The following is an attempt to grasp the contemporary wide spread disregard for copies and glimpse into a world of future copying, therefore also a world of future originality.
In a study by Angelika Seidel and Jesse Prinz at CUNY (the City University of New York) the researchers told test subjects to imagine that the Mona Lisa was destroyed in a fire, but that there happened to be a perfect copy that even experts couldn’t tell from the original. If they could see just one or the other, would they rather see the ashes of the original Mona Lisa or a perfect duplicate? Eighty per cent of the respondents chose the ashes. That is to illustrate the state of our almost obsession with originals and hate for copies. But this wasn’t always the case. Romans used to copy Greek art, in particular sculptures at an unprecedented rate and that was not regarded as forgery. There are countless roman copies of roman sculptures too – and with each copy a different concept comes to life. So how did we end up here? And where do we go from here – with the rise of digital technology and digital artworks – where is the boundary between original and copy? And when is it a copy we are talking about and when an instance of an object.
In a 2010 TED Talk on passion and creativity David Byrne draws an interesting connection between architecture and music. Through the ages, he argues, it was the change in architectural style that induced progress in composing music and stimulated the birth of new genres and musical structures. Each new space has different acoustics and therefore needs a different sound. This direct connection between the two arts, which seemingly have nothing in common, made me wonder if this connection works the other way around as well. Has music influenced and inspired the development of architecture in history? We do know that of all the arts, architecture is the one, which develops the slowest, so whenever a new movement in philosophy, painting or music arises, buildings are the last to catch up and therefore receive heavy influences by all other arts. But music… how?
“Who can still believe the opacity of bodies, since our sharpened and multiplied sensitivity has already penetrated the obscure manifestations of the medium?”¹
Nowadays it is common to talk about the revolution that technology caused in our lives and its profound influence in every field. Of course we mean mostly the digital technology and the revolution that happened in the last decade – the unique circumstances and consequences that surround it. However this is by far not the only technological revolution that our civilisation has seen and neither are its consequences unique.
When in the beginning of the 20th century railway and motor cars entered our lives for good, the entire perception of space, time and mainly speed changed. Science explained it, but it was artists who first expressed the altering sensitivity and worldview that was soon to infect us all.
The Cosmicomics bt Italo Calvino are a collection of beautiful stories flowing through the pages with a witty view on science fiction and jokingly deep philosophical insights. The stories flow, but one thing about them stuck with me, teasing my mind and imagination. Doubtlessly that would be the deliberate choice of the autor to give utterly unpronoucable names to all his characters. Qfwfq, Xlthlx, Vhd Vhd, G’d(w)n, Bb’b and Mr Hnw – just to “name” a few.
“It is getting harder on me lately. The hardest thing is the loneliness. Once I used to stand tall, taller than anything on this big square and the bigger the square was getting, the prouder I was. Now I feel like I am disappearing into a pit in the middle of this endlessly big square that keeps me away from everything that could pull me back to life. A pit as deep as my memories and as grave as my sorrow. I weep not for the times that have gone by never to return, but the times that are to come, which I will see, but never really live. Looking forward to a brighter future is what makes a present so exciting. Looking forward to my future… I become desperate.
As digital manufacturing enters the practise of artists, architects and creatives an appealing idea propagates – now you can just press a button and your crazy design gracefully enters the real world. Countless videos show in an almost magical way how fantastic shapes, without any fault or imperfection are effortlessly woven by a regular 3D printer or a more advanced robot arm. A milling machine creates a masterpiece all on its own and a 3D scanner gets all the perfect dimensions and all materials correctly – all of that at the click of a single button. Right.
Now there is nothing surprising about companies wanting to promote their products by demonstrating their flawless operations, but the perversion itself comes when even creatives support that utopian vision. There is this sense of pride when your design has been manufactured in a mystical technological way and it all goes as planned. No humans needed. Right?
This is a story about the everyday lives of every street’s buildings. The happiness and worries of those most prominent residents, who don’t even have a name, but we sweetly call them home.
One of the main reasons why we love cities is because in their royal slowness, they are also so dynamic. Every city changes with its residents, new neighbourhoods pop up, old ones change and so on. One of Europe’s (and not only!) most charming move is the transformation of previously poor and downtrodden areas by artists. As the story goes – a district on the lower end of the spectrum catches the attention of local artists and young people for its low rent prices. The new life in the area inspires many new activities and soon it is the hip place to be.With people on the move, the entire districts changes, but it is only the architecture that remains the same. All the way from Oslo’s Grünerløkka to Berlin’s Kreuzberg, we all know about the social policies that changed their status and the economical aspect to it. This time, we’re looking into the architectural side of the question to see what do buildings have to say about that shift. The following is a conversation we happened to overhear at a street in de Jordaan – Amsterdam’s hippest district, which almost got demolished after WWII for the bad smells of its canals, but now is a blossoming tulip in the capitals garden with property prices sky rocketing.
In today’s conversation we have invited two distinct guests, one based in Spain and another in Austria. The two share a similar intention at their conception and a common start in life, however although both largely succesful now, they occupy a very different status today. In the following quite existential talk between Casa Batllo from Barcelona and Hundertwasserhaus from Vienna, they discuss topics such as concept display, meaning of existence and ways to connect to the public.
It is quite remarkable how we are so obsessed with originality and innovation when it comes to art or most of our daily appliances, but when it comes to architecture the story changes rapidly. In our attachment to the authenticity of the artwork, the personality of the author and the story of the object, we insist on beholding only the original Rembrandt or the original da Vinci, but then why are we so ignorant of the autenticity of the very buildings we live and work in and the entire cities we inhabit?
The Death of an almost eternal city comes with its recognition for UNESCO, or so say the residents of the city of Split, Croatia.
In my previous posts on the series Space in and out of Time I commented briefly on the phenomenon that this specific city of cultural significance exhibits and this time I would like to focus a bit more thorough on the lessons and threats that this precedent teaches and predicts.