Ahead of this weekend’s ART WRITING FIELD STATION I have been thinking about architecture. The title of this project implies some kind of purpose built structure, and although in practice the field station has so far been a nomadic affair, hosted by a number of gallery and studio spaces, the question of what kind of architecture the project implies, requires and brings into being remains for me a potent one.
On Sunday we will launch the ART WRITING FIELD STATION ARCHITECTURAL OPPORTUNITY COMPETITION as a way of thinking through these issues over the coming months, gathering proposals and ideas that explore the conceptual, actual, fantastical, virtual, conversational and other architectures of the field station. Come along on the night to find out more. More details will be posted here next week.
Right now Hyun Jin Cho is making a 1 minute sequence of images, and I am making a 1 minute text that will introduce the project. We will put them together for the first time on Sunday night and see what happens. My own thinking has started from the possibilities opened up by the following three quotations:
“Project,” in the case of the tower, was not an end in itself, but neither was it an impasse. It was a crucible of possibilities and inspirations, not a utilitarian blueprint. Projects and models play a key part in the alternative history of the “off-modern.” In the context of the Russian avant-garde, artists and architects were frequently also writers. Their multifaceted production, often made “for the drawers” at a time when it was becoming increasingly difficult to build and publish, amounted to a different kind of a “total work,” one that was necessarily fragmented and came to constitute an avant-garde of dissent.
(3)The Office for Soft Architecture came into being as I watched the city of Vancouver dissolve in the fluid called money. Buildings disappeared into newness. I tried to recall spaces, and what I remembered was surfaces. Here and there money had tarried. The result seemed emotional. I wanted to document this process. I began to research the history of surfaces. I included my own desires in the research. In this way, I became multiple. I became money.
…Soft Architecture will reverse the wrongheaded story of structural deepness. That institution is all doors but no entrances. The work of the SA paradoxically recompiles the metaphysics of surface, performing an horizontal research which greets shreds of fibre, pigment flakes, the bleaching of light, proofs of lint, ink, spore, liquid and pixilation, the strange, frail, leaky cloths and sketchings and gestures which we are. The work of the SA, simultaneously strong and weak, makes new descriptions on the warp of former events. By descriptions, we mean mostly critical dreams, morphological thefts, authentic registers of pleasant customs, accidents posing as intentions. SA makes up face-practices.
(1) Svetlanya Boym, Architecture of the Off-Modern(FORuM Project, Princeton Architectural Press, 2008)
(2) Paul Thek, selections from “Teaching Notes: 4-Dimensional Design”, in Harald Falckenberg & Peter Weibel, Paul Thek: Artist’s Artist (MIT Press, 2008), 393-395.
(3) Lisa Robertson, Occasional work and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture (Vancouver, Clear Cut Press, 2003).