critic: Ezio BLASETTI
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
Sofia XANTHAKOU, Greg LeMAIRE, & Dimitris MOUSTROUFIS: The project is an overall premise concerning an intervention into the conventional city fabric and the repeal of commonly acknowledged truths about urbanism. Arguably ideas about flow, ownership and occupation are the most closely guarded and regulated within a community and therefore are the most in need of confrontation. By imposing adverse conditions and forms on rigid expectations we hope to create a dialogue about an alternative to accepted norms.
An opportunistic garden is a fitting medium for this intervention as gardens generally challenge modern urbanism on several levels. They represent the previously existing and suppressed natural inhabitants of the current urban jungle and when imposed as sprawling injections of nature they consume real estate and in some cases destroy existing buildings. Therefore we are proposing a volatile garden which actively participates in its own reintroduction in city life.
In order to provide for a more broad set of proposals, three different approaches are taken and represent multiple levels of user participation in the garden ranging from passive to active and from the street level to the building interior.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
SX, GL, & DM: While developing the project we looked at various precedent studies including buildings, drawings, art installations and materials which range from social intent to physical form. We looked at the situationist movement (New Babylon) that deals with the notion of drift and the way people experience the city. We studied the Parc de la Villette by Bernard Tschumi and his axonometric drawings of folly. We also researched the re-use of interstitial space which often goes unused in an urban context and hence studied the Fresnoy Art Gallery also by Tschumi Architects. In addition in order to establish a balance between humans, the city and the garden, we looked at the work of Gordon Metta Clark and Man on Wire. Finally, we were influenced as well by the geometry and process of formation of electromagnetic fields.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
SX, GL, & DM: Reading Distress by Greg Egan; Emergence by Steven Johnson; Log 25. Watching Food Inc.; We Need to Talk About Kevin.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
SX, GL, & DM: Ezio Blasetti, Supermanoeuvre, Terreform ONE.