• Roots Run Deep . . . (A Tomb for Manfredo Tafuri)

    W. Gavin ROBB, "Roots Run Deep (A Tomb for Manfredo Tafuri)." Void.
    cambridge MASSACHUSETTS

    Harvard GSD
    advisor: Mack SCOGIN.

    suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.

    W. Gavin ROBB: Let’s talk about tombs for a minute.

    Death, memory, marker, transcendence. Architecture usually deals with these through symbol, or scale. . . .

    But the architecture of death moves us more directly. Tombs touch on something beyond [under?] and wrench it into our reality. Death is serene and unsettling. It’s direct, a mirror, a doppelganger, your body but apart. So scale by itself doesn’t work anymore. We’ve got huge scale now, we call it infrastructure. It’s common, prosaic, casually monstrous. If architecture tries to mimic it [à la Beaubourg] we get at best an aping mockery.

    So, what are we to do?

    Let’s return to the modern, to what technology actually is. It’s a prosthetic. It extends the limits of haptic and visual cognition. Bodytalk, eyetalk, handtalk. Between the limitless potential and ease of technological space and the human body is a very simple interface. It’s ergonomic. It’s almost domestic.

    The tomb is an instrument.

    A casual astrolabe, it doesn’t conjure up some other or before but enacts a hyper-real and constructs an after. Our myths are present in the land. An endless burning coal fire, a town that isn’t, the giants on the hillside. The slow grind of the cosmos. The inexorable fill and seed of earth. The tomb points, pulls, stitches, weaves.
    So the trajectory of this sublime is not up and down but back and forth. Between the Real and the Real, in the looping between, in the stitching together and in the refusal of comprehension. In that terribly agonizing and heart-wrenchingly impossible suture is the structure of the new sublime. It’s the wires between. It’s the shimmering of gossamer dew.

    It’s in this world and returns to this world, but in the trajectory quick-split is completely outside of it.

    Blink, and you’ll miss it.

    sP: What or who influenced this project?
    WGR: Jean-Jacques Lequeu; Douglas Darden; Massimo Scolari; Paolo Soleri; Carlo Scarpa; DEW Line listening stations; John Henry; and Jantar Mantar, New Delhi.

    sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
    WGR: Reading Paul Virilio, Bunker Archaeology. Listening to Alan Lomax recordings of prison and work songs, Appalachia folklife. Watching solar eclipses and time-lapse video of hurricanes.

    sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
    WGR: Herzon & de Meuron; SO-IL; SITU Studio; Nancy Rubins; Adam Ferriss; Gianni Pettena; and John Stezaker.

    Additional credits and links:

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