suckerPUNCH: describe your project.
john SZOT: “Architecture and the Unspeakable” is a three-part video featuring three building proposals that probe the experiential potential of building pathologies.
In the first installment (released April 2011), a partially-completed building is temporarily abandoned and left at the mercy of New York City’s street writers and guerrilla artists to be provisionally occupied and abused without supervision. By exposing the raw structure to all the violence and rambunctiousness of a metropolis, the building captures activity and ideas that usually lie beyond the architect’s grasp in a manner that does not compromise their cultural currency.
The result is an authentic slice of urban subculture that occupies a legitimate position within the urban fabric, and thus within the identity of the city.
This is an inversion of the typical life cycle of a building. Here, dereliction occurs before inhabitation. Therefore the final product remains unknown and outside the reach of conventional architectural documentation. The video charts the progression of this process via high-fidelity simulation in which a narrative was developed to describe the activity that might take place during the period of ‘induced dereliction’ and do justice to the subtleties inherent in this unlikely marriage.
sP: what or who influenced this project?
jS: the prolific street writers of NYC and beyond
sP: what were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
jS: reading – War Diaries: Notebooks from a Phony War (Sartre); Burning Chrome (Gibson); His Master’s Voice (Lem)
listening – Bad Brains (s/t); Idiota Hyperactiva (HFOS); The Pleasure Principle (Numan); Fucked-Up Friends (Tobacco)
watching – Yojimbo (Kurosawa); first season of Arrested Development
sP: whose work is currently on your radar?
jS: Atelier Bow-Wow; Smiljan Radic; Takao Shiotsuka
video design/direction – John Szot Studio
video production – Brooklyn Digital Foundry
hand-style spec – Ellis Gallagher