2.5D cont’d – Urban Vignettes

“Hey, where did you get your forms?”

city of boston main drainage cross section 1 cross section 2 cross section 3

1 2 3 4

These are more 2.5D studies, framed as ‘urban vignettes’ for an experimental music complex in Boston that I have been working on with Han Kwon and Jill Maltby.

65  7 8 9

I’ve realized that a lot of studio work for students (myself included) relates to anxiety about form; not so much as it relates to function, but form in and of itself. Professors know that form ’emerges’ from a project, but are quick to suggest little things that will make the tectonics ‘nice’. “Have you seen ‘x-building’ by ‘y-architect’? Just do something like that for this detail/profile/material.” I’ve wasted hours choosing to ignore form, treating it as a superficial, and base ‘material interest’, unworthy of acceptance in an immaterial world. I wanted to talk about ‘space’ only: that illusive, spiritual entity that obviously can never be talked about without form.

[I grew up in between suburban and urban Midwest, where there was so much space I had no idea what space was; where you could see the curvature of the earth between the parking lots of Walmart and Hy-Vee. Form? Form is the shitty billboard advertising Hardee’s: sculptural, flat, insignificant, or worse: immoral.]

With these studies I’m experimenting with Jean Baudrillard calls ‘symbolic exchange’: taking specific forms associated with specific things, re configuring those forms in an attempt to exchange initial associations for others. We embed certain social and cultural forms with meaning, even as those forms are forever at risk of being drained of and replaced with other meaning(s), in a continual act of exchange. Childhood is sacred, old age is shameful – today, but might those associations be reversed? Sewers, flush and tide gates are unpleasant and foul, but might they also enable theatrical and creative spatial conditions?

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