Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Did you say Architectonic Homo-Sacer? and What About Zombies, Vampires?
This winter term, in the “architecture without architecture” course we are focusing on the concept of the “zones of indistinction” by trying to understand and use their ideas as tools of two philosophers: Giorgio Agamben and Jalal Toufic. In the practical level, we want to find a tool that can help us to analyze the conditions of undefined spaces or traumatic spaces or exceptional spaces. How the spatial program of a specific space is constructed, owned and decided under an exceptional condition, building, zone; and how the subjectivities are related to it is the basic question that we try to understand. Moreover, the question of fiction and visualization that is related to our first question is the other main research that we try to pursue.
“Homo Sacer” is a condition of a subjectivity that neither formal law (judicial system) nor informal (community law) can be applied. As a traditional figure “werewolf”; a man that transforms between human and animal, is in between exclusion and inclusion, is a source or kind of example of a “Homo Sacer”. “The state of exception” remains as an uncertain space in which the normal law is suspended, where the space becomes exceptional. Re-defining the space with arbitrary rules is where; the ambiguous separation between “bare life” and law/rules begins. Concentration camps, buffer zones or ghettos in urban space are the zones where the exclusion/inclusion appears. During the November workshop in Nicosia; we did examine the buffer zone that divides the city into two parts. The research was about the condition, usage, sharing experience of the buffer zone and its effects to its near environment. In the text “Ruins” by Jalal Toufic is about the traumatic spaces, destroyed or damaged buildings during the civil war of the city of Beirut. Toufic asserts that even the buildings in Beirut will be reconstructed they will remain as ruins: “The physical destruction of severely damaged buildings to construct others in their place is sacrilegious not because they are eliminated as ruins: a ruin cannot be intentionally eliminated since even when it is reconstructed or demolished and replaced by a new building, it is actually still a ruin, that is contains as labyrinthine space and time, this becoming manifest at least in flashes. Such physical destruction is sacrilegious because of the brutal unawareness it betrays of the different space and time ruins contain. It exhibits the same brutality that was shown during the war”. As an existing zone, we would like to examine the zone that includes subsequently the Tiergarten, Nuremberg Art Academy (where a42 is situated), Altheim and the Reichsparteitagsgelände. We would like to find out: the relationship between those institutions in context of representation, the function of them in the whole network of urban space of Nuremberg, their function of the “common knowledge” of the society about those zones and the borders/connection to each.
The research will focus on the described zone from both perspectives as “exclusion/inclusion”, “zone of indistinction” and so-called “ruins” in context of Toufic’s specification on site-time and image/fiction.
We would like to proceed this research through a fictional undead character as a Vampire (in J.Toufic’s context) or an in-between character of man and animal Werewolf (Homo Sacer) in order to approach it as a critical tool.