Wednesday 2.10.10

Chanel No. 5

I spent the afternoon on the 2nd floor, in the NBBJ library, copying images from The Encyclopedia of Design onto transparencies. I wasn’t sure what the morrow would bring and wanted to have some things at the ready. Tomorrow was to be another aka project at NBBJ. This one would be called Dear Architect. The idea is to write letters from the building to the architect on the wall, using an overhead projector. In preparation, I copied the outlines of many an historic object, which actually just became a nice meditation. I drew a Tiffany lamp, a bottle of Chanel No. 5, a Coke bottle, a box of McDonald’s fries. I drew buildings, chairs, couches, irons and vacuums. I even wrote out a few Gaston Bachelard quotes. I spent some time online then, researching overhead projectors and art projects. I came up with a few interesting items. There are artists who make dramatic and ephemeral sand art drawings on overhead projectors. As soon as an image is made, it is wiped away and another is started atop it. There is a group in Germany that sponsors a week of overhead projector art. Then there is local artist Frank Junk who with his friend Mark uses overhead projectors to mix colors and designs which shine through spinning bicycle wheels onto the walls. Suddenly, my simple idea to write letters to the architect seemed too simple. Sometimes too much research takes you farther afield than you need to go. What does my project need to be? Sitting at the projector tomorrow will tell me.


After a few tries earlier this week, I finally got to lunch with Michael of the IT department. Michael was one of the first people I really talked to at NBBJ, generous, easy-going, friendly. We walked out, in the light rain, across Boren to Soup Daddy’s. Surprisingly, I didn't eat my bread bowl. I must not rowing hard enough. Hm? I inquired with the sandwich clerk about the brass bell atop the counter. When does this bell ring? We ring it when people order the Big Meal. The Big Meal is $13. No one ordered the Big Meal while I was at Soup Daddy's. Michael and I got onto the topic of boats and I learned that he once worked as an engineer on a vessel touring the South Pacific. He's been diving in Madagascar and Tonga and Indonesia and Japan. No wonder the smirk!

Mood Ring

I spent my afternoon researching and collecting materials on color theory. I found a good bit information online about how color affects our moods and how they are used in interiors and what they mean in dreams. I'm preparing to write a color code for the opaque plastic, paneled wall encasing a series of LED lights that runs from the first floor through the ceiling to the ceiling above the lunchroom. I am told it runs all the way up the building. After my research, I'll spend time observing the walls and sitting nearby writing. Then, hopefully, I'll condense that into a pithy, card-friendly, fortune key so you know what it means when you arrive and see the color green.

Color Code

What does it mean when you pass the wall and it is blue? I want this to be an event. I want it to mean something. And not only to workers at NBBJ, but to those passing in the alleyway, from the residents of Alley 24 to the store owners and the shoppers who frequent the shops around the block. Even the delivery person should know what a red wall indicates. And they will.

Once I've got a code key worked out, I'll post a sign in the window and make wallet-sized versions to offer passersby. I'm hoping to offer, with this simple key, an ongoing, meaningful experience in the alleyway. I'm hoping to provoke community through shared knowledge, shared myth-making. A knowledge that transcends glass and concrete and brick and offers a weave of experience and memory.

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