Tag Archives: scifi

Lebbeus Woods’ War & Architecture and William Gibson’s The Peripheral

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“Architecture and war are not incompatible. Architecture is war. War is architecture. I am at war with my time, with history, with all authority that resides in fixed and frightened forms. I am one of millions who do not fit in, who have no home, no family, no doctrine, no firm place to call my own, no known beginning or end, no “sacred and primordial site.” I declare war on all icons and finalities, on all histories that would chain me with my own falseness, my own pitiful fears. I know only moments, and lifetimes that are as moments, and forms that appear with infinite strength, then “melt into air.” I am an architect, a constructor of worlds, a sensualist who worships the flesh, the melody, a silhouette against the darkening sky. I cannot know your name. Nor you can know mine. Tomorrow, we begin together the construction of a city.”

Came across this man’s work today at random and have been utterly obsessed with it. I have to imagine William Gibson has been inspired in some part this aesthetic — it screams the interstitial constructions and communities that are a large recurring theme in his books (chiefly, ‘The Bridge’ of The Bridge Trilogy comes to mind). Woods spoke about needing a way to see architecture in chaos, in the throws of climactic events… some deep part of my brain is trying to tie this in with ¬†all of the bleak, gorgeous brain-scrambling Warren Ellis has been doing of late over at MORNING, COMPUTER.

Also, there’s Gibson’s newest, ‘The Peripheral’, finally out…I’m reading it at a strangely slow pace, partially because this is how I read my favorite writers, typically, and Gibson always. Partially it’s the structure of the book — it has absolutely zero ‘fat’ to it, it’s completely lean. It’s sparse in a literal sense but so immensely dense that you have to digest it slowly. He has more or less removed any kind of exposition at all, an ultimate gesture of ‘show don’t tell’. Description and dialogue, mood and character. The sci-fi markers and associated language of slang and other misc. signifiers are set before the reader, demanding to be made sense of. I remember way back in HS when I tried to get a friend into Neuromancer and he couldn’t get through 50 pages, saying it was just too hard to understand. Neuromancer practically spoon-fed you by comparison. I think some of this has to do with the fact that Gibson knows he has the sort of rare cachet with his readers, he knows that they’ll not only do the work but will love to do it. It’s ambitious, period, and possibly only something that could’ve been done with the confidence that comes with having done something well for a long time and been recognized.

There’ll certainly be a lot more to connect these two current obsessions after I finally finish the book, but they keep screaming to each other across the nether regions of my brain. Both of the futures in The Peripheral are fractured, cascading, held together by grand walls of customized minutiae and thin black cables.

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