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Petra Tomljanovic


PEOPLE SPACE IDENTITY collected writings Petra Tomljanovic Stuttgart, 2013


CONTENTS

PEOPLE, SPACE, IDENTITY 

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Becoming is a work in progress 

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Cakes, pastries, chips and plugs!

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An artistic answer to immigrant integration policies

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Walking a mile in Koolhaas’ shoes

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To think the impossible 

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Family portrait

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SPACE50

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A tale of two libraries

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Does architecture depend on people?

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Forest city

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Redefining a memorial

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Sacral beauty of the brick

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The public should be included in planning policies!

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Petra Tomljanovic

PEOPLE6


The street as a battlefield 

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A belief in housing on a human scale

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collected writings

IDENTITY106 Architecture as a feminine noun

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Between YU and EU

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Clothes for playing with spirits

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Home and without it 

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Object vs. Population 

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I feel like wearing pink

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ON AUTHOR

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Petra Tomljanovic

PEOPLE, SPACE, IDENTITY


Writing about design, art, architecture and media is inseparable from following the development and maturing of any cultural/art scene. It is clear that in contemporary world formal education alone does not suffice when it comes to understanding the issues of contemporary society. Only a multidisciplinary approach can reveal new perspectives that enable the insight into a complex society. Cultural journalism is an exceptionally challenging field of dialogue, which

collected writings

is possible to achieve only through a comprehensive mixture of different critical stances, that itself embodies the principle of interdisciplinary. With the aim of sharing information throughout the global web, the institution of journalism is a very important factor for the development of democratic society. Today, it is necessary to shift the paradigm of the conventional journalism, which continually promotes mediocrity,

comparative

incompetency

to

other

cultural fields, somewhat naive and trivial approach to contemporary art, marked by an information vacuum in the domain of international cultural events. My own engagement in the field of culture is structured around writing series of critical and creative readings of art, and detecting their mutual causal relationships.

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PEOPLE, space, identity

PEOPLE


europe, fashion, design, 3d print, tech, computer driven design, organic form, painting, memory, sight

performativity, narratives, intimacy, family, pop art, conceptual, consumerism, nationality, identity, immigration,

This is a presentation and a critical articulation of various practices, significant for their active participation or subtle interpretation of changes in the contemporary society. PEOPLE - summarizes a selection of reviews, essays and interviews with designers, architects and artists.

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Exploration of intimacy in Ana Kovacic’s artistic practice SC Gallery Zagreb, February 2013.

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PEOPLE, space, identity

Becoming is a work in progress


In searching for the origin of our own identity, in trying to define our personal territory we grasp for every proof which might mean something in this process. Mom’s and dad’s steps through an endless hallway, girls’ locks, static letters on diary pages, architectural and fashion drawings. More precisely, we try not to give up on all the tiny details with which we build the projection of ourselves and our reality. Let’s imagine the history, the warmth, the safety, the softness performativity, narratives, intimacy, family

and the power of emotions we connect to the notion of home. And then let’s imagine its disappearance. Or its transformation. There is something unexpected in a mind that desires things that used to be, things that can’t be identified anymore. From this position slowly but steadily the story develops, the narrative for the construction of identity, and perhaps its deconstruction too. In her work Ana Kovačić constructs the tangible representation of reality through a line of parallel narratives which have surrounded her. Her story of memory is a “densely interwoven mass inside which all sense of time is lost and the possibilities of interconnectedness are endless.“ Memory as thick as amber makes the identity of a family firmly locked in a time and space, forcing action, creating distance, layering down to a heterogeneous mixture of actions, feelings of selfhood or creating new family rituals. With the assumption that family memories, traumas, prejudices or judgments are passed like batons, the question is what can one do with them? Ana’s approach is at the same time corporeal and ethereal. Loud, but inaudible. Architectural but also anarchic. She explores how the body, and not only the mind, recalls the sound of steps in a childhood home. If the house is the first level of the universe, the cosmos, for a child, how does it shape the awareness of the 9


PEOPLE, space, identity • Dancing Self-Portrait, Ana Kovacic, 2013.

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existence of other spaces, or more accurately other universes? Is this house “a collection of organic habits of all its users” or something deeper “a shelter for the imagination”? By exhibiting a model of her own house, creating a carpet for those who inhabit this space, by recording the view from her balcony, by tailoring dresses on her floor, by sharing glances with her mother and sister on her couch Ana makes the house a metaphor for the body. But she literally leaves a part of herself in her work by weaving a curtain from the locks of her own hair and exhibiting layered performativity, narratives, intimacy, family

diary pages that reach levels of unintelligibility. Through this the materiality of the world and its critical interpretation are placed side by side. Carefully and through many layers, by paying attention to the boundaries of exhibiting her intimacy Ana translates her personal identity code into a universally understandable dictionary, a manual for dealing with patterns of behavior. Her story becomes familiar by shifting the gaze from the observer to the artist herself. By keeping track of family memory Ana tackles the issue of “dealing with the burden of identity transference” from a phenomenological perspective by provoking the space that’s “inbetween”, the one where the sharp acute sense of boundaries which mark the distance that is so crucial to the potential of identification is annulled. Personal territory of course. Identity is a work in progress.

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Review on Claes Oldenburg’s MUMOK exhibition Comeandcheck.it, 12th March 2012.

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PEOPLE, space, identity

Cakes, pastries, chips and plugs!


In early February at the Vienna MUMOK Claes Oldenburg’s largest retrospective yet opened. He was a pioneer of pop art and a chronicler of all the absurdities tied to a consumer society. This weekend while visiting Vienna, we checked out the exhibition “The Sixties,” an exhibition that offers a really detailed insight into his production: as many as 300 exhibits set up throughout the museum’s four floors, following his earliest work from the early 1960s onwards up to his recent work created directly for

pop art, conceptual, consumerism, nationality

the Vienna retrospective, while the exhibition “closes” with the Mouse Museum installation. His lifelong collaboration with his spouse and partner Coosje van Bruggen is for the most part manifested in public sculptures worldwide, thus the retrospective provides detailed insight into the development of a concept from sketch to scale model. Due to the exceptional fragility of particular works created by Oldenburg, the costs of the set-up ran fairly high and there probably won’t be an opportunity to repeat the exhibition to this extent any time soon. The exhibition is undersigned by the curator Achim Hochdörfer, one of the currently most active art theorists of the 1960s and ‘70s. Whether due to more or less all Vienna museum mastodons that try to “jam pack” a ridiculously huge amount of works into a retrospective set-up (case in point: Rene Magritte’s retrospective in Albertina), or due to the particular artistic oeuvre of Oldenburg himself, the exhibition “The Sixties” succeeds in providing an excellent insight into this specific time of awakening and blossoming of the consumer culture in America (but worldwide as well). Numerous works per se are analogue to the abundance of consumer production, where Oldenburg’s work seems like a Utopian concept to strive towards not omitting even one ARTefact of mass production. The retrospective is followed by 13


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a months-long project of the museum (on view from January to September 2012), an exhibition of the MUMOK’s permanent collection entitled ‘Pop and the Sixties’ including works from Johns, Warhol, Hockney and many other pop art pioneers, providing an adequate broader context that shaped Oldenburg’s work. The central premise of Oldenburg’s art is his preoccupation with

pop art, conceptual, consumerism, nationality

everyday industrially produced objects: whether he’s viewing them as disposable objects, luxury out of content, reproduced in ads or even cast away on the streets, he never criticizes, but treats them with irony and a grand dose of humor, almost as if he’s basking in their sheer banality. Oldenburg was born in 1929 in Stockholm, but soon moved to Chicago, then New York, what had an exceptional impact on his artistic creativity. The exhibition detects this moment as a turning point for the creation of his Ray Gun myth, that is, an object shaped as a gun for which he believed emitted energy that could revive anything: everyday things, art and even artists and art market strategies. “Its goal is,” the artist says, “to populate the world with hallucinations, breathe life into inanimate objects and transform everyday banalities into something interesting and meaningful.” Ray Gun was actually the artist’s alter-ego, ready to make all things valuable or at least provide a new perspective. The street was precisely the first thing Oldenburg used as a strategy for livening things up, where he, inspired by graffiti, obscene X-rated posters for pornographic movies or regular tarmac dirt, created his first big installations, obviously under the influence of the still actual ‘art informel’. Expressive perishability and ephemerality of street apparitions becomes an obsessive dimension in his early work, while the gigantic installations 15


evoke figures of the homeless and prostitutes. Leaving the liveliness of New York behind for a short period, Claes moved to a small province up north, where he, fascinated by the concept of American awareness of nationality, produced a series of flags made from wood and plaster, completely different features than the usual breezy flapping Americana. The culture starting to manifest itself in consummation and production, the glorifying of all things national and preserving family values, is what was to become an inseparable part of the artist’s personality. The artistic answer to that context started with a few plaster casts of iconic objects of that time from ‘The Store’ series: a defines Oldenburg’s recognizable early work is the gigantic slice of cake, created in 1962, a completely absurd and grotesque soft sculpture that’s simultaneously attractive and abhorrent. The cake as a symbol of pleasure and abundance was molded into an obese canvas structure that keeps on becoming increasingly repellant, like excrement of the consumerism industry. It introduces us to his recognizable world of deflated household appliances entitled ‘The Home’ which float around like some kind of lifeless dolls from the museum’s ceiling. In considerable contrast to the expressive quality of the objects from ‘The Store’ series, here we have three oversized vinyl plugs, on the verge of minimal art, but ignoring its ideological aspects. The combination of minimalism in form and pop art in message seems an almost impossible combination, while it really reflects all the possibilities of the new hit-material, plastic, which slowly but surely started becoming omnipresent. An exceptionally interesting case study is the gigantic lipstick positioned next to various other objects, and this phallic motif is to become his first 16

PEOPLE, space, identity

men’s business suit or French fries and ketchup. Still, what really


realized public sculpture from 1964. Oldenburg’s sense of humor is most expressive here, starting from the gigantic plugs, through vacuums, mixers and bathroom parts, bearing in mind the then boom of the American industry of household appliances and numerous magazines that endorsed the profession of being a “housewife”, giving it almost cult status. His ‘Soft Bathtub’ is extremely interesting, seeming like

pop art, conceptual, consumerism, nationality

a ghost hanging from the ceiling, or at least the suit of a ghost from then horror movies and comic strips. This tragicomic form can be perceived as an apparition in his many works from his ‘Bathroom Objects’ series, with a desire to awaken the myth of mysteriousness and an inherent presence of the living. All objects have slowly but surely become ambassadors of neo-avantgarde pop art which has an effect of contemporary archeology, striving to not let even one trace of current existence out of sight. Oldenburg’s film and photographic opus wasn’t neglected at the retrospective, displayed at the MUMOK for the first time. His films and photos are works from the early 1950s, snippets of social events that influenced his work. They brilliantly illustrate the way the artist succeeded in singling out objects for artistic interventions. In conclusion, as a summary of his whole artistic development and transformation, the exhibition ends with an insight into his preoccupation with the Mickey Mouse motif. It all started in 1963 with designing a poster for one of his own exhibitions in Los Angeles, and later started implementing a silhouette of a mouse with big ears into various films, sculptures and even into the project of his own museum. This simple form isn’t derived 17


PEOPLE, space, identity • Pastry Case I, Claes Oldenburg, 1961-62.

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just from the cartoon character, but evokes the earliest filming cameras. The impressive and completely personal Oldenburg museum (within a museum) in the shape of a mouse is the last display of the exhibition, a challenging treasury of his motifs. For many years Oldenburg obsessively collected numerous small objects: children’s toys, randomly found objects, ray guns, kitsch

pop art, conceptual, consumerism, nationality

gobelins, completely useless and weird stuff from everyday life. He named this collecting and categorizing of all objects with the aim to embrace the universality of production the museum of modern art n.y.c. This collection stood as an unfinished concept that slowly came to life at the Document 5 in Kassel, 1972, while it really sprung to life in 1977 as a real installation named the Mouse Museum. A small labyrinth where silhouettes of consumerism culture can be viewed behind glass panes, mark the beginning and end of culture as we know it according to Oldenburg.

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Review on Dan Perjovschi’s artistic practice Comeandcheck.it, 17th September 2012.

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PEOPLE, space, identity

An artistic answer to immigrant integration policies


Germany. The Promised Land for workers from most of the Eastern Europe, Turkey and Italy. Traditionally called “the land of the Gastarbeiters” (“guest workers”), Germany never agreed to publicly declare itself as a culture and a society constituted of a large immigrant population. Even though it has been active in major international migrations during the last 40 years, Germany – at least at the national political level – is only now slowly beginning to understand what local authorities learned long ago: how to hold a successful dialogue with cultural minorities and immigrants. It is impossible to overlook the fact that as much as 5% of the population is of Turkish minority, who, after all, identity, immigration, europe

somewhat managed to establish its status within the German society, which resulted in the celebration of the 50th anniversary of German-Turkish friendship that took place last year. However, the booming economy, which was the main motive for the large immigration, is in slow decline due to the current global recession, and the cultural differences are becoming more pronounced. In fact, regardless of how long one has been living in Germany, the priority of employment is exclusively reserved for the Germans, which turns the presence of minorities, again, into a pressing issue. Nevertheless, some German cities, due to successful local policies, managed to secure an environment of equal relations and coexistence with the minorities by insisting on the idea of integration rather than assimilation. One of the top tier cities considering clear policies toward minorities is Stuttgart. This center of the Baden-Württemberg province has a population of (only) 600 000, 24% of which are immigrants. It is the center of the automobile industry – Mercedes-Benz and Porsche (the symbols of luxury and high living) – whose workers traditionally 21


PEOPLE, space, identity • East meet West, Dan Perjovschi, 2007.

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come from Eastern European countries. Although the provincial economy is mainly based on exploiting the resources of foreigners residing in Germany, the city of Stuttgart is actively trying to include immigrants in local politics. The city has the Foreigners’ Advisory City Council, which gave an impetus to important projects emphasizing mutual understanding between different groups within the population. Of the total number of immigrants in Stuttgart, 17% are of Turkish minority, while the Croatian minority constitutes 10% of the population. The integration policy of Stuttgart is visible on all levels identity, immigration, europe

– educational, which enables minority children to attend supplementary schools in their mother languages; on the level of various projects that strive to improve the quality of housing for minorities by allowing them to apply for city-owned apartments in the city center; on the level of various cultural programs, most prominent of which is the IFA - Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations). The IFA has been active in Stuttgart for 41 years, and it has earned its status of a world organization promoting the exchange of artists and the dialogue within the civil society, even though it has been financed by the city of Stuttgart and the Baden-Württemberg province, and not by the state. Apart from the Language Learning Center, a publishing house and a library, the IFA is becoming a major factor on the Stuttgart art scene as well, through a gallery which promotes dialogue with immigrants and foreign artists. This year, the IFA is celebrating the country’s cultural diversity with a series of exhibitions by artists of Turkish, Eastern European and African descent. The exhibition concept “Solo for...” is currently on display, featuring Dan and Lia Perjovschi – Romanian artists23


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revolutionaries of the Ceausescu’s regime – who are now celebrating the 20th anniversary of their careers and of their first IFA exhibition in Stuttgart. The topicality of Dan Perjovschi’s art practice is not even beginning to dwindle. He is an artist whose illustrations published in daily papers after the fall of the totalitarian regime in Romania earned him a global celebrity status. In his illustrations, he dealt with the political, economic and cultural status of the society in which we/ he live/s, by taking a strong critical approach accompanied by a

identity, immigration, europe

specific art-brut/ad-hoc style. His style slowly developed along with the return of freedom of speech in the Romanian society after 1991, and as the printed word found its way to everyone, so did Perjovschi’s illustrations. Art that is not only critical but ironic, not only provocative but humorous; art which cannot be found in a gallery but rather on the street, in pamphlets and newspapers; art which is always and under any circumstances completely independent – that is Dan Perjovschi’s motto. Whether he is tackling the left or the rightwing politics, the EU, ecology, globalization or religion, he always lucidly notes contradictions, paradoxes, cowardice and heroism in the actions of governments and major global turning points. The issue of immigration holds a special place in his work – he constructs visual and textual oppositions in his simple drawings, which result in a simultaneous feeling of compassion, humor, along with a strong reality check of Europe which prides itself on its mock multiculturalism. The emphasis was placed on this particular segment of his work, making it possible to gain an insight into his drawings which detect all the political changes which were occurring in the (Western) European treatment of immigrants. 25


PEOPLE, space, identity • City – Megacity, Dan Perjovschi, 2007.

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He has published his caricatures and illustrations in numerous Romanian, French, British and US daily, weekly and monthly papers. It is interesting how Perjovschi’s work in the museums and galleries always involves direct interventions on the walls; in museums such as MACRO in Rome, MoMA in New York, Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, Portikus in Frankfurt. The same goes for the IFA where he did not hesitate from touching upon the delicate issues present in Stuttgart, such as the reconstruction of the Hauptbahnhof, that is, the infamous project Stuttgart 21. identity, immigration, europe

However, his most highly-profiled work was definitely his project of drawing (intervening) on the Italian pavilion at the Venice Biennale, in 2007. Without any pretenses of becoming a part of eternity, or a chronicle, Perjovschi’s drawings are created with disposable media; they are by nature somewhat ephemeral, yet – at this historical moment – irreplaceable. The critique of the neoliberal society, as seen through the eyes of a witness of totalitarianism, reflects a desire for a world in which every person has the right to the best possible life. From a different perspective, Lia Perjovschi, his partner in life and art, complements the exhibition with a curatorial approach: by means of chosing, collecting, sorting and archiving ideas, concepts, thoughts and events that have marked the 20th and 21st centuries. What is critical theory, self-help, how to change the world... Similar to the process of creating mental maps, Lia Perjovschi assembles the history of ideas, which she portrays as interchangeable complexities of the Universe itself, of the Earth, biology and organisms. All is connected, and we are all one in a singular moment in time. 27


Interview with Rem D. Koolhaas, United Nude creative director Comeandcheck.it, 6th May 2011.

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PEOPLE, space, identity

Walking a mile in Koolhaas’ shoes


During the last few years, trendsetters worldwide updated their list with the United Nude brand which we previously featured here. The collaboration between Rem D. Koolhaas and Galahad Clark became known for its innovative shoe design and creative collaboration with architects, fashion designers, artists, and fashion editors. By designing furniture, and even a concept car, they proved that design knows no boundaries and that only sky is the limit. Each pair of United Nude shoes is a reinterpretation of a certain architectural object or experimentation with various materials and colors: their first shoe, Mobius, now an icon itself, is inspired fashion, design, 3d print

by Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona armchair. Its unique design is the result of a single piece of strap which forms the sole, the heel, and the upper part of the sandal. Charles and Ray Eames’s aluminum office chair inspired them in making Eamz shoes – pumps which have a piece of chair for a heel which makes the shoe seem like it’s defying gravity. United Nude developed an interesting project called Lo Res (Low resolution: decreasing 3D resolution of a product to get less pixels and more space in shape of a triangle, which enables a reinterpretation and the recycling of existing products such as shoes, bottles and cars, thus getting new shapes and characteristics – creating new design) and worked with the fashion designer Iris van Herpen on limited editions. We talked to United Nude’s creative executive Rem D. Koolhaas during the opening of their store in Zagreb. Preparing for this interview, I found that in the media you are mostly referred to as “the starchitect’s nephew” – as the nephew of the renowned architect Rem 29


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Koolhaas. It seems your identity is closely connected to him. That must be a pretty good starting point for starting business. What is your experience? Does it bother you? How much, or at all, has he influenced your work as a designer? Well, I prefer that they explain it like that, rather than they confuse me with him. Reporters often confuse me with him and tell me that they expected an older man, and then I have to explain that there are two of us, existing separately. It’s difficult to speak about his influence because I come from a family of architects and designers. My father is an architect, and Rem is his fashion, design, 3d print

cousin. I can say that I had a good childhood in which I learned most from my parents. I don’t think I learned anything from him growing up because he was always very busy and he never spent much time with us. It was during my college years that I began to understand his work and gain interest in it. Can you explain what United Nude is about, what is its mission statement and who are the shoes for? United Nude started when the Mobius shoe was a concept, which I thought was very important. The brand is the result of thinking about creating the shoe – the shoe was a problem which needed a solution. United Nude is about moving boundaries in design, technology, and thinking. I believe we’ve offered a quality product which became a brand that is finding its place on the world market. In presenting shoes you pay a lot of attention to the design of your flagship stores. It sort of gets us closer to total design. Where do you get ideas for store design?

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Concerning store design concepts, we figured out that we needed to find a model that would become very effective and that could be applied anywhere. It may seem somewhat boring, but if you had to design space so that each store has a different concept, that wouldn’t be financially feasible. I think our model is very simple, and very effective. It’s about simple, dark space with shelves lighted by LEDs which change light and highlight shoes. The contrast between the dark space and the lighted wall is actually a brand, and original enough to be remembered. It’s important that it makes people react, even if it’s in a negative way. The stores need to have an identity – Prada did the same when they had the same green walls and the same black and white tiles on the floors what they can expect and at what price they can get it. Do you have a foot fetish? What is your favorite pair of United Nude shoes? I wouldn’t call myself a fetishist, but I admit to liking nice proportions. It comes from my childhood when I took trips with my family and we spent days looking at buildings and going to exhibitions. One time I was with a girl who had a wider foot, so when I designed a shoe, she couldn’t put it on. I realized that relationship didn’t have a future. It’s not like beautiful feet turn me on, but ugly ones will sure put me off. My favorite shoe changes every several months, but Mobius is certainly the shoe that changed my life. I designed a model of it in 1999, and it was very advanced for that time. After that, I started the company. The shoe takes the form of infiniteness because it’s made from a single piece, and that was pretty challenging to do. It’s also an infinite source of ideas for me.

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in their first 200 stores. That’s how our business partners know


How important is it to work with a person who knows traditional tricks of the shoemaker trade – like your partner Galahad Clark? That’s not as important as cooperating with quality factories where people know how to turn your idea into reality and make a comfortable product. But all of our shoes are actually completely different from the usual shape and therefore require different manufacturing technologies. It seems as if traditional shoemaking is working against us. We used to work with the wrong people who didn’t understand us, but now I realize it’s

fashion, design, 3d print

important to be a part of the manufacturing process. I read somewhere that it takes a year and a half to make a good shoe, just like building a house. What’s with the trend of architects (Zaha, Gehry) designing shoes? You can do it a lot faster. We didn’t know how to manufacture Mobius so it took a long time, especially because I’ve never designed a shoe before. The most difficult part is making a one-piece mould. Developing a new model takes about a year. I don’t know where architects get the interest to design shoes, but Gehry’s shoes aren’t very architectural – they’re actually quite old-fashioned. Zaha, on the other hand, is a fetishist – she has lots of them and she adores them. That’s where she gets her interest in shoe design. She used to spend a lot of money on shoes. She loved high heels, but she doesn’t wear them anymore. How much do you use advanced software and modern material in your work? I’m referring to the collaboration with Iris van Herpen who used 3D printers to make clothes, and I think that’s only 33


PEOPLE, space, identity • Mobius, United Nude

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possible with smaller objects. We used the “rapid prototyping” technology for the first time in making Mobius shoes in 2001. At that time it was difficult to find someone in Netherlands who had a laser scanner, and we had more or less successful attempts at it. Today at the office we use rapid prototyping and have a laser scanner, and I think it’s important to try new things, new technologies. I don’t think they’re more important than manufacturing, but you need to remember that shoemaking is a lo-tech process because it involves people making shoes with their hands. I think fashion should be rather innovative, it should push boundaries, just like fashion, design, 3d print

Iris does, but there aren’t many Irises out there. Today fashion is more about recycling than experimenting. The same goes for architecture – you still can’t print out an entire house, but I hope that will be possible one day. I don’t get the impression that you’re inspired by fashion or trends in shoe design. I think it’s interesting how you turn the design of modernist classics into shoes, and the way you play with stealth form. That can sometimes turn into kitsch. How do you know where the line is between kitsch and good design? We try not to be too serious in our work, we try to play. If we use something that’s classic in our design, even kitsch, we combine it with our form. For example, we combined a classic pump with a wide square heel – that’s quite a contrast. And that’s the interesting part – take things that don’t go together and combine them. It makes the modern look more modern, and the oldfashioned more old-fashioned. Sometimes we get overboard, so we turn combining down a notch. The worst feeling we get is when after weeks of designing we realize the thing we’ve been working 35


PEOPLE, space, identity • Fold Hi, United Nude

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on is boring and that it annoys us. It means the design is bad. We try to avoid that. I think we’re doing a pretty good job, especially compared to a lot of designers who do more stupid than good stuff. I think we make a lot of good things, but sometimes we turn out a bad one. As a designer, you have to love your work. Who are your favorite designer and architect? I think I’m my own favorite designer, because I believe in what I do. But I’m not my favorite architect. When I’d believe there are other people who can do my job better than me, that would be the reason to stop doing it. Of course, there are a lot of people who fashion, design, 3d print

are just as good and interesting, and I could go on forever listing their names. I love lots of different things in architecture – you can’t say who’s better: Foster or Hadid. So I don’t have a favorite architect. But the classics are definitely Mies, Le Corbusier, Niemeyer…

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Interview with designer Ross Lovegrove Comeancheck.it, 7th September 2010

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PEOPLE, space, identity

To think the impossible


Ross Lovegrove is one of the most interesting and by far most progressive industrial designers of today. His approach to design is almost laboratory, fully scientific, and somewhat experimental. This pioneer of organic essentialism was born in 1958 in Wales. Having finished the Manchester Polytechnic University, he continued his education at the Masters of Design program at the Royal College of Art in London. In the early 1980s he started his career at Frog Design studio in which he began his project for SONY Walkman. His later projects included collaboration with tech, computer driven design, organic form

Apple, Jean Nouvel and Philippe Starck. His work has always featured elaborate fluid forms, which he brought up to the level of life philosophy. An “evolutionary biologist“ – as he refers to himself – stands for a new, futuristic wave of contemporary design, a new concept that constantly flirts with the impossible and always comes to impressive results. He is the author of iconic products and inventions, such as the Biomega bamboo bicycle, the DNA staircase, the “Supernatural” chairs, and many others. We talked to “Captain Organic” Lovegrove on the occasion of visit to Future Now:Vol.1, the festival of design and innovations held in Rovinj, Croatia. Could you explain to us your nickname, “Captain Organic”? Well, it was made up by a good friend of mine, Greg Lynn, a great architect, who deals with mathematical principles in the creation of new forms. At one occasion he called me that way, someone heard it, wrote down, and the rest is history. But no, you won’t find me by that name in the yellow pages… I personally find it amusing and I think it shows the character of my work. What inspires you in you work?

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PEOPLE, space, identity • A Portrait of Ross Lovegrove (b.1958.)

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The conceptual part of it. The effort to find new ways of presenting old things, new working processes for the 21st century, and to combine the beauty and the creative logic. The beauty that inspires you the same way the art does, but at the same time consists of an inherent intelligence. However, most interesting for me is to deal with projects important to all of us – such as environmental issues. How would you describe your work and why is it so tech, computer driven design, organic form

innovative? I think it is out of the box. My work is extra-terrestrial. I try to think as if anything is possible, and to remove all mental boundaries. It can be dangerous sometimes, but I am the master of my fate. I don’t want to deal with the past or do anything „retro“, I always aim at being completely contemporary. Could you explain to us the methodology of your work? Do you make sketches or use only computer programs? First of all, before I have it all sorted out in my head, I think a lot about potential problematic situations. Having done that, I put them on the paper, make sketches, return to office and give them to most loyal associates to scan them. After the discussion about the project, everything is done by the computer. The computer is the only device capable of visualizing exactly what I want; it possesses specific kind of beauty and logic that I aim for. The computer defines parameters of what a certain project would look like. I like to enter my office and see a pile of different projects simultaneously created by a computer program. So, it all comes down to computer logic. It allows us to do completely new things, discover new languages, as well as to make mistakes and start from the beginning. 41


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PEOPLE, space, identity


Which invention or design product was in your opinion most influential for the society and for the course of history? I think it was the telephone and the concept of telecommunication. The first telephone transfer was patented by Guglielmo Marconi in Wales, where I was born. To some extent, this context influenced my work as well. At the same time, everything Apple produces today is equally impressive. At the moment, my tech, computer driven design, organic form

answer to your question would be the IPhone. Therefore, the idea of communication embodied in one object is an immensely important moment in the history. What do you expect of design in future, what kind of parameters should it follow? Most probably, the idea of ecological efficiency and the issue of self-sustainability. These are the problems addressed to all of us, and especially young designers should encourage this type of products. It is primarily the matter of our own environment which we must preserve. However, the products should be aesthetically and qualitatively well designed. There is, for example, nothing wrong in a nicely designed chair that would last for ten thousand years. Design is the combination of numerous factors; the industry, and the market. Of course, not everything that I create is great; I make a lot of mistakes which, on the other hand, bring me to some revolutionary ideas in design, as was the case with the automobile design which gave me new guidelines for the future. Is there an artist or an architect who you admire and who you’d like to collaborate with? It would be wonderful to work with Anish Kapoor who I 43


PEOPLE, space, identity • Cosmic Angel Lamp, Ross Lovegrove, 2009.

44


personally know. I especially admire his emotional engagement. I don’t know what we would do together, but I believe that an exchange of ideas would be great. Or with Kazuo Seyima who creates purified, modern architecture, and it might be interesting if I brought something “organic” to it. I enjoyed her design of the Biennial exhibition, which was poetical and artistically impressive. It was interesting because it dealt with various problems – environment, structures and materials, and it generally didn’t look like the Biennial of Architecture. I find tech, computer driven design, organic form

this innovative and desired: instead of telling people what they already know, she inspires them to think differently. What kind of new project can we expect from you in the near future? Well, I’m trying to evolve different things simultaneously and have similar answer to them. I’m currently designing shoes, a boat, even one church with a friend Greg Lynn in Brasil. There is also one art installation in Milan and Turine…a lot of different projects that I’m doing the best I can.

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An essay on preoccupation of sight in Vanja Trobic’s work Prostor Gallery Zagreb, February 2010.

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PEOPLE, space, identity

Family portrait


In his text Camera Lucida, Barthes says that photography, as the only material evidence of irreversible past, derives its power and its cultural importance by being deeply rooted in the traditional role of the family. However, he is aware that there is something in photography completely inaccessible - such as the inability of the reconstruction of the physiognomy and habits of referents. Function which is in the process of constructing identity taken over by a family album / portrait, testifies about our attachment to representational forms and acceptance of cultural codes. Can photography function like a personal reminder of the loved ones? Is it really able to reconstruct our image of these people, does it really strengthen our memories of specific events or simply prove painting, memory, sight

that they occurred, sometimes at personal history? Vanja’s intimate act formed in series of 50 personal memories / family portraits, “going out” to public space, turns out just as deconstruction, stripping and playing with the cultural codes. People, animals and objects that were in her life were the carriers of individual memories, identities, are now becoming actors of a new reality. Their poses, on the other hand, belong to universal rhetoric gestures, conventions that define the ways in which the photography had to be performed. Using family photos as templates for kind of remembering exercise, Vanja takes “photos” again. She does it almost literally, using the media of analog photos, which she then scannes and digitally restructures. She manipulates their faces, hiding their sights primarily through the grid point (“because the eyes are the mirror of the soul”). The sight is the most important segment: view between the camera and subjects; mutual views of the characters; sight between the observer and photos - all becomes questionable by this simple intervention. In this way, works get almost industrial texture, like the mass produced images. Deleting the identity then 47


PEOPLE, space, identity • A Portrait with dog, Vanja Trobic, 2010.

48


becomes a reference point, more tangible than real characters. Identity is fluid anyway, unmarked, manipulative. It is a process that examines not only the concept of the family, but examines already established forms of representation. Therefore, Vanja provides a new framework for family portraits, not the golden

painting, memory, sight

one, but the framework of her own interpretations.

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people, SPACE, identity

SPACE


history, modernism, architecture

social state, church, sacral, lightness, public space, street, participation, guerilla urbanism, reclaiming, protests,

pop art, conceptual, consumerism, nationality, knowledge, books, extrovert, introvert, museum, democracy, capitalism,

New paradigm of society had brought about a

new understanding of space. What is space today,

understood beyond a mere definition of built

environment, who defines it, who manipulates it –

these are some topics dealt with in a series of interviews

titled SPACE.

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A cultural comparation between Stuttgart’s Neue Bibliothek and Zßrich Oechslin Bibliothek Comeandcheck.it, 23rd October 2012.

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people, SPACE, identity

A tale of two libraries why libraries are not only about books?


In his well-known short story “The Library of Babel”, Jorge Louis Borges tells a story of a huge library contained within a spatial universe made of hexagonal rooms which are interconnected via stairways and hallways. Furthermore, each room has four bookshelves, and the layout of the rooms is seemingly meaningless. The library holds all the books, translated on all the known languages, with all the variations and all the existing mistakes, on all the levels of truthfulness and meaning. The books contained within the library are all identical in volume and format, and all of them are composed of an infinite combination knowledge, books, extrovert, introvert

of the 23 letters of the alphabet. Henceforth, there is an infinite number of books without any meaning or sense. Nonetheless, the users of this library believe in a perfect, yet complex and therefore utterly unfathomable logic of the layout of the rooms and the books held within them. Other than the library, meaningless in its existence since it holds too much uncatalogued information, the multitude of which causes librarians to despair, the author still speculates about the existence of a hexagonal room in the library’s center where the books’ register is stored, and the overseeing librarian with god-like powers. The librarians can only wish that, someday, they might find this unique, meaningful book. In the age of hypertext, this parable about the depletion of human knowledge and its simultaneous complexity and elusiveness, is more relevant than ever. Google and the open source search engines process an infinite number of texts, works and records, calling into question the very existence of libraries. Why even build libraries – as many would have every right to ask – these obsolete buildings for an outdated media? Are today’s libraries perhaps built only as nostalgic remainders 53


people, SPACE, identity • Werner Oechslin Library in Zurich, Mario Botta, 2006. Interior.

54


of a time that is being ruthlessly trampled over by technocracy, or is it a symbol of elitism and intellectual power and superiority? Or do libraries maybe still have one comparative advantage over Google and hypertextuality – the systematization and cataloging; that is, the concepts we desperately lack today – an order and a system. Exactly one year ago, the Neue Bibliothek was opened in Stuttgart – a new city landmark celebrating human knowledge. The project bears the signature of a Korean architect and professor, knowledge, books, extrovert, introvert

Eun Young Yi, and it seems to be a conventional monumental cube with an extremely austere and symmetrical facade. Due to these exterior features, the citizens of Stuttgart named the building Stammheim II, referring to the infamous prison in Stuttgart where the RAF members were once imprisoned. Regardless of whether this moniker is appropriately ascribed, the fact is that the library is situated in the middle of the city’s largest construction site – the future European Quarter, a housing and business development project worth a staggering 550 million euros. However, the library will stay in the center of the construction site for only a short while, until in 2015 the 21st century temple – a shopping mall – will be erected in the center of the Europaviertel. Of course, the whole quarter will be interconnected with the controversial railway reconstruction project, Stuttgart 21. This monumental cube (a correct name for it, in any case) overlooks the city – it is situated in a hollow of the surrounding hills, its position testifying to its importance. Nine times nine openings on the facade seem pretty menacing, as they bring back to memory certain examples of totalitarian architecture, although the total austerity of the building is (successfully) mitigated by the nighttime play of the blue fluorescent light which spills 55


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people, SPACE, identity


through the openings. On the one hand - the austere exterior; on the other – the feeling of awe created by the interior, as if entering a sacral building. Be it the architect’s plan or simply an inherent feeling of a visitor, the Neue Bibliothek in some aspects seems exactly like Borges’ library. In one of his poems he wrote: “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of a library“, and the whiteness and cleanliness of the Neue Bibliothek’s interior clearly points to the notion of paradise. This “paradise” is austere, almost like knowledge, books, extrovert, introvert

a hospital, perhaps devoid of any irony or sarcasm, but with a dignity which books deserve. The interior is, of course, entirely white, with an opening in the ceiling, a lighthouse strong enough to guides the least imaginative ones to experience something otherworldly. The absence of chairs and furniture once again glorifies the enormous fascination with the emptiness. The library reveals its other face in the room where the books are arranged in the shape of an “inverted pyramid” that reaches to the transparent ceiling. The “floating” access stairways rhythmically break up the space, opening different vistas if its monochromatic atmosphere colored only by the vertically arranged book ridges. In any case, the Neue Bibliothek is certainly an architecturally significant project which places the neglected book into the foreground. However, it unavoidably shapes the new stratification of the city reserved only for the richest. Furthermore, it is a project designed to mitigate the negative perception of Stuttgart 21, combining its content with all the features of a modern city. Werner Oechslin Bibliothek, a private library in the small town of Einsiedeln, half an hour drive from Zurich, represents an entirely different example of a library and bibliophilia. Werner Oechslin 57


people, SPACE, identity • Neue Stadtbibliothek in Stuttgart, Eun Young Yi, 2011. Exterior.

58


is a renaissance man in every aspect: this professor emeritus, a theoretician of architecture and art historian, dedicated his life to collecting rare booksin the field of theory and history of architecture, ranging from the 15th to 20th century. His impressive book collection often contains all editions of a certain work, including Vitruvius’ and Alberti’s. What is really fascinating is the commitment and dedication of one man to a book; to books which might even be losing their primary function of providing knowledge and information, knowledge, books, extrovert, introvert

because, valuable as they are, they are becoming an end in themselves. There is also a matter of the enclosed, slightly solitary nature of the library which is situated right next to the pilgrims’ path leading to the Einsiedeln Sanctuary. Recognized and accepted by the Swiss society, and especially by the ETH, Oechslin was awarded with the construction project of a private library, realized by Mario Botta in 2006. The brick volumes of the private library are positioned as a rampart, with very narrow openings preventing the sunlight from entering the interior. The center holds an unexpected detail – a rotund with a replica of the Code of Hammurabi and a galvanized ceiling, done in a completely Babylonian style. As the owner of the collection explains, this was done in an attempt to physically represent the mental order present in a small and private library. All the books are arranged in such a way that they are accessible to the visitor almost in a single glance - arranged in such a way that their contexts, i.e. the adjacent books, reveal the most about them. Knowledge is not individual or separated here – rather, it is presented as a cultural history. Both examples of libraries – the public and the private one – wistfully pay their respect to books, hoping that they would survive these turbulent technocratic times. 59


An architectural review on Chipperfield’s Kunsthaus Zßrich Comeandcheck.it, 10th October 2012.

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people, SPACE, identity

Does architecture depend on people? Or people on architecture?


In Switzerland, the question of money is often secondary, especially when it comes to culture. Indeed, the official, as well as the independent cultural scene in Switzerland are doing rather well due to extremely big sponsorship funds coming primarily from private companies and banks. Art is associated with prestige, wealth is prestigious, and therefore, Switzerland ranks among four leading countries on the global art market, with some of the highest auction prices. Followed by significantly less media hype than Christie’s or Sotheby’s, the Swiss auction houses museum, democracy, capitalism, social state

earn much more profit than the above mentioned. Yet, almost ironically, the bank management is much more transparent than the management of the Swiss cultural institutions, museums and auction houses. Another interesting fact is that the collections of the Swiss museums hold the majority of capital artworks relevant in art history. The impressive collections that hold rare works by the pioneers of Impressionism, Matisse’s collages, Gauguin’s first works from Tahiti, a significant part of Van Gogh’s oeuvre, are mostly privately owned and they found their way to the museums as generous donations. The scandal that shook the Swiss art market and the museum collections occurred two years ago, when it was discovered that private collectors and regional museums hold works – in the total value of as much as 15 billion pounds – which the Nazis stole during the World War II. These artworks, although declared decadent and degenerate by the Nazi criminals, were stored in some of the largest Swiss museums. Most of them were the Impressionists, although numerous works of the old masters were also present. It’s difficult to say how the Swiss cultural scene coped with such a revelation, but the fact is that these collections still hold a considerable number of works of “ambiguous” origins. The presently largest Swiss cultural investment is the potential construction of a new modern art museum building at Zurich’s 61


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Kunsthaus. This issue is filling the media headlines and all the newspaper editions. The old building, designed by the “father of Swiss modernism”, Karl Moser, was erected in 1910. Although in the last 100 years it has witnessed the addition of a modern extension and the interpolation within the protected medieval Zurich’s center, its size and conditions are still inadequate for the collections and various exhibitions. Four years ago, a tender for the design of the new Kunsthaus museum, democracy, capitalism, social state

building was announced. David Chipperfield Architects won the first prize, while the Swiss team Gigon/Guyer took the second. The Chipperfield’s design was welcomed with the standing ovations from the Swiss cultural scene and political players, being described as “much more than an extension; ascetic elegance that meets all the requirements for a 21st century museum; a flexible game for the arts” – these and various other phrases were aimed at justifying the design. Nonetheless, the fact is that this project, immediately after being declared a winner, had to be revised in accordance with the context. Namely its volume, as it was quite larger than the proscribed limits, had to be reduced for as much as 6%. The facade, with vertical stone pilasters achieving its form, unifies all floors featuring classical interior spatial organization of gallery rooms, with a monumental lobby. Only slight dynamics of the interior is achieved with the details composed of vertically positioned galvanized pipes. Overall, this is an extremely conventional and conservative project for a building which is supposed to represent a museum for the 21st century. The complete absence of the building’s character (something we would expect a museum of modern art to have) can perhaps be attributed to the good measure of the Swiss and their wish not to stand out, their austere inclination. Yet, although the initial project has been reduced, its dimensions 63


people, SPACE, identity • Proposal for new Kunsthaus in Zurich, David Chipperfield, 2012.

64


are still considerable, imposing itself on the nearby church. The building itself, its model, its details, and all the possible blueprints, are currently on display in the “old” Kunsthaus, as a part of the exhibition titled “Das Neue Kunsthaus. Grosse Kunst und Architektur”, which opened a couple of days ago. What is interesting is that this is a very “political” exhibition, a lobbying exhibition, since, in fact, no capital construction in Switzerland can be done without first being adopted by a referendum. This museum, democracy, capitalism, social state

is something completely inconceivable to us in the field of architecture, let alone in case of actual construction. It would be unthinkable, for example, to ask Croatian citizens to declare their opinion on the construction of the (present) Museum of Modern Art. Let alone the costs of organizing such a manifestation of vox populi. The referendum for the above mentioned museum will be held on the 25th of November, and then the citizens of Zurich will decide if they want to allocate a part of their tax money for the museum’s construction. It should be clear that we’re talking about fair amounts of money – about 180 billion francs – which are to be financed as public-private partnership. This is also one of the harsher criticisms directed at the Chipperfield’s museum project, who, after insisting on the idea of the common ground in Venice, on democracy and justice, completely lost touch with the problems of financing and the astronomical costs of his recent projects. The citizens always have the last word, as exemplified and perfected by Switzerland. Regardless of the behind-the-scenes political games and its outcome, architecture is always just a link in the chain of a well-organized social state – a part of someone’s shared space. 65


An essay on subtle spatial relations www.romanvlahovic.com, September 2008.

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people, SPACE, identity

Forest city


Tree What would a house or a city look like if a tree was taken as its main spatial element? A tree can thus be understood as a space, change, nature, structure, identity or a frame, accompanied by all of its natural alternations. It is not „a tree versus architecture“ relation, but a process of mutual approptiation and suplementation. The living in nature, transformable composition, architecture

boundaries between the architectural space and nature are now set in a non-hierarchical symbiotic relationship with the aim of creating new spatial, phenomenological and natural qualities.

House The house is a transparent tower surrounded by trees. It is modulated by vertical perforations of a single continuous surface. The house is defined through three different spatial contexts provided by the forest. The main emphasis of the ground-floor of the house is a great hypostyle hall under the tree tops. The continuity of this ground-floor space creates the common basis of the new city. The second level of the house is nested into the tree crowns, providing conditions for life among the trees. The uppermost level, a scenic tree crown plateau, creates the atmosphere of tranquility and serenity. Along with the seasonal changes, the growth of the trees, the house itself becomes part of a continuous, dynamic modification of space. Almost like delicate unobtrusive greenhouses, the houses blend into the environment. The transparent envelope subtly defines habitable pockets of nature.

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people, SPACE, identity • Glass towers surrounded with trees, Forest city, Roman Vlahovic, 2008.

68


Hypostyle hall The tree, as its main spatial element, defines the hypostyle hall. The distribution of trees according to a predefined grid serves not only as a contextual element, but gives also impression of an interior landscape within the hypostyle hall. By placing four transparent houses in the forest, their diaphanous envelopes seem living in nature, transformable composition, architecture

to disappear. Nature thus becomes their boundless membrane, while the forest itself transforms into a building. Meadows and forest paths like squares and streets form new urban identity.

City A city is an interaction between solid and void, characterized by multiple layers of meaning. For a very long time, people were part of nature. By creating cities and architecture, we became part of our own invention, an artificial environment. The idea is to reintegrate nature into the city once again through the concept of the „forest city“ which would activate new dimensions of urbanity. The forest can function as a more inclusive vision of architecture that transcends rigid concepts of the city. The new urbanity of constant change would manifest itself through nature where indoor and outdoor distinctions are counterbalanced. The architecture of the “Forest city” defines the subtle spatial relations and creates the idea of a house designed according the laws of nature.

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An essay on antimemorial 47th Zagreb Exhibition of Architecture, 15th December 2012.

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people, SPACE, identity

Redefining a memorial


How should one treat a historical period marked by the hardship of war and destruction of culture and identity? The approach nowadays presented as the appropriate one, based on proliferation of national and religious symbols and affirmation of the heroic dimension of war, seems to be largely politically motivated. If a symbol of that sort becomes embodied in a monument, it reflects antimemorial, participatory memorial, public space, architecture

a value system that cannot be maintained forever. Besides, how is it possible that such an agonizing historical period should embrace valour as its single characteristic? Can we allow for collective memory to be deleted and replaced by a more suitable one defined by individual criteria? Therefore, in the process of commemorating our own memory we cannot accept the form with an imbedded meaning, one that is not adaptable to relativity of historical interpretations, or the form which cannot communicate with its temporal and spatial context. The design of war and victim memorials should aim at reduction of massive monumental sculptures that serve only to emphasize historical events. It is necessary to provide a free, “transparent� space devoid of any redundant national and religious symbolism, which would offer the context for responsible rethinking of history and dignified yet critical commemoration. Memorials are defined as materializations of collective history whose effects should catalyze and stimulate collective memory. However, the form of the so-called traditional, mimetic memorial has proved to be inadequate in case of memory preservation. This kind of traditional memorial form seems to stand for an unfinished gesture which uses a predefined form to conserve the memory. The process of recollection, an undeniably traumatic experience, especially in case of war victims and sufferings, becomes fixed by the use of the traditional memorial form whereas the visitor’s role is reduced to distant and passive observation. There is a need 71


people, SPACE, identity • Proposal for a war monument of the Croatian War, Roman Vlahovic, 2009.

72


for creating a space which would become a sensory experience and cause deep emotions and stimulate contemplation in the interaction with visitors. The aim is to redefine the idea of a monument as a public, symbolic act and to transform it to a form based on process, participation antimemorial, participatory memorial, public space, architecture

and reconciliation. A monument dedicated to invalids and victims of the Croatian War of Independence should not be built only upon a material basis; it should represent a synthesis of recollection and contemplation. Visitors’ participatory role should be emphasized in the creation a new memorial - antimemorial. The idea of the monument is not to achieve a fixed ambient, rather, it is conceived as a transformable composition whose meaning emerges from the ways we approach it and spend time within it. The shells, the dominant elements at the surface, are characterized by a gold brass colour which reflects light and conveys a ceremonial and dignified atmosphere. The subtle cuts can be interpreted as tectonic movements of the surface, or faults. The density of the shells increases at the place of the faults. The perforations evoke scars that have put a mark on war invalids. Those “scars�, however, reflect optimism, future, glorification of life. They are manifested as green spots, the nature, subject to the changes of seasons. The focus of the surface is marked by the highest point of its deformation and is achieved by rising one of its corners. The focus is not situated at the centre; nevertheless, it can be recognized in the cross section as the clear and logical element, especially noticeable from the pedestrian point of view. Being maximally raised, it put the final accent to the rhythmical pattern of the surface.

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An essay on new notion of sacral in architecture Wienerberger - Brick Award 12 Magazine, November 2012.

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people, SPACE, identity

Sacral beauty of the brick


Legend has it that in 1291 angels carried the Holy House from Nazareth to Trsat where it remained until 1294, when it was moved to Loreto. This legend is the starting point of the idea for the Pope John Paul II Hall, the new pastoral centre, designed by the Randić-Turato Architectural Office. The construction of the complex is tied to Pope John Paul’s third visit to Croatia in early 2003, when he consecrated the cornerstone of this project during his stay in Rijeka. Every year in August tens of thousands of believers and pilgrims church, sacral, lightness, public space

come to Trsat to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Trsat and the Franciscan Monastery and to take part in the celebrations in honour of the Virgin Mary. The project of the Pastoral Centre was developed due to the necessity of providing an area able to accommodate a large number of pilgrims while at the same time be a venue for various religious and cultural events. A specific heterogeneous system is yielded by focusing on the spatial context, existing topography, as well as the process of upgrading the complex micro-environment of the shrine (church) and monastery. The Pastoral Centre consists of three functional parts: a portico with a Z-shaped ground plan, a spacious square and the volume of the Hall itself, which assumes the shape of the archetypal house. Thanks to the slightly sloping square, it is possible to get an overview of the entire complex. A paved area, an extension of the already existent green areas, leads to the Hall across the portico. The portico acts as a transitory part between the secularity of the square and the sanctity of the Hall; thus heightening the role of contemplation and catharsis. The formation of the portico, which envelops a spacious public square, is a free interpretation of the existing cloister of the Franciscan Monastery typology. It is shaped by an irregular sequence of concrete panels generating a 75


people, SPACE, identity • Pope John Paul II Hall, Randic Turato, 2008.

76


dramatic play of shadows and light, the in-between spaces being used as incidental confession niches. The volume of the Hall stems from the existent architecture of the complex on Trsat and has been realized as its logical continuance. The shape of the construction is slightly reminiscent of the Holy House in Nazareth. It is made of terracotta, thus adhering to the Mediterranean tradition of covering the roofs with tiles. Subtle interspaces between the tiles on the faรงade and its porosity result in the atmosphere of flickering interior light. church, sacral, lightness, public space

Despite its monumentality, the Hall does not impose itself on the surrounding area but is rather an innate part of it, both in colour and shape. The amalgamation of sacral and secular public areas, of urban and symbolic dimension, as well as respecting the architectural heritage and realizing the new architectural language are fundamental characteristics of the Pastoral Centre in Trsat.

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Intervew with Jan Liesegang, member of Raumlabor, Berlin-based activist group Comeandcheck.it, 7th February 2012.

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people, SPACE, identity

The public should be included in planning policies!


In 1999 a group of Berlin-based architects gathered together under the name of Raumlabor, realizing the necessity of reacting against the wild and accelerated town planning immediately following the fall of the Wall. This new ‘Raumlabor dimension’ of contemplating the city itself as well as town planning assumed both subversive diversions within the public space, as well as playful methods and momentary installations which opposed the dominant model of architectural production. By using the

street, participation, public, guerilla urbanism

technique of guerilla town planning, Raumlabor managed to organize an opera in an abandoned subway station (the Eichbaum Opera), make a kitchen for the whole city at the main square (The Kitchen Monument) and place a hotel within an abandoned building. The concept of recycling which is set as an elemental task in their work is important in terms of viewing the future of limited resources. Raumlabor doesn’t refer to itself as an architectural office, but a society connected by common interests, currently outside the borders of Berlin planning. The group consists of nine members (Andrea Hofmann, Axel Timm, Benjamin Foerster-Baldenius, Francesco Apuzzo, Jan Liesegang, Markus Bader, Matthias Rick, Christof Mayer, Martin Heberle), while we talked to Jan Liesegang in December, when he was a guest at the Goethe-Institute as part of the Interspace project, organized by the Zagreb group Goethe-Guerilla, about whom you’ll be reading shortly. You’ve been working on public-space projects for over ten years now. What obstacles did you encounter in your beginnings (you started out as a town-planning critic) and to what extent did you manage to establish a dialogue with the city authorities in view of contemplating public spaces? We, as a group, all met in Berlin during the nineties, just after 79


people, SPACE, identity • Das Küchenmonument, Raumlabor, 2009.

80


the wall came down, and that had a great impact on our work. Suddenly there was a lot of freedom in this city, a lot of free space… we all moved to the East Berlin, some of us set up residence in empty apartments which was illegal but nobody cared at the time. At the same time there were a lot of abandoned spaces, no bars, gray streets, especially when one is used to western infrastructure. However, it was chock full of opportunities. We then rented a small studio in Berlin-Mitte, but eventually had to

street, participation, public, guerilla urbanism

move out because of current gentrification procedures. Shortly after the fall, the new Head of Town Planning proposed a city reconstruction based on the 19th century city scheme – a stone city without skylines, what we considered a highly ideological idea of reconstruction, because it was never really like that in history.

This master planning just imposed something that

never existed, and we openly criticized that. We were considered ‘the opposition’ for a long time, but are now starting to build a dialogue with Berlins planning department, and develop concepts such as temporary use of spaces. It is very important for us to include and integrate people into town-planning processes. For example one of my partners works in a team that proposes a new “International Building Exhibition for 2020”(IBA) for the abandoned Tempelhof Airport. In this process many of our idea for bottom up city planning strategies have a great impact. It is our interest now, to bring our experience from “off“ activities and strategies into a broader discourse What

is

the

importance

of

collaboration

and

multidisciplinary practice in your work? To us, it comes quite naturally in our practice to collaborate with other professions, and we’re not looking for a design signature in our work. We’re not struggling to find our own design language. We work as “prototypers”. We have to rely on other’s people 81


knowledge, because the situations we deal with are always so different. For example, The “Eichbaum Opera” project seemed like a crazy idea when we first proposed it! We’ve been to the opera, but we’ve never before organized it! There was this incredible amount of rules and restrictions we needed to follow, it was like being trapped in the world of the opera. So, when working in such different fields, it feels very natural to consult other professions and the alternative would be a close-minded one-way street. We can even go so far as to deem our researches as extended camaraderie… we are not scared of sharing knowledge. Could you elaborate a bit on the concept of guerilla

We had a long discussion on whether we should even be using this term, but the thing I like about it is the indication that you make major progress with minor interventions. You are in a weak position, as a guerilla, but you are very well organized, you are on the edge of legality or beyond, but you can do a lot. What I don’t like about the term guerilla is that guerilla movements generally focus on future society, they work for a ideology which say believe to make a perfect world. That makes them highly dogmatic, and we don’t concur with that line of thinking. We think it is definitely time for a change, but we don’t believe that revolution can bring us paradise – we are going to have some new problems either way. We need to work on a local every day basis. That makes us different from our heroes, from the 60′s and 70´s- like Animalfarm, Superstudio, Archigram, a.s.o. they always had this Utopian idea, and they were sure that the future was brighter. Global recession maximized the amount of abandoned 82

people, SPACE, identity

town planning?


city spaces – whole cities are dying out all at once. What is your take on this trend and what is your strategy for approaching it – what methodology do you apply? We are sort of asking ourselves, what makes up the value of any given space? Why does it lose its value? For the most part it is not the shape or the actual physical

street, participation, public, guerilla urbanism

quality, but the way it is programmed, the way it is viewed, the expectations people have of it, or the profit it brings. Some spaces are not vacant because there is no need for space, but because they are too expensive to rent and to maintain‌ thus, when we are approaching certain new spaces, we try to explore any existing local potential. It is more about connecting the right people to each other. Empty spaces tend to fall back to the cities, if some enterprises break down cities get their space- they are obligated to do that. There are a lot of public land and city strategies that tend to approach them just for the sake of doing some patterns and decorations. That is very questionable, and totally different rules are applicable in this current state of shrinking. When we were working on Halle Neustadt, the town shrank from 100.000 to 57.000 citizens over a period of 10 years. They face numerous problems, not only spatially empty buildings. The worst thing is segregation where the young and flexible leave, while only the elderly stay. We were trying to create some new potential for the people who lived there, maybe just by a mockup situation, for instance by developing a hotel in an abandoned building. It was a temporary situation, but at the same time it showed new ways of utilizing spaces. However, I think it had a big impact on other people while initiating contemplation on possible new structures in vacant places. Sometimes, shrinkage can be used as potential for the city structure. Suddenly, you have 83


a lot of space, and people have to deal with it, and see what kind of potential it holds. It is about finding new programs strategies to connect the right people to these new locations. But what happens if the community is not that open towards new solutions imposed on them, what if the community is somewhat close-minded? Have you ever had situations like that, where the community is opposed to your projects? Yes, we’ve experienced those types of situations. Many of our projects are quite participation-oriented, and rely on the people in the neighborhoods we work in slowly, so that everybody can see what’s going on. The same thing happened to the “Eichbaum Opera” project: It started with numerous social activities to connect the neighborhood to the idea of the Opera. There were a lot of workshops, young people could record their own songs, writing workshops by the authors of the opera. It is important to create some kind of communication, before you start doing anything. As it tends to be quite annoying, when some strangers come to your neighborhood and start telling you what to change things. We usually begin a participation project by getting to know each other in open to talks, in which we learn about the local problems and potentials and talk about our own personal background. In Zagreb, in Croatia, there’s a specific problem with public space. In the public perception it’s never comprehended as one’s own, as something that belongs to everyone, and is almost always subjected to the manipulations of capital and politics. It’s very difficult to obtain a permit or do something with a public space. 84

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living in the area. We try to start the transformation processes


What is the situation in Berlin like? The laws are properly not so different in Berlin, but you in reality you can do a lot of things that are officially not allowed. There is a certain tradition of community actions in public spaces in Berlin, so-called street parties. Streets are pre-programmed for these kinds of things. Of course, only a handful of people are willing to sit in the street and have their dinner there. Another

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thing to bear in mind is the way we label things- if we say that something in a public space is an exhibition, nobody gives it a second thought, but if you say it is an occupation, you’ll never get a permission for it, even if it is actualy one and the same thing. It is also part of our work, to push the boundaries of what kind of critical activities are possible in public space. Could you explain what your situational narratives imply, and how far/close are they from/to the concept under the same name developed by the situationists and archigram? This is also something that’s been changed since the 60s. In the 60s there were strong situational narratives on an open ground level, but what is different in our process is open space and how we organize the city. We’re not relying on numbers, we’re not trying to design a perfect neighborhood (in the past there were policies in view of the number of schools and social centers necessary for a perfect city – which ended in a very boring technocratic ideology still evident in new cities all over Europe). We try to find the specifics of a site, place. If it’s very poor and if there’s not much to tell, we try to build a kight even make up a “fake“ history” in order to connect with the space and community- these are simple things. In the ‘Kitchen Monument’ project we tried to gather people in the city centre of Duisburg that was destroyed in World 85


War II. It’s currently unattractive, a new city neighborhood, with lots of nationalities living together (and thus prone to conflict). We were asked to work in a public space with the question “What to believe in.” Although a lot of history was erased, and the city never again stabilized. We proposed the following concept: “let’s gather people this different people in that neighborhood in the kitchen“, that’s where people talk about personal things, and they may be able to share some ideas they believe in. We did create this mobile monument where people could have dinner together, and hang out, sheltered only by a thin layer of plastic foil, it is at the same time a public yet intimate space.

context of Duisburg. How is a city’s attractiveness measured? That’s a hard question. It is all about preconceptions, e.g. a typical functionalist, suburban housing estate is somehow not attractive to people from my generation. But in one of our projects in Halle Neustadt we rented an apartment and started talking to people and subsequently our perception changed, we didn’t bother with visual appeal of the houses anymore, rather with public transport . and the poor quality of the public space around. We need some narrative in a city for us to identify ourselves with that place in an positive way. It is not only a question of how to architecturally race the quality of those spaces, but also get some activities and narratives out there. You also deal with the concept of recycling a lot. You’re currently exhibiting the OFFICINA ROMA Project at the Rome MAXXi. Then there are the projects The Big Crunch and The House of Contamination. How important is the concept of recycling in architecture to 86

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You mentioned the attractiveness of a city within the


you and why? Recycling holds many aspects for us. First off let me mention the very true saying: We know for many years now that we run short on natural resources, but we did not change our lifestyles. It is time to move out of the comfort zone and start to change our habits!

street, participation, public, guerilla urbanism

To reduce the energy footprint of our projects, we decided to use recycled materials for our temporary constructions. An other aspect is that working with trash for us has some poetic qualities. You can create an artistic collages, implying a new way of building. With trash you always operate on a metaphorical level. The Officina Roma is a villa with a kitchen, bedrooms, a work space but without a living room- as a warning that it’s time to get out of this comfort zone and that in 20 years’ time we’re going to be short on oil, and the changes that are inevitably going to come about… we have to change the future now. Although we may not know the solutions we’re nevertheless bringing up the issues. To what extent does it correspond with contemporary architecture such as Zaha’s which is far from that concept, how do you experience it? Zaha’s ‘Museum’ is a very interesting environment to work in. We were very conscious about working in a museum, while our project usually have a real use here it becomes partly a mockup situation. The connection with Zaha: her architecture has a beautiful dynamic, it’ s all about transforming existing forms. Spatially it’s very experimental, but as a museum it doesn’t function very well. It is a good research on good spaces, devoid of tectonic issues. Maybe we are trying to do the same thing, only 87


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in a less sophisticated manner, trying to realize different ways, shapes and forms, new contemporary spaces at the same time imprinting a conscious on the ecological footprint. A Museum like the MAXXI can be environmentally sophisticated yet still look the same. I’m not sure whether the MAXXI has an efficient or a terrible cooling system… but I wouldn’t criticize it for those

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issues. It is maybe a bit over-articulated for my taste.

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A historical overview on activism in public space Comeandcheck.it, 26th November 2011.

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The street as a battlefield yesterday, today and tomorrow


The world is currently experiencing its biggest financial crisis to date, with no end in sight and with its overall extent still unknown. Its consequence and, undoubtedly the most explicit expression of discontent, are the protests that are taking place virtually all over the world. More or less peaceful protests are currently underway in the entire United States as the only possible way of fighting against the present state of society. A month ago, America has begun with an almost phantom attack on Wall Street, the street whose symbolic capital is as powerful as its material one. Going out into the streets is no longer a benign act, but a strong

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subversive means that has demonstrated its power throughout history. Here are some of the most important “street takeovers” aimed at radical transformation of the world. “The Paris Commune” Not long after the end of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, France was facing a difficult economic situation. The differences between the Haves and the Have-nots in the capital had grown over the years, and the food shortage and the incessant Prussian bombardment that the people had to endure, only served to increase the overall discontent. The working class was becoming more and more open to radical ideas. The most prominent factions in the Paris Commune – Anarchists, Marxists – joined forces and started the most important movement in the 19th century history. Formally speaking, the Paris Commune took on the role of the local government for the whole of Paris, over the period of two months in the spring of 1871, with the streets of Paris serving as the most important point of resistance and power takeover. However,

the

Commune

lacked

coherent

organizational

structure which soon after resulted in its violent suppression; 91


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which was then followed by the radical urbanistic reorganization under the direction of the new prefect Baron Haussmann. The reorganization was carried out under the pretext of creating a more sanitary city, but its real aim was to avert the possibility of new uprisings in the narrow medieval streets. “The Situationist International” More or less simultaneously with the culmination of the student protests in 1968; the protests against the War in Vietnam;

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Feminist Activism; the murder of M.L King, which resulted in racial clashes; and the programmatic art of the Situationists, which also culminated in 1968; the idea of the liberation of the creative potential of the city, and the socialization of art was born. According to the situationists, situationism was the renewal of the Paris Commune, the last attempt at creating “free society” in Europe to date. The 60s saw a sudden proliferation of posters and pamphlets in art. As Baudrillard puts it: “The true revolutionary media in May ’68 in France were walls and words, silk-screen posters, and hand-printed flyers, the streets where speech started and was exchanged: everything that is given and returned, moving in the same time and in the same place, reciprocal and antagonistic.” Guy Debord, a member of the situationist organization – Situationist International – which was founded in 1957, reached its peak in 1968, and gradually disappeared in 1972; developed in the 12 editions (numbers) of „Internationale situationniste“, programmatic texts about art and society. He did this by criticizing the contradictions of the bourgeois society; which on one hand respected the abstract principle of intellectual and artistic creation; but on the other refused it, in order to exploit it. It is a criticism of the consumer mechanisms in control of the cultural activities.

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Situationists have developed the idea of unitary urbanism which should dominate the surroundings and include the creation of new forms, as well as the reusing of the already existing artistic elements as a part of the new creations. They have created a concept of a game which implements the future reign of freedom, but in a radical way that puts pressure on the ruling class. This type of political fight of the situationists has created “street modernism” with 24-happenings, where there is no firm line between a bystander and an “actor”, and where both the bystander and the actor are ephemeral, without future, secondary. The radical avant-garde idea which repeats itself cyclically, emphasizes that art should be set free, let out; turning

“The Arab Spring” The revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests that gripped the Arab world has shown to the “developed” West the radical consequences of the totalitarian governments, dictatorships, and human rights violations. Since December 18, 2010 revolutions have been breaking out in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya (resulting in the overthrow of the government), Bahrain, Syria, Yemen, Israel, Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Western Sahara. The protests have shared strategies of civil disobedience in form of strikes, demonstrations, marches, and gatherings; using the social networks as means of organization, communication; and of raising public awareness about the continuous repression and censorship on many levels. The Tahir Squere in Egypt has undoubtedly become a symbol of resistance, and not just when it comes to the Egyptian Revolutions (where it played a central role in the battle for freedom in 1919, 94

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the streets into galleries and art into life, and vice-versa.


1952, and 2011); but also a symbolic leader of resistance taking place in the “monitored” public area. The importance of the social networks, using the same strategy as pamphlets and political posters, is unquestionable, as they have proven the power of upheaval in “collaboration” with streets and squares. “Occupy Wall Street” For nearly a month now demonstrations have been taking place in the streets of every major city across the United States: New

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York, Boston, Los Angeles. OCCUPYWALLSTREET Movement has been inspired by the demonstrations in Spain and conceptually based on the poster published in the No. 97 of the Adbusters Magazine. It has, however, been led, orchestrated, and followed by independent activists. It all began when the Adbusters’ managers invited their network of “cultural diversionists” to go down to the lower part of Manhattan, set up tents, small kitchens, and peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months. Soon, the photographs of the action spread across the social networks, and very soon after, an open-source platform for exchange of information and photographs was organized. A few days later, as many as 150 showed up in New York, thus effectively becoming key organizers of the occupation. Although the protest has, in the meantime, turned into a mass movement with 5000 participants, the media moguls in America have managed to ignore its existence for a long time. When the Movement’s live stream hit the number of 100 000 views, the Ministry of Homeland Security issued a warning to the national banks. Nevertheless, the activist message has been more than clear: it’s about the 99% of citizens no longer willing to tolerate the greed 95


people, SPACE, identity • Poster for Occupy Wall Street, Adbusters, 2011.

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and the corruption of the remaining 1%. The motivation of the organizers of the Paris Commune, the Situationists, the Arab Spring, but also of the protests all over Europe and capitalist America, is really the same: the fight against despotism and increasing inequality and renunciation caused by the corruption and voracity of the corporative powers, the lethargy of the state, and the financial greed. Europe has been leading the way when it comes to going into the streets during this and last year: Athens, Madrid, Lisbon, London, are only a

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few of the cities that have, despite the sanitization in principal, shown the subversive potential of their streets. Also, the social networks, that have replaced the culture of pamphlets of the Situationists, have undoubtedly played the crucial part in this whole situation. The current social atmosphere is evidence that architects and artists need to start “re-feeling� the streets that have once again become the stage for the spontaneous political criticism.

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An architectural overview on modernist social housing estate in Stuttgart Comeandcheck.it, 18th December 2012.

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Weissenhof Siedlung A belief in housing on a human scale


Stuttgart might not be a top German destination you would want to visit if you’re an admirer of modern architecture and organic forms. However, what makes the city architecturally special are the two projects to which the history of architecture is generally indebted. The first, newer one is definitely a manifesto of postmodern architecture, James Stirling’s Staatsgalerie with its picturesque and humorous interpretation of the classical architectural typology. But we’ll deal with it another time. The other, older one, but equally provocative and Avant-guard (at least for the time of its creation), is the Weissenhof Siedlung

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settlement. Situated on one of the numerous hills that give the city its form, Weissenhof Siedlung is a place which deserves ultimate respect as a standing proof of a clear modernist vision of humanism in housing. In June this year, Weissenhof celebrated its 85th birthday, and in those eight and a half decades the settlement had quite a turbulent past. One sunny autumn weekend, an incredible timeliness of this project was revealed; in fact, when the age of this settlement was revealed, it elicited a sound of surprise because Weissenhof was clearly ahead of its time for about 50 years. A perfect contextualization is provided by the surrounding residential buildings done around the same time, in a historicistic manner. Launched by the Deutsche Werkbund, a German umbrella organization that brought together artists, designers and architects, the project aimed to offer (as stated in the accompanying publication, an “Apartment for the modern age”): “cheaper apartment construction and the life within it“...“simplified household management and improved living conditions“...“the goal is primarily to be achieved through the uses of new materials, new processes and new technologies“. In 99


people, SPACE, identity • Weissenhof Museum in Le Corbusier House, 1927

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1927, this was obviously quite a radical stance to take. Mies van der Rohe was selected as the “art” project manager, and he further selected the modernist elite: Le Corbusier, Max Taut, Adolf Rading, J.J.P. Oud, Victor Bourgeois, Josef Frank, Mart Stam, Peter Behrens, Hans Scharoun, Walter Gropius, Ludwig Hilberseimer, Bruno Taut, Hans Poelzig, Richard Döcker and Adolf Gustav Schneck. The architects gradually formed 21 buildings, containing a total

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of 63 apartments. They mainly designed semi-detached houses of a100 square meters maximum, while 60-ish square meters proved to be optimal, with the majority of houses built in that size. The necessity of a garden, a spacious living room and a separate kitchen was set as a criterion, while its structure was mostly prefabricated. The purity of expression and the simplicity of geometry best describe this settlement. The common features are the simple facades, flat roofs serving as terraces, strips of glass windows and the whiteness of the houses. Only the smallest house, designed by Bruno Taut, stood out in its redness. Hans Scharoun’s house, with its curved volumes, also stood out in its poetical celebration of modernism. The experimental project Weissenhof Siedlung was just one part of a larger exhibition titled “Die Wohnung”, representing the apartments of the future within the context of the economic situation in Europe between the two world wars. The exhibition was opened on the 23rd of July 1927, and up to the 31st of October it attracted more than half a million visitors, which is a considerable number considering the transportation options back then. It is interesting to note that, , in order to completely correspond with the architecture, the designing of the 101


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accompanying exhibition materials such as posters, catalogues, tickets and pamphlets was handed to Willi Baumeister, who broke with up-to-then conventional text formatting practices. That meant avoiding the central axle, using asymmetry and the font “Erbar-Grotesk”which would, in the future, be renamed as the “Futur”. Although, for that time, a fairly intense marketing strategy accompanied the construction project, emphasizing its financial accessibility for a working man’s budget, they were somewhat

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more expensive than that. The fundamental importance of this settlement lies in the architects’ efforts who have led way to a new way of thinking that was closer to a broader audience and achieved through a clear and comprehensible appearance of the houses, based on real opportunities and not on unattainable, futuristic visions. Weißenhofsiedlung consisted of real homes where real people lived. Finally, even today, real people live there, while only Le Corbusier’s house was turned into a museum of the settlement. Soon after, in 1933, the settlement became ideologically unsuitable, and the pro-Nazi mayor Strölin called it the “stain of Stuttgart”. Soon after the expressed public animosity, the city sold the land site to the Reich which planned to level it to the ground and construct a military complex in its place. Luckily, the plan wasn’t realized, but consequently, in 1944, ten houses were destroyed in the bombings. After the war, as a result of the housing shortage, on the site of the ruins, inadequate constructions arose, while unnecessary extensions were added on the remaining houses. Even today, Weissenhof Siedlung manages to do what many others (who work in urbanism) obviously fail to do. It gives 103


people, SPACE, identity • A visionary modernist housing project Weissenhof Siedlung on the Stuttgart hillside, 1927.

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answers how to create a living space without a megalomanic imposition, how to intelligently utilize a given space and how to ensure, to the highest, a quality of life of its residents without astronomical costs. Although the modernist postulates in contemporary housing construction, when placed in wrong hands, have been thwarted and exhausted to banality, which ultimately earned modernism its bad name, Weissenhof Siedlung stands as a reminder that modernism once demanded for a more

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humane world.

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IDENTITY


information, generative design, algorithm, 3D print, queer, gender roles, pink

feminism, visual, architects, immigrant, nation, belonging, memory, vintage, meaning, safety, clothes, home,

What is the identity? A complex question without a clear answer. A series of column essays published at various web sites are summarized in the category IDENTITY. It is the author’s long-time point of interest, as well as an effort to define certain parameters which construct the identity.

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Series of interviews conducted among female croatian architects Comeandcheck.it, 11th March 2011.

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Architecture as a feminine noun


Do you know who Louise Bethune is? Probably only a select few will know who she was, the first licensed female architect who started up an independent architectural practice in Buffalo back in the late 19th century and became the first female member of the American Architect’s Association. Bethune stood on the threshold of the dawning of a new age when the door was but slightly ajar to female architects in the 20th century, whose beginnings were anything but easy. A little over a hundred years later, precisely at the beginning of this year, Mattel launched a new series of Career

gender equality, feminism, architecture

Girl™ Barbie® Dolls with the slogan Barbie® I Can Be…™ (as opposed to the idle Barbie® Dolls who do nothing save ride ponies) – among them an architect Barbie® Doll with all the accompanying accessories to boot: a case for blueprints, a hard hat and scale models, although admittedly all in pink. It’s stated in the company’s press release they hope the doll will educate and encourage girls in thinking about architecture as their future profession. Still, even this Barbie® Doll isn’t criticism-free; the heels are way too high to be worn on construction sites and the overdose of pink is held against her as pink is a color one will be hard-pressed to find on a female architect who as a rule tend to lean towards minimalism. However, there you have it folks, along with the fact that this stereotype of female architects swayed attention away from concrete topics, their positions within the profession and the idea of taking over the male role in an attempt towards equality. Let’s take a further step back into the official history of architecture and development which recognized solely male developers. Men have allegedly been attributed with the exceptional powers of abstract thought processes, monumentality and an inclination towards the technical. However, the existence of the, naturally, unofficial history of female developers is a less known factor – from the Amazons through Semiramide and Hatshepsut to the 109


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new age of Sejima and Zaha, as Senka Sekulić-Gvozdanović points out in her book. Sena Sekulić-Gvozdanović is the first female professor at the Faculty of Architecture as well as its first Dean and first ever to have held the status of Professor Emeritus. Sekulić provides a series of facts and figures, thus emphasizing the founding of the International Union of Women in Architect in 1963, in the throes of the international modernist movement. “This joining of women, to what purpose?” wonders Sekulić, isn’t that just separating the profession all over again, while a good

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architect (the male gender always being a universal signifier!) is free from gender signification? Hence she gets the answer for a member: “Both men and women are human beings, and they’re not the same. (…) The problem lies within the fact that the woman’s side is quite far removed from the imagination of those who ask. (…) Hardly anyone thinks about the fact that, numerically speaking, there are not many of us, that we’ve entered the profession very late in history and we do not have our own role models.” Today it’s virtually impossible to talk about architecture as a male profession, as in today’s domain of team work, work is equally distributed, at least that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Annually, Architectural Studies enroll more female than male students, while it doesn’t take much to note that more awards go to male architects (having the Pritzker Award in mind, that only went to two females since 1979), or the fact that more men are in leading positions in the field of science. Thus, we requested some ten female Croatian architects to share their point of view with us, whereas only a few of them decided to speak out.

How do you explain the years-long absence of women from the architecture profession along with the fact 111


that today’s scientific community consists of a mere third of women at the Zagreb Faculty of Architecture, despite the fact that during the course of studies the number of enrolled male and female students is equal? “I’ve been present on the architectural scene for over ten years, and within that same time frame the local architecture practice has intensified significantly. The terms and conditions of creating and participating in development have shifted accordingly. With regard to previous systems and the dominance of big architectural machinery, today both an authoring approach and working within smaller offices have been brought up to a has in general become a lot more convincing within that same framework. Today’s strong and recognized female architects who have proven themselves in practice participate in design education at the Universities of Zagreb and Split, respectively. On the other hand, this interesting phenomenon includes newer generations of students, at least from where I’m standing at and my working experience at the Faculty of Architecture. Namely, a considerable dominance of female over male students can be felt. I can’t put my finger on that which affects this disproportion of interest, but my assumption is that prejudices and stereotypes have finally been shed among the younger generations.” (Ivana Ergić, M. Arch., Bijela/White) “I think this question should be put to the Faculty of Architecture and see whether the underlying reason is that women aren’t interested in such a profession or that their male counterparts are just quicker to make the cut.” (Morana Vlahović, M. Arch.) “The fact that running a design office (as does ambitious work in any line of business) demands a certain amount of sacrifice in 112

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highly professionalized level. Since then, the women’s kickoff


view of one’s social life, family and the loss of the security that comes with renouncing a steady job with regular income. It’s safe to say that society hasn’t exactly stimulated women to get ahead to leading positions as history has always positioned women as holders of the proverbial ‘three corners in the house’. It seems to me that the situation today is nevertheless different and that the emphasis is put on the individual herself, whether she decides to dedicate her time primarily to work or something else.” (Kata

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Marunica, M. Arch., nfo) “That’s the case in virtually any profession and I don’t consider it unusual. A woman is considered a “multitasking” person, she cares for her family, herself, has a career and it’s impossible she be narrowed down to exceptional success in any one field in particular. Specialization pervades life and it ultimately boils down to a priority issue.” (Iva Jerković, M. Arch.)

Is it possible to have a critical feminist position within architectural practice and what would it imply? “Even though I’m an advocate of democracy in general, thus support emancipation, from the position of the architecture profession I assume the standpoint that the advancement of anybody’s social status should first and foremost be an issue of competency and ability. Critical theoretical discourse on this particular subject matter seems rather insubstantial from an architectural perspective as opposed to various other disciplines such as visual arts or sociology.” (Vedrana Ergić, M. Arch., jedanjedan arhitektura/oneone architecture) “I wouldn’t know as I haven’t viewed architecture from the stated perspective.” (Kata Marunica, M. Arch., nfo) 113


people, space, IDENTITY • Architect Barbie, Mattel, 2011.

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Do you hold that society values women’s work in architecture the same as men’s? “I hold that within professional circles gender criteria as evaluation of one’s work are non-existent. Cases in point are established, realized and award-winning female authors who’ve worked either individually, within coed teams or in exclusively women’s research and studies. I believe that there isn’t a division between male and female architecture, particularly that gender is

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not a criterion for valorizing anybody’s work. The practical side of the whole situation at hand unfortunately differs. Classical stereotypes are still prevalent. Within the context of our designing conditions, a woman is rarely discriminated against, while she’s a priori treated differently than a man on a construction site. In my experience, that which has proved most effective in tearing down prejudices are knowledge and expertise in all stages and at all levels, from working with the investor, elaboration with associates of other professions, to monitoring realization with contractors. A reasoned dialogue with all involved within this complex business is surely the key moment when the issue of gender, appearance or age stops being relevant. Thus, following the initial period of mistrust with which we’re still up against in practice, it’s been shown that the most important thing is proving you know how to do your job.” (Vedrana Ergić, M. Arch., jedanjedan arhitektura/oneone architecture) “I don’t know what it’s like being a man in architecture, so I’m not concerning myself with it. In short, I think it’s all much ado about nothing – women and men differ from a biological perspective, thus dedicating herself to motherhood inevitably reflects on a woman’s career path (and I think it’s reflected in all professions, not just architecture).” (Morana Vlahović, M. Arch.) 115


people, space, IDENTITY • A woman builder making repairs to the roof of Berlin’s Town Hall, 1910.

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“It depends on the definition of ‘the female gender’ in architecture and ‘the male gender’ in architecture. I can’t remember last time any given high-quality ‘women’s house’ was neglected or wasn’t valorized accordingly due to the fact that its author was a woman.” (Kata Marunica, M. Arch., nfo) “The final product yes, while the path to that product probably not. Ultimately, such success tastes sweeter, and I consider it a compliment whenever a ‘woman’s touch’ is visible in a project…

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Anyhow, a woman shouldn’t mimic male principles and their energy. That only leads to losing ourselves. We are who we are and women’s energy is our way of staying true to ourselves, a way to impose ourselves as authorities and find our place in a ‘man’s world’. It’s a given that knowledge and expertise are a prerequisite.” (Iva Jerković, M. Arch.)

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A cultural analysis on topic of national identity Blog On Other Skin, 27th November 2012.

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Between YU and EU


It’s not easy being an immigrant in Western Europe; being Croatian in Germany is a special story. Traditionally, Germany has been the primary immigrant destination for peoples from the (South-) East European “civilization”: the Turks, the Greeks, the Serbs, and the Croats. Generations of Gastarbeiters (“guest workers”): construction workers, waiters/waitresses and factory workers left their mark on the German economy; slowly but persistently they have been forming their own stereotype – with a touch of melancholy, they would tell mythical stories about their country’s history; they are always ready to go back, but not just yet. Those are the people who spent more than a half of their immigrant, nation, belonging

lives in a “foreign land”, without ever succeeding in making it their own or becoming closer to it. What best characterizes the diaspora and what troubles it the most is a constant pursuit of identity. Their national identity has been displaced and is constantly seeking confirmation, self-evaluation within a foreign context which is threatening, extirpating. Understood as an utterly abstract category, what is nationality exactly? What causes the diaspora to be so frozen in time and space? While emanating a “global village” enthusiasm constructed by capitalism, focusing all our efforts on concepts of adjustment and assimilation, and swearing on our cosmopolitan identities, we easily forget that departing from one’s culture is a very complex and challenging experience which entails a loss of intimacy, selfconfidence, spontaneity, and even the disappearance of one’s private life. My departure abroad was, in the first place, voluntary, motivated by a desire for new experiences and, I suppose, by an insufficiently pronounced national identity, making me qualified to be called 119


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an existential migrant. However, I feel closer to Eva Hoffman’s definition of an “amateur anthropologist” who notices specific characteristics of a given culture, first the obvious, superficial ones that are much more obvious to those perceiving it from a distance than to those belonging to it, then the profound ones, and finally, accepting and evaluating them. However, I cannot escape the impression that the receiving county has labeled me as an “immigrant from Croatia”. So, in the distant Germany, I have been placed in a category that immigrant, nation, belonging

should exhibit signs of my national identity. Except from, as I admit, often suffering from symptoms of nostalgia for my family, friends, and certain places, I cannot say that I miss my country, its customs or the nation. This is how I have been willy-nilly subjected to stereotypes; what is more, in that particular county I became just yet another worker - Gastarbeiter. When life gives you stereotypes, make a theatrical play with a bitter-sweet after-taste. One of the best projects that touch upon the subject of national identity and stereotypes is a bag collection consisting of dense woven agricultural bags called “Croatia - As it is”, signed by a design collective Superstudio 29. The project pushes to the absurd the subversion of tourism marketing slogans as it plays with the semantics of agricultural bags, and yet, so accurately points to our essence. The slogan “Between YU and EU” is by far best at describing the local state of affairs, and something from which no immigrant can escape – the ghosts of the past, and the ghosts of the promised prosperity. The oversized bags are just big enough to fit a kulen sausage, 121


people, space, IDENTITY • Polypropylene bags “Croatia as it is”, Superstudio29, 2012.

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and a prosciutto, and a homemade ajvar, and a plum jam, and sour pickles, and two pairs of grandma’s woolen socks – all the things that are usually taken from home and “smuggled” across the border. That – if even needed – is actually the only part of our “national identity” we should carry along. The others will

immigrant, nation, belonging

anyway constantly remind you of where you come from.

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An essay regarding vintage clothes and memory Blog On Other Skin, 22nd April 2013.

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Clothes for playing with spirits


The clothes remember the body, that’s a fact: our sweat, our dead cells, our weight fluctuations, and, to be completely sentimental, even our blood and tears are inscribed in them. Every stain on the clothes has its story; every rift is a sign of a small turbulence on and in the body. In the end, the body dies, but clothes often remain, defying the aggressive consumerism and the constant imperatives of accumulation and changing of things. When eighteen years ago my grandfather died unexpectedly, I remember how my grandmother soon after had to dole out a good deal of his clothes, to clear away his things. However, she

memory, vintage, meaning

didn’t allow for a part of his clothes to be tampered with. So, I remember there was a wardrobe where, for a few years, my grandfather’s clothes were hanging: his caps, vests, dark blue suits: although my grandparents were working class people, the suits for church always had to be fine and of quality. That wardrobe became something like my grandmother’s domestic shrine; it could be opened only on her permission, and it had to pass five or six years after, until I was, on my own request, allowed to inherit his caps. All the caps had a yellow marking in the area above the forehead, carrying an imprint of his face. My grandfather was still alive in that wardrobe - his void filled up his clothes, or his clothes wore him, the memory of him. A fairly large, swarthy man of a hunched stature lived as a house spirit in the hallway wardrobe. There was one other thing I remember – an intense smell of camphor with which grandmother, to make it easier on herself, decontaminated those wardrobes full of memories as to actually eliminate that which is inevitably reminiscent of death – the smell.

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Somehow, I’ve always later avoided second-hand clothes – I really couldn’t bear the intense smell encapsulated in it. The primary, most immediate feature of one’s clothes (be that person alive or dead) is most definitely the smell and the inability of its withdrawal. That actually led me to think about clothes as inevitable carriers of their owner’s characteristics, as well as carriers of memories. A theoretician Peter Stallybrass in his essay “Worn Worlds: Clothing, Mourning and the Life of Things” discusses the relationship towards worn clothes by observing their performative

memory, vintage, meaning

potential and their symbolic role via autobiographical testimonies, letters, novelistic production and the history of English society. Stallybrass, prompted by the death of his best friend and the reorganization of the abundance of his stuff, started thinking about clothes and the “magic of cloth”. “When our parents, our friends, our lovers die, the clothes in their closets still hang there, holding their gestures, both reassuring and terrifying, touching the living with the dead”, the author writes. Thinking about clothes, he states that despite the passing fashions and styles, the bodies are what really comes and goes, and the clothes inherit the ones that survive. Then they start circulating through secondhand shops, rummage sales, through generations of younger and older children, from father/grandfather to son, from mother/grandmother to daughter. As Stallybrass explains, clothes receive the human imprint, unlike jewelry which lasts longer but resists the history of our bodies. He concludes that the dimension of smell is what sets clothes apart and what defines them; it is what inscribes memory in them: of the body, of mortality, of an absent presence. If clothes are able to absorb our absent presence, to render 127


people, space, IDENTITY • No Man’s Land, Christian Boltanski, 2010.

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a game at the boundary between life and death, at least on an ultimately symbolical level, I believe that my aversion of secondhand clothes was born out of this idea. The outmost feeling of unease, realized in the antropomorphization of clothes, I experienced before the work of Christian Boltanski. To be more precise, I was immersed in his work: a claustrophobic room whose walls are made up of piles of worn clothes, through which Boltanski mediates a metaphor of absence and deals with the experience of collective trauma. Uninhabited clothes in his work become a marker of various destinies, a magnified sign of

memory, vintage, meaning

unease. The pronounced smell he used to fill his installation, the smell of used clothes, was actually a signifier of someone’s presence. Boltanski thus refers to a conceptual equalization of quality between used clothes and the body. “My exhibitions are about bodies, and the bodies smell”, the artist explains in one of his interviews. Finally, he believes in resurrection, the circulation of things, recycling in an ontological sense, admitting that this worldview affects his work. If we decide to give attention and some love to discarded things, as he sentimentally explains, then we offer them new life. The information that worn clothing carries makes it multidimensional, as opposed to the glorification of the new as the only desirable quality. Displaced from a specific (time) context, it wanders seeking addressees and deconstructs the strict linearity of time. Regardless of whether I bestowed new life to an old dress – which also bore witness to the lives of its previous owners – or the dress found me and will outlive my body, I gave in to the game with spirits, whether they are real or not.

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An essay regarding notion of nostalgia and homelessness Blog On Other Skin, 30th January 2013.

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Home and without it what to take and what to leave behind


January, monochromatic and brutally realistic; it somehow always instigates contemplative inventories. It instigates reflections, anapalepses, looking back at the events that marked the previous year. Apart from one radical life change – going to live abroad, I realized that I changed four living spaces during that time. Four spaces: my family house and my departure from it; my first apartment; a leased apartment abroad and, finally, my first apartment abroad where, by all accounts, I won’t be staying for long. Being aware, I suppose, that it is a temporary solution, I didn’t inscribe into it the pieces of my emotional life, I don’t identify it as my own, even though it is the closest thing I have to

safety, clothes, home

a home. Multitude of apartments, yet homeless The same feeling of absence I felt while staying in Zagreb during the winter holidays. Where do you return when you come home? The “natural” selection was my family’s apartment where memories, close people, and safety reside. However, that turned out to be a rather naive belief – personal things from my bedroom were surgically removed in order to make room for my family. My home was foreign to me. That feeling was connected to the image, to the idea of a home being made up of things as I left them. Chalayan’s performance “Afterwords” from 2000 comes to mind. Although it has clear political connotations dealing with the experiences of transnationalism and identity, I often identify with it on a universal level of meaning. By dressing the models in chair or table covers, Chalayan takes the relationship between the body and the space to the level of emotional absurdity. Leaving home (voluntarily or involuntarily) is always a traumatic process through which space becomes almost anthropomorphized. 131


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I think and write about space as the other/third skin – the primary function of clothes and space being to provide protection and shelter. The space, same as clothes, enwraps the body. But, when/if we chose a life without a “home“, i.e. without constantly inscribing meaning to a space, then a different organization of everyday life and priorities takes place. First of all, the absence of a fixed space doesn’t allow the ownership of many things, and in a way, it liberates from material constraints. One’s entire life should fit in one or two suitcases. Or by the airport standards – life is what you can fit in 23 kilos of luggage prescribed by the airline company. So, you need a clear

safety, clothes, home

vision of what stays and what goes. Without a fixed home, books turn into pdf editions, and Dropbox becomes my new walk-in closet. Music and films are assessed on the basis of their memory size. As banal as it might sound, the social networks are becoming my only fixed place: a place which is anticipant of people, which fulfills the need for love and intimacy. All that is mine I carry in my computer. You need to abstract the need for things (make them virtual), but ground the abstraction in memories and emotions. Taking such a position redefines the meaning of clothes, demanding to find ways of corresponding with the absence of a home. Clothing is the last remaining material instance I carry with me. The clothes have to have the potential to address the needs of an “urban nomad”, to incorporate the ideas of mobility, protection and identity. Fast life requires fast clothes: adaptable, changeable, flexible, light, seasonal. There are no ideal pieces of clothing in your wardrobe, like a favorite dress or an extra jacket, because it just isn’t practical when you’re constantly changing locations. 133


people, space, IDENTITY • Afterwords, Hussein Chalayan, 2000.

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Only with the loss of our physical home, we are able to consciously reduce things to a minimum, redefine our modes of living, and raise awareness of our bodies. We redefine our own liberties, regardless of them being associated with the internet or a camper

safety, clothes, home

house.

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A textual interaction with notion of generic design www.romanvlahovic.com, September 2012.

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3d printed generative jewelery Object vs. Population


The radical view of the world and society is today mediated through advanced technological systems. Thanks to – or perhaps due to – such circumstances, the design seeks new ways of thinking and conceptualising, as well as producing objects and ideas. The role of the design today is inevitably prone to change. The informatization of the society and computer-aided design are opening a whole range of new ideas about the perception of time and space we live in. The algorithmic design is now based on new information, generative design, algorithm, 3D print

parameters: design of ideas, narratives, procedures, populations, digital production, and new understanding of the materiality. Generative design methods mean creation and modification of rules and systems, which then generate an autonomously designed object. The designer therefore does not manipulate the “artefact” itself, but rather the rules and systems which generate it. The designing process is happening on a meta-level, whereby the final manifestation of the object is the result of the defined system and rules.

Designing ideas So far, the field of design belonged to the domain of dealing with a singular object, that is, the design understood the creation of a unique and specific “ideal” object, an approach which was closely related to the Modernist paradigm. The emphasis is today moving from the design of the object to the design of the idea. The new paradigm changes designer’s relation to a static object by putting an emphasis on conceptualization, interaction of the components, systems, and processes that generate new objects with specific characteristics. What was once the design of a perfect unique object featuring specific materiality is today the design of a population of objects featuring any materiality. Instead of a specific object, the designer creates an algorithm. 137


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Elitism and exceptionalism contained in the idea of a singular object (e.g. golden ring) is replaced by the `individual populism` of generative objects. The key role in the design is taken over by generative systems that offer methodology and philosophical/ theoretical worldview in the framework of dynamic processes. The result is an exceptional diversity of objects within a single “generation�. The design process becomes an abstract definition

information, generative design, algorithm, 3D print

of algorithms.

Imposed materiality In the generative object design, the materiality is not a condition for the final manifestation of an object. The choice of material has so far served as the basis for determining the design process, and defined the expected execution of details, conjunctions and textures. Today, the generative system design enables the imposition of materiality to the object. The form which is not natural to a certain material can now be attached to it by the mere use of intellectual control. The absence of materiality parameter results in the emphasis shifting from tectonics to topology. Therefore, the objects, previously described by the fixed geometry, can now gain a relative geometry that can be rendered into reality via 3D printing. Its materiality is the last, almost arbitrary decision done by a designer.

Generative rings The example of generative design of rings has been used to question and demonstrate the possibilities of such systems. The basic tenants of these objects are: the possibility of designing a whole population of objects of an unlimited diversity, and 139


people, space, IDENTITY • Population of physical objects – 3D printed rings, Roman Vlahovic, 2012. 140


the possibility of designing in any material. While traditional jewellery design is characterized by uniqueness, hand-craft and noble materials, contemporary jewellery making relys on mass production and synthetic materials. Generative ring design merges the qualities of both by digitally producing the jewellery

information, generative design, algorithm, 3D print

for the 21st century.

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An essay on gender roles Blog On Other Skin, 5th March 2013.

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I feel like wearing pink


I’ve recently read on a local web portal – which regularly drives me up the wall – an apologia of a kid who beat another kid titled “they were making fun of me that I was a sissy” (so I beat him up; author’s comment). Further on in the text he explains that being a girl, even if only metaphorically speaking, is the most horrible thing imaginable. It is so horrible that a boy needs to break someone’s jaw just to get rid of that abominable “girl” stigma. There is obviously nothing good in being a girl, and for that we have a thousand years of androcentrism and daily media affirmations to thank. It is also no good being any type of male; only a masculine man (prone to violent outbursts) can truly queer, gender roles, pink

justify his identity. The rules of androcentrism dictate that men are rewarded only if they behave manly (engage in all normative and exclusively male things – play football, drink, shout, become doctors or lawyers). Men who engage in feminine practices will be, of course, adequately punished for it. Women are in turn expected to engage in feminine practices, but they will also be punished for it. They will be, of course, severely punished as well if they engage in masculine practices. The penalties are well known. For the feminine women, these are usually verbal: a slut, a whore, a tramp, along with an occasional rape. For masculine women, it’s usually a beating. The penalty is obviously inevitable, and being a woman is a vicious circle with a no way out. I am aware that I might have broached this complex and painful subject, which only evokes discontent and anger, in a too ephemeral and frivolous way, but it’s too late now. I’ve long had a problem accepting my own “femininity”, i.e. being a woman at all. In one of our correspondences, ptkrl called me, 143


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to paraphrase a “stereotypical female”, because, ahem, I have long, dyed blond hair and an ass and boobs. So, it was unclear to her why I was so troubled by the whole issue. And, nota bene, I played with Barbie dolls well up to puberty. However, I still cannot imagine myself as a feminine female. I would certainly like to explain the standards associated with the attributes of “stereotypical femininity” according to which these girls/women are inevitably classified as empty-headed and promiscuous. The history of misogyny is emphasized on all fronts, even on female ones (the annoying Pink song “Stupid Girls”): the empty-headed are the ones playing with Barbie queer, gender roles, pink

dolls, showing interest in fashion, having “whims” such as eating disorders...They can fend off the stigma by playing football; then they become smart and good. Her goal is therefore not to “read books and be better”, but to be better by doing the same things boys do. If a color existed that could explain the notion of femininity, it would probably be pink. It is the color which has, more than any other, inscribed meanings of who can, and who cannot wear it and why, and which primarily aims at traditional gender roles. Its feminine history, although inverted in the early 20th century in favor of male children, is actually quite arbitrary. It is interesting how a previously explained stereotype can instantaneously be applied to a girl if she has, for example, a pink cell phone. However, this schizophrenic situation is continued on the level of quantity. You’re not wearing any pink? You’re a dyke. Too much pink? A slut. Or a dumb broad. Where is this line (and who set it) where not enough pink suddenly turns into too much pink?

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people, space, IDENTITY • Andrej Pejic, androgynous male model from Bosnia

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Being a guy in a pink situation is even worse. A boy who likes pink is ALWAYS in the wrong, the same as a girl who wears too little/too much pink; despite the commonsense question: “if girls can wear blue without sanctions, why can’t boys wear pink?” This is, perhaps, why I censured myself and was ashamed of such a connotative color for a long time; on one hand, the shame of being a stereotypical woman because there’s nothing good about it, and on the other, the shame of being declared unnaturally unfeminine. Both constructs (the masculine and the feminine) are so aggressively imposed, that the only lucid and natural state

queer, gender roles, pink

is a queer identity: to walk in “men’s” shoes with a pink heel.

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Petra Tomljanovic ptomljanov@gmail.com

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Petra Tomljanovic

ON AUTHOR


Petra Tomljanovic (1985) graduated as a Professor of Croatian Studies and Art History from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb. Already in her student days, she realized that the fields of her interest exceeded the limits of the offered formal education. During her studies, she started curating small scale exhibitions with designers and artists, always aiming for a new, more exciting point of view. She realised that curating is inseparable from writing about design, art, architecture and media, which, after the graduation, guided her to one of the most prominent Croatian web sites promoting the above mentioned topics. This environment introduced her to the leaders of Croatian and collected writings

international art/design scene. Besides editing and writing, she was also involved with the organization of cultural events, exhibitions, and lectures, promoting young Croatian talents. Years of experience in editing and journalism at the web site have thought her to be fully committed and up-to-date on the global scale. During the same period, she also collaborated with award winning, self-initiated and competitive projects lead by a group of young architects. The urge for travelling and new experience have led her to Germany where worked as a teacher of Croatian Language and Culture, practicing thus her previous experience on most demanding „clients“– children. By organizing numerous art workshops, she conceived new ways of presentation and learning, believing that the origin of people’s qualities lies in their earliest education. At the same time she started a blog dedicated to a cultural analysis of fashion and identity, and was continually writing for several Croatian web sites about design and art. Her strongest motivation is to think outside the box and look at writing as a platform for intercultural dialogue with the aim of developing a more democratic society.

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People, Space, Identity  

Collection of writings on design, art, architecture and media.

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