Originally published – MARCH 28, 2005
A book I’ve recently started reading discusses the role of the sidewalk in relationship to neighborhood crime, or further to the point : the way that good neighborhoods patrol themselves in a way that city planning and police action cannot.
When I stopped writing a year ago it was because a community that I participated in neglected some good tenets. It shed its independent voice in pursuit of a course more resembling the regurgitation of press releases and chat room egotism. The resultant clutter amounted mostly to noise. Even good neighborhoods go bad.
One recent winter night, I was having a bad evening with a date. We were trying to make-up. She was late and I’d picked a terrible bar. It was too loud and the weather had destroyed my flowers. Instead, we made for a nearby restaurant just off of Grand Central Terminal — ostensibly neutral territory for us both.
She went forward with her list of demands and I countered with mine. It was tense iteration back and forth in an awkward dance of pretending to listen to the other while anxiously awaiting to make your own point. The restaurant was busy, but it wasn’t so busy that the couple next to us didn’t take notice. Rather than ignore us in a likely fashion, after they paid the check and passed us to leave the woman, in her late 60s, leaned in and said ever so lightly, “you two seem like such nice kids. You shouldn’t try so hard.”
Society has a way of policing itself in good neighborhoods. What I needed to hear that night came from nothing exchanged between my date and myself but from a couple from Long Island that I would never see again.
Though briefly abjuring from public discourse, I haven’t stopped pursuing a thesis that began some time ago. Within culture there is room for dialogue between public and private arts. Though vastly different at onset and in intent, the bridge where Art and Design oft meet has long been of great interest to me. As the materials and representation of craft and couture begin to blur it becomes that much more necessary to closely look at those nuances where they differ and share sympathies.
Placement will go one step further. Our objective is the pursuit of a pragmatic cultural and aesthetic dialogue. This discourse is not specifically in pursuit of the act, location, or persona but an appreciation of those decisions and intentions set in time: a “metaphysics of choice.”
These observations offer an appeal against the deluge of sound bites and marketing feedback that are disguised as cultural anthropology. We concede and embrace that this is a quickly changing world with vast complexities, but it’s imperative that the foundations that brought us here are considered in order to appreciate change as growth.
Placement was a website that turned a critical eye on culture, with an emphasis on the importance of integrity in process over product. It published frequently from 2005 through 2006, as an online critique of art and design within contemporary culture. Placement provided original content by independent voices – something the internet is particularly good at offering but which blogs don’t seem to be very good at maintaining.
In order to save some of that work from the sands of time, I’ve archived selections from that work here: PLACEMENT Archive