Marcus Martinez: More Thoughts on "Near Future"

"Learning from the existing landscape is a way of being revolutionary for an architect...that is, to question how we look at things." (1) Written in 1968, this opening statement from "Learning From Las Vegas" resonates closely with the "Near Future" series - where a distinguished set of speakers were cast to ‘speculate on the look of things in the next generation’. Instead, the series delivered more than was promised. The three-part series offered a more exclusive conversation into how an architectural historian, photographer, production designer, architect and curator, and artist process their landscape in a way that they often described as simply their preoccupations.

Each of the speakers brought his or her own unrestricted sensitivities to the table that together offered a range of tools that may prove not only useful in understanding the future but more importantly necessary for tapping into the "legacy of the larger and more pressing project of redefining the boundaries of the discipline itself." (2) 

We learned that a movie, a building, a signature, and even gold mines are signs of demand and feedback that have the capacity to shape or exhibit behaviors. This series did more than sate the expression of the ‘future’ but forced the question “Where do we begin?”- and what relationships become apparent when we consider the form of cities, buildings, species, or for KK Barrett, cinematic atmospheres as networked landscapes? For Liam Young, what happens when we “exaggerate the present?”

1. Robert Venturi,Steven Izenour, Denise Scott Brown. Learning From Las Vegas (MIT Press 1977).

2. Rory Hyde. Future Practice: Conversations from the Edge of Architecture (Routledge 2012), 222.

Contributed By

Marcus Martinez