Ben Katchor's comics of bygone New York | Summary and Q&A

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Ben Katchor's comics of bygone New York

TL;DR

These stories explore the intricacies of architectural design, from the sound of a light switch to the beauty of temporary structures and the significance of the human lap.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Why is the sound of a light switch click significant in the design of a room?

The speaker suggests that the sound of a light switch click colors our first impression of a room and questions if it is an imitation of disappointment or an amplified sound of a synapse firing in a cockroach's brain. We instinctively expect a certain sound when entering a dark room, and the click can shape our perception of the space.

Q: What makes temporary structures, like the taxpayer buildings, a delightful alternative to high-rise structures?

The taxpayer buildings, despite their modest architectural appeal, offer a break from the high-density development and provide light and air in otherwise crowded areas. They serve as a reminder that not every architectural idea needs to be permanent, and their perfect temporariness adds charm to the cityscape.

Q: How does the speaker characterize the relationship between the lap and its owner?

The speaker describes the lap as a platform for the possessions of the dead in ancient Egyptian culture and later recognized as a Grecian temple. It then shifts to its role in holding children, showcasing the structural integrity and architectural beauty of a deep avuncular lap. The relationship between the lap and its owner is portrayed as direct and intimate.

Q: What is the significance of the Haverpiece collection of European dried fruit?

The Haverpiece collection, which originated from unsold stock in wooden storefront galleries, is seen as an art form bridging still-life painting and plumbing. Despite its unconventional nature, the collection holds peculiar beauty and is in the process of being preserved and showcased in a future permanent museum and study center.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • "The Faulty Switch" discusses the impact of the sound made by a common wall light switch on the perception of a room's design.

  • "In Praise of the Taxpayer" celebrates the charm and temporariness of small-scale structures that defy high-rise development in the city.

  • "On the Human Lap" delves into the historical and cultural significance of the lap as a platform and its architectural beauty.

  • "The Haverpiece Collection" delves into the peculiar world of a collection of European dried fruit and its potential as an art form.

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