Saturday, 15 October 2011

Discoveries of critical design/ Architecture of the imaginary in a range of disciplines

It was harder than I thought to encapsulate an ideas of what is critical design/architecture of the imaginary for me. I started thinking of places, images, that was built or created as a final result of the surveying, representation of motion and users' existance in the place. This guided me to another question- if I am researching critical design examples,  of the ones where survey developed into a materialised object, does those cases shaped the way people lived and used the space after object became materialised? Did it changed people's perception of the place?

Concluding my findings, I came up with 2 ideas of critical design- 1 as understanding city, its forms as a materialised outcome of events, movement, sequence taking place. 2nd- perceiving space emotionaly, perhaps through sensory experience and generating ideas of design based on those perceptions. As those mappings is based on personal emotions rather than facts, it can become dream like and sureal.
Can critical design be those two ideas juxtaposing with one another?

Critical/architecture of the imaginary:
In literature:
Italo Calvino: Invisible Cities

Marco Polo describes to Kulblai Khan cities he visited on expedition. What he saw becomes cities of his perception, cities of his imagination. In this chapter he beautifuly describes Zaira, city of high bastions. Each of his stories holds a strong statements about cities, the way they were built and the way we perceive them. Here he sentimentally explains that none of the cities is without history, stories behind it. There is people in the same relation to the buildings as the buildings themselves. People enrich, develop city and is important in the city as much as structures and object existance itself.

In film:
Godfrey Reggio - Koyaanisqatsi [trailer] (1982)

In film, I imagine critical design is taking consideration of the issue, taking a strong statement, that film could represent in a set of sequences with a glimpse of the future, with something that would make you think "what if?" or, perhaps, instead of making you think, would express these questions through media. Here film encapsulates concept of human relationship with city, nature, technology. Although there is no dialog, it powerfully express how closely we are controlled by all of those matters and little by little we become slaves of materialised world.

Superstudio: Continuous Monument (1969)

Superstudio, collages of imaginary city, taking existing elements and juxtaposing them with imaginary, structures that would change and completely deconstruct the world we live in. This idea came from concept of globalisation. 

Katherine Harmon: You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination
Work by Nina Katchadourian, 1997

Here artist takes a concept of Austria's nickname as "the heart of Europe". She shapes it into actual heart, transfers the road map into 3D object, where it becomes imaginary city of roads. This is the way I imagine the architecture of the imaginary too, where departure point becomes an element from the city and it explodes into surreal imagination of how it could be.

Siobhan Davies Studios London

Building became an outcome of surveying people's movement in dance. Inspiration of body movement in space became a starting point to begin radical changes on the existing old building. It is a great idea rather than demolishing the existing, to keep old and alter according the survey of movement. This way building holds its history, its past and becomes inconstant- perhaps, just like a movement- changing over time.

Broadgate Circle, London

 Accidently discovered this place and thought it is fascinating and does feel fantasy like. Thought it might suit an idea of critical design- buildings surrounding the space for events to happen, space for programme to happen becomes culmination point of the estate.

Greenwich Observatory, London

Throughout the process of thinking about what locations would be suitable towards the architecture of the imaginary, I became very inspired by remembering a great place- Greenwich observatory. It already holds the fact- there is meridian line going through the city, streets, fields deviding earth to East and West. That's where it always feels very mysthical- although we don't feel it, does it affect us? It is a geographical fact, but does it influence us? What if world would be devided physically into new continents according to meridian line?


 Strong and powerful fashion film taking fashion into a new level. Clothes becomes unseparatable part of human body, material becomes connected to the motion, whole act becomes art of transition. It carries you to world of imagined as well as as a subject it broadens up and defines fashion in new terms.

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