Tag: LabLitArch

26
Mar

In-person LabLitArch editions at IED Turin

Sketching Baltazar’s The Continuity of Parks

In-person editions of the Laboratory of Literary Architecture have finally resumed!

We have just completed a great edition at IED Turin in which the students worked on short stories by Donald Barthelme (Concerning the Bodyguard), Julio Cortázar (The Continuity of Parks), A.M. Homes (Things You Should Know), and Ernest Hemingway (Hills Like White Elephants).

Here are some images of their beautiful projects:

 

A new edition will be held late in May, as well as a new Laboratory of Musical Architecture at University of Turin’s DAMS.

Stay tuned.

 

11
Jun

LabLitArch News: Two Illuminating Workshops

At the Window (Lugano workshop)

The first workshop was held in April, in collaboration with professor Marco Maggi of USI University of Lugano (CH), Institute of Italian Studies, and organized by the City of Lugano.
An array of participants, including USI literature students, graduate design students, and two selfless local architects (Flora and Michela), attended. Professor Maggi’s area of research, which focuses on the “mental space” of the reader, allowed for a more in-depth exploration of how a literary text “carves out” a space from within the mind of the reader.
While working with one of professor Maggi’s students who has been visually impaired since birth, we realized how her ability to deduce an architectural space (obviously only its interior since its exterior shape isn’t perceivable to her) is incredibly similar to how a reader perceives the “structure” of a literary text, where words function not so much as “building blocks”, but more as excavating tools that actively create space by subtracting material from a solid mass (imagine, for example, the city of Petra in Jordan). A story, in fact, is obviously un-knowable from the “outside” and it’s only once we’ve begun to penetrate it (by reading it) that we start to slowly create a perception about its “construction”.
For this edition we worked on texts by Hemingway, Delius, Tabucchi and A.M. Homes. Here is a short video on our 20+ hours of practically continuous work:

Lugano Workshop YouTube Video

The second workshop was LabLitArch’s very first experiment with music. It was in fact called “Laboratory of Musical Architecture”. It was held in May, in collaboration with professor Andrea Malvano of the University of Turin’s Department of Humanities. Professor Malvano, who has degrees in both literature and music (piano), selected pieces by BachSchumannSchoenberg and Glass. The participants, all trained musicians or music students, worked with two experienced LabLitArch architects (Michelle Vecchia and Alessio Lamarca) to produce five amazing models:

 

We applied the very same methodology and approach used in many Literary Architecture workshops, i.e. working mostly backwards in search of possible motivating and implicit original inclinations that were at the basis of the creation of the musical pieces. As with literary texts, we avoided manifesting what is somewhat already explicit in the music. By working in the opposite direction, so to speak, we tried to get as close as possible, if it is even ever attainable, to the composer’s original creative sparkor insight or intuition.

Working
This led us to the realization that, in music as in literature, movement in this direction forces us to leave our familiar disciplinary turf and we end up reaching a kind of expansive narrative ground probably common to most human artistic endeavors. Perhaps there indeed exists a sudden creative impulse, which is neither made of words nor of notes — it’s just there, as a not-yet-manifest expression of a narrative intuition. If so, narrative is truly all-pervasive. And architecture, with its fundamental narrative elements such as volume, space, light, weight, revelations, suspension, etc. seems to be an ideal tool to analyze, explore and even enter this boundless space of narrative.


Insight from both of these workshops will hopefully be included in the Literary Architecture book I am working on with Il Saggiatore. Work is progressing well and, as an additional sneak preview, I would like to share this new sketch of the book’s structurehere. At first glance, it may not seem so different from the previous sketch; but to me, and my very-limited writing experience, it represents a huge step forward!

Stay tuned for more news on the LabLitArch.

13
Dec

LabLitArch in Routledge academic anthology

e Routledge Companion on Architecture, Literature and The CityIt’s finally here and it is so exciting to see the Laboratory of Literary Architecture in a major academic publication!

The Routledge Companion on Architecture, Literature and The City, edited by Jonathan Charley, features a chapter on the LabLitArch, which includes a narrative on the genesis of the laboratory, images, project samples, the Literary Architecture series, as well as a dialogue between professors Carola Hilfrich and Jonathan Charley about the pedagogical implications of the LabLitArch.

 

 

Quotes from the dialogue between Carola Hilfrich and Jonathan Charley:

One of the valuable features of the LabLitArch project is that it seems to suggest a ludic alternative to a super-rationalized modern education system.

It sets up a process of playful experimentation … that has all the edginess, marginality, contingency, and frustration as well as the serious stakes in liberating our thought from habitual constraints.

Seeing the process at work felt like being in loophole of knowledge production; a place where participants, thrown out of the respective boxes of their home disciplines, move into a hybrid, interactive, and reconfigurable field.

I think of Matteo’s Laboratory as a unique environment for exploring the potential of … moments where literature and architecture, words and buildings and spaces, readability and inhabitability intertwine with humans.

Asking us to put our hands on works of literature by architecturally removing their verbal skins, the LabLitArch makes us grasp their actual texture rather than their form or meaning, so as to shape it, collaboratively, as a habitable space.

LabLitArch is perhaps most transformative for our thinking and doing at moments of counter-intuition, competing intuitions, mixed intuition, or intuitions that fail us; and that its emphasis on intuition, or gut feeling, includes loops through the whole body and its more intentional responses, as well as through the imagination and the environment.

Matteo’s Laboratory is itself a theory of intuition and failure. Intriguingly, its teaching method in collaboratively haptic creativity advances from the outset a non-subjectivist approach; and it does produce end-results, in the form of the final projects.

11
Apr

From the LabLitArch edition in Taipei (Taiwan)

Some images from the LabLitArch workshop held at the Center for the Arts of National Taiwan University in Taipei. The students — with very diverse majors such as architecture, engineering, political science, social studies, philosophy and psychology — worked on texts by Amy Hempel (The Harvest), E.B. White (The Door), Ernest Hemingway (Hills Like White Elephants), and Wen-Fu Tsai (A New Dress).