Freedom from Architectural Stasis

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For one night, March 4, 2010, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum in New York was changed from a sterile, static, iconic piece of architecture into a fully immersive changing environment thanks to the sounds of the avant-indie group Animal Collective and the visual overlays by video artist Danny Perez. 36 speakers were strategically placed in the museum at varying locations giving the participants a constantly changing sound environment as they strolled down the infamous ramp of the Guggenheim. On the visual side of things there were overlays of video and moving lights projected onto the sterile walls of the museum and the participants in the exhibition. This was not a video screening or laser show, this exhibition filled the whole space completely, the participants could walk in any direction and not escape this spatial experience. This was a very temporal space that was so tied into the reality of the built environment it took place in that it could not be reproduced in any other location. What can architecture take from this exhibition? This was along the lines of the visionary illustrations given by Archigram and others in the ‘60s. It contained the interactive, changing social environments that John Kaliski has been asking for. It included the technological screens which Paul Virilio has warned against while containing the personal interactions with space he has wanted to maintain. This is an examination of how architecture could leave the stasis that it is and embrace the constantly changing environment it takes place in and dictates. We live in a world that is constantly changing. The urban inhabitant is constantly undergoing a series of changes daily yet the built environment surrounding the urban inhabitant ceases to... ... middle of paper ... ...infrastructure of an area could not cope with an ‘instant’ yet rare occurrence – a musical festival, for example. Instant City was the equipment, ‘60s style, with which to control a flash flood of hedonistic humanity: ‘The programme was seen as augmentary and anticipatory. [It gathered] information about an itinerary of communities and the available utilities that exist (clubs, local radio, universities etc.) so that the city package [was] always complementary rather than alien. It was this switch from the alien to complementary architecture that caused Archigram’s form of city design to fall in line with Kaliski’s views of city design. Kaliski’s views are shown here, “Utilizing what already exists, city design is a form of bricolage. The city designer reassembles narratives of place in order to intensify and render more visible the ordinary stories of city life.”

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