Counter-Monumentality: A Big, Vast Interior

As a continuation of the previous work on Pleasure Gardens, this year the studio will carry out an investigation on the contemporary productive activities, forms of leisure, pleasure, commerce, or transmission of knowledge that could trigger the public condition nowadays. Being critical with the metaphorical and technological rhetoric associated to the term commons, the third installment of Third Natures at the GSD will define big, vast public interiors through speculative projects. Located in London, these internalized public spaces will be addressing a city marked by the escape of the financial market, shocked by the constitutional and legislative instability, identity crisis, polemics about migratory policies and the privatization of public services.

Taking the 1943 seminal text by Léger, Giedion and Sert as a starting point, the final target of the studio will be to produce contemporary forms of counter-monumentality that defy common notions associated with the monumental —scale, tectonic qualities, stability and memory— releasing it from any association with authoritarian and rhetorical languages. Assembling alternative materialities into macaronic utterances and discourses, students will produce assemblages based on cultural and technological materials of different nature and origin, both exploring with a radical realism the world of symbolic associations and testing the power of extreme and non-conventional processes of abstraction, co-option and displacement.

This internalized public species will try to explore what public means nowadays in the post-Brexit London and which role can have the spaces of physical interaction between individuals in the definition of the public sphere. The target will be to define and work with new radical forms of publicness in an era were previous forms of creation and transmission of knowledge have been substantially eroded by the rise of parallel and virtual realities, in which new notions of realism, collective identity and public discontent are resulting in unprecedented political events.

Then, what happens with public space if the traditional criteria of credibility and truth have become simply obsolete, and at the same time we replace the physical interaction by technologically mediated experiences? What if increased computation capability and the development of the immersive digital media make plausible the simulation hypothesis? Where lies creativity if we can search for and supposedly have instant access to anything, to any supposedly reliable information, to any image?

This course has an irregular meeting schedule.

Cristina and Efren will be in residence on January 19 and 20, 26, and 27, February 2, 3, 23, and 24, March 9, 10, 23, and 24, April 6, 7, 20, and 21, and May 1, 2, and 3.