Robert Kraus

Robert Kraus

Middleburgh, NY, US


Casa Malaparte

“Double Vision”

Proposal for Center for World Music and Dance (2002)

Site: Capri

Client: Chinese Writers Union

Music: Philip Kraus

I revisited a 2002 Columbia University GSAPP project when our son returned from China in February. The focus of the original project was the “monstrous”, exemplified by Adalberto Libera’s Casa Malaparte.

The center comprises housing and performance spaces for visiting "world" and "western" artists, along with technology to create an archive of traditional practices that are in danger of vanishing. The archive is imbedded in a digital exterior “skin”.

The ubiquity of the expressions “western”, "non-western", and "world" suggests that identity and negation are two sides of the same coin. The shape of the new building envelope is determined in part by "mapping" the distribution of Goethe Institutes throughout the world. I investigated the potential for the fugitive nature of perception, specifically optical correction and "double" vision, to generate form, and symbolize and promote cultural pluralism.

 In 1957 Curzio Malaparte bequeathed Casa Malaparte to the Chinese Writers’ Union “in order to strengthen relations between East and West”. His heirs successfully contested his gift, as Italy didn't recognize China as a legitimate political entity.

“Single vision produces worse illusions than double vision or many-headed monsters.”  Donna Haraway A Cyborg Manifesto

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