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  • Part Object

    MacAulay BROWN, "Part Object."
    houston TEXAS

    Rice University School of Architecture
    critic: Neyran TURAN.

    suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.

    MacAulay BROWN: Soviet Filmmaker, Sergei Eisenstein, established the role of montage in film as a technique used to generate a concept or idea that exists outside of the presented images. . . .

    Best described by Martino Stierli in his essay “Mies Montage,” “Contrary to conventional ‘continuity editing’, this ‘intellectual’ montage causes the spectator to mentally combine seemingly unrelated images in a sequence whose focus goes beyond that of the individual images.” (Stierli). This act of montage allows the content of a project to go beyond the information physical present, to transcend form into the formless, allowing an idea to resonate independent from the binding framework of tectonic space. Within the context of the Part Object, the “intellectual montage” becomes noteworthy when misaligning the inputs and thus thrusting the output out of focus. Enabling a moment of confusion and agitation surrounding the relationship between the part and the whole, fracturing the gestalt, an effect similar to visual tension experienced in the photography of Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Architecture series. Here the artist forces the camera lens out of focus before capturing the architectural figure such that the image retains enough legibility to begin at hinting at a form and identity (revealing that it has one) yet simultaneously remains “out of focus” in order to soften and thaw the framed objects. This extraordinarily technical gawkiness incites a moment of visual excitement, manifesting a flux between what is optically present and what, based on Lo-Fi blurred information, is thought to be present. Thus creating a struggle to find “ground” to stand on while facing the project and calling to question how much of the total object, figure or narrative is to be understood based on the information at hand. Now the reader must choose to either understand or see the product one of two ways: as a complete entity that is disturbed, agitated and abstract liberated from its original packaging, or as an incomplete and unfinished identifiable entity yearning to signify to a larger motif. Manufacturing a dialectic responsible for the creation of a beat, wave, and pulse as the witness oscillates between the two readings, the “Part Object” and Lo-Fi Form.

    By challenging the conventional understandings of definition and legibility, the “Part Object” begins to gain its credibility as a device with the ability to maintain a low quality, blurred visual presence synthesized out of clear, distinct components. An object that thrives on its inconsistent and misleading readings and it is here, in this runny state that the wave, beat, and pulse develops. The fractured form osculates up and down between input and output, Avant Garde and Kitsch, form and formless thrusting the “Part Object” in to a state of flux unable to settle and clot. In this unstable, misaligned, fluid state, Lo-Fi form starts to negate resolution, closure and meaning, shifting the focus towards more immediate, visceral qualities. Qualities, which aim at the “feelies” and a more emotional aura, in place of the classic “message” or “statement”.

    As our world continues to race forward, we have struck a point in the digital age where we have overloaded our capacity as human beings to retain and recall the information and data that we have experienced. As a result we have shifted our mental storages devices from ROM to RAM memory, concerning ourselves only with the list of processes that are currently present on our temporary memory sheet. This notion coupled with the issues surrounding the construction of meaning and the understanding of architecture as a platform to carry a message, marks a moment where we may want to rethink our intentions in order to maintain agency within this new territory and terrain. Sacrificing formal and conceptual complexity as tools that may forestall a projects digestibility as a meaningful and evocative architecture, ultimately may lead to the commodification of the discipline as a simple set of ideas, trends and forms on the global market, used in order to reiterate consumer products, business models and company culture. By adopting techniques that produce the “Part Object”, we can disrupt the auto-recognition tendencies produced within our over-exposed environment, causing a double back, short-circuiting this otherwise flat system.

    sP: What or who influenced this project?:
    MB: Part Object was influenced by working and studying with both Andrew Zago and Neyran Turan, along side theories pertaining to the relationship between artistic and architectural production. Much of the content behind Part Object was thus inspired by the unforeseen findings when trying to marry these three lines of influence.

    sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?:
    MB: Some mix of Nicolas Bourriaud, Postproduction; Yve-Alain Bois and Rosalind Krauss, Formless: A User’s Guide; Hunter S. Thompson short stories; Roland Barthes, Death of the Author; and a number of Log articles. Listening to LCD Soundsystem, “Losing my Edge,” “Movement,” “Watch the Tapes,” and “Us v. Them”; the J.E.S.U.S Boiler Room set. Watching Sergei Eisenstein, Battleship Potemkin.

    sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?:
    MB: At the moment I find myself really interested in the culture of appropriation and postproduction that is running the great takeover on the globe right now. This culture is something that I believe has not reached architecture yet, at least not all aspects of it and as a result I find myself looking more and more towards artists like Mike Kelley, Maurizo Cattelan, Pierre Huyghe, and any number of Dee-Jay’s for inspiration on how to best remix our current reality back upon itself.

    Additional credits and linsk:
    [Macaulaybrown.me]

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