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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Pic2aBen Washingtons’ installation ‘We’re Being Kept Informed as the Situation Unfolds’ 2010.  Which was part of the The Utopian Airport Lounge, Group Show, Amman, Jordan.  lets you perceive a structure amongst others.  A place or building that is clear as the light of day yet is out of place surreal within its setting.  The texts that accompany the documentation refer to Marc Auges’ concept of non-place a never ending reevaluation of our relationship to space and place.  Similar questions and conversations are current within my own praxis as I try to visualise new work after a period of in-depth research.

Here are the texts and also a link to his website

There is non-place in every place, and in all non-places places can be recomposed. To put it another way, places and non-places, while they correspond to physical spaces, are also a reflection of attitudes, positions, the relations individuals have with the spaces they live in or move through.
-Marc Auge

The Utopian Airport Lounge is a public art exhibition inspired by Le Corbusier’s visual and abstract approach towards utopia in combination with Marc Auge’s hypothesis on non-place. It has three main components, the city of Amman in comparison to a waiting area, pass over place or in this case the airport lounge, for those in waiting (even permanently so); second, what the city of Amman, like airports are ‘trying’ to achieve in the sense of utopian idealism, through the social and even architectural structure and third, if one dares to compare a city to an Airport Lounge that some could consider searching for utopianism, what happens to the counter argument that an airport is a ‘non-place?’

Extract from press release by Juliana Smith (curator ‘The Utopian Airport Lounge’)

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JOSE DÁVILAS’ photograph series titled: Studies for Future Buildings capture those everyday encounters that speak of something that they could be.  His practice spans a variety of mediums and he approaches each with the same competency.  Brave, honest objects presented out of context.  offering more than purely their function instead providing an insight of their potential.  Click here for JOSE DÁVILA website.

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Within my research it seems unavoidable to detach myself from architectural practice.  I do not see myself as an architect unlike i do as an artist.  So it seems that like those who appreciate art but do not make I myself am the same with architecture.  Rietveld Landscape Bunker 599 project below is one such example that stopped me in my tracks whilst searching links and digging past the day to day.  This project repurposes a once functional defence, something that is part history and part scar on our landscape.  The way Rietveld Landscape have opened this bunker up, renewing its existence.  One such structure that was designed to be impregnable is now light and bare to the elements.  It looks like it is now part of its surroundings and is at home rather than being imposed.

This is one of many successful projects Rietveld Landscape has done and is planning.  The Dutch Atlas of Vacancy is another project of particular interest.

The Dutch Atlas of  Vacancy, as part of the installation ‘Vacant NL, where architecture meets ideas’ calls upon the Dutch government to make use of the enormous potential of inspiring, temporarily unoccupied buildings from the 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries for innovation within the creative knowledge economy.

This idea of making visible the vacant property, this potential that is in existence yet not being utilised is realised through this map.  Begs one to question how much space is left underused.  By making this public discussion can arise.

Take a look at their website.

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Whilst doing some further research to complete my current dissertation I cam across a blog bursting with information.  ‘Taskcape.’  This blog which takes its title from a term coined by Tim Ingold in 1993.  This blog expands this idea in all directions.  It is an incredible source combining urbanism, geography, architecture and art.  It is from here that there also multiple links to interesting blogs and sites that inform you further around this subject.  One such site ‘The Dark Mountain Project’ left me questioning ideas of past, present and future.

Ina Schoof and Ana Baumgart, two Berlin based photographers and media artists explain their Concept Of The Intermediate on The Avant/Garde Diaries.  The idea that there are no new frontiers as all territories have been explored Schoof and Baumgart propose that creating new places.  By inverting  existing places, similar to the fishing net out of the water and used within a desert.  “Through the combination of differences, the intermediate can occur,” they say. “It’s about constructing new territory. The avant-garde is the search for one’s own blank space, where the ground becomes shaky.”

Ina Schoof

Ana Baumgart

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Michael Vogt plays with the viewer and their comprehension of human structures and the habitation of these spaces.  Formally composed yet disquieting subjects, unusual layerings take the viewer in separate directions which creates questions.  These heterotopic images capture real used spaces, though somewhat familiar, thoughtful collaged elements provoke and unsettle you the viewer.  Vogts’ opening statement on his site places his practice concisely:

“man-made structures, the passing of time, and a different ordering are the cornerstones of my practice”.

The diverse body of work is wide ranging and leaves me inspired.  Click here for his website.

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These works by Ron Van Der Ende leave me intrigued, somewhat perplexed.  As though I understand what they are but also confused as there is something else.  The objects exist but also don’t belong this ability within his practice to create different themed work but have this quizzical element about them.  Click here to check his website

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As a kid going on road trips with parents my eyes became fixated with certain signs.  Signs telling you 1 in 3 incline (my imagination thought only 1 in 3 cars made it), peculiar names of rivers and streams in  the deep countryside and also the town signs that indicated which towns this one had been twinned with.  It seems like a status symbol and a way to see how important culturally the town you were entering was.  Yesterday I came across this site Wasteland Twinning.  It does exactly that it links wasteland sites between different towns and cities across the globe.  This network of wasteland custodians who observe and report about their chosen wasteland, some even organise events on said wasteland.

Wasteland Twinning provides the potential for cultural comparison to take place on a local, national and global scale.  Wasteland Twinning is engaging with the notion of wastelands as a complex inter-working of social, natural, and technological worlds and providing a unique link between people and landscape.  This act of formalised solidarity between land and people will go beyond simple gesture to provide practical platforms for cross-cultural exchange.

The discussion and context of this site is important within current trends as stated on their site:

Urban wastelands are at the centre of conflicts around cultural, economic and historical hegemonies.  The common notion still remains that wastelands are of no value until developed.  However these types of spaces hold a unique and valuable role in the future of humanity as we question notions of progress and strive for more sustainable models of living. Urban wastelands support inner city biodiversity, provide carbon sinks, improve hydrological attenuation, provide open space and represent freedom from the controlled built environment.  As metaphors wastelands typify the cause and effect of our constant (re)development. 

Wasteland Twinning hijacks the concept of ‘City Twinning’ and applies it to urban Wastelands in order to generate a network for parallel research and action.

By subverting the City Twinning concept that aims to parade a city’s more predictable cultural assets and shifting the focus to wastelands, new questions of value and function are raised. Wasteland Twinning aims to develop an understanding of the potential of these sites through transdisciplinary models of practice. Wasteland Twinning is led by independent artists and researchers, that offers the potential for cultural comparison to take place on a local and international scale – going beyond the obvious to examine often invisible perspectives on power relations, land use, urban development and ecology. Through engaged and critical approaches, we hope to uncover some of the peculiarities and commonalities of the wasteland sites. The project aspires to challenge urban land use policy and bring wastelands and their users to attention – to be valued beyond the notion of ‘interim use’.

The online network – www.wasteland-twinning.net – will function as a catalyst for collaborativeresearch approaches, critique and experimentation.