Friday, January 23, 2009

fictional Architectonic Homo Sacer....

(draft seite3)

we are editing and publishing a fictional magazine about the "Architectonic Homo Sacer" research...we need to finish the first draft today..

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Spatial Research and Visuality

22.01.2009, a42

Guest: Susanne Kriemann

We have a guest today; the German artist Susanne Kriemann who works on spatial research and politics. She presented her few projects and the way how she works as an artist about space research and publication.

Cyprus in between / YENİ MİMAR

The Nicosia research of a42 published as a report/summary in Turkish; YENİMİMAR Turkish architecture magazine,p.10, December,no 68, 2008

Cyprus – in between.

“The paradox of borders is that they divide at the same time that they provide sites of contact.” (Yiannis Papadakis, 2006)

We are six students from the Master program on Architecture and Urban research based at the Academy of Fine Arts in Nüernberg . This study program participated in the period between nov. 03Rd to nov. 11th 2008 in a excursion to Cyprus which was a participation in two international workshops: Liminal Zones and incm008/CY workshops.

The island in the eastern Mediterranean Sea located is divided in a Greek-Cypriote and a Turkish-Cypriote area since 1974. The dividing line runs across the capital Nicosia, there are five transition points. The UN-Buffer zone, existing since the 1970s, assures peace between both clash parties. In the divided capital two workshops took place. The anacrusis event in the Greek Cypriote part of the city was the seminar Liminal Zones Cyprus 2008, organised by the University of Cyprus und Goldsmiths College, London. In terms of roundtables, questions of Liminal Zones in context with the Cyprus-conflict and its spatial effects have been discussed together with experts from south and north Nicosia. In the course of this considerations downtown Nicosia was discovered in proximate area of the UN Buffer zone, both in the south and in the north district. The second international event, incm008/CY, in the north section, a workshop organised by student network EASA (European Architecture Students Assembly), was engaged in architectural practice and spatial politics in the area of the buffer zone .
Spaces Tangent To The Zone - The Dead Ends are not dead. arranged a local thematically-oriented study. Via film the UN-Buffer zonés progress on greek- and turkish-zypriotes side was researched. As a main cognition can be appointed, that the initially illustrated two-dimensionality of the zone in reality has an unimagined and very strong effect on the three-dimensional space, which is located right between the inhabited urban space and the buffer. A remarkable spatial zone, directly adjoined to the buffer zone, is really existing and active. A livelily, accessible space is in no relation to the simple, abstract borderline on the map: Rarely the buffer zone is recognised as a clear, continuous border. Entirely exerted the zone is exceptionally in the form of artificially cut streets, the Dead Ends, which act as sort of windows into the zone. Only punctual the watcher gets insights in the proper restricted area. This is an artificial territory, encapsulated of all surrounding urban context, deserted, inanimately, demilitarized. The space, which used to be here was completely discharged. Ruins in a kind of vacuum were left behind. A Dead Zone. The adjoined Dead Ends are impasses, half streets, which used to run constantly through the city. Today they are leading into a void. The future is uncertainly, just as the respectively other district of the city, beyond the buffer zone. By the strict disruption in the street there is however emerging an unexpected, new spatiality. These areas contain a new function: Playing zones for children are emerging, as well as areas without traffic, storage areas and yards. Altogether this can be seen as an extended housing space of the residents. The separation of the two ethnic groups works unexceptionally, anyhow. The intervisibility to the other side is interrupted; the opposite side is factually not visible.

Spaces In The Zone - Abandoned Areas
The dividing line of the capital is interrupted by two transitions. The first transition, at the UN-controlled Ledra Palace Hotel, extends over a longer section of the buffer zone. The visitor can cross this one only by foot. The physical construction of the checkpoints on both sides speaks for its self. The border crossing on the Greek Cypriote side is built as a temporary construction of comparable humble dimension. Whereas the Turkish-Cypriote checkpoint is a large, two-storied, non-transient building. Furthermore, since the third of April 2008 the Ledra Street (formerly separated for decades) in downtown Nicosia is passable for citizens and tourists via a border crossing, including passport- a visa checkup. Clearly noticeable is the abrupt changeover, which takes place in the run of only one single street.

Since the abandoned space of the buffer zone exists, many ruins of houses emerged in that. In the past efficient architecture was disengaged of all functions. The utilisation- and function system of the buildings got nullified. In the present these structures only exist in form of empty shells. For an indefinite period of time this architecture is being in a comatose, uncertain condition. The real enemy of the built structure is no longer the martial destruction; there are no outer interventions of human beings, no abrasions, no utilizations, no contact to the urban context. Only the factor time remains a continuous parameter. In some individual cases the former function of the architecture is yet permitted today. For instance the Goethe Institut at Ledra Palace Checkpoint can remain as a Facility for German Language and Culture.

In opposition to this the Nicosia International Airport was transferred into a useless, misplaced object, simply because of its position into the restricted area. It is now an airport without a port and air traffic. The air sovereignty is no longer a human issue; it is transferred to the birds, which have occupied the whole space.

Above Nicosia’s surface there are many borders, in form of walls, languages, cultures and religions. But the city is already reunified in another level. Like a kind of mesh the common used wastewater system holds the city together. A subterraneous, liquid commonness.

Written by
(Barbara Geralis, Tamara Härty, Sarah Retsch, Matthias Spielvogel, Florian Thein, Philipp Strom)
pictures ©

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.

a42&Pelin Tan

Monday, December 8, 2008

death of the californian freaks?

my masterthesis deals with collaborative mappings in google earth mashups. collaborative mapping means that the production of maps is done by a collective of individuals. a "mashup" in general means to recombine (mix up) existing contents of a software or application by using its open application programming interface (api). in the context of mapping, a mashup is to combine an existing mapping application (mostly google maps) and link a database or a datasource to it. the result is a new webapplication which shows the common google maps surface and enables the user to browse the linked georeferenced information in the database-/ source.
i started a research about collaborative mapping in the web. as i soon recognized the topic is very much linked to the web2.0 debate, because mashups are often used as a proof that the new web enables its users to generate user generated content and by this becomes a grassroot democratic system (f.e. o´really). that´s why i started to look at the mashups more precisly. is offering the most actual and most completed list of all existing mashups in the net. there are 3515 mashups which are tagged by the users in application categories (f.e. photo, video, shopping, search engines, mapping). the mapping mashups are dominant, 52% of all entries are sharing a mapping-tag. this means there are 1796 mapping-mashups. by several filters (ratings, visits, used api) i got a selection of 286. i just started looking on them in detail, but i already got some facts, that mapping-mashups are not so much about collaborative mapping, collective production, grassroot democracy or user generated content as the internet-theorists (and me) expected them to be...
1. most of them are made for consuming or shopping. so, one of the most visited and highest rated ones, is the Wii seeker, where you can find the nearest and cheapest Nintendo Wii.
2. another topic is that in most of them the content isn´t user generated. mostly the content is generated from existing online sources (like news-channels or ebay) and the mash-up only georeferences it.
3. also surprising to me was, that a lot of mashups (using an open api from other applications) produce api´s which are not open to others.
i´m sure there will be many more facts like this, on my continuing research...
all in all, that leads me to the question if o´really and the californian freaks are really right? do mashups lead to user generated content and thereby to a grassroot democratic system? is the web2.0 and one of its most recommended flagships, the mashup movement, really that social and revolutionary as it is anounced to be? or is it just another tool for branding our space? (vgl. "niketown") or even more worse, do mashups serve as a kind of "democratic simualtion", because there is a certain kind of user participation, but in the end it´s only about participating in consuming?
if it is possible to show that mashups are not a proof for the anounced "social revolution" in the internet, does this declare the death of the californian freaks?

Sunday, December 7, 2008


zum meinem Thema „Was ist eine Bausünde?“

Frage SR: Herr Schultze-Naumburg, in Ihrem literarischen Werk Kulturarbeiten sprechen Sie wiederholt davon, dass man sich an bzw. durch Architektur „versündigen“ kann. Was ist Ihrer Meinung nach schlechte Architektur?

Antwort Naumburg: „Nun, dass ein guter Rat an die Bauherren unserer Zeit angebracht ist, zeigt unser allgemein anerkanntes Bauelend überhaupt, dass auf jede Strasse seine Greuel pflanzt. Gelbe Chamottesteine, violetter Schiefer und weisser Putz geben einen geradezu ausgesucht abscheulichen Missklang.

Es ist kaum zu fassen. Nach nur einem Jahr meiner Abwesenheit entwickelte sich diese harmonische Anlage in eine hässliche Larve. Oder ist´s aber etwa ein Monstrum??

Ganz im Gegensatz zu diesem kleinen, wahrhaft schlichten Pavillon ohne fremde Schmuckformen, diesem Bau aus einem Guss, ein Bau, dem sein schöner Zweck klar und rein auf der Stirn geschrieben steht. Vorbildlich ist dieser Ausdruck des Äußeren, der eine wohlanständigen Behaglichkeit, die sich lediglich in den Verhältnissen und Formen, nicht in Zierraten ausdrückt, zeigt.“

[Paul Schultze-Naumburg, deutscher Architekt, †1949]


Frage SR: Frau Fröbe, kürzlich wurde ein von Ihnen gestalteter Abreiß-Kalender mit 365 Abbildungen von Bausünden publiziert. Was war Ihr Impuls, all diese Bauwerke bildlich festzuhalten? Wie definieren Sie Bausünde?

Antwort Fröbe: „Bausünden – Jeder kennt sie, keiner will sie. Sie stören nahezu überall und machen aus unseren Städten Einheitsbrei. Versenken wir nun Tag für Tag eine architektonische Katastrophe im Papierkorb! Sonntags zeige ich Eigenheime, anonym, an Feiertagen gibt es Kirchen. Die Bildwahl ist subjektiv und hochgradig ungerecht. Grundsätzlich gilt: Bausünden sind in dieser oder ähnlicher Form überall zu finden, ihre Ortsgebundenheit ist rein zufällig! Es ging mir darum, dieses Konvolut städtebauliche Realsatire zu zeigen und die Leute zum sehen zu animieren.

Ich unterscheide in gute und schlechte Bausünden. Gute Bausünden sind solche, die originell sind, die von einem gewissen Mut des Erbauers zeugen, auch wenn er in Farbe, Form und Material danebengegriffen hat. Sie sind fast so schwer zu finden wie gute Architektur. Die schlechten Bausünden sind die, die überall herumstehen, diese belanglose Meterware in Fußgängerzonen und Einkaufszentren, diese gesichtslose Investoren-Architektur.

[Turit Fröbe, Architekturhistorikerin, UdK Berlin, *1971]


Frage SR: Herr Eix, Sie sind Bürger von Rinteln und Mitglied im dortigen Bürgerverein. Sie haben im Jahr 2007 eine Seite mit dem Titel „Rintelner Bausünden“ ins Internet gestellt. Welche Gebäude sind nun konkrete Bausünden und warum trifft dies zu? [Rinteln – Ein Kleinstädtchen an der Weser, westlich von Hameln]

Antwort F. Eix: „Mit einem aufdringlichen hässlichen Kaufhauskomplex (Woolworth) wurde das südliche Weserufer verschandelt. Anstatt die historischen Baulichkeiten aus dem 18. und 19. Jh. zu modernisieren, wurden sie brutal vernichtet. Nicht besser ist es auf der gegenüberliegenden Seite, wo ein umgebungsblinder Architekt ohne Anpassung an die umgebenden alten Häuser einen kolossalen überfrachteten Betonbau dort hingeklotzt hat.

Ästhetisches Augenmaß, Stilempfinden und historische Rücksichtnahme waren nie die Stärke der Stadtverwalter. Es ist ein unharmonischer Modernismus. Auf Freiflächen am Rande der Stadt sind sie (die modernistischen Gebäude) passend, aber nicht mitten im kleinstädtischen historischen Rahmen der Altstadt. Dort zerstören sie das historische Stadtbild. Wieso konnte ein überfrachteter Gebäudeklotz neben historischen Häusern nicht verhindert werden? Wie kann man einen solch überkandidelten schmalen Glas- und Metallbau unmittelbar an ein historisches Gebäude anklatschen?! - Disharmonischer geht es nicht mehr!

Diese Verunstaltung des historischen Postamts, diese Geschmacklosigkeit der disharmonischen Bauwerke - dieses Unheil. […]“

[F. Eix, Bürger der Kleinstadt Rinteln, Niedersachsen]