"We often think of architecture as representing this or that. As if it is primarily a symbolic language speaking to us about other things without itself doing much else. But what if it is more than that? Architecture helps us perform our lives, even in its symbolic deeds." A lecture and discussion with Jacob Voorthuis and students from the Master in Architecture, Urban Design and Engineering (AUDE) at Eindhoven University of Technology.
Together with six students from the Master in Architecture, Urban Design and Engineering (AUDE) at Eindhoven University of Technology and Jacob Voorthuis (TU/e), Het Nieuwe Instituut's R&D department has carried out architectonic research in to four examples of spatial transformation in squatted buildings in the Netherlands: Poortgebouw, PlantageDok, Wijde Heisteeg 7 and ADM. The research involved on-site research and meetings with former and current residents. The resulting drawings and models are on display in the exhibtion Architecture of Appropriation. With: Farah Abdullaa, Sander Drooge , Adam Gill, Jaquelina Sio, Damian Sobol Turina and Christiaan Wijers. On 23 February Jacob Voorthuis will talk about his approach to architecture of appropriation and share the outcomes of the research.
"To take a favourite example from language: it is a commonplace to say that justice not only needs to be done, it needs to be seen to be done. What is not so often realised is that this is true in two ways. When justice is seen to be done it has, it is hoped, a salutary effect on the way we conduct our business in society. Justice performed is an example to us of how to behave and of what happens when we fail to. But it is also true in a rather special sense. The passing of justice is itself performative. As the Oxford philosopher J.L. Austin famously pointed out, in passing judgment the judge’s language actually performs the deed. We see and hear her/him say: ‘I hereby sentence you to…’ or ‘I hereby find the defendant…’ and in saying it she is not just describing some event, she is actually performing the deed. But in order for the sentence to be properly performed and to carry the weight of societal authority, it is not enough that anyone says it, anywhere. It has to be a person properly appointed to the job, with the necessary stature. And if, even then, she were to say it in the privacy of her bathroom, it would not have quite the effect it would have in the courtroom with the relevant people and objects properly arranged for the right occasion. The passing of judgment is therefore a complex affair requiring many things to be in place for all to see for the sentence to do its work properly. Squatting a building as an act of justice is similarly performative. Many things need to be in place for an action to be understood as a squat. What is the role of architecture in this?"