8 SEQUENCES + 3
0. Moby’s Why does my Heart Feel So Bad comprises three lines of verse: “Why does my heart feel so bad? Why does my soul feel so bad? These open doors.” The three lines are repeated throughout a four minute and twenty-four second orchestration, progressing through key changes, sequences and variations of triadic tones and pitches, inversions and suspensions with a self-same underlying logic. How these words, these lyrics, these questions are comprehended, dare one say answered, in short, how they attain meaning, is only in relation to the cadences, shifts, ambiences, tonalities in voice and music that flow through and around them. What surfaces is a materialisation of sorts, language transposed into the emotive logic of structure and its expression, accentuated to the point of sensory saturation and visceral comprehension. The effect here is tantamount, physical but bodiless, a feeling that is nothing but the song itself. Moby released Why Does my Heart Feel So Bad? in 1999. Sadar Vuga completed their first work in the same year. Moby’s genre was described as ambient. Sadar Vuga conceives their work as a series of microambiences also said to be an air aura climate mood color pattern feel feeling verdigris character present presence aged aging quality compressed impression complexion flavour look tone tenor setting milieu background white-noise foreground element environment conditions situation informal vibe undercurrent surrounding provocative productive collective individual memory.
1. Of late there has been talk of, or better said, a call for, architecture emptied of content, emptied of form, empty altogether. Such architecture moves away from the spectacle, away from the specular, away from the spectacular, away from visual fetish altogether and reaches toward the social, for something other than architecture as representation, as signature, as branding, as media, other than architecture as any sort of style whatsoever. This new nouveau realisme is not a re-assertion of form, form which in 1994 Sanford Kwinter already accused of being concerned with little more than its own production and glorification. It may be a sort of practice that manifests the new problem that meaning is no longer a problem, but it does not attempt to replace it with technical performance or use, nor offer the culture of experience coupled with a chain of de-eroticised pleasure for the consumer. In a time when architecture is exported like fashion around the globe and the architect commissioned as A-list star to make A-list cities, Sadar Vuga have built in one city and in one country. Their work as a radical divergence from trend and exportation confronts the very boundaries of architecture as spectacle, a limit condition that necessarily questions: How can the architect design without signature, to continually overcome any reliance on formal style?
If such a position has in the end been ascribed to a certain locality it has forged the way for an architecture that aspires to a new kind of aesthetic object, one that is on the precipice, full of potential, full of transformative power, albeit mute to assert itself, except when present, and in presence, when assembled in proximity. For the critic it pushes the boundaries of writing about architecture, for what does one say if one cannot represent, ascribe meaning, or instrumentality, or attempt any explanation whatsoever? What follows is an additive series, texts that sit alongside another as they might sit alongside architecture, one material construct among others, sliding between representation and utility, seeking to be, quite simply.
1. Robin Evans, “Translations from Drawing to Building,” AA Documents 2 (London: Architectural Association, 1999), pp. 239 and 247 on Mies van der Rohe’s lifelong concern with the logic of structure and its expression, where a principle turns into a fact, and structure is something like logic.
2. Reinhold Martin, “Empty Form (Six Observations), LOG 11, Winter 2008, pp. 15-21.