Welcome to the conceptual laboratory of Diploma 9 – the world in which students invent, manufacture and design their identities alongside their architectures. Unit Staff: Natasha Sandmeier, Manolis Stavrakakis
From the Jury discussion there were several topics I found extremely interesting and I am currently organizing thoughts into a new potential direction.
Through a series of pieces the next stage of the project could be described; The pieces are to include highly specific films each accompanied by an illustration/drawing, an object and text/poem/article. A balance between visual ambiguity and clarity could describe a narrative through each piece and altogether would form the story.
The proposal for now aims at focusing on ‘War’ as an apparatus for discussing new architectural aesthetics (purely War at its most beautiful and spectacular forms in contemporary media) and instead of the output being a narrative about warfare its phantasmagorical effects are used as a proxy for new narratives.
1. The Forever War
In this way war phantasmagorias are to act as a framework for both commentary and design proposal within the context of a state of perpetual war and arguably one in which war or the military industrial complex are mothers/fathers of culture itslef.
2. It Is beautiful!
War Is Beautiful – by David Shields David Shields analyzed over a decade s worth of front-page war photographs from The New York Times and came to a shocking conclusion: the photo-editing process of the paper of record, by way of pretty, heroic, and lavishly aesthetic image selection, pulls the wool over the eyes of its readers; Shields forces us to face not only the the media’s complicity in dubious and catastrophic military campaigns but our own as well. The mighty Times, far from being a check on governmental power, is in reality a massive amplifier for its dark forces by virtue of the way it aestheticizes warfare.
3. Brecht’s Primer in 3 steps
With Brecht’s work, re-readings by Walter Benjamin as well as subsequent reproductions of his War Primer, I aim to identify characteristics of theatricality/phantasmagoria (baroque effects) that are prevalent today and can become the crux to a language of aesthetics.
Book by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin Above Jospeh Goebbles is shown with a caption as he appeared in Brecht’s original War Primer but Bloomberg and Chanarin add a new dimension by overlaying a munch discussed photoshoped image of Iranian missiles over the Nazi chief of propaganda’s face
Oliver Laric ‘Versions’ – at 2:10 the missiles image shown collaged above Goebbles face is discussed.
4. War as Culture – Objects and Iconography
The famous spectacle of the ‘Fly-By’ during major events over London is predominantly a parade of aerial military technologies where even commercial objects (concorde and later A380) become nationalist icons and int he case of the concorde produced as competition during a climate of war (Cold War)
5. ‘Punk’ as the Counter-culture to War:
Through music, fashion and the arts the counter-culture to political establishments is seen.
Punk aesthetics of the 70s and 80s are already dated, what would 21st Century Punk look like or Punk architecture?
Evolution of war iconography, Robert Overweg 2011, Greenspon, Oliver Stone / Willem Dafoe, Call of duty black ops. The photo on the left taken by Greenspon during the Vietnam war features a soldier in an iconic and archetypical posture. It displays pain agony, possibly a call to god* all things the American public could relate to during the ongoing vietnam war, the assassination of Martin Luther King jr. and Robert Kennedy. This same posture was used as an inspiration for another iconic image. Oliver Stone featured Willem Dafoe on the cover and posters for the movie Platoon with the same iconic hands in the air, agony and a call to god can also be found in this posture. Oliver Stone adds a new cultural meaning to the image of Greenspon. The same posture and reference is yet again used but now in the game call of duty: black ops. During the first quarter of 2011 this was the best selling game of all-time in dollars on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. The iconic posture once introduced to our popular culture by Greenspon went from subjective registration to critical movie icon to be used in a commercial computer game.
Post-jury jubilation …
Tony Blair and the famous Selfie montage which ended up in an exhibition at the Imperial War Museum.
Below the short film produced for the Jury:
Updates on overall direction and new ideas to come
Here is a rough preview of the first act to build up the approach to the fire and topic. Fire footage is ready and is currently being edited into Act Two. Act one is subject to further editing and fine tuning as everything is brought together.
5 hours = 15 seconds of stop-motion from 3 camera positions;
. . . now off to burn it all!
Below are some images of the final set-up from the well-head to the plumes spewing out of it. The next phase is the burning. The stop-motion process and construction of the model and well-head have all been footage generators (have been recorded as ‘making-of’).
Finally architecture as DISTRACTION, could perhaps form a refreshed way of describing the ideas encompassing all my apparatuses – of screen, footage, time, baroque special effects/phantasmagoria, or indeed the war – came to mind after our last tutorial with Natasha and Manolis when referring to ‘Wag the Dog’. Since we discussed how the detailed construction or re-framing of information/footage could be seen in relation to actual events and their theatrical dramatisation as ‘distractions’ or indeed ‘confusers’ of reality – Perception thusly Managed!
When Bush senior took the US to Kuwait. At 7:37 A New World Order is introduced for the first time here.
Below is my narrative set up, a first draft of the overall script. It will be reworked while I start putting the footage into place.
Gogglebox – reaction as spectacle – We become the story
The overarching ‘Why?’
Disproportionality of footage versus events turns anything into spectacle; We become the story and the content of the story no longer matters. We stare back at ourselves.
A neo-baroque spectacle: What interests me socio-politically with the introduction of the term “neo-baroque” is to use it as an umbrella terminology to weave an argument referring to the relationship between footage and counter-rational dramatization of moments that are exploded within it. I have been compiling readings and references to sharpen this argument and its specific relationship to contemporary media and time (a lot of the terminology and philosophy spins it back to imploding or expanding of time through spectacle) It could, down the line provide characteristics of further “effects” that might be achieved with my proposal/footage/project structure.
What I allude to with Baroque and Neo-Baroque Spectacle (parts of the narration will start defining characteristics to open this discussion):
‘baroque’’ implied an art or music of extravagance, impetuousness, and virtuosity, all of which were concerned with stirring the affections and senses of the individual. The baroque was believed to lack the reason and discipline that came to be associated with neoclassicism and the era of the Enlightenment. More importantly how it was embraced by the Catholic church as tool of political power in the counter-reformation era very much how the media corporations today online or on various news feeds embrace our proliferated footage to generate meaning, often deliberately confusing and thusly managing perception of what is shown.
As a result of technological, industrial, and economic transformations, contemporary entertainment media reflect a dominant neo-baroque logic. The neo-baroque shares a baroque delight in spectacle and sensory experiences. Neo-baroque entertainments, however—which are the product of conglomerate entertainment industries, multi- media interests, and spectacle that is often reliant upon computer technology—present contemporary audiences with new baroque forms of expression that are aligned with late-twentieth- and early-twenty-first-century concerns. The neo-baroque combines the visual, the auditory, and the textual in ways that parallel the dynamism of seventeenth-century baroque form, but that dynamism is expressed in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries in technologically and culturally different ways. Importantly, underlying the emergence of the neo-baroque are transformed economic and social factors.
To conclude I don’t wish at this early stage for the terminology to distract but to frame a wider argument of the “Why” and it might help focus the next steps not only the ‘making-of’ ideas but also how to cement the footage-spectacle relationship.
Here’s the Humvee and toy soldier guarding my mirror pieces for size reference.
The past two days have mostly been focused on managing logistics of my physical model set up. Pending replies from Joel and Jillian on footage advice and health and safety respectively.
In other news, have 5 60x60cm mirros and picking my two-way spy mirror up tomorrow afternoon. Advice from Tris has really helped advance the flaming side of things: Pressure weed sprayer I’m getting tomorrow as well will be filled with fuel and the nozzle will shoot the fuel out past a cotton bud laced with WD40 that will ignite it (the sprayer device and this overal set up IS apparently as safe as I can make this for distancing fuel source from ignition point and getting the desired effect). Here’s a super low-res reference for visual (not many people build flamethrowers for more serious applications it seems other than ‘fun’):
I show this one specifically because they use exactly the tools I am gathering for mine.
I am currently working on the narrative as the vehicle to frame my wider argument; my ‘why’ side of the project. I have some clearer idea and this is what I plan to focus on discussing tomorrow at tutorials since set-up wise with the physical model I just need to start putting the elements together and running some tests with that flame thrower over the weekend.
Stay tuned for the narrative …
Brought to you by The Agency of Perception ManagementFootage as an apparatus for neo-baroque spectacle!
Kuwait oil well model fire tests – process video (embedded below)
Above is a short film I put together recording the process of exploding this moment from several vantage points and through the medium of film and photography.
The oil well burning isn’t as spectacular as anticipated but the technique of using filmic space and time to create relationships between the footage gathered and the way this information is displayed (formated) on screen is to be further refined.
The aim is to develop a process for a project narrative to evolve through and to start building an argument on the proliferation of recorded material that explodes events (spatially and in time) and questions values of memory, history and mythography in current affairs/architecture.
So I set fire to my own field of oil wells Gulf-War-1.0 style. A few hours of footage including prepping and recording generated from an almost 5 minute burning.
Following our discussion on Friday I focused on using time and points of view/perception as means for generating footage and expanding a moment. In a test I carried out below I recorded the burning of a model oil well by setting up several devices to capture the moment (including iPad, iPhone, GoPro, SLR camera and a webcam recording myself and the other cameras recording the moment). Prior to that I recorded myself in the process of putting together the model oil well. The set up wasn’t limited to expanding the moment in time but also expanding it spatially with a simple mirror set up to create an infinite field of moments.