Friday, September 15, 2006

De-Controlling the Place

The city is slowly witnessing a kind of perfection in the expression of its surface. Observed closely what could be termed as civic “development” could also be seen as the slow but certain disappearance of the “unfinished” from our everyday experience.

There is suddenly a marked rise in the Engineered, “programmed” surfaces. It appears desirable now that at no point does the city user get to interact/commune with “raw surface”. A manicured interface as seal as if enclosing, with no room for the original. The engineered surface becomes the reference model of the planet. Nature assumes a fictitious, mathematical homogeneity. There is an altered model of “environmental” referance.

With the last two decades obsessive fear (of architects) of the ambiguous space, the modern day city has turned more and more rigid. The loop hole, the faux pas, the erratic, which would have been responsible for the chance happening seem to be altogether disappearing from the public realm.

The surgical precision of designed intervention and desired control over the place and space, seem to render almost all public space near sterile.

There seems no room for the non-agenda. The city seems to have no regard for the space without program or the space that denies program. The urbanity seems to eschew the lack of definition as dangerous. Almost unlawful, unsafe and pregnant with imminent crime. The physical construct must be definitive; the human being must be, at all times, subject to a directing influence. Autonomy is undesirable. The experience must be homogeneous. There is no room for the independent reading or alternate interpretation.

Architecture, if understood beyond the process of expressing it, is the scene for action. It is not event, but accomplice. A loci that facilitates, advocates and then continuously informs the event.

The event, however, is not discreet. One might argue that the event might be absent, yet, the possibility, or imminence might not be negated. Then absence of event might also be treated as interstitial event, or event per se.(Human presence or absence unrequited to formulate event.

The existence of place thereby directly and automatically translates into event. There is no choice or debate, or sanction. Space directly causes event. Space and event are synonymous.

Architecture must be aware of this possibility of event. And architecture must allow for the event. Event as the uncalculated human activity that will (once played out) add further dimensions, signification, memory, association and subsequently icon/identity.

The architecture makes for the event(architecture is not the event). Event is what architecture allowed, or what the architecture is not.

Event is where the architecture is not, the interstitial mediation between, within or without the physical construct that is architecture. Arising out of the conscious act of removal or non provision of the physical that allows for action to unfold and thus create event. Yet the architecture and the event it fosters are inseparable. Each symbiotically embedded into the others construction. Thereby architecture seeks relevance or import by/ via the loci of its absence or where it is not. A calculated removal of definition that allows for a definition of ambiguity pregnant with possibility. That allows for a human ingenuity, combination, and permutation that would be called event.

Thus the event is not architecture. The event is non architecture. The event is between architecture, within architecture but not architecture. Architecture is the non event.

In the future urbanism there seems no place for event. The excessive control seems to point at Urban system and a collection of human codified activities and set directives within its confines.

Calculated activity, regulated, quantified and defined is not event. These are process. Embedded into, and coded into the physical construct.

Where intended process is absent, event is possible. The new Urbanism seeks to “make” space for process. The new Urbanism seeks to establish process and deny possibility.

Possibility is event. The event makes place.

Architecture (to generate place) must allow for the subversion of process. It must allow for usurp-tion by other consciousness or chaos.

The appropriation of the place by use, and varying collective memory and consequently varying individual association.

loci : process : Architecture : process : architecture : process
loci : architecture : no-process : event : memory : place

To generate successful place one must limit its architecture. One must establish limits it must not transgress. And at the same time define models or strategies by which it is to engage not oppose and antagonise the uncontrolled space.

The process leads to knowledge of process or activity. Process becomes everything . The machine is perfect the architecture is absent.

The absence of process allows for self determination. The possibility of the multiple and variation. The possibility of experience and event. The birth of association and eventually memory.

The beginning of Place

(The manifesto for de-processing space).

The need to de-control the (architectural) place.

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