Cole, Teju. “The Superhero Photographs of the Black Lives Matter Movement.” The New York Times Magazine, Jul. 26, 2016.
Cole discusses the photograph of Ieshia Evans against the police force and the viral reaction from the millennial public. Her photograph captures her individuality in contrast to the unindividuated, militarized policemen at Black Lives Matter movement after the death of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge. The millennial public compared Ieshia Evans to a superhero for her unafraid, peace-seeking, and singular presence that resembles the characteristics of superhero characters. Considering how little media portrays Black heroism, “we read in these images the necessity of justice,” not some childish illusion of supernatural powers. The reality is not like a superhero cartoon, and people suffer under oppression and injustice. But “these celebrated photographs of black superhero are actually about something more important and more real:” these people are truly heroic.
Teju Cole narrates a significant political movement along with a unique cultural reaction.
Hiss, Tony. “The Experience of Place.” Vintage Books, 1991.
Tony Hiss discusses Simultaneous Perception, which creates connection between us and the surroundings, that is neither simple inputs nor our own thoughts. He shares his experience at the Grand Central, where each sound and movement created by people became hyper-existent to him. The sudden connection is due to the unusual hyper-connection he experienced, the default being the constant disconnect and unawareness of our surroundings. He goes forth to discuss our senses, bodies, and our environment, with data varying from neuroscientific to sociological. Simultaneous Perception means naturally losing a sense of individuality or division from the environment and being a part of the bigger organism that surrounds you.
Tony Hiss’ ritualistic experiment inspires a new method of contemplation that could significantly aid creative practices.
McClelland, Mac. “How to Build a Perfect Refugee Camp.” The New York Times Magazine,
Turkish government has autonomously planned, designed, built, and operated a refugee camp that exists outside the international legal guidelines. This refugee camps offers higher standards of living for the refugees, with better facilities and livable atmosphere. A sense of gratitude circulates the camp thanks to such qualities. It is a highly positive example of refugee camp that contrasts most of the other refugee camps in the world. However, the matter of ownership occurs when the notion of home is raised. Despite the livability of the camp, it still is a refugee camp, which the refugees cannot possess as their own. The specific characteristic of the camp that is innate to its creation suggests the important question of ownership in the idea of home.
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. “Design and Order in Everyday Life.” The Meaning of Products,
Humans are drawn to art pieces not because of their design qualities, but because of the meaningful feelings such pieces invoke. When reminded of certain feelings, people are brought into their memories that are relevant to the invoked feelings. Their memories bring them to an abstract, emotional home. Because of this emotional journey people go through when they see some art pieces, they deeply appreciate those pieces and consider them special.
This theory opens up a confusing idea of art, while suggesting an essential notion of home. This reading necessitates an extreme subjectivity of viewer, as the only connection between meaningful art and moved viewer is the invocation of their precious memory.
Home is not only physical but emotional, abstract, and conceptual. Home as a concept is as crucial to one’s stability, safety, and sense of belonging as the physical one. Moreover, in terms of ownership, home as a concept is personal, intimate, and private. The valuable memories, invoked feelings, and being at emotional home all belong to the person and that person only. One has sole and complete ownership over their conceptual home.
Jacobs, Jane. “The Uses of Sidewalks: Contact.” The Death and Life of Great American Cities, 1961.
Although often irritating, interactions on city streets are necessary to urban life for its inevitability, joy, and benefits. For this casual, public contact to take place, the neighbors must have respect and trust of the shared space as well as one another. And this informal sidewalk life affects other aspects of people’s public life. However, privacy is crucial to the identity and existence of big cities. Therefore, there exists a somewhat ironic balance between the tight privacy inside your home and a casual, open, trusting, and respectful public life right outside your stoop.
This reading brings up an interesting idea that neighborhood is an extension of your home. Although one’s public life on sidewalks is open and interactive as opposed to the extremely private life inside the house, both are necessary to one’s home. One can hardly live alone. One can hardly be perfectly private. Because there’s openness outside the fences, the privacy inside the building is healthy. Because one can have their own space, the interactions outside home are joyful and helpful. Home is not just home but also where the opposite of home happens; Home is continuous, complex, and contradictory.
Zeisel, John. “Observing Physical Traces.” Inquiry by Design: Tools for Environment-Behavior Research.
Madanipour, A. “Whose Public Spaces?” Introduction.
Public spaces reflect the complex urban environment, and they should be inclusive and mindful of equality. Historically, privatization of public space has been a major trajectory in urban settings. Commercialization of public spaces creates dilemmas, one of which is how it advertises better and attracts more people, but the range of people ends up narrower and less inclusive.
Zukin, Sharon. “Naked City.”
Goffman, “Gender Commercials.”
Kimmelman, Michael. “The Craving for Public Squares.” The New York Review of Books, Mar. 23rd, 2016.
Kimmelman opens his discussion with a general comment on the phenomenon of unprecedented global urbanization in the twenty-first century. After the observations of poor urbanization on big scales outside USA, he writes about the changes occurring in the United States, which include de-urganization, demographic motions to the cities, and various transformative lifestyles. He then traces back the meaning and function of public spaces, by commenting on the history of agora and polis in Athens. Through further examples of his early life in Greenwich village and experiences of Palestine refugees, he suggests the limitations of public squares and how they aren’t as liberally open to all as they should. It is difficult to pinpoint his primary argument because he jumps around quite a lot to various generic observations not necessarily in a sequential motion. However, he suggests the importance of truly open public space and the reasonable desires for it to exist.