06 April 2006

7 juxtaposed elements

This blog contains some remains of a talk delivered in the Architectural Association (Histories and Theories Seminar Series) on march 1st, 2006. The presentation was structured as a 7 membered series, formed by 3 text fragments and 4 descriptions. The juxtaposition of the 7 elements constructed a kind of order that shaped the time of the conference (55 minutes).
The 3 text fragments are from Bataille's Theory of Religion, Kierkegaard's Miettes Philosophiques and Deleuze's Dialogues.
The 4 descriptions refer to a visit of a deserted island, a transformation of a photograph, an inhabitation of a water reservoir, an occupancy of a fixed timber construction.

bataille's fragment

Georges BATAILLE, Theory of Religion, Zone Books, New York, 1989, (Paris 1973)

p. 18:

“There is no transcendence when an animal eats another; there is certainly a difference but this animal that eats the other animal cannot oppose itself to it through the affirmation of this difference.
Animal of a certain species do not eat one another … Perhaps, but this does not matter if the goshawk eating the hen does not distinguish it clearly from itself, in the same way that we distinguish an object from ourselves. The distinction requires a positing of the object as such. There does not exist any discernable difference if the object has not been posited. The animal that another animal eats is not yet given as an object. Between the animal that is eaten and the one that eats, there is no relation of subordination like that connecting an object, a thing, to man, who refuses to be viewed as a thing”.

p. 19:

“every animal is in the world like water in water”.

Kierkegaard's fragment

Sören KIERKEGAARD, Miettes Philosophiques

“If one’s gaze perceives a star, this will become uncertain the moment one will want to explain its apparition. It is as if thinking made the star disappear”.

Deleuze's fragment

Gilles DELEUZE , Dialogues, Flammarion, Παρίσι, 1977, σ. 8-9,

“the bee and the orchis give the example. The orchis seems to form the image of a bee, but in fact there is a become-bee of the orchis, a become orchis of the bee, a certain double capture [of the bee by the flower and of the flower by the bee] since “what” every one of them becomes does not change less than “that” it becomes. The bee becomes part of the mechanism of the orchis in the same time the orchis becomes sexual organ of the bee”.

24 February 2006

to visit and to find

Perpetual redefinition could be an interesting “stable” present for architecture. Strategies towards building not only present architectural problems but problems of the current thought as well. The question “how to build?” is not only difficult to answer in an architectural background (oriented towards the oncoming ethics of architecture) but also in reference to the general theoretic ambience that is formed nowadays, in a level of thought constructivity. “Building in thought” does not offer foundations or stable substructures any more; this is a problem that haunts architecture even if it often remains hidden.
How can we preserve a tradition coming from modern architecture that relates thought and architecture, giving other perspectives to both? To form some answers, two more specific questions are posed: “what a visit could be?” and “how can we shape the notion of architectural finding?” Visiting a place is an act to be reconsidered in a post network epoch. We could try to grasp the vehemence of a “non artificial” approach even if this seems to unveil an insistence on something already lost. A finding is not understood here as the opposite of a loss. Even more: in all different archeologies, every finding corresponds directly to the creation of a loss.

23 February 2006

parallel readings

Bataille Georges, Theory of religion, Zone Books, New York, 1989. Deleuze Gilles, Proust and the Signs, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 2000, (Puf, Paris,1964). Desert islands and other texts 1953 – 1974, Los Angeles, 2004. Difference and Repetition, (Puf, 1968), Athlone Press, London, 1994. Derrida Jacques, “L’oreille de Heidegger; philopolemologie (Geschlecht IV)”, in: The politics of friendship, Verso, London, 1997, (Politiques de l’amitié, Galilee,1994, pp. 341- 419, Paris) Flam Jack, the “mirror displacements”, from “incidents of mirror- travel in the Youcatan”, in: Robert Smithson, Collected Writings, Los Angeles, 1996, pp.119- 134. Flusser Vilém, Die Schrift : hat Schreiben Zukunft?, Frankfurt a.M. : Fischer, 1992. Kierkegaard Sören, Fear and trembling, (1843), Penguin, 1985. Marin Louis, Pouvoirs de l’ Image, Paris, Seuil, 1993. Mumford Lewis, Αrt and Technics, Columbia University Press, New York, 1952. Schiller Friedrich, Kallias oder über die Schönheit, über Anmut und Würde, Stuttgart, 1994, pp. 5-65. Lang Peter, Menking William, Superstudio; Life Without Objects, Skira, Milano, 2003. Also visit Galin Tihanov, “The politics of estrangement; the case of Early Shcklofski”,

22 February 2006

what a find could be

We are seeking for the convention that establishes the thing that is there, right in front of us, as a find. For the purposes of this blog, there are two distinct definitions that can be ascribed to the notion of a find, namely the beautiful and the insignificant. Under those two, any given edifice may be construed as a function of the gaze that is intent upon it.
I hasten to look up Schiller’s correspondence. I think that the beautiful for Schiller could be a find. It presents itself as the ‘experience of a certain recognition’[1]. It points the way to what I was in quest of, and calling for: the way for my eventual return to it. And the beautiful is also the place in which the ‘unitary inception of theory and practice’ is revealed[2]. It manifests ‘freedom within the field of appearances’[3]. If we insist in postulating that the ‘find’ stages a certain tentative occupancy, we might observe one other thing, along with Schiller: contemplation and consolidation of the locus of installation[4] calls for a certain decisiveness of vision that matches Schiller’s freedom within the field of appearances. Schiller’s thoughts about the beautiful afford a way for the find to be constructed.
However, for a built essay (for an installation that extends its text to the locus of the find), a further thought must be entertained; a thought that will call for the rupture of autonomy wherein the beautiful is presented in Schiller’s discourse. According to Schiller the beautiful appears to obey its own law solely: throughout his passages on the ‘beautiful’ one may discern in the discourse a certain palpable momentum towards a union with the perceptible. In the ‘beautiful’ is borne out the enduring mourning of the perceptible within discourse, and of discourse within the perceptible.
The occupancy of the finding with which we are now concerned calls for some further work on the notional unity of that which is perceptible and intelligible in the beautiful as understood by Schiller. We seek to expand our tentative rationale with meanings that are moulded by design: by the booming rational reverberation engendered in the manipulation of the image, or by means of plans for a project ‘on the drawing board’. And going beyond that: the find, in the specific work of tentative occupancy, arranges instances of monumentalized insignificance. A phrase from Lewis Mumford’s Art and Technics could be cited here: ‘it is by far deadlier for a piece of architecture to become ideologically obsolete than technically so. Once a building has lost its meaning, we cease to perceive it though it still remains upright.’[5] The find which lends itself to such occupancies is organized by means of insignificant material. From the material of such insignificance, described by Mumford, some new archaeology may be developed. ‘To see what we cease to see’. Just like any other archaeology, it can look to recover nothing else save than that which keeps receding into the past, the thing that eludes it. The find founders in the contradiction of a dual motion: one that seeks after the insignificant yet, once it has chosen it, incurs its loss.

[1] q.v. Friedrich Schiller, Kallias oder über die Schönheit, über Anmut und Würde, Stuttgart, 1994, pp. 5-65. Kallias or On Beauty, Athens, Polis, 2005, p. 137, (1847).
[2] op. cit., p. 136.
[3] op. cit., p. 79.
[4] That shall be a certain theoretical installation, recalling occupancy of an ‘interior’ landscape.
[5] Mumford Lewis, Αrt and Technics, Columbia University Press, New York, 1952. Transl. Vassilis Tomanas, Nisides, Skopelos, 1997, p. 115 (1952).

12 February 2006

a find as a machine for habitation

A written essay regarding architecture engenders intellectual occupancies of the particular space which – at that particular time – architecture regards as properly its own. Any opinion that is organized around an edifice seeks to breach it in a particular way so as to install therein a machine for habitation by means of thought. Thus we look at architecture in the manner we build, whereas we write about it in the manner we dwell. We argue that a building may be construed in this manner or that, and we mean by this that it may be inhabited in this or that manner. We often deem a work of architecture to exist incipiently, and it is only later on – once we have taken notice of its interior – that we stumble upon its own proper meaning. We fondly imagine that we are deciphering, that we are taking something by storm that was just lurking within the ‘innards’ of an edifice. Even so, any such decipherment also constitutes a constructional investment that foists some new system upon a previous one. Each such decipherment engenders some kind of appurtenance, in such a way as to render meaningless the quibble about what is more important in the act of decipherment: the veiled meaning or the process of producing it. The work actually needs the instauration upon it of a new system providing the locus for appended ‘elucidations’. An essay on architecture consumes itself in a bid to achieve occupancy of private space, to dwell there where the energy of interpretation may be accommodated. It is not so much an accommodation of the energy originating from the project qua project, but rather an acquiescence to a foisted meaning, as confirmation of the unity (that may be only ascertained ex post) formed by the edifice in question and the discourse that is offered accommodation inside the edifice. An essay on a work of architecture accomplishes a certain tentative annexation of a new limb to the body of the edifice under consideration. Discourse is installed in architecture, a fact that allows the edifice to stand as a permanent stage, where the discourse in question may take up lodging, as tenants occupy a house, without incurring any definitive alterations to its space, such that would turn it into something other than it is[1], but merely by constructing their own abode out of that fixed space[2].
As we hold on to this notion, we can stage tentative approaches that shall be concerned with the ‘literal’ aspect of such occupancies: ‘literal’ yet not divorced from certain metaphorical implications. We envision such an essay in as utterly plain and playful terms as possible. A certain notion of ‘built essay’ could conceive the intellectual effort aimed at such tentative transformations of an edifice: how would it be possible for such an essay to become another kind of inscription on the edifice? Our goal is an intervention organized at the level of the intellect, not one indulging in a disquisition on the representational features of the building, but one that would alter those representational features in order to attempt some other installation. Such a strategy could aim at a tentative architectural act, an attempt at occupancy: not only in organizing a proposal to be installed, but also in formulating something. An opportunity would be thereby afforded to discourse (which distorts so as to construct an interpretation) of acting on the images themselves and on the plans of the buildings. The buildings would thus be treated as finds, and the interventions upon them would be tests, where the buildings would serve as raw materials, and the tests would engulf the buildings in order to produce something from them. Preparatory work for various such installations would test the amenability of the building to particular occupancies.When does an edifice become a find worthy of theoretical installations? I know not the answer. We usually hold that an answer to this question is given implicitly, as a matter of course. What deserves to be investigated is usually put forth or not as the case may be, depending on the ease with which a community can formed around it, a community based on common interests. What is thereby precluded is the likelihood of encounters with buildings (whatever their sort) that would be governed by the unfeigned fascination deriving from some indefinable personal attraction. Why do we become interested in this or that person? How do such persons succeed in occupying a significant part of our field of vision? How important are other people’s opinions about those persons? How do we endeavour to install ourselves within them, or to construe them according to our predilections? An edifice may be the setting of an encounter. ‘How is one to approach the landscape that is no longer what one sees, but has conversely become the landscape in which one is seen by others?

[1] Still, prior to any such installation, the space in question has not yet become something definite.
[2] Let this observation be read in tandem with Aldo Rossi’s notion of scena fissa, transposed to a different setting.

29 January 2006


Some buildings are understood as finds. An essay laboratory treats these buildings as phrases or sentences of an under formation text.

27 January 2006

concrete beds

Concrete beds are installed and merge with the landscape on an arid hill on some mediterranean island. The beds which are integrated into the rocky slope, are shaped like vaulted "cases" of reinforced concrete, open towards the east. The beds are isolated from the surrounding area by an ordinary fabric curtin or by an easily movable screen. The area provided for each bed is 3X2 metres, contains an open area above the pillow and cupboard, drawers, refrigirator under the bed, accessible from outside.


deserted Island of Youra


subterranean residence

We are gazing at a water reservoir up on the mountain. The reservoir has its own significance; however, the manner in which it is offered to us holds a particular significance of its own, beyond our encroachment upon it. Thus we see a certain insignificant reservoir and the reservoir turns into a finding by dint of our tentative treatment of it.

the photograph of a building

We are looking at a building in a photograph in an architectural magazine. Though not inherently insignificant, the manner in which the building is offered to us holds a particular significance of its own, beyond our encroachment upon it. Thus we perceive the building as insignificant, and it turns into a finding by dint of our tentative treatment of it.

In a work by Claisse, as shown in the Brison's photograph, I encountered
something familiar: the base on which -first using
indelible ink on copies of the photograph and then with three dimentional
precision design and an image processing program- it was possible to develop drawings
and images for new structures that looked as though they had been generated by
the photograph.

myspaceBlog AntonasClaisseWorks


outdoor house

We are looking at a building that is being built by the seaside, and it has reached the stage when the forming blocks have been put in place. The fixed timber has its significance; however, the manner in which it is offered to us holds a particular significance of its own, beyond our encroachment upon it. Thus, by means of our vision, we fashion insignificant wooden forming blocks. The forming blocks turn into a finding by dint of our tentative treatment of them.