Online 3D software tutorial video as a critical interrogation of the methodologies and protocols of what it means to “Officially” do things, from Requiem Dissidia. “Google SketchUp 7 Animation Tutorial- Beginners.” YouTube. 23 Jun. 2009. Web. 28 Nov. 2014. 5:23.

Interface Vernacular and the Aspirational Performance of Software Tutorials Online

The obnoxiously intrusive whine of the computer fan gives them away. The tool of production always finds a way, no matter how bluntly, to assert its presence.

Requiem Dissidia. “Google SketchUp 7 Animation Tutorial- Beginners.” YouTube. 23 Jun. 2009. Web. 28 Nov. 2014.

A hard divide between concrete and synthetic turf on a sidewalk on 11th Street in the South Park neighborhood of Downtown Los Angeles. (Photograph by Ian Besler)

As the drought in Southern California carries on in its fourth punishing year, depleting groundwater reserves and demanding large scale restrictions on usage, Californians are regularly forced to confront and appraise the more unsustainable aspects of contemporary American life. For some residents, it may mean washing their vehicles less frequently, or not filling the swimming pool this summer.

For others, it might mean swapping their natural lawn for a simulated version. As The New York Times and Los Angeles Times have recently attested, the demand for artificial turf (commonly referred to by the brand name AstroTurf) is on the rise…


If the city of Los Angeles is one enormous filmset, this is arguably the production designer’s stockroom. The handful of standard graffiti abatement paint colors in a city contractor’s warehouse in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles. This narrow color spectrum, plus a few dozen custom-matched tones, was used to remove about 32.5 million square feet of graffiti from city surfaces in the past fiscal year. (Photo by Ian Besler)

Who chooses the paint color
for graffiti abatement in Los Angeles?

by Ian Besler

i. Two Square Miles of Paint

Last year the Office of Community Beautification in Los Angeles oversaw enough painting in its efforts at graffiti removal to have covered each letter of the Hollywood Sign with roughly nine inches of solid paint — about 1,800 variously colored coats rolled out across the face of each of the four-story tall letters.

Since the Office’s internal statistics take into account the three common methods of graffiti removal: painting, chemical washing, and pressure blasting, that hypothetical figure is probably a bit conservative. But if half of the graffiti removal that the Office oversees is accomplished by painting…


The payphone, once a fundamental necessity of communication in public space, now a kitsch promotional prop.

Promotional Campaigns
and Infrastructural Props

In an effort to promote the retrospective “NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star,” which was on exhibit between February and May, 2013, The New Museum in New York commissioned Manhattan-based creative agency Droga5, known in the advertising industry for its forward-thinking marketing approaches, to create a campaign. Most campaigns of this nature would center around a series of billboards, bus wraps, or internet advertisements. …


Real Esmeralda, a housing development in Andalucía, on the northwest frontier of resolution in the digital model of Mexico City, as rendered in Google Earth 7.1.2.2041.

Panoramic Vision, Earth Browsing,
and Model Making

The city of Google Los Angeles is bursting with palm trees, edged by sparkling beaches, and even features a Hollywood sign, much like the conventional Los Angeles that many people know so well from film and television.

There’s a bustling port at its south end, teaming with massive cargo ships and the spectrum color palette of thousands of stacked, corrugated shipping containers. There’s a valley sprawling with single-family homes, light industrial warehouses, and car dealerships at its north end. …


Digital models from 3D Warehouse by Joey, bobbyq85, Google Geo Models, shimizu1006, Google Geo Models, Juan E. C., Google Geo Models, Scottie, Tj Halliwell, bobbyq85, runescape rocks!, Penny, j, Noah, AirplaneNerd777, Hadrien.C, Jeremy, PunxCHEVY, house san juan, IanBesler, IanBesler, IanBesler, and Jojo44.

or: Some (Scale) Models That I’d Like to Know

I. The Scale Model as Spiritual Redemption

What is the role of the scale modeler? And what are the intentions of the maker? Conventionally, the scale model is created for an architectural proposal — as a stand-in or approximation used to gain approval for the building itself. However, viewed as a critical design artifact within a cultural context, the scale model can pose questions about the implications of making by hand, the manipulation of scale with which…

Ian Besler

Design, Research, Writing

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