“When the world becomes “bleak” due to contradictory and ambivalent opinions, the aesthetics – fiction, art, poetry, theory, metaphor – come light our difficult cultural and political situation. At the centre of the aesthetical experience resides the interlocutory voice of the cultural expression on which human creativity and political democracy are based” (Bhabha 2007: 25).

A curatorial project that consists of an experimental format for looking at architecture and spatial design that aims to define an alternative glossary to characterize and describe the built environment. The glossary establishes a bridge between the apparent objectivity of the built environment and the potential richness of its fictional dimensions. It relates the dry reality of buildings with their inherent (dys)utopian features, establishing a parallel with fiction.
Science fiction movies have influenced the development of ideas about cities and architecture (Metropolis by Fritz Lang or Solaris by Tarkovsky but also recent movies such as Matrix and Batman) describing utopian or dystopian visions of what our cities and society might turn into in a future context. Authors like Italo Calvino or Bruce Sterling also have imagined fictional cities and urban contexts. This exercise that anticipates the realization of architecture might be understood as pre-architecture fiction.
Post-architecture fiction happens, for example, when Slavoj Zizec interprets the Mother’s House in Psycho (Hitchcock), analysing the psychoanalysis of the disposition of the House in three levels: ego, super ego and id. This psychological organization justifies the places where the scenes take place and is in itself a layer of fiction that is added to the movie’s house a posteriori. Or in Cherry City Operetta, a Gerbert Rappaport musical composed by Shostakovich: a 1963 soviet film that is built around a Moscow suburb called Cheryomushki (Cherry Town), and represents the fascination of a young couple visiting the apartments of new development towers in that same suburb.
But what if the built environment is a fiction in itself? What if buildings are fictions?
What if we think of fiction, not as the imagined building, not inspired by an existing building, but as the building itself?

Architecture is often perceived as an objective, rational discipline. However, the reality of the space where we live is composed by various dimensions, which exist beyond the tangible. This project focuses on those dimensions – social, political, emotional, psychological … - that live beneath the surface of the built environment. It aims to reveal hidden narratives in the built environment by the use of diverse ‘languages’, from jewellery design to illustration, from furniture design to conversation.
Modern thought has found in ontological reason a form of enunciation which is comfortable and stable, for those who detent a western world vision. The dominance of a discourse that operates with the categories of the logical-scientific discourse imposed the silencing of forms of other “texts” and other discourses and experiences. The empirical observation and critical analysis of an individual, who sees from above and at a distance, have constituted the dominant paradigm of the academically established knowledge. It consists of a scholar knowledge, taken as universal but, effectively, directed only at those who read, that is, those who “exist”. This literacy is a form of domination and exclusion, guaranteed by the linguistic, political, territorial, and cultural mapping. However, according to Michel de Certeau, “what the map cuts, history cuts across” (1984:129). Certeau places critically and face to face two modes of knowledge and cultural exercise: the first corresponds to the western imperialism based on ownership and its written record; the second opens up to the overlapping and intersticial, simultaneous affirmation of diverging realities.
In fact, “the best of the new cultural theory can be distinguished by apolitical celebrations of mobility, fluxus and easy-to–cross boarders” (Conquergood 2005:145)
Post-modern thought assumes analogy as a productive method. The draining between different areas of knowledge may light the complexity of other domains of reality. The use of analogies (textual, ludic, visual, dramatic), of metaphors, of allegory, are processes of evidencing dimensions that usually remain under the shadow of linear approaches of modern thought (expressed through texts pretentiously objective). The proposal of post-modern reflection is to promote the communicative situation, placing interdisciplinary contributions into action, with distinctive intertextualities and approaches to the world. This mode of procedure risks a certain methodological transgression but allows the emergence of “categories of global intelligibility, hot concepts that melt the boarders where modern science divided and closed reality” (Santos 2005: 45)
The starting point of the project is the creation of a catalogue of spatial installations that suggest or exist in alternate realities, establishing a parallel with literary fiction. Spatial installations, due to their temporary (Kossak 2009) and experimental nature (Rashid 2001), have the ability to reveal and explore less tangible dimensions. They are used to illustrate my point of view, and to support the definitions that compose the glossary.
Therefore, the spatial installations are organized under themes (glossary) according to the narrative that they embed: fallacy, erratum, foretelling, synecdoche, irony. Each theme is turned into a base for a critical reflection, through a collaborative project with one or more people from diverse professional arenas. The aim of such collaborative projects is to draw critical points of view through the use of alternative discourses.

Fallacy explores fake statements in architecture, illustrated by installations that state a fake belief, and therefore gain the quality of being deceptive. The project, a jewellery piece, critically reflects upon the formula “architecture for all”, previously identified as a fallacy in contemporary architecture. The jewellery piece is inspired by the shape of Paris, at night, viewed from a plane In a context where city branding is a growing industry, the project ironically addresses the luxury associated to the big metropolis, accessible to a very little section of their population.

Erratum looks at architectural mistakes, and the processes used to make them visible. These are illustrated with installations that point out defects on buildings or urban policies. The project draws on mistakes that have to do with a certain perspective on the world, when the status of being a mistake is determined in relation to a chart of values, to a cultural context that establishes it as a mistake. It consists of correcting piece of urban furniture, identified as an error: London’s Bus Stop benches. In London there is a large amount of people sleeping on the streets. Bus stops are built as to avoid being used by homeless people for shelter. We conceived a supplement, a piece of furniture to be added to the Bus Stops, which adapts to the existing bench and extends its functionality to a bed, at night.

Foretelling is drawn as a compliment to dream and projecting, situated in the context of crisis, where utopia urges as a possibility of transcending. It is illustrated by installations that, either by their aesthetic vocabulary or by their principle, propose alternative directions for the world of tomorrow. The project consisted of a talk with architects that have or had a clear strategy, situated in a slightly radical position, about what the future of architecture should be and how it should be practiced.

Synecdoche discusses the star-system with which architecture is compromised. It proposes a mode of representation that, in spite of synecdoche, where a part represents the whole, assumes itself as a multi-vocal exercise, without illusions of representation as an organic whole, but instead an exercise of disjunction and discontinuity affirmed in an ephemeral continuality. Against the model of synecdoche, the project plays off the model of the cadavre- exquis. Dealing with deals notions of agency, identity and individuality in the process of architecture, it borrows Dada’s cadavre-exquis game and applies it to architecture. Two experiments were performed: the first consisted of sending an A2 sheet from architect to architect, and the second of commissioning six parts of a house to six different architects.

Irony shows translations of social and political realities through the language of architecture. Inserted in exhibition context or disguised in the real world, the installations featured critically reflect upon political realities across the globe (north to south hemispheres) with an ironic tone. Drawing on Boaventura Sousa Santos’ theory of abyssal thinking, which argues that the dominant western epistemology was built on top of the needs of colonial domination, this Project focuses on maps and their inner strength as definers of power. It focuses on lines and geography as architectural tools used (still today) for distinction, and therefore, discrimination and exclusion. In collaboration with an illustrator whose late work explores maps and the breaking of them into pieces, we have developed maps from the colonial ones, playing with the “amity lines”.

The result of the projects is a series of experiments around the less visible narratives identified in the built environment. These experiments are focused around five terms, which describe five architectural narrative structures or genres, there would certainly be many other themes to be explored. This project investigates a possible path or strategy to look at fictive elements in architecture, what other ways can be drawn from this path? The project aims to question whether an interdisciplinary strategy is the right approach to depict architectural matters. To what extent can these exercises draw possibilities of looking at architecture in a different way? Are these the right mediums? Is architecture an opened enough arena to include extra-disciplinary discourses? Are these discourses valid from an architectural point of view? And what is their essential role? Are they critically effective? These are some of the questions raised throughout this publication.

“Because we have all become Pasteurians. Because the gestures that Pasteur performed in front of the public at the Sorbonne to show the absurdity of his adversary’s Félix Archimède Pouchet’s position, have become familiar to everyone, whether they are checking the expiration date of a jar of yogurt, controlling the mass production of Coca-Cola cans or are in charge of checking the health of chickens.” (Latour 2001)
Drawing on the idea that exhibitions should be an interdisciplinary laboratory (Obrist 2001), I have, through this project, realized a series of collaborative experiments between people from various disciplines such as jewellery design, furniture design, interior design, illustration and drawing. These experiments were meant to explore the fictive dimensions – pointed up as a glossary – which I have identified within the built environment. I was interested in understanding the modus operandi of disciplines apart from architecture, in understanding how, from the point of view of another practice, the spatial questions would be addressed: “We are not so much interested in the result as in the modus operandi. (…) yet the laboratory is not providing data: it is part of a highly local writing device that breaks down every single definition of movement as it was conceived before.” (Ibid 2001)
It was this idea of experimenting, and the ability of experiments to break down the pre-established, that motivated me to explore the questions raised in the project from different perspectives, using various materials, techniques and knowledges.
Each theme was turned into a base for a critical reflection, through an interdisciplinary collaborative project. The aim was to draw critical points of view through the use of alternative discourses. By deterritorializing a critical discourse about architecture, I aimed to explore the strength of the margin, of stepping away from the model, “the minoritarian as a potential, creative and created, becoming” (Deleuze, Guattari 1987) The use of extra-disciplinary tools aims to allow for a fresh, utopian, radical attitude towards the subject. “Minorities of course, are objectively definable states, states of language, ethnicity, or sex with their own ghetto territorialities, but they must also be thought of as seeds, crystals of becoming of whose value is to trigger uncontrollable movements…” (Ibid 1987)
This publication, as a format of exhibiting the work produced during the project, is justified by the acknowledged need of recording exhibitions, which associated to the rise of the curator as a creator, leads to a lack of documentation that “puts the artist’s original intentions at the risk of being misunderstood” (Cherix 2008) Moreover, when I first met Hans Ulrich Obrist and presented him my idea for the project, the one advise he gave me was “do a book”. Later I read his Brief History of Curating where he addresses the importance of recording exhibitions: “I realized that there’s relatively little literature on exhibitions, and also there is an extraordinary amnesia about exhibition history” (Obrist 2008) The publication is, then, a documentation of my position as a curator, justified by texts and examples, together with a record of each collaborative experiment.

Bhabha, Homi K (2007) “Ética e Estética do Globalismo: Uma Perspectiva Pós-Colonial” A Urgência da Teoria. Lisboa: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian
Certeau, Michel de (1984) The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Cherix, Christophe (2008) “Preface” A Bief History of Curating, JRP| Ringler & Les Presses du Réel.

Conquergood, Dwight (2002) "Performance Studies: Interventions and Radical Research " TDR . Vol. 46, No. 2:145-156.

Deleuze, Gilles; Guattari, Félix (1987) A Thousand Plateaus. Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Translated and Foreword by Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Kossak, Florian: “Exhibiting architecture: the installation as laboratory for emerging architecture” Curating Architecture and the City , Routledge 2009

Latour, Bruno (2001) “The Theatre of Proof: A series of demonstrations” Laboratorium, D. A. P./Distributed Art Publisher, Germany

Obrist, Hans Ulrich (2001) “Gustav Metzger interviewed by Hans Ulrich Obrist” Laboratorium, D. A. P./Distributed Art Publisher, Germany

Obrist, Hans Ulrich (2008) “Lucy Lippard” A Bief History of Curating, JRP| Ringler & Les Presses du Réel.

Rashid, Hani: “Installing Space” The Art of Architecture Exhibitions, NAI Publishers 2001

Santos, Boaventura de Sousa (2005) Um Discurso sobre as Ciências. Porto: Edições Afrontamento.

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