Rebecca Stickney

Rebecca Stickney, alumna and trustee of Bennington College died on August 21, 2008. I met Rebecca Stickney when she stopped me near the bridge where the water leaves the pond. From that point on the path we could see birdhouses she maintained and the observatory in her name. She pointed out towards the middle of the pond and told me a boatload about a bird at its center. She told me that citings of the bird were rare in the region and that I was lucky to have seen it. I don’t remember much about the bird or even the name of the species. I was overwhelmed by her enthusiasm regarding the bird.

Much more controversial than any symposium, she is often cited as the woman who literally “cleared the way” for the Frankenthaler Garden by removing much of the overgrown garden that Bennington loved. The garden, originally part of the Jennings estate, popularly known as “the Secret Garden,” and namesake of the Secret Garden Panini, will soon become an outdoor performance space.

No doubt the college will miss her bird-chatter. Her impact on the community will long outlive any memory of the species she spoke of. You may read Bennington’s news release here.


Architecture School Reality Series

No one’s trying to come in and build something that people are going to walk by or drive by and be like, “Why is this here?…This looks so out of place.” At the same time, recreating something or trying to mimic something that was built a hundred years ago, or 50 years ago, I don’t think that’s an homage to something that was built a long time ago. I think that’s just a bastardization of something that was built a long time ago.

This is Amarit. Originally from Chicago, Illinois, he may now be found at the Tulane School of Architecture. The Sundance Channel has produced a six-part reality series about him, eight other architecture students and New Orleans called “Architecture School.” The series records the semester of fourth-year students in the URBANBuild program. The program allows students to design and build a home in post-Katrina New Orleans. You may watch at Hulu or on iTunes after they air on the Sundance Channel. iTunes will make you pay for all but the first episode.

The Solar Decathlon is another example of architecture students doing real work in their field.

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August 27, 2008, 11:51 pm
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No, really.

An activist to remember.

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I’ve Been Thinking

An article on Lebbeus Woods, who gave a lecture at Bennington last year.

I’ve been reading Orwell’s diary entries 70 years after they were written.

A beautifully written account of a trip to the loo.

A different kind of Dumpster diving and a new name game.

You may read about racism and Obama on slate.

Speaking of Obama. I’ve been thinking; what if I do not vote for Obama? Ralph Nader was interviewed on Talk of the Nation, and although he is known to be a bit loony I agree with him on many issues. Although a vote for Nader is a vote lost for Obama, because of the electoral college I have little to worry about. Obama will almost certainly win in Connecticut. Although a Pennsylvanian should be worried about a third party candidate, I am not.

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The Trouble with Diversity

I found this article in The Climax, Hampshire College’s “only news source.” I haven’t thought much about it yet, but it’s something I ought to think about.

More and more relevant information with lots of numbers from sources I know nothing about.

Walter Benn Michaels came up with the idea for his book The Trouble with Diversity when he gave a lecture to a seemingly very diverse group of a few hundred Harvard students. They “were extremely proud of their diversity,”he said, but “were completely indifferent to the one way in which they were not diverse, which is to say they all came overwhelmingly from the top 5 to 10 percent of American wealth.”

The central problem of contemporary progressive politics, according to Michaels, is that anti-racism, anti-sexism, and anti-discrimination in general have become the fundamental measures of social justice. This has happened, he said, “in a moment when actually the greatest problem in American society is not racism and it’s not sexism. The greatest problem in American society is the increasing gap between the rich and the poor.” Continue reading

For What it is Worth (Not Much)
August 4, 2008, 10:55 pm
Filed under: art, college | Tags: , , , , , ,

The Princeton Review has placed Bennington College at the top of several of its lists:

Best College Theater: #4
Birkenstock-Wearing, Tree-Hugging, Clove-Smoking Vegetarians: #5
Class Discussions Encouraged: #1
Dodgeball Targets: #2
Dorms Like Palaces: #9
Gay Community Accepted: #11
Intercollegiate Sports Unpopular or Nonexistent: #4
Long Lines and Red Tape: #5
Most Beautiful Campus: #15
Nobody Plays Intramural Sports: #11
Least Religious Students: #4
Most Liberal Students: #5
Students Study the Most: #6
This is a Library?: #1
Town-Gown Relations are Strained: #15 Continue reading