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It’s been a few days since I posted. Lately I have been having a ball in an undisclosed location sifting through sources in a library, taking notes, and writing a dissertation prospectus. Meanwhile,I have also started to do some reading for an upcoming essay that will be due by the end of the year. Tired…

But as if that weren’t enough, I also am getting more and more interested in questions that were raised a few weeks ago here (2 much blog, 2 little arch). I have been pondering how is it that supposedly participatory systems, such as twitter, tumblr, and ffffound! also demand certain forms of discipline in order to demonstrate personal taste and thus belong to a social user group.  I wonder what the new stylistic modes of conformism and innovation are within the apparent arbitrariness of tumblelogs (of which some of my favorites are pootee, uuiuu!, dtybywl, and pblks). In a way, I am reminded of the work of my friend Yanni Loukissas, who studies how ‘design’ is conceptualized within cultures of simulation (such as Arup). Partly seen through the collective work in this new book, Simulation and its Discontents (2009), brought together by Sherry Turkle, we are forced to think about what it means to be ‘immersed’ in a technology, be it of modelling or of networking.

Inspired in this reading, I wonder how the incessant circulation of images amongst these addicts of the visual reshifts notions of the past, of reuse and remix, of nostalgia and tastes, of “intellectual property”, and even of matters so commonly glossed over as color and surface. In fact, the activities of these rebloggers, who very often turn to what we could identify as architecturally-flavored images, really call into question the oft-debated and fantasized “autonomy” of architecture.

As a reblogger you can’t afford to allocate architecture any primacy above anything else. In a sense, both the reblogging personae and their images are immersions into an imagination of space that I personally find at times much more hybrid, artistic, social—and provocative—than a good percentage of stuff architects are making out there… Or the purist objects in many archi-blogs. Here are some random examples of circulated images:

Not to imply that the impact of these social networks is wholly good. I often find myself uncomfortable with disturbing and problematic representations of race, gender and class within these streams, but the bottom line is that this trend is ripe for further investigation with eyes and minds wide open. Hopefully there will be more opportunities to look further into this matter…

Meanwhile, in case you’re interested, I have been sharing links on Twitter (@javierest). An interesting new development is that now, thanks to twitmark, I can use Twitter to automatically save bookmarks onto delicious (javierarbona), which is a fantastic development.


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