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 movement.

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 were exploring.


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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