suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
michael HARA: This project is an investigation into architecture and fiction, exploring memory and epistemology through the creation of an architectural narrative. Taking cues from the Sir John Soane museum, Piranesi’s carceri etchings and Post-Modern literature, this building (a house of perpetual construction) embodies the spirit of Borgesian literature – the physical manifestation of a search for meaning and truth. Three characters – a Victorian watchmaker, a Renaissance engraver, and a Post-Modern librarian – convene to recreate Giulio Camillo’s memory theater, a mystical renaissance creation long lost to the apathy of time. Nestled on the North side of a forgotten island on the Mississippi river, the house doubles as both living quarters and functioning laboratory for their collective creation.
The three perpetually make objects, images, mechanisms and texts, each manifesting a portion of Giulio’s theater. Though the three create, they cannot agree upon the theater’s final form, and thus perpetually aggregate their creations in rooms which store their objects. As these rooms fill with their creation, the three build more and more rooms, producing a labyrinth of creation which grows in a state of unending addition. These rooms aggregate and transform into a physical representation of their search for truth, universality, and meaning. It is a project with no end, an act of perpetual construal.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
mH: Daniel Libeskind’s “Three Lessons in Architecture,” Jorge Luis Borges’s short stories, particularly the Library of Babel, John Hejduk, Caravaggio, Neil Spiller, and the Bartlett school in general.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
mH: Reading: Jorge Luis Borges, House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, John Hedjuk’s poetry; Listening to: Girl Talk, Bright Eyes; Watching: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Synechdoche New York.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
mH: Lots of student work, particularly from the UK, Peter Zumthor, Smout Allen, Factory 15, 42 Architects.
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