Wednesday, July 16, 2003

On space and practice

From Dennis Kaspori comes A Communism of ideas: Towards an open-source architectural practice.

Accordingly, architectural practice needs to be turned inside-out. Architects should no longer look inwards in search of the essence of architecture. They should also cease harking back nostalgically to past times, when the architect was still a master builder. Architecture must look outwards and forwards, in search of the countless opportunities offered by these turbulent times of political and economic instability. The search for the essence of architecture will have to make way for the question of what architecture can mean for the contemporary network society. It is time for a collectively organized renewal of architectural practice ...

For inspiration, Kaspori cites Nicolas Bourriaud:

‘In the face of the economic abstraction that makes daily life unreal, or an absolute weapon of techno-market power, artists reactivate forms by inhabiting them, pirating private property and copyrights, brands and products, museum-bound forms and signatures. If the downloading of forms (these samplings and remakes) represents important concerns today, it is because these forms urge us to consider global culture as a toolbox, an open narrative space rather than a univocal narrative and a product line.’

Within this perspective, the artist is a kind of hacker, changing existing social and economic systems by entering them and manipulating them: ‘In this way, social objects, from habits to institutions through the most banal structures, are pulled from their inertia. By slipping into the functional universe, art revives these objects or reveals their absurdity' ...


There is much that could still be said about architecture and space in terms of Bourriaud's postproduction, but by comparing artists/architects to hackers, Kaspori is able to advocate the use-value of architecture and propose an open-source (bazaar) model for architectural practice and participatory design - as means to reinvigorate architecture and to create buildings that benefit people. Interesting. The essay also suggests many possible routes of exploration for the design of habitable spaces - including virtual ones. Thanks!

Of tangential interest is SONIC PROCESS: a New Geography of Sounds, "the Centre Pompidou’s first exhibition on electronic music. It attempts to examine the relationship between the visual arts and electronic music-making today. " (An exhibition catalog-of-sorts is also available.)

The word «Sonic» encompasses the study of sound waves, but also musical experimentation realized with new electronic means, thus emphasizing the creative flux between these two territories with officially recognized boundaries. «Process» emphasizes the new autonomous processes of creation, production, as well as distribution outside the usual economical networks. «Sonic Process» follows the explorations undertaken in new places for performance, experimentation, and distribution of electronic music and attempts to map out this new geography. With no claim to being exhaustive, it nonetheless throws into relief certain sites, cities, and artistic capitals, and makes emerge a topology of exchanges and trajectories. (pdf)

And Tobias writes from Montréal that he has "pulled together a few forces in this city -- the McGill arm of the Culture of Cities Project, the Société des Arts Technologiques, and sound-artist Alexis Bhagat from NYC -- to re.mix academic approaches to the city, performative sound.art on and via the city, and the SAT crew of New Media and electronic artists ... into one digital dump. Here it is." Very cool!

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