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GENEALOGY OF A COCOON

Along with the exchange of goods you also have an ex-

The cocoon has a very simple design, based on the same

change of stories; you are open to encounters with

principles as the hammock.

strangers and worlds which may have been otherwise

and

foreclosed by dominant modes of exchange and consump-

scaffold, or whatever you may find.

tion.

into a bag.

The cocoon is an object in a transitional state. It is a space of incubation and an open unfolding. We know there will be a butterfly, but when? What will it look like? We have recourse to continuities, to habits and repetitions, we know generalities about butterflies, but we also, equally, donʼt know what its life course will be, what singularities will interrupt its generalities.

The cocoon is an experiment in open source architecture… an attempt at a demystified architecture… an accessible architecture… an architecture that could push our notions of inhabitation by taking us to sleep in scaffolds, in parks owned by the city, under bridges, in the metal and concrete canopies of the city. The cocoon is meant to save essential spaces from destruction by squatting… the cocoon is meant to be given away… the cocoon is not really even an object so much as a composition of relations and potentials…

* We borrow some words we like from Joost Smiers and McKenzie Wark. Thank you.

FORAYS INTO COCOONS Field Notes

attached

by

rope

and

It is wrapped at both ends carabiners

to

a

branch,

The whole kit folds

Essential for a cocoon is that it may spread, that it

All of the articulations of the cocoon – whether they be

work well enough to be taken up in different situations

through postal envelopes, plastic beach blankets or

and engender more articulations.

construction netting – have all been based on this system.

Cocoons were posted on the apartment listings of Craigslist New York and Montréal as a vehicle through which

Its more complex components come in when mounting the

to introduce the notion of squatting to a general

cocoon.

public in a time of excessively inflated rental prices.

feet to scale a façade, scaffolding or a branch or you

The cocoon will also be used as tree sits to protect

can climb with rope.

community gardens on the brink of destruction by the

carabiners and a belay from an “outdoors” store or

city of New York. The cocoon is a tool for the tactical

fashion a whole climbing system only with rope.

occupation of space.

advantage of a climbing system is that the surfaces and

You may rely on the powers of your hands and You may liberate a harness, The

cracks within the city suddenly unfold as anchor points and habitable plateaus appear almost everywhere.

By hacking resources and the physical infrastructure of the city the architectural object emerges from the very structures

used

to

conceal,

usurp,

hide

make

It is necessary that the cocoons are easy to assemble,

With a

cheap and comfortable. Its materials and operation are

and

property private and monopolize resources.

cocoon you wrap yourself and make a home with and in

purposely low-tech.

The constraints of the cocoons

these very resources, from stolen construction netting

taught us the poetry and elegance of knots and folds and

to hacked postal envelopes. The cocoon can take you to

weight and we learned to source and hack spaces and

the sites that contain these resources, detour their

infrastructures for their free and cheap materials.

purpose, and create experimental inhabitations. What

is

vital

to

open

source

architecture

are

the

The constraints of the cocoon – that it be cheap, low-

networks of exchange that the search for materials

tech, accessible, portable and compelled by the ethics

inserts you into; freecycling, for instance, brings you

of open source, hacking, larceny and alternative forms

into

of exchange make it an object riddled with potential. It is built so that it can be modified, repeated through variation and hopefully add a little to a grass roots architecture.

This is an unlicensed work for the public domain by Forays. New York 2007. www.forays.org Made with the support of Eyebeam.

a

complex

of

moneyless economies.

individuals

experimenting

with


Field Notes: Forays into Cocoons