<<excerpts from the ZINE we produced. 2019/2020>>
I can still remember the buzzy business at the faculty. The energy was always so high and around every corner people were busy with modeling or drawing or would have interesting talks. In one arm of the building, just behind the BK-Expo area and very close to the coffee place Sterk, the Argus place was situated. A good hangout space for the master students of Architecture and a place where we met once a week for our Night(s) of Philosophy discussions.
We went everywhere – all bits and parts of the world and our lifes were discussed. In the following you can read some of the conversations we had inside, outside and during our walks, mainly through Whatsapp, Zoom or Googledocx.
Our environment shows a decay of our current world view by natural disasters, higher temperatures, rising sea levels, and most recently: the Coronavirus. This invisible infectious agent*, bringing all action and production to a silent mode, enhanced the urgency of learning to deal with change and loss. We asked ourselves this year, under the theme of the Post-Anthropocene, what architecture would be in relation to decay, loss and death. By using the prefix ‘post’ in front of what is called ‘the human era’ indicates already that we are aware that old ways of inhabiting this planet should be reconsidered and that our existence is always tightly connected to change and loss. In the following we will dive into what loss, dying and change might mean and how we used these concepts in our walks and talks on site.
Literally, dying means: gradually ceasing to exist or function – in decline – being about to disappear. We tend to forget that we live arm in arm with Death – we let parts of us be lost and we always change in relation to our environment. We are always dying and as parts of a bigger network our environment reminds us of this process of decline as well as ascent. (Reminder: We are not a singularity.) We tell ourselves the most beautiful stories about growth and increase, and push out its counterparts. Disappearing, dissolving, forgetting and forgotten seem to be the painful elements in this story. But how so? Why does death scare us? Why do we feel uncomfortable even around the thought? Death is a word charged with daunting connotations. Perhaps we could think of death as something more lightweight, as a periodic summary of time, or merely a period in time’s sentence. We aim to generate space to encompass this daunting connotation and recharge it, together with our understanding of ourselves (in relation to) our environment.
On the beach, between Rotterdam and Den Haag, we will start a ritual of transition and creating a new. In this ritual we will consider OUR situatedness at The Sand Motor. This place (in Dutch: De Zandmotor) is one of the largest scientific experiments in coastal protection located at the West of the Hagues, in the Netherlands. The Sand Motor is an artificial peninsula, an adventurous coastal nature, is a human made peninsula that slowly generates it’s form. It’s shape and size is constantly changing due to the action of currents, waves and wind. The selection of the site comes to reflect on topological thinking, a way in which every element forms itself according to the demands of its occupation. The uncertainty drawn from the behaviour of the sand, current and wind is what makes the interaction with the site even more interesting.
Together, while moving along foot by foot, our minds extended and directed by the elements along our way – helping us to enter a world of relations, of life and death, and to a world beyond human centric thinking. LET’S TELL MORE STORIES! Stories that tell about the beauty of letting go, of dust and dusk – of the moment of transition. For our first walk we will go to a place of transition. The beach is the place where fine grain stones form big sand heaps which are held together by grasses, but are constantly changing by the invisible pushes of the wind. Walking over this sand our footsteps will be faded both by wind and water.
All in all, we believe that we should address stressing topics related to what we call the post-anthropocene. As we are not existing merely in locations (SPACE), but also in histories (TIME), we want to critically reflect which histories are captured in locations. We will do this by the act of walking on a long line of sand which holds many dichotomies: man-made beaches, observed and adjusted to protect the innerland, while beholding the natural processes in which great powers of wind and water remove traces of humans, easily. Here we will walk together and reflect on our actions, habits and habitats, together.