From the Editor

by Eric Zimmerman

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      Tycho Brahe’s Stjerneborg from Johan Blaeu’s Atlas Major, Amsterdam 1662, vol. 1

      When I was invited to guest edit this issue of … might be good I had just wrapped up a conversation with Michelle White, wherein we talked at length about what we have termed "intellectual whimsy. " It may be suicide to even mention the term "intellectual" an idea that is in less than reputable regard as of late. But I believe in its roots as a humble activity, driven by curiosity and open-mindedness. Ideally this issue reflects these qualities, and the wonderful things that come from it. Many thanks to …might be good for this opportunity, and to all of the participants for their time and contributions.

      "The historian and the astronomer" — this phrase has followed me around for a number of years, and while I can’t recall its origins the phrase has a magnetism that hasn’t let me put it aside. These two vocations share many connections in my mind, even though the historians' and astronomers' subjects of study might appear to be quite different. The historian reaches back into the ether of time and connects points to form a picture and a lineage. The astronomer reaches out into the vastness of space and connects interstellar points, coloring and structuring the sky to create another kind of image. Both can be understood as explorers in a sense, endeavoring to order and understand the events and phenomena of our world.

      Searching for points of connection—bonds between seemingly disparate elements—that congeal to establish a new framework, a new way of perceiving and understanding the ideas, "things" and spaces within our world is the underlying project of both our historian and astronomer, as well as the project for this issue. Intellectual curiosity drives the explorations of the artists and architects whose work is featured in this issue. Yet contained within these elusive searches for order is a good dose of whimsy; the connections are determined as much by our desire to make them as they are by any concrete physical similarity. But these linkages, often generated by sheer proximity and guided by the mind of the explorer, are no less valid, as they illuminate for us new ways of seeing and coming to terms with the world. The artists and the architects featured in this issue shake up old concepts, images and texts and put them back together in new ways. They remind us of the instability and folly lurking behind all of our strategies of understanding while simultaneously creating wonderful new spaces and ideas.

      Intellectual whimsy seems an apt, albeit elusive, description for this way of attempting to understand the world and our systems of knowledge. I hope this issue accomplishes two things. The first is to illuminate work I see directly embodying "intellectual whimsy." The Artist's Space by Katherine Bash, my interviews with the architect Thomas Bercy from Bercy Chen Studio LLP, and artist Michael Jones McKean —and finally an essay from local Austin treasure The Museum of Natural and Artificial Ephemerata all reflect this concept. The second is to reflect the idea by bringing together architects, writers, collectors and artists of my choosing, under the umbrella of …might be good, in order to elucidate the connections between their individual endeavors. With any luck all of this will also reveal new ways of seeing these projects in relation to one another, and the world in which they exist.

      Eric Zimmerman is an artist who lives and works in Austin.


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