Sept. 17: Where Art and Science Collide, High-Rises Made of Wood, The Minders and Sharita Towne

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Will Future High-Rises be Made of Wood? Among all the buildings going up in the biggest boom in Portland history, only one of them can be called the first of its kind in the nation. Instead of relying on steel and concrete, the four-story Albina Yard is built entirely of cross-laminated timber, or CLT for short. Randy Gragg, State of Wonder's architecture columnist in residence, stops by to discusses how CLT stands to revolutionize construction, offering a pre-fabricated material that is faster to build, more resistant to earthquakes, and more sustainable than traditional practices, not to mention it stands to jump start rural economies. The technology is used widely in Europe and Japan, and the state of Oregon is positioning itself to be a leader in the US, with the Yard's architect, Lever, planning to break ground soon on an 11-story CLT high-rise in the Pearl District. The Minders Releases First Studio Album in Ten Years For fans of the band The Minders, the appearance of a new song by the band on the PDX Pop Now compilation in spring was the equivalent of a Sasquatch sighting. The band hasn’t released a full-length studio album in almost a decade, so anticipation was high for its new album, "Into The River." According to opbmusic, the 11-song record is a masterpiece. Revealing an increasingly expansive sound, the album is both raw and refined, peppered with jagged garage rock songs, campfire singalongs, and oblique pop tunes. How Do You Photograph Gentrification? Struggling to document the changes in her city, Sharita Towne came across stereoscopic photos of World War I that made it real to her in a way that normal photos hadn't. Think of it as an antique Viewmaster: a camera takes two photos that are placed in front of each eye to create a three-dimensional effect. So Towne decided to use the 19th Century technology to document Portland's gentrification. Additionally, Towne held community meetings and conducted interviews with Portland residents, especially people living on the gradually-gentrifying East Portland, to create videos and an audio podcast to accompany the exhibition. Artists and Scientists Collide at the PLAYA Residency Program In 2015, State of Wonder visited PLAYA, a residency for artists and scientists in south central Oregon. PLAYA lies at the edge of a huge alkali lake against a stunning background of mountains and high desert pine forests. We spent several days exploring the artist studios and putting on waders to tromp into the streams with two visiting biologists, all the while discussing how their time in this unique place and the opportunity to work in a mixed art/science environment adds new dimensions to their work.