Once upon a time we used to be entitled to our own stories but never our own facts – In truth we have always been entitled to both – facts are just as constructed as fictions We construct worlds to tell stories. Architecture acts as the medium for staging events as well as a spatial mnemonic atlas. This is manifest in the latin word aedicule, referring to a small building particularly a temple or shrine framing an event.
From Container to Surface – The flattening of ArchitectureThe building as an interior of the world is ever more prominent in the glass modules of the crystal palaces; crystalline prisms that commodify everything on display – form the most banal to the most spectacular products of industry – into consumable spectacle. The newsstand – appropriately edicola in in contemporary Italian – acts as a media shrine with it’s own atlas of global information adorning it’s surfaces. With the advent of photography and film of course we have the flattening of the theatre stage. The event becomes a surface. In the continual reduction of container to surface spectacle becomes domestic. The collective experience of the moon landing finds the president and the oval office superimposed over the celestial object. Finally the interface now allows anyone to be spectator as well as actor and the surface world can be superimposed over everything and at any moment. Hence, with the screen as a site, the architecture of an event uses footage as a design material.
The TelescapeThe TELESCAPE becomes a new landscape of Architectural flattening – An inter spatial region where an event is constructed from a distance – the site of contemporary memory and knowledge, fact and fiction. “This killed That” The printing press killed the Cathedral, says Frollo in the Hunchback of Notre Dame. What has the screen done? Or what are the architectures of a purely surface world? Banal objects become as spectacular as everything else – the telescope eradicates scale, explodes time, footage is in excess and association or editing becomes the story-teller’s apparatus. Surface visually articulates narratives by aesthetic association – scale and time are lost in flatness and content becomes wholly governed by its context. Essentially if recordings of the recording and re-contextualising of stories is only ever experienced as a surface the world becomes akin to a multifaceted diamond that you can never enter; An architecture with only and outside. Or perhaps where the inside and the outside have become indistinguishable. How can the experience of a room be flattened? What is the best way to articulate the condition of surface?
The Oil AgeIf the material of our age is petrolium then how could it’s use as a subject not only criticise a superficial world built on a finite resource but also discuss the nature of an absolute surface world today in architecture?