"Mapping Blackness: Black to the Future"

my friend amanda is doing an art project involving using public participation in "mapping blackness". here is her call:

I need your help with an art project I'm currently working on for an exhibit entitled AFROFUTURISM.

My piece will be called " Mapping Blackness: Black to the Future"...

If you had to draw a map to where the AFROFUTURE is located what would that map look like?

If you feel so inclined, email me your rendition (scan, rendering),

or mail a paper copy to my studio (2323 magnolia st. #6, oakland, ca 94607)

If you're ambitious, try to use only email itself...lines, dots letters to 'draw'...

If you don't want to draw electronically or the old fashioned way, then please include written directions that other blacks could use to get to where you're talking about.

I need these as soon as possible by Aug. 5.

Feel free to pass this on to any others that may be willing to participate.

amanda williams

Opens September 10, 2005
Minneapolis, MN
visit: www.soapfactory.org for details

or obsidian arts
Afrofuturism - September 10 – October 23
Collaboration with No Name Exhibitions @ The Soap Factory. This exhibition explores the artistic side of black visual culture in the distant future. A national call for artists has resulted in artistic ideas that will cause people the reconsider the assumptions about black people in the future. A series of six informational workshops for the participating artists by black futurists will help inform their creations.

bachelor farmer

my studio prof michael culpepper from fall 2004 has made a film and is getting great reviews. congratulations mike! it'll be showing at the seattle queer film festival and a similar festival in washington D.C. in october so check it out! i plan to.

Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility

has a new website



wish i didn't just find out about this today =(. looks fun!


blogger mania

more from my illustrious cohort =)

justin's taiwan blog

jeff's blog

also of note: i learned to weld! well on the mig anyway...courtesy of sir. curtis scott names! "Learning to weld is so empowering. It makes you want to stop washing yourself and spit a lot." that would be a quote from dave...hilarious. it is empowering though. i think i want to do some metal coursework...maybe i'll get a blacksmithing certificate or something at one of the community colleges.


visual resistance

visual resistance blog i'm trying to keep a running record of these things particularly ones that involve 3-D work.


AIA diversity

the other day i sat for a 45 minute phone interview with a firm who is conducting a survey for the national AIA on the profound diversity issue within the profession. the woman conducting the interview was particularly stricken by the 1% of licensed african-american architects which has not changed in 30-40 years...also by the number of women in architecture school (usually 50/50) and the # of licensed women architects which also has a huge discrepancy. there were numerous questions but the final one was this: what are the major inhibitors/barriers to people of color (african-american in particular since she was focusing on my experiece and perspective) students/practioners in architecture and what can be done to resolve this issue.

my answer: major money and energy needs to be put into: early exposure to architecture in secondary and presecondary education to cultivate the interest and love of architecture, funding for students of color in the post secondary education process and MENTORSHIP like nobody's business.

a) exposure:

given the percentages of architects of color, you are less likely to come in contact with an architect of color as a young person of color. your uncle, grandmother, cousin is not likely to be an architect. schools don't neccessarily promote architecture as a profession to pursue. for most people the main professions youth know about are: doctor, lawyer...maybe engineer. then there's teachers, law enforcement etc. etc.

b) funding/support:

this is expensive! usually, if there are any, the grants, fellowships, scholarhips, assistantships are few and far between....let alone support in particular for the retention students of color. many students of color (and other students with financially challenging backgrounds) have to work and go to school. architecture isn't really something that can be done part time...and working and going to architecture school is brutal. i'm not saying some people can't make it work...i know many who do but its one more factor that makes it hard.

c) mentorship:

the architectural education process is long and arduous. if you don't have someone rooting for you and pushing you it can be easy to give up. how many faculty of color are there? are professionals reaching out to students? as professionals are seasoned professionals reaching back to the newer generation?

d) payoff:
the education, internship and licensure process in general is long as hell. and the resulting salaries are crazy LOW compared to the other "professions". for many people of color picking a career path usually is without the priveledge of "doing something you love"...conversely it is directly related to transcending financial struggle. those who don't have that financial struggle i think still are looking for a certain level of prestige that architecture doesn't offer.

what do you think? is my answer simplistic? is there more or less to it? thoughts? she said most people had similar answers.


"bitch i made it"

-that's what it says on the dumpster right out front of my new residence. if i weren't having problems using the newish picture function in blogger i'd post it b/c you know i took a picture. those random eloquent sharpie scrawled non sequitur's always make me smile. i should probably be offended or annoyed that people are writing stupid shit on private property but i'm not =). what was that person thinking?

anyway yes, i actually AM alive. in the past solid 2 weeks since i last posted, i've been packing and moving. i have finally moved and and perpetually trying to find stuff. i have a lot to post...i guess. this is just something to stall...but coming, frontespieces and thoughts on individual lamps from ruskin's seven lamps of architecture around which my theory class is oriented. sketches and pics of mock up for furniture...bought wood yesterday. perhaps i'll get to that tomorrow morning. my DSL connection got lost in the move...

my friend liz has a blog about her participatory design studio in taiwan this summer...check it out =).


venting: architecture and children

i ran across this discussion thread on archinect over the weekend and i was deeply annoyed by the negative anti-child/career responses.

anyone who knows me knows that i'm all about the choice to choose when and whether to procreate. i've never deemed it a selfish decision not to have children. but what i do think is selfish is for people on either side to insult eachother or for that choice and choose to limit their perception of people based on their status as a parent. in my opinion, this is just as bad as limiting your perception of people because of race, ability or sexuality. i think as a parent, it grates against my very being to hear parents referred to as "breeders", boring people that only know how to talk about soccer practice...and children referred to as "gross" and as "extra mouthfuls". its like people don't value their own parents and the fact that they were once children.

i have my moments when its really hard but, just so i'm on record, my venting about being a parent and trying to pursue architecture has more to do with how the 'system' is set up than any limits that having children inherently place on you. I HATE that people choose see children only as a limitation. maybe its the buddhist upbringing...but i really believe that you create your own destiny and reality. if people only relied on how things had been done in the past and the constructed societal "limits"...where would we be as a society? i wouldnt have done a lot of the things that i've done if i'd chosen to embrace those ideas. when i wanted to go to an ivy league school and my advisor told me they didn't except mediocre students...i pursued it anyway so what i wasn't a straight a student, my portfolio kicked ass and i volunteered like crazy and was politically active and that multi-dimensionality (i think i just made that word up) was an asset.

children can make you happier than any loving bond you've ever experienced...if you want them. here's a shout out to my son, for his contribution to my life. making it a life full and enriched in ways i could never imagine. he's my best design project yet. we get to shape him and mold him with all the hopes that we have for humanity and watch him develop his own identity and contributions to this world.



one of my professors emailed today about the blogs. he read this one for just about the entire year its been in existence. more than just flattering, i was very excited about this for educational reasons. he surely has many other important things to do with his time...than sit there and read about the random things i deem important enough to post about. i don't know if any other prof.s have looked at it but i think this is a testament to his character if not many of the prof.s here. for the most part, we don't have the sterotypically, crazy out there aloof architecture teachers who are so self absorbed they don't know your name. taking it a step further to take an interest in and dialogue about student interests beyond the classroom is really special. or maybe i'm just corny....and sleepy as usual =)...but he did get the lionel pries excellence in teaching award multiple years so i think i'm on point w/this.


some items of interest

philly murals

The site uses GIS and features statements by artists, images, and is searchable in a number of ways, including by mural subject suchas African American history, social concerns, and more--great teaching tool. If you move a bit further through the website you can explore other databases that are interesting, too--by neighborhoods, for example.

public art network

Americans for the Arts' Public Art Network (PAN) develops professional services for the broad array of individuals and organizations engaged in the expanding field of public art. More than 300 public art programs exist in the United States at the state, local and national level. PAN connects the field by stimulating dialogue, discussing critical issues, developing public art products and services, and providing information through the website and the PAN Listserv.