Untethered Grass

by Jamez Chang

Jackie Stewart relaxed past death
on racing tracks heightened
by speed and violence.
He elevated his senses higher
than the rise of the road,
breaking hard third gear
underneath a viaduct
in Monaco.

across gravel stretch and paddock,
Stewart advanced—past zebra crossing, past short dirt,
along a fast bend in a windrush of earthen electron.
His motorcar spun loud,
hearing nothing.

Front straight faster and spinning through a funnel,
Stewart sloughed off his body’s vehicle
and allowed for this: a blade of grass to enter his world.
As he dripped inside double layers of fire-proof Nomex,
Stewart caught a whiff of freshly-cut grass around the bend,
A leaf aldehyde stain, wet-pulp mist somehow untethered,
loosened from its topsoil.

In accident and in happening,
Stewart mastered his craft at Monaco,
trusting his senses.
Alive and mechanical,
writing the next turn.

On macadam road,
a car had skidded outside a curb and clipped a barrier,
onto grass,
releasing the blade’s germ adrift.
dangerous grass.
Nature’s intrusion
upon oil, steel, and the scatter mass of tire grit.

Stewart pulled back from the swarm.

The maestro touched lightly on his brakes,
and fed them out with a soft whistle.

Never jabbing a foot to answer,
but steering a motorcar docile:
angry insect allowed to fly,
eased into a coverlet of sunken metal and music.
Stewart skittered the right-hander on the edge of adhesion—clean,
past pile of racing cars crashed along steel barriers uprooted.
Raucous debris, too thick for a clogged helmet’s consumption,
but of thin data, the faint smell of mowed lawn at 175 miles per hour was
And the mind became faster than the car.

On racing tracks heightened
by speed and violence,
Sir Jackie Stewart whistled by in accident,
accelerating out,
shifted pedals on the piano and
glided through chicane and into third, and fourth, and into fifth gear:
road holding,
turning the atom-soaked sun into a mechanical happening.

Jamez Chang is a poet, writer, lawyer, and former hip-hop artist living in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in FRiGG, Prime Number Magazine, Boston Literary Magazine, Subliminal Interiors, and the anthology Yellow Light. After graduating from Bard College, Jamez went on to become one of the first Korean-American to release a hip-hop album, “Z-Bonics” (F.O.B. Productions, 1998), in the United States. Jamez currently works in the video game industry in New York City.

HELP BUILD The 2011 City of Dreams Pavilion: Burble Bupis.

Sign up to help build THIS for FIGMENT 2011!

Erected in the courtyard of Liggett Hall during Governors Island’s summer festivities, Burble Bupis a pavilion of two parts. The first part, a dome, is made from individual custom-designed components (Bups) with a unique morphology that allows them to be connected together in a variety of ways. Their articulated, bloated and textured limbs provide a sticky connection to join neighboring Bups. The other portion of the pavilion is a landscape zone that gently rises to provide privacy and structural support for the dome.

Burble Bup is sustainable in many ways: some materials are to be recycled; others will be reused. Bittertang anticipates that the non-toxic inflatables will be reused as floating toys at various NYC pools after the summer season ends. The fabric used for the soil tubes will be composted. The Pampas Grass and soil filling the tubes will be distributed to other landscape projects on the island. All of the materials were chosen for their ability to enhance our surroundings after their deployment in the pavilion.


Antonio Torres and Michael Loverich started Bittertang at first glance in the halls of Perloff, UCLA, in 2005. Since then, they have been working together to create anamorphic and neotenous projects ranging from living aquaculture orbs, stuffed animals, piñatas, and sukkahs. In 2010, Ubaldo Arenas began to collaborate with Bittertang to further create humorous and pleasurable spaces. Currently, Bittertang operates out of New York City and Guadalajara.

In 2010, Bittertang received the League Prize for Young Architects and Designers by the Architectural League and was also selected as 1 of 12 finalists to build a sukkah for Sukkah City in Union Square. A duplicate sukkah was also built in Tel Aviv. Their work has also been published in various magazines and books.

The Burble Bup Design Team includes: Antonio Torres, Michael Loverich, Ubaldo Arenas, Claire Vitto, Adriana Del Muro, Fabien Rondeau, Cesar Ruiz, and Diego Ascencio.
Engineers: Martin Stroble and Thang Le, Severud Associates.
Project Mentor: Rob Rogers, FAIA.


For a second year, FIGMENT joined forces with The Emerging New York Architects Committee of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (ENYA) and the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY) to co-host a competition to design and install an architectural pavilion for the 2011 summer season on Governors Island. The City of Dreams Pavilion is to be a temporary gathering place for people to meet, learn about the arts programs on the island, enjoy a planned or impromptu performance or lecture, and experience the interaction of art and the historic context of Governors Island.

Instead of a typical design competition, the City of Dreams Pavilion asked entrants to consider how they would design this temporary installation in the most efficient and sustainable way possible. In the end, the goal was to create a pavilion that has net zero impact and that serves as a prototype for a new, truly sustainable, way of thinking about design and construction.

Our jurors for the 2011 City of Dreams Pavilion competition were: Yolande Daniels, Principal, Studio SUMO; Vanessa Kassabian, AIA, LEED AP, Design Director, Snohetta; Jing Liu, Principal, SO-IL; Milton Puryear, Co-Founder of Brooklyn Greenway Initiative; Ada Tolla, Int’l Assoc. AIA; Richard Tomasetti, PE, Hon. AIA, Chairman & Co-founder Thornton Tomasetti; Kristin Marting, Artistic Director, HERE; and Rob Rogers, FAIA, Principal of Rogers Marvel and a juror in the 2010 competition, who will serve as a design mentor to the winning design team.