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  • 10/30/12--01:38: Article 2

    Thomas Ruff

    When I did my first architectural series, in 1987-91, I chose the typical, undistinguished buildings my generation grew up surrounded by. I thought that high architecture might overshadow the image itself, that a Mies building would be too beautiful. I was worried that there would be too much Mies and too little Ruff. But after gaining experience making various series in the meantime, I thought I could transform even Mies architecture into a Ruff image. When Julian proposed the project in 1999, I realized I was ready for Mies–that I could make his architecture look different from the way it had appeared in previous photographs.
    We decided to work on two Mies buildings that were near-contemporaries–the Barcelona Pavilion (completed in 1929) and Haus Tugendhat, in Brno, Czech Republic (1930)–as well as Haus Lange and Haus Esters. My idea now was to work in several modes: straight architectural shots, interior photographs like the ones I was making twenty years ago, stereoscopic photographs, and computer-manipulated images. Some of the computer alterations were done to create the impression of speed–something modernity has always been closely associated with. When Mies’s German Pavilion was built for the 1929 International Exposition, it must have looked like a UFO had landed in Barcelona. Speed in photography is always blurry, and my picture of the German Pavilion looks like a high-speed locomotive–modernity arriving at the train station of the present (albeit the present of 1929).
    When Terence Riley saw some of these images, he asked me if I would work on the rest of Mies’s buildings in Berlin and Stuttgart for MOMA’S upcoming show “Mies in Berlin.” So I began shooting those buildings too, but I couldn’t photograph all of them–some were obstructed by trees or by traffic and parked cars. So another mode appeared: using archival material. At first I thought I might hand-color some old black-and white prints, but in the end I did all the alterations on the computer.
    In this way, I have tried to do a contemporary-art exhibition about architecture from the past, using every technique available to contemporary photography. The computer is a great new tool for photography, an extension of the darkroom, allowing you to alter color, resolution, parts of the image, or even the whole thing. For the Krefeld show I was playing with issues surrounding the documentary aspects of architectural photography. What was in front of the camera is not what you see in the images, because I altered about 90 percent of them. In some I took out the color and made a new sky. In one there appears to be a ghost (is it Mies?), which was originally a bad exposure that I guided into an intention, let’s say. The curtain in the Barcelona Pavilion is red, but I wondered what would happen if it were blue or green. How might this change the reception of Mies’s architecture?
    The main idea was to create a kind of resume of the photographic representations of Mies’s buildings and at the same time demonstrate that the reception of his work was hugely indebted to a relatively small number of photographs.
    With stereoscopic photography, it’s obvious that our perception has less to do with what we see than with what our brain does with that information. If you look at the two flat images, nothing much happens; but look at them at just the right angle and the images become one–and it’s three–dimensional. We may look with our eyes, but our brain constructs the images. My idea was to make these 3-D interiors look even more artificial by altering the distance between the stereoscopic camera’s lenses, which are normally set apart about the same distance as a person’s eyes. To take stereo h.t.b. 06, 2000, I used two cameras set about ten inches apart, which creates a perceptual transformation: The viewer becomes a twelve-foot-tall giant peering into a dollhouse-size interior.

    More about Thomas Ruff Work on American Suburb X channel  
    See also Miesology from E2A
            and some other paintings hereand there

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  • 11/07/12--15:15: Article 1

    Gerhard Richter

    Richter began to produce these small-scale works by smearing, mostly at the end of a working day; some of the paint left on one of his squeegees - the large-scale spatulas with which he drags great volume of paint accross the canvas to achieve his signature blur - onto the surface of photographs he keeps in this studio. This connects the photographic images, mostly snapshots taken by the artists himself, in a very immediate and physical way with his paintings. The majority of photographs adhere to a standard size of approximately 10x15 cm, the same size Richter also employed in War Cut. The subjects cover a similar range to that Richter ‘s painting based on photographs: mountain ans seascapes, cities and landscapes, self and family portaits and images of friends as well as anonymous crowds of people. On the whole, they have an everyday, if not idyllic, quality to them , circling the same cosmos of holiday mementoes, treasured private moments and records of a personal life that many of us use photography both to construct and to freeze frame. Noticeably, these are few excpetional subjects and no images that would carry a particular message or that would appear burdened by the gravitas of what they depict; no sites imprinted with the traces of German History, no images of particular celebrities or of dramaturgical scenarios - just an ordinary personal universe. 

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  • 11/18/12--10:17: Article 0

    Ludwig Hilberseimer

    « Reason is the first principle of all human work ». Consciously or unconciously L.Hilberseimer follows this principle and makes it the basis of this work in the complicated field of city planning. He examines the city with unwavering objectivity, investigates each part of it and determines for each part its rightful place in the whole. Thus he brings all the elements of the city into clear, logical order. He avoids imposing upon them arbitrary ideas of any character whatsoever.
    He knows the cities must serve life, that their validity is to be measured in terms of life, and that they must be planned for living. He understands that the forms of cities are the expression of existing modes of living, that they are inextricably bound up with these, and that they, with these, are subject to change. He realizes that the material and spiritual conditions of the problem are given, that he can exercise no infleunce on these factors in themselves, that they are rooted in the past and will be determined by objectives tendencies for the future.
    He also knows that the existence of many and diverse factors presupposes the existence of some order which gives meaning to these and which acts as a medium in which they can grow and unfold. City planning means for the author, therefore, the ordering of things in themselves and in their relationships with each other. One should not confuse the principles with their application. City planning is, in essence, a work of order; and order means - according to St Augustine - «the disposition of equal and unequal things, attributing to each its place»

    and if you are more interested on The Principles of Planning , you can see the entire book here, ( it takes a bit of time to appear ) which is more explicit than the sample of texts and images above, and allow to understand Hilberseimer's reflexion as a whole

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  • 12/10/12--16:10: Article 0

    Luigi Ghirri

    In 1969 the photo taken from the space shuttle on its way to the moon is published in all newspapers ; this was the first photographs of the world. The picture pursued for centuries by man presented to our eyes, containing contemporarily all the preceding images, incomplete, all books written, all signs deciphered and not. It was not only the picture of the world, but the picture which contained all the pictures of the world : graffiti, frescoes, prints, paintings, writings, photographs, books, films. Simultaneously the representation of the world in one time only. 
    On the other hand this total view, this redescription of everything, destroyed one more the possibility of translating the hieroglyphic whole. The power of containing everything vanished in front of the impossibility of seeing evetything at the same time. The event and its representation, to see and to be contained, reappeared to man as not sufficient to solve eternal questions. This possibility of total duplication, however, let us glimpse the possibility of deciphering the hieroglyph; we had the two poles of doubt and of the secular mystery, the picture of the atom and the picture of the world, finally in front of the other. The space between the infinitely small and the infinitely big was filled by the infinitely complex problem : man and his life, nature. The need for information or consciousness thus arises between two extreme points, oscillating from the microscope to the telescope in order to be able to translate and interpret reality or the hieroglyph.

    My work rises from the necessity and the desire to interpret and translate the sign and meaning of this sum of hieroglyphs. So, not only a reality which is easily identifiable or highly loaded with symbols, but also thought, imagination, the fantastic and strange meanings.The photograph is extremely important for the aim I have set myself because of certain characteristic features of its language, which I shall try to explain.The cancellation of the space surrounding the framed part is for me as important as the represented part; it is because of this cancellation that the picture assumes a meaning and gets measurable.At the same time the picture continues in the visible part of the cancellation, and it invites is to see the rest of the not represented reality.This double aspect of representation and cancellation not only tries to evoke the absence of limits, excluding any idea of completness or finished thing, but it indicates something which cannot be delimitated, and that is the real.
    On the other hand, the possibility of seeing and penetrating universe of reality passes through all the cultural representations and models known, and which have been given to us as definite and decisive, and our relationship with reality  and the life is the same relationship as the one of the picture from the satellite with the earth itself. So the photograph with its indeterminateness becomes a privileged subject in order to be able to get outside the symbolism of definite representations to which a certain value of truth has been given.The possibility of analysis in time, in the space of signs which form the reality whose completeness has always slipped our minds, thus permits the photograph, because of its fragmentary character to be closer to things which cannot be delimitated, and that is physical existence.

    That is why I am not interested in the pictures and the decisive moments, the study or the analysis of their language as an end in itself, aesthetics, the concept or totalizing ideas, the emotions of the poet, the well-bred quotation, the search for a new aesthetics creed, the use of a style. I am occuped with seeing clearly, that is why I am interested in all possible functions, without separating anyone from the whole, but to assume then in a total way in order to be able to see and render recognizable from one time to another, the hieroglyphs I met. The daily encounter with reality, with the fictions and surrogates, the ambiguoous aspects, poetical or alienating, seems to deny any way out of the labyrinth, whose walls are always more illusive even to the point of confusing ourselves with them. The meaning that I try to give to my work is that of the verification of how it is possible to wish to face the way of knowledge, to make it possible at last to tell the real identity of man, of things, of life from the image of man, of things, of life. 

    And more about Luigi Ghirri : here Note sur l'architecture 
                                                     and there  Atlante

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  • 01/05/13--02:01: Article 0

    Wim Eckert

    In 2009 we again visited Brasilia for an informal study of the architecture of Oscar Niemeyer. After walking through endless lobbies and representational spaces, we decided to take a tour of the memorial to Brazil’s most beloved and probably also most hated president, Doctor Juscelino Kubitschek. He took office on January 31, 1956 after announcing a massive rebuilding program the morning following his election. 
    The motto for his political agenda was « fifty years of progress in five» and his administration launched immense public programs including the construction of major highways, hydroelectric facilities, and public buildings. To stimulate industry, tariffs were increased, foreign exchange was revised to aid importation of needed capital, and credit from the Banco Do Brasil and the National Econoic Development Bank became liberally available. 
    The country’s productive capacity soared and Brazil became a major industrialized nation. The most impressive program he oversaw, however, was the construction of an entirely new capital, Brasilia, seven hundred miles into the wild interior of the country. Once asked why he built Brasilia, Kubitschek laconically answered that he needed a place to which he could build roads. Brasilia therefore was the prefect alibi to deliver broad infrastructure to the underdeveloped parts of the country and was successfully inaugurated within only four years, just three months before the end of his presidential term.
    In addition to this information, heroically displayed by the magnitude of Niemeyer’s architecture, one can also find an original mock-up of Kubitscheck’s office at the memorial. 
    This leaves the impression that he left the building and forgot his glasses on the table just a minute ago. The awkward feeling of a strange mixture between a majestic mausoleum and a voyeuritsic peepshow is completed when one finds Kubitschek’s last car, a 1973 Ford Glaxie, sitting in an abandoned parking lot, fully enclosed by glass. It is as if Damien Hirst poured formaldehyde into garage he had mistaken for Snow White’s coffin.
    The original advertisment by the Ford Motor Company in 1959 announced the Ford Galaxie as heralding the point in automobile production when nothing remained exclusively for the rich. The car had a strong, modern body which offered a new level of comfort. The upholsteries were so costly that they were matched by few cars at any price level, the interiors were richly paneled, the air was regulated by a silent flow ventilation system, and light permeated through the doors, ashtray, glove box and trunk.
    The description of the Ford Galaxie’s interior strangely recalls Edgar Allan Poe’s description of his belowed wife’s coffin in his gothic novel The Fall of the house of Usher. Similar to Poe’s wife, Juscelino Kubitschek seemed alive when we entered the memorial museum. In fact, his ghost is present throughout Brasilia, a city which suffers from apparent death. Everything is exactly fifty years old, a freeze frame the same age as Kubitschek’s car. 
    The car does not need to be seen as a symbol for the new capital and its former president. However, on august 22, 1976, Juscelino Kubitscheck died in a car accident near the city of Resende in the state of Rio de janeiro - in a Ford Galaxie. 

    See also Miesology here

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  • 01/27/13--12:51: Article 0

  • HALL
    Antoine Espinasseau

    Dans les espaces de transition de la ville, le hall tient une place particulière. Urbain par nature - il n’existe que peu de halls à la campagne - il assure le passage d’une importance vers une autre, d’un état à un autre, très souvent entre le public de la rue et le privé du chez soi. Mot emprunté à l’anglais, il est admis en 1930 une prononciation française par le dictionnaire Barbeau Roche, son usage révélant une lacune linguistique et très peu d’équivalents français. L’antichambre évoque une proximité plus rapprochée, la salle d’attente s’exprime dans une temporalité plus longue. Le vestibule serait le terme le plus approprié mais s’apparente à un usage moins contemporain, référant à un type d’espace plus classique et à une connotation plus bourgeoise. 
    Le hall connaîtra son âge d’or dans les années 1970, à une époque où la rationalisation des chaines de montages en béton préfabriqué permet de construire beaucoup d’immeubles à moindre coût. Il s’en est reproduit des centaines de milliers, dans les villes petites, moyennes, grandes, les stations de ski, et les périphéries plus hagardes. 
    Face à l’uniformisation de cette typologie aux façades répétitives, très souvent posée dans un contexte qu’elle dénie, il a fallu imaginer un rapport au sol nouveau, qui permette de singulariser le bâtiment. Dans ces paysages gris est née une nature propre à ces rez-de-chaussée. Ils ont commencé à faire exister leur personnalité architecturale face au regard du piéton, et ont trouvé dans cette grande vague d’uniformisation, un moyen d’appropriation pour les usagers.De cette abstraction du contexte, ce sont développés des univers artificiels. Le vide des halls s’est peuplé d’ objets extrêmement singuliers, souvent construits dans des matériaux bruts de gros-oeuvre. La brique, le béton, le pavé, le verre, le parement de façade utilisés articulent la transition entre la massivité du volume extérieur vers les pièces intérieures. Dans ces atmosphères tempérées par le chauffage collectif, une nouvelle nature s’est aussi imposée : plantes vertes, palmiers, rocailles. La transition s’est transformée en voyage, toujours plus imaginatif, toujours plus exotique. Elle est devenue une invitation à l’exil, une coupure entre le monde de la rue et l’univers privé par un passage dans une sorte d’irréalité. 
    Depuis l’entrée en vigueur du décret n°76-276 du 29 mars 1976 sur l’instauration d’un rapport entre surface hors d’oeuvre nette SHON et la surface hors d’oeuvre brute SHOB,  le hall s’est doucement réduit à un minima, désormais tenu à son strict nécessaire par les promoteurs. Avec des objectifs de coûts de construction les plus faibles, ces mètres carrés non utilisables sont devenus inutiles. Le hall a alors subi deux mouvements antagonistes : une réduction drastique ou un élargissement spectaculaire qui l’a fait muter au stade de lobby, très vaste espace d’apparat représentant le prestige du bâtiment. 
    Le hall est donc devenu rare. Pourtant, dans ce moment métropolitain qui ne dure qu’un instant, ce sont créés des mondes, des univers silencieux dans le grondement de la métropole. Prendre le temps de s’arrêter sur ces petits espaces, c’est porter une attention sur une époque, des pratiques et des temps particuliers. Regarder les halls d’immeubles aujourd’ hui, avec tout le caractère désuet que cela peut revêtir, c’est aussi regarder tous ces espaces de la métropole qui semblent oubliés, ces décalages qui se produisent dans le mouvement général, ceux qui ne semblent jamais nous affecter, mais qui revêtissent une certaine forme d’importance car c’est là que s’inventent les libertés et les pratiques exotiques de la ville. Cachés mais visibles aux yeux de tous, réservés à un petit nombre, ce sont ces micro-univers qui génèrent la narration du quotidien.

    Texte d'introduction de Flavien Menu 
    pour la première exposition personnelle d'Antoine Espinasseau à la Galerie Florence Leoni, du jeudi 31 janvier à 18 heures au 14 mars 2012

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  • 02/19/13--15:30: Article 0

  • The Man Without Content
    Giorgio Agamben

    Chapter #4 : The Cabinet of Wonder

    In 1660, in Antwerp, David Teniers published the first illustrated catalog of an art museum under the title Theatrum pittoricum. In a series of etchings, the book reproduces the paintings owned by the archduke Leopold William and hung in his exhibition halls in the Brussels court. The author, addressing the "admirers of art" in his preface, warns that
    the original paintings whose drawings you see here are not all of the same shape or of the same size. Thus we have had to make them the same, in order to reduce them to the size of the pages of this volume, so that we could present them to you in a more convenient form. If somebody should wish to know the proportion of the originals, he can measure it guiding himself with the feet or palms which are marked in the margins.

    This warning is followed by a description of the halls themselves that could be a prototype of the guide found at the entrance of any modern museum, if it were not for the scant attention that Teniers pays the individual paintings rather than to the exhibition space as a whole:
    Upon entering, one encounters two long galleries, where, along the windowless wall, the Paintings hang in good order; on the other side, where the windows are, one can admire several large Statues, for the most part ancient ones, set on high Bases, with their ornaments; be hind them, under and between the windows, are other paintings, several of which you do not know.

    Teniers informs us that among these are found six canvases by Bruegel the Elder, representing the twelve months of the year "with an admirable art of the brush, vivid colors, and ingenious ordering of postures," and a large number of still lives; from there one moves into other halls and exhibition areas "where the rarest and most precious rooms show the most subtle masterpieces of the brush, to the wonderful delight of the discerning Minds; so that the people who wish to look at such lovely things to their hearts' desire would need several weeks of leisure, or even many months, to examine them as closely as they deserve."

    Art collections, however, have not always had such a familiar aspect for us. Toward the end of the Middle Ages, in the countries of continental Europe, princes and learned men used to collect the most disparate objects in a Wunderkammer (cabinet of wonder), which contained, promiscuously, rocks of an unusual shape, coins, stuffed animals, manuscript volumes, ostrich eggs, and unicorn horns. Statues and paintings stood side by side with curios and exemplars of natural history in these cabinets of wonders when people started
    collecting art objects; and, at least in Germanic countries, the princes' art collections preserved the traces of their origin in the medieval Wunderkammer until much later. We know that August I, elector of Saxony, who boasted that he owned "a series of portraits of Roman emperors, from Caesar to Domitian, executed by Titian from life," refused an offer of 100,000 gold florins made by Venice's Council of the Ten for a unicorn he owned, and that he kept as a precious object a stuffed phoenix, a gift from the bishop of Bamberg. As late as 1567, the exhibition room kept by Albert V of Bavaria contained, in addition to 780 paintings, 2,000 objects of various kinds, among them "an egg that a bishop had found inside another egg, manna fallen from the sky during a famine, a hydra, and a basilisk."

    We have an etching that reproduces the Wunderkammer belonging to the German physician and collector Hans Worms, with the help of which we can gain a fairly precise notion of the appearance of a real cabinet of wonder. Alligators, stuffed gray bears, oddly shaped fish, stuffed birds, and canoes used by primitive peoples hang from the ceiling, at a considerable distance from the floor. The upper part of the back wall is taken up by spears, arrows, and other weapons of various shapes and origins. Between the windows of one of the side walls there are deer and elk antlers, animal hooves and skulls;
    on the opposite wall, in near proximity to each other, hang tortoise shells, snake skins, sawfish teeth, and leopard skins. From a certain height all the way down to the floor, the walls are covered with shelves overflowing with shells, octopus bones, mineral salts, metals, roots, and mythological statuettes. Only seemingly does chaos reign in the Wunderkammer, however: to the mind of the medieval scholar, it was a sort of microcosm that reproduced, in its harmonious confusion, the animal, vegetable, and mineral macrocosm. This is why the individual objects seem to find their meaning only side by side with others, between the walls of a room in which the scholar could measure at every moment the boundaries of the universe. 

    If we now lift our eyes away from the etching and turn them to a painting that reproduces a seventeenth-century gallery, for example the picture by Willem van Haecht that depicts the archduke Albert visiting Cornelius van der Geist's collection in Antwerp, in the company of Rubens, Gerard Seghers, and Jordaens, we cannot help noticing a certain similarity. The walls are literally covered, from the floor to the ceiling, with paintings of the most diverse sizes and materials, almost touching each other so as to form a pictorial magma that recalls Frenhofer's "wall of paint" and in which the single work would have had little chance of being noticed. Next to a door, in equal confusion, stands a group of statues, among which we can make out only with difficulty an Apollo, a Venus, a Bacchus, and a Diana. The dense group of artists and gentlemen gathered around a low table covered with small sculptures stands out among the other paintings that are piled up all over the floor. On the lintel of one of the doors, under a coat of arms above which is a skull, is an easily legible
    inscription: Vive l'Esprit (long live intelligence).

    It has been observed that we feel as though we were not in front of paintings but in front of one immense tapestry in which vague colors and shapes fluctuate, and the question comes naturally whether the same thing may not apply to these paintings as to the medieval scholar's shells and whale teeth: namely, that they acquired their truth and their authentic meaning only through their inclusion in the harmonic microcosm of the Wunderkammer. It seems, that is, that the single canvases have no reality outside the unmoving Theatrum pittoricum to which they are consigned, or at least that they acquire all their enigmatic meaning only in this ideal space. But while the microcosm of the Wunderkammer had its profound reason in its living and immediate unity with the great world of divine creation, it would be vain to seek an analogous foundation for the gallery: enclosed by the vivid colors of its walls, it rests in itself like a perfectly self-sufficient world where the canvases resemble the sleeping princess of the fairy tale, prisoner of a spell whose magic formula is inscribed on the door's lintel: Vive l'Esprit.

    In the same year in which, in Antwerp Teniers published his Theatrum pittoricum, Marco Boschini Carta del navegar pittoresco (Chart of pictorial navigation) also appeared. This book interests the art historian because of the multifarious information on seventeenthcentury Venetian painting it provides us with and for the embryonic aesthetic judgments on individual painters that it sketches; but it is particularly interesting for us because, after leading the "Venetian Ship" across "the high seas of Painting," Boschini concludes his adventurous itinerary with the meticulous description of an imaginary gallery.
    Boschini lingers for a long time on the shape that, according to the taste of the time, the walls and the corners of the ceilings must have:

    L'opera su i sofiti, che xé piani
    e' i fenze in archi, e in volti li trasforma.
    Cusì de piani ai concavi el dà forma
    e tesse a i ochi industriosi ingani.
    El fa che i cantonali in forma acuta
    salta fuora con angoli spicanti,
    e in pe' de andare in drento, i vien avanti.
    Questo è loquace, e no' pitura muta.
    (The work on the ceilings, which are flat,
    molds them into arches, and transforms them into vaults.
    Thus he gives to concave spaces the look of flat ones
    and weaves ingenious deceptions for the eyes.
    He makes it so that the corner cupboards, in acute shape,
    jump out with outstanding angles,
    and instead of going in, come forward.
    This is loquacious, and not mute painting.)

    He does not even neglect to specify, for every room, the color and kind of wall coverings for this purely mental décor. Although architectural rules for the construction of galleries had already been put in writing, this is one of the first times that these precepts, instead of being contained in an architectural treatise, are given as the ideal conclusion to what we could define as a vast critical-descriptive treatise on painting. It seems that for Boschini, his imaginary gallery is in some way the most concrete space of painting, a sort of ideal connecting fabric that is able to ensure a unitary foundation to the disparate creations of the artists' genius, as though, once abandoned to the stormy sea of painting, they could reach dry land only on the perfectly set up scene of this virtual theater. Boschini is so convinced of this that he even compares the paintings sleeping in the halls of the gallery to balms, which, in order to acquire their full power, have to rest in their glass containers:

    Balsamo è la Pitura precioso,
    per l'intelletto vera medesina,
    che più che 'l sta in te 'l vaso, el se rafina,
    e in cao cent'anni lé miracoloso.
    (Painting is a precious balm,
    true medicine for the intellect,
    and the more it stays in its vial the more refined it gets,
    and by a hundred years later it is miraculous.)

    Although we do not make use of such ingenuous images, it is probable that our aesthetic perspective on art, which makes us build museums and makes it appear normal to us that the paint ing should go immediately from the hands of the artist to a hall in the museum of contemporary art, is based on not too dissimilar assumptions. What is certain, at any rate, is that the work of art is no longer, at this point, the essential measure of man's dwelling on earth, which, precisely because it builds and makes possible the act of dwelling, has neither an autonomous sphere nor a particular identity, but is a compendium and reflection of the entire human world. On the contrary, art has now built its own world for itself. Consigned to the atemporal aesthetic dimension of the Museum Theatrum, it begins its second and interminable life, which, while it will keep increasing its metaphysical and monetary value, will also eventually dissolve the concrete space of the work until the latter resembles the convex mirror that Boschini wished to hang on a wall of his imaginary gallery, 

    dove l'ogeto, in pe' de farse appresso e se fa un passo in drio, per so' avantazo.
    (where the object, instead of coming closer, steps backward, to its advantage.)

    We believe, then, that we have finally secured for art its most authentic reality, but when we try to grasp it, it draws back and leaves us empty-handed. However, the work of art was not always considered a collector's object. There have been epochs when the very idea of art as we conceive it would have appeared monstrous. Love of art for its own sake is almost never encountered in the Middle Ages, and when its first symptoms appeared, mixed up with the taste for pomp and precious objects, the common view considered them aberrations.
    In these epochs, the subjectivity of the artist was identified so immediately with his material--which constituted, not only for him but also for his fellow men, the innermost truth of consciousness-that it would have appeared inconceivable to speak about art as having value in itself, and in front of the finished work of art it was im possible to speak of aesthetic participation. In the four large sections ( Mirror of Nature, Mirror of Science, Mirror of Morals, Mirror of History) of the Speculum Majus, in which Vincent of Beauvais lodged the entire universe, there is no room for art because it did not represent in any way, for the medieval mind, a realm of the universe among others. When the medieval man looked at the tympanum of the Vezelay cathedral, with its sculptures depicting all the peoples of the world in the single light of divine Pentecost, or the column in the Souvigny abbey, with its four sides reproducing the wonderful ends of the earth through the images of the fabulous inhabitants of those regions--the goat-legged Satyr, the Sciapodes who moves on one foot, the horse-hoofed Hippopode, the Ethiopian, the manticore, and the unicorn--he had the aesthetic impression not that he was observing a work of art but rather that he was measuring, more concretely for him, the borders of his world. The wonderful was not yet an autonomous sentimental tonality and the particular effect of the work of art, but an indistinct presence of the grace that, in the work, put man's activity in tune with the divine world of creation, and thus kept alive the echo of what art had been in its Greek beginnings: the wonderful and uncanny power of making being and the world appear, of producing them in the work. Johan Huizinga reports the case of Denis the Carthusian, who tells how once, upon entering the Church of Saint John at Bois-le-Duc while the organ was playing, he was immediately entranced by the melody and brought to a prolonged ecstasy: "Musical sensation was immediately absorbed in religious feeling. It would never have occurred to Denis that he might admire in music or painting any other beauty than that of holy things themselves."
    And yet, at some point we see the stuffed crocodile suspended at the entrance to St. Bertrand de Comminges and the unicorn foot that was kept in the sacristy of the Sainte Chapelle in Paris leave the sacred space of the cathedral to enter the collector's cabinet, and we also see the sensibility of the spectator in front of the work of art linger for so long on the instant of wonder as to isolate it as an autonomous sphere from any religious or moral content.

    Text : The Man Without Content, Giorgio Agamben, originally published in italian in 1994 under the title L'uomo senza contenuto; editions Quolibet
    Picture : Pianta Della Basilica di San Marco in Venezia

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  • 03/17/13--02:57: Article 0

  • Unidentified Modern City
    Gabriele Basilico & Dan Graham

    As we all know Gabrielo Basilico left us the last 13th of february, provocating a big lack in photographs and architects' world (see here). Throwing an eye in bookshop to find something for an homage, I found a small book about a discussion between him and Dan Graham in Brescia.
    Brescia is the second largest city, after Milan, it's a typical italian city of the Lombardia's industrial region, with an historic hearth and a peripheral postwar development area.  
    Gabriele Basilico appears to observe the town, creating relation bewteen a building and the rest of the urban setting to which it belongs. Dan Graham focuses more on details, parts of the town, as if his observation identified with the state of flux of those accustomed to living in it. Both were especially more interested on the new part of the city, the one related to the economy development with typical high rise and mass-housing building, shopping mall and branded-shops links to this way of living. They have analyzed aspects Brescia has in common with numerous towns in other countries with the same architectural characteristics, regardless of the size : Lyon or Nice in France, Manchester or Liverpool in England, San Francisco in USA and Gwangju in Korea. The reflection on the urban space revealing its apparent anomie the identity of a middle class common to many town eslewhere in the world.  Photographs of Dan Graham are emblematic representation of modular, common place architecture that are infinitely replicated in Modern Towns, in the East and the West, in Europe, United States and Asia alike. And this possibility of repetition contains the seed of a new lifestyle identity. The repetitivness of the architecture holds a new identity - or absence of it - that represents a new community style.
    The following conversation, in which the city of Brescia is a pretext,  explains their vision, culture and the most influenced references, from Walker Evans to Aldo Rossi, with a large tribute to Venturi. This dialogue helps to understand what motivations they have for taking photographs, and why their gaze are so different, but also so common. 

    GB  Dear Dan, first of all I would like to thank you for accepting Minini Gallery’s exhibition in Brescia curated by Maurizio Bortolotti. They have asked us to conduct a written dialogue to bear witness to our work in Brescia, which will be published in a book.
    The first question does not come easily. You are universally recognized in the world of art as an artist who has worked conceptually on various topics, with projects linked to intersubjectivity and relationships with space and places, using diverse languages ranging from video to performance to installation.

    I photograph buildings and urban landscapes and for over 30 years I have been obessessed with recording the things I want to capture. At times I fell rather like a collector of pictures of towns who wants to complete his series but never manages to stop taking photographs…Could architecture be the subject that allows an exchange between us, and an interaction ?

    I, with my obessively repetitive method, you, with your speculative and philosophical approach and the development of a theoretical way of thinking that continues to renew itself.

    A person who has played a key role in terms of the quality of his work and its ethical dimension becomes a necessary reference at this point in the subject, which can occupy the entire life of an artist or a man. I am talking about Walker Evans, with his extraordinary ability to discover and recount people and places in a rigoursly aesthetic and highly respectful way. I would call him a man with a vision that is straightforward, fair, and refined at the same time.

    There was an exhibition in Rotterdam in 1992 that showed your work in relation to that of Walker Evans. I have seen the catalogue unfortunately, so I am not in a position to make any comments. But I do want to ask you simply and directly : What effect did Evan’s personality have on you, and how do you relate it in your work as an artist and researcher ?

    DG You ask me about my relation to Walker Evans.

    Although I am not directly infleunced by his work, I feel an affinity in that his work makes use of the magazine page and is in the genre of photojournalism. We noth relate te seriality as a Minimal art and billboard images as in Pop art. I think we were both fascinated by the petit bourgeois on the edge of industrial slums. In other words, the edge of the city’s urbanism.

    Your work seems to be involved with the postwar Italian city in terms of the new urban plan. Have you been influenced by Aldo Rossi’s book The Architecture of the City ?

    GB Aldo Rossi was a person of great importance to me, as he was for architectural culture as a whole and for the debate after 1968. I met him in the 1960s when he was teaching at the Milan Polytechnic’s Faculty of Architecture where I was student.

    His book The Architecture of the City ( 1966 ) was – and still is – a fundamental text around which the architectural debate revolves. Rossi’s analytical method of comparing single buildings with the urban fabric, of giving depth to history in dialoguing with the modern, his respect and study of the locus are some of the stenghts of his untiring research.

    The notion of "urban fact", the theme of the relationship with the history of the city and monuments ( theory of permanence ), and insistent analysis of types are some of the topics that have related architecture to philosophy and art, and have animated scholars and schools of architecture for decades.

    As regards the identity of place, the main theme of photographic research in the 1970s, Aldo Rossi wrote : "Every place is undoubtedly singular to the extent to which it possesses endless affinities or analogies with other places. Even the concept of identity, and hence foreign-ness, is relative", "I’ve always claimed that places are stronger than happenings. "In my opinion place and time are the first condition of architecture, so the hardest […]" After the 1980s, photography in Italy and the rest of Europe, commited to observing the new urban landscape, was influenced by American art and the theoretical debate that marked the previous decades. I remember Robert Venturi’s books Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (1966) and Learning from Las Vegas (1972), important volumes in the open discussions of the post modern era, not only for architecture, but for the art world in general.

    I have a question for you now : how has Robert Venturi’s way of thinking influenced your life?

    DG Robert Venturi’s way of thinking was very important to me. He truly love the same art I loved – Ed Ruscha and Claes Oldenburg. His understanding of upper-lower-class-suburban vernacular architecture was extremly important to me. I think that there is a real relation Aldo Rossi’s use of poetic vernacular and Venturi’s use of poetry and wit in his work. My favorite Venturi is his musem for Benjamin Franklin for the American Biennial in Philadelphia. I’ve met Venturi and h’s a very sweet person. In an Interview I did with him he mentionned that he would like to retire to Northen New Jersey – the italian upper-middle-class suburbs that also influenced me. It interests him to see the neighboring New York skyline from New Jersey. ( His wife Denise Scott Brown says,« this is a nightmare I hope will never happen »)

    GB  I have never been lucky enough to meet Robert Venturi, but his two books Complexity and Contradiction and Learning from Las Vegas causes a great deal in Europe. They can be said to have caused a revolution in thinking, in the criticism of modernism, making a clean sweep of that reverential fear that was the ideological credo of so many generations after Bauhaus.
    Venturi has taught us to look at the world around us with new, disenchanted eyes, to observe and accept the landscape and the town with curiosity, with attention – I would almost say democratically – finally putting on the same plane refined architecture, that by the great designers, and ordinary, commonplace architecture, where the ephemeral, superstructural language of advertising has been integrated with or replaced building construction, concealing it.

    This visual and critical approach, which wa can ultimately define es « democratic » - without or without rhetoric – has been fundamental for architecture and for art. Even photography has embraced it fully, as in the case of Ed Ruscha’s fascinating research in his Twenty-six Gasoline Stations(1963)

    I have been working on towns and urban landscapes for 30 years or so. It all started in 1978 with a project on the industrial suburb of Milan, the town I was born and still live in. At that time there were already many abandoned areas next to factories still in operation. I was really fascinated by Bernd and Hilla Becher’s Anonyme Skulpture, the frontal rigor with which they photographed various types of industrial archeology in black and withe, their cataloguing, their taxonomic approach to the object, their maniacal, obsessive, and potentially infinite research.

    My work on the outskirts of my town, which led a few years later to an exhibition and a book entitled Milano Rittrati di Fabbriche (1978-1980), never had the rigor or purity of the Becher’s work, not the equidistant viewpoint of Ed Ruscha. It is a work on spaces, streets, and places, and is undoubtedly influenced by the photographic style, which, from the 1930s onward, with the Farm Security Administration’s mission, had unequivocally conditionned the world of documentary photography. I ferer again here to the teachings of the Greater Walker Evans, with his comprehensive and rigorous approach, aestethic yet uncondescending, and to his definition/notion of "documentary style". Walker Evans’ pictures are the expression of an ethical vision ; in the words of my friend Luigi Ghirri, they are like "caressing the world".

    Talking about these approaches and the influence of these important protagonists of culture and artistic research, it is evident that the field, the object of analyses and ideas, is stiil the town iself.

    Seen the other way around, the town itself provides an opportunity for comparing only apparently diverging theories and thoughts, like those of Robert Ventury’s critical approach implies an ironic attitude, which is vital for a thorough, unprejudiced understanding of the identity of the new urban landscape.

    The inventory of shpaes that Aldo Rossi rediscovered and relaunched as a fragment for a recomposition of the city – a Rossian Collage City as Colin Rowe calls it – does not appear to contain an ironic allusion, rather it is rooted in history, in the search for geometric rigor and essentially of architecture.

    When I saw your photographs of Brescia, especially the objects you captured – shop windows, roads signs, parked cars, doors, windows, fences, bariers, fragment of a chaotic and confused urban landscape – my toughts inevitably went back to other pictures by Lee Friedlander came to mind, but they are obviously more constructed, more thoroughly « photographic » whereas yours are more like true documents, apparently less dependent on the construction of a style. Would you agree ? And What do you have to say about this ?

    DG Venturi’s work didn’t directly influence my early photographs of New Jersey suburban houses, roadside factories, and signage, but after discovering his architetural work, such as the Guild House and the Lieb House on the New Jersey coast, two of my first architectural models, Alteration of a Suburban House and Video Projection Outside Home (1978) were in response to his work. Venturi’s Lieb House period work noted symbolism of the typical ornamental decoration outside Italian-American owned single-family houses, such as a plastic Madonna in the birdbath placed next door to the Lieb House.

    My placement of a large videao projector on the front lawn of a house displaying whatever was on the family’s inside TV set was intented to create an emblem of the family’s lifestyle on the roadside for passing observers. It relates to the proposed « gold » painted TW antenna on the top of the Guild House for retired Quaker Families in Philadelphia, the intention of which was to symbolize the custom of retired residents watching television while resting in their rooms.

    Venturi was directly influenced by Ed Ruscha’s photographs, as well as by Pop artist such Claes Oldenburg. I see a parallel between Rossi and Venturi’s work in that both deal with childhood memories of the vernacular suburban architectural landscape in a poetic (and in Rossi’s case, cinematic, phantasmagoric) manner. Rossi’s Modena Cemetery reminds me the interior of a suburban shopping mall. Venturi’s use of irony is more about  with than about being a caustic or critical. Finally, both architects are drawan to seaside houses or makeshift seasiders shelters.

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  • 03/28/13--05:36: Article 0

    Wolfgang Tillmans

    Concorde is perhaps the last example of a techno-utopian invention from the sixties still to be operating and fully functioning today. It's futuristic shape, speed and ear-numbing thunder grabs people's imagination today as much as it did when it first took off in 1969. It's environmental nightmare conceived in 1962 when technology and progress was the answer to everything and the sky was no longer a limit. It flies at more than double the speed of sound, at a maximum of 2 333km/h in an altitude of 16 000 m. It's empty weight is 85 900kg and it takes up to 94 750kg fuel at a capacity of 100 passengers. Due to rising fuel prices and environmental pressures, supersonic travel never really became a reality. Only fourteen Concordes, excluding prototypes, have ever been built and were flying between Paris, New York and London in just three hour and half. For the chosen few, flying Concorde was  a glamorous but cramped and slightly boring routine whilst to watch it in air, landing and taking-off is a strange and free spectacle, a super modern anachronism and an image of the desire to overcome time and distance though technology.

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  • 05/06/13--00:09: Article 1

  • An American Index of the Hidden and the Unfamiliar
    Taryn Simon

    Regarder l’index de Taryn Simon, l’équivalence entre le texte, l’image et la légende dont la rigueur témoigne une volonté objective - sinon scientifique - permet de voir et de comprendre l’Amérique un peu plus intimement. Photographier minutieusement, situer précisément, décrire sans commentaire, les planches qui résultent de ce travail d'investigation outrepassent le caractère uniquement artistique. C’est aussi là son intérêt, car même si l’on peut ressentir un certain maniérisme ou tout du moins un esthétisme - dans la répétition de la manière de photographier, l'obsession à produire des textes similaires sur des sujets aussi variés - il sensibilise à des dimensions politiques, économiques, administratives, religieuses, de sécurité... L’exhaustivité et l’objectivité de leur présence permet d’intégrer la variété et l’immense horizon des faits qui traverse la société américaine. En démultipliant les regards, en croisant les disciplines et les connaissances, et en les rangeant d’une manière totalement similaire, elle laisse l’imagination suffisante au lecteur pour se projeter dans tous ces univers. Il arrive même de penser que toutes ces photos aient pu être prises au même moment. Parviennent les murmures les oiseaux en quarantaine, le souffle des ventilateurs sur les piles de billets fraichement imprimés, l’odeur des saucisses du barbecue partagé en famille par un astronaute sur le départ. La neutralité apparente oblige à se concentrer plus intensément sur les détails qui sont discrètement livrés  dans les photographies ou les données ; offrant à décrire les choix, les démarches qu’elle a du effectuer pour obtenir les droits d’accès, les discussions, les refus, la patience.  A l’image des scientifiques qui accompagnait les expéditions vers les terres nouvelles et restituait par le langage universel du dessin leur découverte, Taryn Simon, en explorant une face cachée de la société apporte un témoignage et une certaine cartographie du monde américain d’aujourd’hui. 

    Lucasfilm Archives, Props and Set Pieces
    Skywalker Ranch
    Marin Country, California

    Protocol Droid RA-7
    Luke skywalker X-wing fighter pilot jumpsuit
    Boba Fett
    Indiana’s Jones’ bat and whip
    Mannequins in Queen Amidala costumes
    Ishi Tib head
    Teebo head
    Wampa Head
    Ark of the Covenant
    Death Star II Model
    Chewbacca head
    Top of the crate that held the Ark of the Covenant
    Salacious Crumb
    Power Drum played by Umpass-Stay & Ak-Rev in Jabba’s palace

    Jury Simulator Deliberation Room with Two-Way Mirror
    DOAR Litigation Consulting
    Lynbrook, New York

    Mock juries are an important part of litigation consulting, a little-known professional field with annual profits of approximately $3 billion.DOAR’s jury simulations offer attorneys the oportunity to practice case presentations as well as assess performances. The estimated cost of a single jury simultation is $60,000. They are most often employed on high-profile, high-stake cases, where cost is of little concern. Recently DOAR provided litigation consulting services to parties involved in the World Trade Center insurance litigation and the WorldCom Underwriters litigation. Participation of litigation consultants in trial preparations has many critics concerned that legal outcomes will increasingly depend on one’s ability to pay. 
    Jurors for DOAR simultations are jury eligible individuals from jurisdiction where the actual case will be tried. They are recruited to accurately reflect the sociologdemographis backgrounds of that juridiction’s population. They are paid between $150 and $500 per dayx to participate in the simulation. All parties sign a confidentiality agreement. 

    Akal Security 
    Company Headquarters, Sikh Dharma Community
    Espanola, New Mexico

    Akal, one of the largest security companies in the US provides security for private and government sites. The company is managed by members of the Sikh Dharma religious community, which identifies self-defense and the protection of defenseless as duties of the highest honor.The federal government is Akal’s chief client, which contracts totaling over $1 billion. The company is the primary provider of guards to US federal courthouses and has contracts with the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcment, Federal Protective Services and the US Army.
    The US based Sikh Dharma community was founded in 1971 by the late Indian-born Sikh spiritual leader and Kundilini Yoga Master, Yogi Bhajan. The community consists primarily of American-born converts. Yogi Bhajan advised disciples to build profitable companies that reflect Sikh spiritual goals. In addition to Akal, members of the Sikh Dharma community also manage diverse entreprises involving helath foods ( Yogi Tea, Golden Temple Cereals and Peace Cereals ), technology consulting ( Khalsa Consulting ) and yoga centers ( Yoga West ) 

    Cryopreservation Unit
    Cryonics Institue
    Clinton Township, Michigan

    The Cryonics Institute is a non-profit, member-run corporation which offers cryostasis (freezing) services to individuals and pets upon death. Cryostasis is practiced with the hope that lives will ultimately be extended through future developments in science, technology, and medicine. When, and if, these developments occur, members hope to ba awakened to an extend life in good health and free from disease or the aging process. Cryostasis must begin immediately upon legal death. Aperson or pet is infused with ice-preventive substances and quickly cooled to a temperature where physical decay virtually stops. They can be kept in this state indefinitely. For an additional cost, Cryonics Institute personnel wait out the last hours of an individual’s terminal illness and immediately begin cooling and cardiopulmonary support upon death in order to limit brain damage.
    At present, the Cryonics Institue cryopreserves 74 legally dead human patients and 44 legally dead pets. It charges $28,000 for the process if it planned well in advance of legal death and $35,000 on shorter notice. The cost has not increased since 1976 when the Cryonics Instotute was etablished. The Institute is licensed as a cemetary in the state of Michigan.

    Bureau of Engraving and Printing
    US Department of the Treasury
    Washington, District of Columbia

    The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) designs and manufactures American paper currency and security documents for other federal government agencies. The BEP also reimburses individuals and businesses for paper money that has been irreparably damaged; a service used most often by victims of flood, fire, or other natural disasters. Producing 35 million notes per day with a total value of approximately $635 million, 45 percent of the notes printed are $1 notes. Notes are printed on a cotton and linen rag paper. Each year, 95 percent of the notes printed are used to replace those already in circulation.
    The US government began printing paper money in 1861 to help protect against coin counterfeiting. Nicknamed greenbacks, these early bills were issued to finance the Civil War. Recent advancements in copying and printing technologies have raised the incidence of counterfeiting. Since 1996, the BEP has been adding security features to its paper money, constituting the first major production change since 1928. BEP enhances designs every seven to ten year. The illicit manufacture of US currency, including the altering of genuine currency, is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and by emprisonment up to 15 years. Currently, the US dollar is the most frequently used currency in the world. The $100 note has been the largest denomination in circulation since 1969.

    Cheyenne Moutain Directorate, Recreationnal Basketball Court
    Chamber D
    Colorado Springs, Colorado

    Cheyenne Moutain Directorate (CMD) was built to project personnel and equipment from a thermonuclear weapon attack. Designed by Parsons Brinckheroff, CMD was built in the early 1960s as US-Canadian response to potential Cold Wat threats. It serves as an undergound surveillance post where the US and Canadian governments defend North America borders by scanning for enemy intruders. The complex is built inside a hollowed out natural mountain. Its structure and supplies can sustain life within the mountain for at least one month.
    Overseen by the Army Corps of Enginneers and executed by the Utah Mining and Construction Company 1.5 million pounds of TNT was used to excavate 700,000 tons of granite. To protect the mountain’s integrity and to prevent implosion, 110,000 rock-bolts ( 6 to 32 feet in lenght ) and 7,164,080 sqUare feet of wire mesh support the mountain’s interior tunnel system. All rock-bolts undergo annual testing, CMD’s main entrance is a 1/3 mile long tunnel leading to a pair of 25 ton blast doors. Its building’outer shell is made of low-carbon steel plates. The walls and tunnels are designed to attenuate Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP°
    The mountain contains divisions of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), US Northern Command, US Strategis Command, and Air Force Space Command. CMD is the central data collection and coordination installation for many early warning, detection, and defense centers.

    Nixon Gift Vault
    US National Archives and Records Administration
    College Park, Maryland

    President Richard M. Nixon is the only US President whose presidential materials and records are governed by the 1974 Presidential Recordings and Material Preservation Act (PRMPA). This Act of Congress stipulated, among other things, that presidential materials related to abuse of governmental power be processed and retained by the National Archives in the Washington DC area.
    After Nixon’s resignations in 1974 as a result of the Watergate scandal and an impending threat of impeachment, clonflict ensued over custody of his presidential materials and recordings. These include millions of documents, thousands of hours of audio recordings and film reels, hundreds of thousand of photographs, and thousands of gifts from dignitaries and the public. Until his death in 1994, Nixon made sustained efforts to block the US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) from processing and releasing president materials. To this day, there are Nixon White House Tapes that have neither been processed nor made available to the public.  

    Avian Quarantine Facility
    The New York Animal Import Center
    NewBurgh, New York

    All imported birds that are not of US or canadian origin must undergo a 30 day quarantine in a US Department of Agriculture animal import quarantine facility. The quarantine is mandatory and at the owner’s expense. Birds are immediately placed in incubators called isolettes that control the spread of disease and prevent cross-contamination by strategically placed Hig Efficiency Particulate Air Filters. Before each quarantined bird is cleared for released, it is tested for Avian Influenza and Exotic Newcastle Disease.
    The New York Animal Import Center opened in 1980 at Stewart International Airport in NewBurgh, New York. The center is adjacent to one of the runaways, providing for secure transfer of animals to the guarded facility. Each year they process upwards of 4,000 horses, 400 swine, 40 llamas, 50 zoo ruminants and 1,100 different species of birds. In order to maintain bio-security integrity, all employees must wear government issued clothing. Persons entering and leaving quarantine areas must wash their boots in a chemical footbath. Before entering or leaving the facility or traveling between some og the barns, employees must take showers. The World Health Organization maintains that an Avian Flu pandemic is inevitable. 

    NASA, The beach House
    John F.Kennedy Space Center
    Cape Canaveral, Florida

    American actronauts have traditionnaly spent their last, pre-departure moments with family and loved ones at the NASA Beach House which is situated within the Kennedy Space Center on a secluded section of Neptune Beach. The Beach House is intented to offer at last break from an astronaut’s rigorous schedule prior to liftoff. 
    Built in 1962 ad purchased by NASA in 1963 for $32,500, the Beach House was originally called the Astronaut Training and Rehabilitation Building. Its official current title is the Kennedy Space Center Conference Center. The house is located between the launch pads for Air Force’s newest rockets, Atlas 5 and Delta 4. The Atlas pas, Launch Complex 41 can be seen in the background. Pluto-Bound New Horizons launched from this pad.
    Every astronaut since the beginning of the Shuttle Program has visited the Beach House prior to launch. All guests must pass a primary contact physical by a NASA flight Surgeon prior to entering and socializing with the derpating shuttle crew, who are kept in quarantine leading up to the launch. Customarily, the Beahc House prelaunch meal is a barbecue or picnic. 

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  • 05/30/13--14:48: Article 0

  • Atlas Mnémosyne
    Aby Warburg

    La création constante d’une distance entre soi et le monde extérieur, tel est sans doute ce qui constitue l’acte fondamental de la civilisation humaine. Si l’intervalle ainsi crée forme le substrat d’une création artistique, alors les conditions sont réunies pour que la conscience de cette distance revête une fonction sociale durable, dont l’oscillation rythmique entre immersion dans la matière et retour à la sophrosyne donne à voir le mouvement cyclique entre une cosmologie de l’image et une cosmologie du signe. Il s’agit là d’un instrument d’orientation spirituelle dont le bon fonctionnement ou la défaillance ne déterminent rien de moins que le destin de la culture humaine. L’homme artiste qui oscille de la sorte entre une conception religieuse et une conception mathématique du monde se voit assisté par la mémoire - collective ou individuelle - d’une manière toute particulière: non contente de créer un espace de pensée, celle-ci renforce en effet les deux tendances qui constituent les pôles limites du comportement psychique : la contemplation calme d’une part, et la ferveur orgiaque de l’autre. La mémoire mobilise un fonds héréditaire inaliénable, mais elle ne le fait pas à des fins avant toutes protectrices - au contraire : c’est toute la fureur de la personnalité croyante, phobique et passionnelle, bouleversé par le mystère religieux, qui se projette dans l’oeuvre d’art et contribue à former son style, tandis que pour sa part la science, par son caractère descriptif, conserve et transmet la structure rythmique où les monstres de l’imagination se donnent comme des guides de vie pour l’avenir. Parce qu’elles attestent la tension polaire inhérente à l’acte de création artistique - entre l’imagination identificatrice et raison distantiatrice - les images fournissent une ressource immense, et pourtant trop peu exploitée à ce jour, à qui vent comprendre les phases critiques d’un tel processus. Entre l’imagination qui s’empare de l’objet et la pensée conceptuelle qui le contemple à distance, se situe ce que l’on appelle l’acte artistique, qui n’est autre qu’une manipulation tactile de l’objet aboutissent à son reflet plastique ou pictural. Cette duplicité de l’art, entre une fonction que l’on pourrait dire anti-chaotique - dans la mesure où la forme artistique implique un choix et une clarification des contours d’un objet singulier - et le culte que voue à l’idole créer celui qui la contemple, procède de ces embarras de l’esprit humain qui devraient constituer le véritable objet d’une science de la culture dévolue dévolue à l’histoire psychologique illustrée de l’intervalle séparant l’impulsion et l’action. Le processus de dé-démonisation du patrimoine héréditaire des impressions phobiques, qui embrasse dans le langage gestuel toute la gamme des émotions, de l’abandon intérieur jusqu’au cannibalisme meurtrier, imprime dans la dynamique de mouvement humain - y compris aux stades intermédiaires situés entre les deux pôles limite de l’orgiasme, soit les diverses actions que sont se battre, marcher, courir, danser, saisir - les contours d’une expérience inquiétante, que l’homme cultivé de la Renaissance, élevé dans la discipline de l’Eglise médieval, considérait comme un domaine interdit où seuls avaient le droit de s’ébattre les esprits impies livrés à leur tempérament déchainé. A travers son matériel iconographique, l’Atlas Mnémosyne entend illustrer ce processus, que l’on pourrait définir comme la tentative d’assimiler psychiquement, à travers la représentation de la vie en mouvement, un certain nombre de valeurs expressives préexistantes.

    Fondée sur ce matériel iconographique dont les reproductions composent le présent atlas, Mnémosyne propose avant tout un inventaire des préfigurations antiques ayant contribué, à l’époque de la Renaissance, à forger le style de la représentation de la vie en mouvement.
    Etant donné l’absence en la matière de travaux préparatoires proposant un aperçu général et synthétique, une telle étude comparatiste devait se limiter à l’analyse de l’oeuvre de quelques artistes majeurs; mais il lui fallait du même coup essayer de comprendre, au moyen d’une exploration socio-psychologique approfondie, le sens et la fonction de ces valeurs expressives conservées dans la mémoire - autrement dit de saisir quelles opérations mentales celles-ci mettraient en oeuvre. 
    Dès 1905, l’auteur s’était vu s’encourager dans de telles tentatives par l’étude d’Osthoff sur le caractère supplétif des langues indo-germaniques : cette étude démontrait en substance qu’un changement de radical pouvait s’opérer dans certaines formes de verbes conjugués et le comparatif de certains adjectifs sans affecter l’identité énergétique de la qualité formelle de l’expression lexicale de base. Au contraire : l’apparition d’une expression portant un radical nouveau produisait même une intensification de la signification première.
    Un processus analogue peut s’observer mutatis mutandis dans le domaine du langage  gestuel qui donne leur forme aux oeuvres d’art; ainsi quand la Salomé dansante de la Bible s’avance à la manière d’une Ménade grecque, ou quand Ghirlandaio, tout à fait consciemment, représente une servante portant une corbeille de fruits sous les traits d’un Victoire d’arc de triomphe romain.
    C’est dans les régions de la fureur orgiaque collective qu’il faut chercher la matrice qui imprime dans la mémoire les formes expressives de l’émotion intérieure la plus grande, pour autant que celle-ci se laisse exprimer dans le langage des gestes. Ces engrammes de l'expérience passionnée s’y gravent avec une telle intensité qu’ils survivent dans la mémoire comme patrimoine héréditaire, et servent de modèle aux contours que crée la main de l’artiste lorsque, par son entremise, les valeurs les plus hautes du langage gestuel aspirent à prendre forme et à paraitre au jour. 
    Les esthètes hédonistes gagnent à bon compte l’approbation du public des amateurs d’art lorsqu’ils expliquent une telle mutation formelle par le plaisir que procure une plus grande ligne décorative. Libre à qui veut de se contenter d’une flore composée de plantes les plus belles et les plus odorantes : ce n’est pas d’elle qu’on pourra tirer une physiologie du cycle végétal et de la montée de sève, car celle-ci ne se révèle qu’à celui qui explore la vie dans le réseau de ses racines souterraines.
    Le triomphe de l’existence, préfiguré dans la plastique antique, montrait une bouleversante antinomie entre affirmation de la vie et négation du moi, et tel il se présentait devant l’âme des générations ultérieures, qui voyaient sur les sarcophages païens Dionysos ivre conduisant son cortège orgiaque, et sur les arcs de triomphe romains la marche triomphale de l’empereur.
    Dans ces deux exemples emblématiques, un souverain emporte à sa suite un mouvement de foule; mais tandis que la Ménade brandit en l’honneur du dieu de l’ivresse le jeune bouc déchiqueté dans un accès de démence, les légionnaires romains livrent à César les têtes coupées des barbares comme un tribut exigé par l’ordre étatique (l’empereur, du reste, est célébré sur les reliefs comme le représentant de la sollicitude impériale envers ses vétérans)
    Il est vrai que le Colisée, à quelques pas de l’arc de Constantin, rappelait impitoyablement aux Romains du Moyen Âge et de la Renaissance que la pulsion primitive de sacrifice humain avait conquis son lieu de culte au coeur de la Rome Païenne; et Rome a gardé jusqu’aujourd’hui cette dualité inquiétante, moitié couronne de l’imperator victorieux, moitié palme du martyre.
    La discipline ecclésiastique du Moyen Âge, qui voyait dans la divinisation des empereurs son implacable ennemi, aurait à coup sûr détruit un monument comme l’arc de Constantin, si l’ajout postérieur de bandes en relief n’avait permis à la geste de l’empereur Trajan de subsister sous le couvert de Constantin.
    Une légende vivante chez Dante avait permis à l’Eglise elle-même d’infléchir dans un sens chrétien la glorieuse autocélébration des reliefs de Trajan. Le célèbre récit de l’empereur qui prend en pitié une veuve implorant la justice constitue sans doute la plus subtile tentative pour transformer, à la faveur d’une inversion énergétique de l’interprétation, le pathos impérial en piété chrétienne : l'empereur, qui sur le relief intérieur de l’arc surgit au galop et piétine un barbare, devient justicier ordonnant à son escorte de faire halte devant la veuve dont l’enfant à été écrasé sous les sabots de la cavalerie romaine.

    Caractériser le retour à l’antique comme le résultat d’une nouvelle conscience du fait historique et d’une empathie artistique affranchie de toute férule morale, c’est s’en tenir à un évolutionnisme descriptif inadéquat si l’on ne se risque pas en même temps à descendre au plus profond de l’intrication pulsionnelle qui noue l’esprit humain à une matière sédimentée au mépris de toute chronologie. Car c’est là que se donne à voir la matrice qui communique son empreinte aux valeurs expressives de l’exaltation païenne issues de l'expérience orgiaque originelle : le thiase tragique.
    Il n’est plus nécessaire, depuis Nietzsche, d’adopter une posture révolutionnaire pour reconnaitre l’essence de l’Antiquité dans le symbole du double hermès Apollon-Dionysos. L’usage superficiel et quotidien de cette antinomie s’avère bien plutôt un obstacle à tout examen sérieux des oeuvres païennes, car elle empêche de saisir la sophrosyne et l’extase dans l’unité organique de leur fonction polaire au cours du processus qui consiste à forger les valeurs limites de l’expression humaine. 
    Le déchainement effréné des mouvements expressifs qui accompagnent les dieux de l’ivresse, notamment en Asie Mineure, déploie toute la gamme des manifestations vitale cinétiques d’une humanité en proie à ses phobies - de l’abandon intérieur jusqu’à l’ivresse meurtrière - et cette ferveur paroxystique manifestée dans le culte du thiase à travers toutes sortes d’actions et de gestes intermédiaires - marcher, courir, danser, saisir, conduire, porter - se retrouve en écho dans la représentation artistique . Les contours du thiase sont une marque distinctive, essentielle et inquiétante, de ces valeurs expressives, qui, sur les sarcophages antiques notamment, parlaient directement à l’oeil des artistes de la Renaissance.
    C’est avec une ambivalence particulière que la Renaissance italienne a tenté d’assimiler psychiquement ce patrimoine héréditaire d’engrammes phobiques. D’une part, les esprits nouvellement affranchis, tournés vers le mode, trouvaient en lui un aiguillon bienvenu; à ceux qui luttaient contre le destin pour conquérir leur liberté individuelle, il donnait le courage de communiquer l’indicible.
    Mais parce que cet aiguillon s'exerçait sous l’espèce d’une fonction mnémique, autrement dit parce que la création artistique l’avait déjà passé au filtre de formes primitivement forgées, la restitution restait un acte qui, à mi chemin entre le dépossession pulsionnelle de soi et la maitrise consciente de la création formelle, bref entre Dyonisos et Apollon, indiquait au génie artistique le lieu psychique où celui-ci pouvait donner une empreinte propre à son langage formel le plus personnel.

    La nécessité de se confronter au monde formel de valeurs expressives préexistantes - qu’elles soient présentes ou passées - constitue, pour tout artiste désireux d’imposer sa manière propre, une crise décisive. Mnémosyne, telle que nous la présentons ici, est née de l’idée que ce processus pouvait bien revêtir une signification proprement extraordinaire, et pourtant ignorée jusqu’ici, pour la formation du style de la Renaissance européenne: fort de son matériel iconographique, ce projet a pour ambition première de proposer un inventaire des empreintes primitives identifiables qui exigeaient de chaque artiste qu’il choisisse entre le rejet et l’assimilation psychique de cette masse d'impressions qui s’imposaient doublement à lui. 

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  • 08/10/13--01:30: Article 0

    Peter Fischli & David Weiss

    Quelques îlots d’humanité 
    Et l’avion circule dans la nuit
    (Je n’avais rien à reprocher
    A l’ameublement de l’hôtel ) 

    J’étais seul à la plage ; un peu après Cassis. 
    Dans mon maillot Madras extrêmement à la mode, 
    Je voyais des Allemandes qui enlevaient leur robe; 
    Je buvais un pastis.

    Supermarché des corps où l’esprit est à vendre, 
    Et des psychologies se tordent et se dénouent
    Sous le soleil. Bronzé, rien ne sert de prétendre
    Que vous ayez une âme.

    Il n’y a pas de chemin au-delà des peaux moites
    Qui suent le pur désir d’un destin prévisible ; 
    il n’y à pas d'espérance quand lentement s'emboîtent
    Les structures du plaisir mené de leur fusible

    Qui est la peur. De l’autre. Et de son innocence.
    Le soupçon au-delà de son absence, 
    De quelque chose enfin qui ressemble à un sens
    Au-delà de nos peaux. Fantôme de transcendance.

    La grâce immobile, 
    Sensiblement écrasante, 
    Qui découle du passage des civilisations
    N’a pas la mort pour corollaire.

    Les sapins sont pour les serpents
    Et les autoroutes pour l’homme.

    Les monde est plat, interminable ; 
    Vient un envol de cormorans.

    Un aligator a dévoré trois touristes autrichiennes 
    Quelque part en Floride
    Je jour de l’indépendance ; 
    Le gouverneur a donné des consignes de prudence ; 
    Dans les motels, on écarte prudemment les persiennes
    Le tourisme a horreur du vide

    Texte : La configuration du dernier rivage, Michel Houellebecq

    Voir aussi Concorde de Wolfgang Tillmans ici

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  • 12/10/13--11:20: Article 0

  • NDLR becomes
    and so on
    please go on

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  • 02/16/12--12:53: Article 24

    Luigi Ghirri

    Ma première rencontre avec les architectures d’Aldo Rossi remonte à quelques années, lorsque Vittorio Savi me proposa de photographier le cimetière de Modène. Je ne peux pas dire qu’à ce moment là je connaissais bien l’oeuvre de Rossi, seulement quelques dessins et certains écrits théoriques. Ces lacunes éveillèrent plus encore ma curiosité, de même que l’idée de pouvoir photographier et raconter une architecture complexe et encore en cours de réalisation, une architecture qui ne s’exhibait pas déjà finie, pour se retrouver aussitôt après dans les pages de quelques luxueuses revue. A partir de ce moment a commencé une étrange collaboration avec Aldo Rossi, presque toujours à distance, très curieuse et très stimulante.
    Le cimetière, je le voyais forcément assez souvent, puisque j’habite Modène. Confondre le bleu du toit des parties déjà construites avec celui du ciel, observer les couleurs changeant selon les heures avait sur moi un effet bénéfique, comme m’attirait le cube rouge au centre, que je cadrai depuis la portières de ma voiture, quand je parcourais la route nationale pour aller vers le Pô. Ce fût un travail extrêmement intéressant, non pas pour les résultats obtenus, que parce que, étrangement, dans la parfaite solitude de quelques jours de fermeture pour ne pas gêner et ne pas être dérangé par les travaux en cours, il me sembla que se révélait à moi le secret d’une approche de l’architecture et de sa représentation photographique. Plus le travail avançait et paradoxalement, moins j’en voyais la fin, plus il me restait de travail à accomplir. J’avais toujours de nouveaux angles à voir et à cadrer, de nouveaux points de vues pour chaque petit mouvement de l’espace. A peine les perspectives étaient-elles photographiées, qu’elles se représentaient quelques minutes plus tard sous un jour nouveau, la lumière en modifiait sans cesse le sens et l’aspect, colorait diversement les volumes et les surfaces.
    Les fenêtres du bâtiment principal, peu élevé, étaient des cadres analogues à ceux du viseur de l’appareil, elles en répétaient les cadrages où se succédaient, toujours différents, les arrières plans avec les cheminées, les tombes juives, les toits des maisons, le chemin de fer, l’église sur le cote est, les champs au nord, les voitures qui passaient sur la route en contrebas, comme dans un décor changeant. La montée vers l’ossuaire ne fit que confirmer cette impression de mobilité et de changement : aussitôt après les premières rampes d’escaliers où depuis les fenêtres cubiques j’entrevoyais l’extérieur, j’arrivais au point où l’on voit en même temps deux fenêtres, celle du premier et celle du second plan, l’étendue verte de la pelouse dans l’une et le bleu du ciel dans l’autre? Ces deux surfaces semblaient recomposer de manière visible, organique et synthétique, le sens de toute cette architecture et exprimer parfaitement l’idée de l’équilibre entre l’intérieur et l’extérieur. Mais cela me parait un simplification, comme l’aurait été le fait de rapprocher l’espace du terrain à celui de l’ouverture dans le toit qui nous fait voir le ciel.Des oeuvres simples et linéaires, un cube rouge avec un trou au milieu et à peine plus loin la longue ligne d’un parallélépipède couché, rose et bleu ciel, révélaient une vitalité imprévue, et cela dissipa de manière définitive tous les doutes et tous les soupçons que je nourrissais depuis longtemps vis à vis de la photographie d’architecture. Je lisais toujours dans ce genre de photographies une simplification ou la tentative de créer une iconographie de l’oeuvre architecturale, un acte d’authentification qui semblait reléguer l’architecture dans le domaine d’une répétition indifférente, incapable d’inventer d’autres solutions.
    Comme chacun sait, le processus commence par le dessin d’un projet, passe par diverses phases et aboutit à la construction de l’édifice. Le bâtiment, à la fin, est authentifié par la photographie. Au bout de ce parcours, nous obtenons une espèces de stéréotypes de l’image architecturale, très semblable à une nature morte, mas réalisé dans le monde extérieur. Même si souvent ces natures mortes semblent accrocher et captiver le regard par leur singulière et vertigineuse précision, elles me font aussi penser à la photographie d’une maquette plutôt qu’à celle d’un édifice construit. Des ciels presque toujours limpides et immobiles, l’appareil photographique dans l’axe et à niveau, un objectif décentrable à bascule pour éviter les distorsions, un déclenchement plus précis pour obtenir la netteté maximum constituent le rituel nécessaire quoique fascinant, qui assure le transfert d’une architecture aux archives du musée.
    Quelques jours plus tard, alors que je n’avais pas encore terminé les prises de vue, je repensais à tout cela et me demandais comment trouver de nouveaux modes de récit pour l’architecture. En même temps, me revenaient à l’esprit beaucoup d’images qui se rapportaient au cimetière de Modène, au tableau de Fra Angelico où les âmes des morts sortent des ouvertures cubiques du terrain, les photographies d’un anonyme lors du tremblement de terre de San Francisco où on voyait les ruines criblées de trous des maisons détruites et éventrées, ou encore l’architecture très simple qui sert d’arrière-plan aux Histoires de Saints de Sassetta. D’autres facettes de la mémoire, d’autres rappels d’images ensevelies resurgissaient. Je me souvins d’avoir lu cette phrase «pour la littérature, il est nécessaire d’avoir beaucoup de souvenirs, de tout oublier, et d’attendre que tout revienne à la mémoire». Il me sembla que le sens de cette phrase pouvait aussi contenir le secret de l’architecture. Ce n’est sans doute pas la lecture la plus correcte ni la plus orthodoxe, mais j’ai trouvé cet ensemble d’impressions et de sentiments chaque fois que je me suis trouvé face à des oeuvres d’Aldo Rossi, pour les photographier ou pour les observer. Chaque fois ces bâtiments, leur environnement, ses cimetières, ses maisons ou ses écoles me surprennent, non parce qu’elles relèvent de l’insolite ou du bizarre, mais à cause de leur air immédiatement familier et en même temps mystérieux, un mélange extraordinaire de reconnaissance et de jamais vu, de connu et d’inconnu.
    Il me semble qu’il y a dans les oeuvres de Rossi ce mystérieux équilibre entre ce que nous savons déjà et ce que nous attendons d’une oeuvre architecturale ainsi que cette sensation de dépaysement que l’on éprouve face au nouveau. Jusqu’à il y a peu de temps, on aurait parlé - même improprement - d’imaginaire à propos de cette impression de se retrouver, mais j’ai en effet peu d’exemples aussi précis d’un vécu personnel de l’auteur qui se multiplie en même temps dans le vécu existentiel d’autant de gens.
    Ce n’est pas seulement pour cela que, par la force des choses, je me suis attaché aux architectures d’Aldo Rossi. Je me suis pris d’affection aussi pour les couleurs tendres de ses façades, qui semblent vouloir dialoguer avec celles, en peu éteintes, des endroits où elles sont placées, et aussi pour ce courage civil qui consiste à s’oublier, à laisser l’espace, aux matériaux, aux volumes, la tâche de devenir pour nous architecture, à laisser le temps et l’usage donner son sens à cette extraordinaire Architecture sans Architecte.
    Il n’est pas de mon ressort de juger ou d’analyser l’oeuvre de Rossi, je n’ai pas la compétence ou la présomption de me substituer au critique ou à l’historien, et ces quelques phrases sont simplement une trace des réflexions qui me viennent lorsque j’effectue mon travail, qui consiste essentiellement à observer le monde extérieur pour le représenter. Pourtant les architectures de Rossi, sont, de toutes celles que je connais, les plus intéressantes pour réveiller ce type d’écho et ces perceptions multiples.
    Il y a à Isaphan une mosquée où, lorsque l’on se déplace à l’intérieur en un point précis, le moindre petit bruit que l’on émet, un mot, un claquement de doigts, est démultiplié par l’écho et résonne sept fois. L’architecture de Rossi me donne cette sensation d’émerveillement, parce qu’en chacun de ses points, quelle que soit la façon dont nous nous déplaçons dans l’espace, le mouvement de la lumière se propage et se démultiplie en un écho qui va se perdre parmi les souvenirs et les inventions. Il y a aussi un coté joyeux de cette manière de tourner magiquement à l’intérieur d’un jouet merveilleux, de se perdre et de se retrouver dans ses engrenages et ses rouages, comme s’il était possible de comprendre le secret qu’éveille en nous une telle surprise et un tel étonnement. C’est en se perdant parmi les ruines d’une architecture, les cabines colorés d’une mer imprécise, les cheminées d’une usine, dans la photographie d’un édifice éventré, dans un détail de Fra Angelico, dans le souvenir estompé d’une place italienne ou les solides géométrie de la façade d’une cathédrale, dans le phonogramme oublié d’un film néoréaliste, dans une cruche de lait ou une cafetière sur la table, que les architectures de Rossi répondent à notre besoin, à notre désir de merveilleux.
    Finalement, c’est tout cela qui me fascine dans son oeuvre. Ce n’est pas une douce remémoration, une synthèse heureuse et pleine d’évocations, ce ne sont pas les géniales citations d’un grand architecte, mais les souvenirs, les histoires, les inventions et les apparences qui forment les multiples strates de nos perceptions et de nos manières de faire les choses.

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  • 04/07/12--08:02: Article 23

    Ida Tursic & Wilfried Mille

    Hommage à Andrei Tarkovski, Le Sacrifice, 1986
    Ida & Wilfried sont en ce moment exposés à la galerie Almine Rech à Bruxelles

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  • 04/28/12--07:56: Article 22

    Wolgang Tillmans

    Un transit de Vénus se produit lorsque le soleil, Vénus et la Terre se trouvent en alignement parfait. Observé de la Terre, le phénomène se manifeste sous la forme d'un petit disque noir - la planète Vénus - se déplaçant lentement au cours de plusieurs heures devant le disque éclatant du soleil. C'est une observation extrêmement rare car les plans des orbites de la terre et de Vénus sont légèrement inclinés l'un vers l'autre et un transit ne peut se produire que lorsque les deux planètes se trouvent exactement au point de recoupement des plans de leur orbite. Ceci survient tous les 122 ans, puis huit ans plus tard, après quoi il faut attendre 105 ans, puis huit années, puis 122, etc. Le dernier transit s'est déroulé le 8 juin 2004. C'était le premier qu'un être humain vivant alors sur la terre pouvait avoir observé.  En effet, le témoignage des transits de Vénus n'a été fournie par des rapports écrits ou dessins historiques qu'à partir de l'invention du télescope puis, plus tard, par des images photographiques des deux transits survenus après l'invention de cette technique. Six transits seulement ont été observés au cours de l'histoire humaine, en 1639, 1761, 1769, 1874, 1882 et 2004. Aux XVIIIe et XIXe siècles, l'observation de ce phénomène géométrique a revêtu une énorme importance. Les chercheurs ont compris qu'ils pouvaient calculer la distance entre la terre et le soleil par l'observation exacte et la comparaison des temps de passage de Vénus devant le disque du soleil enregistrés de différents points de la terre. On pensait à cette époque que c'était la seule façon d'établir plus ou moins exactement notre position absolue par rapport au soleil et donc par rapport à l'univers qui nous entoure. On ne connaissait dans notre système solaire que des distances relatives, mesurées par multiples de la distance de la terre au soleil, et non les distances réelles. C'était comme de disposer d'une carte sans en connaitre l'échelle.
    Diverses ambitieuses expéditions, par exemple la première du capitaine Cook en 1769, furent lancées dans l'unique objectif d'observer le transit de Vénus d'un point aussi éloigné que possible de l'Europe. L'idée était de mesurer le parallaxe qui, en termes simples, peut se décrire comme l'observation du déplacement de l'objet le plus proche devant un objet plus lointain vu de deux points différents, ce qui se produit quand par exemple, on observe le changement apparent de position d'un pouce devant une maison à à l'horizon en le regardant alternativement de l'oeil gauche ou de l'oeil droit. 
    L'exactitude de l'évènement était gênée par l'effet de goutte noire qui faisait que le disque de Vénus semblait se fondre dans le noir du ciel entourant le soleil pendant un temps plus long que ce que l'on pouvait attendre de sa position prédite. Même s'il était en principe déjà clairement "à l'intérieur" du disque du soleil, celui de Vénus apparaissait déformé selon une forme de goutte. Ce n'est que par l'observation photographique des deux transits du XIXe siècle que l'on a pu établir que cet effet était en réalité une illusion provoquée par le cerveau humain.
    Observer le transit de 2004 à travers le télescope que j'ai conservé de mes années d'adolescence obsédées d'astronome n'avait bien entendu aucune valeur scientifique, mais constituait l'expérience émouvante de vois la mécanique concrète du ciel en action devant mes yeux. Regarder une planète se déplacer devant un autre objet défini  qui fait partie du système solaire m'a donné, en tant qu'être terrestre, le sens visuel de ma localisation dans l'espace. Malgré le caractère plat de l'image du télescope, on pouvait faire l'expérience de l'espace en trois dimensions. 
    Le prochain transit de Vénus se produira le 6 juin 2012.

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  • 06/10/12--11:51: Article 21

    Mario Gandelsonas

    Studies on the american grids, how to speak about cities, through their radical substances.

    Los Angeles
    The uniquely American one-mile grid, the relentless continental grid that organizes the megalopolis, is seen in contrast to the urban grids and the boulevards

    Boston - The Head and the neck
    Alternating sector of urban fabric and fields - with or without building objects - form the head of Boston. The neck, can seen as the result of the overlapping of different grids. Interventions made after World War II have deeply affected the morphology of Boston, erasing entire areas of the close-knit fabrid of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and replacing them with Modernist-inspired building developments.
    The result is a series of discontinuous radical sectors of fabric alternating with sectors of objects in a field revealed by the analytical drawings. The peculiar topographic history of Boston (the leving of hills and the filling of Back Bay ) might partially explain the different degrees of resistance to change that characterize the historical fabric of Beacon Hill, for instance.

    New Heaven
    The original plan of New Heaven contained elements that should both insure the survival of the original grid - an oversized nine-square grid (825 total square feet) with a common green in the center - while also generating a new order for its development, several diagonal streets leading outward from the core. The radial field system surrounding the nine-square grid persists in the plan of New Heaven today. However, this description represents only a simple, perceptual understanding of the city.

    While the neutral geometric grid and the regular "beat" of intersections in the city of Chicago imply continuous movement, the accidents of the plan produce changing rythms and interruptions where movement stops.
    The Ink drawings
    he series of ink drawings examine two situations that produce these interruptions of the one-mile grid : the effect of the multiple diagonals that crisscross the plan, and the effect of topographic changes.

     and more aboutLa Grille here

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  • 06/28/12--06:30: Article 20

    Anders Ramsell

    Blade Runner's Ridley Scott's masterpiece is reinterpreting here by the swedish artist Anders Ramsell ( also from The Creatos Project ) who spent eleven months and 3 585 aquarelles to produce 13 minutes of films (see here) . His aim right now is to make the entire movie, which will correspond to 32 300 paintings.

    More about paintings herethere
    And about reinterpreted stories with Christian Patterson photographic bookon Terence MalickBadlands

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  • 07/15/12--13:28: Article 19

    Napoléon Bonaparte & 500 others

    "Soldiers, from the height of these pyramids, forty centuries look down on you.." thus Napoleon is said to have addressed his troops shortly before the battle of the pyramids (17 july, 1798 ). His words aptly summarize the result of the "Egyptian campaign", a military disaster which had an extraordinary consequences for archeology.
    One must be mad as only the french can be to send one's best army and on's best general to the ends of the earth when the homeland itself is under multiple attack. The ostensible motive was a generous one : to free the egyptian people from the Ottoman Empire and its Mamelukes. The real motives was to found a French colony and make Egypt a province of the Republic, thus reinforcing French domination in the Mediterranean basin and even, perhaps, extending it into Asia. Napoleon dreamt of Alexander and Caesar and wished to emulate their glory. Intended to wound the soft underbelly of the English, the campaign was an abject failure. At Abukir, Nelson sank 200 ships which had conveyed the expeditionary force and the French army found itself a prisoner of its conquest. Napoleon abandoned his army, returning with all speed to France to defend his country against the Coalition and to have himself crowned Emperor.

    The expedition was a military and political fiasco - and it changed the face of the earth : by revealing the splendor of a mysterious and forgotten civilization, it gave birth to Egyptology. The cultural and scientific elite of France accompanied the expeditionaty force. Was Napoleon seeking justification for its conquest? Or was this simply the cultural heritage of the Enlightenment? Whatever his motives, 500 civilians accompanied the army, amongst them a group of 167 scholars that included 21 mathematicians, 3 astronomers, 17 civil engineers, 13 naturalists, 4 architects, 8 draughtsmen, 10 men of letters, 22 printers equipped with Latin, Greek and Arabic characters.
    Napoleon's artillery destroyed the furious charges of 10,000 Mamalukes cavalry beneath the pyramids of Giza; then, as soon as he had seized Embabeh, forcing routed Mamelukes to scatter into the Nubian desert, the scholars went to work. For the greater gloty of the French Republic, they were to find, beneath the millennial sands, the vestiges of Pharaonic Egypt, the "cradle of the science and art of all humanity " as Napoleon put it. A commission of Science and Art and an Egyptian Institute were promptly founded. Under their guidance, everything was systematically catalogued and meticulously drawn, from the monolithic obelisks with their rich decoration to the vast statues that dominated the palm-trees of the Nile Banks.
    All was completed in 23 volumes...

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  • 08/26/12--10:20: Article 18

    Pre-Soviet Period, Suprematism & other mysterious CCCP movements

    I was deriving, a few days ago, on Tverskaya's Moscow main avenue and I found in the basement of a mainstream bookshop some architectural publications about the pre-soviet period, suprematism and brochures from different CCCP time. Everything is unfortunately written in russian but it adds something really mysterious -  don't know what is it, student work perhaps - but something really powerfull cames from all that people's faces who seems totally engaged in their tasks, to produce with high belief all these abstract architectural models and drawings. 
    In a way, it also reveals what you can feel when you're in Russia from a quiet short time, you cannot really understand what's happened here - language people reactions - even if everything looks the same everything is different ;  something which can be contain in this Dostoievsky's quote "Russians are not whites, blacks or yellows, they are greens". It will follow a posts' series about that feeling and stuffs I found here and there.

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  • 09/07/12--07:57: Article 17

    Ed Ruscha talking with John Coplans

    John Coplans - Ceci est bien le deuxième livre de ce type que vous avez publié?
    Ed Ruscha - Oui, le premier était Twentysix Gasoline Stations en 1963.
    J.C. - Quel objectif visez-vous en publiant ces livres?
    E.R. - Pour commencer - quand je projette de faire un livre -, j'ai une foi aveugle dans ce que je suis en train de faire. Ce qui ne veut pas dire que je n'ai pas de doutes, ni que je ne fais pas d'erreurs. Ni que les livres m'intéressent en tant que tels. Mais j'aime les publications qui sortent de l'ordinaire. Mon premier livre est né d'un jeu sur les mots. Le titre est apparu avant même que je ne pense aux images. J'aime le mot "gasoline" (essence) et j'aime le caractère spécifique de "twentysix" (vingt-six). Si vous regardez le livre, vous verrez comme la typographie fonctionne bien - j'ai travaillé sur tout cela avant de prendre les photographies. Ce n'est pas que je voulais faire passer un message important concernant l'essence, le nombre 26 ou quoi que ce soit de ce genre - je voulais juste qu'il y ait une cohérence. Surtout, les photographies que j'utilise ne sont en aucun sens "artistiques". Je pense que la photographie est arrivée à son terme en tant qu'art; elle n'a plus d'usage que publicitaire, pour répondre à des objectifs techniques ou d'information. Je ne parle pas de la photographie au cinéma, mais de la photographie d'art, c'est-à-dire des éditions à tirage limité, des photographies uniques, tirées manuellement. Les miennes sont simplement des reproductions de photographies. Donc, il ne s'agit pas d'un livre conçu comme un recueil pour une collection de photographie d'art - ce sont des données techniques comme dans la photographie industrielle. Pour moi, ce ne sont rien de plus que des clichés instantanés.
    J.C. - Vous voulez dire qu'il n'y a aucun jeu de composition dans le cadrage photographique?
    E.R. - Non.
    J.C. - Qu'elles n'ont pas été recadrées?
    E.R. - Non, mais j'ai peint par la suite l'une des stations services reproduites dans le premier livre. Je n'avais aucune idée à l'époque que cela allait plus tard me servir de base pour une toile.
    J.C. - Mais est-ce que le sujet de ces photographies n'est pas le même que celui de vos tableaux?
    E.R. - Seulement pour deux d'entre vous. Néanmoins, j'ai procédé de la même manière que pour mon premier livre. J'ai défini le titre et la composition des tableaux avant d'y mettre les stations-service.
    J.C. - Existe-t-il une corrélation entre votre manière de peindre et les livres?
    E.R. - La peinture n'a aucune importance pour les livres.
    J.C. - Un jour, en parlant de Twentysix Gasoline Stations, j'ai dit: "il faut le considérer comme un petit tableau". Était-ce fondé?
    E.R. - Seulement si on fait le rapprochement avec ma manière d'appréhender la typographie dans mes tableaux. Par exemple, il m'arrive quelquefois de peindre des titres sur la tranche de mes tableaux, comme sur le dos d'un livre. Ce n'est qu'une ressemblance de style. Mon intention avec mes livres et mes toiles est totalement différente. Je ne sais pas très bien à quelle catégorie mes livres appartiennent. Pour les tableaux, il y a toute une scène bien établie. L'un des objectifs de mes livres concernent la fabrication d'un objet de masse. L'aspect du produit fini est très commercial, très professionnel. Je ne me sens pas très proche du domaine des livres imprimés à la main, aussi authentiques soient-ils. Une erreur que j'ai faite dans Twentysix Gasoline Stations, c'est de numéroter les livres. J'essayais - à l'époque - que chaque exemplaire acheté par une personne ait une place individuelle dans l'édition. Ce n'est plus ce que je souhaite maintenant.
    J.C. - Pour revenir à Various Small Fires and Milk, vous avez délibérément choisi chaque sujet et vous l'avez spécifiquement photographié?
    E.R. - Oui, tout était calculé.
    J.C. - Dans quel but? Pourquoi les feux et, pour la dernière image, du lait?
    E.R. - Mon tableau d'une station-service avec un magazine [Standard Station, 10c Western Being Torn In Half (1964)] comporte une idée similaire. Le magazine est sans importance, ajouté après coup à la fin. De la même manière, le lait semblait rendre le livre plus intéressant et lui donnait de la cohésion.
    J.C. - Était-il nécessaire que les photographies soient prises par vous, personnellement?
    E.R. - Non, n'importe qui pouvait la faire. D'ailleurs, l'une d'entre elles a été prise par quelqu'un d'autre. J'ai cherché dans une banque d'images pour trouver des photographies d'incendies, il n'y en avait pas. Qui a pris les photographies n'a pas d'importance, c'est purement une question pratique.
    J.C. - Qu'en est-il de la mise en page?
    E.R. - Ça, c'est important. Les photographies doivent se suivre dans un ordre précis, de façon à ce qu'aucune émotion ne domine.
    J.C. - Celle-ci paraît assez artistique - je ne sais pas très bien ce que c'est, une sorte de feu.
    E.R. - Uniquement parce que c'est ce genre de sujet qui n'est pas reconnaissable à premier abord.
    J.C. - Vous attendez-vous à ce que les gens achètent le livre, ou l'avez-vous réalisez uniquement pour le plaisir?
    E.R. - La ligne de démarcation est très mince quant à savoir si ce livre ne vaut rien du tout ou s'il a une certaine valeur - pour la majorité des gens, il ne vaut probablement rien. Les réactions varient beaucoup; certaines personnes sont par exemple scandalisées. J'ai montré le premier livre à l'employé d'une station service. Ça l'a amusé. Certains pensent que c'est formidable, d'autres sont déconcertés.
    J.C. - Quel genre de personnes disent que c'est formidable - celles qui connaissent l'art moderne?
    E.R. - Non, pas du tout. Beaucoup de gens achètent les livres parce que ce sont des curiosités. Par exemple, une fille en a acheté trois exemplaires, un pour chacun de ses petits amis. Elle a dit que ça ferait des cadeaux épatants pour eux, puisqu'ils avaient déjà tout.
    J.C. - Pensez-vous que vos livres sont mieux faits que la plupart des livres qui sont sur le marché de nos jours?
    E.R. - Il n'y a pas beaucoup de livres qui pourraient se prêter à ce type de production. Si on les considère en tant que livres de poche, alors c'est sans aucun doute beaucoup mieux fait. Mes livres sont fabriqués aussi parfaitement que possible.
    J.C. - Est-ce que vous considérez le livre comme un exercice pour explorer le potentiel des techniques de production?
    E.R. - Non, j'utilise des procédés standard et bien connus. Cela peut se faire facilement, sans difficultés. Mais en tant que projet normal, commercial, ce serait trop coûteux pour la majorité des gens d'imprimer des livres de cette façon. C'est purement une question de coût.
    J.C. - Connaissez-vous le livre publié en 1956 et intitulé Nonverbal Communication["Communication non verbale"] de Ruesch et Kees?
    E.R. - Oui, c'est un bon livre, mais les images s'accompagnent d'un texte, qui les explique. Il communique à un niveau rationnel que mon livre évite. Le matériau n'est pas du tout assemblé avec la même intention. Évidemment, le photographies utilisées ne sont pas des photographies d'art, mais le livre s'adresse à des gens qui veulent s'informer sur la psychologie de l'image ou de la photographie. Ça, c'est la psychologie de l'image. Même si nous utilisons le même genre d'images, c'est à des fins différentes.Nonverbal Communication à une visée pratique, c'est un livre fait pour vous apprendre des choses - vous n'apprendrez pas forcément des choses avec mes livres. Les images dans ce livre ne servent que de support au contenu textuel. C'est pour cela que j'ai éliminé tout ce qui est texte dans mes livres - je veux un matériau absolument neutre. Mes images ne sont pas si intéressantes que ça, pas plus que leur contenu. Elles représentent simplement une collection de "faits" - comme si mon livre donnait à voir une suite de "readymades".
    J.C. - Est-ce que l'idée de readymade vous intéresse?
    E.R. - Non, ce que je recherche, c'est un certain fini. Une fois que j'ai décidé de tous les détails - les photographies, la mise en page, etc. - ce que je cherche vraiment, c'est un aspect professionnel, l'aspect mécanique du "fait machine". Ce livre a été imprimé par le meilleur imprimeur à l'ouest de New York. Regardez comme il est d'une simplicité impeccable. Je n'essaie pas de créer un livre précieux en édition limitée, mais plutôt un objet haut de gamme produit en masse. Tous me livres sont identiques. Ils ne présentent aucune variation, contrairement aux livres réalisés à la main en édition limitée. Le plaisir d'aligner devant soi 400 livres exactement semblables justifie presque l'argent que cela coûte.

    John Coplans, À propos de Various Small Fires and Milk: Ed Ruscha Commente Ses Curieuses Publications in Ed Ruscha, Huit Textes, Vingt-Trois Entretiens

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  • 09/25/12--15:15: Article 16

  • OSA
    Mendrisio School Lectures

    Trough the OSA's website it's now possible to penetrate into the intimacy of lectures which happened in the swiss architectural school Mendrisio during the 2011-2012 season, here to the tracklists : 
    Raphael Zuber
    Paolo Zermani
    Valerio Olgiati
    Christian Kerez
    Grafton architects
    Andres Jaque
    Souto de Moura
    Angelo Bucci

    and the link to

    see also Architecture Without Contents here

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  • 10/08/12--15:02: Article 15

    Andrea Branzi, Eva Le Roi (part of Venice Biennale's Luxembourg Pavilion)

    «Post-city», the theme proposed by the Luxembourg Pavilion for the XIII Biennale of Architecture in Venice requires a long process of reflection and research. Part of the «Common Ground» topic initiated by David Chipperfield, it must not be merely a striking slogan for the benefit of architects who have never reflected on this subject and whose sole concern is to «construct» as many parts of the town as possible...
    Already at the XIth biennale a similar topic was proposed to leading architects: «Architecture beyond building». This was interpreted as a kind of improvised vacation, an excursion into the unknown territory of Art by professionals whose main ( and legitimate ) interest was in constructing square kilometers of «buildings»
    My purpose in making these introductory remarks is to stress that this topic highlights one of the central aspects of the crisis of architecture in the XXIst century. The Post-City is neither a utopia nor science fiction, but the most realistic mirror of what already exists.
    To put it plainly: The Post-City is not hypothetical possibility for the future, it is the city of the present. A city in which architecture has lost its role as a «central scenario of history» and has instead become «non figurative « that is to say an accessory, cataconic, inexpressive presence. Its role is limited to that of creating «exalted and isolated icons» that do not bear witness or anyhting or produce shared emotion. Realities that are rapidly submerged in social indifference, are already old when they are born and convey messages that are increasingly self-referential.
    The city is no longer «an ensemble of architectural boxes» but an invasive and sprawling plancton of information, relations, services, consumer goods and persons. These realities produce an enormous expressive energy that is seductive  and uncontrollable and derives architecture of space and of its role. 
    The Post-city is the most obvious sign of the great transformation that has characterised design in the XXIst century, the transition of Western society from architectural civilisation to consumer civilisation. It is an extreme effect of the Industrial Revolution. In the last century it was erroneously interpreted as the central role of the machine, the factory and the rationality of artificial technoologies.
    The «consumer civilisation» is the result of the huge productive effort of the entire industrial apparatus, which has created a devastating, anarchic and unpredictable environmental effect. The markets for this civilisation today extend from China to South America, and the phenomenon goes by the name of globalisation. 
    The Post-City mut be understood as part of this new historical framework, existing within this molecular and dynamic reality consisting of commodities. The exportable nature of the  commoditites fluidifies the world’s territory, in which national borders are becoming blurred, becoming an opaque tissue, traversable, non-specialised, operating in «post-Fordian» fashion. It is the product of a «creative» society, which, in order to compete internationally, must daily produce innovation through entrepeneurial activity for mass consumption. 
    A city in which everything is contaminated and hybridised, as in the Oriental megalopolises in which the living live together with the dead, technology together with sacred animals, fiction together with theology.
    A society that is not developing in a single direction but is looking for provisional, reversible  and incomplete solutions in order to positevely manage the state of permanent crisis in which capitalism is developing. The Post-City is the city of capitalism, where the only laws are those of the market and the market is entirely identified with society; where the apparent liberty of the individual coincides with the apparent liberty of everyone...
    The historical reality that I am trying to describe is not an apocalyptic reality. It is not the end of history; on the contrary is it the beginning of a new story in which design ( lacking direction ) must reflect its deep foundations ( which are not the professional ones ) on the basis of its own existence, in the face of a society of 7 billion people who want «everything and the opposite of everything», who are attracted by novelty but also hostile to it..
    Globalisation is not producing a uniform mentality or universal peace. On the contrary, it is leading to violent ethical or religious conflicts based on support for or opposition to cultural hybridation, support for or oposition to the contamination of traditions created by the invasive power of the economy ( and of arms ).
    This society is standardised in appearance only. In reality it is a society that constantly has to experiment on and with itslef, its own imperfections and inadequacies, probing its own anthropological foundations but also trying to ensure that they do not become insurmountable walls. 
    It is a society that must overcome modern rigidity and false oppositions between town and country, agriculture and architecture, tolerance and intolerance.
    The Post-City consists of a territory lacking an external reference point but teeming with connections, conflicts and contradictions, in which everything is provisional, where billions of images and of messages converge and interact but even in their totality still do not succeed in building a «new cathedral»

    These works are extract from the Venice Biennale's Luxembourg Pavilion 
    POST-CITY Considering The Luxembourg Case
    consisting of an exercice of models, drawings and texts
    exhibitors / Yi-Der Chou, Radim Louda, Phillippe Nathan

    you can see more here

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  • 10/15/12--13:55: Article 14

  • Miesology 
    Piet & Win Eckert (E2A)

    Perhaps nothing epitomizes modern architecture’s transformation from an avant-garde utopian project into built reality more clearly than the carrer of Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe. The German architect’s output in the first decades of the twentieth century remained, for the most part, limited to a few relatively humble houses as well as to a number of bold visions on paper that would haunt the profession’s imagination for decades to come - and apparently continue to do so. His emigration to the United States at the end of 1930’s marked the beginning of Modern Architecture’s fast embrace by the capitalist establishment. Far from its iconoclastic and radical beginnings, by the 1960’s Modern Architecture, and in particular its manifestation in the works by figures such as Walter Gropius or Mies Van Der Rohe, had become the architectural lingue franca in the western hemisphere, and the normative model of architectural production. Meanwhile in Cold War politics, features such as abstract reductionism or transparency were hailed as the architectural insignia of democratic and egalitarian societies. Although its predominance was soon challenged by a younger generation of architects who whould become the protagonists of postmodernism. Mies’s proposal a seemingly timeless architectural grammar consisting of a limited number of formal elements has remained a reference - and a challenge - for practitionners to the present day. 

    The ongoing fascination with Mies’s architectural language is not surprising, for it seems reduced to the point of indeterminacy, leaving ample space for projection and speculation, while simultaneously manifesting a superior understanding of tectonics and the inherent qualities of materials. What renders his model compelling from a contemporary perspective is the reduction of architecture to a limited number of discrete modules or elements that can be reassembled and reproduced seemingly at will. In this regard, Mies’s conception represents not only a pertinent architectural answer for the « age of technical reproductibility», but arguably, also a historical precusrsos to the digital age. Seen in this way, as E2A has suggested in their theoretical Miesology project, the architectural and spatial configurations developend by Mies in the mid-twentieth century may be seen as a formal source from which in an almost digital manner an infinite number of architectural variations can be assembled based on a finite numbers of elements. Miesology is a series of a dozen or so photomontages created by E2A with the help of their photocopier and based on reassembly of fragments of Mies’s projects into new configurations.

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  • 10/21/12--02:40: Article 13

  • (Un)City – (Un)Real State of the (Un)Known

    Cedric Libert for the Instanbul Design Biennal

    Le projet place la ville comme sujet de réflexion et de discussion : la ville abord.e sous l’angle des multiples réalités qui la constituent, la ville perçue en tant qu’héritage autant que projet en devenir, la ville envisagée par la superposition, l’imbrication et la sédimentation de strates singulières. Procédant d’une interrogation précise et vaste à la fois – celle de l’environnement au sens architecture du terme –, il s’agit de saisir la complexité des mécanismes qui façonnent agglomérations et métropoles.

    Les aléas de l’histoire et épisodes successifs ont tant.t fourni une vision totalisante, tant.t des revendications localement émergentes. C’est de l’assemblage de toutes ces couches historiques et morphologiques qu’est issue la ville telle que nous la connaissons aujourd’hui. Elle est également le produit d’une s.rie de décisions antagonistes, voire contradictoires, et c’est probablement là que réside sa terrifiante beauté. Pour aborder cette question, la proposition suggère que l’on adopte un regard spécifique : celui qui consisterait à observer les phénomènes urbains à travers le prisme du diagnostic et de la dissection. Dès lors, apparait un dispositif ouvert – un terrain d’étude, de prospection et de négociation – par lequel il est question de d.celer les champs d’investigation et de recherche autant que les logiques territoriales héritées de l’histoire. C’est un terrain de jeu, une aire d’expérimentation ou encore un territoire mental qu’il est intéressant de comprendre au même titre qu’il est important d’en reconnaitre les aspérités.
    Très librement inspirée d’une série de documents historiques ou récents, dont l’intérêt consiste à ouvrir la pensée du réel . l’univers poétique de la fiction, la proposition réunit 100 projets d’architecture(s). Dans l’idée d’un récit entre imaginaire et réalité, il s’agit d’une collection de bâtiments et situations urbaines emblématiques de Bruxelles, décrits séparément dans le présent ouvrage et assemblés par ailleurs, sous la forme d’une grande maquette de 4m x 4m. Celle-ci est construite au départ de situations qui ont existé, existent ou pourraient exister. Sous la forme d’un territoire imaginaire, elle rassemble des projets passés, présents et prospectifs : le Palais de justice de Bruxelles, le Cinquantenaire, la Maison du Peuple de Victor Horta, le Pavillon du Bonheur Temporaire de V+, le Théâtre National,
    le projet de Jonction Nord-Midi de Luc Deleu ou encore le siège Glaverbel . la Chaussée de la Hulpe. Bref, une petite histoire de l’architecture envisagée par éléments distincts – chacun d’entre eux constituant un prototype  pour la ville. Ce faisant, c’est ouvrir les tiroirs de l’histoire, en sortir des projets et les observer comme spécimen unique, bien qu’issus d’une espèce plus largement répandue dans la ville. Par la reconfiguration autrement de tous ces projets sur la maquette, il s’agit d’une part, d’être attentif au vide entre les architectures construites – l’espace entre les volumes agencés – parce qu’il révèle l’existence de rapports inédits entre les éléments : et d’autre part, d’explorer l’idée que chacun construit son expérience personnelle de la ville – une cartographie sensible, propre et unique, voire une mythologie intime.
    Les 100 projets collaborent dans un grand récit, celui d’une ville qui existe autant qu’elle est rêvée. Elle pourrait être l’une de ces Villes Invisibles  racontée par Italo Calvino. Toutes sont le pur produit d’un fantasme alors qu’entre
    les lignes chacune evoque les réminiscences d’une ville que l’on a parcourue.
    Pour chaque projet, un seul aspect a été retenu, soulignant son importance singulière dans la construction d’un imaginaire collectif. Les 100 projets véhiculent leurs lots de petites anecdotes ou illustrent des chapitres de la grande Histoire. Qu’importe, ensemble, ils font la ville.

    (Un)City – (Un)Real State of the (Un)Known lays down the city as a subject of thought and talk. Addressing through its constituting multiple realities, the city is perceived as heritage as well as project-in-becoming, envisaged by superposition, interweaving and sedimentation of singular layers. 
    Proceeding from both a concise and vast interrogation – the environment in its very architectural meaning – it is first about trying to grasp the complexities of mechanisms that shape towns and metropolis. Hazards of history and successive episodes sometimes brought up comprehensive approach or locally emerging claims. It is the gathering of all these historical and morphological layers that constitute the city as we know it today. Likewise it is resulting from a series of antagonistic if not contradictory decisions. There lies its terrifying beauty. 
    In order to raise up the question, the proposal suggests to observe urban phenomena’s through the prism of diagnostic and dissection. This roughly defined idea of the city then suggest an open apparatus – a common ground for prospection and negotiation – that allows for fields of investigation and new research as well as the recognition of historically inherited territories. It is a playground, an experimentation area and a mental territory that is interesting to understand as a whole but important to recognize in a logic of differentiations.
    A large model (4m x 4m) gathers100 Projects for Brussels. As a proposal between fact and fiction, it assembles a collection of emblematic buildings and urban situations found in the city of Brussels. Freely inspired by historical and recent representations, the model is constructed from situations that existed, exist or could have existed. Shaped as an imaginary territory, it brings together past, present and prospective projects : the Brussel’s Palace of Justice, the Cinquantenaire Monument, Victor Horta’s Maison du Peuple, le Pavillon du Bonheur designed by architects V+, The National Theatre, an utopian project of Luc Deleu and Glaverbel headquarter in La Hulpe, among others. A sort of architectural short story, implemented from distinct elements – each one engaging a prototype for the city.
    Reconfiguring differently all these projects on the model implies a double fold new approach of the so-called urban reality: on the one hand, it is about carefully recognizing the void between the architectural objects – a space between volumes – while on the other hand exploring the idea that each one of us as individual establishes its own experience of the city – a personal and unique cartography, if not an intimate mythology.

    You can get more information about the Istanbul Design Biennal here and in real time here
    I will recommand you to go around the 14&15 november for a consortium around the question of the city leads by Cedric Libert