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    School's Back!

    By Mark Bearak
    Sep 10, '07 7:51 PM EST

    Last week Columbia returned for the 2007-2008 season. All of the big hitters arrived and the lottery defied anyones best expectations with every student getting one of their top three choices! This was truly exceptional considering past lotteries have resulted in people getting their 7th or 8th choice.

    I received my top choice Francois Roche with Marc Fornes. Our first studio outing was a trip to Philadelphia last Friday for the opening of the Scripted By Purpose exhibition. There was a huge turnout for the event and the party spilled into the street throughout the night. Our night was capped off with a Cheese Steak smothered in Cheese Whiz.

    Now that we are back in the city our studio is grappling with the issues of robotics without resorting to the default of science fiction. Here is our studio brief:

    (n)certainties (biotopes) 2.0

    Preliminary hypothesis
    The studio is targeted by the hypothesis of transforming the “social contract” confronted to the mass media culture biotope _ and to define the morphologies of (n)certainties (biotopes) 2.0.

    (n)certainties (biotopes) 2.0 is an unknown urbanism fragment described by the following text.
    The research is to define the shape, the social organization, even the smelling of this unpredictable and polymorph city.

    I’ve heard about something called (n)certainties (biotopes) 2.0 that builds up only through multiple, heterogeneous and contradictory scenarios, something that rejects even the idea of a possible prediction about its form of growth or future typology.
    Something shapeless grafted onto existing tissue, something that needs no vanishing point to justify itself but instead welcomes a quivering existence immersed in a real-time vibratory state, here and now.

    Tangled, intertwined, it seems to be a city, or rather a fragment of a city.

    Its inhabitants are immunized because they are both vectors and protectors of this complexity.
    The multiplicity of its interwoven experiences and forms is matched by the apparent simplicity of its mechanisms.

    The urban form no longer depends on the arbitrary decisions or control over its emergence exercised by a few, but rather the ensemble of its individual contingencies. It simultaneously subsumes premises, consequences and the ensemble of induced perturbations, in a ceaseless interaction. Its laws are consubstantial with the place itself, with no work of memory.

    Many different stimuli have contributed to the emergence of (n)certainties (biotopes) 2.0 and they are continually reloaded. Its existence is inextricably linked to the end of the grand narratives, the objective recognition of climatic changes, a suspicion of all morality (even ecological), the vibration of social phenomena and the urgent need to renew the democratic mechanisms. Fiction is its reality principle: What you have before your eyes conforms to the truth of the urban condition of (n)certainties (biotopes) 2.0.

    What moral law or social contract could extract us from this reality, prevent us from living there or protect us from it? No, the neighborhood protocol of (n)certainties (biotopes) 2.0 cannot cancel the risk of being in this world. The inhabitants draw sustenance from the present, with no time lag. The form of the territorial structure draws its sustenance directly from the present time.

    (n)certainties (biotopes) 2.0 also arises from anguishes and anxieties. It’s not a shelter against threats or an insulated, isolated place, but remains open to all transactions. It is a zone of emancipation, produced so that we can keep the origins of its founding act eternally alive, so that we can always live with and re-experience that beginning.

    Made of invaginations and knotted geometries, life forms are embedded within it. Its growth is artificial and synthetic, owing nothing to chaos and the formlessness of nature. It is based on very real processes that generate the raw materials and operating modes of its evolution.

    The public sphere is everywhere, like a pulsating organism driven by postulates that are mutually contradictory and nonetheless true. The rumours and scenarios that carry the seeds of its future mutations negotiate with the vibratory time of new territories.

    It is impossible to name all the elements (n)certainties (biotopes) 2.0 comprises or perceive it in its totality, because it belongs to the many, the multitude. Only fragments can be extracted from it.

    The world is terrifying when it’s intelligible, when it clings to some semblance of predictability, when it seeks to preserve a false coherence. In (n)certainties (biotopes) 2.0 it is what is not there that defines it, that guarantees its readability, its social and territorial fragility and its indetermination.

    I remember:
    - That the idea of a necessary mediation, a kind of social contract, was essentially based on a juridical conception of the world, as elaborated by Hobbes, Rousseau and Hegel. For Spinoza, on the contrary, forces were inseparable from a spontaneity and a productivity that made their development possible without mediation, i.e., their composition. They were elements of socialization in and of themselves. Spinoza thought directly in terms of “the multitude” and not individuals, in a conception... of physical and dynamic composition in opposition to the juridical contract. - Bodies were conceptualized as forces. As such, they were defined not only by their random encounters and collisions (state of crisis); they were defined by relationships between an infinite number of parts making up each body, which already characterized that body as “a multitude”. Gilles Deleuze, introduction to Anomalie Sauvage, Toni Negri, PUF, 1982

    “That the democracy deficit in the making of the city and the abuse of tools – dating from a period where the reason of a few presided over the destiny of the many – made it impossible to take on board mutations produced by the fragmentation of informational and productive mechanisms”.

    “That liberal space was constructed in terms of social control, and that the contemporary 20th-century city retained all the stigmata of that”.

    The contemporary city’s developmental tools manifest the tyranny of tightly scripted determinist procedures, planning mechanisms based on predictability. The city’s growth, densification and entropy are driven by pre-set and invariable geometrical projections. Urban morphological transformations are supposed to follow closed scenarios that cannot deviate from the pre-programmed representations on which they are based. Thus the cartography of the city’s becoming is fettered by a mode of production that takes the future as already written. Everything yet to come is spelled out in advance and tightly locked up by that forecast.

    The contemporary city is formatted under Windows, unable to access the programming source codes (Linux).

    There no reason to believe that the “everything under control” operating modes that condition the production of urban structures are capable of reflecting the complexities (the intertwining of issues and relational modes) of a mass media society where the multitude of citizens is gradually taking over from the republic’s centralized authorities.

    The city’s making suffers from a democracy deficit and the abuse of tools that date back to a time when the reason of the few presided over the destiny of the many. The city’s very constitution is impermeable to the social shifts brought about by the dilution and fragmentation of the informational and productive mechanisms. The free-market space was constructed in terms of social control, and the contemporary city retains and reveals the stigmata of that construction.

    Can we envision something totally different, urban structures driven by human contingencies? Can we work out adaptive scenarios that accept unpredictability and uncertainty as operating modes? Can we write the city based on growth scripts and open algorithms porous to a number of real-time inputs (human, relational, conflictual and other data) rather than trying to design an urban future formatted by rigid planning procedures?

    Social contract/territorial contract
    - “uncertainty (biotopes)” could be a self generating bio-structure made quite literally of contingent secretions. Its architecture is based on the principles of random growth and permanent incompletion. It develops by successive scenarios, without planning and without the authority of a pre-established plan. Its physical composition renders the community’s political structure visible.
    - The proliferating network is constituted of both imported raw materials and local materials that have been recycled, synthesized and polymerised, resources arising from the animal and vegetable species that inhabit it. Operating anthroposophically, it generates modes of exchanges, flows and blood vessels.
    - (n)certainties (biotopes) 2.0 recognizes and builds on the idea of an ever-emerging, shifting and above all fragile sociality. Growth is based on negotiations between neighbours and other residents, and at the same time subjected to collective constraints (accessibility and structural contradictions).
    - (n)certainties (biotopes) 2.0 does not eradicate the pre-existing city but rather forms a sedimentary deposit over it, like Constant’s New Babylon. It can be described as a plug-in inserted into the urban fabric, or perhaps a three-dimensional tablecloth over attaching itself it.

    - Wild Anomaly / Tony Negri with the introduction of Gilles Deleuze, 1982
    - Difference et repetition / Gilles Deleuze 1968
    - The three ecologies / Felix Guattari, Galileo, 1989
    - Michel Foucault / Utopia and Heterotopy, radiophonic conference, 1966
    - Ecumes 3 / Peter Sloterdick, 2005
    - La commune était une fête / Debord…, IS, 1962
    - Mystic and Anthroposophy / Rudolph Steiner, 1901
    - Utopia / Thomas More, 16th century
    -Dead City ; Mike Davis
    -Tomorrow now, Bruce Sterling
    -Life of Termites, Maurice Maeterlink
    - Ant Farm / The Dolphin Embassy, 1974
    -Cross-section of a sick city / Serge Brussolo, 1980
    -Rules for Human Parc / Sloterdick, 1999
    -Emergence, Steven Johnson
    -New Kind of Science, Stephen Wolfram
    -The Algorithmic Beauty of Plants, Przemyslaw Prusinkiewicz & Aristed Lindenmayer

    -Athroposophic, heterotopy, ecosophic, osmotic, symbiotic, biogenetic, bio-politic, animism, transformism, hybridization, biotopes, in vitro/Vivo, post-humanism, multitudes, self-organisation, bottom up, game of life, cellula automata, emergence, dynamic simulation, pattern recognition, ecosogy, genotype, phenotype, adaptation, growth, parametric, proccedure, protocol, routine, scripting, algorythm, L-system, neural network, travelling salesman, recursion, fractals…

    Production of self organizing and randoming by: Models, Experiments, Particles, Script, Aleatory process , Biological growing… Analyse of result: Measurement / colonisation…
    Social Contract…Territorial contract…Neighboorhood transaction…Robotic software
    Using protocol of emergence and self-organisation and/or production randomness…
    Random on the precisely modeled such as growth…on the process of dynamic simulation and performative models…

    Schedule and Techniques
    - Politic talking on social organisation with a individual writing scenario (including a strategy on computer and mechanical process).
    - Computer & mechanical process / topology, growing effect, random scenario / strategy on CNC modelling and 3d print…(with Z Corp sponsoring)

    References (to google)
    -Ruper Soar / Free Form and Sandkings / Geometrical Termite mount analyse
    -Berok Khosnhevis / Countour Crafting
    -Robotic / Science fiction : ;
    -“I’ve heard about” experiment by R&Sie(n) visible on'veheardabout.htm or
    Feidad award 2006 :
    - Marc Fornes exhibition in Philadelphia /

    -Alpha ville : JL Godart
    -Fitzcaraldo / Werner Herzog
    -Old and New / La ligne general : Eisenstein 1828
    -Pepe le moko / Jean Duvivier 1937 (avec Gabin et la Casbah)
    -Two or three thing I know about here / Deux trios chose que je sais d’elle : JL Godart 1966
    -Castle in the sky / Le château dans le ciel : Hayao Miyazaki
    -Faust / Murnau (architect Poelzig)
    and basically /
    -Existenz : Cronenberg
    -Kingdom 1/2/3 : Lars von Trears
    -Punishment Park : Peter Watkins
    -ABCdaire : Gilles Deleuze
    -Abyss / Terminator 2 / Predator 1 / Dark City /….sub culture 3D effects
    -Stalker, Tarkovsky
    -Pi, Daren Aronofsky (faith in chaos)

    Three Groups Working on
    - Metabolism structure in and out architecture scene : (Iona friedman, Hausserman, and Slum urbanism everywhere…)
    - Robot and Cybernetique : references, processes, fiction.
    - Insects : Termites (or ants) structures (geological, morphological, sociological, pheromonological, mechanical…)

    Individual Work
    - Scenario of aggregats geometry (inside/outside…), including a robotic process of construction. Scenario of an “incremental” variability step by step… with reprogramming parameter. Dimension of the maximum test volume matrix : 50x50x30 meter (LxWxH)
    Conditions :
    -uncertainty and unachievment (of each invidudual living part and collective structure)
    -no pure privacy as an individual insulation, as a gate flat
    -a minimum three store living (a cave, a flat, a attic)
    -local negociation / no global control (on view, on air, on access…) for local adpatation, variability, as a “desirable machine”
    - measurment and strategy of colonisation (no panoptic references but XYZ positionning /GPS)
    - strategies of bio-mechanical robot (from low tech to high tech) / strategy of construction…even deconstruction / reconstruction
    -neighboohood protocole (human swarm intelligencies !)

    Possibility of a abstract location, or a location in a situation. In this last hypothesis the site is able to affect the “construction process” or by the specificity of the situation (chemical/morphological/topographical) or by the possibilities to use recycling material of construction from the site (car garbadge, river, existing building to recycle…)

    Be good Everyone!


    • oshit

      i like your flowers

      Sep 10, 07 8:33 pm

      WOW, NICE COMBO!, Marc Fornes & Francois?? i dont think they had ever collaborated like in a Profesionnal level??, anyways im a big fan of Marc's work, and also of the crazyness of Roche...

      for those who doesnt know Fornes, check out his work here:

      good luck w/ur studio dude!

      Sep 10, 07 9:26 pm

      holy shit, that assignment sounds so pretentious and useless. why the eff am i applying for this crap!

      Sep 10, 07 10:36 pm
      Francisco David Boira

      Marc Fornes is great. It should be a pretty exiting studio. The lunacy of Roche plus the "purist" scripting approach of Marc should lead to some interesting outcomes.
      Definitely going to the reviews this semester.
      Have fun!

      Sep 11, 07 12:49 am

      mr. bojangles hit the nail on head...

      Sep 12, 07 2:40 am

      So, what kind of learning or discovery is the aim of this studio? Or what do youthink will emerge at the end? except something of an interesting bunch of read books/watched movies and tv-series? I have to say I did not understand a word of the brief.

      But interested in what this all means.

      Sep 12, 07 5:22 am
      Mark Bearak

      The studio does not have any specific goals, in fact there aren't really any programmatic aspirations. That said, it is a process studio. In the same way that we will be using generative process to stimulate our robotics and thus create our buildings; we will let our process dictate our final building (program, materials, construction process, etc)

      The significance of this studio is the fact that we, architects/humans/feelings/ will not be generating the building. Instead, everything must be created by our robotic counterparts. The studio essentially challenges the whole concept of how 'man' makes architecture. In other words, no more brick and morter.

      As for Mr. Bojangles... it's worth every cent and I'd happily pay double.
      Sep 12, 07 7:45 pm

      is that 3dh?

      Sep 12, 07 9:58 pm

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