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THE INDUSTRY OF NATURE WOJR/Civitella Ranieri Architecture Prize Alejandro Haiek Coll


THE INDUSTRY OF NATURE Last summer, during his Fellowship at Civitella Ranieri / WOJR Architecture Prize, Alejandro researched the castle´s context and environment considering how nature and industry work in tandem to form the traditional Umbrian landscape. His own process of what he calls ‘fast assemblage/slow architecture’ often begins with meeting local laborers, builders and fabricators with the aim of making a cartography of talents and resources and resulting then in hybrid practices and processes of abstract thinking. “The Industry of Nature” comes together in the landscape through a matrix of art, design, engineering and local social relations. The project does not materialize as an art object but instead documents a dynamic exchange through narratives and shared resources. Using lines, dots, strips and surfaces, the topography of the site is transformed, leaving functional traces and seductive patterns parallel to nature’s own invisible geometries.


Stories of a family tree Mr Bruno, a railway worker of 78 years old, gave us historical medieval lessons while preparing and spreading the hay to feed the bull padrone of the farm. At the same time, we unfolded a hay roll to wrap it up in a carpet stripe. In between, Bruno paused to explore the genealogical tree of each one. Uncles, aunts, grandparents, sisters, brothers and cousins build an entire generation of anecdotical connections. Two activities happen simultaneously that unfold traditions. He constantly repeats the importance of knowing the history of the site. He highlights with an ironical tone how people got or won lands in the past, he said: “Before the people have a bloody battle for land .. and now they just buy it, equally, it does not stop being an aggressive act, right?�


The machines are voracious, they not only consume matter, but also time and energy: Time has stopped for them, at least it seems to be in suspension, always pushed by the overwhelming technological curve, which leaves traces of machines and obsolescent apparatuses. Those machines with several instrumental functions and specifications are the ones that reminds Pauselli family members that time passes. It passes and wears. Banishes. And not only stations warn their lives with new changes and adaptations, also industrial scrap and technological skepticism.


2000 years technics We trace the landscape with lines and invisibles geometries. We follow the rules of preexisting nature, Nature is also recreated in regular logics, human logics. We use handmade nails as 2000 year ago metal worker use to. We take care of the color, the endemic species, the insects, trying not to affect them, carefully, we also avoid moving the brown dry leaves that complement the complex natural pantone. But then, eventually, transforming the landscape based on our necessities, into our visions for an organized world, control by order, repetitions, and similarities pushes us to use machines, different kinds, automatic, hand power or engines propulsion. We traced the landscape, we ruined it, such a natural balance was affected by our expectations and desires. Mauricio observes without questioning, deep down he knows that we are testing unknown techniques and that his knowledge can help us; he knows his work well. Better than us who pretend to open for new knowledge, expert in everything specialist in nothing, architects today. He lets himself be carried away and consciously withdraws from the disaster we have caused. The landscape would never been the same, but it would recover its splendor; it doesn’t need us, and apparently we do.


Organic product and contaminated materials. Ms Pauselli remembered when they arrived to these lands in 1956. They piled hay and straw into mountains, embedded a tall stick that served as axis and spine to collect and compact the material collected. She told us she remembers in the 60s and 70s the arrivals of new technological instruments and support machinery introduced to improve their daily dynamics. On these days they used to place the raw material in a kind of bricks machine that produced blocks of variable size. Then in the 90s the hydraulic industry dominated the world of mass production introducing the strength of pistons and air in pressure valves. A new era had arrived transforming the landscape again with the spirit of mechanization. But the story does not end there, is actually as we know a non-ending story of innovations; currently, the rolls come covered with a plastic material, paradoxically a technique available to produce an organic reaction that keeps the grass alive while preserving the nutrients for feeding the animals. While the most polluting product of the industry generates positive reactions in the natural world, the machines change format, color, size and dimension showed in infinite and colorful catalogues.


Maximo. Maximo proudly explains how the technology of dry concrete arrives in the 50s to Italy (exactly in 1956, the same year that the Pausellis arrive in these lands). A hybrid, flexible machine with almost more than 3 decades is still innovative. It establishes a careful and curious balance between the power of mechanization and human power and intelligence, the masters operate their maniblas while smoothing the surface of the concrete with traditional techniques, dry concrete, Italian technology deployed by the world. Without additives, vibrated, efficient, instantaneous, the brothers Fabrizio and Mauricio? proud of their technological control, they produce 100 pieces from a simple but highly efficient production chain, you have not wasted; In a daily work day without the greatest effort, enjoying and interacting with the power with the machine, they hybridize their knowledge with the mechanical power.


Ennio Ennio laughs when asked if he can transplant species, in spite of his sensitivity to plants, he knows that time is the pulse of nature. He perceived our anxiety about modifying the landscape that he has taken years to understand. His hands cut and sow with a balance we can’t understand, only his synchronicity with the natural world could intervene in such delicate ecosystem. When we finally understood that nature is not instantaneous compacted hay, cut grass and dry leaves became our primary resources.


Risks diversification 1 Stefano told us how the Pauselli family as well as other families that maintain the agrarian tradition begin to think in parallel business exploring energy generators. � It is a business full of risks,� says Stefano. The diversification of the agricultural industry meets the production of energy, the Pauselli family divides its lands trying to navigate in the sea of impositions of the EU and in the capitulation of the Kyoto treaty and the hopes of a world integrated in a sort of planetary consciousness. After all, it is worth betting on sustainability even if it is driven by greenwashing. Specially realizing that and any corner of the world the disbalance is perceived. The intriguing aesthetic force of a solar panel is exposed as a cure, our desires bent by an apocalyptic look of the future mirrored it in reflective cloths. 2 Their lands are divided between ancestral practices and the supposed rapid advances in renewable energy. Their practices blurred by the technological spirit and saturated constantly by short life new devices that recreate the landscape in an attempt to safeguard the planet, band aid it. The new artifacts cry out their life time, their expiration date. read as: valid true or consume before... 3 The land that has been cultivated to feed a region now feeds 500 families. The Pausellis are torn between alternative energies and conscious cultivation. After all, it is true, it is a business with many risks.


The technological pride. Mrs. Pauselli remembers with a certain nostalgia or longing her years of work in the field after the municipality bought sowing grounds of her family in order to build an industrial zone. Her criticism enunciates a certain skepticism for industrialization, denying the benefits that the industrial zone brought with it and imagining how productive those lands could still be. Industrial transformation also operates over productive landscapes. The natural exuberance of the hills is a canvas for technological innovation, nature is relative and takes confused and deceptive tones. It is difficult to listen to it because the deafening blows of the dies producing car components of the Fiat factory converts its strong voice in whispers.


Una per volta! / Industrial abduction 1 Roberto represents for us, very much, one of the most interesting and sublime stories in this unusual experience. His a well-known metal worker in town. He has driven Giorgia and me to a prefabricated factory. During a half an hour path I realized that we were fascinated with the pattern landscapes. Southerly I have interrupted our conversation full of doubts to explain the consistency of the grain to the protocol, procedures and tools of agriculture. After long explanations, we asked him, how did he know? And the paradox popped up! Roberto was born, grew up, and works in a farm with his family, beside the castle; progressively the industrial world seduced him to replace the handmade tools with mechanical and industrial revolution devices. 2 After a long session of rhythmic hard work, my hands, my back, my head were in pain, I was pretending to act normal while my body was showing me how much the endless offices hours produce on myself. My hands became weak. The most intellectual I try to be the less I can be. My natural skills were progressively replaced by ideas, thoughts and confusions, and intellectual confusions. But Roberto was pragmatic, intellectual at the same time, full of ideas, resolutions. His natural skills also find a balance in relation to his approach to labor. For him there is no confusion, his capabilities allow him to create his commissions, and the fastest in the term of finances and return investment. Intelligence sometimes works again the efficiency that advanced capitalism imprints in our everyday life. So for that reason, it was a real goal to improve in Roberto his brilliant subjectivity, the power of his abstract thoughts. But I have always been excited, and I have tried to get my emotions about this artwork. I have always remembered that this is a job, a formal job, and with an ironic but friendly tone: “Una per volta� ...


The artwork questions our understanding around natural world. What is nature?. When and how nature becomes artifice; or the other way around (opposite?), when artificial world becomes a natural phenomenon. The artwork is an attempt to demonstrate how Nature is an artificial construction in the context of postindustrial landscape scene; how artificial procedures, protocols, instruments and tools brought by industrialization become traditions and how does cultural knowledge unexpectedly recreate our comprehensions of natural landscapes. The research explores local practices and expertise that generates a landmark, complementing the physic and logics of geographical invisibles geometries where nature preforms. Lines, dots, strips and surfaces transform the geology and topography of the site through sublimes functional traces and seductive operative patterns. Project description The project is an ongoing process Artwork. It does not materialize just in an object and instead, builds narratives, documents knowledge, stimulates learning dynamics and creates social interactions. The work begins in a complex cartography of talents and resources resulting in hybrid practices and processes of abstract thinking, knowledge exchange and production of subjectivities, where, low and hight technological development, pop ups (raising?) as constructive methods and innovations.

The artwork formulates 4 acts or states of research: The first act / Learning expertises trough knowledge transferences (exhibition) It focuses on social cartography, documenting parallel histories, memories of the site and testimonies of the landscape. The vital force of the place, the spirit of the area is registered through a series of portrait, materials inventory and crossed narratives. The second act /LANDSCAPES CHOREOGRAPHIES: The Landscape is the (a) Canvas. (video projections) The second act used the landscape as a canvas to trace the territory and organized the elements that configure it in logical geometries. Thenew traces derived from tradition, introducing new patterns landscape where abstraction and subjectivity take into the limit the forces between the natural and the technical instrumentation. The performative action transform the site in an active topography. The final act / TECTONIC PERFORMANCE: An installation to improve nature and enhance tradition (pavillion). The last act configures a new territory with elements of the everyday life. The materials operate as recursive devices hybridizing the basic inventory of the industry with the living matter of the place. Local aterials are used in its ontological state. The constructive resources were rethought from their state and place of origin, suspending the forces of natural on an industrial skeleton.

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Industries of Nature  

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