I’m spending my day reading the book “A Utopia of Modernity: Zlín”, which I extract notes from and will turn into a storyboard by tomorrow, in which my alter-ego responds to the situation of the Batas he finds himself within, turning the story of the early Bata-Zlín into a sequence of causes and responses (he is required to have his garden responsibly pruned, but he prefers a jungle, hence he plants a citrus tree of rebellion in a mystery box in his garden to which only he has the keys – stupid, I know, but you get the point).
Yesterday I spent continuing my drawing for the analogue Facebook. I still have this itch within me that tells me “you’re not doing architecture!”, and hence, I add little houses and Bata factories into the Facebook profile. But, on the other hand, a drawn version of Facebook needs in some way to differ from the digital one – it has to be able to be what the digital isn’t, as we discussed – and therefore it might not be as stupid as it sounds (just a bit anxious).
Three poems/musings from Saturday:
The stage needs to be set; we need to know the terms which apply to one’s statement;
you cannot let the audience guess at what you’re aiming for – for absurdity to operate
within a project, that absurdity has to be stated as clearly as possible, and, in the end
it is what you apply to the project in the form of a design move that decides whether
the impression of the critic is one of satisfaction, or of being left without a clue of what
to say, seeing as what you do is a mere assumption constructed upon the knowledge
that is embedded within a project, not explicitly stated. Such knowledge takes the form
of explaining our point of departure, which, in itself, has to proceed according to the fact
at hand; the research doesn’t drive the project, but the moves of the factory, its guts
are the extraction not of a mere “good project”, but of a project which explores
by its own means, a topic that perhaps will only much later reveal the reasons
behind these moves. It goes back to the question of context; we do not invent truth
out of nothing, but rather, truth expands out of its prerequisites, the solum on which
it thrives and from which it obtains its energy and potential. If we declare for ourselves
that our task is to ignore geographical context, even to maim it by means of cutting away
its affiliations with a physical place – because if architecture has gone through anything
it is its loss of physicality – it was actually so, all along. Architecture has always differed
from mere building; in the past, it was the “art” of building, and the building embedded
within it the qualities of art that we were only able to explain by means of golden means
of perfect proportions, of symmetry and proper material salvaging; the result was physical
(make no mistake) but it was not architecture, until we enter the discussion of morality
encapsulated within the built form; the building is a container for architecture, but
it is also transferable as a form of commodity and knowledge. When the architect
of present times concludes that architecture is “a form of knowledge”, he is not breaking
any concept brought forward by Alberti, Palladio, Ruskin, Corb, Venturi, or Koolhaas.
The pursuit of context and that of concept are equal in their struggle to emancipate
the thought from the mortar, and the idea from reality. These two have to be treated
on the same grounds; the theory itself, the knowledge, is severed from its image
and, indeed, the image of present day has become distorted into a fiction in itself.
The advantage of having an alter-ego lies in our ability to modify that alter-ego beyond
what is already set genetically (hereditary) in our personality. I can with confidence claim
that I am gay in my alter-ego, while my “real self” becomes blurred by such a distinction;
am I still heterosexual if I act as a homosexual man as part of my fabricated identity?
Can I be said to be masquerading so to the point that I will be more identified with roles
that I am playing than with the private psyche to which none has access except myself?
For a man to always have a desire to be authentic, how weird would it not be to conclude
that I am more the way that I behave than what I am when I am alone with only thoughts
for company, the state of being in which it becomes apparent that what we’re doing
at such a place as an architecture school is to fabricate worlds of architecture in which
we ourselves must enter, perhaps no longer as the aforementioned authentic beings
but as flexible collages of experiences that we pick from any other man that suits us.
The alter-ego allows us to question not only the degree of truth in an architect, but also
the increasingly blurred boundaries between the theatrical and the honest. It will be
a matter of deciding, among others, which age we want to live in, what kind of wife
we want to kiss, what buildings we want to be photographed in the shadow of, as well
as asking oneself what kind of life one would ideally want to live together with a world
which does its best to smother all eccentricity by the means of considering the minority
of all minorities, which is the self, the individual, the atom of society, to be redundant.
If the battle that one fights with the world takes the form of being an internal battle
how can this be given physical form? In what ways do I become truly physical in society?
By this extension, it becomes clear that we are departing farther and farther away
from architecture in its physical form, and entering the role of psychology, in which
the architecture is a mere prop to our life in general; we cannot say that he is
an architect, but we know for sure that he is a factory worker, and such a departure
is much like taking the risk of committing to a profession so to the degree that we
include in this profession all that relates to other professions. The greatest fear
of the architect-in-the-making is to be considered too architectural for society
to accept him as an independent (separate) part of reality. The internal battle
that we’re fighting as students is no different from that fought by the proletariat.
How to do an analogue Facebook; mount the timeline on a toilet roll, and unwind
the narrative as you go along. Take a heap of paper and throw at the jury, and declare:
I share this with you! All along, we project the reality of the exploitation of Facebook
on a screen or a projection on the wall, declaring for us what it is that we need in order
to come across as a meme or as a trending topic. For a man who has never had Facebook
one can see, with Persian letter-eyes, what the potential for these tools are for the past.
Want to like a post? Press your thumb against an ink pad and then add your fingerprint
to the post by means of *physically liking* what you see, and then we can slowly see
how certain posts become more interesting than others by means of the smeared ink
that we see below its content. Want to embed a video clip? Make a flipbook, one where
you see the motion being used as primitively as the first galloping horse-clip to settle
a bet between two friends. Or pull the leg – literally – of a dancer by means of a handle
also (of course) made out of paper. Beyond Photoshop, we have, as always, the selfie
where we smile awkwardly next to the shoe which we have just fabricated, and if I
want to have a house in this model garden city, can I only do so by faking that I have
a wife and happy children? In short: what are the terms that are set up by Tomas Bata
and instead of thinking why I should challenge them, I challenge them because of
my personality, my opinions, my inherent characteristics, the things that make up
my identity. Now I sit on the patio of my neighbour’s front lot, discussing with him
our strategies for earning the same amount of money with less effort, more laziness.
The theme here is to exploit; what are the things that would stay the same, and what
are the things that need to be changed? Everything, you say, but what actually happens
is that as things change, they are merely translated, and we realise the very absurdity
of a situation when it defies time and content, in order to reach the anachronistic
which is also the most temporal there is: to not stray from the course of making
a paper Facebook, by telegraphing a chat message, while confirming this absurdity
of making a thing of the past which could not have existed in this form in the past.