Puppets unmask us
So I'm hoping that word does not get out about me not being a very experienced twitterer (ahem I mean tweeter). It took me ten minutes to send a tweet on my unintelligent phone this afternoon (I can't even get whatsapp)! That aside, it's practicallly impossible to smoosh an overload of ideas on architecture into 140 character bite sized chunks. Twitter is a bit like fast food in that way.
Fighting to exist...
Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler of the Handspring Puppet Company started off the day talking about their own perceived connections between their work - puppetry, and architecture. Puppeteering is an influential medium because people are fascinated by puppets - puppets expose the fragility of our humanness. For a puppet, the basic everyday interactions we take for granted are a struggle. Puppets must fight for every breath of life. And architecture too, is inanimate until it is layered with the lives of its inhabitants. Jones and Kohler spoke of a human being's untapped ability to develop extreme perception to sensory experiences (like that experienced by autistic people). When facing a sensory experience our brains search for the big picture. We exclude what we can't make sense of. We must do this in order to survive in a chaotic world.
I feel a bit like that after today - as if my mind has been filled by a cacophony of ideas and complex thoughts that I'm trying to make sense of and not quite getting there...yet. Its similar to the design process. As a student I would spend hours in the library filling my mind with ideas (mainly visual) for my next design project until I would go home and let them blend in my dreams over night. There was always chaos and confusion, and then there was the fight - the fight for this idea to claim life. And each day, each thought, each small nuance, would shape this idea into something worth talking about. And the design project would begin to take shape.
Robert Silke gave his perspective on current architectural scripts (trends). In architecture, a design project cannot take on a life all of its own as it is defined mostly by constraints. "We are not fine artists", says Silke, and we unfortunately can't move within the same freedom. I have always loved the challenges (but not the headaches) that constraints bring. Coming up with an idea is easy, but responding with a creative solution to a complex problem is hard - and that's what we architects (try to) do. A problem is that we are rendering ourselves powerless by responding to the constraints enforced by developers. We can write our own new scripts.
Enrico Daffonchio spoke about his fine art which looks at the sensory perceptions and consciousness of space. He uses imagery of the human body, dreams and memory. The post lunch session, "Engaging the city" involved an architect, an urban activist, an archaeologist and a choreographer and will take some time to unpack from my ideas tank. Four provocative views and individual compelling takes on space and social consciousness. What is evident is that our cities are ruptured and we need to find new ways of bringing change, meaning and healing.
What I enjoy about Joe Osae-Addo, the final speaker's work is that he is bringing about (albeit small) change and meaning by looking at the everyday and the specific. There is a striking contrast between some of the ethereal concepts of the earlier presentations, and the robustness of the building materials that Osae-Addo works with. Its almost as if, unlike the puppets where the human puppeteer injects life into the puppet, the materials Osae-Addo explores are the perpetuators of a sensory experience - the inherent life and possibilities within them are drawn out and given cognisance.
If you've read to the end, you've only read a small taste! And its time for me to go and put these ideas into my dream box tonight. I wonder where they will take me tomorrow...
This blog is about...
My thoughts as I go about visiting interesting places, attending exhibitions and conferences, and the architectural world we live in.