are — Virtual Light, Idoru, and All Tomorrow's Parties (after a Velvet Underground song I think).

— Larry Doll


Dear groundless,
Thanks for the images and texts. I am intrigued and pleased. Thanks also for your care and concern. I've concluded that history is advertising.
Nick and I are having a series of great adventures, learning about place and self. London, Cambridge and Belfast bracket the liminal day of tube terror. We continue to explore the groundlessness of travel, "whilst" contemplating a new objectivity. This postmodern relativity grows weary.