BIENNALE WORKSHOP GROUP 4: Down the rabbithole

Jonathan de Veen
Jan Maarten Mulder
Dirk Huibers
Sophie Mackenzie
Mark van den Oude

During the introduction session we discussed the post-human way of thinking. Post humanism has proposed that objects can not be connected to specific meanings. In other words, objects or conditions can generate various unpredictable reactions. Our interest is in a certain tension that arises from specific conditions. Walking through the various spaces of the exhibition, our group encountered several of such conditions.
In the morning Jan Maarten stood in front of a large book. This book intrigued him. He walked towards it and reached for the first page. At this very moment, he passed, startled by the site of two carefully placed hand gloves. This sight created a certain tension. It froze him for an instant. At the same moment another person rushed passed Jan Maarten. Without thinking, this man reached for the same book. The man started flipping trough the pages with his bare hands….

This whole event got the group thinking. Why did Jan Maarten sense this tension? The other man did not experience the supposed delicacy of that same book. In retrospect, the interpretation of the situation was highly subjective.
Later that day, our group walked into a small square. At this square one could enter several exhibitions. Walking towards the dead end side of this square, one could witness a half opened curtain. Coming closer to this curtain a sign became visible.

DO NOT ENTER

These exact words, combined with the half opened state of the curtain created a mystery. What could be found behind this curtain? Again this situation generated a certain tension of a subjective nature.
At the end of the day our group walked into a small labyrinth. This semi-enclosed space of high walls created a peaceful and silent setting. Around a corner of the labyrinth, we noticed a small hole at the foot of one of the large walls. This wall intrigued Sophie, who chose to enter the small gap and a cavity.
Again this was a tension, which we were interested in. The function of the hole was unclear, but Sophie chose to investigate it. The unknown evokes different reactions. For us the most interesting part was the consequence of her action. By entering the hole she provoked the interest of another visitor. Her action creates a new tension for another.

What can we learn from these perceived tensions? Can we evoke tensions with specific architectural elements? Probably not. The work of Terragni seems to be far away from the work of Zaha Hadid. However they might evoke a similar tension using a completely different architectural language. Based on our experiences we might be able to conclude one thing. Short moments, combined with specific actions, can create new tensions.

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