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Metaphor Sign Habitus Doxa
â€˜The patter which connects is the metapattern - it is the pattern of patternsâ€? - Gregory Bateson
The Invisible Monument Superstudio saw our world obsessed with objects and monumental architecture and created a series of collages to critique this crazed obsession.1 They argued for the construction of objects through metamorphosis. The object as a vehicle of social communication. Through the psychological rethinking of an object we can try for its â€œreconstructionâ€? and through this discontinuous and illogical action, refusing guarantees of value aspiring to identify with life and total reality.2 Continous Monument (Superstudio 1969) The legacy of our past lives on in our collective memories, and physically manifests itself in the landscape. But can the monuments of Russia be hijacked? Can we corrupt them, embezzel their beauty, missaproproate their technology of ideals?
Or is the monument irretrivable in its ugliness ? How do these monuments fit into the patterns of everyday life? If advertising is the language of the new ideology, do these monuments of old become temples? Within the social ecology of the city, they do become memoirs, museums - places to keep our memories -places to forget? But the monuments are re-dedicated, transformed, reinvented by everyone that sees them.Their meaning is re-constructed with every glance.They change their names, their stories, their faces. Even the engravings are erased and re-written. They are absorbed by the language of the city. Some monuments sit anonimously, abandoned by time.
Can they exist as pure sculptures or do they hold deep symbolic power? Are they somehow holding onto an invisible system from the past - anchors to a time long goneby? Or are they places to lock up your memories to be able to forget? Are they just stumbling blocks in the landscape? Is there a way to free them from their historical significance? And should we?
Désoeuvrement On the other hand, how do these monumental giants measure up against the superficial spectacle of ideology in today’s everyday - against the thin layers of advertisement plastered around these modern cities of seduction? What is the overall pattern in such a city plastered with images, banners and ads?
‘Nothing as as invisible as the monument only the sign makes it visible. ‘4 Murmansk as Continous Monument
Time vs Prevalence graph for the occurence of the word sign(red) and monumentblue) from 1800 to present in popular literature (Google Ngram)
Pattern It’s not the flux of matter passing incessantly through the pattern of the city, but rather, the pattern’s newly acquired status as “message”. The inhabitant’s self-identity, therefore, is not based on objects, but it is based on the transmissible body of information.
But how can an architecture which makes a strategic allegiance with the market even if at the same time disavowing the market’s practices, critiquing it be progressive or advanced, in other ways than just in advancing the cause of the market itself? How can the architect serve the interest of the greater good, rather than just the greater good of the market economy?
‘I would prefer Not to’ The use of Melville’s story of Bartelby is useful to illustrate the pure act in its impotentiality. His utterance “I would prefer not to” is the formal gesture of refusal -a politcal act. A “signifier-turned-object” , it brings about the collapse of the symbolic order. Bartelby’s gesture is one of pure violence that has no violent quality in it. The violence stems in it’s very immobile, inert, insistent, impassive being. The ‘I would prefer not to’ does not negate a system but rather affirms an a possibility for new framework. ‘Bartelby (wants) not to do it. This is how we pass from the politics of resistance or protestation which parasitizes on what it negates, to a politics which opens up a new space outside the hegemonic position and it’s negation.’3 It is a radical passivity that acts through the nonactualisable reserve of desoueuvrement which lies outside all power. 5
The Arctic Hotel in Murmansk entirely covered in Advertising
In this landscape of the eye, how do we make the architecture visible? How do we create an ‘authentic’ experience?
GENERATOR Can the language of advertisement be re-routed to create a new implication, can it be mapped onto the monument to embezzel it with a new meaning?
In a public context, Christo’s veiling actually functioned to reveal what was hidden when the monument was visible. 6
There are a lot of plans for the development of Murmansk. Over the next few years there are plans to reconstruct the Arctica Hotel, several sports facilities, garbage processing complex, a four lane road south etc.There is also a deal for the construction for a number of new dwellings. There isn’t however any plans for the promoting of creativity in the city of Murmansk. There is, however a realistic need for a creative outlet in Murmansk. One such actor is Evegny, who is building a youth art center with the help of some friends.
The canvas in the public realm - not as an advertisement for a market good but as a catalyist for social change. The language of public (street) art. STRATIFIED PLACES The kind of difference that defines every place is not the ordering or juxtaposition of subjects and objects on the surface- a field where bodies are arranged. The elements spread out on the surface can be enumerated, they are available for analysis - it’s what lies underneath, hidden by history, the invisible. The job of the monument is not to lock away history forever, or to let us forget, it is to confront us , to keep our past on our minds.
Instead of building another monument in 2016, why not celebrate and ‘reconstruct’ the already exsiting monument? Aliosha is the icon of Murmansk. He looks over the city, and the city looks at him. In the daily drift through the streets of Murmansk, inhabitants get confronted by numerous things on the skyline. Smokestacks, cranes, housing slabs, and Aliosha. This visual connection to the city makes Alsioha the perfect site to celebrate the centennial.
Currently, Alisoha functions as a State apparatus of military power, and the only way to show one’s respect is in an official ritual of bringing flowers and Everyday practices , based on their relationship to an occasion , that is, on casual time, are thus, scattered all along duration, in the situation of acts of thought. Casual time is what narrated in the actual discourse of the city: an indeterminate fable , better articulated on the metaphorical practices and stratified places than on the empire of the evident in functionalist technocracy.6
CATALYST Murmansk is about to celebrate it’s 100 year anniversary. It has been a quarter century since the break-up of the Soviet Union. Yet, although the Soviet Union has dissipated 25 years ago, it’s legacy still lives on. There is a need to celebrate the future of the city, but without forgeting its past.
The intervention for the city of Murmansk is based on a collective social experiment on the city scale. By using the rhizomatic nature of today’s social networks it is possible to organize and mobilize a city wide intervention for the hundred year anniversary of Murmansk. The event calls for the participation across the entire city of Murmansk to weave together a quilt to cover up the monument of Alyosha.
This project heopes to act as a catalyst for the creativy underlying the surface of Murmansk.
The culmination at ‘Aliosha’
The centennial provides the opportunity for the re-invention of the monument and a reflection of the trajectory of Murmansk. A collective action organized between different agents in the city makes the monument momentarily dissappear under a veil, freeing Murmansk from the gaze of itâ€™s military history. The covering up of Aliosha, however, is only temporary, and after the celebration he is unveiled and revealed. When the monument is revealed everything seems unchanged, but the event has transformed the participants and the city. The monument itself is the framework of the change, and the fabric becomes the visual technology of itâ€™s transformation. The same technology used to plaster ideological advertisiements all over the city is here used to create a moment of pause. By blankliy covering up Aliosha, the fabric seems out of place, out of time, transporting the monument to an unseen dimension. What lies under the textile is obvious, but momentarily the imagination is free to wander and is allowed to dream.
Aliosha overlooking the city
Are the symbolic meanings of the Monument lost?
Constructing Situations CARNIVAL
2016 Centennial The event creates a platform for a free exchange of ideas. The actors in the space are the people of Murmansk. If the event is used for protest or carnival, if it is used as a forum for the exchanging of skills and ideas is only determined by the participants, on what is called for.
The question of the connection between action and reorientation has links to the work of Arendt, who defines power as a communicative agreement on collective action: ‘ Power corresponds to the human ability not just to act but to act in concert. Power is never the property of an individual; it belongs to a group’7. Thus power is defined as a collective capacity, asserting the primacy of ‘power to’ while socializing it. The notion of communication about action unites issues of action and representation: ‘ Power is actualized only where word and deed have not parted company, where words are not empty and deeds not brutal, where words are not used to veil intentions but to disclose realities, and deeds are not used to violate and destroy but to establish relations and create new realities. ‘ (Arendt 1958:200)
Alternative Hierarchies Treptower Memorial
The public square
Evgeny of Mr. Pink Youth Center in Murmansk.
A ‘hostoric handshake”
Arendt, Hannah. The Human Condition. [Chicago]: University of Chicago, 1958. Print. Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1987. Print. Dovey, Kim. Framing Places: Mediating Power in Built Form. London: Routledge, 1999. Print. Foster, Hal. The Anti-aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture. Port Townsend, WA: Bay, 1983. Print. Huyssen, Andreas. “Nostalgia for Ruins.” Grey Room 23 (2006): 6-21. Print. Huyssen, Andreas. Present Pasts: Urban Palimpsests and the Politics of Memory. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 2003. Print. Lacan, Jacques. The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-analysis. New York: Norton, 1978. Print. Lang, Peter, and William Menking. Superstudio: Life without Objects. Milano (Italy): Skira, 2003. Print. Žižek, Slavoj. The Parallax View. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2006. Print.