TINA DiCARLO
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Use Of The World : Architecture Detournée

2007
PUBLISHING info: Harvard Wheelright Application

USE OF THE WORLD : ARCHITECTURE DETOURNÉE proposes a kind of global derive as an empirical investigation to probe new modes of (re)presenting architecture and curating as praxis. The world becomes a tool and global culture a toolbox – to inventory and select, use and download – in order to create new scenarios and situate architecture within vaster systems of production with which it must establish and codify relations.

Backdrop : Hypotheses

1. Within globalization local presence as a method of investigation and production becomes imperative.

2. Media as architecture must assume the form of a projective proposal.

3. After Relational Aesthetics and Post Production curating and artistic praxis become synonymous.

4. Curating as praxis must be problematized as architecture and reflexively problematizes the presentation of architecture, no longer involving the materialization of a lack, but proposing the construction and production of the real.

Script : Three Scenarios

1998. Nicolas Bourriard proposes Relational Aesthetics, in which the historical view of art as commodity was remade within the realm of social relations and discussed as an art of postproduction within a culture of activity. Such concerns expressed a lineage of thought from Marcel Duchamp, through the Situationists and Conceptual Artists of the 1960s, reappropriated and remixed. It problematised the formalist and teleological methods of curating – practiced as the amassing and consumption of good – ushered forth in the US by Alfred Barr and Philipp Johnson, and codified through Greenbergian Formalism and the historicism of Yves-Alain Bois.

1994. Computer-aided design enters into architecture, resulting both in the fetishization of form and dissolution of the original or unique object of aesthetic beauty. A crisis in curating architecture reveals itself in 2004, when MoMA reopens. There is no architectural drawing in the collection after 1999 and the display of architecture has now been fully reduced to the formulaic, digitally generated wallpaper and model.

1998-99. A pedagogical divide surfaces at the Architectural Association in London, between digital practices taught by Farshid Moussavi, Alejandro Zaero-Polo and Ben Van Berkel, for example, and the empirically-driven and socially engaged studios by Carlos Villanueva Brant and Robert Mull. The latter can be traced through lineages of Cedric Price and Rem Koolhaas, although within the ensuing ten years, the former will become the dominant trend in architecture practices.

Diversion : Experiment

2008. Procedural logics and strategies from digital design (i.e., scripting) will coalesce with analogue techniques reunited with the realm of the social. This architecture moves beyond form, in which the designing of systems, logics, and strategies will give rise to a series of potentials, of which form as disruption takes on many guises. This shift in architecture will problematise architectural display as one of presentation. The curator – whose realm has always involved the appropriation of the readymade – enters the realm of praxis.

Global Derive : Method

Travel is invoked as local mis-en-scenes, to conduct a series of studio visits that inventory current practices and to produce a series of globally local events. London will serve as a central base through which to engage in the discourse emanating from the AA, and for travel between Europe and Asia. The first six months of the project will be dedicated to European travel; the latter six months will chart territories in Asia and the Middle East.

Postproduction : Form

A publication in tandem with an archive as a productive institution of the present.

[Excerpted from a proposal for Wheelright Grant, Harvard University, fall 2007.]

Notes:

i. Guy Debord- “Methods of Detournement” (1956) claimed that “any elements, no matter where they are taken from, can serve in making new combinations . . . . ” Shortly thereafter the Lettrist International, then the Situationist International coined the term artistic detournement (diversion) to refer to the reusing of preexisting artistic elements in a new whole. The term can also mean hijacking, embezzlement, and corruption. From Nicolas Bourriaud. Postproduction (New York: Lukas & Sternberg, 2002), p. 36.

ii. Guy Debord- “Methods of Detournement” (1956) claimed that “any elements, no matter where they are taken from, can serve in making new combinations . . . . ” Shortly thereafter the Lettrist International, then the Situationist International coined the term artistic detournement (diversion) to refer to the reusing of preexisting artistic elements in a new whole. The term can also mean hijacking, embezzlement, and corruption. From Nicolas Bourriaud. Postproduction (New York: Lukas & Sternberg, 2002), p. 36.

iii. This articulation of the task of the critic, which appears in a passage from Bourriaud (see Postproduction, p. 71), is that which I investigated while at MoMA and manifested itself most fully in the Beijing-New York exhibitions on OMA’s CCTV project.

iv. The term projective refers to its initial mention by Sarah Whiting and Robert Somol in “Notes Around the Doppler Effect and Other Moods of Modernism,” Perspecta 33: Mining Autonomy, 2002, pp. 73-78. Louis Althusser expresses a similar idea: “Real critique is a critique of existing reality by existing reality itself. Interpreting the world does not suffice; it must be transformed.”

v. Nicolas Bourriaud. Relational Aesthetics, trans. from Esthetique relationnellle 1998 by Simon Pleasance and Fronza Woods, with Mathieu Copeland). Paris: Les presses du reel, 2002.

vi. The real here refers to Hal Foster’s The Return of the Real (Cambridge and London: The MIT Press, 1996) where he discusses the real as that which is revealed through Lacanian trauma (an idea which has its counterpart in Heideggerian dread, and in, for example, the Situationists’ construction of experience and the everyday. Within current architectural discourse its counterpart lies in transformative, affective environments, although this has been a historical claim of architecture. This development can be seen for example, in the projective geometry drawings of Preston Scott Cohen’s Presso Villa Tauro, 1994, the first computer-generated images by OMA for XL Togok Tower, the work of Greg Lynn FORM, and within the Yokohama Port Terminal Competition, 1996.

vii. Two early exhibitions which codified formal developments were Joseph Rosa’s, Folds, Blobs and Boxes, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, 2000 and Francois Migaryou’s Architectures Non-standards, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 2002.

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