The Fullest Scarcity — Economy and Eccentricity
“Profuse strains of unpremeditated art.”
Form solves problems,
Materials, at most, limit damages.
These pieces are not the expression of emotion or mystic insights. They are moments of realised conviction, arrived at by quiet, patient, emotional reasoning and probing.
Possible, necessary, significant.
To make a measurable and intelligible object. The most serious of games.
Just as a drawing is the abstraction of an object, defined by lines that do not exist in real life, as such space is an abstract concept, a void, a nothing that is defined by boundaries, borders, walls, roofs and floors, that are the language of architecture. But that space itself, that we define as architecture, does not exist. The architecture is the walls without being the wall. We have the thing only through the language we use to define it, not through the thing in itself. So to be essential, to use the most simple means, words, actions, to define this nonexistent object, isn't that the most striking of contradictions?
Yet we feel, read, react to space. The object, lightly yet undeniably, sits there in between walls and space, the concrete and the abstract. Language and silence.
Simplicity is reached through two parallel paths. On one side we select the elements that will compose this simplicity. The functions, the forms that will perform those functions, the materials which will embody them. Because simplicity threads on the edge of nothingness. How can the simplest of forms, that has possibly gone through the simplest and most easily readable transformations, perform all the tasks at hand, and possibly leave room for future functions, personal interpretations, radical transformations? We answer those questions, we shape the form.
On the other side we are the editors of our work. We cut out whatever is unnecessary. We mostly edit OUT. We impose scarcity on our work. Why? Because scarcity is not only politically assertive, economically advantageous, environmentally unavoidable. But also because scarcity is a great teacher. And buildings, spaces, objects should teach something, make us better if only in the slightest.
So we shape, and edit out, and reshape, and edit out again. We strive to create something that works, that surprises and moves, yet is pure and readable in its formal arrangement.
What we need, what we would need, is a staunch radicalisation within the profession, the creation of a group with a political shared view, a vision du monde, in order to become agents of change both within and outside of the social system, both within and without architecture. The shared agency of architecture should constitute the foundation of this group as much as this shared political stance.
This form of intellectual detachment from liberal society becomes a critical weapon in the hands of both architecture and the wider social discourse.
Until this unity is realised, we retreat to a smaller, more controllable space where, given the restricted timeframe society imposes on work, we can have full control of our work.
The tension between progressivism and conservatism is probably a necessary thing for the advancement of society, as it possibly provides dialectic impulse. But the conservatives' stance is doomed to fail, as you cannot resist change. And it still baffles me how people can be convinced they are right when holding any type of conservatory opinion, like the love of a mother for a terrible son
Courage may be the great differentiator. You can have the necessary intelligence, talent, and intuition. But you have to have the courage to act on your instincts. You have to create conditions to do the work that you deem necessary, based on your aspirations, your vision. The condition of creativity is that you have to sustain the vision that you have for a very long time, because you have a very long period during which even air offers resistance to you.
A rock is a perfect metaphor, an allegory in volume. When placed its sculptural limits beget a kind of artistic proposition — and when considered with reduced anthropomorphism and un-geologically — produce a ready-made analog to the causation and bounds of our attempts at the understanding of all things.
Here the sculptor has made no concessions; no attempts to curry favor with curators or collectors — pieces wholly outside discourse. And if pressed for an affiliate movement for these “sculptures” (i.e. Cubism, Mannerism, etc.)… perhaps Monism or Cosmogonism? Definitely not Conceptualism or Pataphysics — Actualism?
The analog? Well for sure it is 1:1. Weird; yes — a knot to be admired for its curves — not for untying. An emergent surface as thick as its mass.
Were it possible for the instances of our minds or world events to be mapped and dimensionally materialized, something similar to a rock would appear — areas of smoothness yielding to pockmarked particularities, density shifts and feathered explosions. What really is the shape of a boom town? A pilgrim’s journey? A section of jungle mayhem? A boring era? The silhouette of a father’s cold slap? The contours of a brief, intense friendship? Comfortably we perceive all of these things as ready to be integrated into ledgers or novels or timelines; but really they are queer crags and striations of unimaginable idiosyncrasy.
So yes, the reflective, reasonable yield of our mind has much symmetry (computation, cataloguing, narrativizing, etc.) but it’s actual shape is no shape, but unfolding chaos and singularity visible only to our particular time-scale. Our species-wide symmetries and quantizations are basically improvisations white-labeled onto directionless infinitude attempting the constant creation of navigable Dimension.
So, look intimately at a rock, walk around it, get up close to it, savor its complexion and composition as you would any painting or temple and see it as the faultless mirror that it is — a truly perfect sculpture.