Saturday, 8 October 2016

OGR - Invisible Cities @Phil


  1. OGR 09/10/2016

    Hi Joel,

    A nicely presented OGR - thank you - and I find your intellectual engagement with Ersilia satisfying. For your reference I'm including Ruth's OGR feedback too, as Ruth has also opted for Ersilia. You'll find the various links and references of interest.

    Your idea of the 'robotic' pack horses is a fascinating one; that said, there is something so clearly 'analogue' and artisan about Calvino's image of a city of strings that I'm not completely satisfied that 'science-fiction' is the way to go - at least in terms of an aesthetic. I do however like the idea of automation, and your mission statement immediately got me thinking about looms and spinning wheels etc - so early technology associating with spinning and weave and threads. This is likewise supported by your reference to Theo Jansen's creatures, that work by repetitive motion and, while robotic, have an artisan quality:

    In general terms, a civilisation that 'weaves' might expect to build and construct in the image of their principle paradigm - so perhaps, in line with some of our previous conversations about 'constructing architecture' from smaller elements, perhaps you might consider shape-extracting from some traditional weave technology and using those shapes to think about the actual architectural vocabulary of Ersilia's incumbent buildings? In a civilisation where 'string' is of the utmost important, I'm wondering if 'weavers' or 'spinners' might be considered societally empowered/valuable - maybe there's a belief-system there? A religion or caste-system? If so, I wonder if there might be some sense in terms of looking at Ersilia's 'loom rooms' as a possible candidate for your interior painting, if the purpose of that interior space is to tell us 'more' about Ersilia's civilisation?

    The big design issue with Ersilia is conceiving first and foremost of its scale - and then imaging how its various environments are rendered in string; my imagination shows me Maya wire-frames as a synonym for what I'm seeing:

  2. It might pay to look at artists working with wire as synonymous with the kind of 'after image' of Ersilia:

    You would have seen in regards to Ruth's feedback that I suggested it might pay to align Ersilia's emphasis on weaving and string with some real world precedent - i.e. an existing culture or ethnicity associated with this technology and trade. By the same logic, you might consider looking at the animal kingdom's spinners for some architectural clue, form or precedent that might inform you design of specific structures. The spider is the obvious candidate, but again, in terms of shape-extraction as the basis of good design, by looking at the spider in abstracted terms, you might identify a useful visual concept:

    (for example, if you used this diagrammatic image of the spider as an aerial view 'city plan', it would put the city's spinners inside some kind of big round stadium or colosseum or domed structure.).

    Essentially, you're looking for some organising principle that can take the 'guess work' out of designing Ersillia. Another reference provoked by your mission statement is this:

    ... this idea of a city leaving a trail of 'wrapped' or 'cocooned' landscape behind it.

    So - in summary, tread carefully re. science-fiction as style-creep (i.e. I like science-fiction therefore Ersilia is 'futuristic), but absolutely explore that idea of the city as 'automated' but work closely with Calvino's sensibility - which is an analogue world of 'string' and all that it implies. I don't think this prohibits your flights of fancy however - I just think it offers up a challenge of a 'science fiction of wood and weavers'...