I know the Emperor's blogworlds have become quite confusing for all five of you loyal readers out there, especially with the recent debut of my collaborative project, OH! INDUSTRY. But rest assured the Emperor hasn't gone gently into that bedazzled night never to return to my very own 7-11 parking lot of lemonhead wishes and big gulp dreamz.
As many of you know, O!I is actually all about reliving nights in the parking lot with retroactive simultaneity, despite being spread out across different empires of the familiar. But for the sake of keeping things tidy (in the Virgoan way), I'll shelve things like this: personal posts and ruminations here on Inland Emperor, to go along with all of the archival suburban materials. There's bound to be overlap every now and then (Girl in a Coma performing in a suburban mall, etc.), so when that happens I'll keep the longer posts on O!I and offer a lead/link here to guide you over there. [Right: Whatever has become of me?]
But let's dwell here for now. In fact, the true inspiration behind today's Suburban zeitgeist alert is the December/January double issue of Dwell magazine (aka the style manual for creative class 'flipping') on NEW SUBURBANISM. Thanks muchly to JTizzle for alerting me to this. More to say at some other point, perhaps even in the book, about the heinous, and yet not-so-secretly alluring style culture promoted by Dwell and publications of its ilk. [Left: Mr. & Mrs. Hipster in New Suburbia]
In the interest of full disclosure, I always thought of Dwell as a wannabe Wallpaper without the heft, literally and figuratively. That shit was THICK. Anyway, since my own lust for moderne design was first ignited by Wallpaper (and my born-in-to-modernism Deutsche ex), Dwell always seemed like the totally poseur rag to me. Of course I came to realize that I was actually the big poseur for thinking that I could seemlessly inhabit the very bourgie, and often very white worlds featured in glossy repose throughout such publications. Hence all the debt (and nice furniture) I'll be living with from here to tenure. I've resolved not to be a total hater, and by extension, a total hypocrite. So let me admit now that I am actually fond of the "design" ethos in healthy, non-prescriptive and budget appropriate doses. No more Design Out of Reach for me. [Right: Race as a hipster commodity. Let me entertain you...]
Anyway, I don't want to be a total grumpus, and I've already prattled on about the stuff I said I'd talk about later ("heinous and alluring style cultures of modern design magazines"), so I'm going to tiny dance my way to a reparative moment. If anything, this month's issue of Dwell pointed me to what looks like a must-see exhibit going up in February at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (February 2008), and continuing on to the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh (October 2008). [Left: Angela Strassheim's Untitled (Elsa), 2003, will be featured in Worlds Away.] Titled Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes, and curated by Andrew Blauvelt at the Walker, and Tracy Myers at the Carnegie, the exhibit features paintings, photographs, architectural models, prints, sculptures and video that bust apart what I like to think of as the suburan mythos at the heart of the American national imaginary.
In his Dwell interview, Blauvelt expresses the hope that Worlds Away will provide both reparative and "more provisional" approaches to the suburbs: "there are definitely pro and anti--or ambivalent--camps, but the stance isn't 'Oh I hate suburbia; therefore, I'm not going to deal with it.' It's more about how to intervene and interpret it knowing that it's a multibillion dollar industrial complex. It's that kind of shift that we're trying to hint at."
The emperor concurs. In short, it seems this project intersects with my Relocations book in generative, substantive, and yet non-threatening ways. I know I'm looking forward to taking a research trip to the exhibit this spring. Hopefully I'll have the opportunity to be in touch with both Blauvelt and Myers about it as well. In the meantime let's all dabble with the Walker blog's interactive feature: Tell us a story about your suburb.
Rollin' deep in the heart of the I.E. through the gnarled concrete arteries of 60+10+91 east to neon sunsets and Naugles, Taco Tia, the Mad/Friendly/Happy or Lucky Greek,The Menagerie, Spanky's, Butch's Grinders, The Denny's Cocktail Lounge at Hardman Center (in pace requiescat). We spell Paris P-E-R-R-I-S, bitches!