Monthly Archives: May 2010

Metabolisms

Tomorrow I’ll be talking at the Time in Architecture conference at Évora University. I’ll be introducing the theme of metabolism in architecture, ranging from the Japanese metabolists to recent biomorphic architectures.

But, essentially, I want to address how the fast consumption of architecture today is also a perverse form of metabolism, with the discipline constantly devouring itself so as to create an illusion of presence within the wider scope of a fast visual and material culture.

The metabolists dealt with the question of permanence of architecture by offering a (failed) possibility to substitute its constitutive parts with ever-new plug-ins. As it happens with product design, these interchangeable parts would respond to constantly changing conditions and aspirations.

The implacable mechanisms of contemporary consumption, however, suggest that architecture itself is wholly and permanently replaceable – as another Japanese, the writer Yukio Mishima, had already portrayed with excruciating beauty in his novel The Temple of the Golden Pavilion.

The difference of our times in regard to classical Japanese culture is that religious obsession – which lead to the replacement of the very same building by its exact replica over and over again – is now itself replaced by an economical fixation, which insists solely in offering ever-new simulacra for constructions that have long ago lost any remaining sense of transcendence.

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And I am still interested in conflation…

And I’m actually curious about the kind of synapse that is triggered in the world architecture’s master brains by today’s accidental conflation of this small angry comment on Venice’s “People Meet in Architecture” event, and these powerful images of people literally meeting the surface of the city face to face.

Image via Boiteaoutils. Soundtrack here.

I am still alive

While in the midst of another conference and otherwise submerged by class preparations, it felt like a breath of fresh air to browse through the new online mag Brusselsprout #01 in about 25 seconds of full screen mode.

While by the side of my working table new paper magazines and freshly arrived books wait for a precious moment of attention, the screen engulfs me and reminds me that reading isn’t what it used to be.

And while I still feel the weird need to feed that same screen on a regular basis I can only recall the conceptual strategies of On Kawara, recurrently re-inscribing himself into the art world of the Seventies… and of today.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Via Real Normal.

Despite the establishment’s blues, “mudam-se os tempos, mudam-se as vontades” (e os seus media).