ADS0: Babel; architecture and landscapes in the face of catastrophe
ADSO studies catastrophe as the forceful condition in which all preconceptions about architecture as a discipline and its practice are put to review, in particular its perception as a positive emblem of progress. The etymology of the word Catastrophe casts a conflicting set of meanings and brings forward its compelling potential. Commonly used to refer to disaster or calamity, the word can also denote denouement, in the mid-16th century definition of the word. Catastrophe can be at the same time the resulting state brought about by the wrath of god, and the possibility for a sudden turn (from Greek katastrophē), or the overturning of events. The studio thus focuses on this chaos and embraces conflict as a means to explore the "new wilderness" that unavoidably results from its sudden violence. This negativity is instrumental as it compels us to suspend our beliefs and provoke us to engage with alternative forms of practice and being advanced through each individual project. Our diverse body of work operates within a multitude of catastrophes, in our first year: Toxicity and development, the commodification of idleness, memories of war, forms of spatial activism, Californian fires, the discovery of tea, staged destructions in Nevada, domesticity in a pandemic era, the consumption of catastrophe, binary forms of notation, depoliticized public space and the annihilation of Palestinian culture.
Drawing from Steve Salembier’s work in Atelier Bildraum, the studio is run as an artist collective that encourages through the exploration of film, performance, installation and writing the positioning of the project as a catalyst to frame the students future professional practice. This year, we delved into the theme through a series of workshops and exercises that looked through introspection to explore and delineate lines of flight and possible contexts of research. This self-ethnographical and exploratory phase is followed by in depth research into the material, historical, political and theoretical contexts of these intuitions and experiences, contextualizing the work within fields of knowledge and drawing relations to artistic, architectural and other material practices. With a specific focus on photography, film and performance, the studio looks to explore the maxims of the architectural project, context, site, programme and form across mediums of representation that help to confront them with their sensorial and experiential dimensions; understood in the studio to be equally essential for the formulation of a project. By problematizing positivity we believe the studio enables a simple goal, to allow ourselves the possibility to question how things are, and by forcing a suspension of normality, we enable a framework to act upon the potential of this questioning.
Steve Salembier (Atelier Bildraum), Paul Shepheard and Maria Paez Gonzalez.