Thursday, April 20, 2006

Back in the Day

OK it was not that long ago. Yesterday's post by my friend John reminded me of something I used to do.

How cool it would have been to have accessibility to blogging a few years back? A couple years after I had begun working, I really started getting into the architectural lectures happening around town. Usually there would be a half dozen big name architects who would blow through town and give a lecture. Calatrava, Libeskind, Koolhaas, Shiguru Ban, Henry Cobb to name a few. Then there was a steady stream of lesser known architects, designers, or historians who would give interesting lectures. The problem was that it always seemed that I would hear about the lectures either the day of or miss them completely.

At one point, I said that was enough. I need to keep track of what lectures and events are coming up so I wouldn't miss anything. So I bookmarked a few sites and decided to send my findings by email to some friends. After about a year into it, I was including everything in the art, architecture, and design world that interested me. Architectural or art lectures at the Art Institute, University of Illinois at Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology, the Graham Foundation, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and of course the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Exhibits at the Art Institute or the MCA. I even included events from the City of Chicago special events page. Stuff like movies in the park, street festivals, and dancing in the park. It had gotten to be a two hour affair every Monday morning to compile the list. I did this on working hours with the bosses permission because of the following reason.

It started to be just some close friends, but slowly it branched out to people I went to school with, former co-workers, then even kids that I had tutored in college. But that wasn't the end of it. Apparently after I had sent it to those people, they turned around and sent it to others. Sometimes even to whole offices. Acquaintances who I did not send it to were stopping me at lectures and telling me they got the emails through the grapevine. It was pretty amazing how much it had grown. I told this to the bosses and they thought it was great. A great service to the architectural community from someone at a firm that works with the architectural community. So they permitted me to take the time to compile it.

Unfortunately I know very little about the inner workings of webpages (that's why I'm on Blogger). So at the time I was stuck dispersing the info via email. This format would have been a great way to get the word out without clogging up inboxes. Plus it probably would have reached an even greater audience. I have very little interest in doing something like that here in Montreal because I don't have the time to go to the lectures. Why keep track if you can't go?

Lastly, there was one other project I dreamed of doing at that time. An interactive webpage of downtown buildings. The page would have every block with every building. Each building would have a popup window giving any relevant information. But the impetus for this was that the demolition of many older buildings was getting a lot of press. My question was really what buildings meet a certain threshold making them worthy to be saved for generations. The landmark process was kinda wishy-washy at the time and some of the reasons for saving certain buildings seemed questionable. Others were more than worthy, but were still taken down. My hope was to define degrees of worthiness. Like 'must be kept at all costs', 'picket for a few days to see if they change there mind', or even 'please, please,please replace this with something else'. This was all before the controversial Soldier Field renovation. Anyhow, the interactive webpage project is gone. I have other interests nowadays.


Zeke's, the Montreal Art Gallery said...


Boy! I certainly hope that you enjoy architecture :-) It sounds like what you were doing was very similar to Flavorpill Chicago which is doing quite well, thank you very much.

If you have the time and inclination to do something like that here, Instant Coffee is looking for a Montreal editor, or if you don't and just want to keep yourself up to date, this is my list:
and the universities

Unknown said...

Thanks Chris! I'll try to keep up with the architecture ones in case someone special comes through town.

As for writing somewhere else, I'll need massive amounts of instant coffee to find the time. Or at least after my fascination with Flickr dies down.