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  • The Persistence of Forgetting

    Manuel Alejandro ZERMENO, "The Persistence of Forgetting." Model.
    los angeles CALIFORNIA

    Cal Poly Pomona

    critics: Axel SCHMITZBERGER and Sarah LORENZEN.

    suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
    Manuel Alejandro ZERMENO: The design of the generic-utilitarian object often causes them to go unnoticed and unregistered.

    Utility Specificity – From light fixtures to HVAC units to ceiling fans to warehouses. They are meant to be useful, manufactured, and practical, yet their repetitive and serial appearance transmits them as forgetful. Compounding the problem further, our minds work with a selective memory. We store what is important to us and forget what is not. But when memory is reduced to “recall” something generic that has been forgotten, imagination is evoked, causing memory to become fallible.1Objects get abstracted and rescaled. Stories get translated and distorted. The truth is always incomplete. These inaccuracies establish the premise of this project and suggest an architectural strategy that already may exist within us: memory. Through a process of drawing and projected representation, this proposal uses the tension between memory and forgetting to visually narrate the function and aesthetic of a specific-generic warehouse. The choice of the warehouse represents the utilitarianism of architectural typologies. Its program is found dispersed in industrial cities like Vernon, Los Angeles and we typically generalize it with the boring. They are rectilinear in form and open in plan, with large windows. But its character reveals more with its specific extrusions of windows, filled-in facades yelling “Get lost!”, broken-bent lights hanging overhead, and serendipitous encounters with junk that someone just couldn’t put away. In a series of interpretations and misrepresentations of a single experience through a warehouse, the project uses drawing as both product and instrument of what it represents. Each drawing, far from permanent and final value, is subject to the persistence of forgetting a recalled memory.2It makes it possible to see some parts more clearly by suppressing others, eventually distorting the whole. And precisely for this reason, each is descriptive of its own story and specificity is found.

    sP: What or who influenced this project?
    MAZ: Ricoeur, Paul, “Forgetting”, Memory, History, and Forgetting.

    sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
    MAZ; SN-K: Evans, Robin, “Translations from Drawing to Buildings”