‘all design’_Research Architecture Exhibit

The group assembles along a narrow balcony overlooking South Quay waterfront in Canary Wharf. A suited man awkwardly pushes past, mumbling an apology as he makes his way through this gathering. In close proximity, an LED sign with live share prices moves across a building boldly asserting ‘Information in the right hands leads to amazing things. That’s the Knowledge Effect’.
Attempting to negotiate a small stretch of water – evidence of the Quay’s industrial past – one member of the group is precariously perched on a ladder trying to reach the old sign on the front of the building. Their intention is to intervene and cancel out its alliterated past so that ‘Kall Kwik business and design’ now reveals itself as ‘all design’. This act of public redaction forms the title of the exhibition – a semiotic readymade, an architectural cut-up, and an aesthetic proposition. ‘all design’ brings the sixteen diverse spatial practices emerging from this year’s MA programme at the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths University together into a space of productive interplay.
Formed around the Centre’s methodological practice-based approach to research, the works take architecture as a point of departure and turn it into a mode of analysis and investigation. Collectively the projects reverse-engineer the making of space in order to interrogate and identify the political trajectories of matter and institutional protocols.Situated in the financial heart of the city, this context provides more than just a backdrop to the exhibition, as the capital flows that move through this space are rematerialized into zones of exclusion and estrangement. Space is not simply a location, but a field of forces that push and pull at all the projects presented here. Tensions emerge that reveal moments of slippage, confusion, rupture, violence, and subterfuge; that reveal material erosion, breakage, contamination and ruin. But unlike the movement of electronic capital that carves clean new jurisdictions out of networked pixels, these works inhabit and trouble the margins of existing jurisdictions by settling on top of melting glaciers, moving into dense jungle, occupying the stairs of St Paul’s Cathedral, dwelling in a German mountain cave, entering the bread ovens of Cairo, and even probing the molecules of air and water that make up our planetary ecologies. ‘all design’ offers sixteen unique perspectives and interpretations of a collective set of global points and flows.
With thanks to the support of the Centre for Research Architecture including Adrian Lahoud, Andy Lowe, John Palmesino, Susan Schuppli, Paulo Tavares and Eyal Weizman.
EXHIBITING
Palwasha Amanullah
Nadia Barhoum
Remco de Blaaij
Eva Dietrich
Daniel Fernández Pascual
Blake Fisher
Mirko Gatti
Janet Hall
Samir Harb
Irmelin Joelson
Heejung Kim
Steffen Kraemer
Hannah Meszaros Martin
Chris Molinski
Corinne Quin
Alan Yates

CURATING
Louise Ashcroft and Helene Kazan

PRIVATE VIEW
Thursday 27th September 6 – 9pm
with (((((GeoPoLiTiCaL BaNaNa-WHaRF CoCKTaiLS)))))
EXHIBITION
Friday 28th September till Sunday 14th October 2012
EXHIBITION EVENTS
Inventorying Distance
Saturday 29th September 1 – 5pm
Presentations and discussion addressing distance, design, and reversal after a year of researching architecture.
+
this is the centre of the earth….
Sunday 30th September 1 – 4pm
A day of games, risk, soil, bread, resort towns, water and ice, violence, force, law and outlaw, the weather, drugs and more drugs, monocultural blindness, and illegal lifeforms…

HOW TO GET THERE
Address
18 Harbour Exchange Square, Canary Wharf, London. E14 9GE

^ Redressing Self: Deleuze’s Cloakroom, 2012 by Janet Hall. Site specific installation.

Once, it was the height of order, or at least imagined to be. Everything was aligned, not a single object out of place, organised and secured by responsible persons. Expectations were met, the security of things ensured. Now only the structure remains, components have become scattered or appropriated to different means.

The responsible person fades to the background, their role shifts from operations to maintenance, they become less visible if existent at all. Their old role is replaced by the individual who now operates the machine, they recall memories and images of the old system, they re-enact them. The system becomes reliant on self-action, participation, knowledge, memory, vision and understanding in each individual.

The maintained system despite it’s disorganised appearance is no less designed than the previous. It must intrigue and motivate, frustrate and encourage individual’s into action. It encourages the individual’s movements through affecting nostalgic notions within them, to enable a desired repetition of the past.

Through this system, the subject is drawn through their actual participation and again through the appearance of their participation. Through acting and seeing, an idealized subject is imagined by and for the system, this subject is sought to become the responsible persons for the system’s operation.

But the system remains imperfect, reliant upon the affectual experience and action of the individual. They remain inconsistent and unpredictable. There are moments of rupture and flight, new constructions are realised without design, idealizations of the individual and the system fail.

The system, a cloakroom is a production that follows research on repetition, the image and delay, using the ordinary to question productions of the extreme. The ordinary studied was the common architecture of a queue, it became the site and means of questioning organising systems based on affects and passions of the individual, using inert materialities as a means of tracing these.

Areas of Interest, 2012 by Blake Fisher. Microtome, paraffin, layered ink prints.
‘Area of Interest’ (AOI) is a term used to denote a territory drawn across the image that contains potential excess. For the United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) hyper-spectral survey of Afghanistan, they denoted twenty-four such territories containing what they concluded to have a large enough quantity of mineral resources to warrant potential investment from international extraction companies. Perhaps the AOI most in excess is the Hajigak iron ore mine that stretches across Bamiyan, Wardak and Parwan provinces and could be considered, in General David Petraeus’s words as the ‘roundabout’ along the New Silk Road of Central Asia.

Similarly, UNESCO in collaboration with the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo (ICOMOS) and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France have X-rayed and denoted an AOI approximately 100μ in width. It isolates the chemical composition of a paint chip sampled from a Buddhist mural- painting as part of the ‘Safeguarding the Bamiyan Site’ cultural heritage and preservation project.

In another register, ‘Area of Interest’ takes on more banal and generic connotations regarding tourism. Offering if up at the potential site of the Garden of Eden or the Alexandria of Central Asia. Inevitably the scientists that travel there become tourists themselves, casually documenting what has now been deemed ‘mankind’s cultural heritage’.

Areas of Interest, then, is a reenactment of a small step in the production of these scientific images. It offers a series of territories drawn across pastoral image connoting locales of potential excess. These excesses play into narratives of cultural heritage preservation and natural resource extraction wherein the Silk Road becomes a common thread rhetorically used throughout.

Veronica-Veronica, 2012 by Corinne Quin. Framed passport photographs, postcards.

The name Veronica comes from Vera (true, truth) and icon (image), and connects back to the Veil of Veronica – a white textile onto which the ‘true image’ of Christ’s face is said to have been imprinted. Today, the passport photograph requires the citizen to perform a similar expressionless, neutral face against a white background as a true representation of their identity; and in order that it be read by biometric and facial recognition technology. These technologies reduce the face to a series of defining co-ordinates that can be read, matched, categorized and stored within national security systems.

I have asked a series of different women named Veronica to take a self-portrait passport picture: a modern day Veronica-Veronica, or Veronica’s ‘true image’. The project questions the idea of true representation; reflecting on the performance of neutrality, the power of the face as blank façade, and the architecture of the identity image.

^ a tourist’s archive of immune interiors, 2012 by Steffen Kraemer. Video, Copies, Wood.
The project investigates the possibility of entering spaces that are legally defined as immune. Two such cases were chosen: a central refuge for historical documents in the South of Germany and the space of diplomatic missions. Both are interrogated as archival practices for which States have installed standard procedures of protection in order to fulfil their task to self-preserve. As access to both interiors is usually restricted, the tourist appears as a double-edged subject that marks the limit of immunity. While the immunity of diplomatic mail protects content from appearance the postcard reveals information as maximum surface. While the document refuge is stripped bare of any audience or public the entry allowance is granted to visitors once a year, marking an institutional change in the policies for the State’s hidden interiors.

The Security Service of the GDR (Stasi) gathered materials on foreign missions by using multi-angle photographs, hand drawn maps of agents, postal office notifications and filed them accordingly in their archive – as a standard procedure of inventorying and imagining space. The same secret service issued a command for respecting the immunities of the Vienna Convention of 1961 and the protection of foreign embassies. Protection in the sense of securing and spying intersects. The re-united State of Germany made those files available for research in a special Archive after 1990 and here-by enacted its sovereignty on the State’s historiography.

The central refuge’s aim is to protect cultural property as outlined in The Hague Convention of 1954. Therefore it is embedded in administrative frameworks between the scale of International Jurisprudence, the Federal State’s claim on metadata and regional archives. In its locale the refuge is situated in a landscape of protection, both serving to secure data and tourism.

^ The Outlawed Earth, 2012 by Hannah Meszaros-Martin. Video, Copies, Wood.

I ask El Nave, how do you recognize it? His eyes get big, like it was too obvious. You can see it! But this is too obvious. There must be something wrong here. This is the infamous illicit coca plant! Part of a new clan of clandestine plant-life, hiding in the dark jungle with their clandestine harvesters! How can the plant be so obvious that you can plainly see it with your naked eye?

It’s yellow. -yellow? Yes yellow, the leaf is bright yellow so it stands out against the typical dark green tropical foliage which surrounds it… -Have you heard of Boliviana Negra? The glyphosate resistant coca species? Of course, they are everywhere! Red, white, green, and blue varieties too.

But in the big wide world of data collection, coca being obviously coca is still not enough to locate it – even if it is bright yellow.

Too little, too late, 2012 by Remco de Blaaij. Film (Joris Ivens, Indonesia Calling, 22 min, 1946), Plantation Maps, Images, Letter and Note.
Suriname is an active state. In another sense, so is the capacity for imagination. Within a marginalised state there is more than the mere acceptance of ‘always being too late’ or ‘always have done too little’ – two models of time that have often been applied to Suriname. In order to evaluate these two concepts of time it is not enough to simply offer an alternative, even one that puts the marginalised back in its rightful, central, position. In order to understand the marginalised in terms of politics, social order and the world at large we must organise and consider its parallels. These parallels synchronise themselves with reality by becoming ‘border practices’.

Against the historical backdrop of a former Dutch colony, oscillating somewhere between the North Sea and South America, three case studies provide a scrutiny of the operations of imaginative practices as political devices, whilst at the same time offering an attempt to depart from what we know of Suriname and the other geographies involved. This departure correlates with our sense of ‘being too late’ and ‘doing too little’ by providing a departure from existing material in an act of ‘letting go’.

As it tries to reconceptualise the faculty of imagination as an active and pragmatic tool – a political device, perhaps, in the development of processes of edification, epistemology and ontology surround the networks of practices confronted in this work – it looks at the significance of imagination in and for itself. What is at stake is the question of how to withdraw from time and geography in order to see how we might approximate, renew, and make a time more suitable to our own.

Note: This work has been typed up in a time that saw the two-year imprisonment of Pussy Riot in Russia, the spatial lockup situation of Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and the release of house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma while listening to new records from the XX and Bloc Party.

Cairo in Exchange, 2012 by Nadia Barhoum. Audio, Image, bell and GAMES!
Quantum Urbanism, 2012 by Mirko Gatti. Floor based installation.
‘Architecture, meteorological forecasting, engineering, geology, urban planning, nuclear physics, international diplomacy all engage with each other in outlining a programme for a nuclear future, whose temporality goes widely beyond that of the human scale. The objective of this research is that of tracing a map of the paths taken by radiation with the aim of exploring the models by which atomic structures evolve into geo-political ones and therefore understand the process of production of an exclusion zone conceived as an architectural design.’

Displaced Soils & The Pseudo-Science of the Scientific, 2012 by Daniel Fernández Pascual. 31 soil samples (sand, earth, salt, seawater), microscope slides.

On-going archive of contested sites along the Spanish coast: soils that are physically solid and legally liquid. We do not actually know our own geographical boundaries with accuracy, since they are constantly being renegotiated, redefined and reshaped. At a microscopic level, geological composition and salinity of the soil become utterly political. Law uses scientific thresholds to determine the actual shoreline of the country. Scientific reports provide biased conclusions depending on the interpretation of those threshold parameters.

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by…, 2012 by Eva Dietrich.
Three-dimensional collage…. Allen Ginsberg’s line are the words I was often contemplating looking at my colleagues, looking at them from the first day they joined, I joined, to the day either they had left, or finally, I left. I was reflecting on my time in architecture, contemplating, writing stories in my mind, questioning what had made me decide to leave. Was I really about to leave? What had led me to turn? And others to stay?

Architecture as an art has always addressed itself beyond. Architecture as a practice of construction has always been confronted with socio-political and economic forces, and consequently, it is deeply intertwined with power. And still, paradoxically, the architect demands his or her voice. In our age of accumulation of profit as the driving narrative the year-long research has explored the possibilities of other means and spaces for the architectural voice to express itself. Today, we must ask what it means to constitute an architectural act.

A three-dimensional collage brings together the space of research; a mind map shows connections and links of different elements of scrutiny. It re-connects architecture, creates new possible zones / spaces, creates a new architecture.

The question behind this research had its beginnings in the act of the Occupy London SX protest, which was confronted with a line between two spheres of power. An historical materialist investigation of Temple Bar, which inhabits this line, has led to a further investigation into the nature of authorship. The city and the architect are the two key figures of scrutiny; the written work explores how the city lacks the potentiality to transform, to go beyond; the city does not act, but is acted on, is merely the antagonist. The architect however is the protagonist in whom fundamental forces of political speech and cultural production lie: action. Like the artist the architect marks a place where a transformation in the possible can take place; the architect maintains the capacity to transcend. The architect’s role is to create a forum, both a physical and metaphysical space for people to interact with one another. This can only be achieved when thinking and building are equally integrated into the process of the architectural act.

Nation on the verge of nervous breakdown,2012 by Palwasha Amanullah. Part 1: 3D wall based maps. Part II: video.
The gas pipeline project to overcome energy insufficiency in Pakistan has turned into a virtual ‘pipelineistan’ war between IPI (Iran-Pakistan-India) and TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India). The plan seems to be perennially troubled with sanctions on Iran, instability in Afghanistan and conditions that international law has to impose. In these unpredictable times Pakistan is greatly leading to the entanglement of its political, ethnic, economic and cultural apparatus. Economically unstable on one hand add to it the questionable flow of resource supply; time seems to make Pakistan into a more volatile place. The two proposals sediment political orders of various complexities. Multiple intense powers are involved that render the future of the country to be much insecure. It is also clear that progress and stability will not be possible unless the strategy of political powers is put to flight. However one needs to question; is it possible to create a framework that reduces the power of agencies and forces within the system, operating in a way as to exacerbate the polarization of wealth and power.

Let us remember now the geo-strategic location of Pakistan and its Chinese naval base in Gwadar at the mouth of Strait of Hormuz. However China has not limited itself to this strategic choke point. It has undertaken a high-profile expansion and improvement of its navy as a way to safeguard its maritime interest in Indian Ocean by helping countries develop ports along the oil shipping routes.

The archival material is collected through extensive research and developed giving it a conceptual shape. The video tells a story of two cities of Pakistan (Faisalabad and Gwadar) tightly packed into a single statement it shows the society on the verge of nervous breakdown. It takes in a broad sweep the social and political context in which these cities are born and fabricated to become an engine for modern living. In recent years, inefficient supply of resources or incompetent governance is escalating violent conflicts in these cities. The video highlights the disturbance and reaction of social masses.

 

Glacier, 2012 by Irmelin Joelson. Neon/chalk.

Glacier can, grammatically, be read as a verb with a vocabulary based on action, state and occurrence. It produces an action-based grammar, which mess up the rules of how to form sentences, since it has collected a dictionary, an archive of happenings, in deep time. But what if the free narration ebbs out and the archive is reduced to a list-machine, an inventory of a potential disaster area; where all words and concepts have become single objects, fragments that depict a world of obsessive listing, ordering, accumulating fragments and organizing them into files? Where lots of things seems to happen, and yet nothing seems to change.

During the exhibition a glacial inventory is written down with chalk. The chalk on blackboard allows for new things to be added and some things to be lost. The contours of the neon mountain range with the glacier, is redrawn from a climbing map over the Eastern Himalayas, found at the Central Asian Museum in Srinagar, Kashmir. Traced, and retraced many times throughout the year it has so functioned as a road map, a hardback embossing motif, a height curve, and now, for just a little while, it has again transformed and turned into a contour – a sign – a “new one” – νέον – a neon.

This work cracks open a space in between the Glacier-landscape-sign, and the thousands of combinations of “things” in the inventory that can’t be ranked, but only listed and sometimes utilized as “facts”. In between the glacial water – a solvent seldom pure that always reach for new substances – and neon, the monatomic noble gas; highly volatile since it forms no compounds to fix it to solids, Glacier takes shape. In a space where we can only apprehend what is lesser. What is lesser than all these thousands of potential combinations: another form.

Neon produced in collaboration with Neon and Signmakers, London.

 

Oblique Rain, 2012 by Alan Yates. Mixed Media on Paper.

The Lake District is formed from the crushed remains of a chain of volcanic islands; the Borrowdale volcanic series are probably the most studied geology on the planet but it is the hydrology that makes it special. It is the wettest place in England and in the nineteenth century became a water supplier to the emerging cotton industry to the city of Manchester. Its sublime landscape became the home to the English romantics including political theorist John Ruskin and home to the poet Wordsworth who were strongly opposed to the construction of Thirlmere Reservoir and the working conditions of the common man.

The hydrological cycle is subjected to the laws of dynamics that makes the Earth unique as the only livable planet in the universe, technological solutions such as the building of dams drive economic change but have also caused immense ecological damage. The role of technology and culture have played a central role in the relationship between people and territories and long been an issue in the realm of bio-power and its set of components that constitute an assemblage. Its very nature gives us the Heideggarian problem of ‘enframing’ and the problematics of scale and metrics which turn ‘tipping point’s into the concept of reflexive modernity.

The very nature of the assemblage is both political and aesthetic, mapping the event it is possible to think about the relationship between the object and the subject, processes of individuation. Technical solutions produce a-political space and crisis heterotopias where outside solutions are imposed as contractual space to expand the resource pool. ‘Oblique Rain’ is a unique project that sets out a new manifesto using the metaphysical poetry of Fernando Pessoa in determining the separation of natural systems unfolding and the task of the translator in determining representational images of contemporary art that question ‘Ecological Aesthetics’. Rather I seek out topological invariants and the bifurcation process and image dispositifs of ‘Art + Techne’.‘Oblique Rain’ navigates an ‘eco- praxes’ that encompasses the social interstice of art practices and liminality of resource use that builds ecosystem support systems in mitigating the effects of climate change whilst allowing natural events to determine new forms of art and architecture.

 

^ Transaction To Democracy: Marketing The Spanish Coast 1975-2012, 2012 by Daniel Fernández Pascual. 14 postcards, corner fixers, chair.

Seven postcards from 1970s that my mum received from friends vacationing at the Spanish coast during the transition from dictator Franco to the current parliamentary monarchy. There never was a point of radical discontinuity between both political systems. I went to the same coastal places and bought the image of today. The coast tries to negate urban planning mistakes from the past by deleting them from present souvenirs.

 

^ Episode One, 2012 by Samir Harb. Comics.

Al- Mukataa, a patch of land that has been exhausted by periods of political epochs tells the history of a long lasting period of transformation, now the head quarters of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the west bank. It is located on the historical fault lines between successive political epochs. Through an archaeological reading of the material transformation of the site of the Mukataa one could trace the political complexity spatial tectonics through the events that have taken place in the course of six decades. Parallel to this event, the economical and political assertions of the PA’s form of government have not been characterized clearly, the project became a form of transformation of the ground without obvious value towards where it is leading the population− a form of ambiguity has become the practice of governing.

But this machine of power has been installed and assembled the material accumulations of the past and the utopian grids of the future. One should ask in this case, what are the material transformations that have been brought about as a result of the political events? What is the image that was constructed in such a process? The Mukataa compound could be the body that may unfold such questions and help us to understand the broader narrative of the on-going political transformation.

 

Post Pavilion, 2012 by Heejung Kim. Film, images, Archive book.

Over the last century, a large number of mega exhibitions such as expo, fair, biennale and festival have been held with architecture all over the world. Mega exhibitions are inevitably related to economy, social, cultural condition within the nation-state. Especially, these events are identified by a very limited condition of time and space. All in events is temporarily existed just as happening. The most featuring trend in mega events driven architecture allow architecturally frame an event or share idea of architecture in the event as public place in limited condition of time and space. From that point, architecture in events is not just about meaning of structure framing event architecturally but also valuable beyond the physical existence.

“Temporary architecture can act as a trigger for memory, opening up new interpretations of context, place and the past as well as pointing towards the future.”

The main feature that captures my attention in an architecture and mega exhibition is because they only exist in a short period of time with limited space. In particular, I am most fascinated with ‘pavilion’, as it is a temporary structure as permanent affection in an urban area.

By understanding the story of three pavilions in event and event driven architecture, this project will focus on two interesting points. The first one is that architecture in the condition of event which has circumscribed time and place. In this respect, how the context of the event has effected on architecture is so permanent. The second point relates to the memory as continuing happening and temporary moment without physical things from events.

This project attempt to investigate how the roles of architecture have changed over the last century in the context of the event and how architecture can create the impact or impression that endures continuity with memory from different type of cognition of architecture in each event in different era, even after the event.

 

^ Redacted Redaction, 2012 by Corinne Quin. Interactive installation: desk space, printed transparencies, archive gloves.

Redaction is a black screen that enables classified information to appear in public, clothed in darkness. It is a necessary player/negotiator in processes of political transparency where the State gesture of making things public comes with the need to keep some parts private, concealed and protected. These slightly odd, dark linear opacities give shape to the secret and furnish absent material with a heavy presence.

The US. Senate’s 2004 ‘Report on the U.S intelligence community’s prewar intelligence assessments on Iraq’ is one such public document, which details the investigation into the somewhat uncertain pre-war intelligence on which the 2003 invasion of Iraq was justified. Large swathes of text were redacted by the CIA before its public release.

“Redacted-redaction” is a transparent version of this report in which all visible text has been removed in order to view the redaction only. It is a view through rather than on the surface, revealing a dark, murky architecture of the classified. You are invited to sit at the desk, put on the white gloves and take a look inside.

 

^ (((((GeoPoLiTiCaL BaNaNa-WHaRF CoCKTaiLS))))), 2012 by Daniel Fernández Pascual. Performance: Preparation of cocktails with rum and bananas linked to flows of speculative capital between Canary Wharf and the Canary Islands throughout modern history.

 

^ Lèse-Majesté, 2012 by Daniel Fernández Pascual. Site-specific. British flag upside down (ca. 1940s) – 2,70×1,60 m; pole and life-ring (existing).

British flag upside down (ca. 1940s) – 2,70×1,60 m; pole and life-ring (existing) – 2012 Lèse-Majesté (‘injured majesty’) used to be a crime against the sovereign power or the state. A flag from a British battleship – ca. 1940s – hangs upside down, attached to an already existing life-ring pole. While the flag appears symmetric, the white lines above and below the diagonal red are different widths. Placing the flag upside down is considered lèse-majesté, but it also used to be flown upside down as a distress signal.

 

From Static Dynamics To The Probability of Risk2012 by Daniel Fernández Pascual. Paper print, waterproof map pouch, rope, brick.

According to Spanish geologist Losada, the concept of the Spanish Law of the Coast should rather demarcate the shoreline according to areas of probability of flood risk and not to a static boundary. The reference to draw those ‘risk isolines’ or ‘iso- risk maps’ should be the column of water and speed at a certain point within a statistical analysis of a variety of scenarios. The installation consists of a floating map of the European Union, where the entire shoreline has been deleted; and a rope measuring the exact depth of the water at the quay where the exhibition space is located.

 

Untitled, 2012 by Chris Molinski. Photograph.

Image from public event for dOCUMENTA (13) which Chris curated, organised. Six MARA colleagues were invited to present and discuss their work as part of the public programme of events in Kassel, Germany, July 2012.

 

Living the Edge, 2012 by Helene Kazan. Frame from stop motion animation generated from archive photograph of flood in London 1989.

 

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