Tuesday, March 08, 2011

An Abbreviated Manifesto

This is a short selection of images 
from a short talk, given at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, 
at a Short Ideas workshop led by the boys of La Ville Rayée
I attempted to talk about how the use of fast media leads to 
an abbreviated  architecture, and more. 
(It's a long read so beware)

Upon arriving with Miltos in online communities in 1997 
I understood that there was a new type of citizen, the avatar.
Avatars, and the humans behind them got bored very quickly, because they were used to doing a lot of things at the same time and doing them fast.

(Lesson 1, 1997: Attention Span)
The buildings you made for them were a new type of Roadside Architecture, 

they had to attract their attention, and you had to explain the idea fast, because you were explaining it in a chat window, on the information superhighway.

(Lesson 2, 2000: New Typology of Space)
Jan Aman asked me to make an American Diner at his art center. Building a diner in an online community was far more interesting, and so came TeleportDiner.

Instead of building a real diner we copy-pasted the "virtual" diner onto the real space. You were no longer virtual or real, and as you glance at your internet enabled device, you are still neither, just both, all the time. Meanwhile in Stockholm, human avatars inhabited a drawing.

(Lesson 3, 2001: 1 Click Architecture)
I was asked to make a new building out of an old. By that time I was getting to be as abbreviated as all the other avatars, so it was time for a short solution, a 1 click architecture: Paint it white.
The white building would be out of context in grey-beige Geneva, so it would attract the flaneur's attention and when you walked in, it would feel like you were inhabiting a drawing. So a new lesson learned plus the two previous ones applied.

(Lesson 4, 2002: Wrapping buildings with websites)
By then artists were making websites instead of paintings and I had to make homes for them. I wrapped their websites around their homes. The web became architecture.

Copy pasting back and forth, I made many works that were neither virtual nor real, roadside-fast, once clicked, and came from another world.

Then around 2005, Social Networking sites surpassed pornography as the web's most popular destinations, and it was obvious that from then on we would be conducting a lot of our "living" there.   

And the first thing one did on those sites was to get a home, lets say a page in friendster, and customize it. That page was based on a template, so within a given frame you could add stuff like photos and music to make your home.

on a competition for a large scale housing project, we tried just that: giving users a predefined template which they could customize.

 The template was a "tower" with a diamond bracing structural system, through which users could punch diamond shaped windows. They could link to neighboring towers with bridges, and expand their apartments, and so forth.

Polygon Housing was an experiment in directed customization and the simulation of an organically grown urban space. 
And it made clear that we were just inhabiting templates 
even when we were not on facebook. 

In Greece the most popular template by far is that of the Domino frame, as invented by Le Corbusier in the 1920 and adopted by greedy developers the word over, because it was a template that delevered on the promise of the modern movement: Fast, Efficient and Cheap.

Around this time the term Cloud Computing was invented, to describe this habitation of web templates such as facebook, flickr and the google empire. The idea was that when you kept your life-things in the cloud, i.e. the server of each company, you did not need any hardware, because all these applications and all the storage was happening in the cloud. It was almost like saying that you could go live under a tree, 
in a cave.

This made me think of how the domino template is used on the greek landscape, initially as an empty frame that gets inhabited little by little almost as a natural element, and eventually becomes a home, sometimes unexpectedly so.

by that time I was spending a lot of time in the Cloud so I decided to produce a sort of memorable object, my own duck for the cloud freeway, and so came Cloud House

 Over time I did more such ducks, buildings that have learned from this long sequence of thoughts, and somehow manage to embody this interest in living under a tree or in a cave, brought on by our continuous disassociation from hardware. It was like being a traveller in a post digital grand tour of ruined templates and echo beaches.

Recently, and with the apparent dominance of micro-blogging and tweeting, the initial idea of abbreviation re-surfaced. It seems we only wanted to express our thoughts in 140 character tweets on twitter and in single image tumbles on tumblr. I was asked to do one of the PINUP Case Study houses, and decided to try the tweet format. I would do a portrait of Los Angeles as the brief mentioned, but strung together from a series of tweets and tumbls.

The tweets seemed to focus on LA as a city of disasters, from the girl who arrived to become a star and ended up a waitress, to the mudslide that dragged down a mountain.
Thus came to be Hand House, just another facebook Duck.


N_O_R_T_O_N said...


Andreas Angelidakis said...

erm how do I get a proper "like" button here. I guess they should integrate "like" into the curson