“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Materials: Objects: Environments Liveblog 1 (David Gissen)

Subnature: smoke, dust, exhaust fumes, debris, weeds, pigeons, parrots and cockatoos...

vectors in architectural drawings
contemporary aesthetics within architecture plays with that: Deleuzian aesthetic of flow
post-vectored representation of the environment
problem: the arrows represent the sublimation of the built environment within a vitalistic and scientific conception of the environment
new types of grammar

we live in a vectored mentality even when artworks aren’t about vectors
I Wei Wei’s kernels at the Tate Modern: viewed as vectors for dust

Forest de Belidor (1737–1753), Hydraulic Architecture: arrows representing the flow of water
Phillippe Buache, 1743 map of Flood of Paris
Air currents of New York Underground, 1900
Industry in Chicago, 1900
Pollution vectors in American Cities, 1960s: buildings sited within a particular airflow
Buckminster Fuller’s Dome over Manhattan, 1960
Air Currents in Times Square, DHS 2004
CASE phyto-remediation Wall System
Exhalations of Crowds, Home Woodbridge, 1900
Carbon Dioxide Swirls, Open Columns, Omar Khan 2007

Michael Carepetian photo, Leonardo Benevelo photo of architectural masterpieces open to the elements: a form of realism
things not moving in a graceful way
objectifying socio-natural matter into forms instead of distributing it; vs. optimize and fix
architecture has been the era of distribution; need for something that’s more formed
representation of environment that’s social-historical rather than scientific

Phillipe Rahm, The Underground House 2005
earth has a taste and smell; make each house have a relationship to the “profoundness of the odors of the soil”; house filled with the smell of earth; different from 19th or 20th or even a sustainable architect
instead of trying to propel the frightening stuff away
room as a form in which we’re in contact with ground in a new way

B_MU Tower, Bangkok, R&Sie, 2002; “Dusty Relief”
siting within Bangkok pollution: absorbing the polluted air with an electrostatic skin
the cruelty of creating an art gallery environment with perfect air systems, the irony of that
The Magic Mountain, Ames Iowa, Cero9, 2004; shower of roses and pollen

reification of “space” and “environment” in architectural theory
space as psychological vs environment as concrete

trying to put history back into the environment
Deterritorialized Territory, Paris, Phillippe Rahm, 2008
reconstitute May 1832 day in Paris; room that is a historical reconstruction of one month before first coal fired industrial plant
(Doug: The Air of Paris, Duchamp)

1920s pollution in Pennsylvania
David Gissen, Reconstruction, HTC experiments, 2006–2010
Stack and California College of the Arts, Potrero Hill, SF 2009; last industrial stack in the area
Plume Idling, California College of the Arts, HTC Experiments

Jorge Otero-Pailos, 2008, The Ethics of Dust
applying a latex wash to the surfaces; hung the residues back on the wall; sense of labor of the cleaners; turning the atmos into a physical form
there’s a determinacy to it

1990 image of CO2 concentrations over the Earth; we can site our work within this context without bowing to science

(are we bowing to science or to scientism? q)
thermodynamic flows: Gissen agrees, it’s a kind of aura of science, he calls it vitalism

Kant: forgetting the science, forgetting the ego

arrows: representing matter under force; connotation of force and aggression?

Q: where is the everyday-ness? Gissen can appreciate that. But does architecture represent life or is architecture the setting in which life occurs?
monuments withdrawn from activity--should architecture not speak to the here and now?
modernist program: shaping of human activity
architecture IS a historical, monumental activity...
“we need to withdraw a bit and activate other possibilities”

Doug: post-vector with stagnancy; that would be all buildings; an object that becomes more of an object...?
is it possible to have a building that comes from someplace else?
1970s studies of heat-island effect; carbon off-gassing studies
we can study even the most static-seeming object as vectored in “this vain age”

Q: Zeno; revenge of the filter; toxic buildup, Legionnaire’s disease
utopian planning that imagines the city as flow (1960s)

the flows, when seen from a higher dimensional point of view or taking the long view into account, are static or metastable (global warming)
Arthur Graham as vectored language
Tony Fry: how to make movable cities (Doug)

Jill: disciplinary orientation, capacity of architecture to intervene? Why isn’t this just art? So withdrawn that you can’t live in it
what do we really do in the city? monuments and memorials have to do with art, they represent life quite literally (men on horses etc.)
but architecture in general is the setting
not architecture any more even though architecture is its object

Rahm: he DOES build things; we are in a room with an air conditioning system which is somehow for us or plants or animals
the place emerges as a form, like the climate of Guatemala (a representation), 50% humidity, 70 degrees

I used to live in a farmhouse that had a basement that smelled like dirt...

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