I ' L L E A T Y O U R B R A I N
I read this book while in Singapore, it talks about "Performative Geometries" in architecture, focusing on the work of designers such as Hussein Chalayan and Martin Margiela as starting points for an architectural studio intensive looking at architecture that uses the body as a structural starting point, while at the same time drawing parallels and presenting essays that examine "avant garde" (to be honest they feel a little dated to me) architectural structures that use membranes and fabrics as a primary means of creating spaces.
The most interesting thing that came from this publication was the definition of perfomtaive geometry by one Laszlo Maholy-Nagy who stated that perfromative geometries are essenitally about the volumetric realtionships of display space, art work and viewer. Similarly, the last definition of minimalism i read, as described in The Space Reader claimed that minimalism pushes the field of awareness from the work itself to the space between viewer and work. Does this then not mean that minimal art functions on creating volumetric relationships between the two volumes of the viewer themselves, and the art object or installation?
I'm sure my deductions are terribly flawed, if not repulsively amateur in their expression...but are food for though no less.
I also began reading this book which was produced to compliment the recent exhibition at the Barbican which explored the concepts of Japanese fashion and their impact on western thought since Kawakubo, Yamamoto and Miyake began presenting truly Japanese ideas in a time of global recession in the early 80s fashion scene. Not only was their arrival more shocking than punk to the English, and laying the foundations for Grunge in the 90s, but they represented a renewed pride in what is traditionally Japanese.
I'm not sure if it is common knowledge, but in the late 19th to early 20th century, after Japan as a nation was approached by the United Kindgom and other world powers to open trade routes, they initially rejected the offers. After World War I and the signing of treaties which they viewed as "uneven", they set about being western, but doing so better than the western world. They hired the best in every imaginable field to come to Japan and used their knowledge to set up armies and inrafstructure and even borrow and then emebellish ideas from the west to prove anything the west could do, they could do better. This even went so far as to affect the way people dressed. Officials and high society began donning "Western Style clothing" and everybody followed.
The Samurais were dispersed and their houses dismounted, making way for a new suburb in front of the Royal Palace, what is now known as Ginza in Tokyo (this is possibly why it has such a neatly orgainsed street structure also).
Anyway, the point is that in a way, the modernisation of traditional Japanese ideas of wabi-sabi (a charming imperfection...something I hope my own work carries a sense of) and ma (the space that exists between clothes and the wearer, capitalised upon by Miyake and with some of his Pleats Please line) drew attention to the Japanese again, not for excelling with western ideas, but for presenting traditionally Japanese ideas in a dialogue familiar to a western audience. Sure, it was poorly recieved and made negative headlines across the world...but it got people talking, and often this is the most important reaction to any presentation, i do believe. If you can get people to care enough to talk about it, you have succeeded, as it has obviously had some effect on them, positive or negative.
This brings me to a third text which I came across recently in a personal favourite publication i-D. (sorry if i'm being cliched, but i really feel i-D consistently captures the essence of London).
Written by Holly Shackleton, it was probably one of the most rousing essays i have read in recent years in a fash-mag. Prompting the youth of England, who have been left most damaged from the Global Financial Crisis, to continue to push for action to reinstate themselves as a social force, not to be repressed by a lack of government support or acknowledgment, while seamlessly pointing out how the return of bondage and punk inspired detailing in the Spring/Summer 2011 womenswear collections (creepers to piercings) reflected this mood, and signaled that change was nigh and needed.
I'm not sure how or if any of this will help the Sustainable Architecture Studio i am starting next week... but i'll try skew things my way (again) ;)
If this tale is tall, forgive my rambilng.