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Architectural assemblage N

Erin hartmann

R B A N

spring 2014

e t a m o r p h o s i s

thesis studio


“O

ut of the handlebars and the bicycle seat I made a bull’s head which everybody recognized as a bull’s head. Thus a metamorphosis was completed; and now I would like to see another metamorphosis take place in the opposite direction. Suppose my bull’s head is thrown on the scrap heap. Perhaps some day a fellow will come along and say: ‘why there’s something that would come in very handy for the handlebars of my bicycle...’ and so a double metamorphosis would have been achieved.”

- Pablo Picasso


Early sketch of my visualization of the Collage City

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Table of Contents Abstract Key Terms Montage Film Part One Part Two Part Three Process Storyboards Bibliography

7 9 11 13 21 25 28 34

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Abstract Collage involves a recycling of meaning through the collision of found objects. Fragments of the past interact to create a new entity, catalyzing a metamorphosis of familiar components. This thesis investigates the characteristics and techniques of collage to create an urban assemblage of components existing across time and space. The components of this assemblage include five characters, five sites, architectural details, objects, and time. The five sites are the Dharavi Slums in Mumbai, the Jade Museum in Shanghai, The Han in Istanbul, Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbau, and Paley Park in New York City. The characters are The Child, The Curator, The Hankeeper, The Hoarder, and The Merchant. All of these components interact and metamorphose in the form of a montage film. The film commences with each character in their original place - the Child in Dharavi, the Hankeeper in the Han. Gradually, the characters and other components interact with each other. Through appearances, disappearances, unusual juxtapositions, and new relationships, they undergo the beginnings of a metamorphosis. The final city exemplifies the new entity that these components are now recognized as. Amongst the still images exists one moving butterfly that represents metamorphosis and ties all of the components together. The collision of the components creates a dynamic and detailed urban collage that is representative of humanity. We are all of the characters and they are us. We are children at play, we are the curators of our own lives. The assemblage reminds one of the transformations we endure through our own lives, from children onward. The montage film was created using both found film and still images. Unlike static drawings, I feel that film better brings the components to life and shows the process of the metamorphosis from beginning to end. The film becomes the architectural drawings. The primitive purpose of this project was to investigate collage as more than newspaper and string on a flat surface and to see whether it exists in architecture. As the process continued, I discovered that collage is representative of the diversity of life and greater humanity.

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Exploratory collage of the layers of a museum

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Key terms Assemblage The act of bringing many parts together; the work that is a result of this Collage The juxtaposition of unrelated materials; also the pasting of newspaper and string onto a pictorial surface Juxtaposition Placing unrelated objects close together for comparison or to create a new relationship Metamorphosis The transformation of an object into a mature form; the transformation that occurs when found objects are juxtaposed in an assemblage Montage The method of piecing together random sections of film; film that is a collage of different elements

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Stills from first drafts of the montage film

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Montage film architectural assemblage: An urban metamorphosis

Part One:

The Characters and Their Architecture

Part Two:

The Assemblage/The Metamorphosis

Part Three:

The New City

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Part One the characters and their architecture

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The Child in Dharavi Location: dharavi slum, mumbai, india | time: present

T

he Dharavi slum in Mumbai, India houses over eight million people in only 1 square mile of land. To most this would appear an unfortunate lifestyle, but to the people of Dharavi it is a comfortable home. Many of the residents enjoy living there and make a living through their small businesses. Many people move to the slums for better opportunities. It is considered a success to live in Dharavi, not a failure. Children attend school and play together in a slum that is safe during both day and night.

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he child climbs down the ladder from his family’s second floor apartment. He navigates through the labyrinth that is Dharavi, everything a blur of colors, shapes, and textures. He reaches the classroom and spends the day with the teacher and ten other children. After school he chases the other children playfully through the maze, jumping over buckets catching raindrops and ducking under clothes drying on the line. He slips between the walls that surround the businessmens’ workspaces and takes shortcuts through neighbors’ apartments until he reaches his family’s ladder again.

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The Curator at the jade museum Location: shanghai, china | time: present

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he Jade Museum is a contemporary art museum in Shanghai that was renovated from an existing office space. The Museum is a collage in itself, housing varieties of art next to each other on the white walls at the discretion of the curator. The curator is the keeper and organizer of the art collections as well as the communicator between the artists and the museum. We are all curators in a way, always attempting to organize the pieces of our own lives how we see fit.

T

he curator acknowledges the echo of her footsteps as she walks across the perfectly polished floor of the gallery. The silent room is a temporary place of sanctuary before it fills with visitors. She sits on a bench, observing her work and the spatial arrangements between each piece of art. She ensures that everything is perfect. Like the hoarder, she collects an abundance of pieces that fascinate her. Her work goes unnoticed by the visitors, however, who focus only on the work of the artist.

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The Hankeeper at the han Location: istanbul, turkey | time: 17th century - present

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he han has been a place of refuge for travelers in Istanbul for centuries. It consists of two stories with a large courtyard and surrounding arcade in the center. Travelers would store their goods on the ground floor and reside overnight on the second floor. Visitors enter through a large wooden gate that the hankeeper opens at sunrise and closes at sunset every day. The hankeeper maintains the han for most of his life until he passes the duties to his son. The weight of his tasks is reflected in the han’s heavy masonry that has existed for many years. The protection that the hankeeper provides is representative of the protection that we provide of our own lives - against fear, against sadness, against negativity.

E

very morning at dawn the hankeeper opens the arched wooden gate to welcome the next round of travelers. He meets a hoard of people daily all with different stories and backgrounds. He works from sun up to sun down but he is content doing so. The merchants who stay at the han trust him to protect their goods from bandits while they rest. He locks the gate by sundown and retreats to his hut nearby for the night. 16


The hoarder at merzbau Location: hannover, germany | time: 1938 - 1943 [Destroyed]

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he Hoarder is inspired by Kurt Schwitters, an early 20th century collage artist and the creator of Merzbau. Merzbau was Schwitters’ apartment in Hannover, Germany. He turned it into an assemblage of things he collected, ranging from ticket stubs to material scraps to his friends’ belongings. He had three photographs of the apartment taken before it was destroyed in 1943 during World War II. He added so much to it that it took on a life of its own, growing into different rooms and eventually to the outside balcony. The architecture is a direct reflection of the everyday life of the hoarder. It expands parallel to the growth of the hoarder’s collection and his obsession with collecting more.

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he hoarder strolls through the alley as he returns home from the matinée. He walks slowly, scanning the ground and collecting cigarette butts. When he returns home he tosses the cigarettes in a box by the door and puts the ticket stub from the matinée into one of the many nooks in his studio. The vast collection of unrelated items is so overwhelming to outsiders that he never has visitors. 17


The merchant at paley park Location: new york city | time: present

Paley Park is a hidden gem in New York City’s regulated grid.

The pocket park is on East 53rd Street between 5th and Madison. Amongst all the hardscape and chaos of the city, it provides an area of retreat with greenery, chairs and tables, and a water feature in the back. Nearby are merchants who tempt visitors with the smells of warm food.

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he merchant has worked on 53rd Street as a street vendor for the last ten years. The constant hyper-stimulation caused by beeping cars, crowds of people, and barking dogs has created an indifference to his surroundings. Unlike the child, he is not fascinated by the city’s multitude of colors and textures. Instead he focuses on the people around him. He engages in conversation and provides them with food. After a long day in the warm sun, he packs up his cart and returns home.

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“E

very means is right when it serves its end...what the material signified before its use in the work of art is a matter of indifference so long as it is properly evaluated and given artistic meaning in the work of art. And so I began to construct pictures out of materials I happened to have at hand, such as streetcar tickets, cloakroom checks, bits of wood, wire twine, bent wheels, tissue paper, tin cans, chips of glass, etc. These things are inserted into the picture either as they are or else modified in accordance with what the picture requires. They lose their individual characters, their own special essence (eigengift); by being dematerialized (entmaterialisiert) they become material for the picture.�

- Kurt Schwitters

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Part Two the assemblage/The metamorphosis

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The Characters Switch spaces

T

he characters begin to appear in other characters’ spaces. They bring pieces of their architecture with them to create new assemblages and relationships. For example, the present-day Curator appears in Merzbau in 1943 along with the steps and curvature from her Jade Museum. A new dialogue is created between the curator and Merzbau that would not occur otherwise. She brings color, formal art, and contemporary architecture to the crowded apartment of a hoarder This is the beginning of the transformation that will occur amongst all of the components

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The metamorphosis

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he metamorphosis scene shows the transformations that occur when all of the components are gradually juxtaposed. Over the course of sixty seconds, the space that was once Dharavi transforms into a new city through the addition of the other characters and architecture.

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Part Three the new city

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The New city

T

his scene pans through the new space created by the characters and the architecture, and other found objects. The original meaning or intention of each component is lost as they become a new whole. Everything is interacting with everything; there is no longer a collection of five people, five places, and different time periods, but a new imagined place that houses all of these things together.

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montage Process storyboard 1

| The Child | Vivid Colors

(City starts to grow)

5 | Stops to watch merchant building a lamp 4 | Opens front door of house, climbs ladder down to the ground 3 | Finds himself at a dining room table

Continue for all 10 cha

START

Empty space

| The Merchant |

1 | Playing ball with other children, kicks ball over a wall

Faded Colors

Journey 2

Journey 1

2 | Climbs through circular opening

1 | Building a lamp, a flash catches his eye 2 | Enters a narrow alleyway of brick, stucco, metal 3 | Sees a ladder - climbs up and finds himself on tin roofs, walks along them 4 | Slides down into a junk pile, picks up a small mirror 5 | Looks into mirror, sees the hoarder

(City continues to

Continue for all 10 characters Each character starts to lose original identity

END

Incorporate Audience as final component (mirror?)

Replacing pieces of one journey with another characters playing other characters’ roles Compare all of this activity to Start of the Film “The end is built into the beginning”

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aracters

o grow)

Zoom out to see entire assemblaged city (Metamorphosis)

| The Housewife/Child | Playing ball with other 1 | children, kicks ball over a wall

“Everyone is everyone� (Reshoot Journey 1 with new character)

Climbs through circular 2 | opening

Opens front door of 4 | house, climbs ladder down to the ground Stops to watch merchant 5 | building a lamp

Journey 1-A

Finds himself at a dining 3 | room table

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montage Process storyboard 2

| The Hoarder |

5 | Slides down, returns to junk pile and adds new items to his collection

5 | Opens front door, returns to main space 4 | Climbs up to dining room in the 50s

4 | Climbs up t in the 50s

3 | Stops to wa building a l and climbs

3 | Climbs on tin rooftops, rests on a crumbling dome, picks up a cigarette

Journey 2

2 | Climbs through circular opening

Journey 1

5 | Opens fron to main spa

4 | Picks up a painting of a housewife, reveals a slide

3 | Stops to watch merchant building a lamp, runs away and climbs up a ladder

1 | Playing ball with other children, kicks ball over a wall

| The Curator |

2 | Enters a dark, narrow alleyway of brick and stone 1 | Searching through piles of junk - plastics, cloth

2 | Climbs thro opening

Journey 3

| The Child |

1 | Working in

START

| The Event /

All of the characters, si architectural elem

“Everyone

4 | Climbs up to dining room in the 50s

4 | Climbs up to dining room in the 50s

5 | Opens front to main spa

4 | Climbs up t in the 50s

3 | Stops to watch merchant building a lamp, runs away and climbs up a ladder

3 | Stops to watch merchant building a lamp, runs away and climbs up a ladder

3 | Stops to wa building a la and climbs

2 | Climbs through circular opening

2 | Climbs through circular opening

2 | Climbs thro opening

1 | Playing ball with other children, kicks ball over a wall

1 | Playing ball with other children, kicks ball over a wall

1 | Playing ball children, kic wall

| The Traveller |

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5 | Opens front door, returns to main space

Journey 8

5 | Opens front door, returns to main space

Journey 9

Journey 10

“Not coming from any p

| The Taxi Driver |

| The Businessman |


| The Hankeeper |

| The Merchant |

5 | Opens front door, returns to main space

5 | Opens front door, returns to main space

to dining room

4 | Climbs up to dining room in the 50s

4 | Climbs up to dining room in the 50s

atch merchant lamp, runs away up a ladder

3 | Stops to watch merchant building a lamp, runs away and climbs up a ladder

3 | Stops to watch merchant building a lamp, runs away and climbs up a ladder

ough circular

2 | Climbs through circular opening

2 | Climbs through circular opening

1 | Playing ball with other children, kicks ball over a wall

1 | Playing ball with other children, kicks ball over a wall

Journey 4

her gallery

Journey 5

nt door, returns ace

Metamorphosis |

ites, time periods, objects, ments come together

e is everyone�

to dining room

5 | Opens front door, returns to main space 4 | Climbs up to dining room in the 50s

Journey 6

t door, returns ace

Journey 7

place, not arriving any place�

1 | Opens front door, returns to main space 2 | Climbs up to dining room in the 50s

atch merchant amp, runs away up a ladder

3 | Stops to watch merchant building a lamp, runs away and climbs up a ladder

3 | Stops to watch merchant building a lamp, runs away and climbs up a ladder

ough circular

2 | Climbs through circular opening

4 | Climbs through circular opening

l with other cks ball over a

1 | Playing ball with other children, kicks ball over a wall

5 | Playing ball with other children, kicks ball over a wall

|

| The Housewife |

| The Teacher |

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“O

ne day something appeared in the studio which looked like a cross between a cylinder or wooden barrel and a table-high tree stump with the bark run wild. It had evolved from a chaotic heap of various materials: wood, cardboard, scraps of iron, broken furniture, and picture frames. Soon, however, the object lost all relationship to anything made by man or nature. Kurt called it a column.”

- Kate Steinitz (friend of Kurt Schwitters) on Kurt’s Merz-Column

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Bibliography Almy, Max. “Video: Electronic Collage.” Collage: Critical Views. Ed. Katherine Hoffman. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research, 1989. 355-371. Print. Between. Prod. Tim Bollinger. Short of the Week. Media Temple, 2009. Web. 1 Feb. 2014. “Butterfly in Epic Slow Motion.” Youtube. Earth Unplugged, 11 July 2013. Web. 1 Mar. 2014. Calvino, Italo. Invisible Cities. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1974. Print. Copeland, Roger. “Merce Cunningham and the Aesthetic of Collage.” TDR 46.1 (2002): 11-28. JSTOR. Web. 16 Sept. 2013. Ernst, Max, Werner Spies, and Jürgen Pech. Max Ernst - Une Semaine De Bonté: Los Collages Originales. Madrid: Fundación Mapfre, 1934. Print. Gamard, Elizabeth Burns. Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbau: The Cathedral of Erotic Misery. New York: Princeton Architectural, 2000. Print. Hoffman, Katherine. “Collage in the Twentieth Century: An Overview.” Collage: Critical Views. Ed. Katherine Hoffman. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research, 1989. 1-37. Print. “Jade Museum.” ArchDaily. Archi-Union Architects, 06 Feb. 2013. Web. 14 Apr. 2014. Krauss, Rosalind E. “In the Name of Picasso.” The Originality of the Avant-garde and Other Modernist Myths. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1985. 23-40. Print. Kuspit, Donald B. “The Organizing Principle of Art in the Age of the Relativity of Art.” Collage: Critical Views. Ed. Katherine Hoffman. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research, 1989. 39-57. Print. Levine, Neil. ”The Significance of Facts: Mies’s Collages Up Close and Personal.” Assemblage 37. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1998. Print. Lund, Nils-Ole. Collage Architecture. Berlin: Ernst, 1990. Print. Nicholson, Ben. Appliance House. Chicago, IL: Chicago Institute for Architecture and Urbanism, 1990. Print.

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Nill, Annegreth. ” Rethinking Kurt Schwitters: An Interpretation of Grünfleck.” Collage: Critical Views. Ed. Katherine Hoffman. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research, 1989. 225-251. Print. Plowman, Randel. Masters - Collage: Major Works by Leading Artists. New York: Lark Crafts, 2010. Print. Rosenberg, Harold. “Collage: Philosophy of Put-Togethers.” Collage: Critical Views. Ed. Katherine Hoffman. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research, 1989. 59-66. Print. Rowe, Colin, and Fred Koetter. Collage City. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1978. 86-117. Print. Shattuck, Roger. “Introduction: How Collage Became Assemblage.” Essays on Assemblage. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1992. 118-23. Print. Stokes, Charlotte. “Collage as Jokework: Freud’s Theories of Wit as the Foundation for the Collages of Max Ernst.” Collage: Critical Views. Ed. Katherine Hoffman. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research, 1989. 253-269. Print. Street of Crocodiles. YouTube. Brothers Quay, 27 Apr. 2013. Web. 05 Jan. 2014. Synecdoche, New York. Dir. Charlie Kaufman. Perf. Philip Seymour Hoffman. Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, 2008. Film.

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Architectural Assemblage: An Urban Metamorphosis