︎Underscore Vol.2, Seriously

Volume released in April 2016.
Full issue available on the Underscore Journal website.

Journal Editor & Issue Identity
April 2016

Editors: Debbie Garcia, Patrick Geske, Hawke Gihm, Megan Hui, Adam Paul Martinez, Adrian Wong

The Underscore Journal is a student run publication at SCI-Arc.
Last year, as you might remember, Jeffrey Kipnis did a series of interviews with several instructors at the Southern California Institute of Architecture, entitled The Fecundity of a Mossy Climate. The premise of the interview series was the idea that Eric Moss had created an environment that allowed various schools of architecture to thrive all at the same time. Furthermore, drawing a comparison to the AA in the 70s, Kipnis suggested that the fertile ground of the school’s pedagogies has the potential to produce rich building projects. Ironically - or poetically - he also pointed out at the onset that in fact a mossy climate does not actually support a flourishing of diverse vegetation. Instead, a relatively few species tend to thrive in such environments, while somehow suppressing a greater range of flora. That is to say: if something is not already somehow established, it may be difficult for it to find its way in.

If that was an implicit or accidental meaning to the idea of the lecture series, it nevertheless is one that students might acutely relate to. That is, in a place where instructors have such strong...what’s the word...projects? styles? formal agendas? (which is meant more as a compliment than complaint), it might be at times difficult to develop a voice of one’s own. And school is, of course, exactly such a place where we should have the freedom to develop a voice, and the freedom to (maybe?) fail in attempting to do so.
(It’s funny: we talk about the work we do at SCI-Arc in terms of experimentation- alchemy even - and yet a disproportionate percentage of the experiments are shining and shiny successes. What happens to the failed experiments? Either 1. We have rigged the game, 2. we are not actually experimenting as much as we claim, or 3. we are all very talented people.)

All of which is to say that Underscore has been, from the beginning, a way to try to deal with some of these frictions: to be a space for students, both current and recent, however it be filled, formed, or articulated.

Organized under the umbrella of Seriously, this issue was intended to play host to a range of possible interpretations and moods, from playful, to ironic, to the straightforwardly serious. And while it does trade in a kind of variable temperament, it also begins to speak to a certain interest in engagement, either directly or else artfully, say. In this, the ultimate hope is that we might remove some of the filters between representations of the present and alternate worlds as different places.