The concept of a “constructed nature” as a leading concept concerning modern greece and its recent history; the example of the architect Dimitris Pikionis and his idea about the historicized athenian landscape. Text in Greek, first published in the review Εν Βόλω, Volos, Greece, 2008. pikionis en volo
Archive for the 'aristide antonas' Category
Aristide Antonas, H ΑΘΗΝΑ ΚΑΙ ΤΟ ΚΕΝΟ, text in greek about the city of Athens and its conceptual structure as the capital of modern greece.
The concept of Urban Protocol names a strategy concerning the condition of Athens today. It would serve as an experimental pseudo-methodology that faces the condition of the city. The Urban Protocols are meant to introduce legal temporary occupancies of the abandoned city center that will be accepted and controlled by a municipal authority; the purpose of an Urban Protocol would be to establish cluster-like mikro-legislative constructions with communal functions. Urban Protocols are formed as systems of rules. Using a video game terminology we may say that the Urban Protocols are “play-tested” in the city, performed and improved via Internet. The system of rules they represent could be transformed and re-established easily.
A first example of Urban Protocol was proposed with the “Athens Terraces” project. The major part of this protocol was consisted by the legislative unification of the terraces of typical Athenian blocks; an existing, typical athenian block’s terrace is now divided to the number of buildings that form it. The protocol of a unified block would construct the communal representation of a unified legislative entity, the field of the block’s terraces. This unification may extend to other neighboring blocks or can be repeated elsewhere in the city. The unification can also be enriched by a covering system of sophisticated canopies. The project proposed a reuse of the existing metallic grids of the city for its cover. It can also include photovoltaic surfaces that could produce electricity for common use of the block’s inhabitants.
A second example of Urban Protocol was proposed by the Antonas office with the “Urban Hall” project. An area of the city was announced as open to a systematic change of function. The municipal authority or a selected voted board would be responsible for the programmatic change of function. A division of time makes here possible a the coexistence of different functions in the same space. The “Urban Hall” can become an open air public hospital for a month or program a music scene or a theater space depending to the decisions of its board.
The Urban Protocol challenges the relation between the city and the Internet; the concept of user would function better for its performance than the one of citizen. Nevertheless its most sophisticated part would have to deal with the relation between user and citizen. Its most challenging legislative part is ruled by the relationship between the Internet and the state; the Internet is understood as the quick functional basis for the formation, installation and function of an Urban Protocol.
Why could a city like Athens needs Urban Protocols in order to enter a phase of a new function? Scarcity made obvious that alternative initiatives were more welcomed than any bureaucratically conceived systematic action in the city. Nevertheless the initiatives cannot form a frame for a city change. The Urban Protocol would be the name of legislative schematization of urban initiatives. It function as an invitation to think the city in a different scale within the relation between a crucial municipality board and a power given to Internet users in order to operate in the city field.
The concepts of “provisional”, “improvisational”, “guerrilla”, “unsolicited”, “temporary”, “informal”, “DIY”, “unplanned”, “participatory”, “open-source”, used abundantly in Athens during the last years do not only name a trend of not canonical architecture. Architecture seems to propose its own end if we forget its power to produce programs. An uninteresting lessez-faire will be the result of such an idealization of the free initiative. A city was conceived as a system of coexistence and its legislative system is already old. The Urban protocol could be first and foremost the call for a new legislative phase for the city of the future. Athens is only a good example. ΑΑ
atopic interiors is a text published in Torino, presented in a Milano Politecnico congress, concerning new modes of understanding the Interior Worlds within which we live today. An infrastructure may be seen as an interior, and the communities that are hosted in it would already perform a different invisible urbanism.
Text on the concepts of new mapping strategies and the confinement into a represented land.
The urban distinctiveness of a certain “murder system” requires two answers in reference to whatever links murder to the city. The question testing the first answer is: How does a necessarily monumental event such as murder register in any city? The second answer would draw Thessaloniki’s urban plan, giving shape to the question: What happens in this special city on the occasions it was and continues being the scene of different murders?
A study of the first question advances by distorting a separation: In Badiou there is a distinct separation between “event” and “fact”. The event is defined as action that surpasses (in a—admittedly more or less—transcendent way) the simple fact. A fact is documented in the archives and forgotten in the unique way one forgets a completed archived action. An event contains a certain heroic, shining, necessarily one-dimensional, revolutionary reading. This reading gives the event a distinctive symbolic dynamic and links the event to the political element. Some overflow, which arrives along with the event, immediately presents it in its political subversive dynamic.
In undertaking to represent Thessaloniki through its murders, we seek the mechanisms nullifying precisely this enormous expansion of fact into event described by Badiou. We might say that Thessaloniki in particular is a city created from the stuff of a specific oblivion, from the stilling of the events that constitute a community. It is an interesting example, which has civic value. Every contemporary city is organized as a social structure while it nullifies the importance of the city’s important events, i.e., while concealing or rendering trite the “important” points that marked the city’s timeline. In general, we would say a contemporary city is constructed as an amnestic mechanism in the way it is built as a mechanism to archive and classify criminal activities that occurred within the city space; formed during repetition its specifications requiring a mesmerizing structure. From the beginning, the dynamics of settlement and land distribution require allocation, classification, continuity, uniformity, archives, all nullifying the status of the event as something unique, which might threaten the very commitment to settling in the same place.
Were we to claim that in Badiou’s differentiation between event and fact, the event is represented as a fact with particular symbolic value, then we should consider the city as a typical organizing system for destroying events, as an event nullification mechanism. The contemporary city is, beyond everything else, an allocation, classification, archive imposition mechanism, with the event as its first desired victim.
The naive, situational appeal for an active city, which would become a city of situations, a city of events without any passiveness, a city of active life and not passive representation, did not simply require—if our observation has any foundation—the contemporary city to be activated in some way; one of the main conditions of its configuration also had to be cancelled. The condition harnessing murder. In Thessaloniki, harnessing murder requires a great deal of energy; approaching the issue is not a simple matter. The city—apart from its “everyday murders”—had a series of emblematic murders in its history. As long as it forgets them, it succeeds in being a contemporary city, and was configured as such because it cannot remember them.
In the scene of these observations, the monument’s importance in the city is interpreted in a different way. The common viewpoint says a monument installs some noteworthy event in the city network. We might claim that the urban monuments we are familiar with, long before installing a particular event in a network (which we have already defined as amnesic) also promote civic amnesia by reducing an event to a fact. A monument, tranquil and installed in a city, is an artless and safe way to turn an event into something commemorated. A city monument is the lenient ability to recall each commemorated event through classification. A memorial commemorates in the way it forgets. It wishes to establish acceptance of a certain type of interpretation rather than the memory of the specific event. Some sort of relaxation is at the foundation of every museum. On the other hand, we cannot imagine any morality without memory. In the city: No morality without some sort of remembrance. In politics: No action without submersion in memory.
In murder, we examine the particular way it connects to the event, and the theatrical direction that installs it on the city stage. Murder is presented as a distinct event since it is simultaneously recordable, narratable, and irreversible.
Death already constitutes a singular irreversible event. The city awaits it with its specific death concealment – documentation mechanisms. The death registries are the city’s enchanted, latent, or hidden histories. Murder, however, is presented with a certain immoral particularity: it is a decisive act, which achieves irreversibility through a certain active blow. Murder is the borderline of human action; in a specific way, murder speaks of interpretation. There is something immoral in interpretation, which the interpreter always plays with. The morality of interpretation is based on an awareness of the permanent possibility of distortion. However, in the case of murder, how far can the interpreter’s work reach?
Interpretation may be understood as a step back; interpretation erases “what we see” and organizes it anew. We interpret something and give it new form. Are we perhaps capable of transforming the interpretation of a murder in the same way? Political crime is frequently presented under different façades. Crime, in general, frequently tends to project an external version different from that linked to the murderous impetus. Perpetrators ask for understanding, submit pleas, or find even that unnecessary; they are innocent because they acted in self-defence. A court acquits, or reduces penalties according to the specific interpretation of each specific homicide: Premeditated or negligent; here, already, are two different interpretations of the same fact. Everything that constitutes murder’s interpretive administration, nevertheless, demonstrates that interpretation is incapable of functioning effectively; it is impossible to alter the irreversible fact of murder. Murder is the singular event, because what occurs in murder is ex hypothesi already inescapable. Interpretation can give new life to a dead representation, but it cannot overturn the act of murder.
Interpretation reconstitutes facts. However, interpretation is responsible for their construction in advance. Nevertheless, we must pay attention to the condition of this reconstitution. We accept that no moment of action produces a unique conceptual centre in any event. On the other hand, the possibility for infinite reversions and infinite interpretations of whatsoever fact might threaten any moral configuration. Everything could start up again as if nothing had occurred. A certain course could always be re-invented and search for continuations even among apparent discontinuity. Murder constitutes a specific example for interpretation. Interpretive omnipotence does not suffice to alter the course of facts. Murder constitutes the most resounding example of this axiom. Something appears lost with murder, and along with murder, something is lost for whatever unimportant reason. The uniqueness, which interpretation confronts from the start as a simple instance of multiplicity, appears in murder as the hard substance of fact. The event, in the case of murder, defines the irreversible, failure, and the asymmetry of any reassessment or remorse.
The city’s multiplicity is born through the civic way of parcelling out land, as well as with the way of dividing, categorizing, and archiving wounds of memory. Before it became a deliberate way of imposing authority, during the planet’s most recent Western era, multiplicity was recognized as the way to facilitate common inhabitation of the city. Civil law, morgue certificates, investigating magistrates, courts, medical examiners, information gathering, archiving; all encourage the desired multiplicity that dispels the insupportable one-dimensional composition of the event of murder, dispels the profoundly unalterable, undisputed “nucleus of the fact”. The “first” indication of the fact, i.e., the dead body of the murder victim, makes its appearance with this unalterable nucleus.
The body of the murder victim is the very best testimony. It is simultaneously “the act itself” and its representation. It is what has happened and the testimony of the event. The murder victim’s body condenses the act and its traces into the same paradoxical remains, which demand oblivion be put to work from the moment they appear; to be buried, to disappear, the same way the causal act disappeared. Burying the dead eliminates a body, burying a murder victim eliminates an act.
Historical question: Can we request a history with no events? That would be the history the city’s configuration is organizing for itself. The answer to the historical question would require new terms for archival readings, new narratives from delving through entries. The city’s history is thus presented as a configuration error.
Urban Planning Question: Can we view the city as a mechanism, which kills the event? Then the topicality of the city would come with some specific, imposable operational a-topia.
Aristide Antonas [ *** ]
In this short text some thoughts about another urban concept of infrastructure and a possible urbanism of web meeting places.
article on the work of Dimitris and Suzana Antonakakis published in the review Nordic Architecture.