A Walk with the Rocky Mountain Land Library

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Editor’s note; a version of the below text appeared in the May 10th Walk2Connect Co-op newsletter

See also; over at Twitter

I had the pleasure to spend May 4th walking and workshoping in Globeville, with the Rocky Mountain Land Library; a 501c3 nonprofit co-founded by Jeff Lee and Ann Marie Martin. Two long-time employees of the iconic Tattered Cover Bookstore. Their “ultimate vision is to open Buffalo Peaks Ranch as a year-round, residential retreat center and library, while hosting additional programs and outreach through our Metro Denver locations.

The Globeville location is one of three locations they have. I visited their Waterton Canyon branch on one of the early High Line Canal walks, with Chris Englert aka “the Walking Traveler”. Last year I visited their location on the South Platte in Fairplay, to attend Re/Calla curated art and communal experience that celebrates the natural environment…the intersection of art and nature…the ethereal and tangible.” The Globeville branch is their current/main book storage/processing location. It also has a special ‘Walking and Trails’ collection/room.

Our group, led by Ann Marie, spent the first part of the morning walking along the South Platte. After foraging for ink-making feedstock, we spent the next few hours experimenting with: charcoal, terra-cotta, willow-flowers and more. Do you even know how to mordant..? I didn’t before, but I do now!

On our walk we encountered a rich urban ecology of flora/fauna: dicots, wild-rose and willows. Birds of prey, coyote tracks and hooded merganser ducks. We even saw signs of beavers rewilding.

As I read that day, Wendell Berry writes

“Think of the genius of the animals,

every one truly what it is:

gnat, fox, minnow, swallow, each made

of light and luminous within itself.

They know (better than we do) how

to live in the places where they live.

And so I would like to be a true

human being, dear reader – a choice

not altogether possible now.

But this is what I’m for, the side

I’m on”

re: early Buddhist iconoclasm et al.,

A 14th-century Tibetan painting on cloth of Bhaisajyaguru, or the Medicine Buddha, who is typically depicted with blue skin and holding an apothecary’s gallipot.Credit…Medicine Buddha (Thangka), circa 14th century, pigment on cloth, Tibet, Kate S. Buckingham Fund/Bridgeman Images

In the omission of the figure of the Buddha…the Early Buddhist art is truly Buddhist: For the rest, it is an art about Buddhism, rather than Buddhist art.

When under the Kushans, figurative depiction did come to fore, there were two centers

One was Gandhara, a region that stretches across modern-day Afghanistan and Pakistan, and where the statues are of an ashen schist and bear the unmistakable mark of Hellenism, almost as if a bunch of Buddhas and bodhisattvas had showed up at a toga party. The other school — one I like more, for being less derivative — was Mathura, where craftsmen worked with a white-speckled russet stone.

via NYT here

Recently in Domus: on the ‘Sydney School’ and perhaps “the only indigenous” American School of Architecture

First, Tommaso Piccioli explains;

The process of reading and analysing the Sydney terrain made the architects’ design choices appear quite distinctive. These included a new way of embracing the sites with their buildings and of involving the severe, but beautiful, natural setting through elements such as large windows, spacious terraces, differentiated internal and external walking levels, and even the penetration of nature into the architecture. Often simple materials such as recycled bricks, simply-treated local wood and the beautiful regional sandstone were used, even as structural architectural elements; these were rarely finished and processed but were often incorporated as found.

Later, Michael Rabens reviews a new exhibition by the University of Oklahoma’s Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art and the Christopher C. Gibbs College of Architecture ‘Renegades: Bruce Goff and the American School of Architecture‘.

the possibility for a justice-oriented pivot in historic preservation in the U.S et al.,

Over at Georgia, Anthony Carfello writes about the demolition and gentrification of the LA Arts District and how while it “may not look like Manhattan’s Hudson Yards any time soon, these three demolitions will guarantee many more“.

This struggle is emblematic of how “Wrecking balls and cranes cast long shadows as the Panama Papers crowd shuffles money around the globe” which results in a form of urbicide where “Anyone living in a rapidly gentrifying area in the twenty-first century confronts the deterioration of spatial memory“.

He then argues for a more engaged historic-preservation “It is nevertheless that prospect of obliteration…that distinguishes preservation as a politicized organizing effort entirely separate from the upkeep of aging abodes or buildings being rehabilitated…Preservation, as suggested in this text, starts with…refusal.

This re-positioning would clarify historic-preservation as really about the “right to the city” rather than some co-opted form of NIMBYism. His ultimately goal, a world where “With more pins on the map than McDonald’s every historic house museum could agitate as well as steward“.