kottke.org posts about robertsmithson

Star Wars: A New HeapDec 03 2008

On Stanley Kubrick, George Lucas, Robert Morris, Robert Smithson, Jane Jacobs, 2001, Star Wars, and minimalism: Star Wars: A New Heap.

Kubrick's film presented a future of company men moving with assurance and clear intention toward a godlike minimalist object. Lucas, on the other hand, gave us a slapdash world of knuckleheads pursued by industrial-scale minimalists. Visually, Kubrick's film is as seamless and smooth as the modernist authority it mirrored. Like the mid-century modernists, 2001 associated abstraction with the progressive ideals of the United Nations as embodied by its New York headquarters. Lucas, on the other hand, was a nonbeliever. Even the initially smooth and unitary form of the Death Star was shown, as the rebel fighters skimmed its surface, to be deeply fissured with an ever-diminishing body of structural fragments. These crenulated details suggested a depth and complexity to modern life that modernism's pure geometries often obscured.

And this:

A flying saucer had never been a slum before. The immaculate silver sheen of the saucer was reinvented as a dingy Dumpster full of boiler parts, dirty dishes, and decomposing upholstery. Lucas's visual program not only captured the stark utopian logic that girded modern urban planning, it surpassed it. The Millennium Falcon resisted the modernist demand for purity and separation, pushing into the eclecticism of the minimalist expanded field. Its tangled bastard asymmetry made it a truer dream ship than any of its purebred predecessors. It is the first flying saucer imagined as architecture without architects.

(thx, matt)

"Floating Island" is a mini version ofSep 26 2005

"Floating Island" is a mini version of Central Park being towed around Manhattan by a tugboat (photos here)...it's a conceptual art piece by Robert Smithson. This weekend, a group of folks in a motorboat tried to board the floating park and install a miniature version of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's The Gates. When the captain of the boat towing the island "looked out across the East River Thursday afternoon and saw another piece of conceptual art gaining on him, he did not view the development kindly".

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