The game we are playing is Liberation: Freeing concept from form. It is designed to emulate the collaborative process between Paul Virilio and Claude Parent when they defined the utopian theory ‘The Function of the Oblique’. A theory that was only developed due to the duplicity in the readings of each word and form by these two men of very different cultures.
This game exposes the true nature of the theory, which was the need to shock people by proposing an architecture that was incompatible to their tastes and habits in order to liberate them from the shackles of the architectural styles of that moment. The reality of the situation is that the definition of their theory has been repeatedly re-authored to reduce it to a singular word that represents its form devoid of its concept.
In the words of Buckminister Fuller, You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete and this is the objective of the game. Working in teams of two you will be given categories where your aim is to liberate the concept from its form through collaboration with your teammate.
- You have a minute to review the contents of your boxes.
- You will be given a category.
- Together you must construct a model with a minimum of two pieces from each box.
- Each round will last one minute and you may be given hints during that time.
- At the end of the round each team will be given 30 seconds to explain their model.
- The game master will then review it and ask you a series of questions deciding if this appropriately removes the concept from the form.
(The review of the categories will give insight into the parts of the cultural and experiential attributes of the theory behind the function of the oblique that have usually been overlooked)
- Grid – elevation, vertical, city
- Indexical – sectors, categories, time
- Dynamic – movement, equilibrium, temporality
- Folding – practical, surface, habitable, scale
- Oblique – no hints, moves straight to the end note.
Liberation is a critique on the absurdity of defining an idea, theory, utopia or movement around a single word defined by its formal attributes, just in the way that the oblique has defined the function of the oblique. When a theory or idea is related to you, it alters your reading of it. It becomes very difficult to contest a theory that is defined by a representation of a form without having experienced its space.
What are the cultural and experiential attributes that are too often ignored and forgotten? Architecture is the space in which a variety of readings should be allowed to blend and clash. There is only one place where these readings may exist and this is in the conversations. This will allow us to eliminate the singular reading of architecture that has primarily focused on its formal attributes and not its cultural and experiential ones.