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WA/SA [waldrip architects/ s.a.] [architecture- los angeles]

Alberti, Sandro + Sharp, Erin Seeing Red; 13 December, 2002 [text38]

Working 9-5, at...

‘WA/SA’, ‘Aloha8’, and ‘Working 9 to 5, at...’

Just thought it would be a cute title: ‘seeing red’. Because, well, that is the last thing that would come to my mind, regarding these student presentations at SCI-Arc. Maybe the fact that Erin’s non-architecture tag-along guest should have had me ‘seeing red’ (as she impeded me both psychologically and professionally; “how to host a At the review. charming and bubbly guest/ visitor, and focus on the ‘oeuvres’ at hand?”). But no, not even that. But… red… red it was, the last exhibit-review of the week. ‘RE(a)D; Dangerous Liaisons: Artificial Inseminations and the Featureless’. Here is some of the course description: “feature… artificial… inseminate… reflex… reflexive… nocturnal… analogy… Is there such a phenomenon as the ‘featureless’? If so, how might we as architects productively engage such a condition? In a world increasingly dominated by phenomena of overabundance, saturation, and the ‘hyper’,… the featureless lurks as a forgotten, mute, and perceptuallyinactive feature… Through ‘artificial insemination’,… we will move towards reflexive architectures and landscape-architectures of flux, responsiveness, and cyclic distillations… A ‘Museum for Things RE(a)D’ and a ‘Roadside Motel’ will occupy an oscillating and vulnerable terrain… Phenomenal modeling, time-lapse photography, behavioral notations, analogous constructs, etc…. Analogic, metaphoric, narrative, syntactic, parametric modeling, gestural interpretation, appropriation, diagramming, content-to-form, form-to-program, plagiarism, and automatic processes… The research and spatial production of a RED should be thoughtful, but prone to disaster… The results may require architecture and landscape strategies which cannot be finished, but exist in time…

are fictions of fen-om: [www.fen-om.com]

Red.

Red.


Annually, desert enthusiasts, retirees, and ‘passers through’… occupy the terrain… that is the Salton Sea… The occupants situate themselves for varying periods of time… The desert is always there… Many experiences, phenomena, and physicality lend themselves to various forms of photography. Others resist. Systematic documentation captures and fixes quantitative details, while a wandering camera might expose something else… [Students] are to produce… six time-lapse photographs… (three photographs where the camera is stationary [‘found’ space], and 3… where the camera is moving [‘constructed’ space]… [Two expanded panoramas, night and daytime, should emphasize] some aspect of the sky, ground, or both… and should take into account the horizontal and vertical, the near and far, [emphasizing] some aspect of the situation… In… ‘Constructing a Collection’ [students] are asked to assemble ‘things’ [to be exhibited]… Objects and/or non-physical entities which exhibit a particular re(a)dness… Things which are strictly ‘red’ [or] things which are ‘read’... There are no innocent choices… The objects and/or phenomena will both define and be defined by the collection… [Students] will subsequently write a specific (and provocative) program structure… [Museum=] public/ non-collection + public/ collections + non-public/ non-collections… [Motel=] reception, manager’s quarters, guest rooms, services, pool, courtyard… The program framework [may necessarily expand or contract]… [Inspiration might be derived from] the ‘archetypalness’ of the desert,…the range of conditions which ‘structure’ the Salton Sea,… the programs themselves (museum= collecting, hoarding, recontextualizing, body motility; motel= displacement of domestic practices, leisure, constantly-emerging social structure),… personal ambitions, and other agencies…” In this vertical studio (elective course where undergraduates and graduate students work together), Professor Perry Kulper has managed to bring together fantasy, philosophical issues, an opportunity to escape the quotidian urbanism, and, of course, the color ‘red’. It was certainly eye-catching, and an indicator of how attractive ‘fun’ can be. Beginning with the experiential voyage to the Salton Sea, all of the participants in this course seem to have delighted in their involvement. Some of the solutions ended up being a bit more quirky than others, some were rigorous within the jumpy framework, and some simply sparkled a bit more (with some extra cleverness, some ‘je ne sais…’). Particularly captivating was one take on the museum, for the purpose of housing/displaying dangerous contemporary environments. I have lost my notes, so I’ll have to navigate from memory. Just as well, I guess. This project included exhibits where the displayed objects were necessary to access certain areas of the museum. Of course, the focus (or at least in my mind) was ‘danger’ (our ability to detect red immediately being genetically coded). One memorable exhibit was that-one-that required the use of a red gas-mask in order to explore an area contaminated with germ/ chemical agents. Recently, after searching for ‘red’ on the Internet, I was struck by the kitsch-consumerist quality of the color red. Not all products come in red, even though they could (or, at least, we don’t always think/ remember them as ‘red’; here goes memory again). Lemons and the noon sky, of course, aren’t. Strawberries are, but not always. And fire, could it be? Many things could be painted red (most notably, vehicles). What red things would one display, in a museum for red objects? Would it matter, if they were really red (after all, the brightness of red embodies it with a certain amount of falsity). Another student project, I remember, focused on red lights and fogs and atmospheric effects; all appropriate parts of a desert scene. And there were the instruments of torture, simply painted red (unexpectedly). In

Red.

Red.

Red.

Red.


many cases it seemed that the very lively ‘other’ (‘wow’) factors of the project seemed to occlude architectural intent. A lot of interesting red stuff, but slight architectural intent. Some visions were wonderful, however, associating deserted regions and topographies, or reacting to the desert in the fashion of local fauna and flora. Erin had once focused some architecture-design on the Salton Sea, and, coincidentally, this RED studio work had been recommended as worthy of review… This is what she saw, and remembered:

MAY 7, 2003 e. response: ‘RE(a)D; Dangerous Liaisons: Artificial Inseminations and the Featureless’.

Red.

Red pulling eyes to it, amidst blue/ grey/ flow of the surrounding studio reviews. Walking through one cool-grey-blue-black review after the next, one couldn’t help the instinctual split-second “STOP” of the “REaD” review. The Morphemic/ morphotic and fluid majority, casting the appropriate contrast for this red minority to Pop. And so it was, RED diagrams/ drawings/ models/ diagrams/ studies/ experiments on the walls at Sci Arc… Salton Sea as the Subject Site. Salton Sea in the same blue-grey-flow-dust-smooth-mood of the other reviews (and yes, with it’s own moments of deconstruction: deconstructed remains of years past, years not so long ago…. Grey, blue, salty, cracking, white, Red (REaD) seems the right (wRITE) ingredient to yield Paradox to the forefront of the screen. Power/ Life… Life(Death)>>> Blood/Violence >(Passion)> Love (Hate)> Power (et al….)+= and all that sticky stuff: iconic/ representational-symbolic-etc etc…. Blood transformed through optical networks appears as is seen as RED = Nature + Optical + other= above readings Programmed we are. Stop at RED. STOP LACAN and the art of observation STRUCTURALISM as relates to VISUAL readings MIRROR STAGE yes I saw myself in numerous parts (most potent = red+salton sea (an excellent embodiment of “paradox”) METONYMY> carrying language along it’s syntagmatic axis> corresponds to the displacement of desire (see: Freud/ dream work). METAPHOR> carries language along it’s paradigmatic axis (the axis of substitution which corresponds to the condensing (evaporating sea leaving remains of salt?) RED = “THE” over(?)-determined nodal-point in this space (then/ now) stop (I am becoming evermore cryptic. Yes. I see this. Ok. “The research and spatial production of a RED should be thoughtful, but prone to disaster”…

Red.


SCARLET> BURGUNDY>RUBY>CHERRY>BLOOD> sign (signifier/ signified) stop sign ok, off to to architecture.

Red.

Red.


Seeing Red