Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tom and Huck

I read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer over my holiday and I found that it was quite quotable. Here are some of my favorite lines from the book! Some, I picked for the spirit that they carry, others for the beauty of the words. This book spoke to me, both in terms of Tom's curiosity and style and Huck's relentless grasp towards the simple life. They have a charm and power about them that I find inspirational and interesting; I envy it.

"He was boat, and captain, and engine-bells combined, so he had to imagine himself standing on his own hurrican-deck giving the orders and executing them"-pg 17

"His face lit up with the thought, and he said to himself that he wished he could be that child, if it was a tame lion."- pg 40

"Monday morning found Tom Sawyer miserable. Monday Morning always found him so because it began another week's slow suffering in school He generally began that day with wishing he had no intervening holiday, it made the going into captivity and fetters again so much more odious" pg 42

"Tom was suffering in reality now, so handsomely was his imagination working, and so his groans had gathered quite a genuine tone"- pg 44

"Huckleberry was cordially hated and dreaded by all the mothers of the town because he was idle and lawless and vulgar, and bad and because all of their children admired him so, and delighted in his forbidden society and wished they dared to be like him."-pg 46

"Tom's cheeks burned. He gathered himself up and sneaked off crushed and crestfallen." pg 88

"The climbing fire lit up their faces and threw its ruddy glare upon the pillared tree-trunks of their forest temple, and upon the varnished foliage and festooning vines. When the last crisp slice of bacon was gone, and the last allowance of corn pone devoured, the boys stretched themselves on the grass, filled with contentment. They could have found a cooler place, but they wouldnt not deny themselves such a romantic feature as the roasting campfire." pg93

"'You see a pirate dont have to do anything, Joe, when hes ashore, but a hermit he has o be praying considerable, and then he dont have any fun, anyway all by himself that way.'" pg 93

"'Id a good deal ruther be a pirate now that ive tried it.'" - pg 93

"It seemed to them in the end, that there was no getting around the stubborn fact that taking sweetmeats was only 'hooking' while taing bacon and ham and such valuables was plain, simple stealing- and there was a command against that in the Bible." -pg95

"They found plenty of things to be delighted with, but nothing to be astonished at." -pg 98

"Tom decided that he could be independent of Becky Thatcher now. Glory was sufficient He would live for glory." pg 124

"Tom took his whipping and went back to his seat not at all broken-hearted for he thought it was possible that he had unknowingly upset the ink on the spelling-book himself in some skylarking bout- he had denied it for form's sake and because it was custom, and he had stuck to the denial from principle." -pg133

"There is no school in all our land where the young ladies do not feel obliged to close their compositions with a sermon; and you will find that the sermon of the most frivolous and least religious girl in the school is always the longest and the most relentlessly pious." -pg 138

" Tom was a free boy again, however; there was something in that. He could drink and swear now, but found to his surprise that he did not want to. The simple fact that he could took the desir away and the charm of it." -pg142

"There comes a time in every rightly constructed boy's life when he has a raging desire to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasure." -pg 152

"Huck was willing. Huck was always willing to take a hand in any enterprise that offered entertainment and required no capital, for he had the troublesome superabundance of that sort of time which was not money." -pg 153

"'I don't know It if was mine I wouldnt hide it; id spend it and have a good time.'" -pg 153

"He had never seen as much as fifty dollars in one mass before and he was like all boys of his age and station in life in that he imagined that all references to 'hundreds' and 'thousands' were fanciful forms of speech, and that no such sums existed in the world." -pg168

"That drop was falling when the Pyramids were new; when Troy fell when the foundations of Rome were laid; when Christ was crucified; when the Conqueror created the British Empire; when Columbus sailed; when the massacre at Lexington was 'news'. It is falling now; it will still be falling when all things shall have sunk down the afternoon of history and the twilight of tradition, and have been swallowed up in the thick night of oblivion." -pg 204

"We've got it now, and we'll keep it quiet only we'll let Joe Harper and Ben Rogers in- because, of course theres got to be a gang, or else there wouldnt be any style about it. Tom Sawyer's Gang- it sounds splendid, dont it, Huck." -pg 207

"You take their watches and things but you always take your hat off and talk polite. They aint anybody as polite as robbers- you'll see that in any book." -pg 208

"Every 'haunted' house in St Petersburg and the neighbouring villages was dissected, plank by plank and its foundations dug up and ransacked for hidden treasures- and not by boys, but men- pretty grave, unromantic men, too, some of them." -pg 216

"The widder eats by a bell; she goes to bed by a bell; she gits up by a bell-everythings so awful reg'lar a body cant stand it' ' well, everybody does it that way, Huck.' 'Tom, it dont make no difference I aint everybody and I cant stand it. Its awful to be tied up so. And grub comes too easy- I dont take no interest in vittles that way." -pg 218

'Tom, being rich aint what its cracked up to be. Its just worry and worry and sweat and sweat and a wishing you was dead all the time. Now these clothes and suits me and this bar'l suits me, and I aint ever going to shake 'em anymore.'' -pg 219

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

VIDEO: WashU flashmob confronts Coal Executives

Something loud is afoot on our sleepy campus in St. Louis. Washington University students are beginning to re-discover what connects them. Students that have never successfully worked together have just executed the largest direct action on our campus. The target: big coal’s influence on our institution.

At the end of this summer, Washington University appointed two new members to its board of trustees, Gregory Boyce, CEO of Peabody Energy, and Steven F. Leer, CEO of Arch Coal. As you most likely know, they are the one-two of coal mining who together preside over 13 billion tons of proven coal reserves. They are both deeply involved in mountaintop coal mining, destroying communities and ecosystems across Appalachia. For years they have lobbied against positive protective legislation, including the Clean Air and Clean Water acts. Now, they check our chancellor’s every action and shape the future of our institution. This comes in the wake of the formation of the Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization (CCCU) last December. This research group, funded by (guess) Peabody, Arch Coal, and the local utility Ameren, plans to build a 1 megawatt demonstration carbon capture & sequestration plant on our campus. To read more about the truth, see here.

And this last Monday, our administration organized “America’s Energy Future,” a symposium to which Steven F. Leer of Arch Coal and Fred Palmer of Peabody Energy, among others, were invited to discuss our energy “future.” It was a five-hour-long symposium culminating in a reception in the new student center (to see a program description, see here). We saw presentations on “Green Coal” where earth movers the size of houses were depicted moseying through fields. There were a couple champions of reality, but the overarching theme was deceit. There was nearly zero representation from renewable energy companies. What is the “future” according to our administration? Well, it looks a lot like our present: coal, oil, and nuclear. This is not OUR Energy Future.

To coincide with the conference, we held a rally, a press conference, an alternate symposium titled “OUR Energy Future,” and executed a silent flash mob and banner-drop to challenge Big Coal on campus!

We had unsuccessfully lobbied to change the name of the Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization and remained silent since the appointing of the trustees. We really couldn’t take it anymore. We saw an opportunity- and they just made it so easy.

A coalition of student groups, including the student-run farm The Burning Kumquat, Students for Endowment Transparency, and Green Action planned a direct action to challenge our university’s failure to recognize the legitimacy of renewable energy. During their plush reception in our student center, over 100 students entered the building and dispersed themselves among the assembled crowd. Along the balconies lining the reception were five two-person banner drop teams. On a signal, four teams dropped their banners over the balcony, baring messages including “Coal Is Never Clean” and “Our Energy Future.” At the same time, the 100 assembled students raised their fists to display yellow wristbands made of global warming crime scene tape and held up yellow signs with the “Beyond Coal” logo. The final banner was dropped over the main staircase bearing the words “Power Beyond Coal” painted among students’ signatures. A student addressed the silent crowd with a megaphone, “We present to you a banner bearing our signatures as a petition on behalf of this and future generations. We will not stand aside while executives from Arch Coal and Peabody paint a dirty energy future for our school and our nation. We believe that America's real energy future uses renewable, socially responsible energy sources," and invited them to our alternate symposium. It was fantastic- ethereal- and it’s all on tape.

Where do we go now? Our Student Union Senate plans to pass a resolution denouncing Washington University’s use of the “clean coal” marketing slogan, supporting Monday’s direct action, and demanding the university change the name of the Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization. We will maintain the alliances we have developed and work on involving more students to feed off of the energy we have created. We will push forward, gaining momentum in our rally against the unjust actions and policies of our administration. This is the beginning- AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO KICK ASH!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bourdain Ordained

Some of you may or may not know that Anthony Bourdain is absolutely one of my heroes for his brazen lust for life, foul mouth, and traveling culinary adventures. Recently, I got a chance to read his book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. I found his titillating expose of his experiences working in various kitchens across New York City to be absolutely enthralling both for his debauched lifestyle at the time and his compellingly pure view of food. For Bourdain, food is all about pleasure, the physical sensation and satisfaction that comes from eating a simple and carefully crafted meal. He doesnt care about fancy pretensions, expensive ingredients, or elaborate, adjective-laden menu items. Food is purely and simply for oral enjoyment and satisfaction. And that's mostly how I feel.

I'm pretty into food and definitely pretty into cooking, so coming across a chef who shares some of my sentiments regarding these things was both enlightening and exciting. For me, food is part of a great, life-long soul-searching endeavor; it is part of my everyday life. Well, that isnt entirely true. My time in Europe has been jam packed with incredible culinary experiences, but these experiences have not been everyday. Instead, my bouts with excellent and enlightening food have been embedded within a larger matrix of missed meals and empty stomachs. But in the end, these circumstances have helped to shape a new outlook on food for me, one where i go into eating with full knowledge of the hunger I have experienced in the past and a desire to dive head first into whatever new culinary adventure happens to come my way.

And this desire for new and exciting thing is what has typified my time in Europe; I have thrown caution and inhibition to the wind. My life- seemingly more debauched and nearly reckless than ever- is marked by a thirst and lust for new, enriching and even, mind-altering experiences. I see my time here as absolutely vital to my self cultivation, to my passing from the naive and misguided days of everything prior and into something more nuanced and informed. I am learning to live life as intentionally as possible in a very haphazard way. Now, that may sounds like a contradiction- and maybe it is- but I believe that it is better to live haphazardly on purpose than it is to float around and hope for the best. I am tired of floating. Even though it got me to a lot of places, I feel like I wasted a lot of time.

So thats why, maybe following in Bourdains footsteps, I think that it is absolutely okay for me to live a debauched lifestyle for the moment. Whether or not this new mindset of intentional haphazardness has any real longevity is yet you be seen. But, for the time being, I am fully aware that my time in Europe is nothing by temporary and in being aware of such, I am perfectly okay with living in a decadent haze. And that is owed precisely to the temporal nature of this lifestyle. It will no doubt change when I return to America, it has to, but that doesnt mean that I shouldnt suck the marrow out of this continent to the fullest extent possible.

And I plan on doing just that.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Hello, Again.

i am so introspective right now.

So, I guess I haven't written on here in a long, long while. I am not sorry, because the break was much deserved, for both you and me, alike. But I am settled now; stable and connected to the world, so maybe it's time that I begin to share my thoughts again.

I am not sure who reads this, I never have been. Whether its all friends or friends and random people, or if really, im the only one, so its been hard for me to talk about myself and what ive been up to. Thats mostly due to the fact that i dont know how interested anyone really is, but then again, here you are...

So, now that I have you, i guess I should talk about my european adventure a bit, even though its still not over and not enough time has gone by for me to be ready to really talk about any of it. It's safe to say, though, that I have been having a good time. Right now, I am in Denmark and will be here officially, more or less, until towards the end of december. Before I came here, I was in a few other places, namely- and in reverse order- germany, czech republic, germany, holland, france, spain, and portugal. I've been all over, I suppose, to almost too many places in too short of a time. I spent a lot of time wandering around cities, awfully tired, terribly hungry, totally enamored and wholly enthralled. I wrote friends a lot of letters, but didnt send many of them. I also drew a lot of buildings and scribbles, many of which wont ever see the light of day, either. Ive also been writing a lot, but strangely, to myself. And maybe that's what ill focus on for this post.

I have always written for other people, either in school or letters, emails, blog posts, whatever. The process of writing is cathartic for me, but the content and scope of writing has always been written for the eyes and minds of others. And that's always been my favorite kind of writing, the kind that other people can look at, peer into, analyze; read. But lately, I've been writing for my own eyes only, keeping a diary of sorts. Mind you, this isnt a diary that is kept under lock and key, under my bed, and hidden from the world. I keep it in a tote bag and carry it around everywhere. It's not secret or hidden or really, private. I've just been writing... well, for myself and to myself. Sometimes, im not sure if i do the journal justice- it's quite beautifully bound and was given to me by someone special- but i try to cram a lot onto every page so that maybe, somewhere deep in that jumble of jagged lines that is my handwriting, ill begin to uncover something interesting about myself and what i think of the world. But not having a real audience is hard. Whether or not i care about what any other audience wants to hear, at least i sort of know more or less what they'd like to hear. This usually involves filtering my own ideas, choosing the right words, being subtle, etc. The problem is that I dont know what I want to hear. With myself, I dont have to filter at all. When I write to myself, everything I write is something my audience already knows, so holding back or filtering is entirely useless and even, limiting. Finally, I can say exactly what I think and feel. This is both wonderful and incredibly frightening.

Ive always been incredibly comfortable with my ideas as seen through the lens of what other people will think about them. But I am almost absolutely terrified of my ideas as seen through my own eyes. Writing for others entails a sort of unswerving belief in yourself that has no use when youre looking to write for yourself. And maybe this is helpful. I know it is. But that doesnt mean its easy or even, comfortable. So mostly, Ive been writing about the flaws i see in my own logic and lifestyle. I write a lot about how to make myself a better person, like a self help book written with the harsh, critical tone of a mexican mother. It's been helpful, but I am not sure if ive actually learned that much from myself yet. I also write a lot about food and the cute girls I meet. And buildings, sometimes, but all of my really righteous stuff, I save for you, whoever you are.


Friday, May 22, 2009


lolololololol. ill post something real in a day or two.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


lol @ my bed.
Upcycle, please

Monday, May 18, 2009

Los Angeles

I just came back to St. Louis from a short stint at home, in Los Angeles. This trip home was particularly special for me because it is most likely the last time I will be home for about a year. But more importantly, It was my last time being in Los Angeles and seeing my family before my upcoming trip to europe.

It was really nice to go home. I had forgotten the pleasures and joys that come along with being mothered! Mothers are really quite excellent. Well, fathers too. Especially mine. And families, in general. I guess that's a pretty obvious sentiment, but it was made clearer by this trip. I went home because of that guilt trip, i guess (knowing that i wouldnt see them for months and months), and it was a good decision. Well worth the cash dropped and planes taken to get back and forth.

I want to talk about the importance of family, but the words escape me. Instead, I leave you with pictures of my other family. My friends. Specifically, our trip to the KOGI TRUCK on a late late night full of random, spontaneous fun.

Friends and family, I have come to learn, make life worth living. And that is a good thing.




Upcycle, please

Thursday, May 7, 2009

More Sketches

Here are more doodles. they're pretty similar to the ones i posted before. Idk. Idk.
upcycle, please.

Antonio Pacheco

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Monday, April 27, 2009

Procrastination Nation

Here are some drawings i've recently made.
Well, theyre not really drawings. They're more like doodles.

this one is on cardboard:
post its:

a city-

mnt fuji-

on trace:


another city-
just streets-

a chunk of earth in axonometric-

from the sketchbook:
a city in purple pen-

circulation axon-

quite possibly my favorite drawing? orthgraphic SET-

upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

SOMething NEW for California

San Francisco Mayor, Gavin Newson, officially entered the race for California Governor this afternoon. Even though I am not terribly well-versed in his policies, I think he is an interesting person and a good mayor. He has pushed to make San Francisco a much more sustainable city (something that other Mayors in California have failed to do). He has also unofficially lead the campaign for the legalization of gay marriage in the state.

I support him.

Grand Avenue Viaduct

Yesterday, I was in the computer lab and I overheard this graddie talking about how he was interested in redesigning the Grand Avenue Metrolink Station in MidTown St. Louis. I immediately linked him to the old Grand Avenue Viaduct and told him about how awesome it was.

The Grand Avenue Viaduct was this really cool suspension bridge built over the Mill Creek Valley way back. It was demolished in the 60s or 70s (like many other awesome things in St. Louis) and rebuilt in a rather disappointing manner. The bridge used to carry the Grand Avenue street car line and was useful as a pedestrian walkway. Sadly, the Grand Avenue Bridge, while housing a metrolink station, is a dangerous and disappointing replacement.

The city is in the middle of replacing many of the overpasses and bridges along the 64/40 highway an the Grand Avenue Bridge will be included in that redevelopment plan.

Anyway, my discussion with this grad student made me think about the future of the Grand Avenue bridge and of the city, as a whole. St. Louis, like a lot of this country, is at a crossroads where decisions are being made that will not only impact many future generations, but decide whether or not our culture and city is viable in any long term way. We've begun to realize that our cities are actually worthwhile endeavors and that in order for us to succeed as a society, vibrant, urban centers are absolutely necessary.

It's an exciting time. Read all the hyperlinks, they're interesting and important.

upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Drop Knowledge

Recently, I became interested in a new student publication we have on campus, Drop Knowledge. Theyre basically a rag tag group of cool kids who go around exploring St. Louis and reporting back on their adventures to those who are sheltered and timid. So far, they have published two issues, the latest of which was just released yesterday evening.

They interest me for a few reasons:

1) They like exploring St. Louis. It's about time people began realizing that St. Louis is indeed a vibrant, cultural hotbed of the creativity, talent, and innovation that comes along with its status as an rebounding urban endeavor.

2) To clarify point #1, its about time people began writing and publishing about the realization that St. Louis is indeed a vibrant, cultural hotbed of the creativity, talent, and innovation. Those of us who are into the city, for whatever reason, keep our findings, comings, and goings mostly to ourselves and within relatively close-knit groups of friends. The only way St. Louis will be appreciated by the wider populace is via a published and accessible form of communication. My readership is pretty low and definitely caters to an audience that consists of my 15 closest friends, so somebody else has go to take this task on.

3) The DK kids are genuinely really awesome and interesting. Something about being in the architecture school/an environmentally-minded student has kept me locked within roughly the same social circle for almost all of college(doesn't it feel like the same 50 people to go most of the events on campus/in the city?). While I love my friends dearly, it's important to spread your roots into as many gardens as possible. Its rare here to find a group of people who are genuinely and passionately interested in... well, interesting things (its even more rare to find such a group that is willing to do something with those interests). Drop Knowlege is such a group.

4) Their magazine is published only online. While I understand that this fact is incredibly limiting in terms of the demographics DK is able to reach, I think its interesting and innovative. There is something to be said about being able to download an educational, polished, well-crafted piece of visual design.

5) they writing be sick, yo. Seriously. They're good writers and I like that.

So, check out their website and download the magazines!

Upcycle, please



Forgive my long absence from the blogosphere, stuff has been crazy. I do this much too often. I accidentally posted this on the huglife blog, but maybe it makes more sense there. So many neglected blogs.

Anyway, here is a ridiculous picture I found today in my building systems book. It's unintelligible, so i am appreciating it purely for its aesthetic value. It's a detail for a roof truss of some sort (think pitched roof-like the one over your house- minus the roofing material). Its interesting to me how something that's pretty mundane/probably boring can be represented so beautifully. Not only that, but it's incredibly useful (these "details" are sort of like orthographic parenthetical thoughts used by architects and engineers to explain to contractors the fine details of specific construction elements like walls, windows, or, as is the case here, roof trusses).
Anyway, this is rad.

Upcycle, please


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Giant Pool of Money

If, like me, you're still sitting around, trying to figure out how the economy got so messed up, you should listen to this. It's a bit dated now, but it's still very fascinating and more than a tad bit infuriating.

Listening to everyone cry and complain about the economy has been kind of confusing for me because I'm... well, a student/unemployed anyway/dependent on my parents and the gov't for income. Most of us don't really have a relationship to the economy or are suffering incredibly because of the downturn and maybe that's why we don't get it.

After all, I'm poor whether or not Wall Street exists. All that changes is the degree of poverty, not necessarily the status or situation.

Upcycle, please.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


lolz@ at a nervous will fischer. It sounds like he's reading from a textbook.

College and Reality

Sometimes, it's hard finding meaning to the things I do here. I know that I'm supposed to be at college to learn and get an education-and I am doing a lot of both- but its hard for me to feel okay with myself doing that given my own provenance and the realities-and difficulties- of home. Life at college is incredibly detached from reality in a very troubling way. I know that this sort of detachment is necessary for students to focus on their studies and learning, but it often comes at the expense of many more important things. St. Louis and Wash U are a great example of an isolated education taking place amid a place yearning for interaction, engagement, and an education of its own. And I guess that's part of the problem. Because having the time and leisure available to pursue an academic education is a privilege ascribed mainly to the upper classes, it is the culture of these upper classes that defines and describes the college experience. And it's this sort of culture-one that can value isolation and knowledge above dialogue and community- that can cause its students to lose sight of the world beyond their windows.

Basically, I feel as if I have become sedated by idealized notions of becoming educated and well-versed in the cultural practices a college education affords me. I have been neglecting and forgetting home and what that means to me. I don't know if that's okay. Well, I know it isn't. This has left me feeling unsatisfied with my life here and I wonder if I am indeed wasting my time or not.

Because, really, I'm not here for an education. This place and whatever degrees and social circles it affords me are but a means to an end. I love learning things about the world and life, but that's a hobby and i used it as an excuse to get. College, for me, is about coming up, taking a piece of life for myself, and returning home to share it.Learning and an education are potent instruments of change and that's what I intend to use them for. And in that way, there is a sense of urgency to what I am doing, a desperate need to get through the formalities of this education so that I can begin to affect my surroundings, situations, and the world, as a whole. Waiting is the most frustrating aspect of being here.

But at the same time, I am lured and tempted by the comfort associated with the quiet life of academia. So I spend my time and money pondering and reading, writing and listening, looking and drawing all the while feeling like I'm not doing much of anything at all. I come home and I have little to show for my time away other than knowledge. You cannot put a price on knowledge, true, but its clear to everyone who goes to college, that really, you can. So that's when I begin to wonder if its worth it. That's when I begin to wonder if my education with worth my own time and the money others spend on it.

Maybe I'm supposed to struggle with this sort of thing. I did, after all, leave home in order to gain a better appreciation for the people, places, and things I had been taking for granted. And nothing serves as a better way of figuring our who you are than being surrounded by kinds of people you definitely know you aren't. But I wish my life here was a bit more grounded.

Upcycle, please


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Clean Coal (NOT)

"Clean" Coal has been a big topic of conversation on campus over the last few weeks. Last night, I attended a panel discussion on "clean" coal and carbon sequestration. Personally, I don't support so-called "clean coal" technologies, nor do I support using research money in support of developing said technologies. I believe that coal has been, is, and always will be a dirty fuel. You can make it cleaner, but you cannot make it clean and at this point in our history, we need real solutions, not band-aids and buzzwords.

Here are a few of the notes I jotted down during the rather frustrating panel discussion:

Hopefully, some of these will become topics that I write about in the near future.

Upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Orange Line

Another public trans video. This one is near and dear to my heart.

upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ride Your Bicycle on PubTrans

This is probably the funniest/most amazing thing ive seen in a while.

Upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco


A few days ago, I wrote about Janine Benyus and her Biomimicry lecture at Wash U. This weekend, I was able to participate in a Biomimicry Masterclass offered here through the architecture school. It was a pretty amazing experience, in a variety of ways. Here are my thoughts on the class, Benyus, Biomimicry, and the sustainable movement, as a whole.

Our class was charged with the task of taking a biomimetic approach to both the Skinker-Debaliviere neighborhood and Missouri Botanical Garden's Earthways Center (The Earthways Center is currently located in Grand Center, but they are looking at relocating to the Skinker-Debaliviere neighborhood). The class was divided into six groups. Two groups studied the neighborhood, as a whole, two looked at the building the Earthways Center might relocate to, and two examined a sustainable exhibit inside the center.

We were asked to examine the neighborhood, at these various scales, always adding "how would nature..." or "why would nature..." when asking questions or thinking of possible solutions. The class, as a whole, was very helpful in terms of instilling a new way of thinking for young and energetic designers. We are generally taught to be very solutions-oriented designers. That is, we jump from problem to solution as quickly as possible, rarely ever examining the hows and whys of the design process. In this respect, the class taught me to take a more socratic approach to design. Overall, there were some interesting ideas proposed for the neighborhood, but because of the time constraints of working within a single weekend, they were not as fine tuned as they could have been. But that's okay, the class was a good first step towards a broader conversation about biomimicry and our relationship to nature.

My problem with biomimicry, however, is that it is quite one dimensional. The topic was presented to us by people who fervently believe in the power of biomimicry as a way of helping our species sort itself out. We need people like them to communicate the desire for a sustainable world. I do not question their intentions, merely their methods. Ultimately, I want more than just sustainable products and industry. Using nature as a model when designing industrial products does not inherently imply a sustainable future. That is because these products and processes are being design to fit into a consumer-oriented society.

And ultimately, that is why we are unsustainable, no? Consumerism and our overwhelming need to want. It isnt that cars or carpet tiles or shoes are unsustainable, it's the way in which we view and consume these products- as deserved and necessary- that ultimately means that as a society, we take more than we give, eat more than we grow, drink more than it rains. And so, even if the ways in which we get, make, and do things are modeled after nature, unless the way we view and want things don't follow suit, we will continue to perpetuate the enjustices of our forebearers on our own progeny.

Biomimicry represents only half the question. We indeed need someone to go around telling us what we don't want to hear, that we need to consume less. We cannot be sustainable until we have adpot cultures that do not take a hostile or gluttonous view towards nature. Until then, this is all just wishful thinking and false promises,

Antonio Pacheco

Sonik Ninjas

Last night, I went to the Ninjasonik/DeathSet show at the Gargoyle Club at Wash U. They're really silly, but they also had a very positive message that I found quite interesting. Between songs, they would talk to the crowd about how they shouldn't judge others, but instead feel comfortable expressing themselves and being be good people, in general.

I'm not sure if they were joking or not (I don't think they were), but it was interesting to have people who are essentially the same age as me tell me about virtue while rapping about wearing tight pants and art school girls.

I wish Wash U wasn't so socially inept and could have actually provided them with a decent audience because these kids really know how to have a good time. They have a photographer and a partypics site, check it out. Actually, their photographer is really amazing.

Upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Night

There are so many amazing things to do today!!

But I can't really do any of them! So you should go out and enjoy what St. Louis has to offer!

First of all Drop K is holding a live art show at the Gargoyle. I don't really know much about the event itself, but the Drop Knowledge kids are pretty interesting. They publish a magazine devoted to, among other things, doing interesting and enriching things in St. Louis. The facebook event doesn't give many details, but go.

I've always wanted to go to a ballet/dance show, but i've never been. But YOU can and should check out the Slaughter Project tonight! The homie Alex Gordon is dancing in this show and he's really cool. I'm super sad I can't go. Tickets are $20.

The other awesome thing that's happening is up in Old North St. Louis. The Crown Village development is finally nearing completion and the Restoration Group is hosting an art show in the nearly complete gallery space. So, you should check out the Old North St. Louis Art Show! They're gonna have awesome quilts.

I'm going to spend my afternoon attending a biomimicry masterclass!! BENYUS! Afterwards, I will be attending a sustainable pot luck (that is, a pot luck for my old sustainable design class. I dont know how sustainable the pot luck itself will be.)

So, do something awesome!

Upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lower East Side Tenement Museum

Over spring break, I visited the Lower East Side Tenement Museum on Manhattan (on the same day I stumbled across the Storefront for Art and Architecture), it's a pretty amazing place (Here's their Flickr page, I took all the images for this post from there).

The LESTM is part living museum and part public health campaign. They offer a set of guided tours throughout the various tenements they have on display, offering narratives that are both compelling and insightful. I love that someone has taken the thought and effort to preserve (and in some cases, recreate) an important social and architectural institution that has been forgotten, despite its contemporary relevance.

This was an interesting experience, because going into the tour, I was expecting a more architecture-centric experience, but instead, the tour was presented with an emphasis on the oppressed humanity of the tenement and on the immigrant experience so intimately related to this housing type. This discussion led to a broader discussion on not only issues of social justice, but of American and immigrant culture, in general, and how all of these various and disparate topics are still incredibly relevent to contemporary American issues with identity, housing, and immigration.

One interesting realization that I made at the Tenement Museum related to something that's probably pretty mundane: detail. I was stunned by the exquisite level of detail these tenements possessed in terms of their decoration. Although they were the cramped, dark, and damp homes for many impoverished and maligned families, the walls, floors, and ceilings of every room were covered in a sumptuous and incredible level of detail: floral motifs, imprinted patterns, geometric shapes, colors abound! While I understand that much of this has to do with the aesthetic culture of the day, it is still fascinating to see that a place for the downtrodden contained a certain richness that has altogether been forgotten and lost. The Tenement Museum does an excellent job of showcasing this sort of everyday-life level of detail.

This isn't something you can get from books or images, you have to see it, smell it. In order to really know how these people lived, one must squint through the humidity, breathe in the musk of poverty, caress the frayed edges of a marginalized society. The closer we come to understanding how the past subjugated its poor, the better able we will be to prevent contemporaneous tragedies.

After all, that's the point of the past, isn't it? To learn.

Upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco

The Art and The Message

Yes. Obama, ftw. He gets it. Holy shit, he gets it.

Hope meets hip hop.

Hope Hop. Hip Hope? Idk.

Upcycle, please.

Antonio Pacheco

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Naughty By Nature

I, along with several other students, had dinner tonight with Janine Benyus. Ms. Benyus is the author of Biomimicry: Inspired By Nature, an awesome book that advocates human examination of natural processes as a way of advancing our own inventions, products, and ways of thinking. She also runs the Biomimicry Institute, based out of Montana. She's awesome.

I don't know that I have ever really come across such an eloquent, thoughtful, and incredibly intelligent person. Janine is overflowing with knowlege about the natural world, business, and life, in general- the sort of knowelge that not only informs, but inspires and inspires in an uplifting and day-dreaming sort of way. Speaking with her has definitely been a highlight. And that's because first and foremost, her goal is to make human existence better. That is, she believes that through the emulation and adaptation of natural processes and methods for creation and manufacture, we can live progressive and productive lives in such a way that humanity's impact on the world can ultimately be a positive one. By pushing the people and corporatations who make the things we buy, own, and use to use naturally-inspired methods, we can not only gain a better understanding of the world and how it works, but design products, processes, and ultimately, lifestyles and cultures that are not only environmentally benign, but hopefuly, environmentally beneficial.
This, I believe, is a message of hope, hope and imagination. And these are the things our species needs this day and age: a reprioritization and reogranization of our own exisitance, how we do things, and why we do them. I have grown weary of our wholesale categorization of human existance as something that is ultimately detrimental to the world. Yes, we participate in and support destructive and gluttonous endeavors all over the world, but these activities are merely cultural artifacts; artifacts, practices, and outlooks that can be changed. Ultimately, we have to see ourselves as possibly contributing to the richness and diversity of life on earth, not merely detracting or chipping away at it. This view is not only too easy to fathom (because it means that we resign ourselves to destructive cultural habits instead of proactively attempting to change them), but it is altogether wrong. We are a part of nature in the same way that trees and animals and oxygen molecules contstitute discrete parts of the overall equation that, when added together, gives us nature, life, and the very existance some of us are fighting so hard to protect.

As an entire species, we need to move passed protection and reach for enrichment of the world and all of its inhabitants. This thinking is embeded somewhere in the gospel that Benyus preeches, and that is why i appreciate her thoughtful and compelling argument.

Upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Storefront for Art and Architecture

While in New York, I literally stumbled across the Storefront for Art and Architecture, a tiny storefront on the lower part of Manhattan dedicated to showcasing small endeavors in art and architecture.

It's a really sweet place with amazing programing. They are currently holding an exhibit about a Robert Venturi house that's being moved from one part of metro new york to another. Here's a link to their YouTube channel. Their concept for a gallery is really interesting, especially since I got the impression their exhibits don't last very long and are very organic in terms of planning, organization, and execution. It was refreshing to see a place that didnt have an exhibition schedule several years into the next decade.

We need more places like this: approachable, interesting, vibrant micro-centers of culture and artistic development. The educational opportunities are limitless and can definitely be applied to subjects and topics other than art and architecture. What if there was a Storefront for Literature and Writing? Or a Storefront for History and Anthropology? Maybe there could be networks of these storefronts, each specializing in some sort of educational component presented in an innovative and creative manner.

Upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco
web log statistics
web log statistics