Reinscribing an Architecture of Silence Jared Vanlandingham
Accepted in Partial FulďŹ llment of the Requirements For the Degree of Master of Architecture at The Savannah College of Art and Design
ÂŠ May 2012, Jared Vanlandingham The author hereby grants SCAD permission to reproduce and to distribute publicly paper and electronic thesis copies of document in whole or in part in any medium now known or hereafter created.
Signature of Author
Julie Rogers-Varland, Professor of Architecture, Committee Chair
Amy Wynne, Professor of Architecture, Faculty Advisor
Joel Varland, Professor of Sculpture, Topic Consultant
Reinscribing an Architecture of Silence
A Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of the Department of Architecture in Partial FulďŹ llment of the Requirements for the Degree of Masters of Architecture Savannah College of Art and Design
dedication & acknowledgements
Mom, Dad, Josh - this is all for you. I am so lucky to have a family like you. Your never-ending stream of life, of love, of compassion and understanding is more than a son, a brother, could ever hope for. It’s because of you, the three of you, that I can smile. All I have to do is remind myself how fortunate I am to have a family like you. Professor Rogers-Varland, I knew since freshman year that I wanted to work with you for my thesis year, and I am so happy I was finally able to. I have so many things I want to say... and for once, I feel like I can’t say anything, I can’t express how much this year has changed me. Thank you for encouraging my crazy process, but while doing so, thank you for reminding me the importance of humility. Professor Joel, you asked me a question near the beginning of all this - is this about a clarity of thought, or is this about love? That question shaped every decision I made after you asked it, it became my standard. It’s a question that will remain with me long after this is over. Professor Wynne, I’m so happy that you were a part of my last work in Savannah. You have a way of reminding me of the reason I fell in love with architecture to begin with - the beauty of life and the people around us we share it with. Thank you for guiding my way last summer, for bringing my love for art back into my work, and for always grounding me. Professor Montgomery, you gave me silence. I wouldn’t have made it here if it weren’t for you! Thank you for your focus, your diligence, your love and your passion. You saw me enter back into architecture, and you gave me the strength to remain. You were the first to teach me the poetry of architecture, using nothing more than a look. Professor Thange, in some ways I feel like it was a happy accident that we crossed paths, I’m so happy to have had you as a professor. Thank you for listening so intently as you do. I feel unheard with many people, but I never felt that with you. Professor Falls, you pushed me in a way no one else has. I learned to have a voice with you. There’s a difficulty I’ve had for a long time in speaking with professors that melted away as our class grew with you. Thank you for your willingness to discuss anything and everything, thank you for your honesty. I remember one conversation we had at the Sentient Bean, on rave culture - I was on a path towards apathy, you brought me back to hope. Professor Madson, you taught me the importance of fun. Thank you for challenging my ability while reminding me not to take myself so seriously. I see the city around me anew because of you.
To my amazing studio - I love you! Kristi, Leslie, Reeve, Lauren, Daniel, Crista, Villalta, Carson, Tyler, Irina - it was so much fun working with you. I am going to miss you.
table of contents 1 01 02 03 04 05
list of images 4 abstract 7 silence 31 three silences and the senses 49 story of a church [site analysis] 63 design process [schematic design + design development] 119 final design, exhibition, and conclusion
List of Images Unless otherwise noted, image belongs to author. 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14
Immediate Family Deep South Deep South Deep South Office Baroque Splitting Ghost: A Border Act Ghost: A Border Act Space That Sees, 1992 Skyspace in Section Skyspace Seedbed Gallery Space Seedbed Gallery Space Vito Acconci in Seedbed
2.01 2.02 2.03
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Max Neef, Human Need Matrix Grand Central Station, 1934
• http://www.selfmademiracle.com/prosperity/maslow’s-hierarchy-of-needs-what-are-man’s-needs-according-to-maslow/ • p.37 • http://www.thegoalfocusedway.com/the-max-neef-model-of-human-scale-development/ • p.38 • http://www.allposters.com/-sp/Grand-Central-Station-New-York-City-c-1940-s-Posters_i6792561_.htm • p.42
3.01 3.02 3.03 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13
Holy Communion, 1940 Holy Communion, Rendering Holy Communion, Rendering Original Plans by Richard Upjohn Sixth Avenue c. 1895 Holy Communion Interior, 1901 Holy Communion Interior, 1912 Limelight Nightclub Dance Floor Limelight Nightclub Dance Floor Limelight Marketplace Map Limelight Marketplace, 2010 Limelight Marketplace, 2010
• http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/local/new_york&id=8388695 • http://lh3.ggpht.com/_QOQfpCJOYK4/TQv7yJeXf_I/AAAAAAAAAaA/RgW2VpR_uR4/Limelight%20ii%5B3%5D.jpg • http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_mlPoGU4VqSk/S-LPpN0P8II/AAAAAAAAHVw/RvGvbDZnRNU/church+holy+communion.jpg • http://www.cmoa.org/searchcollections/.%5CMedia%5C13%5C233%5C1035779_standard.jpg • http://collections.mcny.org/C.aspx?VP3=SearchResult_VPage&VBID=24UP1GYQSJ24&SMLS=1&RW=1440&RH=786 • http://www.nycago.org/Organs/NYC/img/HolyCommunion1901Int.jpg • http://collections.mcny.org/C.aspx?VP3=SearchResult_VPage&VBID=24UP1GYQSJ24&SMLS=1&RW=1440&RH=786 • http://www.corbisimages.com/images/Corbis-ZXX650124.jpg?size=67&uid=908e8b34-c3b2-45f9-8f19-3d9286afce6b • http://absolutionnyc.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/absolution-NYC-goth-club-Limelight2.png • http://images.nymag.com/shopping/features/limelight100503_2_560.jpg • http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2010/05/05/dining/05limelightspan-1/05limelightspan-1-articleLarge.jpg • http://images.travelpod.com/users/otherguru/4.1273463217.limelight-marketplace.jpg
• p.49 • p.50 • p.50 • p.51 • p.52 • p.53 • p.54 • p.55 • p.55 • p.56 • p.56 • p.56
A.01 A.02 A.03
Vitruvian Man Vitruvian Man Panopticon
• http://azothgallery.com/vitruvian.html • http://leonardodavinci.stanford.edu/submissions/clabaugh/history/leonardo.html • http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/11/Panopticon.jpg/220px-Panopticon.jpg
•p.163 •p.165 •p.166
• http://milkweedandtumbleweed.blogg.se/2010/august/sally-mann.html • http://www.photographyabdu.com/7-deep-south-photography-by-sally-mann/deep-south-photography-by-sally-mann-4/ • http://www.shakesper.ru/files/SallyM/galery.html • http://www.landezine.com/index.php/2010/12/landscape-photography-by-sally-mann/ • http://www.ooodd.com/pimages/cop_images/design-gaping-holes-in-the-city-8211-art-by-gordon-matta-clark8-1297855058.jpg • http://thefunambulistdotnet.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/gordonmattaclark28phaidon29007.jpg • http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_Mq0uv-ihjxc/TSvvLhAy9rI/AAAAAAAAB98/PDeVyeO2W74/s1600/hamilton-inst-001.jpg • http://wmuvideo.files.wordpress.com/2007/02/annhamilton2.jpg • http://www.english.imjnet.org.il/Media/Uploads/Turrell-Space-That-Sees.jpg • http://platechnic.com/ref/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/SS.jpg • http://www.coffeewithanarchitect.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/JT-17.jpg • http://www.whirm.com/Art208/images/148.jpg • http://archrecord.construction.com/features/interviews/0718Acconci/abridged/ss1/3.jpg • http://representingplace.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/acconci-original.jpg?w=720
• p.19 • p.19 • p.19 • p.20 • p.21 • p.22 • p.23 • p.24 • p.25 • p.25 • p.26 • p.29 • p.29 • p.30
Panopticon Cell The with Drawing Room
B.01 B.02 B.03 B.04 B.05 C.01
• http://www.utilitarianism.com/panopticon.jpg • http://server1.dsrny.com/projects/WithdrawingRoom/Stretched-Interior_thumb.jpg
Club Limelight “The Hammam” (view of Harrah within a Hammam) Balcony at Club Limelight Dancers at Club Limelight Dance Floor, Club Limelight
• Corben, Billy. Limelight. DVD. New York City. Magnolia Home Entertainment. January 2012. • Potvin, Vapour and Steam, 329 • Corben, Billy. Limelight. DVD. New York City. Magnolia Home Entertainment. January 2012. • Corben, Billy. Limelight. DVD. New York City. Magnolia Home Entertainment. January 2012. • Corben, Billy. Limelight. DVD. New York City. Magnolia Home Entertainment. January 2012.
•p.175 •p.180 •p.182 •p.183 •p.184
Reinscribing an Architecture of Silence
This thesis is an investigation of the importance of silence for the human experience of architecture. As the contemporary city gets more crowded, the pace of everyday life quickens, and our surroundings grow louder, the experience of silence becomes a rarity. Through the adaptive reuse of the Church of the Holy Communion in New York City, an existing architecture of silence is gifted back to the city for public use, and is expanded to incorporate silence of a humble, grand, and sublime nature. Against the giving of ultimate preference to clarity, precision, direct communication, and rapid information movement through the disembodied experience of the electronic screen, it is theorized that moments of silence should be remembered in the design of architecture as a way of maintaining the solidarity - the fundamental tranquility - of spatial experience.
September 2011 Professor Rogers-Varland, My interest in a topic of silence is heavily rooted in my experience growing up, as I imagine it is for many thesis students. There was a time when I had deep religious convictions, I felt an immense passion for and in my church, and the nervousness the world beyond my hometown instilled in me was countered by the intense security my religion gave as a complete understanding of the universe. Growing up in a rural town in Alabama, I spent much of my time outside wandering through the forest. Thus my spirituality has always had a strong connection with my natural surroundings (as natural as things can be in America these days, anyway). For various reasons, I felt my Christian beliefs leave me as a teenager. Since that time I’ve paid more and more attention to the places and times in which I still felt my spiritual nature surface, and the people who have a tendency to bring it out of me. I feel comfortable claiming that most of my generation is in one way or another still seeking a peace that spiritual connections between other people, place, natural environments, and themselves can give. I admit that mine and a few of my friends’ exploration of commercialized ‘rave’ culture was a result of this, something I’ve only recently come to realize. For my friends back home, most of our relationships are built upon our appreciation of nature. Moving back and forth between ‘city life’ and rural life has exacerbated the importance of this natural connection to me. I’ve learned much from intertwining the slow life of my past with the rush of my new direction. Thus, I can’t help but get aggravated with the role of many technological forms in relation to the increasing ‘distraction’ that has come to characterize my generation. I saw my friends and strangers alike ‘at peace,’ if only momentarily, when we talked about ‘silence’ over the course of this year. For those that I knew personally, many revealed a side of themselves I had never noticed before.
Perhaps because of my love for architecture, I see the potential for these occurrences in built form - not only in nature have I felt such things. How can you offer such a path of quiet reflection and human understanding without imparting religious connotations and against the ‘machine’ of spiritual disconnection and distraction? Jared
Chapter One: silence
We live in a world of noise. Take time to listen, here, as you are just now. For many
of us it seems difficult not to long for a quieter time. Yet, perhaps just as many of us are driven by this noise - this world of activity, of speed. As we increasingly integrate our lives with the overstimulation of contemporary cities, desired or not, moments of silence should be rememebered.
“The question of what silence ‘does’ is best answered in the same way as the question
what speech, or any other semiotic system, can ‘do’ in communication.”1 Architecture, as the constructed reality of humankind, works as a spatial system of thought and of the senses and cannot be reduced to communication alone, broadly speaking. Architecture has the power to trigger the embodied thoughts and memories of humanity, our ideas and our emotions. Like communication, to fully define what silence ‘does’ in architecture would be impossible within the space of one thesis, however an investigation into its building blocks can provide a pleasant beginning. The topic of silence in architecture speaks to an experience of pause, when, at a loss for words, we reveal the presence of our emotions and our senses in the understanding of physical space. 1 Bauer, Laurie. ed. Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. Vol. 11 Elsevier: Boston 2006. 377.
Rather than formed exclusively for a stimulation of the eye (along with this, an intent of direct communication, a preference today that many times leads to overstimulation), an architecture of silence triggers a focused stillness of the body and the mind within all the senses. This thesis addresses the importance for people living within the density of the global city to find a collective moment of quiet reflection within the reinscription of an existing architecture of silence, a church.
Architecture can be thought of as an extension of our bodies (this includes our
minds). When architectural experience is connected with our bodies, we may call it ‘embodied’ - - the mind, body, and space as one. When architectural experience is separated from or existing without the body, we may call it ‘disembodied’ - - the mind and space separated from the body; space existing through vision and thought. An architecture of silence is embodied. An architecture of silence triggers our most essential emotions as human beings, it grounds us firmly upon the earth giving us place, purpose, meaning. Where somber hotel atriums lacking natural light compelled me to hold close to my mother for familiarity as a stranger passed by, a cave-like cool darkness, columns richly worn, and the quiet procession of priest and visitor alike in the Church of the Nativity weighed a uniquely human sense of ‘being’ upon me as a child.2 Put differently, the church gave me place, it gave me meaning. When statements are lost and silence reigns, the details of architecture emerge. Here the vastness of space or a 2 Jared Vanlandingham, for Professor Algar Thange’s assignment “Draw an Idea, Make an Idea”
foreign experience of place holds a feeling of a ‘universal grounding upon the earth’.3
Postmodernism is the ‘the cultural dominant’ of late capitalism, an umbrella-term
which describes the period after modernism in which all notions of cultural singularity have vanished in the Western world.4 Referring to no cultural movement in particular, it is the period marked by discontinuity and disjunction in which we currently reside – unified only by a universal crisis of meaning. To compound this notion, Postmodernism has seen the rise of all manner of personal intrusion, from advertising to profound noise caused by transportation, to name just a few. We can now begin to see the beneficial nature of silence emerge; in a cultural frenzy of confusion and dislocation, silence may become a means through which we ease the overwhelming effects of our Postmodern culture. In the age of communication, everything is reduced to messages, and the presence of life comes to us in images and words that gather around the heterotopic points of Borges’ Aleph, and apt and prescient metaphor for the electronic networks that make every point the equal of every other. The world becomes a little more overwhelming even as it is brought closer.
As the contemporary experience of urban environments reaches new extents
of surface perception – the giving of ultimate preference to clarity, precision, direct communication, and rapid information movement through the disembodied experience of the computer screen – moments of silence should be remembered in the design of 3 Ibid. 4 Storey, John. Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction. 5th ed. Longman, 2009. 191. 5 Quantrill, Malcolm and Bruce Webb, ed. The Culture of Silence: Architecture’s Fifth Dimension. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press, 1998. 92.
architecture as a way of maintaining the solidarity of spatial experience.
Silence in architecture refers to the experience of tranquility that
architecture can give, in this case apart from the tranquility accorded to natural space. During such a phenomenological experience, people may perceive an immediate understanding of their present sense of place on multiple scales. An intuitive focus occurs – a ‘knowing’ – while physical surroundings may seem to fade away revealing a very apparent sense of place, people not lose perceptual understanding of their surroundings.
When we look at objects or buildings that seem to be at peace within themselves, our perception becomes calm and
dulled. The objects we perceive have no message for us; they are simply there. Our perceptive faculties grow quiet, unprejudiced, and unacquisitive. They reach beyond signs and symbols; they are open, empty. It is as if we could see something on which we cannot focus our consciousness. Here, in this perceptual vacuum, a memory may surface, a memory that seems to issue from the depths of time. Now, our observation of the object embraces a presentiment of the world in all its wholeness because there is nothing that cannot be understood.
There is a power in the ordinary things of everyday life, as Edward Hopper’s paintings seem to say. We only have to look
at them long enough to see it. -Peter Zumthor
The quote above by Peter Zumthor in Thinking Architecture is a perfect articulation
of what silence can offer in an architectural sense. Zumthor is not describing a lofty dimension that only a few may reach, rather, he intends to describe an event which is open 6 Zumthor, Peter. Thinking Architecture. 2nd ed. Birkhäuser Architecture, 2006. 14.
for all to discover. Grounded on a personal notion, this experience occurs in the ‘thickness’ of ‘real’ space, aligned along a temporal continuum, offering a position of critical distance. Silence address the crisis of meaning in Postmodern culture by unifying the individual with ‘real’ depth, continual time, and critical distance. Spatial Experience of the Real
To advance toward these hidden experiences, we must penetrate the omnipresent
veil of mass media. We must fortify our defenses to resist the calculated distractions, which can deplete both psyche and spirit. … Architecture, more fully than other art forms, engages the immediacy of our sensory perceptions.
A moment of silence in architecture is first and foremost grounded in ‘real’ space.
Steven Holl continues in “Questions of Perception: Phenomenology of Architecture,” by contrasting the cinematic experience of a stone cathedral with its physical experience to show the difference between perception in simulated space versus ‘real’ space. The cinematic image has the ability to move the individual through the Cathedral’s space, to attain the understanding of its processional nature, and can even lift us above and beyond the ceiling, out into an extra-awareness of the building as a whole, or move us back in time in a photographed sequence. Yet for all its out of body out of time abilities, the cinematic experience cannot access the Cathedral on a tactile dimension. Holl points out in particular that “only the actual building allows the eye to roam freely among inventive 13
details.”7 The grain of the stone, its coldness, the temperature of the air, the slick surface of polished wooden pews, with their welcomed warmth amid a world of stone, the vast sense of scale echoed in auditory resonance – only the building itself offers these sensuous understandings to us. Thus the ‘thickness’ of ‘real’ space involves the simultaneous overlapping of all of our senses creating a complete perceptual depth. Furthermore, depth or ‘real’ space exists in context. “Architecture, by unifying foreground, middle ground, and distant views, ties perspective to detail and material to space.”8 We need only stroll through an arched doorway to reach the world outside and situate our experience within the genius loci of the Cathedral’s geographical location. Alignment along a Historical Temporal Continuum
Our perception in the ‘thickness’ of the ‘real’ does not exist outside of time, and
neither does it exist outside our personal story of history. However, a moment of silence provides a level plane upon which we may comfortably situate it within our historical temporal continuum without getting lost in distractions of the perpetual present. The perpetual present refers to the loss of any fluid historical sense in Postmodern time, as well as a future conception different from this present. As Alberto Perez-Gomez acknowledges in “Architecture as Embodied Knowledge,” by maintaining our conscious place within this 7 Holl, Steven. “Questions of Perception: Phenomenology of Architecture.” In Holl, Steven, Juhani Pallasmaa, and Alberto PerezGomez, Questions of Perception: Phenomenology of Architecture, 00-00. San Francisco: William Stout Publishers, 2006. 42. 8 Ibid.
historical continuum, “…history, our personal storia, becomes the normative intellectual framework for ‘making.’ The ‘tool’ is our human disposition, our personal fascination and wonder. Such is the point of departure: the meaningful work of our fellow poets, the makers of human culture.”9 In a word, silence not only provides a temporal continuum, in doing so it activates our ability to ‘make’ along this continuum – silence makes us aware of how our history drives our ‘self ’ in the present, and how we then orient our ‘self ’ through a conception of the future. Even more so, we become aware of our act in relation to others, totaling in the ‘making’ of culture. Offers Position of Critical Distance
The most important aspect to all of this – the most important gift of silence – is
its inherent dimension of critical distance. This distance does not imply detachment or disengagement, rather, it is the rise of ‘self ’-awareness within culture. Silence in itself is an act of critical distance, of quiet reflection. Engulfed in the ‘real’, “our experience and sensibilities can evolve through reflective and silent analysis.”10 Architecture can allow for moments of silence to occur, yet it is first up to us to pursue them. “To open ourselves to perception, we must transcend the mundane urgency of ‘things to do.’”11 In pursuing silence we can begin to tap into the position of our ‘self ’ within the wider 9 Pérez Gómez, Alberto. “Architecture as Embodied Knowledge.” Alberto Pérez-Gómez Journal of Architectural Education (1984-) Vol. 40, No. 2, Jubilee Issue (Winter, 1987) 57 10 Holl, Steven. “Questions of Perception: Phenomenology of Architecture.” In Holl, Steven, Juhani Pallasmaa, and Alberto PerezGomez, Questions of Perception: Phenomenology of Architecture, 00-00. San Francisco: William Stout Publishers, 2006. 42. 11 Ibid.
cultural reality revealing “the luminous intensity of the world. Only through solitude can we begin to penetrate the secret around us. An awareness of one’s unique existence in space is essential in developing a consciousness of perception.”12 Thus critical distance ignites our ‘luminous intensity of the world’, or, our connection with the world through our own personal establishment of ourselves within it, for a moment. Critical distance ignites meaning for us in the world. Returning to Zumthor’s description, “Now, our observation of the object embraces a presentiment of the world in all its wholeness because there is nothing that cannot be understood.”13 Chapter One Conclusion
Through personal reflection, opportunities for personal growth can be found in
moments of silence. For architecture, these moments present a real potential for establishing meaning within a ‘meaningless’ Postmodern world. Meaning can arise through the intimate interplay between the individual, the ‘thickness’ of ‘real’ space, a temporal continuum, and a position of critical distance. In this way architecture does not mean something – it does not impose meaning upon us – it instead provides a place for meaning to present itself to the individual.
12 Ibid. 13 Zumthor, Peter. Thinking Architecture. 2nd ed. Birkhäuser Architecture, 2006. 14.
case studies on a few masters Throughout this investigation I discovered a multitude of artists dealing with themes of a close nature to silence. These are the people, the subjects, that inspired and drove me the most. From each I learned a new way to trigger spatial experience, from each I gained a new understanding of the importance of perception.
The Silent Spirit of the Southern Landscape, Our Ties to Life and Earth, Childhood, Nostalgia, Longing and Solitude
Gordon Matta Clarke
Blurring Interior and Exterior through Removing, Cutting, Splicing
Speaking Without Words, Accumulating Experience, Sculpting Experience
Thickening the Experience of the Sky, of the Everyday
Art, architecture, and experience as one through Simplicity of Material and Precision of Light
Igniting Space, Blurring Public and Private
sally mann • The Silent Spirit of the Southern Landscape, Our Ties to Life and Earth, Childhood, Nostalgia, Longing and Solitude Sally Mann captures the the silence of the natural landscape, the atmosphere of an almost tangible entity, in her series Deep South. Her work embodies the emotion I associate with my childhood, growing up in Alabama. For me, this is silence in its first sense, the silence of nature.
“I struggle with enormous discrepancies: between the reality of motherhood and the image of it, between my love for my home and the need to travel, between the varied and seductive paths of the heart. The lessons of impermanance, the occasional despair and the muse, so tenuously moored, all visit their needs upon me and I dig deeply for the spiritual utilities that restore me.” 1
1 Sally Mann - Still Time catalogue Alleghany Highlands Arts and Crafts Center, 1988
1.01 Immediate Family • http://milkweedandtumbleweed.blogg.se/2010/august/sallymann.html
1.02 Deep South • http://www.photographyabdu.com/7-deep-southphotography-by-sally-mann/deep-south-photography-by-sallymann-4/
1.03 Deep South • http://www.shakesper.ru/files/SallyM/galery.html
gordon matta-clarke • Blurring Interior and Exterior through Removing, Cutting, Splicing Gordon Matta-Clark’s practice was to subtract from architecture already in existence - by cutting portions out of the building’s body. No new structures are added to the world, what is gained is a new understanding and historical memory of the structure for the citizens of the city.1 1 Interview with Gordon Matta-Clark. in Macca-Clark, (exhib. caL). lmernationaal Cultureel
“By undoing a building [11 open a state of enclosure which had been preconditioned not only by physical necessity but by the industry that proliferates suburban and urban boxes as a pretext for ensuring a passive, isolated consumer”1 “There is a kind of complexity which comes from taking an otherwise completely normal, conventional, albeit anonymous situation and redefining it, retranslating it into overlapping and multiple readings of conditions past and present.“2 1 Interview with Gordon Matta-Clark. in Macca-Clark, (exhib. caL). lmernationaal Cultureel Centrum, Antwerp 1977. p. 8. 2 Ibid.
1.05 Office Baroque • http://www.ooodd.com/pimages/cop_images/design-gapingholes-in-the-city-8211-art-by-gordon-matta-clark8-1297855058. jpg
1.06 Splitting â€˘ http://thefunambulistdotnet.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/gordonmattaclark28phaidon29007.jpg
ann hamilton ghost: a border act
• Speaking Without Words, Accumulating Experience, Sculpting Experience “Ann Hamilton’s work paradoxically tries to materialize things that initially seem intangible: sound, smell, duration, even presence. Though often described as sculpture, her work defies any simple reference to mere objects. It is almost “anti-object” in its materiality, since it arises from an accumulation of experiences, proving that the sum of Hamilton’s art, indeed, exceeds its parts.”1
1 “Ann Hamilton-Inside/Out” lecture at the Ontario College of Art & Design September 26, 2007.
“Hearing is touching at a distance.”1 “Works are accumulative the same way knitting and sewing is accumulative. The accumulations work to create a larger whole. We have to pay attention to presence. Pay attention to your own presence and the presence you bring into a space. How does felt knowledge come forward and how do we speak to that?”2
1 “Ann Hamilton-Inside/Out” lecture at the Ontario College of Art & Design September 26, 2007. 2 Ibid.
1.07 Ghost: A Border Act • http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_Mq0uv-ihjxc/TSvvLhAy9rI/ AAAAAAAAB98/PDeVyeO2W74/s1600/hamilton-inst-001.jpg
Ghost: A Border Act â€˘ http://wmuvideo.files.wordpress.com/2007/02/annhamilton2.jpg
“If we define art as part of the realm of experience, we can assume that after a viewer looks at a piece he leaves with the art, because the ‘art’ has been experienced.”1
• Thickening the Experience of the Everyday “Turrell’s skyspace designs do not require an explanation, they are ordinary enough that visitors are not intimidated to observe and try to understand, and yet unique enough to produce many dramatic visual effects that surprise many viewers. But the room is just a room. The viewer does all the work, observing it all and noting what is remarkable. Turrell stays out of it, there is no lecture.”1
1 Pelli, D. G. (2005). What is observation? James Turrell’s skyspace at PS1. In A. M. Torres (Curator), James Turrell. Valencia, Spain: Institut Valencia d’Art Modern.
“The more you have extraordinary experience in flight, the more you recognize the difficulty in passing on the experience to others. Your experience becomes such that it is almost too difficult to talk about it. It seems useless to try to transmit the experience. It would be easier to send others on the flight itself. The idea of the Boddhisattva, one who comes back and entices others to the journey, is to some degree the task of the artist. It is a different role from that of one who is there when you get there.”2 1 James Turrell, 21 January 1969, Report of the Art and Technology Program of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art 1967-1971. Los Angeles: LACMA. 2 James Turrell, 1993, Air mass. London: South Bank Centre. p. 18.
1.09 Space That Sees, 1992 • http://www.english.imjnet.org.il/Media/Uploads/TurrellSpace-That-Sees.jpg
1.10 Skyspace in Section • http://platechnic.com/ref/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/ SS.jpg
donald judd chinati foundation
• Art, architecture, and experience as one through Simplicity of Material and Precision of Light I’ve never been anywhere quite like Marfa, Texas. I arrived to the tiny Texan town at 2:00am Friday night. I spent Saturday at the Chinati Foundation, a project begun by Donald Judd in 1979. I left Sunday, feeling like “myself ” again, for whatever that may mean. Since that day, I have been gripped by the magnificent hand of nostalgia. I had pondered early on the connection between silence and nostalgia. Marfa brought it out of me again.1
1 Jared Vanlandingham, From my sketchbook, June 2012
“Art and architecture - all the arts - do not have to exist in isolation, as they do now. This fault is very much a key to the present society. Architecture is nearly gone, but it, art, all of the arts, in fact all parts of the society, have to be rejoined, and joined more than they have ever been. This would be democratic in a good sense, unlike the present increasing fragmentation into separate but equal categories, equal within the arts, but inferior to the powerful bureaucracies.”1
1 The Chinati Foundation/La Fundacion Chinati, 1987; Text © Judd Foundation 2007, licensed by VAGA, NY, NY.
“If you go far enough west you should definitely go to Marfa Texas, home of Donald Judd’s artist community, Chinati Foundation an all around great experience. It’s all about space and flatness and vastness (all of which contribute to silence).” -Professor Amy Wynne 28
“Seedbed, it was a kind of 8-hour job for that period. Its sense had to do with taking a room, walls and floor that you assume are neutral, and trying to fill that space with a person. I had to be part of the floor–before the first person came and after the last person left.”1
• Igniting Space, Blurring Public and Private In “Seedbed” Vito Acconci lay hidden under the floorboard of his gallery show, masturbating while speaking into a loudspeaker his fantasies about the visitors walking above him on the ramp. Over the course of three weeks, he masturbated eight hours a day while muttering phrases such as ‘you’re pushing your cunt down on my mouth’ or ‘you’re ramming your cock down into my ass.’ Acconci is the producer and the consumer of the work’s pleasure implying that he is simultaneously public and private - unable to touch visitors with his hands, space is ignited when visitors experience the ‘touching’ of his sound.1
1.12 Seedbed Gallery Space • http://www.whirm.com/Art208/images/148.jpg
1.13 Seedbed Gallery Space • http://archrecord.construction.com/features/ interviews/0718Acconci/abridged/ss1/3.jpg
Vito Acconci in Seedbed
Chapter 2: three silences and the senses
Sublime Silence _____________________________
Grand Silence _____________________
Humble Silence ____________
2.01 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs • http://www.selfmademiracle.com/prosperity/maslow’s-hierarchy-of-needs-what-are-man’s-needs-according-tomaslow/
Max Neef’s Matrix of Human Needs Humble Silence
2.02 Max Neef, Human Need Matrix • http://www.thegoalfocusedway.com/the-max-neef-model-of-human-scale-development/
Humble silence invokes emotions of warmth, comfort, softness. It is difficult to think of a vernacular home that does not rest in such silence. Modern times has its share of humble silences too - the Japanese, the people of northern Europe and Scandinavia, all share a close understanding of it. I believe many of Louis Kahn’s interiors achieve such an embracing intimacy. We do not lose our voice in the Kimbell Art Museum, but the warmth of concrete and stone and the softness of light gives us a uniquely subtle background to experience works of art within – one so much more tranquil than the sterile white box. Here, art has found a home.
I believe that we need today an ascetic, concentrative and contemplative architecture. We yearn for an architecture that rejects noise, efficiency and fashions. We need an architecture that does not aspire after the dramatic, but rather aims at lyricising the real things of everyday life. We yearn for radical ordinariness and everydayness, a natural architecture, of the type that fills our mind with good feelings when we enter an old peasant cottage or sit upon a Shaker chair. Alongside an architecture that breaks beyond its boundaries and redefines itself we need an architecture of silence. -Juhani Pallasmaa
1 Pallasmaa, “The Limits of Architecture-Towards an Arhitecture of Silence,” trans. Michael Wynne-Ellis, Arkkitehti, no. 6 (1990), 27.
Kimbell Art Museum
Ft. Worth, Texas Louis Kahn 197?
When we think of the great architectural experiences across the world, hardly do we ever associate them with a ‘statement’. More likely do they trigger memories of ages past, long standing associations of awe that seem to sweep across time and simultaneously ground us firmly upon the earth. Approaching the Gothic cathedral, we rise up from a stair and enter a small dark cavity, we get the feeling that something is about to happen – and we enter. Inside, our voices drop, the pace of our feet slows, we gaze out and upwards. In place of any one ‘statement’ is an atmosphere we lose ourselves within, an “intimate immensity” as Bachelard says.1 This is silence on a grand scale. 1 Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space: The Classic Look at How We Experience Intimate Places. Boston: Beacon Press Books, 1994. 122. The most essential auditory experience created by architecture is tranquility. Architecture presents the drama of construction silenced into matter, space and light. Ultimately, architecture is the art of petrified silence. When the clutter of construction work ceases, and the shouting of workers dies away, a building becomes a museum of a waiting, patient silence. [...] The silence of architecture is a responsive, remembering silence. A powerful architectural experience silences all
external noise; it focuses our attention on our very existence, and as with all art, it
1 makes us aware of our fundamental solitude. -Juhani Pallasmaa 1 Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes of the Skin, p.67
New York City, New York
Grand Central Station
Similar to Gothic cathedrals, Grand Central Station in New York utilizes a shifting procession into its largest space, invoking an immediate sense of awe, one overwhelming and all encompasing. Though the noise of many moving people remains constant, the exspanse of space and soliditiy of material create a volume in which these sounds fade into, out and beyond. Large shafts of light during certain times of day reinforce this ascending experience.
2.03 Grand Central Station, 1934 â€˘ http://www.allposters.com/-sp/Grand-Central-StationNew-York-City-c-1940-s-Posters_i6792561_.htm
The sublime in silence shares many traits with that of grand - we are awed to silence, yet in a rather different way. The sublime is beautiful and terrible at once, and is thus in tension. Its otherworldliness originates from rare conditions of light and scale, those outside the everyday, a less familiar, more mysterious pull - procession as we know it turned on its head.
Architecture has often played the silent watcher, embodying within itself a silent and irreducible sense of place. But in recent years even these sublime and pure architectural phenomena have become simply another form of communication, not so much productions of an architectural presence as signifiers. [â€Ś] Once architecture loses its obsession with communication, it gains the freedom to rediscover itself in entirely new forms emanating from real encounters and discoveries occurring in real time. It reestablishes its primacy in muted tones, in a language beyond language. Arousing an awareness of the uncanny and the mystical, it forms a portal between dreams and reality.
1â€‚Quantrill, Malcolm and Bruce Webb, ed. The Culture of Silence: Architectureâ€™s Fifth Dimension. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press, 1998. 75.
Philip Johnson, Howard Barnstone, Eugene Aubry Public Sanctuary 1971
Terminate in Space Enclosure and Balance (Non-Directional) Silence as a Begin/End Space Rest Object-Introspective Entity Volume, Containment
I had the privelege of visiting Rothko Chapel in the summer of 2011 before beginning this thesis, these are observations I made on its unique character of silent space, observations which brought me to the decision of working in an existing space of spirituality.
Sensory Perception at St. John the Baptist Cathedral To better understand the experience of the body in a cathedral space, I visited the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah, GA. These are observations from that experience - on my own bodily experience, what I observed of others, and of the architectural character itself. This curiousity was prompted by my interest in spiritual space, and by a previous visit to the same cathedral with my mother. We spoke the fundamental power of the space, how no other place can quite compare, how, Christian or not, you canâ€™t help but feel emersed in spirit - of God, of humankind.
Chapter 3: story of a church Site Analysis
Holy Communion, 1940
Church of the Holy Communion Episcopal Church, 1848-1975
Church of the Holy Communion - 1848 1. Sanctuary 2. Bell Tower 3. Rectory 4. Nun’s Convent 3.02 Holy Communion, Rendering • http://lh3.ggpht.com/_QOQfpCJOYK4/TQv7yJeXf_I/ AAAAAAAAAaA/RgW2VpR_uR4/Limelight%20 ii%5B3%5D.jpg
3.03 Holy Communion, Rendering • http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_mlPoGU4VqSk/SLPpN0P8II/AAAAAAAAHVw/RvGvbDZnRNU/ church+holy+communion.jpg
3.05 Original Plans by Richard Upjohn â€˘ http://www.cmoa.org/searchcollections/.%5CMedia%5C13%5C233%5C1035779_standard.jpg
52 3.06 Sixth Avenue c. 1895 • http://collections.mcny.org/C.aspx?VP3=SearchResult_VPage&VBID=24UP1GYQSJ24&SMLS=1&RW=1440& RH=786
Holy Communion Interior, 1901 â€˘ http://www.nycago.org/Organs/NYC/img/HolyCommunion1901Int.jpg
Holy Communion Interior, 1912 â€˘ http://collections.mcny.org/C.aspx?VP3=SearchResult_VPage&VBID=24UP1GYQSJ24&SMLS=1&RW=1440&RH=786
Limelight Nightclub, 1983-2007
Limelight [Nightclub] - 1983 1. Dance floor 2. Stage 3. Balconies 4. ‘Sex Rooms’
3.09 Limelight Nightclub Dance Floor • http://www.corbisimages.com/images/CorbisZXX650124.jpg?size=67&uid=908e8b34-c3b2-45f9-8f193d9286afce6b
2 3.10 Limelight Nightclub Dance Floor • http://absolutionnyc.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/absolution-NYC-goth-clubLimelight2.png
Limelight Marketplace Retail Shopping Outlet, 2007-Present
3.11 Limelight Marketplace Map • http://images.nymag.com/shopping/features/ limelight100503_2_560.jpg
Limelight Marketplace - 2007 1. Main Hall, Various Retail
3.12 Limelight Marketplace, 2010 • http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2010/05/05/dining/05limelightspan1/05limelightspan-1-articleLarge.jpg
1 3.13 Limelight Marketplace, 2010 • http://images.travelpod.com/users/otherguru/4.1273463217.limelight-marketplace.jpg 56
comparison of church against other projects
moods of manhattan
Chapter Four: design process
The â€˜exquisite diagramâ€™ tracks the development of this from start to finish in text. After follows the development through a phrasing, sketching, and collaging process recorded over the span of schematic design and design development.
Light and Shadow Studies
Procession and Sequencing
Three Silences conversations with Clayton
roof framing study modeling
Chapter 5: final design, exhibition, conclusion
ADA Accessible Entries
Stepping off Avenue of the Americas, the visitor is welcomed by a sparsely filled courtyard. A path, lined with trees catches the eye.
The path reveals a new entrance, a void in the ground. 124
The new entrance slips under the old foundation wall of the churchâ€™s northern face, into darkness.
Stepping closer, the rose window of the churchâ€™s southern face appears in the darkness. Our eyes adjust, and we move inside.
Our eyes fully adjusted, the darkness now not so dark, the sound of falling water fades in as the rose window begins to recede.
Turning right, the source of the sound of water is found - a sublime silence, the church hovers above our heads and a new rose window appears.
Taken from another angle, the floor void reveals details of walls and windows above. We sit and reflect.
Standing at the end of the basement, light from the street above rushes in. Falling water surrounds, collecting at the base of the new buttressing system.
Turning around, a stair can be seen in the distance. 131
The stair is slightly hidden, so we follow the walls to find it. 132
Our path reveals itself, daylight rushes in. 133
The stair is found, the spaces behind now a memory. 134
Entering the sanctuary, we are overcome with a grand silence. The church as it once was is found, hints of where we came from and where we may go too.
The first rose window we came across below - now in its full glory. 136
Memories of the sublime linger, we can see through a void. 137
The sun comes in, igniting the warmth of the wooden stair. We pursue. 138
While others linger, we wonder where the walk above leads - this was the wall we entered below, will we cross it again?
Where once was an altar now resides the stair, ascending. 140
The vastness of the spaces as one can be seen, from basement to sanctuary, we climb the stair.
A new scale emerges, warm and tender - this is humble silence. The sky above is seen, light surrounds us and the old wooden roof of the church becomes tactile.
A slight tension is felt, knowing we traverse high above. 143
The rose window, only a distant thought before, is found again. It presents itself in full as the sun crosses its face.
Uncertainty - where does the path lead now? 145
Out on the roof like in a dream long ago we walk, perilously. 146
Into a new space it seems. The darkness is eerie but welcomed, maybe it holds a better footing.
Like dwelling at the edge of a cliff, the distance is vast and the ground unsure as we venture back in to the sublime. All is quiet, not a sound can be heard.
We hug the wall, hoping the ground will surface soon. 149
A sigh of relief as the ground is found - we stare up from where we came, the sun leaks in.
Darkness surrounds us in the tunnel. But a familiar sound appears again - the sound of water.
Come full circle, we leave, out into the daylight. 152
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Doran, Gil M. “Dead Zones, Outdoor Rooms, and the Architecture of Transgression.” In Loose Space: Possibility and Diversity in
Urban Life, ed. Karen A. Franck and Quentin Stevens, 210-229. New York: Routledge, 2007.
Eisenman, Peter. “Visions’ Unfolding: Architecture in the Age of Electronic Media.” In Theorizing A New Agenda For Architecture:
An anthology of architectural theory 1965-1995, Nesbitt, Kate, ed., 556 – 561. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1996.
Foucault, Michel. “Of Other Spaces (1967), Heterotopias.” In Architecture/ Mouvement/ Continuité. Translated by Jay Miskowiec, 1984. Hamilton, Ann. “Ann Hamilton-Inside/Out” lecture at the Ontario College of Art & Design September 26, 2007. Holl, Steven. “Questions of Perception: Phenomenology of Architecture.” In Holl, Steven, Juhani Pallasmaa, and Alberto Perez-Gomez,
Questions of Perception: Phenomenology of Architecture, 41-44. San Francisco: William Stout Publishers, 2006.
Hutson, Scott. “The Rave: Spiritual Healing in Modern Western Subcultures.” Anthropological Quarterly, Vol. 73, No. 1 (January 2000): 35-49. Jameson, Fredric. “Postmodernism, or The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism.” New Left Review, Vol. 196 (1984): 53-92.
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Thinking, 180-197. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1992.
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trans. Michael Wynne-Ellis, Arkkitehti, no. 6 (1990), 27.
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Vol. 40, No. 2, Jubilee Issue (Winter, 1987) 57-58.
Perez-Gomez, Alberto. “The Space of Architecture: Meaning as Presence and Representation.” In Holl, Steven, Juhani Pallasmaa,
and Alberto Perez-Gomez, Questions of Perception: Phenomenology of Architecture, 12-32. San Francisco: William Stout
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Appendix A The Contested Body
How are we to approach ‘meaningful experience’ if it may be defined by
anyone, anywhere, at any given time? In that regard, does meaning present itself to the individual? Can it? Or is it another thing entirely? To address the notion of meaning – specifically meaning which may present itself to the individual within moments of silence – it is necessary to investigate the status of the body in contemporary understandings of architecture, for the human body determines the possibility of such a notion. An understanding of the presence (or conversely the absence) of the human body within spatial experience has pervaded the history of Western architectural discourse, and has likewise preempted historical discussions of what ‘meaningful experience’ could be.1 In “Body Troubles” Robert McAnulty outlines the discussion of the body from the beginning of Western architectural discourse to the present. McAnulty’s work is significant as it reveals that the status of the body in architecture is contested, at best. We may not reach any sort of unified conclusion on the role of the body, however we can rejoice in the space of possibility provided by such a contested status. Thus I will utilize McAnulty’s text to reconstruct the history of this discourse, providing grounds for placing silence within its contemporary discursive context. I will then look to the space of possibility offered by Peter Eisenman and the partners Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio. In overcoming the confines of cartesian notions of the body and architecture, a space can be found for 1
‘meaningful experience’ – through exploration we may acknowledge the contested role of the body without reverting to ambitions of commanding it. Humanist Body
Our quest for the body begins with Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man (Fig. 1),
the bodily diagram which subsequently shaped the endeavors of classical architecture and pervades our interpretation of the body still today. The drawing presents the body as a balanced figure, an ordered configuration, a unified and hierarchical composition, static and stable, aligned with the abstract geometrical figures of the circle and square. The body is represented unanimous with mathematical figuration, their point of origin located at the navel of the man where all three meet. McAnulty states We find a body that is presented as embodying the harmonic order of a divinely inspired network of Euclidian geometry, thus empowering it in its claim to the pivotal position in an anthropocentric world.
In other words, the Vitruvian Man shows the centrality of a universal, abstracted body within the world: it is an anthropocentric world. Classical architecture sought to mimic the body by reconstructing its order, harmony, and proportions which were held as universal truths. Architecture is understood in this way as a projection of the body, “its method, to transcribe in stone the body’s favorite states,” as McAnulty quotes Geoffrey Scott’s Architecture of Humanism.3 Humanism shares with the classical in this regard, and the 2 McAnulty 181-182. 3 Ibid.
A.02 Vitruvian Man • http://leonardodavinci.stanford.edu/submissions/clabaugh/ history/leonardo.html
critique of the humanistic view foreshadows all other discourse on the body. By projecting the body, architecture acts as a transcription and an inherent distance becomes manifest between the body and the building, formalized in Euclidean geometry and perspective. The distance between the body and the building forms a subject/object distinction, architecture becomes a dichotomy between body and world, interior and exterior, the body is assumed as an independent, preexisting entity. Humanism sees perception as the body projecting its favorite states located internally onto the external world which takes form only as it is envisioned.4 Inscribed Body
Where an anthropocentric world envisioned a central body dictating the essence
of reality, Michel Foucault inserted the body as first the subject of power. Foucault’s claims demonstrate the weakness of an anthropocentric viewpoint as it neglects the body’s position first and foremost within a preexisting political situation.5 Such notions of the body were derived from historical, psychological, and biological considerations, and when understood within the reality of political imposition each begins to crumble. In Discipline and Punish, Foucault proposes the soldier as the pure expression of political imposition. McAnulty states The articulation of his every gesture, from his marching posture to his penmanship was broken down into its component parts, A.03 Panopticon • http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/ thumb/1/11/Panopticon.jpg/220px-Panopticon.jpg
4 Ibid. 5 Ibid.
each of which was assigned a duration and an order of appearance. The Vitruvian body, subject to metaphysical analysis, was replaced by the manipulable body, inscribed through training and control.
Foucault’s analysis of Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon (Fig. 2) provides a literal understanding of such a power relationship within a work of architectural design. McAnulty notes that under sovereign rule events such as public hangings reaffirmed the power of the king through ‘its marking of the body of the condemned.’7 Where these acts explicitly affirmed the power of the king, modern and postmodern society hide such affirmation of power within culture itself. This relies heavily on the idea of surveillance, for which the panopticon prison embodies in architecture itself. The radial plan of the panopticon allows the guard complete visual access to each inmate, and in turn the inmate experiences an endless knowledge of the presence of authority. In this way, the inmate is controlled through his/ her knowledge of the guard’s sight which shapes the perceived actions of the inmate. The inmate thus disciplines him/herself in avoidance of punishment, and “power came to be observable only by way of its exercise and activity.”8 The power of the invisible eye of the guard pressures the inmate – resistance to such an eye must be carried out in a secretive manner, thus even the act of resistance is shaped by an overarching, invisible power. By accepting social codes of conduct, even a democratic society indirectly places power upon the body. Each body, each individual in society at once exerts this invisible power over 6 Ibid., 183 7 Ibid. 8 Ibid.
others while simultaneously being inscribed by the same power exerted by those others in the very same way. Thus exteriority forms the body through inscription within the vast complexity of evolving relationships and practices of culture, and this inscription exists always prior to the individual. Homeric Body
Alberto Perez-Gomez bases his discourse on the body with the dislocation instilled
within us that he sees as a result of contemporary society. In “The Renovation of the Body,” he identifies that this society prefers scientific and technological practices, defined by precise and objective meaning, and lacks any consideration of the body and its ‘lifeworld’, what he sees as critical to human life. In response he posits a Homeric tradition which supposedly predates the classical. This tradition acknowledges no distinction between the body and its perception of the world, it is situated in a presence of perception and has strong ties to the existential phenomenology of Heidegger’s ‘dwelling’.9 Similar to the Humanist tradition, this framework considers the world meaningful only as far as it is experienced through mimetic projection. It is unique however in that the body and the world are seen as existing in a continuum, and the body projects itself into the world in “the figure of the ‘clearing’” which may be seen as analogous to Heidegger’s ‘dwelling’.10 Similar again to the Humanist tradition, this dwelling of the body precedes instrumentality 9 Ibid., 185. 10 Ibid.
or inscription. This is achieved through what McAnulty terms transcendence in experience which enables the body to reach beyond itself and find new meaning.11 Such transcendence relies upon the body’s experience of objects which ‘become magically alive’, allowing the individual to ‘poetically name’ (experience their indescribable reality in the present), which apparently differs from classical anthropocentrism.12 McAnulty questions such naming in that it requires first a projection of the body to animate such objects, which then results in transcendence. Transcendence then is still confined to a projection of the body, hardly a transcendence at all. The role of the architect would be to construct these magical objects or figures which allow such transcendence. “What starts as an attempt to outline a strategy for retrieving, resuscitating, and renovating the body in phenomenological terms becomes a prescriptive ideal with a very specific formal analogue.”13
In an attempt to reformulate the body in relation to architecture beyond the
problems posited by Foucault, McAnulty sees Perez-Gomez’s argument as a failure in that it simply returns to the confines of humanism via figural, projective, and animistic notions. Thus McAnulty argues that the body must be addressed outside such previously-explored terrain through exploring spatial, inscriptive, and sexual notions.14 In this way the writing of Peter Eisenman and the conceptual works of Diller and Scofidio address a space of 11 Ibid., 186. 12 Ibid. 13 Ibid., 187. 14 Ibid., 196.
A.04 Panopticon Cell • http://www.utilitarianism.com/panopticon.jpg
negotion awaiting architectural discourse of the body. Diller and Scofidio
In closing “Body Troubles” McAnulty provides no address to this contested subject
of the body. Instead, he presents three conceptual works by Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio in the interest of igniting the multiplicity of avenues in which architects can address the topic. Diller and Scofidio’s work stands out because of its immensely versatile nature, most importantly its address along spatial, inscriptive, and sexual terms. Their explorations are preceded by a question of the body as self-enclosed which traditional endeavors often assume as inherent. McAnulty is intrigued in that the team’s work is closer to presuming a ‘body without organs’ (Fig. 10). Denying a return to the Vitruvian Man, Diller and Scofidio are attempting to make themselves a body which lacks “a fixed hierarchy of ideas/organs organized by an internal logic of function and circulation.”15 In ‘the with Drawing room’ project (Fig. 11) attention is centered on space which lacks the presence of the body in order to focus on those spatial relationships which bring definitions of the body through social construction. The ritualized domesticity of the home is played out without the body and in turn social construction of the domestic body is concretized through the play of the ‘objects’ which give and leave traces of domesticity. The method A.05 The with Drawing Room • http://server1.dsrny.com/projects/WithdrawingRoom/ Stretched-Interior_thumb.jpg
employed here is one of analysis which exposes social practice for the observer to study 15 Ibid., 191.
In a similar manner the social construction of gender identity is explored in ‘A
Delay in Glass’ (Fig. 12) by Diller and Scofidio. Rather than assuming an animistic lens, this project deviates from the work of humanism and Perez-Gomez through the sexual stance it assumes. The “irreconcilability between male and female” is conceived in a two story structure, one box stacked on top of another.16 Within the two boxes resides the Bachelor and the Bride, the male and female, representing the stereotypical division of masculine/feminine roles and the confinement of the sexes within each. One gender is not subject to another, rather an understanding that both are restricted by their respective gender identity arises. The two are separated by the horizontal plane of the floor in which is housed a metallic door signifying social apparatus delineating the two. The tension of desire is felt on both sides because of the social apparatus, and the chance to reconcile these tensions is forever denied. The only relief is given through the use of a mirror allowing each to perceive each other, but only through reflection. “Diller and Scofidio acknowledge architecture’s complicity in prescribing sexual difference in the figure of the pivoting door, while simultaneously reflecting on the inscriptive power of convention through the figure of the mirror.”17
16 Ibid., 193. 17 Ibid., 196.
Peter Eisenman’s “Visions’ Unfolding” addresses projection in the ongoing
transformation of technological reproduction, the move from mechanical to electronic, and the diminishing role of the subject (what has until now been termed the body) as interpreter. This idea is easily understood by using the photograph (mechanical) and the fax (electronic) as examples – while the photograph requires the human subject to interpret in the process of its reproduction, the fax reproduces without any input, simultaneously devaluing the meaning of the original along with the copy. This evolution is enormous and cannot be ignored, for as Eisenman recognizes, “reality always demanded that our vision be interpretive.”18 The shift from mechanical to electrical has greatly altered reality and should have likewise altered architecture yet Eisenman believes it has not. He offers the hegemonic mechanical paradigm in architecture as explanation of this. Such a paradigm holds perspectival vision above all other senses and the relationship between the eye and orienting the body in space seems to have justified its position.
Despite many attempts otherwise, Eisenman declares that the seeing human
subject has held primacy in architectural discourse since the development of perspective projection drawing during the Renaissance. He asserts that such a subject is inherently monocular and anthropocentric, and vision becomes a rationalizing process fueled by a 18 Eisenman, 556.
‘set of tools’ which provide a very particular, very guided perception. The body is confined within a reduction of experience. Eisenman elaborates: Traditional architecture is structured so that any position occupied by a subject provides the means for understanding that position in relation to a particular spatial typology, such as a rotunda, a transept crossing, an axis, an entry. Any number of these typological conditions deploy architecture as a screen for looking-at.
The primacy of vision yields an anthropocentric subject – again we have returned to humanistic tradition situating the body as separate from the world. Yet Eisenman provides hope for dismantling such tradition with the idea of looking-back. Imagining looking-back entails the severing of the subject from a rationalization of space and the mind from the eye, revealing that which vision hides, “an other space, where in fact the space ‘looks back’ at the subject.”20 Looking-back then requires a different understanding of inscription as the mediated intention of the singular authorial expression is no longer valid. To dislocate vision might require an inscription which is the result of an outside text which is neither overly determined by design expression or function.
Eisenman ponders how such an inscription could translate into space, which he answers with the introduction of folded space. My folded projects are a primitive beginning. In them the subject understands that he or she can no longer conceptualize experience in the same way that he or she did in gridded space. They attempt to provide this dislocation of the subject from effective space; an idea of presentness. … This begins to produce an environment that “looks back” – that is, the environment seems to have an order 19 Ibid., 559. 20 Ibid. 21 Ibid.
that we can perceive even though it does not seem to mean anything.
When such a space seems not to mean anything, the individual is no longer pressured to understand or interpret it, folded space thus excludes the individual from a environment that has become detached from vision and now presents its own vision by looking back at the individual. Such space should not be confused with surface folding or surface architecture for, it holds a possibility of the gaze. The gaze opens the possibility of seeing what Blanchot calls the light lying in the darkness. It is not the light of the dialectic of light/
23 dark, but it is the light of otherness, which lies hidden within presence.
In overcoming the confines of formal notions of the body and architecture, a space
can be found for ‘meaningful experience’ – through exploration we may acknowledge the contested role of the body without reverting to ambitions of commanding it – then, we may avoid naively ignoring its power as a spontaneous vessel.
22 Ibid., 560. 23 Ibid., 561.
Appendix B Exposure and Play: Heterotopias of Bodily Movement and Homosexual Expression A paper submitted to Professor Ryan Madson as required for the course Emerging Urban Issues March 12, 2012.
â€˘ Corben, Billy. Limelight. DVD. New York City. Magnolia Home Entertainment. January 2012.
Spaces of otherness present the possibility of transgressive and transcendental
experience between the placeless dwellers of the urban environment. Previously confined to the realm of religion, shared urban experiences of the ineffable, the beautiful, the mysterious seem no longer possible. However, such embodied experiences of a heightened state have not disappeared, rather they have migrated into invisible spheres, what have been deemed ‘heterotopias’ by Michel Foucault. To conceptualize the role of such play and exposure of bodies in the future of urban life, the historical transformation of queer space is analyzed. As evidence of a long unraveling of repressed bodily communication and place-making, the later incorporation of dance and playful expression in homosexual urban life may in part owe its success to the heterotopias of invisible queer space of the Victorian era. An opportunity opens in these overlapping spaces of otherness – by allowing urban bodies to move and intersect with one another, such spaces in the 21st century city may in fact negate the power of commodified spheres and reinstate the inter-human capacity for collective play and exposure offered by the liberation of the body. Heterotopias Gil M. Doran provides an apt example for explaining one instance of the heterotopia and its place in the lives of gay men. While traveling in Singapore Doran describes the role of the interior void of an atrium within an urban shopping mall and the ‘desiring gaze’ of gay men which may be met across it: 176
Among the shoppers strolling along the corridors, some turned their backs to the shop windows, and as they leaned on the atrium railing, they gazed, like me, into the void. Standing there, for almost one hour, I saw that some were neither looking for a shop, nor interested in the architecture of the void. They were actually staring, across the void, directly at me and at some other men standing on the floor below. I stared back. The void enabled this play of gazes without the risk of intimacy. It prevented strangers coming too close or too soon. And this void, once the gaze was established, was cut, folded, and squeezed under the pressure of our gazes. Our gaze was an architectural tool; the void was the ground. The shopping mall was re-designed, now it became a sexual playground. The capitalist space was suspended, and transgressed. I pondered whether I should perhaps have asked the planner in the city’s planning department to update the map, as the red color for commercial uses turned pink.
Doran reveals the presence and absence characteristic of heterotopias. To those shoppers outside the invisible realm of these gay men, the heterotopia is non-existent. Only the men themselves, and in this case Doran as an observer of the activity of people in the space, may access the presence of the heterotopia. This invisible space is constituted by the architectural void of the interior atrium along with the ‘desiring gaze’ of homosexual men seeking to pick up sexual partners. In silence these men appropriate the space to fit their needs as a marginalized group, an other formally denied existence by the capitalist space. There are also, probably in every culture, in every civilization, real places - places that do exist and that are formed in the very founding of society - which are something like counter-sites, a kind of effectively enacted utopia in which the real sites, all the other real sites that can be found within the culture, are simultaneously represented, contested, and inverted. Places of this kind are outside of all places, even though it may be possible to indicate their location in reality. Because these places are absolutely
1 Gil M. Doran, “Dead Zones, Outdoor Rooms, and the Architecture of Transgression,” in Loose Space: Possibility and Diversity in Urban Life, ed. Karen A. Franck and Quentin Stevens (New York: Routledge, 2007), 227.
different from all the sites that they reflect and speak about, I shall call them, by way of contrast to utopias, heterotopias.
Victorian Turkish Baths The introduction of the Turkish Bath into nineteenth century London provided an architectural stage upon which the performances of ideal Victorian-era masculinity were acted out. By the mid-nineteenth century, self-control, restraint, and distance became the hallmarks of ideal masculine identity. “In short, intimacy left a competitor exposed, vulnerable, and thus disadvantaged.”3 The incorporation of the nude male body into the design of privatized public architecture of the Jermyn Street Hammam transcended interior space opening a heterotopia allowing the ‘homoerotic desiring gaze’ to blur the boundaries of Victorian heterosexual masculinity. Victorian Male Social Clubs At the time preceding the introduction of Turkish Baths, male social clubs had gained popularity among wealthier classes of men in Victorian London. These social clubs provided an outlet for men to socialize in spaces detached from their domestic lives and without the influence of women, an outlet defined by pleasure and consumption. The popularity of these clubs comes as no surprise, for men of the era were expected to maintain an air of discipline characterized by denial which affected their personalities 2 Michel Foucault, Of Other Spaces, Heterotopias, trans. Jay Miskowiec (1984), 1. 3 John Potvin, “Vapour and Steam: The Victorian Turkish Bath, Homosocial Health, and Male Bodies on Display,” Journal of Design History 18, no. 4 (2005): 327.
even into the depths of their own home. Victorian masculinity came to be defined within these homosocial spaces rather than the domestic.4 Thus a large part of the popularity of the baths resulted as they provided another venue of pleasure and consumption for men. Visible Play and Performance Victorian distinctions between public and private were blurred as men performed acts of masculinity and intimacy as part of the rituals and pleasures of homosociability housed in the Turkish Bath. The boundary between the homosexual and heterosexual is problematized by the potential of same-sex eroticism,5 a desire which is restricted to the gaze. Men’s bodies are left vulnerable to this ‘desiring gaze’, a reversal in the idea that security is maintained through sexual difference, the assumption that all men are heterosexual. “The codes of performance falters at the level of reading its signs,” for as, John Potvin states, “a slip in the reliability of the image or sign has the potential to displace aesthetic disinterest into the erotic, allowing desire or better yet the homoerotic to pass unnoticed.”6 Through peace, calm, and health men could bond in such spaces without virile aggression often associated with competitive interactions such as in sporting events. David Urquhart even states that “parts of the bathing performance, particularly within the first act,” to be “essentially sociable, for while a young boy attended to the needs of the 4 Ibid. 5 Ibid. 6 Ibid.
bather’s feet, the bather became well acquainted with the news of the town.”7 With the removal of filth, the unnecessary excesses of the body, the Victorian Turkish Baths relaxed the bourgeois need to control and regulate the body through a mask of health and hygiene.
The depiction of these architectural spaces at the Jermyn Street Hammam reveal
evidence supporting the presence of the desiring gaze. Pictured in the hot-chamber (Figure B.1), men are represented interacting freely with each other - men gather throughout the hot chamber engaged in discussion, while one bather is attended to by a shampooer.8 Shampooing of the body was quite a vigorous act for the bather to experience, and here it is portrayed in the presence of other men. The tension between visible performance and the gaze is made manifest in the hot chambers (on the perimeter of the shampooing space) in which the “limited light afforded by the celestial beams from the starry dome is somewhat obstructed by the steam and vapour, allowing a partial view of the bathers.”9
The Victorian Turkish Baths are cited as spaces offering security to the interaction
of homosexual men. “They provided a discreet place to inspect a young man before offering him a cup of tea at Lyons.”10 “These spaces of ‘erotic oasis’ acted as an ideal conceptual and spatial heterotopia through which alternative identities, through sexual
B.02 “The Hammam” (view of Harrah within a Hammam) • Potvin, Vapour and Steam, 329
7 David Urquhart, The Pillars of Hercules; of a Narrative of Travel in Spain and Morocco in 1848 (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1850), 33. 8 Potvin, Vapour and Steam, 328. 9 Ibid. 10 Potvin, Vapour and Steam, 331.
activity, can be performed.”11 Given the Jermyn Street Hammam’s rather pricey entrance fees, this meant that the bath was only ‘attended by gentlemen’.12 This assurance allowed a space for invisible interaction of upper class homosexual men without the worry of blackmail.13
Victorian designers set out to implement the Turkish Bath as a way to break
down the barriers existing between economic classes of Victorian England. Though they were unsuccessful in providing a venue that transcended class barriers, they did however inadvertently create an open venue for sexual identity among the wealthy class of Victorian men. The establishment of this venue saw the constitution of masculinity transform to allow previously ambiguous sexualities emerge. The heterotopia, the invisible play of performance, undoes the binary gender model of the Victorians’ masculinity. By allowing opposite sexualities to confront each other without a resolution, play and performance became “the excess itself, the abject that actually enlivens, reinstates, and reinforces the boundaries of ideal masculine bodily integrity,”14 as Potvin heartedly wishes to suggest. Thus the gaze destabilizes the heteronormative system which ignores it by itself becoming a dialogue, an invisible discourse, which constitutes a more holistic identity among homosexual men. In this way, the Jermyn Street Hammam provided a step toward an 11 Ibid. 12 Ibid. 13 Ibid. 14 Potvin, Vapour and Steam, 328.
(un)gendered world, defined by Judith Butler, in short, which establishes “philosophy as a cultural practice,” a world which the twentieth century sees into fruition.15 Club Culture and Queer World-Making The nightclubs of the 1980s and 1990s in New York City became spaces of play – of practice and performance in the theatrical sense – by operating as urban “laboratories” fulfilling a “what if ” central to the needs of the repressed homosexual community of the era.16 In Impossible Dance: Club Culture and Queer World-Making Fiona Buckland describes these special heterotopias as “third spaces” outside the realms of the home and B.03 Balcony at Club Limelight • Corben, Billy. Limelight. DVD. New York City. Magnolia Home Entertainment. January 2012.
work. Third spaces are recreational and offered environments potentially more supportive than those of work and home for homosexuals in New York City.17 The form of play and experimentation offered by these spaces was of improvised dancing, as opposed to choreographed. Improvisation allowed dancers to follow collective rhythms shared in the group while providing opportunity for individual moments (short or extended) of interpretation. Improvised social dancing offered safety and security by providing other ways of revealing the homosexual self than through the gaze. Improvised Dancing Removing the worry associated with the ‘desiring gaze’ in public or private spaces, dancing 15 Judith Butler, “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory,” Theatre Journal 40, no. 4 (1988): 530. 16 Fiona Buckland, Impossible Dance: Club Culture and Queer World-Making. (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2002), 127. 17 Buckland, Impossible Dance, 108.
– united by the knowledge of fellow homosexuals – empowered creative expression of participants within the safety of the nightclub. As a more situated heterotopia requiring successful entry, the gay dance club established a threshold – “To get in one must have a certain permission and make certain gestures.”18 Thus reservations participants may have had are overcome by the knowledge of the appropriation of the space for queers, as well as the intimate nature of bodily contact inherent to such nightclub dancing. This provided individual freedom of expression more numerous and playful, as well as establishing a common ground.19 It was the first time I’d been on the floor dancing. And the floor would dance as a whole, as a group. Everybody knew the parts of the song and a part of the song would come up, or there’d be a break in the music and “hey” and everybody’s arms would go up, “hey!” There would be hundreds of people, all at the same time and the lights would flash and confetti would blow out. And everybody knew it – that this was going to happen at this time in this song and they were waiting. So it was this kind of energy in the room. People would anticipate parts of records; it would be this big explosion. -Alex
Alex incorporated not only individual movement motifs and styles, but through raising his hands in the air at a certain point he ‘folded’ himself into this experience of collectivity.21 Thus the improvised dance was an act and the dance floor was a space – people organized themselves through their individual movements and responsive knowledge of others 18 Foucault, Of Other Spaces, Heterotopias, 6. 19 Buckland, Impossible Dance, 101. 20 Ibid. 21 Ibid.
B.04 Dancers at Club Limelight • Corben, Billy. Limelight. DVD. New York City. Magnolia Home Entertainment. January 2012.
immediately around them. The complexity of individual acts organized the space, and the two united becoming a dancing mass in which the bodies could not be thought of as separate. The dancers were united through the sensual understandings of their own bodies and their body within the whole. Play in Third Space This synthesis of individuality and community was empowered by the electronic dance events, or raves, occurring in these clubs. ‘Rave’ refers to electronic music events lasting for extended periods of time, late at night when ‘normal’ citizens of society are fast asleep.22 Rave music cycles through tension-building ‘come ups’ followed by the release of a ‘breakdown’, underneath which repetitive beats continuously flow, unifying each cycle to B.05 Dance Floor, Club Limelight • Corben, Billy. Limelight. DVD. New York City. Magnolia Home Entertainment. January 2012.
the greater musical whole. In his essay “The Rave: Spiritual Healing in Modern Western Subcultures” Scott Hutson writes that the combination of this continuous musical structure blasting out loud into the dancing sea of a crowd, along with a synchronized spectacle of light as well as intermittent drug use, incites ecstatic states among audience members.23
Buckland acknowledges the power of such ecstatic states in which the self-
consciousness of the “body-as-obstacle”24 dissolved and a new body emerged with a new empowering consciousness of the body as self. In other words, to these men the body was no longer regulated by social restrictions repressing homosexual expressions, for themselves 22 Scott Hutson, “The Rave: Spiritual Healing in Modern Western Subcultures,” Anthropological Quarterly 73, no. 1 (2000): 35. 23 Ibid. 24 Buckland, Impossible Dance, 124.
and between each other. When I say it’s exercise, it’s a spiritual exercise too. I used to be active in the church, believe it or not. It’s spiritual because… it’s hard to explain… but when you’re going into yourself in your dancing body, your moving body, you’re trying to touch something that’s inside of you, right? And so my spirituality was always for me very strong, but not because I related directly to the Catholic church or to the ceremonies or rituals that were going on, but I always had an intense relationship to a God-like figure, and that’s never left me and that’s an interior thing that wasn’t so much involved in the exterior. It’s not like I’m dancing to God, mind you. But I feel that type of interiority going through me. There’s a moment when I can see myself, and my flesh and my muscles and my bones, and reflect… you know, I’m moving [looks at arms] and I’m living. This is the blood that’s going through me. For some reason, there’s a connection there that I feel. -Ariel
To Ariel the open space of the dance floor provided the full potential of play that could not be found in the home or work spaces for homosexuals. Play saw the transcendence of the body as an obstacle of imposed power, it built a new space liberating the individual from the body of home and work. “The order of this play, where the body was in tune with its own rhythm and the consciousness was freed from day-to-day worries produced – if you like – a more perfect state of being. The body was obstacle, instrument, and goal.”26 We are all condemned to silence – unless we create our own relation with the world and try to tie other people into the meaning we thus create. This is what composing is. Doing solely for the sake of doing, without trying artificially to recreate the old codes in order to reinsert communication into them. Inventing new codes, inventing the message at the same time as the language. Playing for one’s own pleasure, which alone can create the conditions for new communication […] it relates to the emergence of the free act, 25 Buckland, Impossible Dance, 125 26 Ibid.
self-transcendence, pleasure in being instead of having. (Attali 1985, 134)
Doran cites Attali’s comments as touching on the underlying promise of improvised social dancing in queer clubs as a heterotopia. Playing through improvisation provided social interaction for homosexuals beyond the reproduction of heterosexual norms of everyday life. Thus “inventing new codes, inventing the message at the same time as the language. Playing for one’s own pleasure, which alone can create the conditions for new communication…,” allowed the nightclub to transgress and transcend the commodified sphere of recreation through the liberation of the sensual, improvised dancing body. Conclusion Heterotopias are an integral part of the urban environment. As population densities increase, cultures mix, and social arenas become significantly more complex, heterotopias will likewise occupy spaces of expanding importance in regard to civil unrest. Repressed participants of society will find the appropriate space to act out the various forms of play and exposure necessary to maintain their individual and collective identities. In the repression of the body we must expect these appropriations of space to be much more vigorous. Where the Victorians happened upon invisible opportunities to connect with fellow homosexuals, New Yorkers of the twentieth century actively sought out such heterotopic spaces, appropriating them to their needs. In investigating the nature of heterotopias we may begin to understand the ever-changing uses of the city. Familiarizing ourselves with such processes of appropriation may never help us predict where these processes are to occur in the future - restricting design from any productive power. However, ideas of play and bodily liberation offer designers and participants, composers and improvisers, opportunities to actively negotiate and experiment with meaning across the urban landscape.
27 Buckland, Impossible Dance, 125.
Appendix C The Rave: Spatiality of the Surface
“What I experience is that then I feel like, just as there’s no separation between myself and a tree or another person, there’s also no separation between my hands or my elbows, etc., so that I can rest in those areas and have a direct experience of moving from inside them. And the more I do that, the more those areas open and they literally begin to conduct energy in a new way… The energy of the earth can come through the body in a very unimpeded way, the energy of anything, another person’s energy…”1
From this raver’s testimonial it is easy to detect the level of seriousness taken when
speaking of the rave as a meaningful experience. Lasting for hours on end, the “rave” is a music event centered around the continuous play of “techno” or “dance” genres occuring most often at night, during times when the ‘normal’ citizens of society are fast asleep.2 The power of the rave lies in its ability to produce simulated experiences of sensual pleasure, contributing to a “dumbing down” of perception outside of the event in ‘real’ space. Situated in a technological ‘nowhere’ yet momentarily simulating an ultimate unified culture, the rave as an event-space of subcultural healing skews the very conception of meaningful spatial experience. The rave one of many examples of late capitalism’s ability to supplant meaning (in this case spiritual fulfillment) with a surface pleasure of sensual perception in disguise. By analyzing the rave’s spatiality of surface, perpetual present of perception, and commodified communal experience, I will demonstrate it as a postmodern phenomenon of simulated meaning.
The rave is first and foremost lacking any sense of subject. Hutson names five
1 Hutson, Scott. “The Rave: Spiritual Healing in Modern Western Subcultures.” Anthropological Quarterly, Vol. 73, No. 1 (January 2000): 35. 2 Ibid., 37.
areas in which there is evidence of a lost subject: ...the style of dance, the relative anonymity of the DJ (disc jockey), the nature of the music, the ego-reducing effects caused by Ecstasy consumption, and the event’s the occurrence in out-of-the-way places at times when the rest of the population sleeps.
Despite these facts of the event’s experiential structure, rave-goers construct their
own meaning by “filling the void of subjectivity with a collage of fragments, the archetypal form of postmodernist expression.”4 The role of the DJ as cultural producer provides a perfect example for the manipulation of fragments, the musical tradition for which he resides in is heavily reliant on the ‘sampling’ of past and present styles. As Tagg points out, ...it is important to remember that samplers are used not so much for making realistic carbon copies of acoustic instruments, rather for recreating the obviously synthetic sounds of otherwise obsolete analog synths from the 1970s and early 1980s.
Elevation view of a rave set design
The rave experience is said to be hyperreal in the sense that a multiplicity of
surfaces replaces singularity of depth. Due to the sensory overload of throbbing music, exotic motion media and lighting, exhaustive dance, and sensation-stimulating drugs, the rave becomes a mega-surface that gratifies a relentless and intense desire for pleasure. Reynolds, an authoritative rave journalist, summarizes the postmodern interpretation elegantly: ...rave culture is “geared towards fascination rather than meaning, sensation rather than sensibility; creating an appetite for impossible states of hypersimulation.”
3 Ibid. 4 Ibid., 38. 5 Tagg, Philip. From Refrain to Rave: The Decline of Figure and the Rise of Ground. Popular Music, Vol. 13, No. 2, Mellers at 80. Cambridge University Press: 1994. 212. 6 Reynolds, Simon. Generation Ecstasy: Into the world of techno and rave culture. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1998.
Set Design in Plan
Baudrillard acknowledges that in the postmodern world of simulacra, meaning is exterminated: ...the joy of Disneyland, raves, and similar amusements lies not in their intellectual stimulation, but in their ability to satisfy, on a purely sensory level, our voracious appetite for surfaces. Once the surfaces are rendered meaningless, interpretation stops. As a result, such interpretations are not very deep and certainly not “thick”.
However it is my contention that despite Hutson’s assertion of legitimacy because
people leave feeling spiritually renewed, the fact that this ‘healing’ occurs within a virtual, hyperreal space of surface consumption, rather than the deep perceptual reality of the world outside which it has left behind, renders it as a space of misguidance, of middle class Western nostalgia-fantasy.
7 Storey, John. Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction. 5th ed. Longman, 2009. 191-197.
Appendix D: conversation on silence Stephanie Jordan Architecture that has been silenced.
I asked everyone two questions What does silence mean to you? What is silent architecture?
Irina “Architecture that becomes omnipresent in the conscious mind, because it is feeling right to be occupied.” Stephen Bernasconi “Silence thru the lens of Architecture is actually pretty powerful. For me, Silence in Architecture means what is instilled in ME when I am experiencing the space. If a space inspires “silence” in me, then it has succeeded in what you describe. If I want to be “still” and contemplative, then it has succeeded. It’s not based on any single feature alone. It could range in scale from a Japanese Tea House or a 1930’s Movie Palace such as the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. Or it might be Grand Central in NYC. Its not the actual presence or absence of sound that determines this. It’s whether I keep on chattering and talking as if nothing happened to me in the space. That would NOT be silence in Architecture. Architecture that can shhh my mind and slow down my brain so that I can smell the “architectural roses” Does this make sense? Silence in Architecture would come about from the silence in ME that occurs as a result of my interaction with the space. I think there is a text book from my undergraduate program that is still used by Bob Fee in Design Management in GS. It’s called, “ A Pattern Language” by Christopher Alexander. This book had a profound impact and still does. You may already be aware of it. If not, GET THIS BOOK. You will not regret it and it may inform you about this subject you are exploring. The author delves into what makes people tick and how spaces and people interact with each other. He talks about “passages” and a “sense of place”. These are just 2 of lots of examples. OMG this book is still in my head after 18 yrs! I hope this helps. You know, this is somewhat challenging to express in an email. Please feel free to call me and discuss if that will help you. Cool beans? Stephen.” Amy Wynne Road trip of silence...that is a good one! A few architecture bits of silence + nature always means peace to me. If you are looking for architecture, I’d try the Faye Jones Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Haven’t been there myself, but so beautiful. In Houston, Rothko Chapel is pretty amazing. If you go far enough west you should definitely go to Marfa Texas, home of 191
Donald Judd’s artist community, Chinati Foundation and all around great experience. It’s all about space and flatness and vastness (all of which contribute to silence). Plus then you could crash at El Cosmico. Marfa is close (at least Texas close) to Big Bend national park. I haven’t been there but everyone says it is incredible. If you go even further west you should stop in Joshua Tree National Park. So incredible and a little bit unworldly. Good for rock climbing, biking or just hiking about. Great campsites. Beyond that, there is a lot of space in the west, though beware of RVs and tourists. North, I’m not so sure. Haven’t spent much time there lately. All the way up to Maine, you can hit on some amazing mountains. I summited Mt. Katahdin at the end of the A.T. in Maine (a loong day hike but worth it, bring lots of water). Pretty amazing to be that high and the park in general was quite beautiful. Might be full of people this time of year. Jennifer Barton/Terry Stanford What does silence mean to you? Jennifer: Sound, it’s not but kind of is. Silence in regards to architecture? Like if I were to say, a place… Jennifer: Made you silent? Because it was so, pretty? Like if there were silence in regards to a place. Okay, if you were somewhere and you experienced silence? Terry: It’s got to be comfortable. It’s not noise, when it’s silent it makes me feel comfortable I guess. Like not weird you know, it’s just more comfortable when either there’s wind blowing or a fan on or something you know. Jennifer: I think maybe peaceful. So it would have to be somewhere where there’s not a lot of people. Silence makes me think of not a lot of people, so like being by yourself. Do u think there’s a different, if I were to talk about, if I went somewhere natural and said I experienced it, and then went to a city in a building and said I experienced it. Would they be different? Jennifer: Yeah. No they wouldn’t be the same How would they be different? What’s silence like in nature? Jennifer: It’s… easier to be around? What makes it easier? Jennifer: Maybe that’s not what I meant. It’s… there’s just a difference between man made things, and.... What about it is different? Like between the manmade something and nature? What makes nature what it is? and what makes something manmade what it is? 192
Jennifer: Maybe it’s too structured, or too planned, or something, nature’s not, it’s just… So would silence be something that’s unplanned? Jennifer: Maybe? Or could something be silent that’s unplanned? Jennifer: No Do you think you could live in a city and… Jennifer: Make silence? Yes Jennifer: Yeah, it seems like it would take more effort cause you’d have to get in a closet or something. (laughter) Jennifer: Or just to be alone, I dunno, cities and stuff are busy. Terry: It’s kind of like time away from everything else. Jennifer: Yeah, it’s like a vacation, it’s like what you’re supposed… I dunno. Like, how it’s supposed to be, and how it is. Terry: Like, I think it’s neat when we come out here and do stuff like this. Because that’s like, silence from work and just you know, everything. We just come out and hang out and it’s like, it’s relaxing. That would be what I think of as silence. Just calming down after the day. Jennifer: But I think Terry: And that seems like it would be comfortable. Jennifer: But I think that’s only for us, because I think city people have a different, they’ve been raised in a city, I think they have a different… Terry: Well I think everybody does have their own silence. (Jennifer: Yeah) Some people don’t like their own silence, they’re caught up in it. Jennifer: Ants are making it not silent right now! (laughing) So it’s like taking a break? Terry: That’s how I think of silence Jennifer: Getting away Terry: Whether it be, like how it’s really cool we all go camping and stuff, it feels like we’re (j: away) putting a hold on everything else. Jennifer: Which this is like that too but it’s not like camping, camping you’re in it for a week or a couple days, like this you only get a couple minutes, or an hour a day. Silence is peaceful. Terry: And that’s why we like nature, because a city seems hectic. 193
Jennifer: Even a small city. Terry: Yeah, just getting away out in nature. It is really peaceful. What makes a city hectic? Terry: It’s just too much stuff going on. I feel nature has the right idea about how to do things, and everybody, it just seems like they’re caught up with things that aren’t important. Jennifer: Well, even when I’m at work or driving around anywhere, it’s just having to be around people. (laughter) Jennifer: I have an issue with people, can you tell? (laughter) So you don’t have to be alone? Terry: No. Not necessarily. Jennifer: I think it’s more about being around people you’re close to. Terry: The peacefulness describes the calmness, it doesn’t matter how many people you’re around, if you want to be around those people. Jennifer: Our answers probably don’t make any sense. Well there is no wrong answer to this question. Jennifer: I can make a wrong answer! Haha, no you can’t, it’s not possible. The importance of this, to me, is that it is, so much about everyone’s own interpretation of what it is. I feel like it’s one of those things that changes for every person. Everyone tells me something different, they relate it to different stories and they start talking about different things. You said earlier people from the city… I’m messing up my words… Jennifer: Different people in different places, everyone has their own… Jennifer: Animals are silent! Andrew Nelson 8/28/2011 My first thoughts are of emptiness, a void. It is something that delivers a message, the feeling can be simply powerful enough. It is a message to be left with you. I think memorial, celebration. The interplay between the physical and emotional reaction a building were to give you. A perfect opposition to fuse - from emotional reaction to physical experience, from physical experience to emotional reaction, it can work either way.
Alisa Anderson Like dipping your hand Into the sand At the beach The tiny granules You feel them at first All around You pull your hand away They become a texture One A shift All the things Everything It’s there They’re there But You understand As much as you let yourself They’re there The world And you know You know They are just there And you know No questions You know Paul Lane In dance they say there is one moment to strive for - the moment of silence, when the performance ends and the audience is left speechless, for that tiny eternity. The dancer and observer become one - the message of the dance shouts in overwhelming quiet.
Cecilia Smith 8/28/2011 I think there are many layers to the word silence, at the first is of course a sense of calm or peace, certainly not disruptive. It would be as if enough of your surroundings are controlled that focus arises - and that could lead you to thoughts on sensory deprivation. A coffee shop, or a book store for instance. I think it would be so intriguing to explore throughout all the senses, not only hearing. Perhaps you begin thinking on sleep patterns and all that go into them depending on the person - some require perfect silence, others need white noise, a television playing, music, some people require complete darkness. What noise or lack thereof do sleepers need? How silence is evoked throughout the seasons is also interesting. It can be so expansive, it could be the harshness of a silent winter, a sense of danger, of predators. Likewise, it can peace. Caroline Kittle I actually have mixed feelings with silence. I mean, it halts you to a stop, things are in-your-face aware. It makes me feel aware of my mood, often completely by myself. But it is also peaceful. It’s like a room you enter that is normally full of people, but is not. You feel so tiny in such a big place. Like kids playing hide and seek. I think of darkness too, maybe out in the woods, secluded, crickets chirping. In a big space that is normally meant for many people, but it is only you. High ceilings, unlike a small house in which you are the ‘biggest’. When I came into Grand Central the feelings was overwhelming, I felt like I was apart of the walls, a part of the building itself. Everyone became the building itself, everyone is the space. Or when you walk out onto an empty football field, you could do anything, whether it be appropriate or not, because it wouldn’t matter, only you are there. Immense awareness of being by yourself. The first time I flew, I was in the airport, the feeling was exhilirating - I finally felt independent, I could just go anywhere! Once I was heading home, actually not listening to music, and I just took a completely different route, one I had never taken before. It was so special, because who would know? Not like it would matter, but only I would know. Silence can mean so many things. I mean, when a group experiences silence everyone becomes keenly self aware. When one person experiences silence, they become within themselves. It was Grand Central - it was order - you apart of it. How when things make sense, regarding silent architecture, versus when they break up. Bonnaroo is such a great example! There’s madness but there’s an order about it. When there’s order and when there isn’t - when an orderly path is taken your mind seems to shut down. When your amidst the people, the craziness and confusion, the order is there but in such a different way! Like when you’re crowd jumping, there’s no thinking, and certainly no linear path, you plot the path as you go - creating and reworking it as you go - it’s such a complex flow, but never feels like an obstacle. You’re in the flow, you sort of follow your intuition.
Clayton Dodd Altar Is it mobile, like deadmau5, or is it fixed, including a space, a context, a time, length of time? McDonald’s – “meet me at McDonald’s” = actually no info at all, because really, where is McDonald’s? Utter Mobility OR Perception of (Place?) Evolution of God: By the middle ages god was confined (literally) to the church. Today, God is everywhere, therefore church is the altar. Church is the place to connect with God, like a computer monitor is the place to connect with this thing called the internet. Do people become the altar, the place to connect to God if religion turns to emphasizing the people only, their relationships with each other and the community, and no longer the building? Perhaps you are creating a space that has entirely documented a person? If you are dealing with ‘presence’ – the past, present, and future of a person. What you have been/what you are/what you will be or want to become Gosia Badger, we met at the Kimbell in Fort Worth, TX Dear Jared, I’ve been pondering on “Silent Architecture”, but I am getting multi-dimensional, often contradicting thoughts... 1. Silent Architecture - a place where I find silence that let me hear my inner self. Don’t laugh - it’s a church. But when you look how humongous churches are, especially the historic ones, they might “scream” on a city’s horizon... So it’s quite contradictory - silent, yet loud due to size on the outside and the acoustics inside. 2. Silent Architecture - a place created by human in harmony with the natural landscape. Many years ago I visited Bandelier National Monument in NM. Talus House is the place that I would classify as a Silent Architecture http://www.flickr.com/photos/ bandeliernps/4854044823/in/photostream Also, I think that the architecture of Santa Fe, NM could be considered as “silent” for the same reason; it beautifully melts in with the colors and spirit of the dessert. Well... that’s all what is coming to my head. I wish to be more creative. Once again - hope you will be able to forgive me the long silence. Please let me know how your work is progressing and how are you doing. All the best to you, Jared! Gosia 197
Jonathan Makiri, Photojournalist I met while in D.C.
Sean-Paul Pluguez Painter Sean and I met during my visit to Marfa, TX. We met again while I was in New York. These are notes from a phone conversation, over two hours in length if I remember correctly.