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[microsound] detourned city - architecture and silence

Microsounders, I ask for comments on these issues. You
can reply to me directly at
trans.abelard@xxxxxxxxx and if you like I will send
you the photos of the architecture in question that
will be used to create a sound installation once the
process of information gathering and sound translation
is finished. We look for collaborators in digital
sound field who have an ethical and philosophical
commitment to challenging mainstreamline
-jeff gburek


I have recently relocated to Liege, Belgium. Called
?the burning city?, it is an industrial town whose
nearby factories where developed by John Cockerill in
the Dickensian age.
Liege is architecturally noisy and aurally as well.
The riot of architectural styles, gothic cathetdral,
arte noveau , multiple layers of post-war trendy
architectures, backgrounded by the factories makes
Liege very special to listen to. This is not a pitch
for tourism. Liege is fiercely polluted, the air
something to protect yourself from and the
conservatives keeping open ear to Sarkhozy are only
challenged by the even prouder working class folks who
have liberal tendencies but also ?la pierre dans il
ventre? (a stone in the stomach), the stone referring
to their homes which they value as their mothers. The
architectural plans change with every new government,
every five years. A city made up up of proud
microsocieties, they often counter-punch a new plan
after kicking the others out in a libidinous design
fiasco that bears direct comparison to the rivalries
between Brunilleschi and Borromini, the queens of that
kind of classification-defying Mannerism that  keeps
Italy on top for historically anticipating too many
Gehry-like protrusions. The topic is the new, massive
rapid train station being installed in Liege. Its need
to be properly visualized will lead to the destruction
of the surrounding neighborhoods. 

Architecture as formalist intrusion. 

Architecture is concerned with making spaces and
controlling what passes through these spaces. The two
extremes that must be anticipated reflect the
orderliness of society and the indeterminacy that this
orderliness eventually gives rise to.  Advertising and
vandalism are two of these indeterminacies. We don?t
know what will be advertised or we cannot tell yet who
will be able to afford to adverstise. The architecture
is also a form of advertising. The architecture is
also a form of vandalism, an imposition of power. In
turn, it will become a place where the dynamics of
integration are challenged.

Art is a form of poesis. It requires mathematical
thinking to make the transition from art to
architecture. But a theory of archetypology, in the
form of shapes which architecture inherits
mimetically, pervades the architectural unconscious.
Making architectural spaces comfortable is important.
It is also important to not make them too comfortable.
In some instances it is useful to make them
deliberately uncomfortable. This reflects society?s
silent war against the undesirables.* 

It is not suprising then that architecture as power
contruct is oriented toward visuality and verticality.
Silence and visuality and ideal projections of order.
Silence in this case does not mean no sound but
rather, it is a silence about a silence, a silence
about sound and it is this silence about sound in
architecture I want to address. Sound is, as such,
largely ungovernable. When sound will be considered an
aspect of architecture, we shall have entered a new
age when sound will be more precious to us, an age in
which the earth and all what its atmosphere supports
and calls life will have become a distant dream. For
the moment, sound, functioning on the permeability of
the binaural grid, is a plane of artistic intervention
and vitality incarnate. Sound is a voice. Sound cannot
be asked to shut up. The architecture that takes sound
as a basis is going to be both visionary, nostalgic
and revolutionary. The architecture that exists
already is merely a battle-ground for the sounds of

There is a certain kind of social blindness in every
situation of construction. We will tolerate much chaos
in order to achieve a new visual environment.
Indeterminate sound also is also tolerated. It is only
ordered sound that society has a problem with. The
rigidity of this order for sound is the plague of
every creative musician and sound artist on the globe.
It is also the premonition of the totalitarian order
capitalism is quickly consuming and imposing upon
every aspect of life. The appetite for destruction
that this requires reflects the situation of clearing
up congested spaces for constructions that make us,
some of us, feel new. This also shows a genocidal
strain in the mythology of populations that sense they
are growing unsustainable. How we can learn to work
with all aspects of our society depends on being able
to listen more. How things look will need to become
secondary to hearing how they actually are. This
listening is not only a practice of abstracting sound
and turning it into an interesting but politically
neutral drone. It must involve listening to people.
Just as the station is a point of transit, it is a
gathering point for those in precarity. The
situationist declaration concerning the flexibility of
architecture depends not primarily on its visual
projection but on developing the world from strategic
points of listening to an environmentally solvent

The architecture of intrusion must be subjected to a

*Anecdote concerning loud radio on station platform
p.a. used to drive away homeless people from benches
in the less used section of Montpellier station is
apropos here. This abusive, anti-social and
?collaterally damaging? event evinces sound as weapon.

Note on layout for photos. 

I am intending to present Guillemins Station upside
down or from various viewpoints that are not designed
to undermine (nor to flatter) Mr. Calavtravas? design
but are, instead, intended to show the current
invisibility of the station. I interpret this crisis
as an opportunity for intervention and re-evaluation.
The photos in some instances will be replaced by
paintings (not photo-shopped abstractions) that work
with the geometrical force lines, in order to review
these lines of force in terms of waves and therefore
achieve an aural sound-score. To transform the visual
lines into audible wave forms. In this way, I would
like to suggest to planners the idea that the
visualization of architectural spaces should be
previewed in a perceptual manifold so that analytics
can be informed by another sensibility. 

The recent renovations of Berlins Alexanderplatz
station. A wide open space, free for movement, is
being closed precisely as the population of the city
grows. Why?

--- festival garage <info@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> hi list,
> this might be interesting for some microsounders.
> best, carsten

j.ff gbk






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