Yesterday I went to Modern Art Oxford to see their exhibition The indivisible present. The artworks collected, predominantly sculpture and video, act as a medium to explore our understanding of the less-perceptible by allowing the viewer to “dwell” in confrontation with the subject. In this way the image can be seen to act transformatively upon time, creating an expanded moment.
The above images are photographs of photographs taken by the artist Viola Yeşiltaç titled I really must congratulate you on your attention to detail. In these works, the artist created a series of paper sculptures which were temporarily balanced and captured in the moment before their collapse. In the process, the transitory moment is preserved and rendered permanent [subject to the act of sunlight on the print, or their own destruction].
I also watched a talk by Ole Scheeren titled Why great architecture should tell a story. He begins with an interrogation of the doctrine of ‘form follows function,’ and suggests that we might instead adopt Tschumi’s suggestion that ‘form follows fiction,’ not in the sense of the implausible but rather through the reality of the people who live or work in a building.
To expand on this, Scheeren uses the example of the CCTV building, for the design of which he worked in collaboration with Rem Koolhaas. Scheeren expresses the notion of of ‘organisational structures’ as being central to the project, at the core of which is structural thinking which in turn generates a series of relationships and narratives. As a form of ‘narrative hybrid,’ the architecture is a structural system that arranges programme and function as well as the social experience or emotions of the user.
This process was evidenced by the diagrammatic drawings of the project, which took on the characteristics of biological drawings of organs and circulatory systems. At the apex of the building, three structural glass discs form the floor of the cantilever and provide views of the streets below. In this moment the building acts transformatively upon its context to expose views which literally alter our perspective of the city.
These ideas seem relevant to the project for the Park Lane Hotel, although I’m not entirely sure how at this point. I mentioned on Tuesday that parts of the soldered model made me think of ways of directing views out of or bringing light into the building, but I wonder if there might be more. For the immediate present, I want to continue working with my model (I spent today making pieces which I have since removed from play), but the Scheeren talk also gave me an idea for a collage. The streets of ‘Spanish Harlem’ are populated by many taco bars and burrito joints – might the oyster bar in the boxing gym find its contemporary analogy in the supplantation of the restaurant of the Park Lane Hotel?