Invited Distinguished Professor:
Gabriel Esquivel, Studio Professor
Stephen Caffey, Assistant Professor of Art and Architecture History and Theory
Texas A&M University
Team: Juan Arriaza, Stefani Johnson, Chris Bell, Sydney Farris, Madison Haynes.
The experiment began as we became interested in Ronchamp as a late modernist object where inside and outside are separated by a fold between exterior and interior. Based on its main organizational principles of continuous change around a central void, transformation of wall to volume/ volume to wall and creation of entry through the repetition of elements, we decided to reconfigure and distort elements and extrude them to produce 3d manifestations of these. We began to denote these new primitives as “chunks,” and proceeded to create an index from which compositions were created. By sweeping, extruding, lofting, and booleaning shapes and forms derived from the plan of Ronchamp individually, the group members then compiled the sum of their work to assemble new objects. Through the process of combining and distorting chunks, elements which once functioned as parts of a plan began to lose their definition and begin to take on a new autonomy, driven by the inputs of each team member.
Trying to understand if the product was a simple sum of different chunks, we decided to replicate the experiment with a different building. The Jewish Museum was selected as it also follows an irregular organization around a void as well as the notion of the fragmented line as an organizing principle. The process of reorganization of the plan and production of chunks was repeated to create a new irreducible object.
In computing, from least to most physical, there are four layers of information: application, transport, internet, and link; where the application is the interface we actually engage in and the link is the physical medium of transport. The deeper scripting languages go and the further they move from our understanding, the more boundless and raw the information becomes. The “critters” we engage with are the most abstracted result of the plan of a real building; but while they’re entirely hypothetical we are more able to interface with them than with the original drawing, or data.
With Ronchamp and The Jewish Museum as precedents, the plans are used as genetic framework from which “chunks” are derived and categorized. The aforementioned process has been repeated so many times that the final productions have logical depth, meaning a large amount of data has been discarded to reach the final — a conventional design process with an unconventional product. We began to ask: Does folding an object (in the Deleuzian sense of The Fold) automatically create a new irreducible product or is the folded object identical to the new object because it retains the same formal qualities? The action of unfolding both opposes folding and continues it.
Because each chunk was extracted and operated on by different people, their ultimate combinations were the products of entirely different evolutionary processes. Each “chunk” acts as a pixel in that the assembly of all these similar building blocks reads as the unity of infinitesimal parts. And each of the final conglomerations is the manifestation of a variety of arrangements and productions. “The [referenced plan] becomes distorted to such a degree as to render the [‘critter’] a denial of repetition,” as it develops a particular character through its new autonomy. Point-of-view is not limited to human perception. The irregularity and lottery-like selection and combination of chunks creates a final model which changes continuously around its axis, alternating from volume to wall, wall to volume. The unity of the objects’ inherent multiplicity produces a gestalt reading, as the self-organized chunks attain their own reality.
In this way, the project redefines abstraction by unfolding rather than folding the original data.