• Omnia, Nihil

    Omnia, Nihil
    los angeles CALIFORNIA

    critic: ramiro DIAZ-GRANADOS,

    suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.

    ronny ECKELS: Peter Sloterdijk describes the dyad “as the absolute figure, the pure bipolar form.”[1] It is from this notion of twoness that Omnia, Nihil begins its exploration of incongruity and the figure within the context of a black box theatre. The project understands the figure in the Delezuian sense of the Body without Organs as that which “remains when you take everything away.”[2]

    The black box theatre, on the other hand, through its absolute generic existence, is perceived as capable of infinite possibilities and atmospheres. It is from these poles, the everything and nothing, that the project positions its discussion. As John Cage would state, “This is a talk about something and naturally also a talk about nothing. About how something and nothing are not opposed to each other but need each other to keep on going.”[3]

    In Omnia, Nihil, the black box theatre is divided into two separate but identical spaces, one occupiable and the other not, as a method of framing the internal dialogue of the project and fully exploiting the critical natures of the everything and the nothing. Moving from this point, in a manner which accentuates more the characteristics of the schizophrenic than it does the bipolar, the project articulates several intricate and delicate relationships in the hopes of engaging moments of incongruity beyond the formal. On one end of the site the figure is employed as a volumetric device, enveloping the unoccupiable theatre and distorting its very geometric matter as a means of producing material effects and serving as the main agonist within the project—“a building that is being itself, being a building, not representing anything, just being.”[4] It is from this instance of architecture that the rest of the dialogue is capable of being positioned. The outline of the volumetric figure is projected onto the skin of the opposite building, creating an irregular skin pattern and delineating the view for the subject. Within this building rests the occupiable theatre amid a myriad of programmatic activities which include an interior park, café and rooftop menagerie. The figure is also projected onto the ground plane which is recessed from the boundaries of the site in order to establish a plinth upon which the two buildings rest upon. The plinth serves to house the gallery space which extends the entire length of the site and operates as the ultimate framing device for the subject to bear witness to the theatrics of the architecture overhead.

    In discussing the everything and the nothing as concepts which can be framed simultaneously within a single architectural project, Omnia, Nihil, attempts to bring a new vitality into discussions of the figure and incongruity within architecture. More importantly, however, it seeks to reevaluate our notions of the other through a dialogue that eschews the myopic retreat of the binary opposition in favor of a critical discourse willing to put everything on the table and engage thoroughly in all dialogues of architecture whether through opposition or consent. Ultimately, then, Omnia, Nihil serves to be a compelling self-portrait of architecture, working, as most self-portraits do, as a means of reinterpreting oneself.

    [1] Funcke, Bettina. (Feb/Mar 2005). “Against Gravity: Bettina Funcke Talks with Peter Sloterdijk.” Bookforum.
    [2] Deleuze, Gilles and Felix Guattari. 1980. A Thousand Plateaus. Trans. Brian Massumi. London and New York: Continuum, 2004.
    [3] Cage, John. 1973. Silence: Lectures and Writings. Weseleyan University Press.
    [4] Zumthor, Peter. Thinking Architecture, Second Edition, (Basel: Birkhauser, 2006).

    sP: What or who influenced this project?
    rE: Discussions of the figure, incongruity, and twoness.

    sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
    rE: Peter Sloterdijk, The Order of Things by Michel Foucalt, short fictions by Jorge Luis Borges, The Gone Away World by Nick Harkaway, Take Care by Drake, and Camp by Childish Gambino.

    sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
    rE: Gabriel Esquivel, Dylan Weiser, Archibad, M.C. Spross.

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