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Public Space: Final Toughts

Photoshop Mockup
The Train Station Facade

Hey Guys,
This is a post mostly for school purposes – but if you’re interested in that – read along!

My Public Space Project in 6 Keywords.

In our last classes of Public Space, we got some theory and broad philosophy classes. Some important key concepts were touched upon. I’ll try to explain how i think my personal Project fits in these different contexts.

Knowledge Building, Alternative methods of Design Research
I used some of the design research methods that where proposed in class (Photo-research, drawing up mind-maps and the likes). But i think the most valuable research for me was the fact that I had to take the train from Antwerp Central Station to Hasselt Central twice a week. During the course I tried to transform these long trips into research as much as possible: always try to analyse how I, and other people behaved in both train stations. I even hung around in the two train stations just to stroll around for an hour and try to find out the particular unique traits of the place. Trying to absorb the atmosphere. You could say that this way of working is related to the notion of “Le Flaneur” as it was launched by Baudrillard.

So: most valuable metbod of research – living your subject matter. If I was an antropologist that would mean: go live in the jungle for 3 years. Thank god this course was not about Jungle tribes. No internet!

Open Source (Architecture)
The Open Source idea implemented on buildings. The ability to re-engineer the tools you work with (or in this case: the building or space you live in). Other important keyword here: learning trough transparency. You learn to work with something because you understand how it works – and you can change how it works.

If I place my work into this methaphor – there is one clear link: my projection-on-the-facade idea had one big aim: to make the building transparent, to radiate the “soul” of – or information contained within – the trainstation outward.

The (utopic) projection infrastructure can be seen as Open Source too: if it ever gets build it should be usable for other developers of any kind. Somebody else should also be able to display his “rendering” of the station neighbourhoud on the walls of the building. Or maybe it could be used as a giant VJ-Set Canvas. Party time.

Also Open Source: the tools (Processing) AND expertise (Processing Discourse Forum) used.

Identity Quesions
As said before – I like how my Slitscan displays people and trains in very different ways. Trains get drawn out clearly, people just get smashed together in little specks of image-information. Barely recognizable – ghosts. This, at least for me, is an accurate display of what happens at a train station: trains are important, people just pass – without leaving a trace.

Immersion
I actually try to reach the opposite of immersivity here. Instead of trying to convince the viewer of the “realness” of my image – i confront them with a transformed image of the space behind the building. I do this to make people think about that space. Maybe similar to theatre as seen by Bertold Brecht: the 4th wall has to be broken, to confront people with, and make them think about the subject matter of the piece. The “Verfremdungseffekt“.

Participation
The big idea here is (as explained in earlier posts) to give the Hasselt Trainstation a unique, recognizable “face” – by projecting alternative view(s) of the trainstation onto the the facade of the building.
I wanted to create something that would turn the train station into “Our Trainstation” for the people of Hasselt. For somebody who passes everyday – it’s just another space. But for the regulars who learn themselves to read the image – it becomes a place with a recognizable face.
Also – if you find out how the slitscan (or another “visualization”) works – you could have some fun manipulating the system. Find where that camera is and stretch your face 70 feet wide on the facade of a building. I know I would.

Memory
This was one of my main fascinations with the train station: how time is very important, but keeps repeating itself in cycles and how lots of people move around, but leave no traces. The difference between the function of trains in the building and people. One of the first ideas was to work with some sort of paint – and see how traces would form over time. Like stairs that become smooth after millions of people have walked over them – and disappeared. Another idea involved a way to write digital grafitti on train carriage walls. All these ideas had a common ground: people and how they move and leave (or not leave) traces in the train station.
In the end – i think all of these memory-time-related ideas i had came together pretty nice in the slitscan. I think this imaging technique has a very interesting effect in a train station: to me it enlarges the way time works in this space.

And that’s that.

Jim Out.

Update:
I found this while studying for my public space exam. It was in the powerpoint transcripts of one of the lectures and fits in really close with the see-trough aspect of Facade.

Architecture is becoming simply a support for computer-generated images.
The virtual space created by these images replaces the physical space of architecture.
In other words, the image terminates the space. Architecture is reduced to a shelter for the image, not unlike a TV set, a billboard, a movie theater, turned inside out.
As ARCH+ put it in 1991: “The facade becomes a screen.”

Also interesting: The concept for Michael Jantzen’s Malibu Video BeachHouse

2 Responses to “Public Space: Final Toughts”

  1. zerolmzero Says:

    Holy cow, i like how everything is linking together now.

  2. Blue_Boy Says:

    Holy Cow, you check up on yout RSS feeds fast!
    This post is not even done yet.
    Gotta-Go.
    Deadline – Crushing – Must… Convert… This… To… Coherent… Presentation… Too…

    Aaarg, Kryptonite.
    (Yeeaaaaah – tudu-tudu-tuu-tuu-tuuuuu-tuu-tuu – Owie-ooh Yeah)

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