03 October 2009

Architecture : permanent or fleeting?


APPARATI EFFIMERI Tetragram for Enlargment from Apparati Effimeri on Vimeo.

In response to my ideas about pixelation and gradual fragmentation for the next part of my studio project (to explain that more fully at a later time), my TA pointed me to this amazing video by Apparati Effimeri of a full-scale facade projection on an ancient castle.

I've never seen anything by this Italian interactive media firm before, but this one video left me wowed: these surreal and intricate effects were accomplished with just light and shadow (and crazy 3-dimensional digital skills as well). Not only does this project broach questions like, "how did these people do this?", but also questions about the permanence of buildings and the nature of effect and atmospherics. If you ever wondered what it would be like to deconstruct a seemingly-solid edifice...well, this is the place to see it.

In my opinion, architecture nowadays seems to be built more for the next 50 years rather than the next 100-500+ years. How has our scope of time diminished so drastically? Part of me feels that, in our more consumeristic culture, we're beginning to prefer transience and change over longevity as a matter of taste rather than any other staying power. However, the buildings and structures that society seems to constantly stand in awe of are works of antiquity: the Parthenon, the Pantheon, the Great Wall, etc. Reconciling the two is a matter of cultural preservation and economics, but also of defining what we value as a collective. The masses speak, whether modernist architects like it or not.