My top six harmonious interventions at 13th Venice Biennale deal with noise, somewhere between the random and the unwanted, what we don’t want to hear and what we don’t want to see: the noise of those under power, the noise of those in power, the noise of the powerless; the noise of a building, the noise of the inhabitants of a building, the noise of the politically incorrect.
^ With Unmediated Democracy Demands Unmediated Space, Croatian National Participation [Igor Bezinović, Hrvoslava Brkušić, Boris Cvjetanović, Siniša Labrović and Pulska grupa] proposes a post-capitalist manifesto to really hear each other and create new ways of operating resources. By looking at civil struggles, student protests going on since 2009, the so-called “Forum for Space” and their concept of KOMUNAL, they proclaim:
We imagine city as a collective space which belongs to all those who live in it an who have the right to find there conditions for their political, social, economic and ecological fulfilment at the same time assuming duties and solidarity. This concept of the city is blocked by capitalist dialectic based on public and private ownership. From these two poles, State and Market emerge as the only two subjects. We want to escape this dialectic, not to focus on the “third subject”, but on a group of collective subjectivities and the common they produce. We understand common as non-material value produced through differences, communication and social interaction. Only if these common values manage to escape being captured by the capitalist public-private dialectic they keep their non-material value open and they have the potential to become productive, to become means of production.
We understand KOMUNAL as the land where common value, once it is transformed from non-material to use value cannot be exploited and turned into exchange value. Therefore, this common territory exists outside current forms of city exploitation based on property and land speculation. It bases its general values in the field of access, use, activity or care.
Word KOMUNAL was traditionally used for natural resources, which were managed by self-organized users. This kind of space managing is more and more frequent in the abandoned spaces in the city where different autonomous zones are emerging. Although these zones exist today on the social margins we consider them potential places for appearance of new utopias and collective imagination. Let us try then to imagine a different way of operating spatial resources, distributing surplus value and creating our own institutions.
^ Image of a City in late Capitalism. Red Plan Pula by Pulska grupa. Croatian Pavilion.
^ The Kingdom of Bahrain’s participation, as brilliant as in 2010, presents how the image of the country is broadcasted internationally for political and economic purposes, thus creating an imaginary vision of a territory. With In Your Living Room – On TV Landscapes And The Urban Imaginary, Bahrain’s contemporary history is revisited through relevant events for the international community, such as exposing the new Mina Salman Port to the world through the arrival of Queen Elizabeth in 1979 by ship. We are reminded how the spontaneous appearance of un-iconic landscapes in international media offer an intentionally biased portrait for economic powers.
^ Awarded the Golden Lion for the Best Project of the Common Ground Exhibition, Torre David / Gran Horizonte, is Urban-Think Tank’s proposal to present the informal community in an abandoned and unfinished office tower in Caracas, Venezuela. As they refer to it, this ruin-turned-home they encourage contemporary architects and planners to look at these examples for further collaboration with informal actors. For the Biennale, Torre David is presented as a [highly recommendable!] Venezuelan arepa restaurant surrounded by raw brick walls hanging photographs by Iwan Baan, creating a genuinely social space rather than a didactic exhibition space. This installation has become controversial in the Venezuelan architectural community. Many are dismayed that the nation’s architectural accomplishments are “represented” by a never-completed and “ruined” work; others argue that the exhibit condones the Venezuelan government’s tacit and explicit support of illegal seizure and occupation of property. It’s nonetheless remarkable how Western countries acknowledge and award the social potential of squatting in developing societies, while Occupy London-New York-Madrid were not even mentioned in the same Architecture show.
^ Making The Walls Quake As If They Were Dilating With The Secret Knowledge Of Great Powers. Katarzyna Krakowiak’s piece in the Polish Pavilion, curated by Michał Libera and awarded a Special Mention by the Jury, uses this beautiful title to state how Architecture is built of sound: It is what makes the diffusion of sound possible – absorbing, filtering, and transferring it, amplifying some of its components at the expense of others. Enclosed spaces are room tones, while niches are specific echoes. The ventilation and heating systems are a quiet yet constant noise, whereas windows and walls are the filtered sounds of street bustle, the buzzing of cicadas, or neighbor’s living rooms.
The pavilion is used as a resonator to amplify a sort of soundtrack of the cracks. The exhibition is grounded with an exquisite publication assembling texts on Sounds in/through/of Architecture: reverberation – eavesdropping – vibration.
^ In 100, a table fills the centre of the scene; we cannot but walk around it. But the main stage is not in the middle of the room. It is on the narrow aisle left between this gigantic table and the walls. Visitors to the Serbian Pavilion decisions to smash, bang, tap or clap against the table surface with certain force put each actor right on the spot. Speakers amplify these onomatopoeic gestures and turn them extremely audible for everyone in the room, catching attention from the rest. As Igor Marić describes it: Are we alone against everyone or alone with everyone? […] The interior becomes an exterior, we are not surrounded by empty walls but by architecture with either in between, emptiness and fullness, the definitiveness of the placed object becomes a diversity of perception. Movements make the space pulsate, sound fill the silence, we touch the surface, we look at each other and hear each other. Does it separate or join us?
^ Finally, the controversial Pigeon Safari project, orchestrated by Julian Charrière and Julius von Bismarck, consists of around 60 Venetian grey pigeons coloured with food dye in red, blue, purple and green tones and released again in the city. Colour is harmless and wears off after 6 weeks. The initiative has increased current discussions on the issue of pigeons damaging architectural heritage with their acidic droppings, especially in Venice, as well as the methods through which city councils are getting rid of hundreds of them.
[all images> deconcrete2012]
946 9-metre-high cypresses stand still amongst a landscape of ashes. After 5 interminable days of fire in Valencia, Spain, July 2012, a green spot enhances the blackness of its surroundings, where pines, holm oaks and junipers used to be. The mystery of using cypresses as natural fire-breakers goes on. Under the same climatic circumstances experienced by its neighbouring trees, this variety of Mediterranean cypress prevented the flames to spread farther. There seems to be three reasons: the fact that few dry dead branches accumulate underneath because of the acidification of the soil; the thin and dense layer of growing humus that keeps the trunk humid; and compact branches preventing wind to go through.
Flames attacked only 1.26% of the treetops; and only 10% of the leaves in all trees were dehydrated. This has led to wider experiments of controlling a territory by using them as strategic fireproof agents, such as the pan-Mediterranean CypFire research (multiple-rowed cypresses barriers against fires), despite detractors alleging in favour of vernacular species.
[source & image> El Enigma de los Cipreses Ignífugos_Joaquín Gil/El Pais]
^ Using Spider-Web Patterns to Determine Toxicity. Results of a drug-free spider and after giving it peyote, LSD, marijuana, caffeine, cocaine and chloral hydrate_NASA 1995 via funnyjunk
‘A method of determining the toxicities of chemicals involves recording and analysis of spider-web patterns. The method is based on the observation that spiders exposed to various chemicals spin webs that differ, in various ways, from their normal webs. […] The more toxic the chemical, the more deformed a web looks in comparison with a normal web. Inasmuch as the shape of a spider web resembles that of a crystal lattice in some respects, techniques of statistical crystallography are applied to obtain several quantitative measures of toxicity as manifested in the differences between photographs of webs spun under toxic and normal conditions. The images of the cells are digitalized and processed by an image-data-analysis program that computes various measures of the cellular structures of the webs, including numbers of cells and average areas, perimeters, and radii of cells. It appears that one of the most telling measures of toxicity is a decrease, in comparison with a normal web, of the numbers of completed sides in the cells. […]‘
[David A. Noever, Raymond J. Cronise, and Rachna A. Ralwani. NASA Tech Briefs Vol. 19, No. 4, P.82, April 1995 via briancbenett]
How fantastic would be if real estate could also be patternized in the same way, detecting constructions that were carried out by humans intoxicated by speculative money flows, high on political power, boozed up on controlling an occupied territory or just a bit tipsy for destroying natural landscapes…
^ Colonganos. Austis, Sardinia, Italy. All photos by Charles Fréger.
The Wild Man is a legendary creature, son of a bear and a woman, a sort of medieval superman. The tradition of celebrating once a year the return of the Wild Man spreads all over Europe and adapts the myth into different materials and hybrids. Costumes use local plants, hey, tree branches; goat horns, cow horns, bullhorns; bear fur, sheep skulls, twisted deer bones, skins, hair, and gigantic cowbells… Landscape acquires a humanoid dimension through a fiction character that wears portions of its natural surroundings, and dances, scares, swarms around the forest, celebrating a new season, and marking time cycles as a living calendar.
Charles Fréger’s photograph series Wilder Mann compiles a long tradition of European masquerades of outstanding liminal zones at the edge between civilization and wilderness. As he explains, the anthropomorphic figures can be divided into two categories: those who belong to another world and represent a different kind of state or moment of change and transition (the devil, strangers, beggars, madmen, dead men), and those that need to be supplemented by an additional figure and create atypical couples because they represent only half a reality (the beauty and the beast, the human and the animal). Meanwhile, the zoomorphic masks use the most powerful beasts of the area in order to be grateful to the fertility of the soil, fecundity of women or the benignity of weather.
^ Perchten. Werfen, Austria.
^ Perchten. Werfen, Austria.
^ Souvakari. Banishte, Bulgaria.
^ Wilder. Telfs, Austria.
^ Babugeri. Bansko, Bulgaria.
^ Babugeri. Bansko, Bulgaria.
^ Certi. Nedasov, Czech Republic.
dOCUMENTA (13) is dedicated to artistic research and forms of imagination that explore commitment, matter, things, embodiment, and active living in connection with, yet not subordinated to, theory. These are terrains where politics are inseparable from a sensual, energetic, and worldly alliance between current research in various scientific and artistic fields and other knowledges, both ancient and contemporary.
dOCUMENTA (13) is driven by a holistic and non-logocentric vision that is skeptical of the persisting belief in economic growth.
_Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Artistic Director
After the unexpected disappointment on the excessive correctness of the pieces at dOCUMENTA (13), including the ones by my heroes Francis Alÿs and Roman Ondák, as well as urban Time-Bank systems from Berlin – not to talk about the over-engineered and completely out-of-place ‘sustainable-green-building-white-cubes’ spread all over Kassel and used as (mis)exhibiting pavilions, I will compile below a selection of my top immaterial moments and spatial ecstasies:
^, ^^ Airflow-velocity study for I Need Some Meaning I Can Memorise (The Invisible Pull), 2012. By Ryan Gander.
‘[…] A light breeze is blowing through the Fridericianum’s entire ground floor, whose rooms are left almost empty. […] It is not a strong wind, not immediately recognizable as artificial, but physical enough to create a moment of wonder in the viewer while standing in what is considered “the heart” of documenta. […]’ [Text> Eva Scharrer]
^ In one of the main and larger exhibition rooms we can only find non-participant Kai Althoff’s non-piece: a letter to Artistic Director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, explaining his reasons to withdraw taking part in dOCUMENTA (13). Photo>deconcrete2012
^ Apples, 1912-1960s. By Korbinian Aigner. 372 drawings. Each ca. 10×15 cm. Photo>deconcrete2012
‘The fruit once known as KZ-3 and now renamed the Korbinian Apple was cultivated by Korbinian Aigner, the Apfelpfarrer – the “apple priest” – when he was an inmate in Dachau concentration camp. […] In this unlikeliest of places – the concentration camp – Aigner succeeded in creating new life in the form of four new strains of apples. Aigner developed a strain for every year of his internment, secretly naming the apple sorts KZ-1, KZ-2, KZ-3, and KZ-4 – “KZ” being the German abbreviation for “concentration camp”. […] Even if Aigner’s cultivation of new apple strains was a poetic act of resistance in the face of genocide, the names that he gave to them suggest that no manifestation of life could remain untouched by fascism’s abuse of enlightened thought. […]’ [Text> Eva Scharrer]
^ Sleeping Sickness, 2012. By Pratchaya Phinthong. Fertile female and sterile consort. Each ca. 1 cm. Photo>deconcrete2012
‘[…] Africa’s epidemic disease, and how Europe and the rest of the world try to control the deadly tsetse fly in Africa. [Tsetse flies] yearly infect and kill thousands of people with sleeping sickness. Together with local people [Phintong] invests in simple, inexpensive traps with which tsetse populations can be monitored and effectively controlled – as a possible alternative to the method of sterilizing male flies by irradiation.’ [Text> Eva Scharrer]
^ Picasso in Palestine, 2011. By Khaled Hourani. Installation view, International Academy of Art Palestine (IAAP) in Ramallah.
‘[…] What would normally be a standard loan procedure between two institutions had to be rethought due to the exceptional nature of the Palestinian reality and protocols had to be adjusted and legal frameworks reset relating to insurance, transportation, and imports into the West Bank. On its journey, watched over by a delegation of museum experts from Eindhoven, the work passed Israeli military checkpoints, and during its exhibition, in a room custom-built to provide appropriate temperature and humidity levels, it was guarded by Palestinian soldiers. […]’ [Text> Eva Scharrer]
^ Til I Get It Right, 2005. By Ceal Floyer. Audio installation. Photo>deconcrete2012
‘[…] A sound piece created from the refrain of the classic song of the same title by Tammy Wynette, also embraces notions of vulnerability and the potential of failure. Floyer digitally excised the words “falling in love” and looped the remaining “I’ll just keep on / ‘til I get it right” in eternal repetition. […]’ [Text> Eva Scharrer]
^ Public Smog, 2004-ongoing. By Amy Balkin. Photo>deconcrete2012
‘[…] Balkin drafted a list stating all the criteria that identify the atmosphere as a unique property and therefore appropriate for consideration to be protected and preserved as a natural World Heritage Site. One of the project’s major challenges is that while the atmosphere is a borderless realm, only state parties can nominate sites within their own borders or offshore sites they claim politically or co-nominate. At the time of writing, dOCUMENTA (13) has sent support requests in six languages to 186 UNESCO countries, inviting them to act as leading state parties – individually or in a coalition committee – to facilitate an extraordinary procedure. The amount of paperwork gathered during this process reveals the gaps and obstacles of international law in the collaborative action against climate change.’ [Text> Eva Scharrer]
^ The Worldly House, 2012. An Archive Inspired by Donna Haraway’s Writings on Multispecies Co-Evolution, Compiled and Presented by Tue Greenfort. Installation inside the former birdhouse of Kassel’s Karlsaue Park. Photo>deconcrete2012
^, ^^, ^^^ Untilled, 2012. By Pierre Huyghe. Installed at the composting area of Kassel’s Karlsaue Park. Photos>deconcrete2012
‘The place is enclosed. Elements and spaces from different times in history lie next to each other with no chronological order or sign of origin. What is present are either physical adaptations of fictional and factual documents or existing things. In the compost of the Karlsaue Park, artefacts, inanimate elements, and living organisms…plants, animals, humans, bacteria are left without culture. The set of operations that occurs between them has no script. There are antagonisms, associations, hospitality and hostility, corruption, separation and degeneration or collapse with no encounters. These are circumstances and deviations that allow the emergence of complexities. […]’ [Text> Pierre Huyghe]
This Variation, 2012. By Tino Sehgal.
Since pages 438 and 439 about this pieces are brilliantly missing from the dOCUMENTA guidebook, I will also simply recommend going, navigating, touching, breathing, smelling, seeing the space.
^, ^^ Raptor’s Rapture, 2012. By Allora & Calzadilla. Single-channel HD video projection, color, sound. Screened inside Kassel’s WWII bunker.
Flautist Bernadette Käfer, specialized in prehistoric instruments, was invited by A&C to play the oldest musical instrument ever found – a flute carved from the wing bone of a griffon vulture 35,000 years ago by Homo Sapiens – live in front of a live griffon.
^ Forest (For A Thousand Years), 2012. By Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller. Photo>deconcrete2012
Thirty speakers hidden in the forest move the audience.
J: You can hear the ocean today.
G: The tide must be coming in, or maybe it’s just the wind or the highway.
J: How long are we going to wait?
G: I don’t know.
J: Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, lived a very normal woman in an apartment surrounded by many other apartments and no trees. One day she fell asleep and never woke up.
A: Maybe she slept for a thousand years and a prince came and found her and woke her up.
J: She just lay in bed. Nothing happened. She just slept and slept. That’s the end. […]’
^ 2012, By Aníbal López (A-1 53167).
‘[…] For dOCUMENTA (13), López has invited a Guatemalana sicario, a hired assassin, to come to Kassel to discuss and address the social and political circumstances in Central America and in armed conflicts everywhere. With his project, López aims to “penetrate the assassin’s mind” as a subversive strategy of “internalizing the reason and thinking behind the realities of people and ways of living. […]’ [Text> Eva Scharrer]
^ And finally, our Centre for Research Architecture roundtable discussion explored questions of political ecologies, conflict and human rights (31 July 2012). Curated and moderated by Chris Molinski within the programme of events organised by Critical Art Ensemble ‘Winning Hearts and Minds’ in their Free Speech Zone at Kassel’s Hauptbahnhof. Presentations included: Eva Dietrich, Irmelin Joelson, Steffen Krämer, Hannah Meszaros-Martin, Daniel Fernández Pascual (myself) and Corinne Quinn. On the image, my cooking performance Displaced Soils: A Geopolitical Gazpacho, introducing a series of contested places of real (e)state speculation and corruption in Spain through each ingredient of the Gazpacho, which had been carefully chosen and brought from the site; chopped in Kassel; and blended during the performance. After 20 min, the map of Spanish speculation was ready to be drunk.
^ A digital rendering of the ‘musical geography’ of Auschwitz Camp II (Birkenau). The red circles indicate where the ‘forced music’ played by guards could be heard, while the blue circles illustrate how the ‘voluntary music’ of the inmates spread throughout the camp.
Stanford researcher maps melodies used in Holocaust to control prisoners
[Read full text by Benjamin Hein_Stanford University]
Using survivor testimonies and camp administration records, [Melissa Kagen, a doctoral candidate in German Studies at Stanford] is developing digital maps of the “musical geography” of the prison. By focusing on the spatial aspects of music, Kagen’s research offers historical insight into how music can be used as a means for controlling and torturing prisoners in present-day detention facilities.
Because it was among the first prison camps to systematically employ music in such a way, Auschwitz provides a valuable case study that sets a precedent for facilities such as Guantánamo Bay where music has been used as a form of “no-touch” torture.
Measuring music’s impact
Scholars have long known that music was a regular part of life in Nazi concentration camps. But the inherently transient nature of sound has made it difficult to measure its impact on the camp and its inhabitants.
“Music in the Holocaust is a relatively well-explored research topic,” said Kagen, a student of modern German musicology and literature. “But because it does not leave a lasting historical footprint, it has not been considered spatially before.”
Kagen uses an unconventional interpretation method to translate the source material into a visual form. Rather than dwelling on the significance of a specific song, she focuses on references about the locations where music was heard.
“Reading the first-hand accounts of prisoners, I noticed that one particular space – Block 24, near the camp entrance – kept coming up in relation to music,” she said.
Music, as Kagen discovered, provided a proportionally small number of prison guards with the means to maintain control over large portions of the camp without any actual physical presence.
“The prisoners wished to die in peace, which is to say, they wanted the barest hint of autonomy over the space in which they die,” said Kagen. “But the melodies of Bach, Beethoven and Horst Wessel, along with jazz songs, wrested every last bit of space away from them.”
^ Finale Emilia after the earthquake. Photo courtesy Collect_Finale
Finale Emilia is an Italian village of 15,962 inhabitants in Modena district, 15 meter above sea level, actually now only 12 m meter above sea level, after the earthquake on 20 May 2012.
Collect_Finale is a recent initiative launched by architects Alfredo Borghi and Francesca Bergamini three weeks after the earthquake to manage the disaster. According to them, nobody knows how to deal with chaos, neither the people nor the authorities; improvisation wastes many resources. The lack of coordination prevents citizens to join forces. So the platform started to connect different stakeholders (public institutions, citizens, artisans, sellers, farmers…) willing to cooperate in the spatial aftermath: gathering and monitoring data (which shops are open, which streets are accessible, who has surplus of food supplies…), managing the emergency, coordinating available resources to reconstruct damaged areas through efficient and participatory modes. Taking advantage of existing digital tools to improve bureaucratic burdens, Collect_Finale deals with transparency in the rebuilding process to regain control of the situation after the shock, determining priorities and hierarchies for intervention.
Collect_Finale is an open-source and ever-changing platform to attract requests and knowledge from agents involved in a state of emergency and to increase communication between institutions and citizens. The platform has been inspired by other similar 2.0 actions, such as: Ushahidi, Birmingham Civic Dashboard, Fix my Street, Dear London, Idea Map or Tools for Actions
^ Finale Emilia after the earthquake. Photos courtesy Collect_Finale
^ Spanish coalminers demonstrate with their headlamps via asturgalicia
^ The Marcha Negra (Black March) reaches Madrid after walking 400 km to protest austerity measures
[text> Giles Tremlett / the guardian]
They came with helmets on their heads and the worried look of men with no future on their faces. But the Spanish coalminers who marched through Madrid on Wednesday were clear that they would not give up on their life-or-death struggle for the future of their collieries.
“We’ll keep going and, if nothing happens, the fight will just get harder,” said Jórge Exposito, a miner from Mieres, northern Spain, as fireworks crackled and twitchy riot police stood by with shields and guns loaded with rubber bullets.
A tense standoff saw occasional police charges, rubber bullets, and demonstrators hurling objects at police. At least 76 people were injured in clashes along Madrid’s central Castellana Boulevard, but the march eventually ended with nothing more violent than a rousing singsong.
The miners had arrived in the hope that the centre-right government of Mariano Rajoy could be persuaded to return to a programme of subsidies to mining companies that has been dramatically chopped by 60% this year.
Instead, the prime minister devoted the morning to announcing a further austerity package to save the government €65bn (£51bn) over the next two and a half years.
“All we are asking for is that they stick to the agreement,” said Isidro Castro, a former miner from the northern region of Leon. “That is not so difficult. If the mining companies don’t get their subsidies this year there will be nothing to negotiate next year as they will have to close.”
Tens of thousands of people turned out on Tuesday night to greet the miners who, with their helmet lanterns ablaze, strode into the city’s central Puerta del Sol, famous as the centre of Spain’s indignado protest movement.
Many see the miners as in the vanguard of the fight against austerity measures which were made still more drastic on Wednesday and threaten to deepen a double-dip recession.
But the government argues that Spain’s coalmines are making losses and EU rules do not allow it to subsidise them for much longer.
^ Itinerary of the Marcha Negra via #Acampadasol
^ Disaster Relief Project. Partition system, SBA. via m.e.t.r.o.n.o.m.
SB: We are accustomed to intervening in emergency situations but March 11 was the worst disaster I’ve ever seen because the earthquake was compounded by the devastation caused by the tsunamis and by the nuclear crisis. The devastated area is immense: it reached over 500 km inland from the coast. More than 12,000 people were killed and 18,000 are still missing. The tsunami wiped away everything in its path making it even more difficult to bring aid to the people and organize assistance. Everything is extremely complex, particularly the removal of the debris and the unearthing of the bodies of loved ones. There is great reluctance, for example, to use the bulldozers.
People wanted to stay until they found their loved ones. Nobody wants to abandon their city or their village. The situation is very difficult: there is no water or electricity, but everyone wants to stay, preferring to live under these conditions until they can understand the destinies of their loved ones.
Evacuation centers were set up in the area to accommodate refugees in school gyms or in any other structure available to provide shelter to those who had lost everything. It really is the worst I’ve ever seen, even compared to disasters in which the number of people affected were much greater but in which the devastation was mainly caused by the earthquake. In Japan, the situation is much more complex …
FP: To assist, the first thing you put in place wasn’t a conventional emergency shelter, but a system that strengthens the sense of intimacy of those who have already been wounded by the losses caused by the earthquake and tsunami. This is a partition system that you call PPS4. Can you tell us about it?
SB: In 1995, I was working in Kobe. At the time, I worked to build temporary homes for Vietnamese refugees. I even built a small public building for them, a church.
At that time I realized that the main problem in the first phase of an emergency evacuation situation is the great density of refugees. Evacuation centers are usually large rooms under a single roof where families find themselves sharing space with strangers. Privacy is a key issue for people who are not accustomed to nurturing close relationships with neighbors in their daily lives, and who have suffered a shock that makes them even more vulnerable.
So I posed the problem of creating a partition system that was inexpensive and simple to build. The first project was in 2004 in Niigata where, after the earthquake, many families had taken refuge in the gyms. To alleviate the lack of privacy, we designed a small house made of square cardboard tubes. We only built a few because at that time the real needs were still not so clear to me. Despite the original idea, in fact, the Paper House was used as a temporary clinic for the elderly and has been adopted mostly by children.
With experience, however, it’s become more clear to me about what is really needed in an emergency situation.
In Fukuoka, in 2005, I created a very simple and low cost partition system for the first time. Fukuoka was hit ten years after the Kobe earthquake, and for the first time in a long time, an earthquake hit Japan with an intensity greater than magnitude 6.0 on the Richter scale. We created simple cardboard partition systems that would help define the “territory “between families but which also serve as isolation systems: at night they were used to help people gain some privacy.
The system was very simple and cheap, but it was not enough to provide privacy for families.
The version that we are currently using (No. 4) is an improvement on previous ones. It is very simple and suitable for every situation. It’s a system made up of three cardboard tubes of different diameters. The largest tube (10 cm in diameter) acts as a column which connects to a smaller tube that works as a beam. The smallest of all, then, serves to make the joint solid. It is very simple and inexpensive; it is enough to drill holes in the tubes that serve as columns, use a little tape to secure everything, and hang a curtain to ensure privacy when needed. Just cut, drill and connect the components to obtain any dimension.
^ image via urbanphoto
^ image via LP_AEC
^ image via domusweb
^ Mobile stalls and devices to let the train pass through. Rom Hoob Market, Thailand. images via othermarkets
Rom Hoob Market / Mae Klong Railway Market Thailand
[Phenomena of Transition. read full text by Soranart Sinuraibhan at othermarkets]
[...] There is no definite entrance to Rom-Hoob market. People can, and do, access it at the beginning of the market (next to Mae-Klong station) or through small passageways which are situated at oblique angles through the market and connect the main road with the central market. All stalls are set up next to the railway track with out-stretching sun-shades that informally establish a defined corridor through the whole market. The track is then transformed in this manner into a footpath. The sun-shade is simply improvised from a tent sheet, ropes, a bamboo pole, a steel post and whatever else locals can find at the site. The entire structure is simply designed and constructed by locals. It is easy to operate and can be collapsed by just one to two people. After assembly, the tent sheet can be stretched out up to 2 meters in length and lifted up to 2-3 meters high. Interestingly, the sun-shade attached to each stall and its stands are designed to be able to close and move each time the train passes through (6 times daily).
Through critical examination of each stall, the relationship between the everyday architecture (occupied by its inhabitants) and the flows of space is revealed. The stalls can be categorized into several forms according to different foods and products. Vegetables and fruits are put in baskets and placed next to or immediately on top of the track. There is no need to move these baskets when the train comes as the space between the wheels allows it to pass completely over the baskets. Seafood, chili paste, or light weight products are laid on small tables, which are readily assembled from a piece of wood and metal stands. These can be easily dismantled, lifted up and moved. Heavier products, such as meats or household items, are placed on bigger and stronger stainless-steel tables with wheels attached. These tables are custom made and come in different sizes. They can slide in and out when the train passes through and are simply operated by hand. Most sellers, however, prefer to sit on the floor or existing railings, as in one view, it is more convenient and easier to move when the train comes.
By looking at the urban context of Rom-Hoob market, we see that it is not only shaped by the movement of trains and users, but in fact by the flows of capital and economics themselves. The form of the market is squeezed and stretched along the railway track because of the space limited within the city which is in turn affected by the flows and growth of the capital. Moreover, the utilized spaces within the market are similarly defined by the particular flows of transportations and goods. The language of this colloquial architecture which emerges within this context is then constructed by the everyday lives and needs of the community; and in particular the energy of flows. This suggests that the existence of Rom-Hoob Market (excludes street markets) disprove Castells’ historical claim, namely that flows displace spaces of places. Today’s architecture seems to survive only when it reflects what the society or culture expects of it and particularly when our society and (architectural) culture rely on the flows. But Rom-Hoob Market offers a way in which places are perceived and appropriated across the internal space of time and culture. This suggests that it may not be necessary to search for emergent possibilities in constructing architecture in our fluid world. Perhaps by looking back to the local and the everyday discourses, an idea or alternative conception of what architecture in the space of flows can be will emerge.
EXOTE [Exhibition#1, by Kris Verdonck] is a metaphorical garden installation with a selection of invasive alien species (fauna and flora) in Belgium that form a potential danger for biodiversity, economy and human health. It is some sort of ‘end-of-the-world’ landscape and a metaphor for a world in which man has to protect himself against an environment that he created himself. The indoor garden is part of a route with some of Kris Verdonck’s earlier projections and installations, gathered in a new context.
^ EXOTE, EXHIBITION#1 by Kris Verdonck
^ END, by A Two Dogs Company / Kris Verdonck
In the performance END artist Kris Verdonck shows the possible final stages of a human society in ten scenes. Melting glaciers, burning forests, cities under water, ubiquitous screens and cameras spying on us, the uncontrolled availability of weapons of mass destruction, and so on. END starts out from the images the media project onto our retinas all day and every day. The ten scenes are linked by a monologue spoken by a single character: the witness who sees it all happen. While this survivor – like the messenger in Greek tragedy – talks unceasingly, a series of ‘Figures’ appears on stage: machines and people or a combination of the two. They go from one side of the stage to the other, all in the same direction. Are they fleeing something? If so, what?
^ London Olympics landmark | Iron ore mine run by ArcelorMittal at Omarska, Bosnia i Herzegovina.
Orbits of Responsibility for a War Crime from a Bosnian mine to London’s Olympic Park
On July 2 2012 London’s Olympic tower — the ArcelorMittal Orbit — will be reclaimed as A Memorial in Exile by survivors of the Bosnian concentration camp at Omarska, now a fully-functional mine operated by ArcelorMittal. Iron ore and profits extracted from Omarksa have been used to manufacture London’s newest landmark.
Details of Press Conference: Monday 2 July 2012 from 2-3pm
Location 64 Broadway, Stratford, London E15 1NG (East London Centre)
Walking commentary and view of the ArcelorMittal Orbit at Warton & Loop Roads (Olympic Park perimeter) from 3-4pm
(see map below)
From 1990-1992, the Omarska mine in Prijedor, Bosnia was used as a concentration camp by Bosnian Serb forces. At least 3,334 Bosniaks and Croats from Prijedor were imprisoned in the Omarska camp, 700-800 were killed.
In 2004, ArcelorMittal assumed 51% of the ownership of the Ljubija mining complex that included Omarska and resumed commercial mining operations.
In 2005, ArcelorMittal made a commitment to finance and build a memorial on the grounds of Omarska.
Seven years on and twenty years after the war crimes committed there, still no space of public commemoration exists.
Grounds, buildings, and equipment that were once used for the perpetration of these crimes now serve a commercial enterprise run by the world’s largest steel producer.
On 14 April 2012, Mladen Jelača, Director of ArcelorMittal Prijedor confirmed to Professor Eyal Weizman, of Goldsmiths, University of London and artist Milica Tomic of the Monument Group, Belgrade, that iron ore mined at Omarska mine has been used in the fabrication of the ArcelorMittal Orbit.
In the absence of this promised memorial, and until such time that it is built, London’s Olympic tower — the ArcelorMittal Orbit — will be reclaimed as the Omarska Memorial in Exile.
Survivors from the Omarska / Prijedor camps: Satko Mujagic, Sudbin Music, Fikret Alic, Mirsad Duratovic (note their organizational affiliations)
Srdjan Hercigonja, Milica Tomic, Antonia Majaca, (Four Faces of Omarska Belgrade), Adisa Pamukcic, Susan Schuppli, Eyal Weizman (Goldsmiths, University of London) and Ed Vulliamy (journalist)
Please join our press conference and help to bring awareness to this issue. With the Olympics fast approaching ArcelorMittal has a significant window of opportunity to make things right!
For co-ordination write to us at the following email:
forensic.architecture (at) gold.ac.uk
^ Victims of Omarska concentration camp. image by deconcrete
^ ArcelorMittal iron mine at Omarska. image by deconcrete
^ Press Conference A Memorial in Exile. London, Monday 2 July 2012 from 2-3 pm
^ Francisco López sound installation Ghost Forest at Mies Pavilion. photo by deconcrete.
^ Diamond Version + Atsuhiro Ito. Sonar Festival.
^ Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. photo by Óscar García.
^ Trust in the Chapel. photo by deconcrete.
^ TRUST. Bulbform.
^ The Suicide of Western Culture. photo by deconcrete.
^ The Suicide of Western Culture.
^ Simian Mobile Disco. photo by deconcrete.
^ Simian Mobile Disco. photo by Juan Sala.
^ Richie Hawtin. photo by deconcrete.
^ New Order. photo by deconcrete.
^ Modeselektor. photo by deconcrete.
^ Daedalus Archimedes Show. photos by deconcrete.
^ Daedalus Archimedes Show.
^ Mobile beer-bar-man. photo by deconcrete
^ Masaki Batoh. Brain Pulse Music. photo by Juan Sala.
^ Bumper cars inside sonar noche warehouse. photos by deconcrete
^ Squarepusher. photo by Óscar García.
^ Nicolas Jaar.
^ Amon Tobin – ISAM. photos by Óscar García.
thank you to all who made it possible, and the exciting collaborations that were initiated there!
^ Performing Politics curators Eric Ellingsen and Álvaro Urbano, a fruitful moment. photo by deconcrete
^ Iván Argote performing pitty in the underground at his S.O.S. blankets picnic. Photo by deconcrete
^ Petrit Halilaj as his dog leading us to the pavilion. photo by deconcrete
^ Petrit Halilaj’s chickens.
^ Cleopatra, 2011 by Petrit Halilaj. Chert Gallery Berlin.
^ Diving Through Europe, by Klara Hobza
^ Klara Hobza teaching us how to survive diving through Europe.
^ deconcrete failing to survive if diving through Europe. photo by Pär Hugo Kjellén.
^ Inteligencias Colectivas [Juan Chacón and Luis Galán] introducing a street plug for informal markets. photo by deconcrete
^ Upgrade diagrams by Inteligencias Colectivas
^ Building Brazil!, Marc Angélil & Rainer Hehl + Something Fantastic. ETH Zürich / MAS Urban Design; Berlin: Ruby Press 2011.
^ Luz Broto getting ready for overnight at Tempelhof Airfield.
^ Luz Broto screening previous night action.
^ Luz Broto’s team jumping over the fence_night vision camera.
^ by Philippe van Wolputte.
by Philippe van Wolputte.
^ Displaced Soils: a geopolitical paella. Cook-talk by deconcrete. photo by Eric Ellingsen.
^ Displaced Soils: a geopolitical paella. Cook-talk by deconcrete. photo by Eric Ellingsen.
^ Corrupt rice on its way. photo by Joanne Pouzenc.