Thursday
Dec302010

Rediscovering Discovery Zone [ORG. POSTED 8.1.09]

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Discovery Zone (or DZ for short) was a chain of entertainment facilities featuring games and elaborate indoor mazes designed for young children, including slides, climbing play structures and ball pits. The chain was founded by Ronald MatschJim Jorgensen and Dr. David Schoenstadt in 1989. The first store was opened in Lenexa, Kansas, in January 1990. An early investor and vocal supporter of the company was tennis player Billie Jean King.[1]

Other places similar to Discovery Zone include Chuck E. Cheese’sMajor Magic’sThe Jungle, and Wonder Camp (a chain which closed in 1997).McDonald’s started a similar chain called Leaps and Bounds which merged into Discovery Zone in 1994.

In the 1990s, one of its jingles went like this: “I’m going DZ at Discovery Zone. Discover what I can do on my own! I can jump, swing, crawl or mountain climb. I’m going DZ, where I want to be!”. This was sung by children. Another slogan was “Fun-believable fitness for kids!” ” [1]

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“Stretched thin by expansion, changes in management tried to save the company, however (under Viacom’s control) Discovery Zone filed for bankruptcy on March 261996 in Wilmington, Delaware with debts of up to $366.8 million.[2]Chuck E. Cheese’s purchased approximately 500 of DZ’s locations and turned them into Chuck E. Cheese’s facilities by the end of 1999.” [1]

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“How long does it take for us to become nostalgic about a past decade? “American Graffiti” (1973) temporarily made us forget about Watergate and the energy crisis as we cruised back to 1962. The 1970’s and a hit show of that era came back to life in “The Brady Bunch Movie” (1995). We reminisced about the early days of MTV and the 1980’s as we watched “The Wedding Singer” (1998).

Now that we’re in the noughties, which is what I understand the British call the current decade, there may be some who are nostalgic for the 1990’s. For those readers who are now in their early twenties, we take you back to a place where you may have played as a child. You are now entering the Discovery Zone.” [2]

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“Discovery Zone was a place where children and parents could enjoy time together in a variety of play. The first Discovery Zone FunCenter appeared in 1989 in Kansas City, Missouri. Ron Matsch and Al Fong, with physical fitness backgrounds, were founders. Chattanooga got its Discovery Zone in August, 1993 when one opened in the new Hamilton Village shopping center at 2020 Gunbarrel Road.

The centerpiece of Discovery Zone was its Mega Zone, a plumbing-like structure consisting of large tubes and nets for climbing, slides for, eh, sliding, and a splash pool filled with brightly-colored plastic balls for throwing. The Mega Zone was built large and sturdy enough for parents to join their children in the fun, and this was highly encouraged. There was also a Mini Zone for smaller children.

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The Skill Zone area featured games that tested eye-hand coordination. There was skee ball, basketball, and my favorite, Whack-a-Mole (or some similar subterranean creature). After an hour or so of play, one could visit the snack bar for refreshments. Children could also celebrate birthdays in one of the private party rooms. When it was time to go home, there was a counter where tickets earned in playing games could be redeemed.

Discovery Zone advertised frequently on the kid-oriented Nickelodeon cable network. In 1995, the company participated in a tie-in with the release of “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie.” Power Rangers wristbands allowed wearers to have fun all summer long at DZ while imagining they had special powers to help Zordon defeat the Putties, Rita Repulsa, and Lord Zed.

In 1994, a second Discovery Zone opened in Hixson at 5239 Highway 153. Though located across from another kid-centered attraction, a new Toys-R-Us, the Hixson DZ stayed open less than a year. By 1997, the Hamilton Village DZ had also closed, and the corporate Discovery Zone entered into bankruptcy. By then, fast food restaurants were installing elaborate play areas which children could use for free.

Though Discovery Zones have all closed, the memories of them will remain with today’s teens and twenty-somethings for many years. When you’re having a bad day, just think back to the fun times at Discovery Zone, and the day that your father almost got stuck on the roller slide.” [2]

 

ALL IMAGES OF VARIOUS DISCOVERY ZONES VIA MULTIPLE SOURCES, CITED VIA CLICK-THROUGH LINK [SUPPLEMENTARY IMAGES 9-12 ADDED 12.30.10, VIA YOUTUBE]; TEXT VIA WIKIPEDIA.ORG [1] AND “REMEMBERING DISCOVERY ZONE” BY HARMON JOLLEY, VIA CHATTANOOGAN.COM

Thursday
Dec302010

Place Space #4 / Joseph Holtzman / NEST / Camp Nest 

"The luxurious idea of "bothering to bother" is sadly a rare one, but when you are near those that do make the effort it can be a perfect joy. No one embraces this ethos more enthusiastically than Camp Nest creator Joe Holtzman. Approaching every project he touches with the same razor-sharp aesthetics, Holtzman fashioned his upstate New York artist compound as a respite to his New York City life as editor, designer, and creator of the award-winning NEST magazine.  Propelled by an astonishing taste level, otherworldly ideas, and an uncanny ability to get anything done, Holtzman's is a rare and actual design genius. He somehow makes everything seem as though we have never seen it before. Holtzman's singular, quirky vision and fantastic handpicked motley crew of contributors made NEST appear to be made by someone who had never seen a magazine before, and the same can be said of the Camp Nest compound." [1]

"Every design detail in Camp Nest is perfectly considered with the obvious path never taken. Here are but a few examples: When installing 17th-century encaustic tiles in the downstairs powder room, Holtzman had the walls brought in a few inches in order to avoid cutting the tiles and interrupting the repeating pattern. The striking red-wool striped carpet runner that ascends the staircase and leans to the upstairs bedrooms was custom woven in the perfect width so it would never have to be cut at an uncooperative angle. In the upstairs master bedroom, Holtzman pulled a Lazarus-like resurrection of sad rec room paneling by whitewashing the whole affair and repainting every depression in the paneling shiny black. The result is a visual effect that makes the room seem gigantic and as if it is folding in on itself at the same time. The upstairs guest room features walls clad in perfectly applied antique wallpaper printed with baseball players. Those paper walls meet in the room's corners with deeply layered wax walls that have the exact wallpaper pattern incised from them--all this without interrupting the patter's repeat. The Biedermeier sofa in the mess hall is reupholstered in reclaimed 1950s vintage Christian Dior handbag fabric. Almost every ceiling fixture has been removed and replaced with multi-outlet plugs, creating a jangly cord extravaganza in every room. In describing Holtzman's work, one senses the efforts of a design madman, but somehow he manages to never cross one wrong visual path or make an inauthentic move." [1]

"Located near a small pond in the Hudson River valley between the Catskill and Berkshire mountains, Joseph Holtzman's Camp Nest is a singular fusion of several antecedents in American architectural history. First there was Henry David Thoreau's one-room cabin on Walden Pond near Concord, Massachusetts. Thoreau built it himself with pine planks and second-hand bricks and sparsely furnished it with a bed, a table, three chairs, and a copy of the Bhagavad Gita. He wanted  to return to basics and to realign himself with nature.

Second, as an experiment in eclectic design and personal taste, Camp Nest recalls a far more ostentatious enterprise, the Moorish castle built by press lord William Randolph Hearst on a former ranch overlooking the Pacific Ocean at San Simeon. Movie stars flocked there from Hollywood for sybaritic weekends. Hearst boldly mixed artistic styles--a Spanish baroque facade, Gothic interiors, a Roman bath. With its gold and cobalt blue tiles and neat Greek temple, the outdoor Neptune Pool at Heart's estate (called "Xanadu" in Citizen Kane) was inspired by the pool ringed by sculptures of buff nude athletes at the Roman emperor Hadrian's villa at Tivoli. " [2]

"Among Holtzman's precursors as a connoisseur and patron of the arts was the eighteenth-century British writer and politician, Horace Walpole, who commissioned a flamboyant house at Twickenham called Strawberry Hill. Walpole's retro recycling of medieval style (amusingly dubbed Rococo Gothic) was hugely influential: Strawberry Hill sparked the massive Gothic Revival in architecture that would lead to St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York. Walpole's fanciful interiors employed painted glass, papier-mâché ceilings, and hand-drawn patterned walls (as at Camp Nest). Strawberry Hill also had its own printing press, prefiguring Holtzman's work as an innovative magazine editor and home publisher.

Then there was Ludwig of Bavaria, called the Dream King for his architectural fantasias. (Helmut Berger played him in Luchino Visconti's Ludwig.) Neuschwanstein, Ludwig's most famous castle (begun in 1869) is a late Romanesque structure with spires and towers soaring over a deep river gorge in the Alps. Craftsmen worked for four years alone carving the oak paneling and furniture in the king's bedroom. Neuschwanstein is known to the world through Walt Disney's adoption of it as the archetypal fair-tale castle for his theme parks and animated films." [2]

"Camp Nest began as a hunting lodge, which was later expanded. Hunting lodges were once very common in heavily forested Northern Europe, where game provided a crucial food supply over the long, harsh winters. Upgraded in later centuries, they became plush summer palaces. A good example is Mayerling, the love nest near Vienna where Rudolph Hapsburg, crown prince of the Austro-Hungarian empire, shot himself and his mistress in 1889. Omar Sharif and Catherine Deneuve starred as the ill-fated couple in Mayerling, which also featured a divinely dissolute Ava Gardner as the fierce Empress Elizabeth, herself destined for assassination.

As a country retreat, Camp Nest rejects the pomp and circumstance of America's landed gentry and opts instead for a more casual, vernacular idiom. It aligns itself with Adirondack Mountain cabins, with their rustic local materials and humble display of natural wood. The original hunting lodges of northern upstate New York were supplanted in the late nineteenth century by the Adirondack "Great Camps" created by wealthy Manhattanites. Though these houses could be quite large, they beautifully harmonized with the natural environment of woods and water. Construction and decor were strongly influenced by the British Arts and Crafts movement, which sought a pre-industrial, hand-crafted look.

Camp Nest, which was renovated by a team of art students under Holzman's direction, lightheartedly refers to all its precursors. The cartoonish, gaping-jawed wall trophies (hippopotamus, crocodile) evoke the ancestral hunting lodge but also offer a playland feel, as if this were a scout camp, another old Adirondack specialty. The simple chairs recall plank-style Adirondack furniture, but there are also luxury import accents and quirky retro curios (as at Strawberry Hill). Holtzman's signature collage of patterns engages and stimulates the eye, while the airy natural light refreshes it. Camp Next is both a sophisticated social space and a serene contemplative zone." [2]

TEXT [1] BY TODD OLDHAM; TEXT [2] BY CAMILLE PAGLIA; ALL TEXT AND IMAGES TAKEN FROM "CAMP NEST", PLACE SPACE #4, 2008

Wednesday
Dec292010

Jenny Holzer / Kelly Wearstler / Milan Kundera / Frederick Seidel [ORG. POSTED 10.20.09]

[ED: I'LL BE REPOSTING A HANDFUL OF FAVORITE POSTS FROM THE LAST YEAR OR SO IN THE FOLLOWING DAYS. THIS WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED ON 10.20.09]

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“People are always shouting that they want to create a better future. It’s not true. The future is an apathetic void of no interest to anyone. The past is full of life, eager to irritate us, provoke and insult us, tempt us to destroy or repaint it. The only reason people want to be masters of the future is to change the past. They are fighting for access to the laboratories where photographs are retouched and biographies and histories rewritten.” [1]

 

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“I own nothing. I own a watch.

I own three watches.

I own five motorcycles.

It’s all I do.” [2]

 

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IMAGES 1, 4, 5, 7, 9 AND 11 OF WORK BY JENNY HOLZER, SOURCES CITED VIA CLICK-THROUGH LINK; IMAGES 2, 3, 6, 8, 10 AND 12 OF WORK BY KELLY WEARSTLER, AS TAKEN FROM METROPOLITAN HOME AND VOGUE MAGAZINES, BOTH PHOTOGRAPHED BY FRANCOIS HALARD; TEXT TAKEN FROM “THE BOOK OF LAUGHTER AND FORGETTING” BY MILAN KUNDERA [1], IMPETUS VIA SASHA FRERE JONES, AND FROM “I OWN NOTHING” BY FREDERICK SEIDEL [2]

Wednesday
Dec292010

Lucy McKenzie at Galerie Daniel Buchholz / Paul Legault: "Madeline As Home" / Syntaks: "Sudden Dream"

SYNTAKS: SUDDEN DREAM

In one of the rooms, time gets really close.

One room is for the dog. There is either a large pillow or a small bed in this room. The dog is expected to die in this room. Eventually, the dog will probably die in this room.

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This is the room in which you wake up. It is different from the room in which you'd gone to sleep. In this room there is always a mirror in which your face appears to be moving. Your face is not necessarily moving. This can be a disconcerting room.

This room with the dolphins is not entirely unpleasant. It is very wet. If you have things in your pockets, you should've already removed them. The dolphins' pockets' contents are hidden.

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This is the room with the new dinette set.

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In one of the rooms there are many wonderful big hats. In this room, everyone is wearing wonderful big hats, and if you are not wearing one, I will get you one, and you will wear it in this room with the rest of them.

In the orange room, the roses do not die unless you are looking.



In the next room, the chiffarobe is to be called 'the chiffarobe.'

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In one of the rooms, a person has just arrived. It is then that the room has become something. Before then, there had been perhaps the idea of space, and a dark shuffling somewhere deep in the furniture, a stillness which is a thing, or which can be, though it was only then that you noticed it, the stillness then with the person in the room that made it a place, and if not a permanent place, then all the more a place for the transitive nature of it, like a music.

 

ALL IMAGES OF WORK BY LUCY MCKENZIE, TAKEN FROM "SLENDER MEANS" AT GALERIE DANIEL BUCHHOLZ, VIA CONTEMPORARY ART DAILY; POEM, "MADELINE AS HOME", BY PAUL LEGAULT, FROM THE MADELEINE POEMS; "SUDDEN DREAM" BY SYNTAKS

Tuesday
Dec282010

In Praise of the Expedit 

 IKEA'S "EXPEDIT" SHELVING UNIT AND ITS DESIGNER, TORD BJÖRKLUND

ALL IMAGES OF IKEA'S "EXPEDIT" MODULAR SHELVING UNIT VIA FLICKR ["IKEA SHELVES" GROUP AND "IKEA LOVERS" GROUP ], IKEAFANS.COM, AND IKEAHACKER.BLOGSPOT.COM; ALL COMMENT AND REVIEW SCREEN GRABS TAKEN FROM APARTMENT THERAPY, VIEWPOINTS.COM AND "IKEA SHELVING AND THE IMPOSSIBLE PURSUIT OF PERFECTION" BY BETHLEHEM SHOALS; MOST IMAGES CITED VIA CLICK-THROUGH LINK