Blur competition Honourable Mention
Work title: Landship
”The great obsession of the nineteenth century was, as we know, history: with its themes of development and of suspension, of crisis, and cycle. (...)We are in the epoch of simultaneity: we are in the epoch of juxtaposition, the epoch of the near and far, of the side-by-side, of the dispersed.” (M. Foucault)
The concept of progress makes the future seem like a goal or an accomplishment, which leads to the thought that time is the path to perfection. This idea is based on the premise that the best is yet to come. Future as an accomplice to human initiative seems more and more uncertain. Indeed in the past, the future worried us because we were powerless; today it frightens us because of the consequences of our actions that we have no way to clearly apprehend. We feel helpless confronted with our power.
Technique has become one of the main instruments of progress, omnipresent in our society; it has become our environment. This phenomenon distances technique from human control, making him subject to a certain point of determinism. In an imperceptible way, technique has been sacralised. “It is not technique that enslaves us but the sacred transferred to technique” (J. Ellul) The transfer has generated an expansion of thought allowing mechanised time to dominate human reflection time. The acceleration of reality (P.Virilio) inhibits the sensation that time flies, when associated with efficient consumerism, the world is unable to find any form of rest. The idea is not to resist progress but to take a break in order to assimilate it. It is necessary to question the philosophical and political notions concerning progress. What is progress today, on an environmental, economic and political level? It is important to raise awareness of the impact of progress, which leads us to search for clever endings or a limit to things.
Landship intends to become a break point, in the visitor’s exponential acceleration of time. Like the Blur building, Landship disappears, one image is missing, the one of the building itself. Anti-image and anti-object.
Landship is a remote and isolated object surrounded by water. Built in the way of a boat hull, the structure insures water tightness and its ability to float. The complete absence of urban fabric becomes the context of the project, which differs from the context as much as it is a part of it. Landship is not an object lost in an endless extension of a uniform element as would be an oceanic island. (G.Deleuze), neither is it a “New world” but an alternative critique of the existing world. It is an artifice, part of a larger ensemble: the lakes borders, the continents borders... Unlike Diller and Scofidio’s construction maintained in a constant cloud, Landship has well defined limits. It’s the perimeter that embodies the limit and allows the visitor to experience and play a part in the limited and closed environment. The tangle of borders put the vessel in relation to different scales and different places. It becomes the consecration of utopia, a heterotopia as defined by Michel Foucault: a real place where other spaces are connected around it. This “topia” is defined in contrast with the context through a basic figure that insures the projects’ clarity. The grid is used as the main architectonic structure; its geometry is altered by its relationship with other basic architectural elements that appear to be an exception to the uniform grid. These entities tend to bring environment and architecture together, as the observatory tower brings horizontality and verticality together. It is the garden contained in the center of Landship that becomes a variable to the grid. Apart from romantic contemplation, the garden allows an active relationship with nature. Here, the garden becomes a microcosm, being the smallest plot in the world and at the same time the world in its totality. “Since ancient times, the garden is some kind of successful and universal heterotopia.” (M. Foucault).
Through its composition and its combination of limits, Landship appears as speculative fiction with a poetical dimension: a piece of land balanced under the water level by an archaic technique. The simplicity and the architectural abstraction leaves room for interpretation and imagination. Too often imagination has been considered as a secondary force or as a way of evasion. “The importance of imagination on the human psyche has not been emphasized enough. Generally, we tend place reality in first position, but how can Man create if he doesn’t feel what we could call the “possibility function”. To take action we must first imagine” (G. Bachelard).