But back to Appendx, why my interest? As the three founding editors--Fields, Stull & Lee designer Kevin Fuller, and then- Arizona State assistant professor Milton S. F. Curry--declared in their explanatory preface, this journal of "Culture | Theory | Praxis" had mad goals:
Appendx is intended to mark a new beginning for architectural discourse. Seeking a space for the diffusion of multiple voices and disciplines on the subject matters mentioned, the challenge was to "position" the journal relative to market forces in the publishing arena without compromising the radicality of its prospective contents. In so doing, we quickly realized that we were constantly being overdetermined and categorized by those who cared little or nothing about our most passionate intentions for the project, but were more concerned with its "packaging.""A new beginning for architectural discourse...radicality of its prospective contents." They were going to be talking about architecture, space, built and imagined environments, in innovative ways, and in particular, given that all three editors were Black and Fields's own work utilized race in interesting ways, through the lens of race. They went on to conclude
Within the life of the journal, we hope to present a multiplicity of views, reflections, and ideas that invigorate and initiate a rigorous approach to questions of cultural theory, difference, and so on. Far from laying claim to any single identity such as black, male, heterosexual, homosexual, female, etc., it is our hope that the journal will become home for a great number of voices, articulating intersubjective positions and theoretical proposals in as free a context as we can provide. This means holding issues of "political correctness" at arm’s length and suspending moral judgment of other identities that we—or potential contributors—consider to be non-negotiable. The projects that will appear in these pages appear on their own terms and are readily exposed to the consequences of their actions. Let us state very clearly in this inaugural issue that those who speak in these pages are speaking first and foremost for themselves.
The eclectic introductory issue included Fields' polemical "Black Manifesto," an exploration of race, architecture and aesthetic practice/praxis, which ended with the statement, "For all I know, I am silenced and lost already"; Milton Curry's "Emancipation Manifesto"; Kim Anne Savelson's feminist reading of architectural theorists on race and gender; Bryan Reynold's brief interpretation of the (de)queered space of the Harvard Science Center's men's room stalls (and his view of the editors' heterosexualizing impulses); a James Baldwin excerpt; and artwork by Dallas-based artist J. Juarez Hernandez. Whether or not it completely cohered wasn't, I thought, really the point--there were so few (no?) other journals or group projects tackling these particular theoretical and creative spaces that its presence and execution, however flawed, was necessary. And being a pioneer, weren't flaws expected? Though edited at Harvard, and rostered by Harvard-affiliated people, it seemed in the initial issue to augur a broader conversation, so I was excited to see where the editors and contributors would go.
Subsequent issues (2-4) included Fields's harsh Gatesian (auto)fable, "Living a Slow Death...or Porch Monkeys in the Dust," as well as pieces by Matthew Grant on gangsta rap; Richard Ford on the "three strikes" law; David Theo Goldberg on the architecture of conferencing; online art by Renee Cox; interviews with Cornel West and Anna Deveare Smith; digital videos by Philip Mallory Jones, Fields, and Steve Jaycox; and a few more bits tossed in for good measure. The second issue included a perceptive and constructive critique by RM Colina (?), on the initial issue's failures and aporias, and how it might make the kinds of interventions it set out it in that visionary preface.
And then...there were no more issues. The possibilities proposed by that preface never had a chance to be fully realized. We got a taste, and then.... So as I said, I hold out hope. I'm not sure where Fuller and Curry are these days, but maybe Fields will launch this craft again, even if for only a few more voyages. Given the current, degraded state of public discourse of all sorts, and of intellectual discourses and rhetorics in particular, not least on architectural themes and topics (cf. the debacles of "Ground Zero," the Iraq War, of the looming US-Mexican border-wall, etc.)--a new Appendx would be very welcome.