After completing both Earth Day one and two we created and built the loft housing Laboratories for Metaphoric Environments in Manhattan’s east sixty eight street just across form Avalon’s (the world famous fashion photographer) studios and in a building owned by Mr. Fernandez who ran a world class bakery on the ground floor. In Union Square I had met Adam Alexander who at time was special assistant to Mayor Lindsay. Adam lived on the West side and had several doctorates in mathematics. He somehow decided to collaborate with me to form LME and so from 1971 till 1973 when we left New York for Jackson Tennessee we had conversations which I documented with words and sketches.
What I later called word grams (after the DaDa movement) were my cognitive responses to reify these subjects through my fascination with geometry, graphics, and design, drafting, and isometrics extrapolations. Adam knew I was doing this and after looking at my work sheet often would interrupt and say: “yes, that’s right” and “is that what you think”?
The previous year I had spent with a graduate student from City College named Phil Winters who would document our conversations into his thesis based on a system he called: “TAG” (trust, authority and guidance). When Adam was not at the lab Henry Classon and I would like converse so that he could write the prospectus for LME.
It was only when I was writing and managing trainees and consultants for ARAMCO in Saudi Arabia did I then mount all 63 word grams on cardboard and then with dry mount film glazed each to the cardboard. In 1981 I thought these would eventually be exhibited as relics of the times.
Sadly, Adam disappeared, as had Phil and so many others from this very creative time. After packing all her Plexiglas sculptures, pen and ink sketches, paintings and our personal effects Christina joined me as I assumed directing the architecture department for an insurance company where I designed two Tennessee cities and one village in Belmopan. At that time a local gallery owner invited us to exhibit our art and even a gallery in Memphis exhibited and sold many of my Sheba pen and ink fantasy drawings.
France and others refereed to the remote states other than their own as cities as though they were remote branches and incarnations of a model;
meaning that Rome, Paris, London, etc were the centers out of which were made clones and copies; and the copies were called cities. So what were the models called?
The Urbs! Like the root from which the trunk and stem grows.
Where the urbans resided. I was such an urb residing in my urban ideal in my city context.
I belonged and was a member of a context called a block, neighborhood, borough and city.
In ancient Rome it was also important to distinguish between a soldier and non-soldier.
Non soldiers were referred to as citizens. Urbs is Greek and civis; and, civitas is Roman. I was a non-soldier and learning my rights and responsibilities.
I learned the entire pathos and structure of our use and allocation of the urb and city; and urban citizen is as amorphic and morphic as love, God and identity.
My consciousness grew as I matured until I realized important distinctions.
Urbanity’s metaphoric impact on self-esteem makes the strange familiar and personalizes things unlike us.
We become our context and urban environment.