29 aprile 2013

Words and bytes

I’ve been going back over some of my observations about the relationship between writing about architecture and writing online. Here in Italy, it’s evident that we’ve failed to appreciate the changes that the digital format entails for the act of writing. Writing online, in fact, implies a new range of communicative tools: links, images, audio, video, maps. Links immediately enlarge the field of discourse by means of images, audio, video and maps can supplement the experience of reading with that of seeing and hearing and tracing ever more detailed geographic perambulations. In a practical sense, then, websites do not consist of words alone.

One interesting example of digital storytelling is the work of Orsola Puecher (in Italian), whose posts for the website Nazione Indiana make use of digital grammar’s extensive palette of expressive forms. “Others write; Orsola creates,” posted a commentator named NC, echoing a comment by either Sparzani or Biondillo.

The webpage, as Puecher has it, pushes writing towards a creative leap in which it becomes a ‘blob’ of words, images, video, sounds, map and territory.

Three architecture bloggers who have taken this creative leap are Lebbeus Woods, Ai Weiwei and Léopold Lambert.

23 aprile 2013

0060 [MONDOBLOG] Parole di bit

di Salvatore D’Agostino
Riprendendo gli appunti mondoblog, sul rapporto tra scrittura web e architettura, non è stato difficile constatare come in questi anni in Italia non si è compreso il cambiamento della scrittura che offre la pagina digitale. Scrivere per una pagina web significa avere la consapevolezza di trovare sul nostro tavolo di lavoro digitale una nuova gamma di strumenti comunicativi: link, immagini, audio, video, mappe. I link permettono che le citazioni si trasformino in un dito che invita subito ad approfondire, mentre l’utilizzo d’immagini, audio, video e mappe mutano le parole in osservazione, ascolto e percorsi geografici sempre più dettagliati. In pratica, un foglio web non si nutre di sole parole.

Un esempio interessante di narrazione digitale è il lavoro di Orsola Puecher che, su Nazione Indiana, sperimenta l’ampia tavolozza espressiva della grammatica digitale, «mentre gli altri scrivono, Orsola crea», osserva il commentatore NC riprendendo un commento di Sparzani o Biondillo.

La pagina web - constata Puecher - ci spinge verso un salto creativo della scrittura che si fa blob di parole, immagini, video, suoni, mappe-territorio.

16 aprile 2013

Far too fragile: architecture and the environment

traduzione di: Troppo fragili

The most recent quarterly issue of Il Giornale dell’Architettura includes a collection of reports edited by Cristiana Chiorino and organized around the theme of hydrogeological fragility in Italy. Among the various pieces is one I contributed, in which, basically, I argue for the need to move beyond over-reliance on generic terms to describe the world.

San Sperato, Monticello Conte Otto, Caserta, Southern Italy’s Highway 18, the Pontine Marshes, the Bovisa district of Milan, Irpinia, Strongoli, Cassinetta di Lugagnano and C.E.P. Village in Bari are examples that, understood correctly, should challenge the “commonplace” assumptions inherent in describing places generically as a “region” or lumping numerous communities together as a “city.” “Common places” do not exist. With respect to environmental restoration projects on a regional scale, each place requires a specific project with (hopefully) an interest in preventing, if not turning back the progress of disaster.

In the vein of these observations, the article includes a summary of the conference held last November at the Venice Biennale, entitled “Fragile Territories: Architecture, Disaster and Reconstruction.”

8 aprile 2013

overspeed by Salvatore Gozzo: an involuntary monument to our times

One year since the overspeed accident that caused the grounding of the oil tanker Gelso M, the ship remains stranded on the rocks of Capo Santa Panagia.
To celebrate the opening of the new Pekstudio, the cultural association Pekstudio Foundation will host an exhibition of Salvatore Gozzo’s photography project Overspeed, curated by Salvatore D’Agostino and originally published here in the “points of view” section of Wilfing Architettura.
Seen from above, Capo Santa Panagia resembles a large crag separating the city of men, to the south, from the city of petrochemical fumes, to the north. This promontory of whitened rock has been witness in recent decades to the rapid transformation of a simple town into an industrial center. Thanks to economic “overspeed” directed by astute industrialists and favored by political circumstances, Syracuse managed to attract large amounts of capital in the ‘60s and ‘70s, decades of significant economic development.


4 aprile 2013

Calendar - Preventing architectural amnesia

“But why, indeed,” writes Gillo Dorfles, transcribing a grueling interview with Andy Warhol given a few years before his death, “did he wear this mask of impermeability?”

“I'd prefer to remain a mystery. I never give my background, and, anyway, I make it all up different every time I'm asked. It's not just that it's part of my image not to tell everything, it's just that I forget what I said the day before, and I have to make it all up over again.” **
Warhol, perhaps, suffered from a short-term memory disorder like that of Leonard Shelby, the character in the film Memento by Christopher Nolan, who must rely on messages scribbled on Post-It notes, at the margins of Polaroid photos, or even tattooed on his own body in order to exact revenge on John G., the man who supposedly raped and murdered his wife and engineered the incident that left him with his condition. His desperate efforts to piece together his life anew each day only cause him to be manipulated by someone he believes is helping him, ultimately leading him to kill the wrong people. In a moment of lucid despair, he wonders, “How can I heal if I can’t feel time?”
** Gillo Dorfles, La moda della moda, costa&nolan, Ancona-Milano, 1984, p. 90