Thursday, August 26, 2010

VENICE: 12th Biennale of Architecture - today's favorites

Venice: 12th Biennale of Architecture - Arsenale:
TODAY'S FAVORITE PICKS - 26th August, 2010

Olafur Eliasson/ Denmark: Your Split Second House/2010. A split second is the space between two seconds.  The gap between past present and future: not just now, but the part of now that is a void, seemingly frozen in time.  In it, nothing changes.  What might change is the way we relate to it.  Habitual coordinates such as subject and object, gravity and antigravity are freed up.  This feeling of reconstituting our way of experiencing the world can happen suddenly, in a jolt.  We do not feel the split second, but only realize afterwards that we have lived through it.

Junya.Ishigami + Associates/ Japan.  Architecture as Air: Study for Chateau La Coste /2010.  This is a full-size study of a building planned for somewhere in Europe, measuring approximately 14m x 4 m x 4 m.  The components: delicate specially-designed columns, beams and bracing: indeterminate contours lacking true physical form that dissolve into the transparent space rather than ‘structures’ supporting the building.   The outcome is an assembly of small-scale parts, deviating enormously from the usual scale of architecture, yet forming a structure on an architectural scale.  Even the structure that gives a building its very shape may no longer be clear but rather void-lie.

Junya Ishigami

Transsolar & Tetsuo Kondo Architects/ Germany.  Cloudscapes / 2010.   Clouds are an important elements of our atmosphere, framing outdoor space and filtering sunlight.  They are the visible part of the terrestrial water cycle, carrying water – the source of life – from the oceans to the lands.  Clouds find balance within stable equilibria and naturally sustain themselves, embodying and releasing solar energy.  The ability to touch, feel, and walk through the clouds is a notion drawn from many of our fantasies.   Grazing out of airplane windows, high above the earth, we often daydream of what it might be like to live in this ethereal world of fluffy vapor.  Transsolar and Tetsuo Kondo Architects create Cloudscapes, a place to experience a real cloud from below, within, and above floating in the center of the Arsenale.  The path winds through the cloud.  The structure consists of a 4.3 meter high ramp that allows visitors to sit above the cloud.  Simply, the structure leans on the existing Arsenale columns.  
The cloud is based on the physical phenomenon of saturated air, condensation droplets floating in the space and condensation seeds.  The atmosphere above and below the cloud have different qualities of light, temperature, and humidity.

Janet Cardiff / Canada. The Forty Part Motet / 2001.  The audio work is based on the Renaissance choral music Spem in alium nunquam habui by Thomas Tallis (1514-1585). Forty separately recorded voices are played back through forty speakers strategically placed throughout the space.  The speakers are placed around the room in an oval so that the listener is able to really feel the sculptural construction of the piece by Tallis.   You can hear the sound move from one choir member to another, jumping back and forth, echoing each other and then experience the overwhelming feeling as the sound waves hit you when all of the singers are singing.
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