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    The Motion of Text / The Text of Motion

    Erik Schonsett Jan 24 '07 0

    So, I realize that it's already the end of Janurary and I really haven't posted anything about what I've been working on for studio. Well, we've only been working on this stuff since September. It was a long and hard transition period these past four months or so. But slowly we are all getting somewhere with our projects. The Bartlett, especially my section (Phil Watson who also teaches Unit 19 with Neil Spiller) is not interested in buildings. Systems are the name of the game. How things that seem not to be related interact to create new possiblities. That is what we are interested in here. So, the other day I finally figured out my project! It deals with literature, language and the hidden aspects within. Here is my latest project text. It explains things pretty well:



    "Language is like a broken kettle which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to, while all the time we long to move the stars to pity." -Gustave Flaubert

    The Motion of Text, The Text of Motion
    Motion of a text occurs in many directions simultaneously. These motions are not always seen but are always felt. The hidden aspects of literature that are ever present do not always make themselves obvious to someone outside the text. The text hides and shelters these movements only to reveal them upon a deeper investigation.

    The text takes on its own life. It moves in and out, up and down, existing in the space between itself and the reader. It breathes, it cries, it moves slowly and then jerks to the left unexpectedly. It wants to be discovered, but it is so tightly wrapped around itself that it can not escape. Caught in the straitjacket of language, it is stuck. The text is able to move a bit here and a bit there, but it is constrained. All it asks is for someone to find the loose thread and give it a pull, unraveling the sweater to reveal what lies beneath; its true potential.

    Jarry’s Knitting Factory…

    Houdini’s Handcuffs…

    Dali pulling the loose thread; Curious to imagine what lies below…


    But this straitjacket of language is not perfect. It can only constrain the text so much. Every now and then bits slip out revealing the true text inside; a hint of what lies beneath. This is because literature is not a containable thing. Just when it seems that it is fully restrained, it slips out the other side spilling itself onto the floor. It is this slippage that becomes interesting because what is revealed is not always what is expected.

    Language constrains and hides things that do not actually exist in real space. It catches things in its web as it moves and it is reluctant to loosen its grip. Once it takes hold, it is difficult to escape. But the things that it catches only exist in the space between the text and the reader; between the text and the imagination.

    The hidden motion of literature and the Alchemist's pataphysical search for the object in a world where no objects exist are of great interest here. What happens when the object is no longer? When the straightjacket is loosened the objects that are caught are allowed to escape. The space that remains is allowed to be re-inhabited by something else. The cavities are allowed to be re-occupied by the imagination as the presence of the object begins to fill in the space between the text and the reader.

    The flicker of a light…

    The squeaking of a hinge…

    The grinding of the veil that constrains the object…


    Text, more specifically literature, is an unexplored area in terms of Architectural production. It has the power to conjure up images and places in the mind that are unable to exist anywhere else. This is the area that Architectural production, specifically the production of space, needs to explore; for here, the possibilities are endless. Architecture must be powerful, mystical, exciting, poetic, and thought provoking. Without these qualities, Architectural production can not survive. Literature has the possibility to capture all of these qualities. It just needs to be pried apart and loosened up in order to find its true essence and potential.

    Programtic Potentials: Derrida’s Library as Theater
    The program is a series of performance pieces that begin to bridge the gap between the hidden aspects of literature and the reader. It is a library with theatrical qualities where the performance takes center stage. It is a place where things are given meaning and the text becomes unwrapped from its former constraints. Here, the restrictions of language are dissolved. Finally, something that existed only in the realm of the reader’s imagination is able to be liberated. It moves from the realm of the virtual (imagination) to the actual (physical space). Here, pieces are free to move past each other and communicate in different ways. The veil of language that smothered literature is broken, but pieces of the veil still exist. They are now re-inhabited in new ways; leading to new potentials. The space of literature and the motion of text are freed and given a new life. The door is cracked open, the possibilities are endless.

    Function of the Library as Theater:
    The library looks at the latent and silent motions of literature and its relationship to language. It is interested in the special scripting that can exist, but is rarely seen, in literature. Fragments of motion from and between the pieces of the library begin to interact with each other and construct a new special relationship bridging the gap between language and text.

    Spacial Dynamics of the System:
    The library is composed of a series of fragments and apertures. These pieces work together in a system that distills special potentials out of the motion found in literature. These pieces all have different functions:

    Debris Machine: collection of the unseen
    The Debris Machine is a vehicle that moves through the space of the library, reclaiming the hidden motions in half made constructions. It is closely related to the Differ(ea)nce Generator. The Debris Machine extracts fragments uncovered by the Differ(ea)nce Generator and transports them through the space of the library, transforming and allowing its pieces to overlap across the library and itself.

    Flaubert Apparatus: uncontainable ideas
    In the corner of the library, behind the entrance door, can be found the Flaubert Apparatus; a soft machine that reveals and hides itself as its form constantly changes. Details of its construction and methods of communication are always being hidden and revealed as it translates the things collected by the Debris Machine into special experiences.

    Reconstruction Apertures: Textual Space Grafting
    Throughout the Library exists a series of Reconstruction Apertures. These apertures constantly translate motion into space. They interact with the Debris Machine to form a network of observation, collection, translation, and finally construction. These apertures exist within the framework of the library itself: on a bookshelf, in a doorframe, at the writing desk. They take what is collected by the Debris Machine and physically alter the space of the library that they exist in.

    Differ(ea)nce Generator:presencing absence
    The Differ(ae)nce Generator constantly reads and rereads the system, but it never sees things the same way twice. Difference works off absence. It reads the system of the library and produces constructions based on its observations, but these constructions are never complete. They are only half constructions; fragments of things never completed; ideas only half realized.

    Invisible Archive: Linguistic Indexing
    The invisible Archive is where the lost pieces go to be reclaimed at a later point in time. It adds an aspect of delay into the system. Pieces are held for an indeterminate amount of time and then cast back into the system. It is a home for the homeless. Sounds throughout the system are collected, indexed, and re released at a later point.

    Methodological Maddness The works of the Surrealists, specifically Max Ernst and Salvador Dali, are of special interest here. The work of the Surrealist movement can be seen as incomplete. They came the closest to bridging the gap between the space of the imagination and the space of the physical world. But these ideas can be pushed further. Looking at the surrealists and appropriating their tactics is a fruitful path to be taken in the exploration of this work on the motion of text, the text of motion.

     

     
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