This has been a busy year for me. Yet, looking back on my entries for 2011 it seems like only a small portion of what I actually did made it into this space. Partly it was because of my busy work schedule; partly it was because I’ve been trying to find new ways of capturing and presenting what I think is interesting. I don’t want to turn One-Way Street into a link-a-minute blog. While most of what I write about here originates in material elsewhere on the Internet, I try to provide some commentary and context. At the same time, I’m still for a way to fulfill Walter Benjamin’s ideal of a purely presentational writing without any commentary of my own. I continue to work on it even though Benjamin himself never found a good balance.
Back in January I redesigned One-Way Street to allow for a more varied presentation. The wider main column allows for larger images and greater flexibility for video presentation. I’ve also introduced entries written in Storify. While the application has its limits, I like the idea of presenting a story as it develops. Perhaps as Storify develops I will be able to make better and more frequent use of it.
Today I want to review some of the key blog entries from 2011. These aren’t necessarily my best entries or the most popular. They’re also not a “best of” list. Other people have compiled some excellent best-of-the-year lists. The most interesting one is the Million’s Year in Reading feature.
The entries below captured a moment when I learned something and I was doing my best to convey what I had learned and why it was significant.
- The Seven Year Itch: The rebirth of public art in Chicago. For better and for worse.
- The Art of Fielding: A perfect balance between realism and literary allusion.
- Hugo: An updating of the cinema of attractions, it’s the film I watched with the most personal pleasure this year.
- The Good and the Ghastly: Our world, half-reborn again. It’s a world of commodities drained of all metaphysical trappings.
- The Cronocaos exhibit: Rem Koolhaas’s provocative and cogent argument against preservation.
- The battle for Prentice Women’s Hospital: It’s still standing, but now I know why historically significant buildings get torn down.
- Reveal: Jeanne Gang’s elegant account of how a small architectural firm develops their ideas. Gang won a MacArthur Genius grant this year.
- Roads of Water: August Contento’s languid, mesmerizing look at life on the Amazon. Like no other documentary I’ve ever seen. The soundtrack is by Ken Vandermark.
- Enrique Sobejano’s lecture on architecture as landscape: A patient explanation of some of architecture’s more obscure principles.
- Visitation: Jenny Erpenbeck has created a great political novel about a piece of land in eastern Germany. It’s a sort of Yoknapatawpha County of the GDR.