"City is not a fork!"

quote by EOM

by Sepa Sama

It is 7:00 pm sharp, Sci-arc gallery, once again another installation, another hard talk, once again tiered faces in demanding profession, on my left some fashion experts are seating, and they ask me; who is this guy? I reply; he is Eric Own Moss, the director EOM: Is this a big piece of fashion or small piece of architecture?
Somehow the question is so direct, as If there is no chance for multidisciplinary work.
Elena Manferdini explains the elaborate methods to build this piece or pieces, she points at something that fascinated me, she explains how the Die-cut was a very ancient method and how the laser-cut was a contemporary technology, and in order for her to achieve this piece in budget, she needed to use both techniques; as the Die-cut resembles the stamp, once they arrange the cutting edges, they could repeat the same cuts, but in the case of laser cut there is a longer machinery preparations and more costs…
I immediately think to myself; what set of skills should I have to be able to invent as an architect? And what is really an invention in architecture? When I think about the Mosques I have encountered with, the invention is never in the piece, the piece is always the simplest element as bricks, the invention is always in the tectonics or assembly or the hidden logics that the definition of the piece will no longer come close to its existence, as the whole dominates the space.
EOM: OK you are talking about techniques, but what I see is that; this thing is hanging of some wires…
Moss insists on the fact that; this is decoration due to the feature that, this is hanging from wires and the shape of the gallery as the box and the hanging wires that hold the pieces decide the whole, everything is just an additive decorative piece.
Manferdini: you always have hierarchy of structural elements, you can not immediately reach the goal with one set of materials, plus the budget was very limited and I needed to use plastic, I could have used steel and the wires were not needed, and this is the new aesthetics!
I think that the genius of the work is limited to the piece alone, which there are 4 types of them, but what Moss is not buying is the easy tectonics of it, that is simply hanging from bunch of wires, that decide the overall shape, I think to myself in the case of Muqarnas, the overall shape is the exact difference of the box and the dome, and for the Muqarnas to be Muqarnas, there is no negotiation of the boundaries, all the complexity happens within the defined area, and different systems merge together without the observer being able to distinguish the logics discretely.
Me being her student and having designed a stadium, there is an issue of promise in her work, a promise of architecture, but the thing is not secured as architecture as Moss insists, this is what I did in her studio around 2 years ago:
With this work I always imagined; if this was going to be built, we will be in a Ducati condition, meaning that we had series of serious trusses and the more fluid skin frozen in a plastic state will hang from the structure;
After a rigid conversation Moss somehow concludes that; this is a big piece of fashion, the argument goes around the same topic and they both seem to resist each other, unfortunately the fashion experts left without showing any interest in the discussion.
Sepa: Can we compare this to Muqarnas? In a simple analogy, in a Mosque; we have a box and a dome and the transition in between; that gives birth to a sophisticated geometry as Muqarnas, and in this piece we have complexity and somehow geometric complexity finds its scale and place in architecture?
Elena Manferdini, rejects to answer, I had asked her before personally that would she find any connection to Islamic architecture in her work? And she had told me NONE, which I accept, but this question was meant to be in her favor, somehow I feel the Parthenon as an architectural geopolitical barrier again….
Moss starts to answer, he seems to be in the favor of the question, but I am not sure if he answered my question,
He talked about Islam and the form of the Mosque that was constant, and he seemed to make a very strong connection between the form and the culture and how it was missing in the installation and then he talked about how fashion and architecture can not be allies, because of the permanent characteristics of architecture…
Somehow the freedom of discourse of architecture from the culture was the topic that Moss made me think; as if in our profession, the limitation of culture is temporally released and we have created the architecture of its own culture, its own aesthetics, its own audience, its own publication, its own budget!
Sepa: What is the Eisenman-Lynn Transition? If the transition has happened! In another words; how the knowledge and skills of architect has changed?
Moss pauses, and then he laughs, he remembers me from the last lecture, I feel that my question has some content to it, it is really my question; as what is going to be my knowledge, as my friends posses sophisticated CNC skills and I don’t….
EOM: Greg and Peter are both my friends, At least Greg invented something! I know that Peter can seat in a bar in Berlin with a pencil and he does not need anything else….
That seemed interesting to me, I like to see an architect as a person that thinks, rather than a person that invents like a Ducati builder, because I tend to understand the huge promise of architecture as product or architecture as Ducati, and the freedom of forms and tectonics and performance and many other promises, but conceptually we are limiting ourselves to set of techniques and what happened to the simple architecture and simple methods and strong concepts? like in case of the Berlin Memorial, There is no need for the sophisticated technology to address the monument, I am not against techniques or invention or new methods, but I think what I understand is the inherent strength of architecture is outside of the techniques and it can conceptualize itself through set of techniques, but the bigger idea must be there, other wise we become Ducati architects, which I am not interested in.
On the other hand side these Ducati like industries are so called vertical industries and they have a very different mode of liabilities and divisions of responsibilities that make the invention easier for them in a more totalitarian way, and the invention is limited to the brand itself.
I don’t know what Lynn has invented and Moss does not make any specifications, a modular piece? But one thing was clear; that Eisenman could be traced with his definite specific unique ahuhhh decisions and Lynn seemed to argue to consume series of machine logics and computer logics and design skill logics, which brings me to the discussion of Hume and Architectural geopolitical generational wars.
Few weeks earlier a Dynasty had invited Manuel Delanda to lecture at Sci-arc, it was very similar to last year’s, but according to my memory; he discussed some new character, which was Hume and he discussed him in a very long time, and he talked about the skill, he talked about how the knowledge is unique only to the person that knows how, he brought the example of someone who knows how to ride a bicycle, that knowledge is unique to him, as Moss was directly looking at Delanda, the Dynasty was directly looking at Moss and that was the time I felt, I don’t belong here and I left, I hope my assumption was incorrect but I smelled generational wars. To be or not to be: …
But later, that event kept me thinking and somehow, I realized or I made assumptions based on; to be or not to be, the cycle of generations, to be does not necessarily means continuation, If you continue some entity older than you or in a different geopolitical region with more history, that means, you are always inferior, to be a new or to stand up, you must invent, or discontinue, to discontinue, you need to construct a barrier, a geopolitical barrier, or the HumeSkilloKnowledgeotechnological barrier, but you make it if the result is not a promise or how long the promise can be continued?
Manferdini: the methodologies of different disciplines have become the same and therefore; designers can have a wide range of works.
EOM: …city is not a fork!
We all laughed, he is the master surgeon that dissected the independency of skill and knowledge, as Manferdini was going for inherent knowledge of the technique in her work which can not be incorrect, but there is a generational tension and difference.
EOM: I appreciate all the work, and thank you all for coming.
Now is my turn to make an object, I will pick a plain coin, on one side, I carve; to be or not to be is not my dilemma by Rumi and I carve it with a Zen like degree of attentiveness,
On the other side I laser-cut; to be or not to be: that is the question by Shakespeare with a machine like degree of precision,
I project the coin toward the lost clouds, and its rotations define the third routine, similar to the Muqarnas that no longer remembers the box or the dome.

Hamlet by Shakespeare, p.146
Rumi, whispers of the beloved translated by Maryam Mafi and Azima Melita Kolin, p.48
Tracing Eisenman, edited by Cynthia Davidson, p.290
David Hume, A treatise of human nature, edited by David Fate Norton and Mary Norton
Ducati image, www.ducati.com
The rest is based on the student’s notes, questions and thoughts during the series of
Sci-arc installations, reviews and lectures in the spring of 2008. www.sciarc.edu


suzanne said...

There is always place for every design approach, variation is needed no mater how it is complex or simple.
but you cannot ever blame others if you have less skills than them.

sepa said...

Suzanne, who is blaming who?

Post a Comment