A full-scale projected 35mm film of a series of flashing and successive photographs. the shutter repeatedly captures the same scene: the view from a window inside the gallery space (this can be realized from observing the piece ‘Exterior Framing #1’, as the window depicted in the film is identical). each photograph differs slightly, some are slightly closer, others are out of focus. It is impossible to tell its duration.
I feel what it looks like. A stuttering viewpoint, an epileptic indeterminacy. Like ‘a shutter repeatedly capturing the same scene’. It is a metaphor and a reality, what I imagine is thought: A single, amorphous lens. Its duration is impossible to tell because it has no duration. Maybe it is a camera enacting its limitations, maybe I am a subject enacting its possibility.
What can I say about repetition? The images search pedantically: they repeat themselves like they are about to disappear. They are doubtful, not of the scene they are fixated by, but of their ability to capture it. Enforcement becomes the opposite of certainty, their configuration as photographs is negated but not replaced by the film they structure. They demand movement, yet what they reach is immobile anticipation, inexorable disquiet. An autopoiesis1 of impossible reason.
two opinions on the Rorschach test
1) the Rorschach test (being deliberately non-descript) is an image that has the ability to tell something about the subject looking at it. the way in whichthe subject imbues the image with meaning uncovers the politics of how signs (in this case a pattern) are interpreted (come into existence) and ultimately stand-in for the subject itself. the image is agent and active, and the subject is a slave.
2) the Rorschach test is made to deliberately have no context of its own. subjectivities are analyz-ed using an image which possesses no identity – it exists purely as a tool for interpreting people. it exposes interiority rather than presenting itself within an exterior context. the subject is agent and active, and the image is a slave.
1) The camera is involved in a co-constitutive relationship with the photographer. Being “the objective machine, the perfect eye” it embodies and masks an inherent “ideological complicity”1 between object and subject, where the truth of the camera becomes a tool for the expression of the subject.
2) The camera is an autonomously functioning device where the cameras gaze is detached from the body and any actions of the photographer behind it.2 Here the re-invention of the subject and object divide exists in the transgression of the camera’s ideological interdependency, its cause and its concurrent effect, its refractive mirroring through which subjects appear.
Two-channel film installation (television/projection) duration 13:44 loop with audio
Am I moving?
I feel like you are occupying a structured space.
As in, time?
I guess so. A linearity that has been doubled, paralleled. A space that is durational.
I think I understand what you mean but this isn’t quite the same… I am interested in how time is interchangeable when we are still, and how movement is structured because it has a form, it occupies time. Like everything is really moving when I’m not, or even because I am not.
You have to be still in order to move? I like that idea, but are you really going anywhere?
In their final thesis at the Architectural Association London in 1972, Rem Koolhaas, Madelon Vreisendorp, Elia Zenghelis, and Zoe Zenghelis present a disturbing allegory - a fiction that critiques and explores the psychology of the Berlin Wall (“as so often before in this history of mankind, architecture was the guilty instrument of despair”) and the irreducible agencies of an architecture of control. Exodus or the Voluntary Prisoners of Architecture describes a pseudo-utopian walled city, a strip slicing London in two, whose inhabitants (in choosing to become these voluntary prisoners) become prisoners of a different sort – of their own emotions.
The walled city compartmentalizes and subjugates – the Ceremonial Square “accommodate[s] a mixture of physical and mental exercises”, the Square of the Arts contains buildings “where people go to satisfy their love for objects”, the Baths “create and recycle private and public fantasies”, the Park of Aggression “correct[s] and channel[s] aggressive desires into creative confrontations”, and the Allotments provide spaces in which to “recover in privacy from the demands of intense collectivism.” Mental spaces are channelled into physical spaces of active disquiet and ecstasy, and metaphors for exploitation assemble subjectivities into an exterior landscape of ‘free’ sensation. ‘Exodus’ enacts the terrifying (and very real) vision of a hegemonic architecture whose structure itself is subjectified, rendering all hierarchies anonymous, reducing all blame to concrete, in what Koolhaas describes elsewhere as “fascism minus dictator”. A quasi-utilitarian architecture, designed around social life, where designation and control are inseparable. Instead of celebrating the possibilities of the built environment, this imaginary city describes the limits of architecture itself, where social contexts are irreducible to representation, to save architecture from unrelenting blame from all sides for its invented ability to embody human achievement, depravation and psychological enslavement. Koolhaas and his collective propose the liberation of architecture from the expectation that it moulds a social context, in order to redevelop an architecture that doesn’t connote negative or positive reactions, and instead suggest that any place is a place of possibility. In simple terms, Koolhaas solidifies his optimistic predicament by admitting that: “People can inhabit anything. And they can be miserable in anything and ecstatic in anything. More and more I think that architecture has nothing to do with it.” In many ways, the ideal city is the invisible city, invisible in the sense that its boundaries and borders remain physical and not symbolic.
The manifestation of the positive implications of this ‘architecture of affect’ that Exodus seeks to denounce is currently being explored in a recent insurgence of the use (and translation) of Deleuzian ideas and terminology in ‘rhizomatic’ architectural practices. The proclamation of Koolhaas et al. is wonderfully illustrated by Douglas Spencer’s article in Radical Philosophy, which analyses this new trend in ‘Architectural Deleuzism’. The attempt to destroy ‘strata’ and symbolism (ironically incorporated in this act), creates an ideological representation rather than the actualization of ‘affect’ in architectural exteriority. Inside the walled city, “the social subject is reduced to a mere ‘material organization’ whose affective capacities are immediately joined to those of an environment with which it is supposed to identify at some pre-cognitive level.” Although Deleuze and Guattari deliberately encourage the application of their ideas in A Thousand Plateaus, the very attempt to employ them whilst negotiating legal and bureaucratic legislation leads to the opposite to what they call ‘nomadic thought’: “rather than a path towards the deterritorialization of subject positions imposed by a molar order, affect serves to reterritorialize the subject within an environment governed by neo-liberal imperatives.”
This idea of a ‘potentiality’ of architecture devoid of segregation and symbolism may well be idealistic (this certainly is the case for Deleuzism), so perhaps a more significant (and realistic) start would be to alleviate architecture from its Foucaudian and Bataillian ‘origins’ of the prison, the very prison that Exodus allegorizes. Like the collector who ‘frees’ the object from the slavery of being useful, it is not a question of whether people can be free inside architecture, or indeed even free architecture, or be free of architecture, but whether architecture can be freed of itself.