Monday, July 17, 2017

Hester Bangs Revealed, Fake Architects

Now that the smoke has cleared, now that the tumult has died leaving room for new, better tumult that this blog lays largely fallow
I, Erin K Drew, can reveal that it was I who adopted the mantle of Hester Bangs to write some of the most hated the least read Indianapolis art reviews of Fall 2016.

Now that we have escaped 2016 relatively intact I feel I owe it to the brave fake architects who shared accounts of their counterfeit professions with me to publish their words. Originally published on the Broken Glass wordpress from the mouth of my alter ego Hester Bangs, I present my review of the Exhibit Columbus symposium.

Exhibit Columbus–Columbus, Indiana’s inaugural design symposium–happened this past weekend.

I’ve tried my hardest to understand Columbus’s architectural legacy but whenever I attempt to do my research or listen to someone knowledgeable talk on the subject I briefly and respectfully fall asleep.

In lieu of attending the keynote sessions and panels , I interviewed a crop of upcoming designers and architects at a tiki bar in Indianapolis. We spoke over several rounds of Fishtanks— blue curacao with a salted rim and goldfish cracker skewer— and tried to fill in the gaps of my understanding of the practice, its theories, and the event.

Profiles of these visionary makers are presented below and ordered from sober to sloshed. Questions by Hester Bangs are presented in bold. Comments by some subjects are italicized where noted.

E.J. Troubleshooting (architect, Chicago, IL)

Would you say you identify as a duck or a decorated shed?

I like the elegance of the duck. They align with my personal philosphy of grace and utility and motion and the duck’s body has all that and a wingspan and a tail.

What would be your ideal building in which to cry?

I feel it depends on what kind of crying you’d like to do. If you’d like to do loud, mournful crying i’d like some sort of cathedral-like structure. But perhaps to simplify maybe a tube— a big tube that would resonate your cries.

But if you want to cry in private I would suggest a form like an igloo, but— kind of like, a sock-like structure that would be close to the ground. It would allow you a lot of privacy.

If houses are machines for living, what kind of a machine would you say you are?

I suppose the kind of machine I am is a thinking machine gone awry and I’m just generating meaningless sentences and verbiage.

And finally: Fuck/marry/kill: Doric columns, Ionic columns, corinthian columns.

I would fuck myself, kill you, and I don’t know which column I would marry because I intentionally unlearned all this stuff when I became a minimalist architect.

Misbehave (designer, Columbus, IN)

Fuck/marry/kill: Doric columns, Ionic columns, corinthian columns.

I’d def fuck Doric— Clean shaven a little androgynous


It’s all boils down to a hygiene thing

oh my god, gross

Burt Harbinson (architect, Malibu, CA)

Fuck/marry/kill– doric, ionic, corinthian columns

hmm i think i’ll go with ionic…it’s the “just right” bowl of oatmeal—
not too simple but not gaudy either.
like how Chanel said she’d always take off one accessory before she headed out the door…maximal but self editing…
Chanel was a nazi sympathizer and should not be glorified.
o i just realized it was marry fuck kill not “which r u”
so hmm marry ionic fuck corinthian kill doric

Burt Harbinson and Matt Boyd Lepht (architect, Indianapolis, IN)

If a house is a machine for living, what kind of machine are you?

a machine for crying

tell me more

that was the first thing that came to my head but i do cry a lot

What is the right building to cry in?

My home.

What specific to your home?

I like to cry in my bedroom or my bed.

I tend to think that cars are the best place to cry.

But you’re so exposed!

I think that they are incredbly intuitive as a crying space, like—i’m moving, you’re looking, they’re looking (trails off into unintelligible drunk hot air)

Crying in cars is dangerous.

So could we imagine your ideal cry spot?

It’s my bed.

Your current bed? What color is your bed?

I really love my bed and I like to buy things to make my bed more comfortable

In the coming weeks I think I’ll be purchasing a bedskirt

That’s incredible

And a duvet cover— I’m going to go to Ikea and get a duvet cover with pictures of plants on it.

GOD that sounds gorgeous. Ikea is fucking weird.

I love Ikea

It’s intense

Let’s talk about Ikea, that’s a great topic of conversation.

ALRIGHT. (to Matt Boyd Lepht) Have you been there?

MBL: Do they sell food inside??

(emphatic) YEAH, THEY DO.

MBL: No, no i haven’t been.

They have dollar hotdogs (Editor’s note: they’re 50 cents.)

MBL: That’s what I’ve heard. Something about hotdogs…

Last time I was there I got the vegetable balls which I don’t…recommend that.

MBL: NO vegetable balls? What else do they have?

I like to go to IKEA on a weekday around noon.


Cuz there’s nobody there!

OH MY GOD THAT SOUNDS AMAZING. No people is choice.

(long explanation about the show room and the warehouse and how it works)

There’s three stories…It’s like Disney Land and you’re on a ride that ends where you’re looking at these possible futures for youself…in a warehouse

I like the grocery cuz they sell tubes of creamed smoke roe


It’s really weird— it’s like tubes of hydrogenated canola oil with fish roe in it.

Braun Strumen (architect, Las Vegas, NV– designer of minimalist tire chains, specializes in repurposing former Taco Bells)

Do you see yourself as a Duck or a Decorated Shed?

Deep down, I’m a shed.

Much has been made in postmodern architectural theory about the super reality of the Las Vegas main strip…

yes duh

What did you learn from Las Vegas?

I can pee and poo wherever.

Go on…

like…poo poo

Hester Bangs dislikes metaphors but will use them. She joyfully appropriates the swaggering obstinance of contemporary American culture’s creemiest critics while wearing the scarlet letter of the Indpls art scene for being a bad bad girl.

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