Seminar Image and Content, WS 13/14 #Studio1, Stefano de Martino
Image and Content/Ideologies of the Avantgarde
The aim is an understanding of our contemporary mode of constructing reality and identity - the identity of the avantgarde and its ideology - transmitted by its digital face consisting of images. By analyzing and cross-referencing different aesthetic approaches we can identify cultural phenomena which, in turn, allow us to broaden our toolset.
The political component of imagery and its effect on architecural practice is of special interest to us, regarding our existence in a time of re-branding national identities and the impact on the european union – in contrary to the increasing importance of global cities and their evergrowing detachment from the significance of their incoorporating bodies.
In order to conduct the following it is neccessary to view the boundary of the site - the catastral border - as a closed polygon and thus only focus on the inner mechanisms of the site.
Having established the site as an isolated entity we can now take the vertices of the polygon at every kink (fig 1) and use them to form connections and thus subdivide the inner, the land, that is defined by its border.
The subdivision is carried out in the 1st phase as follows: every vertex is connected to each other in order to receive sets of lines, each set defined by its underlying base point.
By doing so we receive 14 sets of lines (for 14 kinks). Since we established that the site is only the inner of its enclosing polygon, we discard every set of lines that has entities that cross the landforming line in order to connect with other points, thus we limit our selection in the first phase to 7 sets of lines.
Having done so, we receive lines that form entitites within the site that is itself only defined via a drawn line that doesn‘t exist in nature, so it is only natural to assume that the subdivision has created new land, since the process of inscribing a parcel of soil forms land. The net of new parcels may take whatever form there is (fig 3, fig 4), in our case we limit ourselves to the leftmost outcome, since the process described above generates only this very set of lines. The advantage of regarding a site as a closed space, if only virtual, is the disregarding of the outlying possible influences - everything inside our projected line is a land of itself, history and social issues and everything tangent us only in form of laws of the governing body (the state, the province, the parish our parcel is part of) that may or may have not influence on our new zoning, a microcosm that underlies only laws that be without any relation to the place itself […]
A Promenade through a Mystical Anti-Urbanism, acknowleding the Validity of the Suburban Lifestyle, transported into Nirvana
Seamlessly strung together rows of houses, their very endings veiled in the mist ascending from the moist roads after a heavy summer rainfall. Humid air carries the smell of wet soil, but no living being is around that could indicate the actual purpose of those houses – sheltering man from the hostile environment that is our planet. As one passes by those silent structures – silent because they don’t reveal anything, are not rooted in any kind of self-conception they want to tell of to the outsider - one has to wonder if maybe they origin in some kind of dark cults and their appearance is a built code, clandestine to the outside spectator or if their purpose is the role of bait and trap and hunter in one.
Maybe the Apocalypse has happened already? Maybe those houses don’t harbour their creators anymore but are creators in their own right – only mimicking dwellings, assembled from pieces of different styles that could please the human eye but don’t look right, as if their inherent code, their genetic basis was lost while being passed on through time.
Self-reproducing little monsters, that eat visitors, not protecting them, lurking in the outskirts of what were once the epicenters of human development. The uncanny valley springs to mind, a phrase coined to describe a hypothesis regarding the revulsion among observers watching a an almost perfect android, the valley being the dip in a curve describing the positivity of human reaction towards life likeness. If the valley was an actual place, this (Fig. 1) is what you’d see.
A magical place where your environment is just not right, not that you could tell it spot on, just a little bit awkward; like accidentally having disturbed some kind of sacred rites in an early 21st century Stonehenge – stepping in the circle from the darkness, unfriendly eyes staring at you from out of the shadows?
What is it that generates an effect like this - Certain excrescences of exoticism, sprouting out the barren land of unmet expectations; we witness the bringing to life of signs, signs without any clear meaning and out of context regarding their former reference point, crippled allegories that create a chronic feeling of emptiness. Instant ruins, so to speak, which are spread out worldwide. This valley spans around the globe and makes it easy to not feel at home everywhere.
Still, one is fascinated by the quietude and romantic atmosphere elaborated by the seemingly trivial conglomerate of structures that wouldn’t work as a single entity, having surpassed the sole function of housing on the one hand, not being a well phrased statement yet on the other, still in the adolescent stage; but in their lot they form a maze of confusing elements that allows one’s phantasy to meander around and experience a suburban out-of-body experience. Sinking deep into the dusky ambiance of a world-in-being where unspecified events always seem to be about to happen, the air pulsating from possible realities that are up to anyone – and no one at the same time – to be claimed and made your own.