Thursday, April 30, 2009

Non-Place

Auge´ defines anthropological place as being geometric. "In gemetric terms these are the line, the intersection of lines, and the point of intersection. Concretely, in the everday geography more familiar to us, they correspond to routes, axes or paths that lead from one place to another and have been traced by people; ..." He goes on to define these paths as leading to centres of activity, such as markets, and monuments that define spatial boundaries along with political, economic or religious ideals as well. He goes on to define this 'place' as a blended version of space that contains "partial overlap" serving many scales and institutions. "Identity and relations lie at the heart of all the spatial arragements classically studied by anthropology."
Marc Auge, non-places: introduction to an anthropology of supermodernity (1995) pg. 57-58

Material Temporality

"Itineraries are measured in hours or days of travel. The marketplace merits its title only on certain days. In West Africa it is easy to identify zones of exchange within which there is a weekly rotation of market days and marketplaces." Micheal de Certeau's ideas of event and movment in what he calls tactics would work well to define this type of "material temporal dimension of these spaces" (refering to anthropological place). (Auge pg. 59)

Defining non-place

"If a place can be defined as relational, historical and concerned with identity, then a space which cannot be defined as relational, or historical, orconcerned with identity wwill be a non-place. The hypothesis advanced here is that supermodernity produces non-places, meaning spaces which are not themselves anthropological places and which, unlike Baudelairean modernity, do not integrate the earlier places; instead these are listed, classified, promoted to the status of 'places of memory', and assigned to a circumcribed and specific position." (Auge pg. 78)

"Space, for him, (de Certeau) is a 'frequented place', 'an intersetion of moving bodies'; it is the pedestrians who transform a street (geometrically defined as a place by town planners) into a space. This parallel between the place as an assembly of elements coexisting in a certian order and the space as animation of these places by the motion of a moving body is backed by several references that define its terms." (Auge pg. 80) "The third reference, which stems from the second, highlights the narrative as an effort that ceaselessly 'transforms places into spaces and spaces into places' ( Ponty p. 174). There follows, naturally, a distinction between 'doing' and 'seeing', observable in everyday language which by turns suggests a picture ('there is . . .') and organizes movements ('you go in, you cross, you turn . . .'), or in map signs..." (Auge pg 80-81)

"The term 'space' is more abstract in itself than the term 'place', whose usage at least refers to an event (which has taken place), a myth (said to have taken place) or ahistory (high places). It is applied in much the same way to an area, a distance between two things or points (a two-metre 'space' is left between the posts of a fence) or to a temporal expanse ('in the space of a week')." (Auge pg. 82)

"Space, as frequentation of places rather than a place, stems in effect from a double movement: the traveller's movement, of course, but also a parallel movement of the landscapes which he catches only in partial glimpses, a series of 'snapshots' piled hurriedly into his memory and, literally, recomposed in the account he gives of them, the sequencing of slides in the commentary he imposes on his entourage when he returns." (Auge pg. 86)

"...we should still remember that there are spaces in which the individual feels himself to be a spectator without paying much attention to the spectacle. As if the position of spectator were the essence of the spectacle, as if basically the spectator in the position of a spectator were his own spectacle." (Auge pg. 86) This idea of the inverse gaze ties in well to David Foster Wallace's E. Unibus Pluram: Television and Fiction, were he explains the role of the fiction author as a character of his own narrative, espying on the innocent, pretending not to be the voyuer of his or her own dialog, meanwhile they are becoming the very spectacle they wish to gaze upon. (DFW pg. 24-25)

"As anthropological places create the organically social, so non-places create solitary contractuality...The link between individuals and their surrounding in the space of non-place is established through the mediation of words, or even texts. We know, for a start, that there are words that make image - or rather, images; the imagination of a person who has never been to Tahiti or Marrakesh takes fligh the moment thes names are read or heard." (Auge pg. 94-95)

"Certain places exist only through the words that evoke them, and in this sense they are non-places, or rather, imaginary places: banal utopias, cliches. They are the opposite of de Certeau's non-place. Here the word does not create a gap between everyday functionality and lost myth: it creates the image, produces the myth and at the same stroke makes it work..." (Auge pg. 95)

"But the real places of supermodernity...driving down the motorway, wandering through the supermarket or sitting in an airport lounge waiting for the next flight to London or Marseille - have the peculiarity that they are definded partly by the words and texts they offer us: their 'instructions for use', which may be prescriptive ('Take right-hand lane'), prohibitive ('No smoking') or informative ('You are now entering the Beaujolais region')." (Auge pg. 96)

Identity and association of non-places

"Alone, but one of many, the user of a non-place is in contractual relations with it (or with the powers that govern it). He is reminded, when necessary, that the contract exist. One element in this is the way the non-place is to be used: the ticket he has bought, the card he will have to show at the tollbooth, even the trolley he trundles round the supermarket, are all more or less clear signs of it." (Auge pg. 101)

"(Thank you for your custom', 'Bon voyage', 'We apolagize for any inconvenience') are addressed simultaneously and indiscriminately to each and any of us: they fabricate the 'average man', defined as the user of the road, retail or banking system. They fabricate him, and may sometimes individualize him: on some roads and motorways a driver who presses on too hard is recalled to order by the sudden flashing (110! 110!) of a warning sign; at some Paris junctions, cars that jump red lights are photographed automatically. Every credit card carries an identification code enabling the dispenser to provide its holder with information at the same time as a reminder of the rules of the game." (Auge pg. 100)

"What he is confronted with, finally, is an image of himself, but in truth it is a pretty strange image. the only face to be seen, the only voice to be heard, in the silent dialogue he holds with the landscape - text addressed to him along with others, are his own: the face and voice of tha solitude made all th emore baffling by the fact that it echoes millions of others. The passenger through no-places retrieves his identity only at Customs, at the tollbooth, at the check-out counter. Meanwhile, he obeys the same code as others, receives the same messages, responds to the same entreaties. The space of non-place creates neighter singular identity non relations; only solitude, and similitude.
There is no room for history unless it has been transformed into an element of spectacle, usually in allusive texts. What reigns there is the actuality, the urgency of the present moment. Since non-places are there to be passed through, they are measured in units of time. (Auge pg. 103-104)

"If Descombes is right, we can conclude that in the world of supermodernity people are always, and never, at home: the frontier zones or 'marchlands' he mentions no longer open on to totally foreign worlds. Supermodernity (which stems simultaneously from the three figures of excess: overbundance of events, spatial overabundance and the individualization of references) naturally finds its full expression in non-places. " (Auge pg. 109)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Inland Empire


The scene in Inland Empire where our main actress Laura Dern enters the sound stage through a door in the alley. She realize that she is the intruder from an earlier time. She sees herself and Devon in the other room. She goes to leave and enters a room on the sound stage. Looking back through the glass she sees Devon coming to enter the room. She also can see another man looming in the dark. She tries warning Devon by banging on the glass. As we know from seeing this scene from Devon's perspective, he sees nothing. This space is the moment of Slip Space, or hyperreality, where we are simultaneously encountering two time-spaces. This is the perception I wish to accieve in my own film.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Slip Space...Hyperreality and Psycogeographies

What
(Paul Virilio’s experience…”returning from San Francisco to Europe”) – ”The experience that prompted this, however–seeing dawn and dusk at the same time–was of being neither within nor without; it was an experience of being between the two, a "between" formed only in the simultaneous presence of the two." 01

Slip Space 02 is a temporal space, or event, existing between physical geographies. This ‘space’ is a hyper-reality, created by the use of ‘tactics,’ 03 or opportunities in time, creating the illusion of simultaneity, existing in more than one place at a given moment. A tactic, as stated by Certeau, “depends on time–it is always on the watch for opportunities that must be seized "on the wing." Whatever it wins, it does not keep. It must constantly manipulate events in order to turn them into "opportunities." 04 One use of tactics, or maneuvers, in everyday life is through the use of everyday high-speed technologies, such as real-time video, mobile phones, passenger jets, etc. 05 These technologies blur the boundaries of physical space reality and create a hyper-reality, which, as stated by Baudrillard, is something by which states itself as real but questions its origin of reality at the same instance. 06

Why
Architecture cannot be viewed as the linear production of static, physical space, but rather a fractured, inebriated lexicon void of a structured narrative. Architecture can be seen as a broken narrative of time-based events. Paul Virilio’s “definition of the event is less in space than in time. P.V's thesis may be simply that time has finally overcome space as our main mode of perception." 07 Then the effects of our perception of simultaneity are that “space is temporal” and requires new ‘modes of operation.’ 08 This idea, of course, is not new. In the 1950’s, Guy Debord and the Situationists created a manifesto by which to discover this type of architecture space with the creation of the dérive, détournement and psycho-geographies, as reactions to the spectacle of a commodity society. 09 “In the Situationist view, situations are actively created moments characterized by ‘a sense of self-consciousness of existence within a particular environment or ambience.’” 10 Then in the 1980’s, the group NATO (Narrative Architecture Today), spearheaded by Nigel Coates took these ideas to further fruition in a struggle to better understand how the city could represent the ‘experiences it contained.’ 11 During that time, Bernard Tschumi was working with the notions of time-space events with the ‘Manhattan Transcripts’ project. His use of collage was seeking to explore this notion of temporal space. 12 The Slow House, and other projects by Dillard + Scofidio also speak to a time-based architecture and what I am referring to as Slip Space. 13 Therefore, with this and other research in mind, I believe there will be room for new design opportunities, in architecture, by understanding the use of everyday time-based ‘tactics’ as it relates to high-speed technologies and spatial relationships. 14

How
I am proposing a project that explores Slip Space in the time-based medium of digital film, motion graphics, green screen and 3D animation software. I will seek a representation that both describes as well as challenges typical linear relationships between spaces, much in the same way Duchamp studies the compression of events in Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2. I am looking at the film as the design itself where you, the participant, are part of the engagement of the event. Therefore, it is my goal to engage you in a type of hyper-reality.

The film will act as a psycho-geography taking the viewer on a journey, much like the book Ecstacity. 10 The film consists of three parts: the overheard conversation as voyeurism and broken narrative, the everyday individual working in an office acting as the ‘voyeur’ 15, and the shots through London. The narrative will be a dérive through the city with a lack of consistent loci, separating the viewer from the typical notion of continuous space. All three parts will be a type of hyper-reality, connected through the use of screens, transitions and other technologies, but generally unrelated. The aim is for the movie to become a form of Slip Space.


References

1. (Victor Burgin, "Indifferent Spaces" (1996), pg. 185 ) Referring to Virilio's, "Improbable Architecture", pg 83. "Paul Virilio, 'returning from San Francisco to Europe,' over the glaciers of Greenland and observes; 'Behind us glow the red fires of dusk and, in the same instant, ahead of us glimmer the green lights of dawn.'. . . . "The experience that prompted this, however–seeing dawn and dusk at the same time–was of being neither within nor without; it was an experience of being between the two, a "between" formed only in the simultaneous presence of the two."

2. Lewis Tsurumaki Lewis, Situation Normal (1998) Slip Space, a project by, investigation the space between gallery and the basement below through various mechanical devices connecting the use of common objects. see.

3. Lewis Tsurumaki Lewis, Situation Normal (1998) pg. 05, 07 "In particular, tactics are the modes of creative opportunity that operate within the gaps and slips of conventional thought and the patterns of everyday life."… "A critical architecture challenges the familiar, seeking out what has been forgotten in the making of the conventions and norms of generic, everyday architecture."

4.
(Micheal de Certeau, "The Practice of Everyday Life" (1984), pg xix) "A tactic insinuates itself into the other's place, fragmentarily, without taking it over in its entirety, without being able to keep it at a distance. It has at its disposal no base where it can capitalize on its advantages, prepare its expansions, and secure independence with respect to circumstances. The "proper" is a victory of space over time. On the contrary, because it does not have a place, a tactic depends on time–it is always on the watch for opportunities that must be seized "on the wing." Whatever it wins, it does not keep. It must constantly manipulate events in order to turn them into "opportunities."

5.
(Victor Burgin, "Indifferent Spaces" (1996), pg. 186 ) “Today ‘the tube’ has extended the shopping street into the upper atmosphere. I am on a flight into Los Angeles. Video projectors have just transmitted live news broadcasts onto screens in the aircraft cabin; I leaf through a shopping catalog provided in the seat pocket in front of me. Above this pocket, inset in the seat back, is a telephone handset. I may use a credit card as a key to release the telephone and call anywhere in the world; I may also use it to order goods from the catalog, which will be wrapped and waiting for me on my deplaning at LAX. Back on the ground, as I head for the baggage claim area, the “terminal’ is itself an agglomeration of video terminals informing me of times and places I may make further connections to other places and other times. “

6.
( Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation (1994)) “Disneyland exists in order to hide that it is the "real" country, all of "real" America that is Disneyland (a bit like prisons are there to hide that it is the social in its entirety, in its banal omnipresence, that is carceral). Disneyland is presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real, whereas all of Los Angeles and the America that surrounds it are no longer real, but belong to the hyperreal order and to the order of simulation. It is no longer a question of a false representation of reality (ideology) but of concealing the fact that the real is no longer real, and thus of saving the reality principle."

7. Paul Virilio, A Landscape of Events (2000) (Bernard Tschumi- Foreword) “His definition () of the event is less in space than in time. P.V's thesis may be simply that time has finally overcome space as our main mode of perception."

8.
Paul Virilio, A Landscape of Events (2000) (Bernard Tschumi- Foreword) "Time, rather than space, is the theme of this book: the collapse of time, the acceleration of time, the reversal of time, the simultaneity of all times. Another title for Virilio's "A Landscape of Events" could have been "Mediated Blitzed." Indeed, rarely has a contemporary writer so engaged in an exacerbated analysis of the acceleration of time, to the point where space itself becomes engulfed in time. Space becomes temporal."

9. (Guy Debord, La Societe du Spectacle, (Paris: Buchet-Chastel, 1967) "The spectacle is not a collection of images," Debord writes. "rather, it is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images."

10. (Simon Ford, The Situationist International: A User’s Guide (1950)) “…to wake up the spectator who has been drugged by spectacular images," "through radical action in the form of the construction of situations," "situations that bring a revolutionary reordering of life, politics, and art". In the situationist view, situations are actively created moments characterized by "a sense of self-consciousness of existence within a particular environment or ambience."

11. Nigel Coates, Marcus Field, Ecstacity (2003)

12. (Neil Spiller, Visionary Architecture (2006)) "Tschumi's polemic was grounded in his assertion that 'there is no space without event,'(Questions of Space, Bernard Tschumi) and it was his collaging of events, his mixing of programmatic considerations and his development of a personal architectural space-time notation that formed his contribution to the progress of twentieth-century architectural vision."

13. Diller +Scofidio, Flesh (1994) pg249 "The Slow House reconsiders issues of optical paranoia which emerged over forty years ago in the growing affinity between the television and the picture window. The designations 'public' and 'private' were put into doubt as television privatized the most public condition, the media, and the picture window publicized the most private, the interior."

14.
(Micheal de Certeau, "The Practice of Everyday Life" (1984), pg xxi)“This mutation makes the text habitable, like a rented apartment. It transforms another person's property into a space borrowed for a moment by a transient. Renters make comparable changes in an apartment they furnish with their acts and memories; as do speakers, in the language into which they insert both the messages of their native tongue and, through their accent, though their own "turns of phrase," etc., their own history; as do pedestrians, in the streets they fill with the forests of their desires and goals."

15
(Guy Debord, La Societe du Spectacle, (Paris: Buchet-Chastel, 1967) "Reading (an image or a text), moreover, seems to constitute the maximal development of the passivity assumed to characterize the consumer, who is conceived of as a voyeur (whether troglodytic or itinerant) in a "show biz society."

Drift...

I am traveling on the notes of a saxophone. Traveling in a cyclonic slipstream above the trees, past the courtyard. I pass the beat of a hammer, distant and constant. Its rhythm produced by the nature of constructing, making things or making places. I am flying higher now leaving the space of this courtyard. Its urban walls are the hard ambiance guiding the soft sounds of life. The hammer now replaced by sounds of play, rubber and air colliding against the worn slick texture of a old gym. Feet running back and forth to create a rhythm of strategic maneuverer's. A pause created by a pass, a tactic of deception, then back to the dribble on the floor, a squeak of one's shoe and the yell "over hear." The saxophone is quieter now which only takes me higher in the air. I can see farther now across the landscape, and this invites in more sounds. A fast motivated alert of the ambulance, distant at first, crying for help, persistently pushes and then fades. A bird flaps its wings warning me of my drift, as a nearby jet bellows a long swish cutting its lines across the sky. I begin to fall back down now as I am reminded of my bearing, voices can be heard, offering things to be consumed. A magazine perhaps, an advert for more adverts, peddling yesterday's events as today's commodity. The rhymes in this voice now matching the notes of the brass, singing a duet as the world settles down. I am fully reminded now of my position on this landscape as I cross the street, horns interject there advice, and I continue my derive of the urban spectacle.

Slip Space: Fragmented Space and the Broken Narrative

In today’s post-modern, contemporary architecture we are not creating a fluid contiguous sense of physical space, but rather a fractured, inebriated lexicon void of a structured narrative. Instead the performance of architecture, in the age of Humanism, and as suggested in The Practice of Everyday Life1, is represented by the individual ‘tactics’ of each citizen deployed within ‘strategies’ of a larger whole2. This definition of architecture applied to today’s hyper-connected reality results in the form of a broken narrative, hurdling individuals from one space to another without a dialog of how the journey between took place. The resulting inebriation spawns from today’s use of high-speed travel and real-time electronic communications, creating non-contiguous space-time events and placeless memories. The outcome creates fractured boundaries between events and places, leaving a blur in our contextual landscapes. This blur, or durational space-time event, represents a ‘tactical’ mode of operation, representative of the space between the lines, the unspoken meaning, slip space3.

As an example, boundaries formalized between private and public spaces are continuously being called into question, as the constructs that have defined those spaces continue to blur4. These constructs, physical location and material barriers, carry less meaning today as compared to the immaterial relationships of the progressing instantaneous electronic presence that new technologies afford us. Therefore, contemporary architecture is no longer definable by the Euclidean constructions of space within a physical landscape, but rather it is defined by a landscape of space-time events in everyday life5.

Slip space, the blurry, incoherent spaces between events and places is the primary investigation of my work. More specifically, informed by the study of slip space, can we begin to design a new type of spatial relationship by understanding the use of everyday ‘tactics’ as it relates to the technology of continuous real-time video presence? Using digital film, motion graphics and 3D software, I will seek a representation that both describes as well as challenges typical linear relationships between spaces. Much in the same way Duchamp studies the compression of events in Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2

References

1. The Practice of Everyday Life, by Micheal de Certeau.
2. From the book Situation Normal, Lewis Tsurumaki Lewis state, "In particular, tactics are the modes of creative opportunity that operate within the gaps and slips of conventional thought and the patterns of everyday life." (pg05) "A critical architecture challenges the familiar, seeking out what has been forgotten in the making of the conventions and norms of generic, everyday architecture." (pg07)
3. Slip Space, a project by Lewis Tsurumaki Lewis, investigation the space between gallery and the basement below through various mechanical devices connecting the use of common objects. see Situation Normal.
4. "The Slow House reconsiders issues of optical paranoia which emerged over forty years ago in the growing affinity between the television and the picture window. The designations 'public' and 'private' were put into doubt as television privatized the most public condition, the media, and the picture window publicized the most private, the interior." pg249 (Flesh by Diller +Scofidio)
5. A Landscape of Events, by Paul Virilio., 1996

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Situationist Internationalist

Guy Debord along with others created a movement late in the 50's called the Situationist International. This movement was, among other things, a reaction against the capitalist ideals set out by the advertising mass media marketing complex. (Debord G.E. (1967) : thesis 24) Those ideas set forth a fake and idealistic reality of life that Debord along with others did not subscribe to. Alternatively the SI suggested that we would be better off constructing our own situations in everyday life and thru doing so we would influence the spaces and structures around us. Psycho-geographies, as defined in the Critique of Urban Geography, "are the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals." These self-guided experiences of the urban world were described as the Derive, also defined by Debord in his essay, Theories of the Derive, 1958.

This created the idea of the Spectacle, which looks at the subversion of the everyday rules and regulations or strategies. Larry Law describes the spectacle in his pocket book series. "We live in a spectacular society, that is, our whole life is surrounded by an immense accumulation of spectacles. Things that were once directly lived are now lived by proxy. Once an experience is taken out of the real world it becomes a commodity. As a commodity the spectacular is developed to the detriment of the real. It becomes a substitute for experience." —Larry Law, Images And Everyday Life (PDF)

One tactic used by the Situationist was Detournement, or the reversal or derailment of something. Using the elements already established to recreate something else. Debord referred to art as dead, already created and part of the establishment. Like De Champs Mona Lisa, Debord says that art is no more interesting than the first time it was created. This has become relevant in todays culture with establishments such as Adbuster's or artist like Bansky who treat the existing culture as a layer by which to create their subversive media.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Broken Time: Fragmented Space

Visual distortion, mimicry, optical illusion, strange loops are all part of the uncanny. A sense of understanding offered to the viewer only to be discovered as false or different by closer inspection. Anemic Cinema a short film by Marcel Duchamp uses Rotoreliefs or in this case five painted discs to create an illusion of depth and inverse rotation. It is this same uncanny visual that can be seen in Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2. Layered, differing views along with indications of the thoughts and feelings of the transcending nude represents the multi-dimensional depth to life set in motion. In the same way a signed urinal, one of Duchamp’s pieces entitled Fountain, not only expresses the absurdity of authorship, but also sheds light on the multiplicity of the meanings of language and the 'proper'. The term 'urinal' represents a 'three dimensional' functional object designed for a specific purpose, but Duchamp ask the question if it has been signed by the 'artist' does it not exist now in the dimension of art as well.

The surrealist/dada image produced in the Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 describes a fractured vision of everyday life as represented in the flat 2D simulacrum of the art piece. We are overwhelmed by the amount of information Duchamp provides us with in the pulse of a single frame, the canvas. Fracturing and reorganizing time and space in such a way to create the landscape of an events rather than a single moment, the action becomes the study here rather than the object or its beauty. What particularly interest me is the intersection, the overlap, the boundary between the fragments the image. The space and time relationship becomes blurred and distorted, both descending the stair in the past the future at the same moment. The image is not the foreground or the background, it becomes it's own narrative. It becomes the 'Slip Space' or the 'Loophole' between the past, present and future.

Through speculative architecture, Lewis Tsurumaki Lewis make use of what they call 'Slip Space' to define an architecture that challenges the very meaning of spatial relations, much in the way surrealism, cubism or dadaism wishes to challenge the real or the normal. From their book Situation Normal, "In particular, tactics are the modes of creative opportunity that operate within the gaps and slips of conventional thought and the patterns of everyday life." (pg05) "A critical architecture challenges the familiar, seeking out what has been forgotten in the making of the conventions and norms of generic, everyday architecture." (pg07) - LTL This could be compared with the Diller + Scofidio's use of the term 'loophole'. "A loophole can be a skillfully intentional and undetectable omission or ambiguity which leads to the destruction of a logic." D+S pg 139 Both seek a speculation on the ambiguity of the space between the lines. A complex space that blurs the distinction of everyday boundaries between the rational and 'surrational'