Recently, I dissected the TTC’s plans to pay A-list architects, like Frank Gehry, a full five grand to slap together some back-of-napkin drawings for new subway entrances. I decided to be extra-thorough in fact-checking that story. I asked the Art Gallery of Ontario, which hired Gehry to destroy a previous renovation and install a new one, if they had a media contact for Gehry’s firm. Here was the response: “Gehry [A]rchitects has requested we not disclose their contact.” (Not much of a “contact,” then, is it?) “[H]owever, we would be happy to forward any request for info etc. on to them through our office.” Sorry, no, I don’t need an intermediary, and this isn’t about the AGO.

Who wrote it? Here’s to you, Matthew Ross, “publicist.”

This is the same AGO that hired Eli Singer to invite selected bloggers (“the citizen-journalist community”) to the unveiling of Gehry’s new design and, later, to a Warhol exhibit. These bloggers had precious little to do with architecture or art. (What does computer programmer David Crow know about architecture, and computer programmer Joey DeVilla know about art? Apart, that is, from fuck-all?)

By contrast, which neighbourhood site, whose authors have architectural training and journalism experience, spent a year publishing illustrated architectural reviews?

Was Singer’s project concerned with inviting high-profile computer programmers or inviting blog writers with actual knowledge? Which of those options makes sense, and which, in typical Toronto fashion, was actually chosen? All told, it seemed like an exercise in kingmaking for Singer, who appears to fancy himself some kind of blogging tastemaker in this city, or some kind of official liaison between corporate culture and blogs. I also wonder exactly what he was doing at TransitCamp. (The AGO’s official blog, Art Matters, remains a complete mess, as it uses four frames and tables for layout. Art matters, but code doesn’t: The true sign of a blogging amateur.)

Blogs allow anyone to write; Eli Singer and Matthew Ross are all about controlling the message. How old-media.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2007.03.29 17:32. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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