I started cleaning my hard drive the way I tidy up when guests are coming for dinner. I’m planning to share my computer screen during video conferencing meetings and I’m pretty certain than in a three or three and a half hour class I will at some point feel compelled to go digging through my folders to find this or that image or text, and when that happens I wouldn’t want anyone to “walk into” a mess when I invite them in. I suspect many of my colleagues were doing the same deep dive into their drives because I received some just-found-this emails with photos from events long past, things that appear when you do the digital equivalent of finally vacuuming behind the couch, like opening a “to sort” folder created several laptops ago.

The students that stayed in town were moving out of studio today and posting goodbye photos of packed boxes and empty studios with sad emojis. I filmed my own studio as I found it last Thursday, the first day classes where cancelled, in all its silence and stillness. There’s nothing tidy about architecture studio. There’s some control of debris around finished models and drawings, but for the most part it just gets messier and richer as the semester wears on. I suspect that an online studio has a lower tolerance for actual messiness. Looking through a set of drawings to find the one means perusing the others and is somewhat interesting, whereas endlessly flipping through folders and files is boring.

The messiness then will just have to be figurative rather than literal. That would be one way to measure if the second half of the semester online can be as rich as it would have been live, if the progressive accumulation of models and drawings and random objects and sources of comfort like pillows and plants, and sometimes even blankets, that happens in studio until culminating the day before the final review can somehow be evident in our synchronous and asynchronous meetings–look at me using pedagogy lingo.