[-empyre-] The city as a skin -- Sparta and the helots / time and space and movement

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Thu Mar 22 09:12:20 EST 2012

dear all

thank you Aristide for your response, which will give me much to think.

I had recently seen design models for public spaces, in think one project now actually intended for a public square in Greece, proposed by Alexandros Kallegias and the Sharisharishari collective [http://sharisharishari.com/] and exhibited as small scale models at the recent KINETICA art fair, and i listened to their presentations as the collective spoke eloquently about the new materials they are using and the "participatory" dimension of the architecture they envision, and since all their small scale models were "interactive," responding to touch, i became interested. Their booth had the title "Sharisharishari" ; on two tables you would encounter five scale models of an architectural nature, maybe small scale models of a town, an urban square, a stadium, a neighborhood, a train station, a field of wind-powered mills, etc., and on top of each cityscape there were these winglike canopy structures, shaped like hoods, tiny modular roofs of a pavilion. These  responded to interaction, namely light, touch, and sound input:  one had a small tiny keyboard and when you touched a key, say, the "M'", the small part roof of the city fluttered and moved,  or on the other model the windmill leaned towards you or shifted over a bit, so each of the models had a life come to life when you interacted. Meiri Shinohara, one of architects, then passionately explained to me that they look for new materials that allow the "tensegrity canopy design" with innovative biometal/ 'artificial muscle' material that can flex.....

I take it, Aristide, that you were not thinking of such models, or of of any formal languages of architectural design? You do mention "functional propositions," though; yet I gather you are proposing a politics of re-orienting existing "protocols"  – reorganizing existing "functions" (and may i add , sanctions!) and your writing is more about protocols than about building?  

You said:  >>Questions about the performativity of cities are to be posed, you are right. To me they can be formed either as functional propositions of concrete city areas or as exemplary designs proposing spaces that seem ready to be occupied for different reasons. This can act as an open question about the occupying power. Urban protocols are functions that can rule an occupation in another level than camping somewhere in order to protest.    

Your emphasis on protocols I find quite fascinating, please tell us more if you get a moment. 

On the matter of the peripheral languages, i will come back to that. 

Johannes Birringer

Aristide schreibt
> The public space is unimportant or "occupy-able". It is important from a point of view of architecture to make an account of this aspect of the communities that act in the cities. They can exist if they occupy a space. A different relation to what was meant as public space is recorded here. An occupied zone is hospitable if we accept its rules. But it installs again a different attitude than the civic: a civilian is not the performing subject of the occupation. New rules apply to the occupied territories in a way that we cannot say if we are or not in the realm of a typical western society. Furthermore from this occupation practices we may learn how a separative concept will perform new divisions of the old society. (Aristide)>>>

Aristide: to reorganize the function of a person that would substitute the civilian is the major political task of today. It includes both re definitions of the person and the community. The problem is due to the difficulty to organize a common responsibility within a luck of individual responsibility. We are in front of this impasse and the contradiction of a responsible irresponsibility when we think about the anonymous movement. We cannot see clearly the operating power neither the procedures of decision in this frame, we cannot find any communal control of the anonymous plural actions till now.

Johannes schreibt:
> I also think we have not responded to Alicia's provocation to think through "peripheral agendas" and garner a different way to listen and look:  "For the people from the South the thing we expect from the intellectuals from the North implicates a strong twist, deconstruct their global agenda and look again" (Alicia).
> Thus, I wish to listen more to Sabela's fascinating critique of the "overclothing" or overtattooing of the skins of urban individuals:
> she wrote:
> "La fugacidad de la apariencia, a su vez,  el desvanecimiento de la fuerza de lo espectacular, es contínuo; el situarse con naturalidad ante un vacío recurrente que desafía  la subjetividad, impone nuevos comportamientos, estrategias de sobrevivencia y mantenimiento de la esperanza"

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