Consider architecture in a sensual form – a form made to seduce you, a form that is not concerned with physicality but potential. A form that arouses you from mere expectation. This is the pleasure of architecture and the architecture of desire. For this issue, AArchitecture presents the position of desire from within the blurred realms of art and architecture. Architecture historian Adrian Forty describes human desire as ‘a single idea, which comes across as so familiar that we find ourselves supposing it to be exactly what we ourselves had always thought’.→ 1 This suggests that with desirability comes intention. It takes a sense of feeling or experience to replicate a particular allegory within an object, building or artefact.
In ‘The Pleasure of Architecture’, Bernard Tschumi discusses the idea of pleasure through the 1951 film A Streetcar Named Desire, writing that ‘desire was never seen. Yet it remained constant’. He characterises the presence of desire in this film as ‘the movement toward something constantly missing, toward absence. Each setting, each fragment, was aimed at seduction but always dissolved at the moment it was approached’. → 2 Tschumi is saying that the very essence of desire is that which cannot be attained. ‘To desire’ is to want or to anticipate, and therefore the moment of satisfaction is also the termination of desire. The ‘architecture of desire’ must then be a choreographed apparatus for anticipation, and the architect or artist becomes the erotic curator. In this issue Penelope Haralambidou writes about her analysis of Marcel Duchamp and her depiction of the architecture of desire through his work and her own drawing technique. She does this through three main themes: allegory, visuality and desire, which are drawn upon more extensively in her book, Marcel Duchamp and the Architecture of Desire. → 3 For AArchitecture, Haralambidou has focused on two works by Duchamp; Given, which she describes as ‘the construction of a daydream’, and Large Glass. Haralambidou tells us that, ‘Duchamp wasn’t necessarily interested in the built architecture; rather the philosophical potential of it’ – though she does explain how Duchamp was curating an intended gaze of the constructed nude. In the case of Given, Duchamp was creating physical and spatial work, but he was building it with an awareness of erotic anticipation, through the experience of the limited gaze. Therefore, his work was not designed through physical form, but through the phenomenological act of desire. On a similar note, in his essay ‘A Mahjong Table, a Façade and a Hotel Room’, James Mak deconstructs three scenes in Wong Kar Wai’s 2000 film In the Mood for Love. Mak tells us that the film, ‘is a story of two married couples who happen to rent rooms in adjacent homes. Gradually realising that their respective spouses are having an affair with each other’ – though of the four, it is ‘two people and two phantoms’ so that the two actual characters are haunted by their partners’ infidelity, and their own desire. Mak’s analysis of the film considers desire on an emotive scale, employing a metaphysical lexicon – through the terms such as ‘haunts’, ‘glance’, ‘erratic’ – to describe each setting in which desire is situated. This semantic field seems to resonate with Haralambidou’s understanding of the architecture of desire and further proves that in desire we find the sensual dimension of space. Following this, in ‘Genealogy, or Philosophising with a Hammer: Critique and Desire’, George Jepson writes on the genealogy of desire and desire production. Jepson first outlines the genealogical paradigm as ‘the origin of values’ and that it is through the ‘the particularities of formulations of subjectivity as manifested in usages of desire as a concept’, that we should understand the full extent of the term. This is where the nuances of ‘desire’ have the dynamism to influence spatial choreography as well as a social dynamic, or according to Jepson, ‘desire production’.
1 2 3
Adrian Forty, Objects of desire: design and society since 1750 (London: Thames and Hudson, 2012). Bernard Tschumi, Architecture and Disjunction (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996) p 96. Penelope Haralambidou, Marcel Duchamp and the Architecture of Desire (London: Routledge, 2017).
AArchitecture is a magazine edited by students of the Architectural Association, published three times a year. AArchitecture 33 Term 1, 2017 – 18 www.aaschool.ac.uk © 2017 All rights reserved
Student Editorial Team: Sensy Mania, Intermediate 5 Emily Priest, Diploma 14 Editorial Board: Alex Lorente, Membership Samantha Hardingham, Interim AA School Director
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Pete Jiadong Qiang
Pete Jiadong Qiang is an artist and student at the AA (MPhil Media Practices). His work focuses on the specific investigation between architectural and pictorial space in terms of a new ideal of hyperisation and gamification. His current project, Architectural and Digital Material Cultural Probe (ADMCP), uses hybrid art and architectural approaches to create a hyperactive pictorial space filled with digital and physical tensions. The work interrogates hyperisation and gamification in reference to its architectural, digital, anthropological and material cultural significance. By frequently collaborating with maximalist artists, the new research ultimately reuses and reinterprets digital virtual tools to create a new interdisciplinary process through contemporary art, architectural, technological and anthropological boundaries. For more information: www.admcp.online
David is a fifth-year student at the AA (Diploma 1). He holds a BSc in Architecture from the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, where he led the lecture series ‘Arch Objects in 2015 – 2016’, based on the mediating fields around architecture. His work and interests lie between the realms of architecture, art and sculpture.
Plate 36b Embroidered panel worked in silks and linen ground, possibly made from a ready-printed kit. Adapted from a design by Louisa Pesel c 1900.
AArchitecture 33 2
A Desire for Plenty curates a selection of Arts and Crafts textiles and finishings both well known and obscure. Interspersed throughout this issue, these fragments continue to enact their role as backdrop, but no longer for the furniture and objects of a room. Rather, they are the background for words and the articles in this
publication. Their colour is not as found but has been digitally altered. Their threads, already translated through pixels, are faded to infer the varying rates of decolouring of natural pigments, or they are inversely oversaturated to recall a futuristic and improbable past life – one that hopefully remains desirous, plentiful, yet different. Pages: 2 – 3, 9, 13, 16 – 17, 20, 40 – 41
Plate 9 Sunfower hanging, embroidered in silks on a linen ground, designed by William Morris c 1876 and worked by Cathrine Holiday, one of the most accomplished craftswomen of the period, and who used designs by Morris and her husband, painter Henry Holiday.
Desire and the Unconscious
Ana Araujo Ana Araujo is an architect and researcher interested in the crossover between architecture and subjectivity. She is Unit Master of Intermediate 2 at the AA and leads her own studio. She has published and exhibited internationally on the themes of Latin American design, interiors and craft and ornament in architecture.
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To Desire: To want something, especially strongly To have a strong sexual attraction to someone. → 1 In the last century, the word desire has been closely tied to the world and culture of psychoanalysis. The idea of a strong wish, charged with sexual undertones, aligns with Sigmund Freud’s revolutionary ‘discovery’ of the unconscious in the late nineteenth century: a repository of forgotten experiences that defines, to a great degree, who we are, what we like, why we suffer and, most importantly perhaps, who we want to be. → 2 Desire may be defined as a yearning that drives many of our actions in life, but it is something about which we know very little, even nothing. Psychoanalysis supposedly offers the opportunity for a patient to come to terms with these invisible forces and make better use of them. Freud’s theory of the unconscious is famously articulated using spatial metaphors and perhaps for this reason it is popular among architects. He talks about rooms that correspond to different compartments in our minds, and about thresholds that keep some of our feelings and experiences in spaces that are difficult to access. Psychoanalytic work enables us to cross these thresholds so that we can achieve a more complete understanding of who we are. The method for doing so is primarily based on the reconstitution of our personal history. Jacques Lacan, a follower of Freud, presents us with a slightly different articulation of the processes of the unconscious, one which is perhaps more useful for understanding this mysterious thing we call desire. Lacan’s metaphor is not architectonic, but linguistic. Also, importantly, his definition of the unconscious is a dynamic and evolving one. In one of its first iterations, Lacan defines the unconscious as ‘the discourse of the Other’ → 3 . He is referring to moments in our life or in the consulting room, when we say things that surprise us. Freud had already identified these moments, or what he called ‘slips’ (of the tongue, of the pen), but it is significant that in Lacan, these ‘lapses’ are given the status of a discourse of their own, one professed by a powerful and mysterious Other (much like in some horror films). It is this Other, we learn, that speaks of our desire. But How? In a later text, Lacan elaborates a little further on how we might decipher this enigmatic ‘discourse’ of the Other, which, effectively, only manifests itself through the rather convoluted mediums of slips, lapses, dreams. → 4 He refers to two linguistic constructions that may be of help: the metonymy and the metaphor. The metonymy, he explains,
performs by subtraction; the metaphor, by addition. If we think, for instance, of a difficult emotion to describe – love – metonymy will lead us to find ‘definitions’ for it: love is a perception, love is a sensation, and so on. We can go on but the process will be endless as we know very well that these definitions will never account for what the idea of love really entails. Metaphor proceeds through a different route – that of analogy. We may say, for instance, that ‘love is a pebble shining in the sun’, and we may even find this quite satisfactory as an image, but, again, we know that it fails to grasp the emotion per se. All it does is get us closer to it, by adding more meanings, more words, more evocations. This is analogous to the analytic process. We bring a dream, and, with the help of the analyst, we ‘interpret’ it: we may find explanations and analogies, and we indeed get nearer to grasping its meaning. But we are always left with the feeling that something essential is missing. Analysis is always a frustrating process, highlights Brazilian psychoanalyst Antonio Quinet. It is a form of mental torture, of trying to grasp the ungraspable. However, Lacan contends, how else might we acknowledge the presence of the unconscious, empower it, and, through this empowerment, learn to give voice to our desire? In a new iteration of his theories, Lacan usefully redefines the unconscious as the ‘cause’ of the signifying chain – that is, as the element which triggers a movement of interrogation, or a search for meaning. → 5 We might infer from this that what we call curiosity is a function of the unconscious. We ask, and we search, because we desire. But where does this end? Where does it lead? It ends when we ‘find’ it, not in explanations or metaphors, but in a mode of being. To incorporate desire in our everyday life is, very simply, to be who we really are. In some of Lacan’s latest formulations, it is to speak our own ‘tongue’, our version of a shared language which includes that which cannot be explained or understood. → 6 Lacan refers to the work of James Joyce, who ‘cancelled his subscription to the unconscious’ once he found the freedom to invent his own words. His oeuvre remains enigmatic as contemporary audiences learn to access it through the aid of music, recitation, performance and digital technologies. → 7 Freud suggests that the unconscious, although rooted in our past, is somehow always ahead of us. → 8 For those working in the creative industries, a deeper connection to our unconscious might provide not only the path to a happier and more fulfilled life, but also some hints at how to produce truly innovative work.
Genealogy, or Philosophising with a Hammer: Critique and Desire
George Jepson George Jepson is a writer and researcher working at the intersection of political philosophy and spatial theory. He holds degrees in literature and cinema and is completing an MA in Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths College (UoL) exploring the efficacies of architecture in the production of subjectivity.
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In his book Nietzsche and Philosophy, Gilles Deleuze explicates Friedrich Nietzsche’s conception of genealogy thusly: ‘Genealogy means both the value of origin and the origin of values. Genealogy is as opposed to absolute values as it is to relative or utilitarian ones.’ → 1 This will emerge as integral to the following essay and its aim to map a genealogy of the Deleuzo-Guattarian concept of desiring-production, as formulated in Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, via Nietzsche and Karl Marx. Seeking to read the modes of thought that converge within and upon desiring-production, the questioning of values, geneses and their usages is paramount to an understanding of the non- or a-linear causalities at play. The point of this endeavour is of course not to simply read influence, which would conflict with a non-linear understanding of (philosophical) history, but to understand conceptual singularities of ideas and their subsequent immanent, repurposing. This forms the platform upon which we can explore of the particularities of formulations of subjectivity as manifested in usages of desire as a concept. Beginning with an exploration of approaches toward a theory of history in both Marx and Nietzsche, and the relevance of this to their emergent elements of critique, this lays the groundwork for the second part, concerning desire as a concept invoked by both thinkers in manifest and multiform ways. Both Nietzsche and Marx are often considered, and consider themselves, to be declaring and reacting to historical ruptures. This has implications for the potential of the genealogical form that provides a basis for an immanent theoretical understanding of the production, development or (non) maintenance of subjectivity. Concurrent with their individual conceptions of history is the stress on critique as the formative mode of approach when developing philosophical theses; a mode which Nietzsche termed ‘philosophising with a hammer’, and what Marx described as a ‘Ruthless Criticism of Everything Existing’. Both philosophers are seeking to slay the sacred cows of philosophical history and the a priori values upon which their philosophies of history rest. For Nietzsche, ‘the magnitude of an ‘advance’ is even to be measured by the mass of things that had to be sacrificed to it’. → 2 Deleuze, as we have seen, posits that ‘the problem of critique’ is not one that contents itself ‘with criticising things in the name of established values’. → 3 This is the form of critique that Nietzsche is rallying against – against those who ‘remove values from criticism’, particularly Kant and Schopenhauer. → 4 It is the questioning rather of the ‘value of values’ so as to source the genesis of their emergence, the place from which they emerge and come to be solidified as values tout court. As Deleuze postulates, ‘this is the crucial point; high and low, noble and base are not values, but represent the differential element from
which the value of values themselves derives.’ → 5 The ‘baseness’ or ‘nobleness’ of the evaluation that allows for judgement is represented by the difference produced by these categories. Through this the value of values then reproduces the pertinence they have in a particular epoch and which allows them to be the miraculated form through which judgements are conducted. → 6 As we will come to see, the will of power is the operative element of force, which is fundamental to the emergence of particular epistemological value conditions. These concerns reveal themselves in Nietzsche’s philosophy in the form of ‘things,’ material or non-material bodies, which always emerge to perception with an ascribed value. For Nietzsche, all concerns are residual to this understanding of genealogy as a manifestation of the will to power: all objectives, all utilities are only signs that a will of power has become master of something less powerful and has imprinted upon it the sense of a function … the entire history of a ‘thing’, an organ, a usage can in this way be a continuing chain of signs of ever new interpretations whose causes themselves do not have to be connected with one another but rather in some cases merely follow and replace on another by chance. → 7 This forms a broad genealogical conception of the ‘thing’; that it is layer upon layer of meaning assignation which comes no closer to the deduction of an (impossible) origin, but rather propagates the normalcy of the thing itself, its naturalness as an object of interpretation. This process therefore always elides true genealogical critique in resting on an a priori value system. Here it is difference that emerges as productive. This disavows an a priori ontology of ‘the thing’ in which it would have a fixed essence, irregardless of its approachability (or lack of, say, in the Heideggerian infinite recession of the thing) and allows for Deleuze’s particular rendering of Nietzsche: that instead of individuated forces (in their ontological specificity) meeting and being thus proven different, the meeting of forces is the process from which their difference is produced. These aleatory progressions of the thing always come at the expense of its ‘smaller powers’, which are subjugated, to the more powerful and overarching general will to power. Here we must bear in mind the positivity of Nietzsche’s critique, as is understood by Deleuze and appropriated in his (and Guattari’s) conceptualisation of desiring-production, and as it can come to be compared with Marx’s. It becomes a question as to the importance of the productivity of critique, insofar as it is considered positive or negative. The positive form of critique is not solely operative on the existence of value tout court, or the existence of a certain set of values in a particular locale or epoch, but rather propagates the differential potentials manifested from the production of action through the process of critique.
This is perhaps a point of contention between the two models of critique – Marx and Nietzsche – as the former’s critique is, while positing a mode of historicised understanding, often understood as rooted solely in the material conditions of that which seeks to dismantle. This rooting would thus undermine its potential as a model of critique that expands beyond its own contingency. This can potentially lead then to its understanding as a negative, non-productive critique. Louis Althusser braces this problematic of understanding Marx’s conception of value (and its historicist inferences) in Reading Capital. In a rumination on difference, and the implications for the genesis of Marx’s own ideas, he writes, ‘[Marx] thought it partly in borrowed concepts, particularly Hegelian ones, introducing an effect of dislocation between the semantic field of origin from which he borrowed his concepts, and the field of conceptual objects to which they were applied’. → 8 Althusser’s understanding is that the often unacknowledged distinction between the origin and use of Marx’s ideas allows for the common misconception that his history is teleological. This is revealed by Marx’s formulation of self-understanding histories, rather than how he himself conceives of it: ‘historical development so-called generally depends on the fact that the latest form treats the past forms as stages leading up to itself … And bourgeois economics first arrived at an understanding of the feudal, ancient and oriental economies insofar as bourgeois society has begun its self-criticism.’ → 9 Marx himself speaks of what Althusser calls ‘thinkers who have merely thought within the limits of their present’. → 10 It is in his early texts that Marx posits a notion of critique as the only position one can take in the parsing of the functioning and maintenance of, as is his case, a particular economic system and the approach to preexisting critiques. Fredric Jameson recognises these analyses in Marx’s Capital: that a proper historical critique is reliant on both a particular (acknowledged) analytical perspective – that re-formulates narrative so as to create a model of the history of production – and a concurrent acknowledgement of this analysis as operating contingently on a particular history. As Jameson thus understands, integral to severing Marx from historicist bindings is to stress the differential elements of his historical analyses: Such synchronic models do not discredit History in any absolute sense as an object of study and representation, but rather determine a new and original form of historiography … It is this new antigenetic form, which Nietzsche will then theorise as the genealogy (and Foucault as the archaeology), namely, the narrative reconstruction of the conditions of possibility of any full synchronic form. → 11
The similarities in Marx and Nietzsche’s mining below the surface critique which formulates itself on the grounds of an a priori set of values, and which would (and does) subsequently provide a naturalised position of critique, makes fundamental for both critics the notion of critique as a processual. Turning then to Nietzsche’s ‘eternal return’, we can read concurrencies in the processual nature of both forms of historico-critical analysis. The eternal return takes as its formative concern an understood process of ‘pure becoming’. This becoming is such that it has no start nor end point(s), its pureness lying in its eternality, its perpetuity, the foundation of which is the infinite nature of time. As Deleuze understands, ‘we misinterpret the expression “eternal return” if we understand it as “return of the same”. It is not being that returns, but rather the returning itself that constitutes being insofar as it is affirmed of becoming and of that which passes.’ → 12 The stress then becomes that of action. From this notion stem further layers of the concerns of the historical element of Nietzsche’s philosophy. Genealogy is not thus a series of concomitant influences that follow on teleologically from one another, but rather refers to the entropic circularity of history in which all atomistic formulations, across the period of infinite time, will be actualised. These forms are in a process of becoming, which is essentially endless and thus gives birth to all possibilities and their eternal recurrence. Only from the activity of forces, their mutual encounters, can this actualisation occur. We must always consider then the role of a Nietzschean genealogy in light of this. Its process is not one simply of a retroactive understanding of the development of ideas from one thinker to the next. It is rather the recognition and exploration of different points of rupture in thought that are both interior and exterior to the ‘individual’ thoughts and ideas of particular thinkers themselves; these are the moments of critical exposition that render a genealogy of desire (expounding from Deleuze and Guattari’s desiring-production) important in terms of the floating signifiers and cultural affect circulating around the notion. In our case, it is not to unpack desire itself and its various assigned meanings through time, or its repurposing in various modes of thought (psychoanalytic libidinal theory, for example). We explore instead the efficacies of its employment that can be best understood as extra to its understanding as a process of teleological improvement or development. For Michel Foucault, a genealogy ‘must record the singularity of events outside of any monotonous finality … not in order to trace the gradual curve of their evolution, but to isolate the different scenes where they engaged in different roles.’ → 13 That a Nietzschean genealogy challenges ‘the pursuit of origin’ is provocative in its rejection of linear
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Plate 76a Block-printed velveteen, manufactured c 1895. The floral design is similar to a pattern from â€˜Atelier Willcockâ€™ now in Mulhouse, which suggests that it was designed by Arthur Willcock.
continuities in the repeated appropriation of a concept through time. → 14 But it is this very rejection of origins as parsing only ‘that which was already there’ – the appearances of the idea – that allows for the reduction of essence to para-historical categories. → 15 Where Kant must be credited with effecting a critical revolution as regards the theory of desire, by attributing to it ‘the faculty of being, through its representations, the cause of the reality of the object of these representations’, it is thus imperative to consider the understanding that ideas emerge from accidents and historical fallacy and become naturalised in subsequent non-genealogical analyses. → 16 It is this break with a teleological conception of history, as is commonly understood in Hegel’s philosophy of history and the necessity of a perspective of hindsight enabling a reverse view of history, that marks Nietzsche’s self-understood traversal into unchartered philosophical territory. This also necessitates a consideration of Marx (as does Jameson) as a philosopher of difference; a consideration which provides ground for the delineation of a genealogy of difference from a dialectical genealogy and to consider Marx’s contiguities with Nietzsche in this genealogical exploration of desire. The former has potential to break free from the dialectic in Deleuze and Guattari’s repurposing of the active elements of his historical theoretic. Its use in desiring-production complexifies the relation of desire to its productive elements insofar as Marx insists on understanding the immanence of (the appearance of) ‘organic’ production. Desire itself then must be considered not a-historical, but differential in that it develops in a simultaneous manner through internal and external difference(s). Progression – in terms of technological progress – can be denaturalized and understood as anticipatory, much like an understanding of desire itself. This leads us then to the central discussion of desire as a machinic assemblage, for Deleuze and Guattari, and the genealogy of their ideas that, for our purposes, concerns a combination and appropriation of both Marxian and Nietzschean concepts. Productive Desire: the Forces of Will and Production Beneath the conception of the productivity of desire as understood by Deleuze and Guattari are the undercurrents of dual desiring forces. This amounts to: the Nietzschean forces of will and the will of forces, and the Marxian forces which express themselves through and emerge fundamentally from their modes of production. These miraculations actualise the productiveness and produce of desire itself, and often work to shield their having been produced in the first instance. This functions as Deleuze and Guattari’s attempt to disavow a neo-Kantian approach
in which the representations of the ‘thing’ formulate its appearance and, as we have seen in their quotation of Kant earlier, cements a conception of the real that is simply a causal ‘psychic reality’ of a particular ‘socius’. It is on these terms that they regard the limitation of conceiving desire as lack. Instead, unable to reject its existence in entirety, for them lack becomes one of the many residues produced by desire itself in the relation between willing and the socio-economic conditions of its productivity. It is ‘created, planned, and organised in and through social production,’ and thus ‘propagates itself in accordance with the organisation of an already existing organisation of production.’ → 17 This, they posit in a subsequent footnote, concurs with Marx’s refusal of the notion of scarcity, as this would be to posit as natural the basis of the surplus of production through which capitalism produces surplus capital. → 18 Rather, for Marx, scarcity must be a produced historical condition that subsequently produces the lacks found on its surface as natural needs and desires: ‘The deliberate creation of lack as function of market economy is the art of a dominant class.’ → 19 It is this formulation that allows Deleuze to state in his interviews with Claire Parnet that desire is never for a thing but for a thing in a network of relations, an assemblage. → 20 A thing that is inseparable from these relations in the desiring process itself. A case in point would be the desire for a commodity, in Marxian terms, the lack of which is produced by the socio-economic conditions of its production. The object presupposes lack created by a miraculating-machine which reproduces both its conditions of production and within them desire for the object itself. The miraculation here is integral given that it is the conditions themselves that are determinant of the experience of the lack for the particular commodity, desire thus being its productive basis emerging from the mechanisms of this capitalist socioeconomic mode of production. Concurrent with the Marxian terms in which desire is inverted in its appearance and appears as a cause of production, as opposed to contiguously produced by the social-productive aspect of the mode of production itself, Nietzsche recognises the unreality of all but drives in terms of appearance. ‘Thinking’, he says, ‘is only the relationship of these drives to one another’. → 21 The internal logic of these drives thus constitutes the bases of thought itself. For Deleuze, the will to power is the ‘differential element of forces’, and that ‘every force is thus essentially related to another force. The being of force is plural; it would be absolutely absurd to think about force in the singular. A force is domination, but also the object on which domination is exercised’. → 22 Deleuze’s Nietzschean understanding of power in terms of its differential forces necessitates a return to Nietzsche himself. We delve here
AArchitecture 33 10
then to Nietzsche’s formulation of domination, which is active in all force-encounters as there is nothing that is ‘given’ but the relationality of these drives and their productive surplus: ‘we can take only that as real which is the relationship of our drives to one another.’ → 23 The predicate of willing then, for Nietzsche, is its dominative element. This is always manifested in the meeting of forces, which seek domination over the other. Possessive of their own logic, – shown when Nietzsche concedes that ‘“will” can of course only operate on “will” and not on “matter’’’ → 24 – these wills are not in fact manifestations of a particular human willing. This would be to afford to greater agency to the willing subject than is due, positing them as having natural or inherent desires which they strive towards and beget in the causal process of willing. The will of the ‘will to power’ is in fact the willing element of power itself, which is in turn productive of the drives that are understood as being the essential element driving conscious human action. The drives appear causal and thus necessitate no further unpacking in the eyes of the desiring subject. This miraculating process undermines the processual nature of the will to power itself, its constant repetitive willing. As we will more fully broach later, in fact it is also the impossibility of a contained and non-contradictory desiring subject that provokes Nietzsche to understand through these drives a disavowal of the I that is finite. Rather, when stressing that while the will is taken as that which ‘suffices for action,’ that which is causal (both misconceptions), it is this understanding that is in fact a distortion of the process of productive action itself. Will is rather made up of multiform ‘ingredients’ and is not the fundament of action. The will to power – the willing element of power – is that which constructs this understanding of man’s actions as being a direct causal effect of their willing them into existence. In Beyond Good and Evil, he explicates, He who wills believes … that will and action are somehow one – he attributes the success, the carrying out of willing, to the will itself … ‘Freedom of will’ – is the expression for that complex condition of pleasure of the person who wills, who commands and at the same time identifies himself with the executor of the command. There is thus no simple divide between the I and the other, as in the Hegelian dialectical form that necessitates an overcoming, or a binary form of domination between the two bodies as a means of gaining ‘satisfaction’. Instead the will is that interpretive framework through which a commanding subject attempts to deduce a causal understanding manifested through their actions. It puts stress on will as always confronting will in the form of force that is prior to the formation of an experiencing subject or, as Deleuze posits, ‘consciousness is never
self-consciousness, but the consciousness of an ego in relation to a self which is not itself conscious’. → 25 While the relation of every force to another is one of domination, the issue at hand is the self-understanding of the genesis of ones own contradictory, multiform desires, and how they are manifested in ‘action’ and subsequently reinterpreted by the actors themselves. As Daniel Smith understands, ‘for Nietzsche, it is our drives that interpret the world, that are perspectival’ and which thus provide the basis of experience in its most fundamental terms. → 26 The always-already in the Nietzschean formulation of drives emerges concurrently in the anti-oedipal understanding that ‘social production is purely and simply desiring-production itself ’, as they maintain that ‘the social field is immediately invested by desire, that it is the historically determined product of desire’. → 27 Evidently then, the genealogy of desire must be mapped from the singularity of the term’s appropriation and investment within the two different philosophies; the consequence of this propagation being that not only does desire have no fixed essence, and is contingent on the conditions that it produces and by which it is produced, but that it is the productive element of force for both Nietzsche, and Deleuze and Guattari. This is concretised, as rudimentary as it may seem, in two eerily similar proclamations: ‘This world is will to power – and nothing besides’, and, ‘there is only desire and the social, and nothing else’. → 28 Both have as the additive to the forces, which they understand as the bases of any socius, a conception of desire, which is sunken beyond the social as it emerges to the level of perception. Desire is for both the active element of force that engenders actualisation. Nietzsche’s forces have the will to power as their inner, which is itself productive of the drives which are contiguous to the productivity of desire. It forms, as Deleuze understands, the ‘genealogical element of force, both differential and genetic’ which situates each will within a force as operating as will within a historically specific network of values; thus is always evaluated by theses selfsame values as a means of contemporaneous understanding. → 29 The Deleuzo-Guattarian extension is the machinic element, which renders the specificity of each force. These machinic forces are themselves active on a recording surface, variously termed the ‘Body without Organs’ or a ‘plane of immanence,’ which allows for the conditions by which a particular set of value judgments and their contiguous production of desiring wills emerge. It is understood in Anti-Oedipus that ‘capitalism institutes or restores all sorts of residual and artificial, imaginary, or symbolic territorialities, thereby attempting, as best it can, to recode, to rechannel persons who have been defined in terms of abstract qualities.’ → 30 In this there is a reformulation of the subject as in a process
of constant, quasi-repetitive becoming. Identitarian categories thus encounter the ontological gap between the identity itself and the difference that Deleuze and Guattari understand produces it in perpetua, and therefore continually encounters the limits of formulation within the bounds of a capitalist mode of production. In coagulating a Nietzschean will to power as the differential element of force with a Marxian immanent critique of modes of production, Deleuze and Guattari arrive at a historicist theory whose universal element, desiring-production, provides the formulative basis of the production of a subject within their immanent conditions of emergence. Returning to the Janus faces of the will to power, insofar as it is a will towards power and the will of power, its element of recurrence is that which allows for a subject in a repetitive, albeit immanent, process of becoming. The expanse of the eternal recurrence allows for a containment of a differential reading of Marx whose critical process must be elementally genealogical given its questioning of not simply surface production, but the mode through which production operates.
Claire Potter Claire Potter is author of the poetry books Swallow (Five Islands Press), Nâ€™ombre (Vagabond) and In Front of a Comma (Poets Union). She teaches on the AA Foundation Course.
te to Footno
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Plate 95b Woven rag rug (cotton warp; silk and cotton woven fabric weft) used in Candace Wheelerâ€™s summer home in Onteora, New York, late nineteenth century. Candace Wheeler wrote about tacking (sewing) the strips of woven fabric (rags) together as the weaving progressed according to the desired colour.
u go, s here yo
Ruth Oldham studied architecture at the Glasgow School of Art and the Ecole dâ€™Architecture de Paris Belleville, before graduating from the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, with an MA in Architecture. She lives in Paris, where she works as an architect, and writes about architecture, the city, landscape and man-made mountains.
Clemence Florence Elegance Appearance Clemence / Florence / Elegance / Appearance If, on a weekday morning in Paris, you head down the rue Popincourt, a narrow street in the 11th district that veers south off the boulevard Voltaire at St Ambroise metro station, you will find yourself in a bustling environment. Permanent traffic jams and the beeps, shouts and fumeladen air that accompany them. White vans parked half on the pavement, hazard lights flashing, the back doors open revealing piles of clothing: synthetic, shiny fabrics. The pavements teeming with men lugging enormous cardboard boxes on trolleys. Every available ground floor unit open for business, receiving the boxes, piling them high. Cheap plastic mannequins staring gauntly into the street, hastily dressed, perhaps with an arm missing, or propped against a wall as if drowsy or drunk. Beauty Mode / Jacqueline Mode / Culture Modâ€™ / Lady Mode / Mode Fafa
Rue Sedaine, 2003
Rue Popincourt, 2003
If you walk down the same street at the weekend it is eerily calm. Nobody around. Endless horizontal grey stripes of steel shutters. Every now and then a shutter might be blocked, not able to reach the ground, revealing a pair of smooth tapering plastic legs perched on pointy feet, or a pile of half opened boxes. Sometimes the shutters are behind the window, and a leopard print t-shirt might be pressed up against the glass. But the overall effect is of grey uniformity. In the calm, without the distraction of the incessant activity, the names of the shops, written in large plastic letters, seem to gain in presence.
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Lady Belle / Superbelle / Belle Luxe / H Deluxe / Luxe City The mythical city collides with the real city. Yves Diffusion / Paris Styl / Parda / Fabuleux The myth of Paris is in large part founded upon the industries of desire that have been established in the city since the beginning of the twentieth century. The original haute couturiers have evolved into empires of luxury goods. Clothes, shoes, bags, jewels, perfume, champagne, chocolates: all porters of painstakingly constructed auras that fuel desire across the world. The myth is connected to physical reality. The objects that carry it are designed, made, marketed, displayed and consumed – a process that employs many people and takes up visible pace. But when you live in the city the presence of this luxury world is not necessarily a fundamental part of everyday life. It is just one more facet of a big, noisy, dirty city. Attraction / Seduction / Frou Rue du Chemin Vert, 2003
The wholesale retailers (over 500 of them!) that operate in this micro neighbourhood of about five streets, position themselves firmly alongside this myth. But, as far I can see, they do so entirely with language. The window displays aren’t playing the game of seduction. There’s no need. The buyers are sellers, business people; the transactions are often carried out online. The clothes are mass produced, in cheap fabrics, destined for markets and discount stores. But the shop names seem curiously important, considered. Perhaps because the names travel: on orders and invoice slips, emails, websites. Each hoping to evoke that hard-tograsp Parisian aura. Charmante / Camille / Envy Me / Elodie The names are a jumbled mix of French and English, naïvely alluding to cosmopolitanism, beauty, elegance. To femininity. There are a lot of sweet girl’s names. I think of Simone de Beauvoir, writing in The Second Sex about the mysterious and hard to define concept of femininity, ‘Although some women try zealously to incarnate this essence it is hardly patentable. It is frequently described in vague and dazzling terms that seem to have been borrowed from the vocabulary of the seers …’ Somehow, the language of the shop names, created by the retailers who are almost entirely from the Chinese province of Wenzhou, whilst being jumbled and naïve, and vague and dazzling, is also strangely poetic. Particularly when walking through the silent streets on a grey Sunday morning. The myth of the city in which I live is suddenly overwhelmingly present.
Rue Popincourt, 2003
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Plate 30 Lancaster Frieze block-printed wallpaper. Designed by William James Neatby and manufactured by Jeffrey & Co. from 1904. Neatby was chief designer for the wallpaper manufacturer, John Line & Sons, from 1907 and also designed tiles for Harrodsâ€™ Food Hall.
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walls line the
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ck sup like bla t in a p e white
Max Worrell is a graduate of the Bartlett School of Architecture and is undertaking an MA in Philosophy at the University of London. He is interested in the history and possible futures of housing and is currently planning a film exploring Britain’s ongoing ‘housing crisis’. The project focuses on the nationwide admiration, or rather the ubiquitous ‘desire’, of individual homeownership as not only a major symptom but as the primary cause of the predicament we are in. Max is also co-editor of 500, a student publication launching in early 2019 that believes architecture should be a force for common good. It welcomes submissions.
Only Fools and Houses In a 1989 BBC episode of Only Fools and Horses called ‘Yuppy Love’, Del Boy announces his desire to purchase and sell-on his council flat in Peckham. His younger brother, Rodney, quickly reproves the idea and protests that ‘council homes are not made for profit’. Having just finished watching Wall Street, however, Del’s idolisation of the self-made Gordon Gecko means his brother’s protests fall on deaf ears. Eventually, Rodney himself comes round to the idea after meeting a lady named Cassandra, and the shame attached to residing in a council flat forces him to pretend he lives in a mansion on the Kings Avenue. Like many others of their ilk, the Trotter brothers’ only means to social mobility is property speculation, allowing them to shrug off the social stigma attached to anyone who doesn’t own a home and move somewhere that materially represents their new place in society. A decade before the airing of that episode, Margaret Thatcher’s newly elected Conservative government implemented the Right to Buy and Britain was proclaimed a ‘property-owning democracy’. Prior to this landmark event, almost half of the population lived in rented accommodation. → 1 The Conservatives offered aspirational council tenants the right to buy their house or flat at rates 30 – 50 per cent below market value. For the first time in the UK’s history of housing, the majority of the population had achieved their lifelong dream of becoming individual homeowners. Since then, the inculcation of homeownership in Britain has enshrined a prima facie desire for autonomy, self-flourishing and, to an extent, freedom. Households became the loci of the self and the material reincarnation of nineteenth-century (neo)liberalism. The collectivist paradigm of the postwar welfare state soon disintegrated
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into the atomised ‘nuclear’ unit, a burgeoning white middle-class family, headed by an honest, hardworking, heterosexual patriarch. Trade unions were brutally suppressed and state intervention was curbed to liberate the market economy, propagating self-reliance and eclipsing any vestige of esprit de corps. A new common sense was thus constructed and ruthlessly reinforced. → 2 The ‘electoral masterstroke’ → 3 of 1979 not only adhered to the dream of the ‘Englishman and his castle’, an end in itself, but also prepared the means in order to necessitate that goal. Those that bought their council homes could now leverage unprecedented sums of credit, their home acting as an asset in which to provide collateral. The supply of ever-cheapening forms of credit such as mortgages (a long-term loan you use to buy a house, which etymologically translates as ‘death grip’) subsequently caused levels of homeownership to continually rise for the next 30 years. This figure peaked at 71 per cent in 2003 → 4 , one of the highest in the world, in comparison to countries like Switzerland, which had (and still does) one of the lowest levels of homeownership at 33.6 per cent. → 5 This also caused a tendency towards price inflation, imbued with a zeal to help it overcome two major economic downturns and duly return to pre-2007 – 08 figures; → 6 the average price for a house is now £211,000, compared to 1979 when it was £21,966. → 7 If the same rate of inflation affected every day commodities like food, you would be paying £50 each Sunday for a roast chicken. → 8 What we are now experiencing is an affordability crisis, with levels of owner-occupation at the lowest they have been since the middle of Thatcher’s premiership. → 9 In their book Inventing the Future, Alex Williams and
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Nick Srnicek state that ‘capitalism demands that people work in order to make a living, yet it is increasingly unable to generate enough jobs’. → 10 Indeed, the number of workers on zero-hour contracts has increased from 166,000 in 2007 to the current figure of 905,000. → 11 Only eight per cent of mortgage owners are in part-time work. In negotiating new mortgages, banks typically require not only an initial down payment, but proof of job security to guarantee future repayments are met. The vast majority of private renters and one-third of social-renters desire to own a home at some point in the future → 12 , yet precarity (in the negative sense), or rather the casualisation of labour, means that the majority of people in those forms of accommodation – those aged 25 – 34 → 13 – remain economically incarcerated. Conversely, the fluidity of labour transcends the traditional desire for homeownership, which invariably requires long-term financial commitments. There are currently two million freelancers in the UK, a figure that has doubled in the last decade. They are ‘the fastest growing occupational group’ on the labour market. → 14 The contractual nature of their employment usually demands a flexible lifestyle. With regards to housing, this might mean an inclination for short-term private rented accommodation to mitigate the insecurity of their future income. This raises questions on the future of homeownership and its relationship to labour, and how the traditional configuration of a household – one that accommodates one or two full time workers – might adapt to the evolving nature of the future workforce. Historically, the desire for homeownership has been predicated on the image of the nuclear family. However, this narrative of a lifetime devoted to heterosexuality is
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becoming progressively outdated, as one in two young people now sexually identify themselves beyond this orthodox ideal. → 15 As the model of the nuclear family is dismantled, so to is its spatial manifestation. What was once a key component in the reproduction of labour could now be profoundly undermined by the liberalisation of sexuality, a phenomenon that was routinely suppressed in the bygone era of free love. How will Taylor-Whimpey or Persimmons satisfy new desires of romance in their standard three-bedroom semi-detached? If the hegemony of individual homeownership is not yet forsaken, the knell must soon chime. The desire for one’s own space for autonomy and self-determination, or what David Madden relays as ‘ontological security’, is an existential one with which we all empathise. → 16 But these underlying ambitions have been conflated with an insidious economic project that has awarded a few and excluded the rest. Indeed, what succeeds it should embrace these very human desires and protect them from the wanting encroachment of property speculation. A pertinent example of this proposition is a radical project by this year’s RIBA Gold Medal winner, Neave Brown, who designed and lived with his peers in a modernist housing co-op in 1960s North London. Innumerable projects of this spirit already exist and are proliferating in number, such as those by RUSS, StART and REAL Foundation to name a few. As the isolated private mode of ownership and its reliance to interminable debt becomes increasingly unfeasible and thus undesired for many, an avenue widens for a collective mode of ownership and a renewed reliance on one another.
Plate 59 Rose and Acanthus a pencil, ink and watercolour design by Sidney Mawson, manufactured as a block-printed linen by G P & J Baker c 1900.
fore just be
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Christian Parreno is assistant professor of Theory and History of Architecture at Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador. In his PhD (from Oslo School of Architecture and Design) he explored the interrelation between boredom, space and modern architecture. He also holds an MA in Histories and Theories from the AA.
Boredom and Desire Roland Barthes wrote of boredom as being ‘not far from bliss; it is bliss seen from the shores of pleasure’. → 1 In this formulation, the condition is not located in one limit or another but in between; configuring a space of separation as well as of concatenation. By establishing doubt in the determination of desire, boredom turns into undefined desire – the desire for desire that forces the involuntary dwelling in a realm of absence, without an object of fixation and in an eternal present. The consequent awareness of yearning immobilises, begetting a circular and endless trajectory from the disaffection with the old to the consumption of the new, characterised by a deficit of meaning. The space mediating boredom and desire resonates with metaphors of voids in antiquity, equally related to the experience of love and to the origins of life. In the account of the creation of the world, Plato affirmed that earth and sky are separated by a space that Eros tries to fill, defining inhabitation by the compulsion to attain what is not possessed. With the same conviction, Diotima of Mantinea remarked that ‘desire is a b*****d got by Wealth on Poverty and ever at home in a life of want’, and Sappho described unrequited love as ‘a hole is being gnawed in [my] vitals’. → 2 To both circumstances, Archilochus retorted, ‘you have snatched the lungs out of my chest’, ‘pierced me tight through the bones’, ‘devoured my flesh’, ‘mowed off my genitals’. → 3 The mutilating expropriation of Eros resonates with boredom as a space of uncertainty and therefore of latency, simultaneously denying definite representations but permitting the ideation of alternative forms. At their worst, boredom and desire escape alleviation and demand existential transcendence, as if the gap between where
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the individual is and where the individual wants to be could be bridged. Complaining of the impossibility of this task – a year before his death – Barthes described a scene with a young lover: I asked him to come and sit beside me on the bed during my nap; he came willingly enough, sat on the edge of the bed, looked at an art book; his body was very far away – if I stretched out an arm toward him, he didn’t move … he soon went into the other room. A sort of despair overcame me … How clearly I saw that I would have to give up boys, because none of them felt any desire for me, and I was either too scrupulous or too clumsy to impose my desire on them; that this is an unavoidable fact, averred by all my efforts of flirting, that I have melancholy life, that, finally, I’m bored to death by it. → 4
Penelope Haralambidou is a Senior Lecturer at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. Her research lies between architectural design and theory – with a focus on drawing as a research method and the relationship between architecture and film – and has been published and exhibited internationally. She is the author of Marcel Duchamp and the Architecture of Desire (Routledge, 2013) and has contributed writing on themes such allegory, figural theory, stereoscopy and film in architecture to a wide range of publications.
Eroticism, Architecture and the Desire to Grasp the World Visually in the Work of Marcel Duchamp
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While much has been written on Marcel Duchamp – one of the twentieth century’s most beguiling artists – the subject of his flirtation with architecture seems to have been largely overlooked. Yet, in the carefully arranged plans and sections organising the blueprint of desire in the Large Glass, his numerous pieces replicating architectural fragments, and his involvement in designing exhibitions, Duchamp’s fascination with architectural design is clearly evident. As his unconventional architectural influences – Jean-François Niceron, Jean-Jacques Lequeu and Frederick Kiesler – and diverse legacy – Bernard Tschumi, OMA, Michael Webb, Diller + Scofidio and Ben Nicholson – indicate, Duchamp was not so much interested in ‘built’ architecture as he was in the architecture of desire, re-constructing the imagination through drawing and testing the boundaries between reality and its aesthetic and philosophical possibilities. My book Marcel Duchamp and the Architecture of Desire examines the link between architectural thinking and Duchamp’s work.’ → 1 By employing design, drawing and making – the tools of the architect – I perform an architectural analysis of Duchamp’s final enigmatic work Given: 1. The Waterfall,’ 2. The Illuminating Gas … (1946 – 66), demonstrating an innovative research methodology able to grasp meaning beyond textual analysis. This novel reading of his ideas and methods adds to, but also challenges, other art-historical interpretations. Through three main themes (allegory, visuality and desire) my work performs, defines and theorises an alternative drawing practice positioned between art and architecture that predates and includes Duchamp. In the following two excerpts, I discuss Duchamp’s use of eroticism and my definition of the term ‘architecture of desire’. → 2 The excerpts are accompanied by a series of drawings, spanning the long duration of my practice-led research on Duchamp, with the most recent dating from earlier this year.’ → 3 Architecture of Desire I believe in eroticism a lot, because it is truly a rather widespread thing throughout the world, a thing that everyone understands. It replaces, if you wish, what other literary schools call Symbolism, Romanticism. It could be another ‘ism’, so to speak. → 4 In his interviews with French art critic Pierre Cabanne, Duchamp often states the importance of eroticism in his work: everyone understands it without speaking of it, which means that it is possible to address issues through
Penelope Haralambidou, landscape, 2004 Thread, steel and nickel silver on board, photograph Andy Keate, 2009
eroticism that often remain hidden. → 5 Indisputably, Duchamp’s use of eroticism and double-entendres has added to the notoriety of his works and their impact on twentieth-century art. → 6 However, French linguist and art historian Marc Décimo suggests that although Duchamp often spoke about ‘eroticism’, the term remained ‘a vague notion that Duchamp never defined’. In his introduction to the edited anthology, Marcel Duchamp and Eroticism, Décimo understands Duchamp’s undefined eroticism as ‘dynamic thought that adapts and creates’ or ‘the very instant when the “click” takes place, the rendezvous, the moment when our vision changes and approaches what is there, before our eyes, in a new way’. → 7 Duchamp’s work provides an opportunity to focus on the infinitely erotic-dynamic functioning of thought, on its physiology; which consists in appreciating, through the intervention of the eye, what lies beyond the screen of memory and prejudice and being filled with wonder by the much more meaningful shadowy side, illuminated by the seduction of a revealed truth. If only we take the trouble to look. → 8 This lack of definition of eroticism by Duchamp led to many different interpretations. For instance in Duchamp’s Eroticism: A Mathematical Analysis American art historian Craig Adcock poignantly observes that Duchamp’s eroticism can be linked with his interest in ideas concerning four-dimensional geometry and more specifically the work of French mathematician Esprit Pascal Jouffret. He compares the new geometrical principles, including the notions of reversal and expansion, with examples of Duchamp’s works, for instance his gender reversals in Rrose Sélavy and L.H.O.O.Q., the topological rotations of his ‘readymades’ and what he calls his ‘geometrical’ nudes in the Large Glass and Given. → 9 Adcock argues that, beyond its role in seducing the viewer, eroticism informed by mathematics and geometry becomes a method for philosophical and scientific pursuit. He concludes: The eroticism … is first funny and then ironic and then epistemic. Duchamp’s bizarre erotic games are intermeshed with other systems of thought, with mathematics and epistemology, and at those levels they are profound → 10 But even if Duchamp’s eroticism is connected with four-dimensional geometry and an expanded visuality, how does it relate with architecture? Eroticism in Duchamp’s work is primarily connected with the architecture of the gaze, and both the Large Glass and Given are ‘Bachelor’ machines for looking at the coveted image of an unattainable ‘Bride’. → 11 Duchamp arranges the constituent parts of these optical machines to
form complex spatial constructs. Moreover, he uses observer and the nude ‘is tense and unbridgeable and architectural drawing conventions to describe the lower yet … it is a space of participation’. → 15 In the Large Glass part of the Large Glass – plotting the Bachelors’ and Given, ‘the space of participation is activated domain from a plan and a section – and directly using through eros’. architectural elements – the door and wall in Given. Thus the term ‘architecture of desire’ in the title of In Surreal House (2010), an exhibition exploring my book, Marcel Duchamp and the Architecture of Desire, Surrealism in architecture, two works by Duchamp were refers to Duchamp’s Given, which is the primary focus the first pieces introducing the main theme of desire and subject matter of my research. In harmony with the at the gallery entrance. In her introductory text to the views by Alison, Tschumi and Pérez Gómez, I too perceive exhibition catalogue, curator Jane Alison points out: the piece as a space pointing to the erotic potential ‘We can say with some certainty … that eroticism and in architecture. architecture were the mainstays of Duchamp’s decidedly Secret during his lifetime – but as is widely known non-retinal practice.’ → 12 today – the model for the nude figure in Given was Duchamp’s lover, Brazilian sculptor Maria Martins. Given, In his article ‘Architecture and Its Double’, therefore, is literally the structure Duchamp designed and which appeared in the special Architectural Design physically constructed to house Martin’s coveted image issue on surrealism and architecture assembled by on the verge of losing her: the architecture of ‘his’ desire. Czech architectural theorist Dalibor Vesely in 1978, French architect Bernard Drawing out Desire Tschumi discusses Duchamp’s Given as a ‘space Beyond simply signifying of desire’. → 13 He observes Given, however, I see the Duchamp’s ‘antiretinal’ term ‘architecture of desire’ choice of ‘mechanical connected with the drawing’ for the Large mechanics of technical Glass, while he sees Given drawing in architecture as the culmination of and its ironic appropriation Duchamp’s fascination with by Duchamp. erotic machines. Describing Drawing in architecture the relationship of the is in anticipation of the thing viewer with Duchamp’s new it describes: the construction assemblage, he refers to of the building. The lack of a space ‘of tension, of the projected object, the empathy, of desire’. For future building, which is Tschumi the implicit, missing at the time of the allegorical erotic content act of drawing, is a source in the Large Glass becomes of an imbedded desire in the explicit in Given, but at the process of design. same time the nude figure Training in architectural is just a signifier of any design promotes the erotic exchange between Penelope Haralambidou, The Act of Looking, 2007, abstract full-scale drawing of Duchamp’s Given development of a object and viewer, or even in steel, perspex, waxed twine and nickel silver, photograph Andy Keate, 2009 sophisticated spatial between idea and object. imagination capable of grasping complex threeIn Built upon Love: Architectural Longing after dimensional configurations intellectually. The Ethics and Aesthetics (2006), Alberto Pérez Gómez consummation of this intense imagination, however, is uncovers the relationship between love and architecture. disproportionately slow. Unlike art, where the drawing is He divides love into eros, relating to erotic desire, single, immediate, and an art object in itself – therefore, seduction and poetics; and philia, relating to friendship offering the potential for instant pleasure – in architecture, and ethics. Speaking of his Polyphilo or The Dark Forest the object referred to by the drawing is ‘delayed’. → 16 Revisited (1992) he asserts that ‘to the primary reality of embodied consciousness, architecture speaks in the Architectural design, therefore, involves a suspension medium of the erotic, as poetic image’. → 14 Discussing of pleasure that produces desire. I suggest, however, that desire exists in the execution and appreciation of Duchamp’s Given as part of the architectural poetic image architectural drawing, irrespective of the building. in modernity, he suggests that the space between the
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with excess, differences, and left-overs’ – but a creative The pleasure derives from the close ‘reading’ of drawings, position to secure the preservation of the ‘erotic capacity combining information from the plan and the section, of architecture’. → 22 which leads to the blossoming of the designed structure in the mind. As a result there is no need for the delayed This love of rules, combined with a compulsive desire existence of a physical spatial structure to produce desire to break or exceed them, is not a characteristic of all in architectural design. Perhaps a stronger desire can architectural drawings; it is, however, a trait that links be locked into speculative and ‘surreal’ drawn projects all the work presented in Marcel Duchamp and the that are never intended to be built. Architecture of Desire. Architectural drawing, irreversibly In Architecture’s Desire: Reading the Late Avantdisengaged from building and employed for seduction, garde, American architectural historian K Michael Hays construction of allegorical narratives, or for interrogating examines architecture as a way of ‘negotiating the real’ the limits of visual representation, is paradigmatic of: and as a ‘socially symbolic production whose primary task Duchamp’s artistic pursuit; my empathetic review of his is the construction of concepts and subject positions work in search of hidden dimensions; as well as my rather than the making of things’. → 17 He discusses French selection of his influences and legacy in architecture. Duchamp’s work is exemplary of the paradox of architect Bernard Tschumi’s Advertisements for constructing rules combined with a desire to break them. Architecture (1975 – 76), a series of postcard-sized montages His oeuvre includes meticulous and precisely drawn of disparate images accompanied by text as a ‘notational compositions, as in the Large Glass and Given, as well as device to “trigger” the desire for architecture’. According audacious and ironical attacks of the rule systems in art, to Hays, Tschumi attempts to establish an architectural for instance in his readymades. → 23 notation that ‘is not secondary to some building it denotes (as are conventional These attacks seek to contest architectural drawings)’ but not only the underlying still contains ‘a gap – syntax of accepted norms a desire that must be in the production of art, performed by each reader but also challenge the of these works’. → 18 In one foundation of his own taste and artistic language by of his Advertisements for using chance as a method Architecture Tschumi and purposely reinventing discusses another type his modus operandi. of desire deriving from My research, into what architectural drawing: I see as Duchamp’s Ropes and rules. appropriation, but also The most excessive transgression of passion always architectural drawing involves a set of practice, also originates rules. Look at it this in a personal quest to way: The game of Penelope Haralambidou, Before the Looking Door, 2017, digital projection on skin review and transgress architecture is an the underlying syntax of intricate play with architectural representation. rules that you may break or accept. These rules, Frustrated by the fact that even in its contemporary like so many knots that cannot be untied, have digital phase architectural drawing relies on orthographic the erotic significance of bondage: the more projection and a Cartesian understanding of homogeneous numerous and sophisticated the restraints, the space, I seek to unravel its foundation. This Cartesian greater the pleasure. → 19 schema is closely connected to the ‘invention’ of perspective So for Tschumi, architecture and architectural drawing construction during the Renaissance, which in turn involves an appreciation of the pleasure of rules, geometry derives from a monocular understanding of vision. French and order, compounded by a compulsive desire for their philosopher Jean-François Lyotard in his Les transformateurs ‘irrational’ excess and dissolution. → 20 He suggests that Duchamp (Duchamp’s Trans/formers), (1977) sees Given ‘the ultimate pleasure of architecture lies in the most as an incarnation – a fleshing out on an architectural scale forbidden parts of the architectural act; where limits are – of the system of Renaissance perspective, while at perverted and prohibitions transgressed’. → 21 He stresses, the same time ‘maliciously at work to lay bare that system’s however, that this not a purely nihilistic or subversive hidden assumptions’. → 24 stance – ‘we are not dealing with destruction here, but
Penelope Haralambidou, Stereoscopic Pair of Given, 2000
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Inspired by Lyotard’s analysis – including his expounding sketch of Given’s interior – my research examines Duchamp’s work as an inversion or expansion of the rules of linear perspective in search of an alternative understanding of visual space. → 2 5 To develop this expanded perspective, I draw on Duchamp’s term ‘blossoming’, which describes the Bride’s desire, but can also be linked to Duchamp’s fascination with non-Euclidean geometries and stereoscopy. Stereoscopy, a popular illusory technique infamously linked to pornography, transgresses perspective by isolating and revealing binocular depth and allowing an image to ‘blossom’ in space. My analysis of Given identifies stereoscopy as its central and intentional theme, influencing its intellectual content and guiding its manufacturing process. Consequently, I read Duchamp’s inversion or expansion of perspective in Given as a physically constructed stereoscopic drawing, attempting to unlock the erotic potential of architectural representation, what I have called a ‘blossoming of perspective’. Transgression and excess of architectural drawing conventions links all the practitioners I present in the concluding chapter entitled ‘Defrocked Cartesians’, where I attempt to formulate Duchamp’s influences and legacy in architectural design. → 26 Jean-François Niceron exceeds perspective through anamorphosis, Jean-Jacques Lequeu transgresses the boundaries of decency in architectural representation through excessive eroticism, while Frederick Kiesler denounces drawing on a flat plane and builds the model of the endless house as an extension of the body. Conversely, Michael Webb devises drawing techniques to picture the imperceptible nature of memory and Nat Chard constructs meticulous drawing machines that violate their own structure in their mission to capture indeterminacy. Entirely atypical, they all exceed the primary role of architectural drawing as geometric instructions to build and employ it as an investigatory tool in a sometimes refreshingly indulgent, philosophical pursuit. In Marcel Duchamp and the Architecture of Desire architectural drawing is both the subject matter and the method. Although ‘written’, most concepts and discoveries in the book originated as drawings: large ambitious final drawings; three-dimensional drawings and models; collages; animated drawings; stereoscopic drawings; sketches in loose pages and sketchbooks that I keep safe; perishable sketches now lost; but also ephemeral drawing-like ideas forming in the mind which are difficult to fully translate into either physical drawings or words. Furthermore, I use drawing as a method not only of developing new ideas but also of closely ‘reading’ other drawings.
The Locus of Desire A question I often receive, when presenting my work on Given and my analysis of Duchamp’s construction of the nude, concerns my stance towards the pornographic subject matter of the assemblage, which is often perceived as shocking and distasteful, if not offensive. Furthermore, although inspired by Duchamp’s work, my drawings although portraying desire could not be seen as conveying the same ‘eroticism’ and by being deliberately non-figurative, my reworking of Given in The Act of Looking eliminates the pornographic iconography. → 27 As a female viewer, critic and architectural analyst, how do I negotiate entering a construct representing an apparent male desire? Is my resistance to addressing the explicit subject matter of Given a repression? My position is that I read Given primarily as a meticulous drawing of an alternative desirous way of looking. My recollection of the first encounter with the photographic representation of the scene behind the doors in Given is vague and, by the time I visited the installation at the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the first time, I did not perceive the scene shocking. If anything, I found its expansion in three dimensions and the near blinding brightness of the internal lighting nothing short of transcendent. Prompted by the careful and detailed explanation of its construction in his Manual of Instructions, I had already developed a way of looking at Duchamp’s assemblage as a deliberate exposition of the act of looking, a staging of the visual process. → 28 Furthermore, I saw the combination of Given and the document of the Manual as Duchamp’s attempt to create a built treatise in spatial perception, concealed behind the provocative and titillating subject matter. → 29 In deliberate opposition to sensationalist reviews of the work – some have seen it as the scene of a violent crime, for instance – I was determined to bypass the overt lurid subject matter, in order to unveil the hidden structure of this ‘architecture of desire’. → 30 Thus, I perceive the pornographic mise en scène of the work ‘allegorically’: as subterfuge – dazzling the viewer away from the clandestine significance of Given – but also, as allusion – pornography as a signifier for stereoscopy, the work’s underlying theme and a representation technique which during Duchamp’s early life became infamously connected with the presentation of lewd subject matter. Duchamp states in his notes for the Large Glass that there are two appearances of the Bride, one by the Bachelors and another by the Bride imagining herself naked. → 31 I am not alone in arguing that although portraying a female nude, the scene in Given cannot be simply identified as a construction from a solely
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male point of view. The direction of the nude’s gaze is inaccessible as her head is hidden behind the edge of the breach on the wall, but as Thierry de Duve has suggested this creates a strange topology for the viewer. → 32 When looking through the peepholes on the door, it is as if her gaze goes around and traps you from behind. The viewer is caught within the space created by the Bride looking at herself: within a female gaze. Furthermore, Given’s immediacy and lyrical beauty, as well as perhaps its covert violence, has a potentially female origin, influenced by Duchamp’s lover, Maria Martins, a woman with an allegedly predatory sexuality. → 3 3 Martins’ temperament is evident in her sculptural work, which as curator Michael R. Taylor observes, in the 1940s became ‘animated with a writhing, baroque exuberance that accentuated her themes of fertility, desire and sexual cruelty’. → 34 Describing some of Martins’ sculptures, Taylor often refers to them as ‘terrifying’. → 35 Combining the darker sides of surrealist imagery and her native Brazilian culture – especially the myths and legends of the Amazon River – the snake goddess in her Cobra Grande, 1942, has ‘the cruelty of a monster and the sweetness of wild fruit’, according to Martins. → 36 Furthermore, Taylor sees her work The Impossible III (1946)– depicting a male and female figure caught in a deadlock of desire and repulsion and using sexual imagery relating to predatory animal and plant forms – as a direct reference to her relationship with Duchamp. If the Large Glass is a portrayal of the amorous exchange between the Bride and the Bachelors from the Bachelors’ technologist point of view in perspective, then Given is the portrayal of the same exchange, this time in stereoscopy from the point of view of the Bride: Maria. As we have seen, Duchamp’s concept of eroticism was a central driving force guiding many of his projects; he saw it as an underlying philosophy, a matrix, but also as a material like a ‘tube of paint, so to speak’. → 37 Here Duchamp’s definition of eroticism resonates with Australian philosopher Elizabeth Grosz’s definition of the creative impulse as a sublimation of sexual selection and seduction. → 38 His work has often been criticized by feminist critics, but American art historian and feminist Amelia Jones reconstructs Duchamp as an ‘indeterminably gendered author’ negotiating contradictory notions of sexual difference and subjectivity. → 39 For instance, in an attempt to blur gendered boundaries, he famously adopted a female creative persona Rrose Sélavy. Jones poignantly also discusses Duchamp’s methods of seduction, on a personal level during his life, as well as the continuing allure that his work effects on viewers and critics alike until today. She sees Duchamp as ‘the quintessential desired object but also the actively titillating subject
who animates the field of discourse around his life and work’. → 40 My long, unwavering preoccupation with his methods and ideas is an undeniable testimony of being under his spell: I am clearly a victim of Duchamp’s powerful charm. However, most seductive I find his proposing of creativity as the architecture of a love affair, an internal game of seduction. In this game, the author oscillates between two roles: the seducer and the seduced, the Bachelor and the Bride, the artist and the viewer/ spectator, or voyeur. Requiring a constructed notion of innocence – of not knowing or an enigma – this internal game of seduction can take the author turned viewer and vice versa by surprise. Given’s enigma invites diverse interpretations, and each interpretation reveals more about the interpreter/ spectator, rather than about Duchamp’s actual intentions. I believe that his work operates in a similar way to a mathematical equation, as a robust structure of variables and constants, able to render different but consistently plausible results for each viewer/analyst/voyeur. Throughout my study, my interpretation of Given remains more or less the same: I see it as an irreducibly fascinating drawing representing the desire to grasp the world visually. In Marcel Duchamp and the Architecture of Desire I describe, from an autobiographical point of view, how this ‘architecture of desire’ has the ability to mould itself into different types of longing: from sexual desire to maternal love and to a nostalgia for the shattered locus of female creativity. Always at the back of my mind, Given still keeps its secrets, while retaining its potential to take me completely by surprise.
A Mahjong Table, a Faรงade and a Hotel Room
James Mak James Mak graduated from the AA in 2017 (Diploma 1). In 2008 he and 14 fellow students co-founded Project Little Dream, a charity based in Hong Kong and Cambodia that designs, builds and maintains village schools in Takeo, Cambodia.
Set in the 1960s of Hong Kong, In the Mood for Love is a story of two married couples who happen to rent rooms in adjacent homes. Gradually realising that their respective spouses are having an affair with each other, they too are unable to resist their forbidden desire for each other. While dialogue and plot was forsaken in that delicate era of Hong Kong, director Wong Kar Wai uses composition to capture the asphyxiating social norms that haunt the two victims of infidelity. The narrative skips and jumps forward through time at an erratic speed, sometimes leaving the viewer initially confused as to how much time has passed between scenes. Even though filming took a long 15 months – during which time the script and individual scenes were written with the actors on-set – you feel that you’re in the hands of somebody in complete visual and emotional control. The film is cleverly restrained. It is so self-contained that it is only limited to a handful of locations, each filmed from the same angle – a cyclical experience of returning again and again to the same frames. Against the fixed backdrop, the only things that change are the inner lives and wordless encounters (every posture, glance and touch) of the two protagonists, Mr Chow and Mrs Chan. The uncomfortable yet consistent framing echoes 1960s Hong Kong where the two characters are constantly observed. It represents a time when the city’s population was rapidly increasing. People were living closer and closer together, and gossip became a form of social surveillance. Hence, most of the scenes featuring the two leads are doubly framed – either through obstructive objects or more explicitly through windows and doorframes. The two characters are constantly observed by their community, the audience and in turn by each other – they reveal what we desire from others, and what others desire from us.
A Mahjong Table
A Hotel Room
Merry chitchats and clattering of the ivory tiles are the usual cacophony of mahjong – a four-person gambling game common in a domestic Chinese setting. However, Wong Kar Wai does not let us hear these sounds. Instead, music follows Mrs Chan, reflecting her state of mind as if time has been suspended. Camera positioned just outside the living room, the door frames the space where the games table is set up. We, the audience, remain curious voyeurs. The mahjong table was the integral first meeting between Mr Chow and Mrs Chan. Still enjoying their respective marital bliss, we watch as they carefully tiptoe in and out of the game, exchanging cautious glances. The film focuses on the two leads to the extreme – never showing the faces of their spouses. As the story progresses, the mahjong table is filled once again. With the same music and camera framing, we find that this time Mrs Chan is a reluctant participant. She has been chastised by her landlady for going out alone too often at night. She is trapped, both inside the conservative social construct of her time and within the physical enclosure of walls and frames.
To avoid gossip, Mr Chow insists that they should rent a hotel room in order for Mrs Chan to help him write at night. By never consummating their own love for each other, Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chan can infinitely suspend reality and their feelings by staying in character. In a confined refuge where social surveillance is suspended, repetitive scenarios of their absent spouses continues. Instead of seducing each other, Mr Chow pretends to be Mrs Chan’s husband, admitting his affair. Mrs Chan’s colourful cheongsam now blends with the richly patterned wallpaper. The modernist decor of the room introduces a new spatial dynamic through a triple-planed vanity mirror. Not to misguide or to misdirect, the mirror looks into a purer, more honest reflection of the two. The mirror now momentarily catches his longing gaze. Forbidden desire can only be trapped in their reflection. Of course, their twisted fantasy was never meant to last forever. The long repetitive strolls along redcurtained hotel corridors can only be a suspended transition. When Mr. Chow finally admits his love for her, their fantasy ruptures; their wave of consciousness hits. They are everything that they despise. Within both of these imaginary and architectural frames are the fragile and fleeting episodes that express the Chinese title of the movie, Hua Yang Nian Hua (Years that Pass like Blooming Flowers). Wong Kar Wai cleverly demonstrates restraint in giving the audience just enough introspection to construct their own truth. But more importantly, the specificity of the film’s spaces strategically links unrelated and nonchronological events. In the Mood for Love is a quiet and painful exploration of what happens when the fantasy you desire for yourself is both a common and perverse one.
A Facade The most excruciating element of the film is what is introduced after the two main characters admit to each other that their spouses are having an affair. Instead of confronting them head-on, they endure the social convention of unspoken encounters. Once complex and perverse they try to understand their spouses by reenacting the seduction of their spouses. ‘Would you like to come up to my place?’ said Mr Chow. Just when we think the pair has finally succumbed to the inevitable, ‘No, he wouldn’t say it like that’, says Mrs Chan. As the two leads try to embody the spouse of the other, they also coach each other on what they think their spouse would really do. Along a back alleyway of a colonial building, the lengthy facade is punctuated by a series of identically barred windows. We are always aware that four people are involved in this story, but it is not four real people; it is two people and two phantoms. Gazing into the street through intervals of aperture, the confined barred window blurs the difference between seduction and the guise of the spouse. The attempt to seduce their own spouse in the form of the other’s becomes a facade of a masochistic fantasy – an irresistible desire to eventually fall for each other.
For More: Simone Shu-Yeng Chung, ‘Reading Perspective and Architecture through the Film In the Mood for Love’, thesis, Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift der Bauhaus-Universität Weimar (2003), pp 196 – 202.
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This is a project by Kanyaphorn Kaewprasert with Gaia Scagnetti Hwang. Kaewprasert is a PhD student at the AA and co-founder of adeofTwo, a multidisciplinary design, research and fabrication practice. Desire Grammar Totem is a visualising machine that reifies your desire into a totem. The machine uses additive technology as a means to generate tangible three-dimensional form as a symbol of human desire. The object becomes a totem of desire and an incarnation of our own personal secrets. It offers an immediate tangible response to a personal reflection. Moreover, it allows infinite explorations of human desire, geometrical representation and symbolism.
Speculative Text We believe in desire as a fluid, multiple and dynamic force, something positive and productive. As a force, desire renders worlds of transformation, destruction and construction. Desire dictates priorities; priorities shape choices; choices determine actions. Desire returns the most powerful of the intentions. It extends beyond the individual and it is in action always: there is no life without desire, there is no quiet moment for the desiring mind. Desire is a function of the properties we attribute to objects; those attributions actually evolve. The designation of value to objects (and the social exchange of it) stimulates desire. This project, Desire Grammar Totem, discusses undervalued and tacit desires. Once an individual desire is expressed and communicated into the system, the message needs to be encoded and reified. A body of rules, a Grammar, was set as a translator. The Grammar transforms words into forms. This grammar is not concerned with meaning but with the formal expression of the desire. The system performs semantic analysis, sentiment analysis, key-word detections and a series of numerical operations on the input. It uses the results of this analysis to generate a three-dimensional model. This form is only meaningful to its author. For everybody else it is an abstract object. Totem in Normal Life In the third part of the project we use additive technology to generate a Totem – a three-dimensional printed visualisation of your desire. Totem demonstrates how human belief can be transposed into a tangible form. The belief in the inherent power of a totem requires a new understanding of our cultural connotations of 3D-printed object: not an unfinished and temporary prototype, but a quasireligious representation of our inner selves. In this project, additive technology makes an invisible desire not only visible but also tangible. Desire Grammar Totem underlines the contrast between the sacredness of totems and the secularity of additive technology.
The Totem is framed in a glass bell jar; it functions as a memento to our belief that desires can come true. Technical Description The question we asked our users was What is your dearest desire? An unlimited character input text field constitutes the first interaction with the system interface. To inform the design of Desire Grammar Totem, we conducted a qualitative analysis of more than 100 usergenerated answers to this question. The study was aimed at exploring the variation in these answers to create a functional Grammar. The Grammar defines the rules translating users’ answers in three dimensional forms. The research provided useful insights. It indicated that linguistic sentence structures cannot be described by interpreting single words – almost half of the given answers were multi-clause sentences. Contributor responses varied in length and complexity. Many users expressed desires that went beyond self-concern; many addressed their relationship with others or sensitive social issues. Positive feelings were expressed using significantly different text structures than negative ones. The conceptual form of a sphere – as symbolic representation of the origin – was used as a leading metaphor to represent a user’s answer in three dimensions. The perfection of the sphere has been regarded as a symbol of wisdom without beginning or ending, just being. If your answer to the question What is your dearest desire? is wisdom, your Totem is a sphere. The body of Grammar has six rules working dialectically on data analysis written in PHP and three dimensional models in Grasshopper, Rhinoceros. The six Grammars, consisting of three compulsory, two addition, one exception, are designated to extract values. Grammar I: the number of facets shaping the initial sphere are decided by word count. If the value is between 1 and 6 then it is converted to a decimal fraction. If there are 0 – 6 words, divide by 1. If there are 7 – 12 words,
AArchitecture 33 38
divide by 2. If there are 13 – 18 words, divide by 3. If there are 19 – 24 words, divide by 4. If there are 25 – 30 words, divide by 5. If there are 31 – 36 words, divide by 6. If there are 37 – 42 words, divide by 7. If there are 43 – 48 words, divide by 8. If there are 49 – 54 words, divide by 9. If there are 55 – 60 words divide by 10. If the answer is; 1 then convert to decimal 1.73959 2 then convert to decimal 2.98125 3 then convert to decimal 2.45399 4 then convert to decimal 1.316126 5 then convert to decimal 0.86334 6 then convert to decimal 0.61461 Grammar II: the divisions of the facets are decided by English alphabetical order of the first letter of the last word. The research sample study showed the presence of a common pattern. In a simple sentence structure, the answer (your dearest desire) is often expressed in the last word. Other patterns were identified: in sentences starting with a first-person pronoun, this is often followed by a verbs expressing desire (want, hope, desire, crave, etc) and lastly by a desired object noun. In clauses starting with verbs, objects noun are stated last. In one word answers, the words themselves are desired objects. Grammar III (a): numbers of the chosen words are rigidly related to decimal fraction values of Grammar I. If Grammar I is valued as; 1.73959 then convert to integer 3. 2.98125 then convert to integer 3. 2.45399 then convert to integer 3. 1.36126 then convert to integer 4. 0.86334 then convert to integer 5. 0.61461 then convert to integer 6. x coordinates are related to the order in linguistic structure starting the first order from 0. Variable of value is between 0 to 5. Grammar III (b): y coordinates portray symbolic meaning to form. Sentiment analysis labelling defines positive or neutral as convex forms, negative as concave forms. If positive or neutral is labelled; Count how many letters of the chosen words sequentially. The given value will be mathematically mode with number of divisions or the answer from Grammar II. If negative is labelled; Count how many letters of the chosen words sequentially then add half amount of division numbers to the value. The given value will be mathematically mode with number of divisions or the answer from Grammar II. Then, connect the x–y coordinates together sequentially. Grammar IV: additional grammar for wellregarded explanation of desire. Detected subordinative conjunctions adds another layer of complexity to the form by rearranging sequence of x–y coordinates connection. If subordinative conjunction(s) is/are detected; count how many of the conjunctions then to be mathematically mode with numbers of contours or the answer of Grammar I before converted to decimal
fraction. The value indicates the sequence order that will be queued two order behind. Grammar V: desire for others conveys intentions. Originator will be given a special treat; special material. Detecting the preposition accompanied by Noun(s) or Pronoun identified by WordNet lexical semantics resource. Grammar VI: the only exceptional grammar hacked its own rules of all stated Grammars by replacing symbolic meaning. If the word wisdom is detected, create a perfect sphere. Through a translation process, desire is encoded into values. The values to be filled in variables are in a given file to progress via Grasshopper, Rhinoceros. A Totem is originated from sixty millimetre diameter in x axis sphere. Variable of facets and divisions of curved components are dictated by encoded values. Basic forms and structures were assigned. The finishing process refines the surface combining all joints by plug-in Weaverbird mesh edges and Exoskeleton. When the calculation is finished, virtual representations of totems will be automatically uploaded to Sketchfab under account desiregrammartotem or www.sketchfab.com/desiregrammartotem/models. And again the visualisations are uploaded back to an embedded platform on interface. Three dimensional printing is the final process of objectification. The printed Totem is encapsulated in a glass bell jar with a white marble base and copper plate internal surface. Each object has a unique identification number printed on every marble base. Design Grammar Totem is here: www.madeoftwo.com/desiregrammartotem/main.php
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Plate 99 Painted fabric (block-printed plain-weave cotton), designed and produced by Associated Artists New York, 1890s. Five colours, each one requiring its own set of printing blocks, were used to produce the daylily design, making this one of Associated Artists more unusual and ambitious efforts.
All we want is a room somewhere Far away from the cold night air With one enormous chair Oh, wouldn’t it be lovely? *Not sure anyone will get the Eliza Doolittle/Pygmalion reference. Although a simple want is still a desire. The itinerant LAWuN, *began 1969 currently working as AALAWuN, started off 2017 – 18 by entering a small room at the very top of 32 Bedford Square. With having, apparently failed to meet the requirements of the AA Prospectus, *What you sent is very interesting but wasn’t what I had asked for at all, with our painted call for more mutineers and escapees from students and staff *all escapees are welcome; potential pirates raiding the conventions of the institution? We were also faced with the further prospect of being inert (with fireplace) at the outer reaches of the AA’s buildings.*32m3 volume of air Now AALAWuN shenanigans *Is the word shenanigans a bit frivolous? Now AALAWuN’s work can be traced back, *without GPS or heat sensor, to a single doorway; Just go to the top of the *Northernmost part of building and you can’t miss, two old blokes sitting in their enormous chair stuffing themselves with cake. *not very keen on two old blokes, one of us is not old anyway and one of us never sits down for long! But less about the room. It’s the students and the staff that AALAWuN is all about and an initiative: *A new school-wide initiative that will encourage, stir up and ignite cross-unit, studio and programme collaborations in a way never attempted or expected before Fine words, but how to make it happen? How do you get a student to step out from their unit fiefdom after paying for and understanding it to be the key for an ambitious pursuit of a designer comfort future peppered with both peer respect and sports cars. Not that the unit is a restrictive structure in which to learn, quite the opposite but perhaps the lure of professional status within flexible parameters is what keep students fearful of ever straying too far. The idiom, getting value for your buck is as popular today as ever. In this context, a student’s time in Unit learning might be cynically translated as, endlessly assessed, high-end-exercise-deadlines, transformed into marketable data for job applications. From such an obvious and seamless loop of reward why would a student step out into a seemingly chaotic situation of unassessed and devised work with others, who are more than likely singing from a different hymn sheet? It would be like shooting yourself in the foot. Utter Madness! But some do come; some walk in and sit down and start work, others sniff gingerly on the threshold before
uN AALAW ddie Farrell dE n a e n id Gree
darting back to their unit. The ones who hang around use AALAWuN as an alternative base camp, a place from which to get support to launch personal research that includes working with other students from across the school. But all steps, however large or small are vital. They demonstrate an indefinable and unquantifiable curiosity that’s needed now more than ever. As a world bemoans its inadequate leaders, it’s inability to care and the increasing capability to slaughter, few have the time to even question the structure, composition and architecture that enables it. The poor who struggle from day to day to eat and pay bills have no time to seriously question the powerful infrastructures that author their lot and those better off, for fear of falling into poverty are far to caught up in gaining accreditations to bite the hand that feeds. *not a good way to get tenure – John Taylor Gatto – author of Weapons of Mass Instruction. In Term 1, AALAWuN detached the carpet from our room. With a fair amount of effort it can be carried and unrolled in any location, enabling AALAWuN to remain a transitory and fluid proposition – a channel pavilion. There are a lot of questions we all need to work on together – come and join us on the carpet. *Have made some suggestions … any use … it’s very political, need to get it onto the carpet Oh, so lovely sittin’ Abso-bloomin’-lutely still We would never budge till spring Crept over our window sill
AArchitecture 33 42
AA Bookshop Recommendation Seven shelf- and stocking-fillers, hand-picked by the editors and designers of AA Publications with AA Bookshop staff. All titles are available to purchase, in person from the AA Bookshop at 32 Bedford Square, WC1B 3ES, or online at www.aabookshop.net.
AA Files 75 Edited by Thomas Weaver AA Files 75 features essays by Ross Anderson on Adolphe Appia, Claire Zimmerman on Albert Kahn, Salomon Frausto on Theo Crosby, Victor Plahte Tschudi on Piranesi, Joanna Merwood-Salisbury on Helmut Jahn, Freya Wigzell on Paul Rudolph, watercolours and an oral history by Nigel Coates, and a conversation between Thomas Daniell and Japanese architect Shin Takamatsu.
AA Publications, December 2017 978-1-907896-94-1
The Coming Insurrection
172 pp, col & b/w ills £ 15
Taking a Line for a Walk, Assignments in Design Education
The Invisible Committee Part handbook for a boiling revolution, part supporting evidence in a controversial trial for sabotage and terrorist conspiracy, The Coming Insurrection was first published in French in 2007 by the anonymous collective, The Invisible Committee. The book serves as a psychoanalysis of today’s late-stage capitalistic society now on its social democratic death bed, and it considers the future in the perspectives of autonomy, political activism and joy. The Coming Insurrection is the first in a series translated and published by Semiotext(e). Translations may vary depending on the version, but ‘Everyone agrees. It’s about to explode.’
Edited by Nina Paim and Emilia Bergmark Drawing its title from a quote by Paul Klee, Taking a Line for a Walk focuses on the assignment as a pedagogical element and verbal artefact of design education. This book is a compendium of 224 assignments – by people including Kandinsky, Josef Albers, Johannes Itten, Lazio Moholy-Nagy, Paul Rand, Bruno Munari and Walter Crane. A reference book for educators, researchers and students alike, it offers a space for different lines of pedagogy to converge and converse. An accompanying essay by Corinne Gisel takes a closer look at the various forms assignments can take and the educational contexts they exist within.
Semiotext(e), 2009 978-1-584350-80-4
Spector Books, June 2017 272 pp 978-3-959050-81-4 Ringbound, c £ 33
135 pp Paperback, £ 9.95
AArchitecture 33 44
Everything one invents is true
Cedric Price Works 1952 – 2013
Edited by Pamela Johnston Conceived as a ‘book of ideas’ rather than a conventional architectural monograph, Everything one invents is true sets out the thinking behind a selection of the Swiss architect Peter Märkli’s projects from the past 15 years. A follow up to the 2002 AA Publication, Approximations: The Architecture of Peter Märkli, and ‘an ideal gift for all lovers of beautiful books’, in the words of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung.
Published in conjunction with the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), this anthology brings together for the first time all of the projects, articles and talks by British architect Cedric Price (1934–2003). Content material is drawn from the original work, now largely held in the Cedric Price Fonds at the CCA, to present the munificence of Price: thinker, philosopher, artist and unparalleled raconteur. Winner Jury Prize, 2017 Art Book Awards Winner 2017 Colvin Prize, Society of Architectural Historians
Quart Verlag, March 2017 978-3-03761-138-8
242 pp, extensive col & b/w ills Hardcover, £ 108
AA Publications, 2016 978-1-907896-43-9
Two vols (912 pp and 528 pp), col & b/w ills Hardcover & Paperback in slipcase, £ 150
The Surreal House
Rituals and Walls: The Architecture of Sacred Space
By Jane Alison Through a unique blend of art, photography, film, and architecture, The Surreal House presents the individual dwelling as a place of mystery and wonder. Fusing house and dream, it probes the relationship between interior and shell, object and space, and it elaborates ‘the marvellous’ and ‘compulsive beauty’ as espoused by André Breton. The haunted house, the cabinet of curiosities, the ruined castle, the cage, the cave, the box, the labyrinth, the bell jar and the womb are among the uniquely surreal habitats explored.
Edited by Pier Vittorio Aureli and Maria Shéhérazade Giudici This book is the result of a year-long investigation on the nature of sacred space and its manifestation developed in the AA’s Diploma Unit 14. It consists of design proposals – ranging from a Jesuit monastery in Detroit to an Islamic women’s centre in Paris – and essays that focus on the relationship between forms of worship and architecture, arguing that within sacred space form must follow function. In other words, architectural space must adhere to the rituals through which the sacred is enacted. The meaning of sacred space goes far beyond the stereotypes of contemplation and spirituality and instead aligns with the political and social ethos of the city.
Yale University Press, 2010 978-0-300165-76-0
AA Publications, 2016 978-1-907896-63-7
336 pp, illustrated Hardcover, £ 40
240 pp, illustrated Paperback, £ 30
16 1 http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/ 2
4 5 6 7
english/desire, accessed 3 Oct 17. Freud did not exactly ‘discover’ the unconscious, although this is usually attributed to him. For more information on this topic, see his ‘Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis’, in Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, vol 15. See Jacques Lacan, ‘The Function and Field of Speech and Language’ (1953). My description of Lacan’s theories is largely based on Luca Bosetti’s lecture ‘The unconscious in Lacan’s work’, delivered as part of the Public Programme of the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research (London, 30 Sep 2017). See Jacques Lacan, ‘The Instance of the Letter in the Unconscious’ (1957). See Jacques Lacan, ‘Position of the Unconscious’ (1960). See Jacques Lacan, ‘Encore’ (Seminar XX, 1973). See Jacques Lacan, ‘Joyce, the Symptom’ (1975). See also Billy Mills, ‘Finnegans Wake – the book the web was invented for’ (https:// www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2015/ apr/28/finnegans-wake-james-joyce-moderninterpretations, accessed 9 Oct 17). See Sigmund Freud, ‘The Handling of DreamInterpretation in Psycho-Analysis’ (1911).
Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans Robert Hurley, Mark Seem and Helen R. Lane (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1983) 25. 17 Deleuze and Guattari, 28. 18 Ibid. 19 Ibid. 20 Pierre-Andre Boutang, Gilles Deleuze from A to Z, with Claire Parnet, DVD (Cambridge: Semiotext(e), 2011) 21 Friedrich Nietzsche, ‘Beyond Good and Evil §36’ in A Nietzsche Reader, 228. 22 Deleuze (1983) 6. 23 Nietzsche, ‘Beyond Good and Evil §36’ in A Nietzsche Reader, 228. 24 Ibid. 229. 25 Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy, 36. 26 Daniel W Smith, ‘Deleuze and the Question of Desire: Toward an Immanent Theory of Ethics’, Parrhesia 2 (2007) 69. 27 Deleuze and Guattari, 29. 28 Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, trans Walter Kaufman & R J Hollingdale (New York, NY: Vintage Books, 1968) 550, and Deleuze and Guattari, 29. 29 Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy, 46. 30 Deleuze and Guattari, 34.
13 14 15 16
Christian Parreno 1 2 3 4
Gilles Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy, trans. Hugh Tomlinson (Bloomsbury Academic; London, 1983) 2. 2 Friedrich Nietzsche, ‘On the Genealogy of Morals §12’ in A Nietzsche Reader, trans R J Hollingdale (London: Penguin, 1977) 231. 3 Deleuze (1983) 2. 4 Ibid. 5 Ibid. 6 D/G’s miraculating-machine, which engenders the process of miraculation, is that which produces the conditions for the perception of a thing within a particular experiential mode. The example taken is that of capital, which within a particular mode of production, miraculates everything so as to appear as the causal element of production. 7 Friedrich Nietzsche, ‘On the Genealogy of Morals §12’ in A Nietzsche Reader, trans R J Hollingdale (London: Penguin, 1977) 230. 8 Louis Althusser, Reading Capital, trans. Ben Brewster (London: New Left Books 1970) 121. 9 Karl Marx, ‘1857 Introduction’ to the ‘Grundrisse’ quoted in Reading Capital, 123. 10 Althusser, 123. 11 Jameson, 49. 12 Deleuze (1983) 45. 13 Michel Foucault,. ‘Nietzsche, Genealogy, History’ in Language, Counter-Memory, practice (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1977) 76. 14 Foucault, 78. 1
Housing Tenure, Shelter Factsheet: https:// england.shelter.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_ file/0005/166532/Factsheet_Housing_ tenure.pdf 2 Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek, Inventing the Future (New York, NY: Verso, 2015) 58. 3 James Meeks, ‘Where will we live?’, London Review of Books 36 (2014) 4 English Housing Survey 2015 – 16, report by ONS. 5 S Bourassa et al, Housing Finance, Prices and Tenure in Switzerland (Geneva: University of Geneva, 2010). 6 Dominic Frisby, ‘Why young people can’t afford to buy a house; money became too cheap’, Guardian (April 2016). 7 House prices since 1952, Nationwide Bank. This figure is significantly greater within London. 8 The Housing Market is Rigged, video by Novara Media. 9 Of the estimated 22.8 million households in England, 14.3 million or 63 per cent were owner-occupiers. The proportion of households in owner occupation increased steadily from the 1980s – 2003 when it reached its peak of 71 per cent. Since then, owner occupation gradually declined to its current level. However, the rate of owner occupation has not changed since 2013 – 14. ONS English Housing Survey 2015 – 16. 10 Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek, Inventing the Future (New York, NY: Verso, 2015) 126. 11 People in employment on a zero-hour contract: Mar 2017, report by ONS.
Roland Barthes, The Pleasure of the Text (New York, NY: Hill & Wang, 1975) 26. In Anne Carson, Eros the Bittersweet (London: Dalkey Archive Press, 1998) 10. Ibid., 51. Roland Barthes, Incidents, trans Richard Howard (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1992) 79.
Max Worrell George Jepson
English Housing Survey 2015 – 16: In 2015 – 16, 59 per cent of private renters (2.6 million households) and 27 per cent of social renters (one million households) stated that they expected to buy a property at some point in the future. Report by EHS. Nearly half of employed 25 – 34-year-olds are on zero-hour contracts. See Above. Exploring the UK Freelance Workforce 2016, report by IPSE. One in two young people say they’re not 100 heterosexual 2015, survey, Yougov. David Madden and Peter Marcuse, In Defense of Housing (New York, NY: Verso, 2015).
Penelope Haralambidou, Marcel Duchamp and the Architecture of Desire (London: Routledge, 2013). The first reworked excerpt is from the introduction and the second is found in ‘Desire: Female Nude Drawing’, see Haralambidou, Architecture of Desire, 8 – 14, 229 – 30. Before the Looking Door, digital projection on skin, 2017, is a ‘drawing’ I created specifically for the Canadian journal Public, issue 56, entitled Attendant A to Z, and edited by Serkan Ozkaya and Robert Fitterman. See Penelope Haralambidou, ‘C for Camera Obscura (Reversed)’, Public 56, (2017): 22 – 31. Pierre Cabanne, Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp, trans Ron Padgett (New York, NY: Da Capo Press, 1987) 88. Craig Adcock, ‘Duchamp’s Eroticism: A Mathematical Analysis’, in Marcel Duchamp: Artist of the Century, eds Rudolf Kuenzli and Francis M. Naumann, (Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1989) 149. Adcock, ‘Duchamp’s Eroticism’, 149. Marc Décimo, ‘Preliminaries’ in Marcel Duchamp and Eroticism, ed Marc Décimo (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007) 2. The book is the result of a colloquium that took place in December 2005 at the University of Orléans and the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Orléans, France, in relation to an exhibition entitled ‘Marcel Duchamp Rrose Sélavy’ (28 November 2005 – 29 January 2006). Décimo, ‘Preliminaries’, 2. Duchamp’s readymades are ordinary
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manufactured objects that the artist selected and modified, as an antidote to what he called ‘retinal art’. 10 Adcock, ‘Duchamp’s Eroticism’, 165. 11 For more on Duchamp, architecture and desire, see Penelope Haralambidou, ‘On the Architecture of Looking’, an interview by Victoria Watson, filmed by Mobile Studio, when I discuss the devices that structure our experience of Duchamp’s Given. The film was presented at ‘The Fractured Body: The House as Body’, an evening event organized and curated by Mobile Studio as part of The Surreal House exhibition at Barbican Art Gallery, 2010. <https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=XWF0fpbOEfo> [accessed 21 October 2017]. 12 Jane Alison, ‘The Surreal House’, in The Surreal House, ed Jane Alison (New Haven and London: Barbican Art Gallery in association with Yale University Press, 2010), 26. 13 Bernard Tschumi, ‘Architecture and its Double’, Architectural Design 48, 2 – 3 (1978) 111 – 16. 14 Alberto Pérez-Gómez, Built upon Love: Architectural Longing after Ethics and Aesthetics, (Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2008) 101. 15 Pérez-Gómez, Built upon Love, 103 – 04. 16 ‘Delay’ or ‘retard’ in French is a term that Duchamp uses to describe his Large Glass: ‘verre en retard’ or ‘delay in glass’. 17 K Michael Hays, Architecture’s Desire: Reading the Late Avant-Garde (Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2009), 1. 18 Hays, Architecture’s Desire, 145. 19 Bernard Tschumi, Advertisements for Architecture. <http://www.tschumi.com/ projects/19/#> [accessed 21 October 2017]. 20 Tschumi, ‘The Pleasure of Architecture’, in What is Architecture?, ed. Andrew Ballantyne (New York: Routledge, 2001) 178. 21 Tschumi, ‘The Pleasure of Architecture’, 180. 22 Ibid. 23 Molly Nesbit analyses the significance of Duchamp’s training in mechanical drawing in Molly Nesbit, Their Common Sense (London: Black Dog, 1999). 24 Jean-François Lyotard, Duchamp’s TRANS/ formers, trans. Ian McLeod (Venice, CA: Lapis, 1990) and quoted in Rosalind Krauss, The Optical Unconscious (Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1994), 113. 25 See Haralambidou, ‘Defrocked Cartesians: Duchamp’s Influences and Legacy’ in Haralambidou, Architecture of Desire, figure 6.14, 259. 26 See Haralambidou ‘Defrocked Cartesians: Duchamp’s Influences and Legacy’ in Haralambidou, Architecture of Desire, 237 – 291. 27 See Haralambidou, ‘The Act of Looking’ in Haralambidou, Architecture of Desire, 204 – 25. 28 Duchamp prepared a ring-bound folder of instructions, a manual for taking Given apart and reassembling it. See Marcel Duchamp, Étant donnés: Manual of Instructions (New
Haven, CT: Yale University Press with Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2009). 29 The Manual of Instructions resembles the treatise by Jean-François Niceron, see Jean-François Niceron, La Perspective curieuse, avec L’optique et la catoptrique du RP Mersenne (Paris, 1952). 30 Given has been linked to the unresolved Black Dahlia murder case, 1947. See Mark Nelson and Sarah Hudson Bayliss, Exquisite Corpse: Surrealism and the Black Dahlia Murder (New York, NY: Bulfinch, 2006) and Michael R Taylor, Marcel Duchamp: Étant donnés (Philadelphia, PA: Philadelphia Museum of Art; New Haven, CT; London: Yale University Press, 2009), 194 – 97. 31 See Haralambidou ‘Occupying a Daydream’ in Haralambidou, Architecture of Desire, 117, and Marcel Duchamp, The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even, a typographic version by Richard Hamilton, trans George Heard Hamilton (Stuttgart: Hansjörg Mayer and New York: J Rietman, 1976). 32 See Haralambidou ‘Occupying a Daydream’ in Haralambidou, Architecture of Desire, 117 and Thierry de Duve, ed The Definitively Unfinished Marcel Duchamp (Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1991) 475. 33 In addition to a short analysis of her work, Taylor gives a detailed account of her alleged relationship with the sculptor and her teacher Jacques Lipchitz prior to Duchamp. See Taylor, Marcel Duchamp: Étant donnés, 26 – 32. 34 Taylor, Marcel Duchamp: Étant donnés, 30. 35 Ibid., 29. 36 Maria Martins, ‘Cobra Grande’, in Amazonia by Maria (1943) unpaginated. Quoted in Taylor, Marcel Duchamp: Étant donnés, 28. 37 Duchamp describes his views on eroticism in conversation with Richard Hamilton, BBC, 1959. Richard Hamilton and George Heard Hamilton, ‘Marcel Duchamp’, interview, 1959, Audio Arts Magazine, 2, 4 (1975), 38 mins approx. 38 Elizabeth Grosz, ‘Sensation: The Earth, a People, Art’, in Gilles Deleuze: Image and Text, eds. Eugene W. Holland, Daniel W Smith, and Charles J. Stivale (London and New York, NY: Continuum, 2009) 82. 39 Amelia Jones, Postmodernism and the En-Gendering of Marcel Duchamp (Cambridge; New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 205. 40 Amelia Jones, The Duchampian Phallus, transcript of 1994 lecture at the Walker Art Center. <https://walkerart.org/magazine/ amelia-jones-on-marcel-duchamp> [accessed 21 October 2017]
ülle Leão M Souza e d g in ia th Patric t Some To Wan
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Issue 34 Collision Collision is the encounter between multiple subjects that distort under the impact of each other, resulting in an exchange of energy. If one looks at the city as the totality of connections between public and private spaces and paths that are activated only through movement, then collision is the essential event that charges the city. A continuously prolific movement depends on the possibility of the city to experience collision. Unpredictable occurrences, accidents, ruptures, discontinuities come from another place of which one is not already aware. Collision is a natural event since its physical constitution is what drives itself. Once affected by a collision, the city has a continuous need to relocate and associate the subjects based on both previous experience and current perception of its inhabitants. Finally, everything falls in place, but in a different way each time, since the unpredictable cannot be entirely controlled.
Please submit your interpretation, essay, drawing, image by Sunday 4 February 2018 to email@example.com
The gaze is made digital by Pete Jiadong Qiang Page 1 whilst David Flook has revived The Desire for Plenty Page 2 by recolouring William Morris tapestries while Ana Araujo describes the attraction through Desire and Unconscious Page 4 to introduce an extensive study of the Genealogy of desire and desire-production where George Jepson is examining or Philosophising with a Hammer: Critique and Desire Page 6 above Claire Potter’s Footnote to a Miracle Page 14 next to a Parisian street throughout Clemence Florence Elegance Appearance Page 14 captured by Ruth Oldham the Only Fools and Houses Page 18 exposé told to us by Max Worrell not to mention the Boredom and Desire Page 21 for Christian Parreño or the Eroticism, Architecture and the Desire to Grasp the World Visually in the Work of Marcel Duchamp Page 22 where the architecture of desire and the gaze is reasoned through Marcel Duchamp and Penelope Haralambidou 12 minutes in and another gaze is taken from A Mahjong Table, a Façade and a Hotel Room Page 30 via the haunting figures of phantoms and lovers and James Mak at an erratic pace of the Desire Grammar Totem Page 36 machine of desire invented by Kanyaphorn Kaewprasert and a final call to get it on the table from David Greene and AALAWuN Page 42 with a wanting creature created by Patricia de Souza Leão Müller.Page 48 Edited by students at the Architectural Association