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Abrons and Tursak Discuss the “Real” and “Shape” in Log 41

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Abrons and Tursak Discuss the “Real” and “Shape” in Log 41

Taubman College Assistant Professor Ellie Abrons and Lecturer Hans Tursack are both featured in the recent issue of Log Magazine, published in November 2017.

Tursack’s article “The Problem with Shape,” comments on the prevalence of “shape” in current architectural discourse and design. In the mid-2000s, design theorist and critic, Bob Somol, called for a design methodology that privileges shape; Tursack critiques the value of that original thesis as well as the way it has been misused and proliferated by current practices. An excerpt from Tursack’s piece reads,

Shape should have already been assigned to the ‘scrapheap of history,’ but it continues to operate as a theoretically frictionless image-centric formula that produces a zombie style: a vehicle for disciplinary puns and a mindless kitbash in the dollar store of history. The practitioners of shape need to self-consciously reposition themselves within a newly constructed polemic, or - better - be done with it all together. (48-49)

Abrons also contributed to the issue, proposing a theatric and exaggerative aesthetic she calls “Camp Materiality.” Her submission, entitled “For Real,” looks at the artificiality of Camp style as “an antidote to … two problematic contemporary mindsets: the moralism of binary thinking and the cynicism of post-internet culture” (67). Abrons uses examples from her recent work with T+E+A+M and collaborations with Adam Fure to argue for a “camp materiality.” The main characteristics of this technique include artificiality, exaggeration, humor, and plurality. She argues that the postdigital, a term with which she describes her work, is a form of Camp style, and productive alternative to the cynicism of other current trends.

The issue was guest edited by Jaffer Kolb, the 2015-2016 Muschenheim Fellow at Taubman College. Kolb contributed an article called “Working Queer” and curated 114 pages of the issue, including Abrons’ piece. Other previous Taubman College Fellows also have articles in Issue 41, including Rosalyne Shieh (2009-2010 A. Alfred Taubman Fellow), Farzin Lotfi-Jam (2013-2014 Walter B. Sanders Fellow), and Michael Meredith ( 2000-2001 William Muschenheim Fellow).