firebreak project

Here is a very short sequence of clips I edited together a few years ago for Dan Pitera of the Detroit Collaborative Design Center that he presented in a lecture at the GSD's Career Discovery Program, which I had attended the previous year. This is a thin slice into a larger sociological analysis I have conducted on design-build architecture in poor communities around the United States.

As I noted in the previous post, I have developed an interest in multi-media communication to engage complex sociological (or other disciplinary) concepts into the public sphere, beyond academic rhetoric, to become accessible to the citizenry, because the citizens are meant to run our democratic countries. Shouldn't they understand their society? Lets help people understand the world by not obfuscating academic work.

Neil Smith, CUNY geographer, referenced this notion of making academic arguments accessible with two powerful quotations in his talk Urban Politics, Urban Security: Securing Accumulation.
I'd always heard this story, years and years ago, that T.S. Eliot, as a poet had always said: If his butler couldn't understand what he was trying to say in his poetry. He should rip it up, throw it away, and start again. I've always taken a certain inspiration from that especially since I didn't really understand what was going on in T.S. Eliot's poetry half the time. 

But I found out an even better version of the same kind of sentiment, which actually comes from Margaret Mead... "If one cannot state a matter clear enough so that even an intelligent twelve year old can understand it," Margaret Mead said once, "one should probably remain within the cloistered halls of the university and the laboratory until one gets a better grasp of one's subject matter." 

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