José Castillo, Kenneth Goldsmith and Peter Eisenman

I haven’t read BOMB Magazine in awhile. The other day I had a chance to do some browsing through their archives and came across interviews with the three men.

In BOMB 94/Winter 2006, Carlos Brillembourg and architect José Castillo discussed the changing ecology of the city and how a new “urbanisms of the informal” is changing conceptions of urban planning.

Informal is a deliberately ambiguous term. In my description of the phenomenon of urbanization as it relates to Mexico City, I address a three-tiered definition of the word: First, it incorporates the notion of the casual; second, it refers to the condition of lacking precise form; and finally, it relates to the realm outside what is prescribed. I use the term urbanisms of the informal to explain the practices (social, economic, architectural and urban) and the forms (physical and spatial) that a group of stake holders (dwellers, developers, planners, landowners and the state) undertake not only to obtain access to land and housing, but also to satisfy their need to engage in urban life. These practices are characterized by tactical and incremental decisions, by a complex interaction among players and a distinct set of spatial strategies that produce a progressive urban space and reconfigured hierarchies.

In BOMB 117/Fall 2011, Marcus Boon and Kenneth Goldsmith (founder of UbuWeb) discussed appropriation, the relationship between avant-garde and the populist, or high and low culture, poetics and conceptual writing.

KG If the tools are there, it’d be insane for writers not to use them. Yet there’s huge swaths of MFA-produced literary fiction that act like such tools and ideas don’t exist. Somebody recently said about Jonathan Franzen that he is the ‘greatest novelist . . . of the 1950s.’ (laughter) We’re at this moment of great possibility and experimentation because of the tools that are sitting on our own desktop, yet many prefer to still act like ‘original geniuses’ instead of ‘unoriginal geniuses,’ a term Marjorie Perloff recently coined…Had someone emailed me an entire text file of the day’s newspaper, it would have been fine with me to republish that as a book. But again, I think we spend so much of our time moving information from one place to another—copying, cutting, pasting, cc’ing, downloading, backing up, etcetera—that I begin to see that as a form of writing.

Additionally, in BOMB 117/Fall 2011, Carlos Brillembourg and Peter Eisenman discussed autonomous architecture within the context of Eisenman’s “the index,” a formal system which triggers a geometric progression with the goal being disaggregation.

PE Trying to define the difference between architectural and sculptural site-specific projects became important in my work. Literally and metaphorically the work began to dig into the ground at the same time as I was digging into the ground of my unconscious. My Cities of Artificial Excavation project developed from this. Ever since, my project—whether the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, the Wexner Center in Columbus, Ohio, or the City of Culture in Santiago de Compostela, Spain—has posited a different modernist idea of abstraction, a different kind of autonomy, and a different idea of ground.

Furthermore, reviewing one of his own more recent works, The City of Culture of Galicia, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, Eisenman argues that “Before, my work was indexical; it’s no longer indexical. That’s why there are these stuttering, fractured surfaces that we didn’t have before“.


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