Finale version of the material market spread :
+ the ‘tabula bonanza rasa’ (TBR) in Juliaca. I assembled image that Nathan took from Puno and then worked on the image in order to erase some of its building, as a way of showing the TBR in progress.
Finale version of the material market spread :
+ the ‘tabula bonanza rasa’ (TBR) in Juliaca. I assembled image that Nathan took from Puno and then worked on the image in order to erase some of its building, as a way of showing the TBR in progress.
2 new piles (brick pile in rural landscape and copper pipes pile) + the tate brick corrected. I have redone most of the book in order to match the new A2 version. I still need to work on a spread for the general presentation of material markets, the spread where the bricks are more carefully stacked in 2 rows and people can ‘visit’ the bricks (like a memorial), and re-work on the Juliaca images.
Uploading few new images. Most of them are still in the making, the london map where i will feature the long brick stack, waiting to be shipped. As discussed the other day, the long brick stack (#whichinfactisawallbuticantcallitawall) sit on a long site behind the crossness Pumping station (as perhaps a temporary barrier between residential area and the stinky industrial site).
The wood pile is taking me a lot of time to do, and now that i am looking at it after a few hours of work, i realise it needs a lot more work. However i think it’s important that the pile of materials are carefully arranged, somehow curated, as they are to be re-use, as in fact they are money in itself.
I didn’t have time yet to work on the Juliaca map, probably need to be my work for tomorrow as it needs some good work on it still.
Planning compile a new version of the book for tomorrow during the night, with the new images, texts,… > tumurruw
Here are the last images/drawing i produce over the weekend. Sorry for the random order, from top to bottom : ‘Join the March’ poster for Brickxit demonstration, Supertanker loaded with huge pile of bricks, Supertanker section, Tati in front of a brick pile, NY (starting), Maps of flow, flows, ‘small’ stock of brick, protected by the police (1),(2). Eventually the city of Juliaca (the file is huge, i took a screenshot, sorry for the bad quality) before and after being emptied (WIP, you can see the first spot of the buildings being wiped away)
Here are a sequence of new images. I will put some more later on, trying to work on the captions for now. There are all still in the making…
Dead body at the Tate
The tate Modern entrance on july 20 and july 21, 2021
The Evening Standard from page on july 21
2030, #therealDonaldTrump wall have finally come to end.
You say to a brick, ‘What do you want, brick?’ And brick says to you, ‘I like an arch.’ And you say to brick, ‘Look, I want one, too, but arches are expensive and I can use a concrete lintel.’ And then you say: ‘What do you think of that, brick?’ Brick says: ‘I like an arch.’
Here is a film, realised by Ramin Bahrani in 2009 called Plastic Bag, where a plastic is embodied as living being and filmed throughout his life. Werner Herzog’s voice accompanies the narration.
– – – – – – – –
Narrating the rubble bonanza seems now, for me, the most crucial thing i have to define in order to fully deliver my project. Until now, it has mainly been presented under an infrastructural and economical lens – which it is, but the idea of economy have to be seen i think throughout the narrative without being explicitly mention.
The other crucial thing the project have to deliver is the reflexion that i have undertake for quite some time now on the paradoxe aesthetic-function of rubble/waste. A paradoxe between objects that have already thoroughly been aestheticised [almost to the limit of fetishism] (detroit ruins, greek unfinished construction,…) and the general idea that waste only exist nowadays under the spectrum of recycling [disposal and transformation into powder]
What the project does is to speculate on the use (as ‘usage’) of rubble outside the traditional recycling cycle. It speculates that a radical change in the economic market could give an impetus for a reverse or a disruption of this cycle.
Economy needs to be the plinth for rubble to exist both outside an aesthetic fetishism and useless unfunctionnal object.
I started to imagine the story of a brick [or its travel during a certain period of time] that would happen because of an important economic change :
 : Image of demonstration. Hundreds and hundreds of people, carrying European flag, big images of important buildings, images of their house printed on cardboard,.. some of them are holding bricks, pieces of stone, pipes… with banners saying : ‘we want our bricks back’, ‘ After Brexit, now Brickxit’, …
[2021, 21 july] : A picture of the front facade of the Tate modern
[2021, 22 july] : Picture of the same point of view, on the first page of a national newspaper, with a huge hole in the facade. The title talk about an important robbery of bricks last night at the Tate. The first line of the Editorial on the right goes : Now they’re attacking the culture,…
[?] : On a CCTV stills, somewhere in the city, at night, two person are exchanging what seems to be a brick. A brick for money.
 : A brick sits on a chimney in what seems to be a very bourgeois house. The image is a sort of still shot, the chimney is seen in a frontal view. The brick is next to a small frame with a family picture and on the right what seems to be a small gold sculpture. A huge painting in a golden frame sit above the black marble chimney.
 : Tryptic. We have a close-up of a brick that sits among other bricks, rubble, waste. A zoom out reveals that we actually are in what seems to be an important landfill. The last zoom out reveals that we were on a boat – a supertanker, at sea.
[?] : A world map on a computer shows the trajectory of a dozen of supertankers in the international water.
 : Official instagram account of the white house. A picture with a supertanker near a port. The caption “The USA have sign today an agreement with [boat company] in order to buy the total capacity of their next 6 supertanker in order to finish the construction of the wall on the mexican border by 2030. #DonaldTrump”
 : A wall in a desert, looked like an elevation. A super long structure crossing the picture and the landscape. A few white banners, one of them saying : “Fuck the wall, give our money back”
 : People destroying a wall
 : 3 bricks, old and grey sit on a plinth at the center of a exhibition room. A picture of the tate modern behind it, hang on the wall. Someone reading the booklet of the exhibition titles : ‘The show must go home’
What are the condition for a rubble bonanza ? or to say in another way, under which circumstances an environnement become profitable for a new economic market, which in our case want to make rubbles [construction waste] a product of primary interest.
An interesting one would be that for a certain amount of time [20-30 years], the city london cannot produce any more new construction material. The total and absolute stoppage of any production.
From this point the city of london becomes similar to what the gold market context is : the gold market has this particularity that, within its main environnement, the world, the quantity of good [gold] is known, stable and finite. The quantity of gold on the planet has been almost the same for the last 20 years. And that’s why gold is a very interesting ‘currency’ for economic systems to base their value on, because it is a known and stable market.
No more production means that the city becomes a finite environnement, at least in the ‘materials’ it is composed of – not in its form; which is what is interesting because it calls for new urban policies based on rubble – a policy made so that there cannot be unused rubble anymore. And that rubble becomes the primary and ultimate product of construction.
But on the contrary to gold, because we deal with the city and its many uncontrollable faces, on top of which the fact that it remains an environnement inhabited and socially charged, it is finite but remains to a rather unstable stage, and here refers to an economic system much closer to what the bitcoin is.
For me, this situation/condition calls for a lot of interesting practices, agendas, under-conditions,.. that will define and exhibit a rubble bonanza :
 A construction becomes the immediate follower of a deconstruction.
 Acknowledging London’s real estate boom, the real estate market in London would become very instable – wealthy investors and contractors having the potential power / money to turn down existing building in order to be able to construct theirs.
 It should be cost effective not to move material too far away form the place they have been demolished to the place a new building is constructed, leading to a slow ghettoisation of materials : a brick district, a concrete one, a wood one, a plastic one,…
(2045) : Oxford street now separate the concrete district with the brick district. Although it has remain one most touristic street of london, the clear difference between the two district is visible from the street itself.
 The almost immediate birth of a black market where material are taken out of building to be carried to other places for a lower price. Holes (they are back) therefore become almost an economic and politic statement of resistance.
(2032): Seen through several CCTV stills the robbery of important quantity of stone and concrete. Headline of the Tabloid on the following morning […] :
 Other demolition practices are needed in order to re-use rubble as easily as possible
Architecture – as gold being melt and reform – enters a continuum where non of its part can be considered as being lost. The city’s construction is a never ending loop – and can be embodied by the diagram i presented during the last tables where, rather than having a production – consumtpion – disposal – recycling cycle, we can trace a line of use and re-use, and re-use, again and again,…
I also think that this new condition can be associate with a reflexion on the aesthetization of waste. what a rubble bonanza does is to make rubble a product that we can make profit out of. And therefore tends, because of the nature of rubble themselves (un-necessary objects, leftovers) to eliminate rubble. By giving it a potential value we are giving them a [urgent] function. A rubble bonanza means
the end of rubble as we know them.
Now one can argue that another way to resist the bonanza is to save rubble from being functional objects. And it might be where rubble could be value for their pure aesthetic (surely link, in our case, with its history). Let say that, in order to build a new building, an investor manage to demolish the left wing of westminster. We can suppose that, due to the history of westminster, some people could be ready to keep, as a souvenir, a fragment, a brick, a piece of ceramic, a pipe, which belonged to the building, before it gets to be use for another one.
(2050) : ‘a pile of bricks are exhibit on a white plinth at the Tate Britain. The caption says BRICKS OF WESTMINSTER, 2023.
The role of the architect ?
The role of the architect is less the one of the designer than it is the one of politician. Or of a curator for the city. Because from this emerge the notion of a perpetual arrangement of part, of building fragment. Perhaps in a very stupid way even. Perhaps a new housing building is made with the window frame of the Shard, but could only afford polycarbonate sheets as windows…
To be defined further
London is therefore a sort of testing ground for the rubble bonanza, which then needs to be speculate in other cities in the world. it needs to play on the space that exist between a critic of our society of consumption and a sort of grand projet at the scale of Europe (at least).
Ultimately, the project can be read as a sort of provocative bad case scenario for the Brexit, which, in any case, but even more if the E.U decide to go for hard negotiations toward UK. Brexit will tend to withdraw UK into itself. Having, I believe, our tables on the 7th of june, a day before Theresa May called for anticipated election in order to sit even more her government majority before the Brexit negotiations officially start, it will be a perfect time to present the project under this condition.
– – – – – -
Sorry for the late post, was watching the debate for the french election until now…
Here are the workshop images. More tomorrow !
here is the manifesto that was hand-in to the jury :
bad news, Rotor, a belgian office that i referenced already a few weeks ago in 2 videos already made a website similar to mine. It is here : https://rotordc.com, (and its great). It looks like they are proposing their expertise to developper whenever they have to dismantle a building (for free) and see what they can take and sell in their online store. It’s very close to what OFFW is engaged into for now. I still think that continuing to work on the website is relevant but it needs to engage further or to follow a different narrative in the way that waste are valued.
Today i thought about blockchain and bitcoin as (perhaps) an interesting take on the project. I made the connection during the discussion with the jury. I read an article a couple of days ago about bitcoin and the fact that – if i remember, it’s a currency ( a potential value) linked to a blockchain, which, if i understand it right, is the path (or the sum of action/state) that a specific object has gone through.
it needs to be research further but it implies the notion of value linked with the precedents, the history of an object. Interesting when questioning the value of waste…
Has to be discussed.
I was thinking that it could also be interesting to choose an actual site (or a building, or maybe a typology of building) in order to be able to link the scale of the object and the one of the territory, which was also one of the civic brought to table by the jury.
+ the offshore platform geology
Sorry for the late post… now i am mainly re-shuffling the pages in the book. I need it to be done by tomorrow beginning of the afternoon so that i can print and then arrange website.
Here are a few new / updates images
Grosvenor Square as pit n.2, Lincoln Inn fields as pit n.3.
Balloon sizes/weight lifted
another OFF-shore image
Images i am currently working on. First 5 are about the (OFF)air narrative and the last two are the (OFF)pit narrative. I will have a dew more tomorrow. Currently working on re-arranging the book. I think a good rhythm is around a double-page every 20 sec which makes a 60 pages presentation for 10min. Will probably go up to 70-75 but no more. Models of fake reality will stay, i am currently getting rid of the first series of 15 drawing i did at the very beginning of the year. Also the images can be presented at a much quicker rhythm…
OFFW has a new psychedelic flagship website ! : https://offw.persona.co
And the first one is entirely dedicated to OFFW@AA (which you can access through the first one). OFFW@AA will be presented as a pilot project of OFFW, focusing on a small scale organism such as the AA. [> http://cargocollective.com/offw]
Honestly, i am thinking about developing the website very precisely during the next month and speak with the person responsible for the AA website in order to integrate OFFW into the aa domain (offw.aaschool.ac.uk ?) and solve the issue of people being able to login & post their waste offer.
Sorry for the late post.
Currently working on the images for the project. There is a big one that i will show tomorrow as it dosent seem to want to upload itself…
More to come tomorrow
+ updates on the website @ www.cargocollective.com/offw
I have been setting a 3d model in order to insert it in the different image i want to produce. It consist in a massive hole (a few km2) and which dept is 310m which is supposed to be able to contain london’s construction and demolition waste for about 3 to 4 years. I am thinking that this hole should in fact be outside london in the sea as a sort of offshore landfill which would be use as the new london airport… it still needs to be precise.
It is somehow the #1 answer to my initial questions. It raises the question of the use of landfills (waste) as geopolitic instruments, using their physicality (weight, mass, size, volume) regardless of their use in order to be a political and territorial apparatus rather than just being a stupid hole that is filled up (although it actually is).
That is for #1, which hopefully i would have more to show tomorrow.
I deviated a bit from the initial purpose of putting these hole inside the urban fabric…
The #2 answer, the creation of OFFW has also been update, i am curating the website and have discussed with some people about the price of buying printed pink helium balloon. I dont think i will be able to get my hand on a BIG one (3m diameter) before the jury but i might be able to have small ones.
#2 is going even further than #1 because it is questioning the idea itself of destruction in the city of Europe where the urban renewal is the most important and where the construction rate is one of the most important in the world. By introducing both the notion of value and doubts in this process, i want to first talk about the possibility for rubble to become object of trade and so to talk about why and how a rubble become a rubble, and then by the idea of sending entire part of building in the air thanks to helium balloon it introduces the possibility for destruction not to happen but rather to become a displacement.
You can still go check to http://cargocollective.com/offw to see where it goes.
(sorry, very few images)
I have also update part of the book
Here is some of the image i have done – i am making, over the weekend. The first three are meant to represent the excess, or the kind of presence of the accumulation of rubble, in urban context mainly. I thought it was relevant/funny not to use a singular visual identity but to use and disrupt different images, from the B&W NY arty photography, to the hyper-real real-estate image, to the tumblr-like bed window view.
I am also setting the things further in order for OFFW to become real. For those who havent seen it, OFFW is the Other Future Foundation for Waste (OFF_Waste) that operates at a more economic/political level, which I want to be a relevant and more realistic parallel project to constantly feed the different scenarios i am working on. OFFW is also a website (from today) : http://cargocollective.com/offw [there is nothing in it yet]
It also has an email address : firstname.lastname@example.org
OFFW will also be supporting the ballon scenario (see last image) where, if you dont buy waste for yourself, you can send it to an unknown person via balloon.
So now, i am making images for my scenarios, figuring out how to do a first version of the website, updating the book, and trying to figure out, in an accurate way how much balloon i would need to send different waste somewhere…
More to come tomorrow..
Here is what i am currently doing – compiling what i know regarding waste management (in the UK). I have put my hand on great things, but i feel like it is added on top of what i did until now, without a strong and fix argument to link all these things together.
[to be honest i feel a bit lost]
I have a narrative on the notion of belief, the obsession of revealing things hidden behind this belief, the fact that its sheer beauty is lubricating our reality. On the accumulation of ‘wastes’ that the fast consumption supported by this belief generates. I have G. Bataille arguing that this waste is in fact the necessary ‘unleashed’ energy needed by every system/organism in order to maintain its own structure. But that in fact the system is now so powerful that it can absorb outburst (even violent such as wars) without falling apart [and that Tabula Rasa isn’t an option anymore]. And perhaps that it is due to its own generation of waste that it will eventually collapse – exploding after having accumulated too much…
But perhaps this last one is too violent and too radical. I am thinking of reconsidering my narrative on recycling as ‘system-based practice’ but more as a practice that we need to radicalise in itself. Modify its structure and its end. And this requires [in all cases] a re-consideration of wastes as products other than functionless fragments of a past-life.
We talk about the Coca-cola can as the ultimate exemple of a product enable to have any function while empty… But also electric cable, heaters, concrete, window frames,… if we want to deal with the architecture itself. Which is also one of the main point : the production, use and disposal of buildings are from far the most important producer of waste, and of wastes that are hard to dispose of, recycle – and often hazardous, heavy,…
I also feel the need to have a defined objective in term of production for the jury, i feel like i havent produce much more than a long argument for the last weeks without any document to support it…
I really need to fix that tomorrow
On the importance images took over the years in the way that they became increasingly important in order to construct reality (realities) :
This weekend i tried to work more precisely on the 5th chapter of my book which ‘After the shift’. On friday we talked a lot about the notion of excess and re-arranging. The excess is the result of decades of accumulation of ‘fragments’ [the new + the waste it creates] without any efficient and radical processes of getting rid out of them. [due to the fact that both recycling and landfilling are in fact institutionalised process of re-fragmenting waste and putting it back again in the machine].
The plan before tables is to find a way of representing the idea of excess, first in an abstract way – at the urban / territory scale. Yesterday i went to the Eduardo Paolozzi exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery (pictures below) because i was in the process of getting inspirations and had the feeling that part of Paolozzi work could in fact be qualified, graphically, with the idea of excess.
I see it as a extremely dense collage of fragments that tend to form a excessive and totally filled up mechanic which somehow the city – in my analogy of the accumulation is.
I am working on a drawing that will explore similar concern.
I also explored the re-arrangement that goes after the excess. In a way the sculpture model i am producing are re-arrangment of fragments, giving them a new story (rather than a new function). It reminds me as well of the work by Armelle Caron, a french artist whose work, Villes rangées, re-arrange the city as form of index of urban blocs as fragments, which forms a narrative only related to their size and form. (see below, Berlin, Paris and Le Havre re-arranged). Or I would say almost classified as well in the way they are display.
I produced one more picture of potential pits/holes [infrastructure] full of waste in the city. I feel like it would be nice to have the presence of some sort of a rather big scale infrastructure that would be used as a new waste ‘collector’ – and emphasise the quantity of waste. Here is port-container crane, i had a quarry before. Although i wouldn’t mind designing this infrastructure i fell like i can use similar collages in order to manifest its presence without having to generate its design. Also the enormous [almost unreal] size of it, its genericness and the fact that it is directly put in contact with urban landscape define in itself the valuelessness of the waste it contains.
Also here is a first caption of what the drawing associated with the idea of excess could look like
Again some new spreads of the book :
Also i have been looking closer to what it means to recycle today. It looks like recycling in london is entirely taken into a very institutionalised system, which complexifies a lot both the understanding of ‘what do i need to do’ and the way the treatment cycle works. Four major waste disposal authorities and several other smaller organisations (of gathered towns/communities) are taking care of waste collection/treatment and disposal in london.
These are the 4 major ones.
The other boroughs — that is to say the city of Westminster and the City of London along with Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Greenwich, Kingston, Lewisham, Merton, Southwark, Sutton and Tower Hamlets — are independent waste authorities in their own right.
The four boroughs of Croydon, Kingston, Merton and Sutton work together in a voluntary capacity as the South London Waste Partnership.
[Without even talking about what you need to actually throw away in which color bin sack, the organisation of waste treatment is already complex. Each website is different and none says exactly the same thing about what you have to recycle,… and they actually often redirect you to the website of the borough you inhabit in order to precisely know what to throw away – but a lot of these website send you back again to the waste authorities website…]
I am still searching more infos, and also trying to get my hands on precise data about the ‘legislation’ in term of what you can throw or not, and where but it appears more and more that discard things through recycling is in fact an institutionalised process of fragmentation to which we have trouble to respond because we are made to think in term of ‘whole’ and ‘ensemble’. It appears hard for us – and even to the institution to efficiently fragment things. And it emphasises the increasing size of the accursed share : we are made to consume a lot but hardly to dismantle and discard.
And eventually i have refine elements and events of the narrative.
02 December 2039, almost exactly 30 years after the signature of the Lisbon treaty, the amount of waste produce during the month of November 2038 has officially overcome the amount of goods produce and imported into the European Union. The accursed share, as G. Bataille named it in his theory of general economy a century earlier has exceed, not just in size but in value, the production of the new.
Disruptive condition for the EU economy dogmas
Although the principal market places had predicted similar scenario for quite some time, it has arrived much sooner that expected. The deflagration is heavy, causing the market places to close at rates never reached.
New cultural condition
No purchase / only re-use
The different government’s reaction are fast and without any hesitations. It is time for an important change in our western cultural practices. There is a need to re-consider all the economy around this wastes in order to dramatically reduce the quantity we produce and use those already in front of our doors, in our bins, produce by our neighbours.
… more to come
A spread of what the catalogue of trash could look like :
+ Image of Mucking Marshes Landfill, it is to be the biggest landfill in the UK, and one of the biggest in Europe, 48km down the Thames from the school.
And a tyre graveyard in Kuwait
Here are a few spread of the book i have been working.
i have also been writing a draft of the possible scenario of what would be the cultural, political, economical and urban conditions after the shift [= the moment when the amount of waste we produce will overcome the production of the new]. It is to be read as a sort of timeline that is to be presented in the book, i imagine it being a sort of chronological evolution. I am now in the process of refining each of this point, perhaps adding some or changing others… it is a first draft. I also searching for ways to illustrate each of these captions, some first image draft are here as well.
-End of belief
-Disruptive condition for the capitalist economic dogmas
-New cultural condition > no purchase / only re-use
-New waste treatment condition
-Necessity to quickly come with a solution for waste collection and disposal. Perhaps the dig of giant pits in city center allowing for a decade of waste filling > images in London, Paris, Berlin.
-New aesthetic condition > use, re-use, re-use again, and again, and again, and …
-No function given to objects anymore [end of the term function as we know it]
-Only the physical outcome of an object/product is consider : no other meaning than its form.
-No new products > people use the pits as free and open supermarket
-Cities constructed on trash / Giant pits as supermarket / no economy (nice images to do…)
Exuberance is beauty – William Blake
Recycling is trendy – Ban Ki Moon
Superabundance is real – Etienne Gilly
A new reference got into the project since last tuesday, which i feel might quite important in the construction of the narrative of project. Georges Bataille work, an more specifically the book he wrote between 1946 and 1949 The accursed Share.
It is a book on general economy and politic. According to Bataille’s theory of consumption, the accursed share is that excessive and non-recuperable part of any economy which must either be spent luxuriously and knowingly without gain in the arts, in non-procreative sexuality, in spectacles and sumptuous monuments, or it is obliviously destined to an outrageous and catastrophic outpouring, in the contemporary age most often in war, or in former ages as destructive and ruinous acts of giving or sacrifice, but always in a manner that threatens the prevailing system.
In fine, what Bataille seems to say is the following : an organism in Bataille’s general economy, unlike the rational actors of classical economy who are motivated by scarcity, normally has an “excess” of energy available to it. This extra energy can be used productively for the organism’s growth or it can be lavishly expended.
It is important to me because it introduces two notions into the project that weren’t explicitly present until now, and that both feed the overall narrative around wastes but also offer a frame in which to develop the question the construction of reality. The first caption introducing the project is :
The project is a conversation between the contemporary construction [composition] of realities and the junks and leftovers that these realities produces. In other words, the project takes for granted the fact that our reality is composed, staged but, because they push toward an always more precious and perfect aesthetic, they tend to increase dramatically the production of wastes, junks, rubble and leftovers. Constructed realities are the main producers of the accursed share.
In order to maintain the economic system under its current form and in order for these realities to continue to exist, the industry and public authorities have put up with legislation on recycling as the main canal through which the increasing quantities of waste that we produce is evacuated – and partly re-inserted into the cycle. Eventually, as Bataille seems to be referring as well, the production of waste is likely to overcome the production of new.
Burps of such a scenario are occasionally happening, and historically we can relate on what is was like, from constructing entire parts of cities on landfill, to uncanny image of tons of rubbish left on streets only after a few days of binmen strikes [http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/the-city-that-looks-and-smells-like-a-landfill-site-1816862.html], creation of important landfill projects in different places in the world,…
In addition to waste reduction and recycling strategies, there are various alternatives to landfills, including waste to energy incineration, anaerobic digestion, composting, mechanical biological treatment, pyrolise and plasma arc gasification, which have all begun to establish themselves in the market….
What the project deals with, from this point, is : whatever recycling, landfill, and other technics of taking care of wastes, it wont be sufficient to handle with the booming production of wastes in the coming years. So what are we going to do after point of no-return, when we will have to deal with wastes in other ways that the ones enumerated above ? The project argues, therefore for a complete change in our cultural approach of wastes and economy. By default, we are [at the time of the project] to a point where wastes will HAVE TO be taken out of their traditional cycle.
The first question that the project raises is about the value of products, that, by definition, have no functions anymore. Are they to be considered as valueless fragments that shouldn’t be consider in other ways than just physical form ? Or are they to be given a value, enhancing an economical shift in the way we consider waste ? Both ? perhaps both can actually exist within a same cultural context ? I dont know yet.
The second question is about the collection itself of waste-surplus. Are we to consider some kind of public infrastructure to collect them – and then to do what ? This might depends on what the answer to first question is… Valueless objects would generate other organisations than objects that have a value, because with value come the question of ownership, market, prices,… with valueless objects might exist a completely free structure of exchange,… again both could exist.
The third question is about the societal impact of such a cultural shift – are we to assume that it signifies the total end of capitalism as we know it or is it the birth a parallel economy ?
And eventually the urban and architectural impact of this shift ?
Each choice will raise other set of interesting questions…
As for now, I would be interesting to conduct the project as a sort of argument/manifeste (not ‘o’). In this sens, i think that the projects needs to be constructed on the more radical choices in order to be provocative. Without necessarily ending being a dystopia which i want to avoid as much as i can. Not that i think the project has to be positive but i do want to question a situation more than project a futur. + waste treatment is a very present issue in current societies.
The book TOC is as follow (for now) :
Introduction (2 captions) : what ?
Current situations (5 caption) : explaining the constructed reality, unveil their always more precious agenda, faking the real, based on a cycle of production-consumption-wastes-recycling that is soon be full…
The accursed share (5 caption) : Presenting the accursed share, introducing the notion of value, fragments, products
More to come tomorrow + A3 book !
More on what i was writing in the previous post : (c is for caption)
c1 : The project is a conversation between the contemporary construction of realities and the junks and leftovers that these realities produces. It argues for a radical reverse of the process of production – consumption, from its more evident form to its more complex and deeper economic, politic, cultural and architectural implications. It argues for a shift, from the economy of the belief to junk economics.
Photo : ?
c2: While Labour, shopping and tourism are now the standard product of cities, they have provided the sufficient infrastructure to generate a common feeling of belief. A belief in consumerism, in beautifully rendered and photoshopped images, in the economy of consumption, a belief of the new.
Photo : ?
c3:A belief that our near futur is fact the reality – we are prepared, framed, forced to do so: in fact our desire to believe is merged with our perception of reality. And in many aspect this reality is rendered perfect, precious, comfortable – a sort of lubricant for belief.
c3: This desire of belief is spectacle : the everyday domestic, repetitive – often unpleasant tasks become a spectacle which we are prepared for. Before entering a theatre, one is already prepared to believe in what the play will do. A frame is set up (both mentally and physically), and the spectacle takes over facts. We just need to see in order to believe.
c2 : Wastes re-use is inscribed into the DNA of our modern society. Rather than following a circle like path, they follow a line where they function is continuously re-arrange.
c3 : There is a shift from a society of preciousness to a society which is rejecting the aesthetic of the new. Fragments and leftovers now have a utterly important social, political (almost religious) agenda.
c4 : Wastes now have their trading rates at the stock exchange
Photo ? Perhaps a machine fabricating fake waste ? or a camera and security cabin at the entrance of a waste treatment plant ?
c5: Wastes become products illegally sold on black market > even fabricated as fake entity
To be continued… More to come tomorrow.
>>> The narrative around which i am working on is meant to be a support to the work i am doing. i am still working on the drawing and the models [fragments > ensemble or wastes > reality].
The work on the drawing is going on, and I am also working on a book – which from now will be the main way of presenting the project.
While I am doing the book – i am trying to explain the project via a series of caption, explaining the work process as well as guiding the potential reader through the narrative of the project. It is really helping me do refine and push ahead the why and what of the project.
This is the first caption – introducing the book :
The project is a conversation between the contemporary construction of realities and the junks and leftovers that these realities produces. It argues for a radical reverse of the process of production – consumption, from its more evident form to its more complex and deeper economic, politic, cultural and architectural implications. It argues for a shift, from the economy of the belief to junk economics.
I am working on writing the next, put together images that I already have and other model/image i will need to produce. But here is what i think now :
I need to take the project into a narrative that really impact the REAL. And i thinking about pushing really far the notion of a radical reverse of the process of production – consumption, or said differently : what if our cultural identity had been constructed upon junks and wastes ? It would unveil an entirely different relation to this ‘matter’.
I don’t exactly know yet how to explain this. It would allow to rethink a certain number of cultural/political practices and events from different ‘point of view’.
I will have more on that tomorrow – and more drawings to come !
Currently working again on the drawings of the models.
The model and the drawings are two faces of the same coin. One put forward the notion of the fragments and the different realities we can create with these fragment (real-like or more abstract), whereas the other [the model] talk about the ensemble, the final montage, materiality. They are tools of a side-system [from when the fragments are taken out of the cycle of consumption] that produces but never consumes its components.
In that sense, the model (which is photograph and presented in one unique print) depicted
a reality and can be consider as an end-product while the drawing presents the process of assemblage, the mechanism of staging.
If the classical cycle of consumption can be represent as a circle around which the fragments turn again and again and again, the model i am proposing act more as a never ending line where fragments are constinuously being assemble, de-assemble, re-assemble,… creating narratives. It is a mean for me to critic the economy of recycling – taking pieces out of it and exhibit their narratives. I am starting to see the models as still lives.
In a way this follows up what i explain during the december jury, about the fact that the models are one possible reality but that some other may exist as well. Back then, I explained that the drawing were also representing the fact that each pieces / fragments has its own referential, but put together the fragments compose together a bigger picture.
‘If you put to bottles next to each other, you have a line of production, if you put next to each other a bottle and a glass, you have a narrative‘ Thomas Demand (AA files conversation)
I would also like to give the pictures a send of urgency in order for them to be closer to the ‘real’ – and match a concern that is not only about the composition of the image itself but also address the issue of consumption in the production of the built environment. Otherwise it is harder to make it really critical – which i really want it to be. Perhaps a way – for the next model/set of drawings – could be to identify more closely and in a very accurate way the identity of the fragments (where are they from, what did their previous owners used them for, for what purpose were they produce…). ?
To be continued…
Here is the set of drawings I made today, but there is still a lot of work to do :
Drawing of the last model in progress + potential iteration hand drawn
Quick photoshop of what another iteration/reality could be for the very first model :
And a few references [Filip Dujardin, 1-2-3; Onorato & Krebs, 4,5; unknown, 6; Nacho Alegre, 7]
Here are some pictures of the last model i presented at the jury on friday. The jury comments led to re-think a lot what the project was about – there is definitely too many sub-subjects in what i want to do, some of which i need to put on the side and focus more specifically on one. I have done some writing this weekend and i need to discuss it tomorrow.
Rotor lectured at the AA in 2014. Very interesting as well.
Here is a reworked draft of the synthesis for my project presentation – not a final one but quite advanced still. I felt like i needed to get this clear – this week will only be modelling.
While shopping and tourism are now the standard product of cities, they have provided the sufficient infrastructure to generate a common feeling of belief. Belief in consumerism, belief i beautifully rendered and photoshopped images, belief in the economy of consumption, belief of the new. A belief that our near futur is fact the reality – we are prepared, framed, forced to believe: in fact our desire to believe is merged with our perception of reality. And in many aspect this reality has to/ is rendered perfect – a sort of lubricant for belief.
It is especially true when it deals with the production of the city itself and ultimately the production of domestic places where we will – or we are already – living in – projected ourself into.
A first example of that is the following picture of Dubai – found on internet (Dubai Aerial view) – which is presented a aerial view Dubai – in fact false, almost half of the real-estate development that you spreading out on the water in not existing yet – it will surely, as Dubai authorities have actually approved the expansion plan – but this image is simply not reality.
An other could be the preciousness, hyper accurate architectural renders released every day, making architecture a product of consumption – the architectural renders is an advertisement. The more realistic it is – the easier it is to sell, because it is somehow already part of our reality. I picked up the 1st four architectural competition post i found on archdaily (will look for some better, perhaps even more real, more provocative and definitely some dealing more with housing – the house as a domestic product). These ones are all depicting a soon-to-be reality in various places (Iran, Dublin, Finland and Miami) – but there is definitely a common aesthetic in between them – which signify the capacity for ‘perfect’ rendering to extract a project from its context and just be a product.
Ultimately, the last example is part of Joseph Grima’s text on Thomas Demand : ‘By contrast, wood, and more recently, 3D printed polymers are the chosen materials of architects who want to seduce their clients into signing a big check: the sheer beauty of these materials’ precision and detail creates seductives models, distracting the viewer from any potential doubts about the design itself. ‘ – with a few example of architectural models. Even more with 3D printed because the technology itself allow for a accuracy up to the mm and therefore pushes away the boundaries of the veracity of the models.
(need a better picture here)
My project is a reaction to this – and is somehow to be read as critical more than propositional. I want it to have two levels of reading.
First, the project is about – like the pictures above – the construction of a reality. The models are set up and photograph under a specific angle, so that the model (and its background) collapse into one single image. The image has to look real – for a couple of seconds, I need the viewer to believe. And then I want him to realise he has been tricked, what he sees is, in fact, carefully curated pieces of scraps and cheap material. Unlike the perfect images whose preciousness and details are distracting the viewer from doubts – i am offering him to doubt, to understand he has been tricked and perhaps to make him disappointed.
In order to make my models i am using in a way the various elements which are both the support or the leftovers of what is outside the frame. Under the marble floor of the British museum (for instance) is a 6mm concrete screed with hot water pipe running through as a way of heating up the spaces. Under that screed is a 10mm insulation and a concrete sructure. Under that structure is a network of pipes and wires, allowing the museum to function normally and be able to host, in confortable conditions, both visitors and pieces of art. So in a way i also want to use the project to reveal, scratch, dig – deconstruct the first layer of reality and collapse in the image both the polished reality and the ‘junk’ reality.
Partly it is – in order to close the loop – to put forward that there is a less glamorous economy supporting our beliefs. The images – in that sens – act as suspension of disbelief by collapsing the reality and the other reality – material wise (perfect vs the less perfect) and economically.
What i aim to do for friday – but this has to be discussed tomorrow – is 1) to go the British Museum, take a picture of the main hall, photoshopped myself into it as if i would be ‘digging’ a hole into the floor. 2) reconstruct the model of the hole i would have made and shoot it. 1) act as the necessary frame to take jury into the sufficient amount of belief so that they wont question instantly the picture of the model. 2) the model act as the disruptive element.
Doing the model now – more to come tomorrow.
PS : While writing my text i remembered some of the things Rotor said during their conference at the AA a few months ago. I went to their website and their definitely certain things interesting for my project to look at – surely to discuss on friday and to integrate further in my project. Here is the link to the lecture, where he talks about flows of materials,… have a watch it is quite a good one. Also they feature in the week issue of DUE – have a read !
Here is an interesting serie of photographies by Maximus Chatsky, a ukrainian photographer. In all of them is a disruptive element that gives the picture a certain strangeness.
Continuing my research on materiality and junks I have found a quite interresting book of photographies by Thomas Demand, edited by Joseph Grima ‘Model Studies I,II’. For once Thomas demand is commissioned to picture models that are not his. It ends up being a quite informal series of close-up photographies of what seems to be architectural model of students. They look like my models – and as a matter of fact, they are quite shitty.
I have taken the book out of the library, it is in the studio if you want to look at it.
But ultimately, while i have to say the book isn’t saying much of Thomas Demand process, there is a very interesting short piece of text by Grima at the end, called ‘… au fond, le papier, le papier, le papier‘ [extracted from a text by Derrida in Cahiers de Mediologie, no.4, 1997].
I havent re-written the whole text but here what it says – in what is, for me, the most interesting part :
[…] This ambivalent attitude toward paper’s value makes it a somewhat odd choice for the architectural model maker. In contrast to the rigid polystyrene foam – actually meant to be used as insulation – popularised by OMA and other primarily dutch firm as an architectonic design material in the 1990s, considerable effort is required for paper to be brought to a 3 dimensional form. Foam is preferred by the pragmatist who wants to commit the least possible amount of time and effort to the production of a volume in order to expediently move on to the next iteration : the hot wire operates by subtraction, slicing away chunks until the desired formation is achieved. By contrast, wood, and more recently, 3D printed polymers are the chosen materials of architects who want to seduce their clients into signing a big check: the sheer beauty of these materials’ precision and detail creates seductives models, distracting the viewer from any potential doubts about the deign itself.
Except for in extreme case, paper isn’t effortless nor seductive: it is the material of the bricoleur. Not only is patience required to make it realise a stable form, but it carries the stigma of trashiness; furthermore, it is far from robust and tends to reveal its original form, rapidly buckling and warping under the effects of humidity or mistreatment ( which it all but invites, given its valuelessness).
The paper model demands effort during production, and rewards you by encouraging you to discard it and move on to something else. As times passes, it has become an even less attractive proposition; the paper model’s decline runs parallel to the material’s ebb in the general trend toward the dream of the ‘paperless office‘. On the efficiency spectrum, the paper model occupies the opposite pole from the BIM, or Building Information Modeling – a form of integrated parametric design software that allows alterations to be propagated globally across a virtual model, automatically and continuously, eliminating the need to rethink or redraw each individual system to accommodate changes. Just as capitalism yearns for the non-committal fluidity of the marketplace to encompass every human interaction, BIM aspires to an ideal of absolute fluidity in architecture, in which the immaterial model of the building continually morphs exerting pressure on it from all directions – until the moment when it must inevitably and abruptly freeze, solidifying definitively into architecture. Not so the paper model which presupposes an idea, a decisions and then a commitment.[…]
To me, for my project, it is a comment of a really great value because it helps linking together an artistic technic and process with our down-to-earth real architectural life and especially, at least it is how i see it – a real economy. In a way, the text suggests that from a material results a technic in which is embedded a political statement. By using only paper, Thomas demand has taken a counter-direction from what architecture seems to be more and more about : fluidity, speed, consumption, advertising. That is somehow what I claim my project was about when i justify my images for the december jury as questioning the always more real architectural images that are imposing the reality of the perfect contructed rendering over the existing. The same way Grima talks about wood and 3d printed polymers models.
the raw – physical and economic – value of the paper (the basic material of the displayed models) is at the end what triggers its value within the architectural discourse. And i do think that for me to continue working with scraps in order to creates realities is somehow equally valuable in order to question the production of contemporary architectural images.
What misses here though, is the production of a narratives. The models in the book creates narratives, but through abstraction. And Demand creates narrative through the re-creation of existing scenes (in which is embedded an whole set of collective references) that he questions through the perfect-but-at-the-end-not-that-perfect re-modeling in paper of these scenes.
What i am using is a more informal materials – i dont use a particular one, nor am i trying to creates abstraction through photographing them. I am using leftovers, scraps, found, cheaply bought, pieces of paper, wood, plastic, foam, cables, steel,… i think by not choosing a specific one is somehow refusing the constraint of the knowledge of this material and working uniquely in associations. acetate = water, brown torn paper = earth, plaster + black paint = marble, cardboard = concrete…
Why holes ? partly because they are useful to reveal what is under things, the technical – the support, the infrastructure – both holes and technical stuff is somehow what is absent from the architectural discourse – and tend to be therefore the concern of others but the architect. Which is quite what the following photo of Onorato and Krebs reveals (and this one isn’t faked):
So in a way holes is my first approach to ‘reveal the other real’ while making it with scraps is the technic supporting fully the ‘other real’. But there need to be other way of revealing and the holes needs to be part of a larger series of models (ultimately photograph) scratching architecture, putting forward its economy, its infrastructure, its junk spaces, its leftovers,…
Modelling corrugated steel might be a quite good one. For the jury i want to model a broken marble slabs with pipes running under, and the steel and concrete structure as well, the insulation,… (as captioned below). Also modelling architectural details that you usually dont see might be interesting (pipes, structural nodes, or irregularities that you try to hide). And each details would have to be technically supported by drawings perhaps.
Also, after oak; scraps again. I have found a wood workshop – furniture making place that is ok with giving me the freedom to deal with part of the scraps that they throw away. They have to pay each week for a private service in order to get rid of all the leftovers they can’t use. I will meet them again this week but I will surely be able to start using their wastes from next sunday. Here is a picture of their leftovers waiting to be collect.
Working on materials, from marble to scraps, I am trying to establish a sort of scope of material, their representation inside and outside architecture. Here is an interesting article that I found in the Times this weekend, on the political agency of a piece of furniture in oak :
Here is the full article : http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/the-oak-heart-of-the-special-relationship-b23qvgn2k
Following is an update of my white book spread. There is still a lot to be done – I sort of got away with the different fonts. The format stays in a 245x335mm portrait format. The TOC would be as following :
I. Diamonds > towards the construction of realities (meter / Hitchcock / Memento / Eiffel / diamond). I dont know if I should skip the Rosalind Krauss one or not… Each diamond is presented in pair with a tryptic (the ones I presented at the first jury). Therefore the white book remains close to the way I presented the images at the jury. Each time the diamond is linked to my interpretation of it and why it is linked with a tryptic.
II. Title ? This chapter will sort of take the reader to a complete different path. I will introduce the work of Onorato & Krebs and the matte painting technic. It needs to somehow introduce the idea of the disruptive element (smoke). And from there move on to the idea of the cracks and later junks
III. Presentation of the installations of the second jury (Maintenance team, this is a project, please dont throw it out). > different paper (perhaps photo paper).
IV. Junk economics (which might be the title of the project). [the project from now on]. I definitely want to give a documentary aspect to it – it needs to report the current situation in term of the cycle of domestic wastes. I want to dig into the relevance and necessity of proposing an other end to the current cycle of consumption (so that it becomes a cycle of conception). I am realising that this cycle of consumption is happening in parallel of architecture / the city without never (or hardly) interacting with it. We buy things – consume them at home/work and wastes are created out of the part we dont consume (leftovers, packages, over-dated items, broken things, old pieces,…) and then we throw them out (literally on the streets in london) [Morwell street is that part of the city]. Wastes are just passing through buildings.
As advice by Eddy and Clive, I am trying to write down everything so that i can keep thread of how things need to move forward. I am also thinking about the good place where I can start to collect and record wastes. For the next jury I might work on wastes produced at the AA or my own (
or maybe dip9 wastes). I will need to have a collection by the end of next week to produce something out of it for the jury. It might be a collection from one or 2 days.
I hope i can make at least one visit in a waste treatment plant by the end of next week. I dont have any news from the person I was talking to the last few days…
I have read a lot about waste treatment and recycling in the last 2 days. All the newspaper article on that matter are often linked with the idea of energy. It seems like there might be something to dig in that direction…
To be continued
ALL PRINTED ON RECYCLED PAPER
+ photo of the Gavin Turk exhibition at the Newport Street Gallery right now [on the 1st floor part of the exhibition there are some rubbish spread out in the rooms – you are even told to be careful where you walk not to damage them]. + there is a concrete path with a crack in it.
Back from holidays… I have been thinking and making the white book since last week and have also taken the first step to engage my project further for the term. I took contact with the London Waste Ltd, a company owned by the North London Waste Authority (http://www.nlwa.gov.uk), who is in charge of running waste treatment and recycling plants in London. I am now planning a site visit of 2 of the plants with them. I would like to go further into the after-life of the scraps and rubbish i am collecting. I feel like they are fragments in other ways that just physical leftovers of ‘things’. They are part of a chain of production, consumption and eventually destruction and recycling. There is an economic aspect to it which might be quite interesting to incorporate into the project – somehow it is similar to the chess table : It is not only a game with a ‘field’ and pieces but there is a complex history of all the previous games that have been played embedded within each moves. The installation I have been doing (and that will hopefully carry on developing) act in the same way : within each piece is part of history, often dictate by economic logic of consumption. I was thinking about collecting rubbish from a particular block (or street) in the city and start to build narratives with junks collected from specific places (included the Machu Picchu, or some other place in Peru – from MP would be great because there are issues with leftovers left by tourist on the site itself). These wastes appear as the ‘junk space’ of the over consumption in which we are living. Collecting it means therefore taking it out of the cycle in which they are supposed to be – which makes the collection a disruptive action – and photographing them as part of different narrative make this disruption a statement. This has obviously to be discussed further…
This is the project now :
Following is the first draft of the
white book. I would like the basis format to be a 245*335mm format and then perhaps cut/torn/burn it throughout the reading. The paper would have to be recycled as well, maybe from different type of material… Ideally I would like to keep a ‘draft-like’ aspect to it – and still make it nice (I am collecting references, on e of them is a magazine called Guerillazine where each edit is burnt in a unique way – see pictures). The book needs to be an orchestrated mess to mirror the project. The fonts will be important as well as the way of displaying the images. Maybe I will have to erase everything at the end…
Here are images of Guerillazine, (I will try to get one by tomorrow)
Here are the images and plans I presented for the jury on tuesday, and other pictures of the set up. The text of my presentation is on a computer at school, I will upload it later.
This book just came out. It has been written by Pierre Belanger, who I believe is Canadian. I have been really interested in his work – especially his studio at harvard god (http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/course/ecology-infrastructure-power-fall-2016/) for my project last year, and wanted to share that here. His work is fascinating and I think it can have some interesting echoes in some of the projects…
Here is how it is introduce by MIT Press :
“This book is not about war, nor is it a history of war. Avoiding the shock and awe of wartime images, it explores the contemporary spatial configurations of power camouflaged in the infrastructures, environments, and scales of military operations. Instead of wartime highs, this book starts with drawdown lows, when demobilization and decommissioning morph into realignment and prepositioning. It is in this transitional milieu that the full material magnitudes and geographic entanglements of contemporary militarism are laid bare. Through this perpetual cycle of build up and breakdown, the U.S. Department of Defense—the single largest developer, landowner, equipment contractor, and energy consumer in the world—has engineered a planetary assemblage of “operational environments” in which militarized, demilitarized, and non-militarized landscapes are increasingly inextricable.”
Link : http://we-make-money-not-art.com/ecologies-of-power-counter-mapping-the-logistical-landscapes-and-military-geographies-of-the-u-s-department-of-defense/
That is a real photography…
… it is !
[Dead Acacias trees in Sossusvlei, a salt and clay pan surrounded by high red dunes, located in the southern part of the Namib Desert, in the Namib-Naukluft National Park of Namibia]
I am building the model that would end up being captured as an image. I am confronted again with the notion of the bare minimum : what are the things that I need to construct in order to capture one reality through the frame of the camera. I have set up the position of the camera and from that point building up the fragments that I need in the frame. I am constructing the model of a sinkholes so I am also confronted with the question of to model “real” something with is demolish, how to model, water and reflections, broken pipes, wires, cracks, mud, dirt,…
It is really about building the model piece by piece; building up a small fragment, looking at the frame, changing its position, looking again, modifying the fragments,… Each time the model evolves I am recording the change in photo, but also in plan and section, measuring the changes. I thought it would be interesting to record and map this process of finding the perfect position of things in the frame. I am thinking that I might use long time exposure photography to record and collapse the construction within one photography.
The building is still process so here are few images of the set, the final shot isn’t yet good enough to be shown. I will have something tomorrow.
I feel like there is a quite interesting condition that emerge in the construction of a entirely fake image which is : what do we really need to understand ? How much elements do we need to identify to in order to assume that a picture is real while it is entirely constructed. Again the condition of the bare minimum is at stake I think.
In that send I am quite interested by the work of Lewis Baltz, whose photographies, I think are all real, but there is something in it that feels fake, maybe flat as well. He uses B&W a lot, which I think have an influence on how we perceive the image. I might try to photograph with B&W as well, to see if it modifies, or even simplifies the way we understand the photography. here are a few images :
Also, about cracks :
NASA released photos of a cracks in Antarctica’s Larsen Ice Shelf, which measure more than 100m width and some 300m deep… Great photos on the NASA website !
About what you see vs the real – 1:1 vs the other 1:1… In a different way here, because the video deals with the construction of sounds rather than images. Again, in connexion with what i am interested in, the disruptive relation between the set and the image is very interesting.
I have been working on how to build the set of the project. I took some photographies and I have been constructing a narrative from the place I captured. I am working on the first image now and will have more to show tomorrow. The main idea is to somehow recreate the condition of a set in a real environnement – still using one unique point of view. I am then using different ‘objects’ (= the color paper environnement in my previous model) to build another reality ‘on top’ of the one we can really see. The layers I am adding on top of the ‘real’ are disruptive but they also allow for the ‘unreal’ to exist through the camera.
I liked the photography of this advertisment : ‘Are you in Good Hands?’, Allstate insurance Advertising Agency. It is using the particular condition of the real to allow us to briefly think in a particular event. And it has a the narrative of the accident embedded in it – which allow the Insurance company to ask ‘Are you in good hand ?’
Also looked further into Sinkholes, geologic events happening in limestone-like condition where holes up to several tenth of meter suddenly appears. It is basically porous soil being swallowed by pocket of underground water. It is not supposed to be a sudden event but the reinforcement of ground condition in urban environnement (road, pavements, foundations, slabs) ‘hold’ everything until the very last moment, making these event often dramatic. This ‘dramatic’ and sudden condition is precisely what is interesting because it creates very uncanny situation and recorded images of these event tells a lot about this condition. Some really look like Photoshop collages…
I left aside the model this weekend to focus on the construction of an image through photography and the use of real model and filters. The idea is to sample existing figures and recompose it as a collage / collapse into an other environment. From the ordinary to the other-ordinary (and not necessarily the ‘extra-ordinary’). The ‘real’ is being transformed through the use of a disruptive figure. I think the method of trying to understand and test the construction of the image of the city is still the same – i am only looking at how you can incorporate details so that the narrative doesn’t come from the deconstruction of the set (when I zoomed out to reveal it or when I show that everything was an assemblage) but is embedded in the image itself.
So I am still working on the idea of construction vs. deconstruction. But the deconstruction is part of the construction. It brings some interesting question to build a deconstruction. Therefore it deals not only with a collapse of place and scales but also of time, questioning the contemporary policy of the new / the refurbished / the changed…
In that regard there is an interesting work by Albert Whitlock, who was doing matte paintings (paintings on glass) for Hollywood. Especially on ‘Earthquake” (1947), where he was ask to work on the complete deconstruction of a city after an earthquake and how to represent it. See below (all paintings !) [for which he won the Academy Award for Special Achievement in Visual Effects in 1975]
I have also been researching on Matte painting and its intense use in film from the 40-50s to the invention of digital renderings (also some directors, like Nolan, are still using it – also as he still refuses to use digital computed visual effect – but they are sort of combining the two [projecting a digital image on a glas]). BBC’s Horizon TV program, in 1985
Here are a few quick trials using high-res cracks print on acetate.
Then here are a couple of holes, cracks, fissures, splits that I have start to work with on photoshop to be able to use then later with on my photographies. It’s really raw material for now.
Here is the map in progress. I tried to do the map in form of a set. Still have to complete it with words. that’s how it is now :
Also some images in progress. I tried to identify the particular element(s) in the image that would allow to transcend and blur the scales. Like the smoke creates by the lamp in Onorato & Krebs video but that seems to come from the chimney. A called it the disruptive figure in the map. Still researching on the different forms it might take. Perhaps I have identify that the deconstruction of the objects in the image is often an interesting disruptive condition. It seems that cracks, holes, splits, rips complexify our understanding of the image. And usually the construction of the image allow to erase and hide the imperfection of the objects. Reversing this process and use the construction of the image as a way of deconstructing the objects allow to create another king of narrative. More to come tomorrow.
Currently looking at reference, here is a movie by Onorato and Krebs, setting a lamp on fire – from the point of view it looks like the chimney on the background is smoking – polluting its environment. I find it very poetic but very powerful as well. The POV creates a very direct relation in between foreground, background and the environment as an whole. I find it fascinating. They are two swiss artist behind ‘The great unreal’ – a reference that I have been given during the jury last week. I have been looking at their photographies for a few days now but never the film before now. The smoke is somehow the thing that links both scales, adding something very powerful to the POV (which is also an apparatus to link scales together). There might be something to explore in finding apparatuses functioning inside the frame working as multi-scalar “form” linking together the fragments.
How is the image of cities constructed ?
Following what I wrote on friday here are 4 images of Paris, London, Berlin and Tokyo taken from Google Images. They are a series of the first images that Google’s algorithm provides (after I deleted my browser history and put my VPN on) when I type the names of these cities.
[last on apart] all images of London shows the Thames river. 12 are taken at the end of the day, the sun is nearly down. Big Ben, London Eye, London Bridge and the shard (as an icon of tower in london in itself) look to be the necessary icons to construct the image of the city.
Out of 20 images of Tokyo, 13 display a night version of the city with only 2 referring to a relation with water – although Tokyo is one of biggest port in the world and largely in contact with its bay. Advertising looks almost as iconic of the japanese city than its fake Eiffel tower. 6 of the views are taken from a human POV.
Paris seems to be very much related to the Eiffel tower. 19 out of 20 images displays the metal tower, 4 showing even only the tower itself without any context.
Berlin’s Spree is quite present in the construction of the image of the city (12/20) as the television tower on Alexanderplatz (13/20). Very few (1) street views. The Brandebourg doors appears 3 times and Foster’s Reichstag dome once.
Rome seems to have a more fragmented images where different iconic building seems to be defining the city’s image : Coliseum (5), St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican (4) and its colonnade (2), Trevi Fountain (1). Two don’t even belong to the city Leaning Tower of Pisa (1) and Pompeii surroundings (1). The very dramatic ‘sun going down’ light condition seems to fit quite well to Rome image as it appears in 9 out of 20 images. The city is much more described through a ‘street view’ POV (9).
The particular conditions of the image seems to be also applied to buildings as well.
The same face of the Coliseum, from almost the same street POV is shown 15 times of 21. They are almost all street POV (17) and 1 is the ‘London Coliseum’, home the English National Theatre.
The image of Eiffel tower is mainly constructed via a frontal point of view (17) , with large camera angles probably correcting the perspective as it mostly appears as a quite ‘right’ artefact (6). They are mostly taken from the champs-de-Mars (14).
There is obviously an interesting control (or trend) over the construction of the representation of the city (google images acting as a tool for displaying information). It is surely partly influenced by the way Google algorithms work. The image of the city is constructed through a series of POV (street view, aerial view, panoramic,…) and a series of built or unbuilt fragments (buildings, icons, geographic elements, topographic elements and ‘lighting’ condition). It looks like these elements are the bare-minimum to construct the image of a particular place. It looks there is the potential of going deeper into this idea of the ‘economy of the bare-minimum’ and the incredible (almost unreal) tension in between these elements and the ‘real’ experience of the city (where for example I have barely seen the Thames more than 5 times since I have been living in london).
As I said in last post, I believe the image is both constructed through the frames and the mechanism. The frame is somehow what I discussed before with the POV. The fragments are elements that are more part of the mechanism itself. But they are ‘just’ physical elements that needs economic and legal reason for existing.
I dont exactly know why I did research on ‘Fake Estates’ a project in which Gordon Matta-clark bought a series of insignificant urban lot for 25$ during an auction sale in the 1970s. These pieces of land are leftovers from planning regulations and which size is so small that they are not of interest for real-estate agencies. They are unusably small slivers of land sliced from the city grid through anomalies in surveying, zoning, and public-works expansion. Matta-Clark documented each of the 15 lots he bought quite precisely. I am not sure what Matta-Clark wanted to eventually achieve but it was the first project that came to my mind when thinking about the legal mechanism on which the city is built. It tells about how ridiculous it might be but also that the city can be understand through its regulatory mechanism. It can be described (represented) through this medium as well – and it surely take part in the way the image of the city is constructed. Following, a few images on ‘Fake Estates’.
More to come tomorrow
After the jury on tuesday I tried to put my object in a context to test the relation of these objects with an existing environnement – in term of scale first – but also what would be the immediate sens coming out of the tests. I am currently doing test by trying to set the model in 3 different urban environnement : the dense city, the sprawl and the des-urbanise environnement (desert). I dont think that the model can be detached from the condition of the city but have to be rather see in relation to the urban environnement. And as a matter of fact, you can see it more as an ‘urban failure’ when put in the desert, probably more as an ‘urban disruption’ in the sprawl, and perhaps more a sort of post modern urban addendum in the city.
Following the comments of the jury I am not sure I want to go on building a model and work on the relationship in between model and photography and scales…
I would rather take the project further into questioning the mechanism, tools and mediums through which (the image of) the ‘real’ city is constructed today. And through mechanism and tools I think of ways of capturing (photography, films, google earth,…) but also the tools through which the city (as a set) is organised, which is to say laws and regulations. If one can consider the city the same way as the space I created you need to have both the frames AND the ‘how’ the objects are positioned.
I am not sure if it is relevant to continue in that direction so I think it needs to be discussed further.
Here are the images (they are really on the process of being made – I did spend quite some time thinking first on how the project could evolve, so they are really bad ongoing versions) :
Here is also some version of the images I did for tuesday but decided not to show. I wanted to explore as well a sort of ‘image in 3D’ to represent the scenes. I didn’t have the time to texture it and they are somehow ongoing reflexions as well, as a way of thinking about the format as well that would translate the tension interior-exterior.
Currently working on the images. Here are two of the dyptique. They need to be worked more but I am now starting two others so that i can have an overview for tomorrow. The ‘space’ [i need to somehow find a name for it] is getting a bit more complex as i am in fact adding objects so that the images are as good as possible. I think I am now done with the fabrication of the space > I will start to make the final model tomorrow.
I had a thought on how the project could perhaps evolve for the next step. Now, it aims to understand the construction of the representation of a space in a cinema studio-like space. And as a matter of fact the images reveals the spacial and technical apparatus through which the representation of the space is constructed. Perhaps an interesting way is to export this protocol to the real city – and how its image is constructed. And the frame(s) is no more the unique camera of the film director but the cameras of the millions of smartphones belonging to the ones experiencing / living in the city. Instagram (among other) is one of the apparatus through which the representation of the city is constructed…
Here are the images :
I am making the test-model for the space I am working on. I will show more later and tomorrow. I have also worked on the images, they will be shown as a serie of 5+1 moments, each moments containing a different number of images (from 2 to 12)
i also worked on a way of presenting my projects backward, from the results to the initial diamonds, going trough the process in a reverse way.
Work in progress. I have complexify my apparatus so that there are currently 6 differents frames through which the space can be seen. I am working on them in order to correct the perspective errors and also build them as precise as possible. I have exported to of the views, textured and scanned them and reworked on photoshop. I am starting to think on how I can also construct the images with a layer of different information (texture, color, light, materiality,…). More to come tomorrow hopefully !
About what the references we talked about this morning :
CJ Hendry, who is an Australian visual artist [who used to study architecture before making BW drawings]. Here are some of her works (there is a lot more to look at on the world wide web)
(+ instagram : https://www.instagram.com/cj_hendry/)
Ugo Gattoni is [from his website] : a Parisian born and bred artist and art director, whose surreal and exquisitely detailed portraits, depictions of cityscapes, and strange, otherworldly objects and artefacts are renowned worldwide for their unparalleled level of skill. (< aha)
Some of his (unparalleled) work :
Sorry for the late post… Last friday I presented a version of the space I am working on, where objects – ornaments of the city [Eiffel tower, Obelisque, window, montain, Seagram building]- were moving on a grid and were recorded by a camera. at t=x, in the frame of the camera, would appear one possible reality (depending on the position of the objects). The control of the movement of the object appeared to blur – and complexify – the way the apparatus would work and be understood…
I somehow tried to redefine the space as being embedded in a set of several standing simple objects (walls, windows, doors). Together they form an uncanny and seemingly weird environment. Only when you look at it from a certain point of view, within a define frame, you would be able to understand the realities they unveil. Having them form one reality is easy. Having several potential reality embedded in the space is more difficult.
I set the first basis by drawing a few basic elements, then set the position of the frame and then slowly build the realities together, each one having to exist without compromising the chance for the others to exist from another angle. Its a very slow process – and i have been struggling to build the digital model. You can see it as it is now – I will work on the frames tomorrow, I still need to texture, put the backgrounds,… I would like it to become much more complex. Now there are 3 realities embedded – I would like to have at least 6-7 (maybe up to 10) at the end.
I will show the frames tomorrow hopefully – they need to be worked otherwise they cannot be really understood.
Last tuesday, I looked at the tension that exist in cinema in between the interior and the exterior. Interior space is always construct as 1:1 scale space whereas, for exterior spaces, film director often uses perception tricks, particular camera angles and miniatures model that only appears “real” in the frame of the camera. I found this particular schizophrenic condition fascinating. I have started to see this tension as a space in itself who would mediate the two scales, always recomposing the elements it is composed of, so that they appear as “real” once viewed from the frame of the camera. This space has no (/ or an infinite number) of scales.
What are the elements that this space is composed of ? I believe they are the primary components through which a city/a landscape can be understood : material, icon, thresholds, background, buildings, furnitures. They are what Kracauer describe as the ornaments of the city : the parts of a mechanism through which the presence of a space becomes manifested (and I would add ‘constructed’).
An infinite number of scales ? This is the second interesting point of the space : because it can be understand only when viewed through the frame of the camera, the size, geographical position and direction of this components (S/P/D) are not fixed, they are continuously changing and unveil, only once “action” is said, a particular reality.
In order to show this space, I have come to idea that I could use three mediums : A script, a map and an image.
One REALITY, one SCRIPT, one MAP, one IMAGE.
The REALITY is what is seen in the camera frame. The SCRIPT is the ‘algorithm’ defining the S/P/D of the components at t=x in the space, the MAP is the mapping in plan of the components at t=x, and the IMAGE is the interpretation of what is seen is the camera frame at t=x.
I recreated a small size studio in the Unit space showing the space i am talking about (photo). I attached a few pictures taken with my phone to show the different REALITIES. I put as well a sort of storyboard explaining (more or less) the SCRIPT and the MAP with drawings. And I also attached here the IMAGES i started to draw from selected REALITIES, that have to be seen as a sequence, each of them contains the same components [they are totally unfinished, or barely started even].
I started to work on the city as a texture and architecture as its support, and the camera as the frame through which we experience it. The frame is the apparatus that support the effect. It’s one reality – among others ?. I would like to make it into a movie, but i am still thinking on how to make it – perhaps making a model and filming the model with different viewpoint, frame and condition… Maybe the city is the architecture dreaming of itself
The images :
The japanese condition… then the european one… which in fact belong to the same space, they are just possible realities… and then the studio (2)… The architect/director revealing the trick… then another view i am working on
In my attempt to look into the diptych Reduction-Distortion, I ended-up looking into what it would mean as an apparatus for architecture. I believe James Wyld’s Great Globe can stand as one moment where earth (or its representation) has been distorted into an architectural space. The great globe was a building built during the Great Exhibition in London 1851, which was, along with Crystal Palace, one of the main event of the exhibition. It is somehow reducing architecture into an apparatus for spectacle where the space itself is used as an object of consumption.