Archive for the ‘crit’ Category



June 3, 2010

This blog originated as part of my classwork in pursuit of an MFA in Design Criticism at School of Visual Arts. I was among fifteen students in the program’s inaugural year, which culminated in a day-long event entitled Crossing the Line: the 2010 D-Crit Conference.

For all the chaos that a new program necessarily entails, I have to say the faculty (who include some of the most vital figures in design writing and research today, just look) and our class did an astounding job. D-Crit allowed me to develop research in diverse areas of interest, including architectural history, physical infrastructure, concepts and experience of space, the rhetoric of criticism, how technology shapes perception, unloved and forgotten graphic design, and alternative approaches to encountering the built environment.

On this last issue (and drawing on a number of the others as well), I developed my thesis around the contemporary practice of infiltrating and exploring abandoned spaces and infrastructure. Popularly known as urban exploration or urban archaeology, it is now a rather trendy phenomenon, spawning numerous online forums and Flickr pools. The activity is straightforward, but rich in potential meanings and implications about our relationship to urban space today. My research methodology included talking to a number of experienced urban explorer/archaeologists who are also very thoughtful about the practice.

Part of my premise was encapsulated by this short note scrawled in one of my notebooks: “Urban exploration is the kind of thing you do in the face of the heat death of your society.” But I also tied it back to aesthetic and philosophical ideas with their origins in the eighteenth century, primarily melancholy and the sublime. I was very encouraged by the contributions of urban explorers and photographers of sites of decay such as Jeremy Blakeslee, Bradley L. Garrett, Julia Solis, Troy Paiva, Geoffrey George, and Joe Reifer. More important, their support for many of my conclusions was a strong validation for my approach to the topic.

I will be posting more about this shortly, including excerpts from the thesis itself. But you can also see my ten-minute presentation on the subject followed by a short Q+A with Kurt Andersen here (as well as other presentations and lectures from D-Crit).


What the picture you’re looking at looks like

August 27, 2009

Tardy to follow up the “truthy lies” post with more opinions from photographers of the built environment, but never too late. In the intervening time, Edgar Martins broke his silence, citing Michael Jackson’s death, realizing that history is now unlinear, stating all facts are mediated, and referencing  Lacanian “lack”—all with only ten footnotes. I was back in Crit Theory class, circa ’91. Jörg published Edgar’s elaborate disquisition, then got a bit defensive for having afforded Edgar a one-way avenue for so little net explanation.

I’m guessing that the reason that this is all we’ve heard from Martins directly on the subject (long as it was) is to get to the other side of some kind of settlement with the Times. Regardless, when I read in a recent Sunday edition a little piece about photographic fakery, the irony was a tad too rich. A Dartmouth computer science professor (and fake photo sleuth) says, “The very nature of photography was to record events. . . . You’d think there would have been a grace period of respect for this new technology.”

I’m partisan on this issue, but this is an absurd statement for anyone familiar with the history and theory of photography. The science was born with a specific set of technologies so unlike contemporary faculties that we’re practically talking about two different practices. The ostensibly inviolable link between truth and photography cannot be traced to its earliest origins; the first Daguerreotype to depict a human famously records only the stationary man getting a shoeshine—the rest of the throng is invisible due to their motion over a long exposure. Photography’s preoccupation with mystical concerns throughout the nineteenth century, not to mention the photographic revelation of objects and events unobtainable to the unaided human eye, renders this line of thinking ridiculous to me.

As with many topics this can be qualified by intention and context. So here are several more photographers (and one “image creator,” see below) of architectural subjects and the built environment responding to the extremely reductionist question: Should photojournalistic standards of “truth” be applied to architectural photography? First there is Greg Girard, whose documentation of Kowloon Walled City is in my mind a major landmark in the history of architectural photography; his more recent book Phantom Shanghai is also amazing. Stanley Greenberg is arguably the foremost photographer of New York City infrastructure, and whose first two books will soon be joined by another next year, Architecture Under Construction.

Philipp Schaerer has a different creative and professional profile than Greg and Stanley, as he is not a photographer, but an architect, image manager, and ultimately, as he terms it, an “image creator.” His field is architectural visualization, and he has done so professionally for such firms as Herzog & de Meuron. His conceptual projects include Raummodelle, which explores “how conceptual images can be developed with classic rendering techniques” and Bildbauten, which collides disparate elements of buildings and terrain to create images of impossible and meaningless architecture. Visually and conceptually his work is fascinating, and explicitly treats these big issues. So without further ado:

Greg Girard:

Neighborhood Demolition, Fangbang Lu, 2006, by Greg Girard

Neighborhood Demolition, Fangbang Lu, 2006, by Greg Girard

I’m not sure that photojournalistic standards of truth have even been applied historically to much of photojournalism, let alone other areas of photography. I am thinking especially of the staged and lighted pictures from Life magazine in the 1950s and 60s, among other earlier and later examples. At some point along the way a code of what constitutes acceptable darkroom manipulation and photographer intervention was established by the “quality” magazines and newspapers. This code remains in place today, modified for the new digital reality, though unless one has a background in mainstream journalism one would not really know what lines can and can’t be crossed. “Photojournalism” is a pre-television term, and in one sense the practice has never fully come to terms with television, let alone the internet and digital imagery. It seems that an ever-smaller number of these quality/traditional publications and their online versions enforce a code of standards, essentially a pledge to their audience that: “This is what we say it is.”  Without that pledge all you can say about a picture, in terms of truth at least, is: “This is what the picture you’re looking at looks like.”

Walled City Exterior, 1987

Walled City Exterior, 1987 by Greg Girard

Stanley Greenberg:

Untitled, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2001, © Stanley Greenberg

Untitled, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2001, © Stanley Greenberg. From the forthcoming Architecture Under Construction, University of Chicago Press

While I am scrupulous about issues of accuracy and manipulation, I think it’s all about your intentions, either stated or implied. I don’t alter anything at the site of my photograph. I may dodge and burn to bring back what I remember (and how accurate is that) because film is not the same as your eye. If I photograph an interior with a window, it’s a safe bet that you can see through the window with your eye, but the film may not have the latitude to do that. If you were to shoot digitally and combine two exposures to make a picture more like what your eye sees, that’s fine. But I’m not comfortable with adding a tree that’s not there. I don’t consider my work documentary; even if it is done in that style. There are so many ways you can alter perceptions; what do you include, what lens do you use, how do you light the space, can you tell what the scale is?

Architectural photography often means using a stylist to set up a scene. Is the photograph an accurate depiction of what’s there? Yes. But it may not be an accurate portrayal of how a house is lived in. And if you’re calling it photojournalism, you should be faithful to what’s there.

There are many ways of telling the truth. A fictional film may be a better way to tell a story than to use the facts. A novel may be better than a memoir. It’s all about your intention. If you state it, then you have a responsibility to be true to it. If you don’t, then you may leave it up for interpretation. But context can change everything, and you can mislead just as easily by locating your pictures in a way that is bound to be misinterpreted.


Untitled, Denver, Colorado, 2005 © Stanley Greenberg. From the forthcoming Architecture Under Construction, University of Chicago Press

Philipp Schaerer:

Bildbauten No 6, 2007

Bildbauten No 6, 2007 by Philipp Schaerer

It’s an interesting and a difficult question, and hard for me to say yes or no in very clear manner. Let me explain:

I think it’s already difficult to talk about “veracity” and “truth” in the field of photography. Taking a photograph is to project a tridimensional environment on a two-dimensional layer by means of a lens. Depending on the lens you use, the projection can be significantly distorted (as with a wide angle lens). In the field of architectural photography this fact is already problematic for [the intent of such] photographs is to reproduce truly the dimension of a space. How many times have we had the experience of looking first at a photograph of an interior—for booking a hotel room or looking for a new apartment—feeling a little bit disappointed once we physically were inside the space because it felt much smaller compared to the distorted photograph. So, already at this point it’s difficult to speak about veracity and truth in architectural photography.

Looking at the postproduction, the question is much more difficult, because at this moment of your workflow, you are able to erase or add supplementary content to the photograph or the image. The major question here is, at which level of intervention does a photograph lose its status of being a photograph? I do not speak of cleaning a photograph of dust and little scratches— that isn’t the problem. The problem begins when you are touching the content—when you alienate or change the represented content in the photograph. What does an architectural photographer do in the situation of having taken a shot of a façade and unfortunately there are distracting and accidental elements in the image, like a moving person, a car, or a temporary fencing which hides an important fragment of the façade and has nothing to do with the building. In this situation is the architectural photographer allowed to retouch the distracting elements without violating the “veracity and truth?” I would say yes, because one moment later the person or the car would have vanished and the retouched photograph would be the “same” as the photograph which would have been taken 3 seconds afterwards. . . . I know, already in this case the concept of photography as a “documentary piece of evidence” begins to alternate.

But what about the instances when architectural components are retouched and suppressed —for example a disturbing socket or a distracting division of a railing or a window? This phenomenon can be observed more and more since the onset of digital image editing. I can’t really say if this is good or bad, but I would like to understand why and wonder where it comes from. Most architectural photographs come into existence due to a commission from an architect. But architects and photographers deal differently with the reality. While a photographer is constantly busy to see what is there, capturing the environment like a “seismograph,” an architect is more trained to think of what could be there. For the architect, reality—built or not—always has something alterable, changeable. His building is a result of a long line of decisions, drawings, image montages, which throughout the design process [contains elements that can be changed until] the very last moment, when the building is built. I think this moment, when things become immovable, is a very delicate situation for the architect, because it requires a “change of mind,” another “mentality” about reversibility. For the architect a photograph is not really different than a drawing, an image montage, or rendering—it’s just another medium of representation, which also has the capacity of being changed.

I think it also depends on the context in which a photograph is highlighted and is used for. I think each photographer or image creator has to ask himself when doing his job and working on the postproduction, for what is this photograph used, and what is the main purpose—documentary or fiction? What level of integrity does the distribution channel or the final reader expect from the image?

Personally I’m only half confronted with the question of veracity when working on architectural images. I’m working in the field of architectural visualisation, [creating] images which are not to be seen as a copy of a certain reality; rather, they try to render/visualise an imagined, possible reality, because the buildings don’t exist yet. The only contact point between my work architectural photography is that I use a similar photographic visual language. Today, digital image processing allows the design of images that can hardly be distinguished visually from a photograph. This creates confusion. Architectural visualisations—as a rule designed during the planning stage—usually had a conceptual, abstract character. With the advent of photorealistic high-end renderings, a new kind of image type was added: an image that seems to be a photograph. It becomes increasingly difficult to make the distinction between documentary image as an image of reality, and a simulated, possible image. How do we as professional image creators react to this development?

My main interest does not really consist in providing images that are as photorealistic as possible. Visualisations are created in the stage where the freedom or the potential lies in the possibility to really express what is useful for the understanding of the project. So my main interest is: How can I create images which try to reflect not only a neutral, clean copy of a possible, built architecture, but also primarily convey an architectural idea based on the visual language of photorealism? By means of a selective handling of the image elements I try to maintain this balance; perhaps a certain degree of abstraction helps to distinguish between architectural photography (documentary) and architectural visualization (fiction). And this is good so.

Raummodelle No 4, 2008

Raummodelle No 4, 2008 by Philipp Schaerer


Truthy lies: photographers speak out on Edgar Martins

July 23, 2009

<i>Photo District news</i> identifies "evidence of manipulation" in Edgar Martins' photographs.

Photo District News further identifies “evidence of manipulation” in Edgar Martins’ photographs.

The Edgar Martins episode may be fading quickly, but the underlying issues won’t; they predate the digital era and will outlive the current edition of Adobe Photoshop.

What has interested me in this kerfuffle is how it has revived what I thought were fairly settled debates around image manipulation—er, alteration. Postproduction??—but this hunt for some morally neutral, aesthetically precise vocabulary to merely describe a commonplace photographic process reveals a persistent and deeply ingrained prejudice against it. (The editors’ note on the Times site itself betrays this rhetorical delicacy: “Editors later confronted the photographer and determined that most of the images did not wholly reflect the reality they purported to show.”)

Of course it was Martins’ assertion that he doesn’t employ such techniques, paired with a flagrant violation of the New York Times’ ostensible photojournalistic objectivity, which raised clucking disapprobation (as well as the slackness of the work, which is also pointed out in tones of disapproval). But I am still surprised that the “fixed image”—a term that harkens to photographic darkroom practice, when the image is chemically stopped before it flees—is still regarded as a sacrosanct artifact, even today, even among an increasingly visually literate populace, much less people who for better or worse spend time thinking about aesthetics.

But as a non-practitioner, I think my opinion counts only so far in this discussion, so I turned to several accomplished photographers who have dedicated commercial, editorial, and art-practice work to architecture. But like every debate, this one needs to be framed, so I contrived a question as essentialized as I could (though I also admit the question itself harbors a bias): should photojournalistic standards of “truth” be applied to architectural photography? So please read the responses below from Alex Fradkin, Tim Griffith, Mark Luthringer, and David Maisel, each of whom probe at these very issues in their own intelligent and diverse photographic work. I hope to post opinions from more photographers shortly.

Alex Fradkin:

My first reaction when seeing the images that were altered by Edgar Martins was not one of having been scandalized, deceived, or my questioning his ethics. Instead, when comparing the original and the final images that ended up in the Times Magazine, I wondered why he chose to make the images less compelling, by making them perfectly symmetrical. I have always like Martins’ work, still do. His photographs clearly belong in the fine art genre and not photojournalism. His work in my opinion has never been about depicting reality. I see his work as using what is “real,” as a departure point for the open-ended narrative of fiction and surrealism. Juxtaposing Martins’ images, with his established aesthetic is inherently problematic. Additionally, Martins’ should have understood that his images would be accompanying a journalism piece in a magazine that has a very clear stated policy regarding manipulated images. The Times Magazine’s stated guidelines are not difficult to interpret. To make matters worse, the Times described the project as not being digitally manipulated.

Architectural photography has varying rules regarding digital manipulation. Most magazines have stated policies outlining these policies. When commissioned by a client, the architectural structure is depicted in its most complimentary light and composition, where visual clutter and tones are adjusted. The boundary from photo to digital illustration is often crossed resulting in an image that looks more like a hybrid photo/computer generated image. In fine-art architectural photography, anything goes. Just be clear and consistent when asked if the image has undergone digital manipulation.

In the case of Martins, who probably does not see himself as being bound by “journalistic standards of truth,” and possibly even a little dismissive of those standards, ended up being commissioned by a magazine that is often a lightning rod for those who question the veracity of popular news media. Simply, a very poor choice on his part added to his being published in one of the most sensitive and visible media outlets. If his images had shown up in an architectural magazine, this controversy probably would have never materialized. If these images had shown up in fine art architectural book or on a gallery wall, the mirrored and partially duplicated parts of the images would have been seen as part of the artist’s intention. The discussion would then have focused on fictional narratives and the inherent meaning of what was intended by the photographer.

His comment about not employing post-production techniques was made over a year ago and to my knowledge has not been restated. Change and experimentation are an artist’s prerogative and part of the recent controversy surrounds that statement he made in 2008. Clearly he has changed this policy, but has made an unfortunate choice in the wrong venue to show his new methodology. Comparatively egregious, the alterations degraded the final works and were somewhat amateurish and easily spotted. At least if you are going to fall on your sword, make it for a truly worthy cause and do it well.


Tim Griffith:

In the book Architecture Transformed: A History of the Photography of Buildings from 1839 to the Present Cervin Robinson and Joel Herschman described a period in which the photography of built form diverged into two distinct camps. The pragmatic, documentary style exemplified by the likes of Walker Evans on one hand and the more aspirational, suggestive imagery of Hedrich Blessing, Ezra Stoller, and Julius Shulman on the other. Modernist architecture was just gaining a foothold in the United States and needed strong visual representation to help “sell” it to the wider public. The compelling images of sleek factories, elegant civic projects and bright, open residences were instrumental in driving the popularity and general acceptance of this architecture.

These were crafted, commercial images, made with a particular outcome in mind. Their role was to do more than merely inform the viewer of the building’s existence. They gave voice to the promise of a better future. A sleek, modern, prosperous new life.

But can these images be considered “truthful”? Depends who’s asking.

Even in this digital age, the initial act of choosing where to place the camera can be as politically charged as any amount of retouching or outright fabrication of specific elements with the frame. A potentially controversial design can be softened by selecting a flattering angle, choosing a flattering time of day, including more or less of the surrounding context. This is considered normal practice for an architectural photographer.

The majority of commercial architectural photography is commissioned by those with a vested interest in portraying the project in a good light. So photographers tend to seek solutions that satisfy that outcome. To do otherwise would likely shorten your career considerably.

With the easy availability of tools to digitally manipulate photographs, there is a certain commercial expectation from clients that some degree of “cleaning” will be undertaken during production of the final image. The words “we can fix that up later, right?” are becoming all too familiar. This “fixing” can either be handled by the photographer, or potentially by the client in-house. My preference is to control the retouching to ensure it is done within the bounds of providing a realistic representation. Realistic perhaps, as opposed to truthful.

One thing driving the widespread manipulation of architectural images is the commercial desire for finished views of the project well in advance of the actual completion date. Buildings are completed digitally so that marketing and advertising material can be generated. This manipulation is equally as applicable and important to museums and civic centers as it is for commercial developments and residential leasing companies.

Is this the actual truth as of this moment in time? Or can it be seen as advancing the truth, bring it forward a little? I mean the building will look like that, just not quite yet. And are these digital manipulations any more or less truthful than the computer renderings that had been used to represent the design through planning and construction?

The manipulation of commercial architectural images has become so commonplace that almost no other views of architecture are visible in our culture. Robert Elwell, in his excellent book Building With Light: An International History of Architectural Photography, suggests there are now only are two ways in which architecture is being presented to the world. The first is in the sleek, manipulated, politicized images made for commercial or marketing purposes. The second is within the fine art world where the architecture itself seems to be of much less importance than the artist making use of it as their subject. Elwell laments the time when photography played a more critical role in how architecture was represented, when there was some social commentary within the images on the appropriateness, or not, of new developments.

Realistically though, images that are less than flattering to architecture are simply not viable these days. They are potentially damaging commercially. They are less likely to get published by the design press that relies heavily on funding from advertisers with vested interests. No-one wants to see aluminium panels rippling badly in raking light. No-one wants to see the awful concrete rubbish bins along a facade because the developer/client was too cheap to purchase the ones suggested by the architect. No-one wants to see “For Lease” signs in a supposedly bustling retail center.

They want to see the constructed reality, not the truth. And as commercial architectural photographers, that’s what we get paid to provide. A friend of mine coined the phrase “really truthy lies.”

So to answer your initial question. . . . No. I don’t believe that a photojournalistic standard of truth can be applied to commercial architectural photography. To do so would make it unsustainable economically for the majority of those employed as architectural photographers.

So you can’t get architectural photographers to shoot the truth. As recently proven by Edgar Martins, you can’t expect a fine artist to tell the truth. I suppose you could get a photojournalist to shoot the truth but then perhaps, it becomes more about social context than about the architecture itself.

In any case, all three of these [kinds of] photographers can produce a version of the reality. Whichever one of the three is considered more truthful largely depends upon the inherent values of the particular audience involved. Clearly, the truth as accepted by the fine art world becomes increasingly fragile and dubious when held up to the wider scrutiny of a more cynical and hardened public.


Mark Luthringer:

No, generally speaking, I don’t think photojournalistic standards of truth should be applied to client work. They are pictures for selling, and as such should be enhanced as much as possible to make them into better pictures. Here it becomes a matter of taste and judgment. But a distinction must be made between making a picture prettier, sexier, or whatever, and actually fabricating structures, objects, etc. This is something I wouldn’t go along with, unless the client was specifically directing me. . . .

What bothers me about the whole Martins thing goes back to taste and judgment—Martins’ but more especially the NYT people. Surely [this is] very embarrassing for them (the digital work is very sloppy), but they are the ones who seem to want it both ways.

Maybe we can finally rethink the whole notion of having so-called ‘fine art photographers’ do editorial work. It’s a devil’s bargain and almost always a dismal outcome for each side (editor and photographer) in my opinion. If Martins is a ‘fine art photographer,’ then oughtn’t he be afforded wide latitude in his strategies and the kinds of images he makes? If so, then why is NYT hiring him for ‘journalistic’ work? To me, they’re idiots and have been for years. . . .

As for Martins, what does he hope to gain by all this cloning and stamping, mirroring and flipping? THIS is the ‘fine art’ in ‘fine art photography’?? Well, what is he supposed to do? His experience, and his imagery, show that he is coming up against the inevitable, the immovable, the inescapable, and that he knows there’s just not enough for him to do.


David Maisel:

There is no such thing as photographic truth, in architectural photography or any other kind of photography for that matter.


What MoMA’s retail algorithm makes of condoms

April 23, 2009

Other projects should continue to prevent updates for the next week or so, but in my curatorial coursework, which involves assembling a mock exhibition derived primarily from the existing MoMA design collection, I came across this condom applicator by South African studio XYZ.
notonviewMoMA’s new website capability allows me to make my own bookmarked virtual “collection” (do also note this object is “not on view”)—or I can “find related products at MoMA Store.”

Avast hyperventilating! Let’s see what is in Store…


Default results, boo. Not even this please?


…and the lecture at the end of the world

April 14, 2009
BLDGBLOG at the Library of Dust event at the Orensanz Foundation (under low-light conditions)

BLDGBLOG at the Orensanz Foundation (under low-light conditions)

This evening Geoff Manaugh of BLDGBLOG will present a few ideas best summed up in the title of the talk, “Designing the Post-Terrestrial.” As with other lectures I’ve seen by Geoff, it promises to be wide-ranging and entertaining.

A quick précis of the talk  in Geoff’s own words: “Expect everything from Native American mound builders to applied geosynthetics to the architecture of Vicente Guallart, by way of weather control during the Beijing Olympics, muon detectors in the rain forest, and Viking archaeology.”
Indeed! Space is scant, please RSVP at if you haven’t already.
SVA’s Design Criticism studio: 136 W. 21 Street (btwn 6th and 7th), 2nd floor.

Symposium for the artistic redemption of the tragically interred

April 13, 2009

Library of Dust 1454, by David Maisel

Library of Dust 1454, photograph by David Maisel

Library of Dust is a book of the dead. The copper canisters in David Maisel’s photographs contain the cremated remains of largely unknown patients from an Oregon state psychiatric hospital who were interred for nearly a century. To create a book that was fitting both artistically and humanistically was the complex task for the creative team, which included David and designer Bob Aufuldish,  and on the publisher’s side, myself as editor, Brooke Johnson as in-house design, Tera Killip on the enormous task of production for this 13 x 17″ tome, and Bridget Watson Payne as editorial support.

Given the literally morbid nature of the book, a common vision emerged of a book that would handle the subject sensitively, not sensationally. The text contributors—Geoff Manaugh, Michael Roth, Terry Toedtemeier, and David himself—explored the subject from poetic, historical, mineralogical, and artistic angles. David’s writing interrogates and illuminates his own work in a way that most artists cannot pull off and rarely dare to try: “The canister as unit and the systemization of order within the LIbrary was an attempt, perhaps, to make a boundary, to contain the unknowable. The surface blooms seem, however, to fundamentally challenge this imposition of a boundary. The interior has merged with the exterior but is not coincident to it.”

The book was released last year. On a sad note, however, contributor Terry Toedtemeier, a talented photographer and curator who had just shown this work at the Portland Museum, had a sudden heart attack in December and died (there is a moving obituary here). David’s work fosters metaphors about death, individuality, the possibility of afterlife, and transcendence, but upon hearing of Terry’s death the metaphorical levels I had been operating on seemed to suddenly cede to a tragic reality. Though I allow that maybe the opposite is true: we cannot really deal with concepts of death without these metaphors. Most people who are moved by this work relate it to difficult personal experiences and family histories they usually keep to themselves. These pictures of silent yet expressive canisters give voice to people who in some important way are no longer with us.

Library of Dust 1834

Library of Dust 1834, photograph by David Maisel

Tonight there is a free, public symposium at the Orensanz Foundation in New York. An amazing array of writers, photographers, artists, historians, and other thinkers will be responding to the meaning of the book: Ulrich Baer, Rachel Cohen, Jennifer Michael Hecht, Karen Lang, Jonathan Lethem, David Maisel, Geoff Manaugh, Ted Mooney, Bill Morrison, Joel Meyerowitz, Gilles Peress, Michael Roth, Luc Sante, Vijay Seshadri & Lawrence Weschler. It will be a fitting tribute to the work and those who directly or indirectly helped make the book happen.


Then he gets all defensive and . . .

March 19, 2009

I’m loving the scope and inclusivity of Edificial, even when in voice and attitude it hews closely to the conventions of other industry blogs. So I was delighted to read that Eva attended the very lively and eauful second installment of the D-Crit lecture series last night, with New York Times perfume critic Chandler Burr.

Then I got to these questions:

>>For one, how to teach a group of people how to do something that most of us have sort of learned in the trenches of doing?

If I may: that’s a really good question. I think the way to do it is to hire as instructors and advisers people who have also sort of learned it in the trenches, as with other relatively new disciplines just formalizing academically.

>>And for two, how could any of us uneducated old guard possibly survive the onslaught of more than the usual one-per-year newbies?

Don’t worry. We all have highly regarded and reader-bloated blogs (see the roll), so we’re all good over here. I pay myself per post with one of these.

You forgot the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth questions though. Sheesh.

PS Edificial next week’s lecture is with Laura Kurgan, you really should come out.