Mimi Zeiger

Critic, editor, curator and instigator.

“Queerness is not here yet. Queerness is an ideality,” writes José Esteban Muñoz in his introduction to Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Utopia.1 Published in 2009, Muñoz argues against the pragmatics of the present and sees radicalism in the potential of an evasive event horizon. As such, he values utopia as a map towards the potentiality of queerness—a future world just beyond reach.

This position, by default, destabilizes notions of queer space in relationship to architecture that were historically tied to acts of desire, transgression, and artifice.2 Texts such as Stud, edited by architect Joel Sanders (1996) and Aaron Betsky’s Queer Space: Architecture and Same-Sex Desire (1997) focused primarily on spaces occupied or designed by gay men and were temporally concerned with observing and theorizing contemporaneous conditions—bars, bathhouses, nightclubs—conditions that Betsky has more recently noted have been largely assimilated out of existence.3

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The internet gets blamed for a lot of things, our current crisis of criticism being just one of its victims. The explosion of free content, the rise of unpaid bloggers, a diffuse democracy of likes and retweets, has surely weakened the authority of traditional critics. But in this new landscape Mimi Zeiger sees a host of new possibilities for architectural debate. Explaining her notion of ‘collective criticism’, she shows how platforms like Twitter can help build momentum on critical issues that often fall through the cracks of the pressroom floor.

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If you’ve ever looked at an aerial view of Los Angeles via Google Maps or on decent into LAX then you know: L.A. is a city of houses. Precarious mansions climb up the hills and fill in the canyons. Detached single-family homes sit side-by-side on modest lots across the basin. “Miles and miles of little houses, wooden or stucco, under a Technicolor sky,” wrote Christopher Isherwood in his diary in May 1939, aghast. British expat viewed L.A. as ugly and unreal when compared to East Coast and European cities — New York, London, Berlin — are dense with skyscrapers, office towers, apartment buildings, and tenements. But the reality is that this condition makes the city rich with possibilities for how to live.

“The house was and continues to be the most predominant building type in the city. It was just the sheer numbers that made it so the experiment could happen,” explains architect Michael Maltzan on the phone from his Silver Lake office. Read More …