“I am trying to be unfamiliar with what I’m doing”
John Cage – Lecture on Nothing.
Whilst continuing our ongoing forays into the worlds of geometry, behavioral change, component alphabets and political spaces: (via urban planning, designing tiny bits of working space, making models and doing amazing drawings) this year DS 15 will be taking a diversionary route via the strange landscapes of silence, avant garde music and chance operations.
Inspired by the composing techniques of the twentieth century musician and sage, John Cage, we will also entering a land of ancient Chinese wisdom through engagement with the Chinese Book of Changes, a 5000 year guide for living, otherwise known as the I Ching. Every bit of your architectural project can be generated through this.
The primary component of the I Ching is a set of 64 “hexagrams”, consisting of six broken or unbroken lines, which are selected and change in accordance with the tossing of coins, and which form a system that describes the entire world.
In the same manner that Cage assigned values of timbre, duration, tone and volume to the hexagrams as means of composing music through chance, we will asking you to do the same with architecture and programme. Scale, function, material, form, detail, use and site will all be determined by chance. This will require you to abandon all your values, tastes, preferences, preconceptions and rationalizations, in other words, to recognize that you know nothing, in order to embark on a sometimes exciting, sometimes boring and sometimes scary voyage of discovery through the architectural subconscious.
We will be doodling, making noises, playing games, directing movies, developing notational systems, making very big things, concocting scenarios and inventing activities, all based on the irrational and the subconscious.
We will undertake a study tour (destination to be confirmed) which may be the site of your project..
There is no architectural agenda, no programme and no methodology. These things will arise entirely by chance.
As usual, you will be nomads, lost in a land you don’t understand — but that we will, nevertheless, expect you to draw exquisitely and model spectacularly — whilst making sure that it all complies with the Building Regulations.
The I Ching
Silence – John Cage
The Smooth and the Striated – Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari . (From “A Thousand Plateaus”)
Sean Griffiths and Kester Rattenbury – 2013