THE HOUSE IS A MUSEUM A COURSE ABOUT HOW TO IMPROVE THE DAILY LIFE IN THE CITY Professors: JOSE M. TORRES NADAL MARIA GOMEZ- GUILLAMON WERNER The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation School of Architecture University of Alicante
0 INTRODUCTION By understanding architecture itself as a production that involve different social codes, knowledge and representation systems, the Laboratory (LAB) “THE HOUSE IS A MUSEUM” aims to build a space for pro-politic education (professional and political at the same time), as well as an opportunity to reflect on architectural practices that link the domestic, the public and the institutional. The main objective of this lab is that the students of the Royal School of Architecture of Copenhanguen, along with professors Maria Gomez-Guillamon Werner and Jose M Torres Nadal, experiment in the institutional field of architecture, in the frame of social and political contexts that define both what we call “home” and what we call “museum”. The LAB: “THE HOUSE IS A MUSEUM” is a laboratory where to discuss the controversies between CITY / CITIZENS, as a system that allow a new way of thinking and making the city, so it will produce citizens, and at the same time these citizens and communities will produce society itself. The LAB we propose is intended to provide architectural documents for the reconstruction of some of the meanings of the city and thus a reflection in the field of architecture which links to the arts, humanities and social, political and institutional intervention. The final representation of the LAB is the realization of a series of architectural pieces, installations, which will be placed simultaneously in both domestic and museums environments. In any case these actions whether we talk in one case or the other, should not decline experimentation; that should be alive, dynamic and technologically advanced. If we put on one side in a blank page the representation, that is, the museum, and in the other the house, we could describe the course as a double journey: between the house and the museum, first, and from the museum to the house secondly. This trip will not be as linear as that, but it will be important to think it like that in order to place priorities.
1 NEW ROLS FOR ARCHITECTURE A PLAUSIBLE GOAL FOR ARCHITECTURE IS TO IMPROVE DAYLY LIFE IN THE CITY These improvements, nonetheless, cannot be understood anymore as external elaborations but else, should take citizens into account. The most attractive and innovative procedures come from the inside of architecture, when the goal is to improve the connections between its different parts: objects, subjects that animate or live in them, and nature around subjects and objects. The course is based upon the idea of establishing a relationship between two of those actors: The House and the Museum. We may interpret that the current way of thinking; the objects we currently use and/or produce are nothing but a part of that future that is coming after today. The house, the bodies and the objects, the intangibles, anything that today is part of our daily life will appear tomorrow in a completely different condition. Then, all these things will be considered as special or extraordinary. In such a case, if the material of this future is unmistakably here today, why not thinking that we could reconstruct the idea of Museum and the idea of Memory from our current situation? Architecture today is asking for a different ideological status, of constructing a new idea of progress, differentiating progress from infinite growth, both in goods and in ideas. In this respect the theories around decreasing are nowadays introducing a different way of living as well as the necessity of a different way of working in order to build a new reality.
2 METHOD AND WORK PROCESS 1. Each student will choose a community, but more specifically, some individuals of those communities who agree to be partners of the students, both in their lives as in the spaces they inhabit. We will like to work with people who accept to be part of this experience and commit one way or another with it, give information and open us their homes. Characteristics of possible communities to choose and how to question them: • Communities and individuals clearly identified with a civic practice, institutional as well as non-institutional. • Communities around a museum such as “friends of the museum”, who have the necessary permissions to take part in the experience. • Children from Schools who have to do with the community and allows them to take part in that experience, • Communities related to different publications Some open questions: is Christiania a museum? Are certain urban practices likely to be placed in a museum? By saying “Every house is a museum” are we saying that the museum experience can be reviewed from the domestic sphere? Can that revision abolish the presence of the museum as we know it?
WORKPROCESS Students must learn to look at the domestic and public space carefully in order to see and understand what Manuel Bailo calls in his thesis driving forces of urbanity, as well as be able to describe, analyze and categorize them. The material coming from this analysis is not just a material removed directly from reality, but a material that from fields as diverse as film, literature or advertising,… reports and calls into question the conditions of urbanity in which one works and thinks. Such material will be essential for the development work. That graphic record, video, photos, text documents ... is the starting point that reviews the usual assumptions of architecture that always asks about the quality of its production from within its practice, leaving aside any conceptual and aesthetic contributions about the present, produced with no wish of permanence, and with a character much lighter than that of the traditional architecture. What is acceptable and what is not, and who gives the authority so that an object or an event is acceptable or not? How is possible to reach a consensus that give equal consideration to the common/general condition of objects or creations and simultaneously respecting the singularities? Is it more interesting the authority coming from the specialized actor or that which comes from a craftsman traditionally practiced and transmitted? What is architectural and what is not in practices of marginal acts from different communities? What is modern, and in modernity what is more important the materiality or the commitments in environmental and social practices? Can architecture be a mass cultural and at the same time an alternative product? The main goal of the course is the RECONSTRUCTION OF THE POLITICAL- SOCIAL - MATERIAL – BIOLOGICAL- EMOTIONAL AND IMAGINARY OF THE HOUSE AS MUSEUM AND MUSEUM AS A HOUSE
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Especulative locations for the house and for the Museum. Review 1. Ordinary narrations for the house and the museum. Review 2. Unexpected relationships between the house and the museum. Review 3. Final reconstructions as celebrations. Final Review.
3 STEPS OF THE PROJECT
Especulative locations for the house and for the Museum. Weeks: 37, 38, 39 (from September 17 to October 7) In these three weeks of the course, we try to register reality as it is. We are now not interested in constructing any sort of fiction. We are interested, instead, in constructing a reality another, creating a situation, ensambling and rising a world, and first of all, to document it. Review 1. week: 40 and half week 41 (from October 1 to 9) Bienal Venice
Presentation format. A first proposal with two different sorts of material available. On the one hand, drawings representing the realities analyzed, both of subjects and objects, and on the other hand, videos or pictures, documenting this reality from another perspective. Invited architect to the first review ManelBailo, Copenhagen artist, curator Museum A, a sociologist from Copenhagen + professor from the R.D.A. School of Architecture.
Ordinary narrations for the house and the museum Weeks: 42, 43, 44, and 45 (from October 15 to November 11) Our starting point is to accept that two in-negotiable principles to organize and think in our work are finiteness and equity. These two principles are therefore immerse in our ethical and political positions. Finiteness is just a position proposing to discuss the immovable hegemony of the politic over the daylife of the population. Equity and equality imply that the transformation and evolutionary processes of urban models and of the construction of the territory cannot be developed without building up a new specific form of citizenship. This implies new governance forms, new neighborhood forms and new parliamentary forms. Review 2. week: 46 (from November 12 to 18)
The aim of this second review would be to present scenery representations of the house and of the community discovered in previous part, in a large format model, as for instance 1m3. Our work system is a cumulative one, not a fragmented one, so that each part should include the previous one. Invited architects-artists Ben and Sebastian from Berlin, and Andreas Rugby critic from Berlin + curator museum B + public person from Copenhagen + professor R.D.A. School of Architecture.
Unexpected relationships between the house and the museum. Weeks: 47, 48, 49, 50 (from November 19 to December 16) Contemporaneity is a social, material, politic and imaginary construction where society lately, and with special intensity, is setting the discussion on the hegemonic condition of a high-specialized and high-exclusive architecture. Under which conditions we will be able to start THINKING and CONSTRUCTING new architectonic reservoirs so that our architectonic ideals are transformed? How we could start understanding public energy as the factor connecting social energy and technical energy? Public energy is what may construct new energetic landscapes for a new citizenship Review 3. week: 51 (from December 17 to 20)
Second revision of the new architectural concept we are projecting; revision and synthesis to develop the idea of the interior, the idea of the subject, the idea of the object and the idea of nature. Dismantling the established conventions about previous subjects and reconstructing a new synthesis on the projection of the house on the museistic space. The presentation format for this step could be to elaborate a model about the action on the museum either as an intervention/installation in the room with the material for/to the house, or the development of a proposal of singular enlargement (not only a physical one) of the museum, or else, to project a new interior of the museum as a domestic space. Invited architects Elena Marco from the Architectural School of Bristol or Jill Stoner from California (author of T.M.A. and to combine with Andres Jaque) + Curator from museum C in Copenhagen + Copenhagen’s personality
Final reconstructions as celebrations Weeks: 1, 2, 3, 4 (from December 2 to 27) This final part of the exercise, directly related with the idea of desire and pleasure, with enjoying nature and the communication of public life, is also directly related with EDITION. Final Review. week: 5 (from December 28 to 31)
This review will take place in one of the Museums. At least one day will be open to the public. People attending: The Chancellor of the University + Andrés Jaque or Jill Stoner) + some politician from Copenhagen+….
4 REFERENCES Visual references - Documentaries and films of Wes Anderson and Monrise Kingdom - Innocence Object ftp://ftp1.abramsbooks.com/abrams/Publicity_Fall12/Innocence_Of_Objects/Innocence_Objects5_15Hi.pdf - http://theland.wikispaces.com/ - http://dropcitydoc.com/ - http://www.clarkrichert.com/dropcity
Bibliography - DIARY OF A HIPERMODERN by Francois Asher - MODESTO MANIEFIESTO POR LOS MUSEOS by O. Pamuk - THE ORDINARY by E. Walker - TOWARDS A MINOR ARCHITECTURE by Jill Stoner - WRITINGS by Beatriz Preciado y Beatriz Colomina - HOUSES AND MUSEUM by Frank Lloyd Whight - A SUPPOSEDLY FUN THING I´LL NEVER DO AGAIN by Foster Wallace - ECHO OF SPACE / SPACE OF ECHO and PET GUIDE ARCHITECTURE by Atelier Bow-Wow - IT CHOOSES YOU by Miranda July - FAST CHEAP AND OUT OF CONTROL by Errol Morris - CULTURAL CONFINEMENT, ARTFORUM, 1972 by Robert Smithson