Jimenez Lai, 2008-12
Citizens of
No Place
This book is a collection of short stories on architecture and urbanism. It is written and illustrated by Jimenez Lai using manga-style storyboards. In the various chapters, this book uses fiction to explore conversations about imagination, rituals, orthographic projections, parametricism, uniqueness, irregularity, desire, flexibility, inevitability, determinism, power and expertise. Modeled as a proto-manifesto, it is a candid chronicle of a highly critical thought-process in the pursuit of a paper-architecture. Many stories swerve between drawings and installations to test the imaginary contexts.
1. Conversations with a Developer the story: on imagination

2. Noah's Ark, In Space the story: on rituals the installation: on orientation / Phalanstery Module (2008) interview with Jimenez Lai by Mason White

3. Point Clouds the story: on subjectivity the installation: on parametricism / Point Clouds (2009) interlude: on affordances

4. Big Box Robotz the story: on spectacles interlude: on irregularity the images: black-out city interlude: city of urban robotz

5. Babel the story: on verticality the studio: on politics interlude: on density
Foreword by John McMorrough
6. Drifting Cities of a Past the story: on power the studio: on decontextualization interlude: on economics

7. Teleportation and the Everywhere City essay: towards a total sameness story: on transitional spaces

8. On Types of Seductive Robustness the story: on uniqueness the installation: on poche / The Super Briefcase (2010) interlude: the context of knowledge

9. The Future Archaeologist the story: on history poster: this, that interlude: on expertise
The position is not in the depth, but the breadth. In addition, I wrote this book as a reaction to Citizens of No Place (Princeton Architectural Press, 2012). I wanted to work with a lack of sequence. I want to destroy linear order and contaminate the innocence of dreaminess all in one go. I also wanted to ask back questions into the abyss: Steven Holl, what were you thinking? How did you get Mark Mack, Zaha Hadid, Lars Lerup, Lebbeus Woods, and everyone else to sign on to such madness? What was Pamphlet Architecture supposed to be? Better yet, what was it like to win so many awards as a young architect, without building anything at all? Worse yet, what was it like to be an architect working toward such a steep sense of experimentation, without the desire for a "practice"? Now, just what exactly is "paper architecture" supposed to mean, and why would my generation perpetuate it? But, perhaps there is something to be held in common between Steven Holl, Leon Battista Alberti, Andrea Palladio, Giorgio Vasari, Bernard Tschumi, Lebbeus Woods, and Daniel Libeskind-in order to work on why you build, invest your time in understanding before what you build clouds your clear mind. Maybe this is why one writes; maybe there is something about the deep dive into the reality of practice that stops the cooking process of curiosity before its material gets tender. Maybe the sleep of reason does produce monsters...but in exactly a manner that would be healthy to society at large.

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