A HOUSE FOR MAYA DEREN
In a world dominated by Hollywood and its meaningless red carpets, Maya Deren stands as a heroine.
Indeed, as she herself said, she made her films with what Hollywood spends for lipstick.
For Maya Deren film was not and is not an “industry,” as it is for the Hollywood barons, who colonized the world in the name of money, and more money, and more money.
Indeed, when we read a first review of a film, we read, first, how much it made at the “box office.”
SAD, VERY SAD.
And the whole world is dominated, complacently, by the financial aggressors and manipulators of Hollywood, who know how to kill a cat, by caressing it…
This is why it is important to remember Maya Deren, this great avant-garde film maker, who, through her films, attempted to create what might be called A BULWARK OF RESISTANCE.
Resistance against the commercialization of life and art alike.
We need more bulwarks of resistance. And in architecture as well.
This is what we invite you to do: on this year of her centennial (on April 29th, 2017, there will be one hundred years since her birth), we ask you to imagine a commemorative HOUSE FOR MAYA DEREN that would explore, as creatively as possible, the themes and methods of her films.
Could we have an architecture that would achieve some kind of “stream of consciousness,” architecturally…?
Bernard Tschumi and others have been influenced by various techniques used in film. We ask you to expand on this approach to architecture, upon seeing some of Maya Deren’s short films.
We quote from Wikipedia: “Using editing, multiple exposures, jump cutting, superimposition, slow-motion and other camera techniques to her fullest advantage, Deren creates continued motion through discontinued space, while abandoning the established notions of physical space and time, with the ability to turn her vision into a stream of consciousness.”
If we are to have a vital experimental architecture, perhaps we should find inspiration and impetus in other fields of artistic creation as well.
Maya Deren represents an almost unique case, since women film directors are much rarer than men film directors, and even more so in the field of “experimental cinema.”
We need (again) a vital avant-garde, and as such, Maya Deren was and is an example.
Let’s celebrate her centennial as creatively as possible!
Please send us your work format A0, as many sheets as you want. The deadline to receive your work is July 15th, 2017. Please register before July 1st, in order to receive a registration number with which to anonymously identify your work. There is a registration fee of 40 euro for architects and 20 euro for students. All the works should be submitted digitally and we will print them for the exhibition in Vienna mentioned above. If you have any question, please contact us.
A(nother) RED & BLUE CHAIR
Perhaps Mies was right: a chair could be more difficult to design than a skyscraper.
A chair, almost like a pair of shoes (used for a while), does say something about its conceiver, or its user, or both.
Towards a Psychology of a Chair?
After all, perhaps Vincent Van Gogh might have agreed with us, since for him, indeed, the chair he painted was almost a self-portrait, just like the shoes he painted.
And since we talked about a great Dutch painter, let’s talk about other great Dutch artists, designers, architects.
This year we celebrate the centennial of the De Stijl movement, a modern art movement that continues to impress us with its freshness, vivacity, optimism. Equally this year there are 100 years since the famous Red & Blue Chair by Gerrit Rietveld was conceived, although the colors were added later, at the suggestion of the architect Bert van der Leck.
And since we like to celebrate, creatively, as much as possible, and to connect with important moments in our cultural history, we invite you now to design A(nother) RED AND BLUE CHAIR, one that would be, somehow, inspired by the great Dutch art movement that also inspired Rietveld.
The idea is to celebrate the creation of this chair with another chair, respecting just one requirement: that it would also be a RED & BLUE chair, even if the design would hopefully be very different.
For Piet Mondrian colors were not just “colors,” they had a symbolic, even a mystical meaning, since, as we know, Mondrian was influenced by Theosophy, that is, by mysticism.
But the greatness of the Dutch spirit is that even theosophy became, in the hands of the Dutch artists, full of unmediated joy and unspeculative pragmatism that still generates a fresh and convincing optimism.
So maybe the new “Red & Blue Chair” would also be optimistic and expressing what the De Stijl movement tried to express: a desire to renew not just art, but also, and more importantly, Life itself.
Design a new RED & BLUE chair!
Make it as original as possible! But please use, mainly, these two colors, together, perhaps, with black and a little bit of yellow.
These are the only requirements.
Let’s dedicate this chair to Gerrit Rietveld and to the great De Stijl art movement, both born in 1917. We will try to persuade the city of Leiden, where this art movement was born, to exhibit the best works received, as part of the centennial celebrations. Please register before July 1st. There is a registration fee of 40 euro for architects and designers and 20 euro for students.The deadline to receive your works is July 15th, 2017. We will exhibit all the works received in Vienna, in August, as part of a one month long architecture and design festival we will hold there.
A HOUSE FOR CHUCK BERRY
What is life…?
Maybe nothing more than a piece of rock and roll…
And the stone of life is still rolling…
And the rolling of life is still rocking…
C’est la vie…
And Chuck Berry just died.
But music didn’t die…
We will continue…
And next year there will be 50 years since 1968…
That very '68 that made us dream again, a dream we almost forgot…
In the summer of 2017 we will have a one month long exhibition in Vienna… When we want to celebrate art and life, life and art, architecture included… Please listen to “In the Summertime” by Mungo Jerry… would they have been possible without Chuck Berry…?
So let’s rock together with Chuck Berry… let’s put down for a while the rock of life and let’s roll…
Maybe indeed, as John Lennon said, the other name of Rock and Roll is Chuck Berry… the black man from St. Louis who wanted to bring people together through music.
And he succeeded.
As all good music does.
And all good architecture, to a lesser extent, perhaps.
Is indeed the name, destiny - as the Latins thought…? Is Nomen, Omen…?
Berry means: "a small roundish juicy fruit without stone."
Or, maybe, in this case, WITH a stone, but a rolling one…
So, dear architect, make the stone of architecture ROLL.
Make it ROLL for Chuck Berry, for this “small roundish juicy fruit without a stone.”
Some years ago Wolf Prix invited us to roll over Palladio… wasn’t it somehow like Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven…?”
Out of love, of course, both Prix and Berry wanted to roll over Palladio and Beethoven, out of love…
And certainly Palladio and Beethoven themselves would have loved it.
The greatest of us love to be “rolled over.”
So, dear architect, ROLL OVER CHUCK BERRY, with your rolling building!
ROLL OVER a life that only seems to end… ROLL OVER in the name of the life that never ends.
Let’s celebrate, once again, MUSIC and ARCHITECTURE.
ARCHITECTURE and MUSIC.
Please send us any work, ANY size, ANY format, by July 1st. We will show all the works received during the month of August in Vienna. Please register before the deadline to receive a registration number with which to anonymously identify your work. There is a registration fee of 40 euro for architects and 20 euro for students. If you have any question, please contact us.
A NEW “LARKIN” BUILDING – BUFFALO – NEW YORK
Indeed, Dostoevsky was right, in Notes from the Underground: we human beings, after we build the Crystal Palace, we demolish it.
Less than 50 years after being built, the famous Larkin Building by F. L. Wright was demolished, in order to create “space” for an unavoidable parking lot.
Voila… Homo Sapiens at almost his best… although, of course, there are even more blatant proofs of the undeniable wisdom of the human race.
This year, we are celebrating 150 years since F. L. Wright’s birthday, on June 8th.
We could celebrate him in many ways, of course, but perhaps an interesting way would be to launch an international competition to build a new “Larkin” office building, on the very site that once housed this iconic building.
It will be, sure, a redeeming action, an act of redemption. Perhaps a necessary one.
Yes, we do not have the chance F. L. Wright had, to have a client who at the time was the world leading manufacturer of "Soap and Toilet Preparations." In fact, we don’t have any client, except our desire to attempt to redeem a great loss and to celebrate, simultaneously, a great architect.
But we ask you more than just to design a great new office building: we also ask you to reflect on the nature of work, in late Capitalism. Maybe inspired by some of the words of wisdom (this time real) inscribed on the walls of the former Larkin Building, we could reflect on the relationship between work and play, and between both and creativity, at the beginning of the Third Millennium.
So please imagine a new kind of "office" building, perhaps even for a new kind of work, that is possible and desirable, now. Perhaps an office building for Homo Ludens.
If the Larkin Building envisioned not only a great building, but also, in a certain way, a new working ethos, maybe we should try the same, 100 years later.
Maybe a "Lurking" Building, if we are to play with the word…?!
Lurking to sabotage, perhaps, an unconvincing Capitalism…?!
Lurking, maybe, for some kind of "new vision" for humanity…?!
Lurking beneath the glitter of "The Society of Spectacle"...?!
Lurking, for now, in order to subvert and disrupt...?!
It would not be enough to just imagine another glorious structure celebrating the same old gods of money and profit.
Maybe we could envision something else, a place where between Work and Play there would be some kind of peace and where the purpose would not be Money, Money, Money, but giving some meaning, if possible, to human life.
You could serve any function you want: or you could imagine new functions, or new strategies, for a new kind of human activity, for a new kind of human life, for a new kind of “office” building.
Imagine, dear architect!
The deadline to submit your work is June 8th, 2017, when there will be exactly 150 years since F. L. Wright was born. In order to receive more details and an AutoCAD plan of the site, you need to register by May 1st. There will be a registration fee of 40 euro for architects and 20 euro for the students. The registration will take place automatically using the registration form on our website. There will be an international jury, whose members will be announced at a later date. We will have the chance to show the best works received in an exhibition in Vienna, Austria, during the whole month of August, this year. The exhibition will take place at Hinterland Gallery and it will be synchronous with the first Architecture and Design Biennale in Vienna, whose theme is not very different than ours, since it is about the work of the future and the future of work. If you have any questions, please contact us.
Below you can see a picture with the site as it is now. You can notice the brick wall, the single remnant reminding one of what once was here... a mere fragment of a wall, the shard that witnessed the crime. Please incorporate it in your design, since we cannot really build forward, without looking backward. Thank you.