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From originalities to singularities
The figure of the architect is perverse. There is an unnecessary amount of identity. Architecture at the beginning of the 21st century is a discipline which tends not only towards perversity, but which discredits itself with the same mechanisms through which it manifests itself. Contemporaneity, coherence, reprogramming and interdisciplinary are absent terms. On the other hand, continuity, staticity, permanence and artist, are descriptors self-attributed by a large number of professionals in an effort to vindicate an autistic and timeless character of the profession. Even with the most extravagant designing procedures and projects, we find, behind all that pornographic imagery, attitudes just as decontextualised as the architectural production they suggest.
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A Manifesto
There is a form of architecture that aims at not being built. An architecture on paper that should not be confused with paper architecture. An architecture based on pure statements in which real brick, mortar and poured concrete are substituted by paper cut-outs and narrative prose. An architecture on the failed and accomplished aspirations of buildings and master plans. An architecture which, although focused on the critique of these aspirations, is not interested in just any form of critique.
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Everyday micro-politics
What told the children of thegenerations prior to the massification of mobile phones that it was dinnertime were shouts. Those muezzin cries accompanied the children home, but only to the symbolic home. It was the call of the reverie described by Bachelard, while ‘home’ in the deep sense was a much vaster practical domain, extending on to the street and defined by an empirical and emotional geography.
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Closed Architecture
In 1999, Fleur Agema (1976) acquired her Bachelor’s degree after a four-year study of Architectural Design at the AKI Academy of Visual Arts and Design in Enschede, the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam, and subsequently her Master’s degree in Interior Design at the Utrecht School of the Arts. She graduated from the latter with a project titled Closed Architecture; an ambitious model for a new prison, intended to occupy over a hundred acres at the Hembrugterrein in the Zaan area [an old military complex- TN], and aims to reintegrate prisoners into society.
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The Universal Texture
I collect Google Earth images. I discovered them by accident, these particularly strange snapshots, where the illusion of a seamless and accurate representation of the Earth’s surface seems to break down. I was Google Earth-ing, when I noticed that a striking number of buildings looked as if they were upside down. I could tell there were two competing visual inputs here –the 3d model that formed the surface of the earth, and the mapping of the aerial photography– they didn’t match up. Depth cues in the aerial photographs, like shadows and lighting, were not aligning with the depth cues of the 3d model.
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Domesticated Mountain
Domesticated Mountain targets the suburban home as the traditional vehicle for an architectural manifesto. Positioning the home in an expanded notion of suburbia, i.e.: The internet; the suburban home is the accumulation of all the things we do online, and so it needs to be redefined from scratch.
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Six cases of architectural dysmegalopsia
Most of the architectural predictions in the context of the 60s and early 70s, mapped in Arqueología del Futuro (Archaeology of the future), concur in the need to redefine the formal reference system used in the architectural discipline in order to adjust to its social and cultural context. This redefinition should stem from two fundamental premises; on one hand, equating architecture’s formal heterogeneity with the system of consumer objects that exist around it, centre stage in predictions from authors such as Peter Cook and Charles Jencks; and on the other hand, hybridising architecture with other disciplines so that they evolve in parallel, as seen in concepts such as futurologist Michel Ragon’s architecture sculpture 4, and as opposed to the total segregation between architecture and other arts promoted by the Modern Movement.
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Issue #1
TRANCE
November 2013
112 Pages
+ - 70 mins
18 x 25 cm
11 Eur
ENG/SPA Bilingual Edition BUY
politics
distortion
production
identity
prison
nature
mapping
scale
suburbia
history
narrative
publicspace
paranoia
ambition
territory
consumption
render

PEDRO PITARCH

From originalities to singularities (or how to lose our identities)

+17

WAI THINK TANK

Narrative architecture: A manifesto

+4

Todo por la praxis

Everyday micro-politics

+9

Jonas Staal

Closed architecture

+16

Clement Valla

The universal texture

+7

Andreas Angelidakis

Domesticated mountain

+6

Carmelo Rodriguez Cedillo

Six cases of architectural dysmegalopsia

+11
Transïre. Traverse. Go across. Go over. Pass over. A state of trance evokes a critical and decisive moment, a state of sensory suspension, a psychological mechanism in which the person abandons themselves to certain conditions, external or internal, and experiences a different state of consciousness.
Limit. Contemporary space is faced with a complete change in its categories. The artificial has surpassed the limits of interior space, and exterior space, which could be confused with natural, has become an artifice of human activity.
The real is increasingly a scenography of the virtual, which has imposed its instant speeds on our way of communicating and operating. Production has been, to a great extent, substituted by reproduction, with self-referenced mechanisms which have led us to reproductive isolation –barrier to hybridisation– in an immense catalogue of the same repeated image. We live immerse in a constant rendering of our surroundings and of our self, and these must be more and more vague and elastic. The limits between concepts we once believed were opposed are blurring at great speed, and we are going through a shared moment of de-solidification where we are required to have a flexible and ductile identity in the face of the different mutations we are subjected to on a daily basis.
Many questions arise when establishing the consequences of this new technological-artificial context which is definitively removing us from the idea of architecture as a physical object, stable and permanent. How are its new categories redefined? How to build with the virtual and which spatial conditions should it be assigned? How to endow a tangible dimension to the fact that our participation in the world has global and instant consequences? Are these devices or artifices turning architecture into a shell through which information simply flows? The difficulty in answering these questions is evident, as it follows the normalising of a certain schizophrenia, previous to the reconstruction of reality. While we take on this transit we must ask ourselves in which state of consciousness our activity is. Disorder.
A case-analogy with psychopathology is an interesting territory to explore as it may reveal, in a hyperbolic way, many aspects of our normal behaviour. In the study of psychological disorders or mental illnesses there is a differentiation between normal alterations of perception, such as a hypnagogic hallucination (auditory, visual or tactile hallucination occurring at the transition from wakefulness to sleep), or a damaged, ‘not healthy’ perception in mental processes. Can we classify spaces in the same way? Can we catalogue architectural illnesses or disorders? And what about our production methods? Are there healthy architectures, altered architectures, architectures of disorder?
Today there are, with growing shamelessness and audacity, spaces which overtly manifest their features of psychological alteration. They communicate through the way they are used, spilling over purely architectural norms and imposing on spatial conditions their stimulus devices, conditioning space with these devices, often invisible, and furthering their fundamental function of activating or stimulating us. They are software spaces, ones which are able to communicate with us and which, by means of increasingly more legible and evident interfaces, succeed in getting us to activate them, to communicate with them in such a way that had already been decided by their designers. Immerse in this folie à plusieurs, we intuit how they are used and what they mean even before we meet them.
Viaticum. Provisions for the voyage. In order to condense some of these ideas we propose a brief journey through some of the transient reflections towards the redefinition of architectural reality, research framed in the blur of its limits. Melting and deforming surfaces in the selective recreation of the world, with no night or weather, where accidents disappear, swallowed whole by an algorithm which trains in spotting which image is appropriate or not; psycho-geographic drifts down jpeg avenues and blurry scrolls on tumblr; imagined prisons from a political discourse rendered socially normalised architectures, in a negotiation between light and freedom, fiction and oppression, between scenography and reality; or paper architectures based on failed ambitions. These are some of the examples which speculate here around the complexity of new languages of spatial definition in which we are immerse. ◊