Re: [-empyre-] media architecture and cross-cultural influence
I agree these metaphors certainly do inform and inquire about the the polis.
And I concur that for a large percentage of the population landscape,
architecture and urbanism are backdrops to daily life. Only when it presents
a challenge, typically negatively, does it intrude upon consciousness - such
as when construction blocks a favorite route, when the empty lot to a
building becomes the next high-rise condo that 'provides glorious views and
light' while simultaneously blocking them.
The effectiveness of architecture on an urban scale in an area of relative
peace to modify behavior is relatively small because its scale is so much
larger than people are used to experiencing on a personal, emotional level
and the environment is not one where people are hyper-alert. I think
Renate's work on trauma, specifically to 9/11 might elucidate this. Also
this bdoes not address the Berlin Wall, the Separation Wall and other
architectures of geo-political intent and instrumentalization.
'Notorious difficulty' seems to run the gamut, not only for the viewers but
also for the designers. For "Chrysalis Bridge" we had the support of Buffalo
Bayou Art Park to install the work. However, we still needed to gain
approval from the City, the Department of Transportation (because it hung
from a bridge), Department of Public Safety, and Department of Buildings
because we connected to a nearby lamp post to gain electricity for the
installation and performance. Then of course the difficulty of getting
passerby to take more than a passing glance.
The peculiar dilemma for the architect is not only to design something that
has a conceptual quality that is exploring an idea or condition but also to
build it. Architecture is large scale with relatively large costs, long time
frames, a given budget, a multitude of personalities and agencies. And it's
rare to find a client who is willing to support an experiment when a
building will do just fine.
Consequently, we build installations to explore ideas of space, inhabiting
space, defining space, conceiving of space. We build it because we can test
our ideas and techniques and we want viewers to become immersed in the
environment, not just to look at it. The sensors and interactive aspects are
to prompt the viewer to engage the work reach that suspension of disbelief.
We intend the work to be bodily experiential not just visual or
intellectual. The terms viewer/work become more elastic so that there
emerges a dialog between the two, that the boundary between the two becomes
flexible. The performance aspect takes this to a possibly didactic extreme.
The situationist movement and the site/non-site do hold places in the
practice as we are mapping, documenting and either relocating works into new
contexts, or secondly, occupying a space with the intent revealing its
history or creating a narrative through our interests of a physical body and
an immaterial body.
"trans-border" was organized on a uniform grid within the gallery
dimensions, and one hundred bamboo stalks were vertically compressed between
the floor and roof's metal z-purlins. Bamboo attached horizontally in askew
lines provided an armature for copper screen and scrim, which marked,
divided and mapped space with various data/media while impeding direct
The audience/participants had to consciously navigate the physical space and
the virtual spaces of projections and sounds. This heightened the tension
between the primitive, physical body, and the virtual, immaterial body
emerging in electronic environments. The gallery space became a space for
exploring this relation of physical space to virtual spaces and physical
bodies to data/media bodies.
I don't think people would have known they were border-crossing semi-trucks,
or maybe even trucks at all, nor would viewers in Laredo except for that the
association may have been stronger. But the role of a geo-political border
was not an explicit theme - as with the work of Teddy Cruz who will be
joining the discussion before the month's end.
The sound recordings were another layer of sensual activation and
information, and it juxtaposed natural movement to mechanical movement.
Electronic data and image are liquid forms of information/media; however,
material goods and bodies still involve very physical transportation and
movement. This was the contrast that we were highlighting and the border we
I don't think a-politcal=useless. If something has a function it isn't
useless and its function or politics isn't dependent upon media, digital or
analog. Media is technology and while some technology has an inherent
political nature, technology is a tool. We can define it either as craft,
making, or tools (i.e. hardware) or as techniques, systems, methods (i.e.
software). I think intentionality should substitute functionality.
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