Locating the Blog: New Mechanisms in Reading, Writing + Authority

Critical, Curatorial + Conceptual Practices in Architecture, Thesis

Allison Carafa

Jeannie Kim + Kazys Varnelis, advisors

As technologies evolve the various mechanisms that we harness for the dissemination of knowledge change accordingly. Like all other scholarly pursuits, architecture, and specifically architectural writing, has a storied history of finding meaning in its specific medium. In the early 2000’s architecture took to the Internet, and specifically, to the blog. For what seems to be the first time, a group of people who had historically been left out of the larger architectural conversation were given a free and easy vehicle in which they could make their writing accessible to a mass audience.

The rise of the single author blog has changed the way that authorship, copyright, research and intellectual authority function in the age of the Internet. The architectural community has approached this new reality in an assortment of ways – some fully accepting the new condition while others struggling with the perceived implication that this somehow will usher in the death of the professional writer and proper scholarly pursuits. The misconceptions associated with the blog format is in part caused by an inefficiency built into the digital platform used by bloggers – the digital archive. Although we have made great strides in what it means to digitally archive materials both digitized and born digital, the mechanism to find these documents and to understand the body of work they contain has not yet been realized. In a digitized world, we still perceive value through what we can see and hold, remaining weary of what we cannot visualize. Through a series of experiments, I would like to challenge the notion put forth that a blog is a lesser form of architectural writing, research and accomplishment. These experiments will attempt to remove the biases created by their digital medium by producing various physical objects using blogged content. The desired result is to raise the status of the blogger while remaining critical, in order to place the blogger within the larger context of architectural writing.