S/he. New-Territories is fronted by the androgynous avatar, trans-gender avatar, ‘S/he’, 1993.
New-Territories (R&Sie(n) / [eIf/bʌt/c]) has exhibited its work at, among other places, the Centre Pompidou, SF MOMA, the Tate Modern, Barbican London, the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) Montreal, has been selected 8 times for participation in the Venice Biennial, in national and international Pavilions – last showing at the Chicago Biennial of 2015, the Istanbul Biennial of 2016 – and a recent major solo exhibition at the Frac Centre, Orleans, France entitled “s/he would rather do FICTION MAKer”.
“….. Although it already understood the full potential of digital technologies as early as 1990, New-Territories never stopped revealing their disorders and limitations. In its own words: “Architecture is not a matter of projection, but a matter of ‘distortion of reality’.” In “s/he would rather do FICTION MAKER”, the public is invited on a “paranoiac odyssey” through a series of historic projects (most of which are part of the Frac Centre-Val de Loire collection) and “anthropotechnic” scenarios, (including New-Territories’ latest venture : M4 -mindmachinemakingmyths). New-Territories is a polymorphous architecture organization. Founded in 1993, it has embraced different labels, names, strategies and purposes.” via Frac Centre.
S/he would rather do FICTION MAKer. In 2016-17, nearly twenty years after its first exhibition at the Frac Centre-Val de Loire, New-Territories was invited again for a “1993-2050 flashback” … In “s/he would rather do FICTION MAKER”, the public is invited on a “paranoiac odyssey” through a series of historic projects (most of which are part of the Frac Centre-Val de Loire collection) and “anthropotechnic” scenarios, (including New-Territories’ latest venture : M4 – mindmachinemakingmyths). Instagram: www.instagram.com/s_hefictionmaker/
‘S/he’, an androgynous, trans-gender avatar, is the principal of New-Territories. Created in 1993, ‘S/he’ authorized François Roche to write, talk and teach on his/her behalf, as a PS / personal secretary, an Ariadne’s wire of his-her ectoplasmic system and paranoiac mind … François Roche is based in Bangkok [eIf/bʌt/c], Paris, R&Sie(n), NY with M4, all part of the New-Territories network. Recent work by MindMachineMakingMyth (M4), described as a studio of ”contingent scenario’’, seeks to articulate the real and/or fictional geographic situations and narrative structures that can transform them, with technology, robotic and human natures – both physiological and psychological.
In 2017, ‘S/he’ got her-his first position in Vienna at ‘The Academy of Fine Arts’. Among the teaching positions held by his-her P.S. François Roche, over the last decade, is guest professor at the Bartlett School in London in 2000, the Vienna TU in 2001, the Barcelona ESARQ in 2003-04, the Paris ESA in 2005, the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 2006, the Angewangde in Vienna in 2008, the USC-Los Angeles in 2009-10-11-12-13, from 2006 to 2013 at Gsapp, Columbia University, in 2013-14 Upenn, Philadelphia and this last four years at RMIT, Melbourne.
You meet a licensed architect in a coffee shop, he tells you of his recently completed strip-mall and asks ‘what do you do?’.
Well, I’m not the guy you supposed I am or I should be. An Asperger patient doesn’t really take care of who and what, he is paranoiac by nature… in his own personal disorder… or trapped innocently in his pathology… delusional escaping by his attitude, works, strategies…as a blind point.
So I will ask to this co-tenant if he likes the Voltaire brewage… I hope you didn’t plan our coffee and cigarette meeting in a SrBk. I’m really aware, suspicious of this industrial GAFA+, using the ‘saving willy’ symptom as the new moralistic post-capitalism… to make business… claiming an Organic coffee!! For unfair trade evading billions in taxes in Irish fiscal paradise!!
I will, nevertheless, ask innocently, how this co-tenant consider the way to be a merchandise, a by-product doing by-product, selling merchandises in his secular temple of consummation…What is mean for him, personally, but more precisely, aesthetically, to be on the core in this brainwash addictive porn machine of consumerism …If I remember… he answered, politely…’’there is no bad commission, I’m teaching myself at Harvard how to design department store as a parametric-concept-business to feed my own family”… What could I say with this fucking legitimate argue… a lot, fucking a lot, and even more… you should imagine…justifying design as a political condition of societal transformation, architecture as a dualism, in the schizophrenic pendulum between the Voluntary Servitude of La Boetie, masochistically assumed, and the Don Quixote phantasm of a heroic fantasy …facing the cynical performative strategy of the ¥€$… (silence)… I just paid his dark liquid bottomless pit, a low price at 30 coins … all the dumps of complaints about myself…
PS / I checked later on the net the mall design, in fact, it was a real cutting edge digital production, with an overly ‘’jiggling” façade… so mister ‘’Bezier Isocurve’’ was involved… It makes me sad twice.
What is the role of the architect today? What should/ could be the role of the architect?
Could we take the risk to talk about what we should not be, as a Parrhesia, and let ourselves be in the crack, in the negative territory: …being not so digital-romantic, not so computation addict, not so eco-masturbator, not socio-moralist, but just architects, snaking in the rift of abuse, idolatry, idiocracy, propaganda, self-complaisance, bio-hoax, social network lure… Could we find a zone between techno-fetishism (post-Palo Alto symptom of childish parametric post-capitalism for libertarian-neo-liberalism propaganda and tooling-idiocracy-mysticism), and at the opposite, the semiological-propaganda (mainly in all European schools — and all biennial s / as Venice and Chicago / as the Social Kreisel toy for noisy moralism, visible as a parade, a disgusting spectacle of the “common ground” hoax…to mask with a politically correct flag the hypocrisies of the discourses and facts (from consciousness’ alibi to neo-colonialism). It’s so comfortable to choose one of these chapels… many benefices to falsify the apparatuses of knowledge. But both sides are just the two faces of the same coin … a Janus-like reciprocity of personal interest…! At the opposite side of the spectrum, techno-sciences should no longer be an Object, but a Subject, one we have to re-appropriate, corrupt and de-alienate from its mystic ideology of progress, in a “democratic anthropo-technic” strategy to simultaneously denounce and produce – as a critical operative mode of schizophrenia – design.
Facing the miserabilism of the dichotomy between techno-fetishism and semiological-propaganda, we have to reevaluate what we used to call ‘design’ as a process of synesthesia, crossing over and shooting criminal positivism, voluntary amnesia, performative cynicism, embedded obsolescence… The Wikipedia English definition of design—which lost its validity in the last twenty years to be exclusively determined by performance and rules—is precisely “The creation of a plan or convention for the construction of an object… or a system…” . At the opposite, the French page on design (sorry … but they didn’t refresh their home page … we could profit from a relevant “has been” definition) / includes the notions of “dessin” and ‘’dessein’’ (drawing, plan, intuition, intention, means and meaning), a kind of Gestalt and Gestaltung, which embraces process, discovery, interpretation and collateral effect. ..). We should reconsider this burnt ‘’word’’, in an After Death Experimentation.
For example, In 2015, New-Territories was, the same month, invited to the Chicago Biennial and Acadia. One as the temple of a neo-semantic-post modern architect and activist, located in the Community center of down-town Chicago. Their first decision was to exclude for the 5 days of opening all the Chicago ‘fourth world‘ people using this compound as life buoy… to operate their play about architectural political discourse and social involvement BUT in a Prada suit…really disgusting this Grima curating carnival (we reacted hardly, badly…with a spitting in the pond effect… mute deaf blind was the instructions). The other, two weeks after, was the symmetrical purpose, in Acadia, Minneapolis, as obsessive demonstration that technologies are innovative, innocent, inoffensive… ‘harmless’ by nature…for an ideal accuracy and expertise of THE future, with the condition to add the logo of Bentley-Microsoft-Autodesk, trapped in the amnesia of the close history of XX centuries, where technologies fed the ambivalence of their uses… profit-deficit… as instruments of the worst and the best, from the discovery of Radium by Pierre-Marie Curie to ‘’Little Boy’’ and Fukushima... The notion of post-human, post-humanism, trans-humanism originally from Peter Sloterdijk in the Domestication of Being, where re-questioning the foundation of humanism is not a ‘Blank Check’ for the re-birth of techno-libertarian orphaning kids in architecture…
We are now as we are… facing these two niches make discourses and business…colonizing universities and zones of research, carbonizing intentionally everything which is not directly affiliated, submitted, surrendered…
The role of the architect is to scout and enlarge the crack in the territories between those zones of power, instruments of power…and conventional suitabilities…
“a la fois fou du roi, son bouffon et son garde-fou’…
I’m Lost in Paris. It’s the story of an urban witch living behind a rear window designed as a duck cabana. As alchemist, she feeds the plant with drop by drop hydroponics system watering liquid substances coming from the bacterian chemical preparation in 200 beakers disseminated in the ferns surfaces. The neighborhood is both attracted by the green aspect and repulsed by the brewage and the process to produce it. Architects: R&Sie(n). Creative team: François Roche, Stéphanie Lavaux, Jean Navarro. Paris. 2009.
You describe New-Territories as being organized on a particular set of themes: Research as Speculation, Fiction as Practice, Practice as Lifespan, and in recent years, mythomaniaS as Daily Routine. Would you elaborate on these themes; do they intertwine (how so)?
In a sense, It is a relation of time, to the arrow of the Time..
We cannot deny the position of architecture as being in a state of nonequilibrium between past and future, the tomorrow now and the retro future, anterior future, subjunctive possibilities …it seems that the preterit is never so simple…
We are in a pull and push between antagonistic notions of utopia, black or dark utopia, dystopia, atopia… and fiction which refers to a specific position in time and situation from where a narration could be developed / We are talking from a ‘somewhere’, which is not exclusively determined by here and now, in real time… The zeitgeist is plural, multiples, in the rhizomatic curves of the space and the time…where architecture stutters by nature between the Stones of Ruskin and the Bits of William J. Mitchell. Architecture is embedded in this dualism of synchronicities where the narration is navigating on several layers of times, values, conflicts, from a “déjà vu” to a scheduled obsolescence, from this ‘’zeitgeist’’ to its ‘’has been’’ condition, from objective-prospectivism to speculative-cyberpunk…
So the different branches don’t mean anything else other than as strategies in a relation of space and time… here and now, here and tomorrow, elsewhere, until our personal circadian-psycho pendulum reverberates… As Deleuze said in Empiricism and Subjectivity “the given is not in the space or the time, the space is in the given, the space and the time are in the mind.”
Your work has expanded in recent years to include the medium of film to convey mysterious or even cryptic architectural narratives. What is the main agenda(s) driving the mythomaniaS series?
MythomaniaS is a catalog of case studies in the form of film stills, architectural fragments, stage props, texts, and images culled from the experiments of MindMachineMakingMyths (Lab M4, part of the New Territories architecture studio, Bankgok, Thailand), to construct environmental-architectural psycho-scapes (in the partly fabricated wilds of various countries) as laboratory-shelters for exploring and deconstructing the supposed rifts between realism and speculative fiction (myth), psyche and environment, body and mind, and “Mania” which refer, etymologically, to an Insane drive of perception-projection. Bringing together architecture, Deleuze and Guatarri’s schizoanalysis and deterritorialization, and Alfred Jarry’s pataphysics (the “science of imaginary solutions which symbolically attributes the properties of objects, described by their virtuality, to their lineaments”), Mindmachinemyths enacted and filmed mise-en-abymes in which certain scripted para-psychic narratives and architectural structures merge in the pursuit of reclaiming resilience —as a tactic for merging refusal and vitality into a schizophrenic logic able to navigate the antagonism between the bottom-up and top-down conditions of the globalized world. In these fabricated schizoid psycho-nature-machine-scapes, the human being is no longer a bio-ecological consumer but a psycho-computing animal that emerges co-dependently with its environment in a hyper-local haecceity (“this-ness”). In the vein of Situationist psychogeography (“the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals”), each scenario fabulates geo-architectural conditions of human exile, solitude, and pathology drawn from narratives of the forbidden and taboo: the true story of an old Indian book collector exiled from his community on the suspicion of atheism, who finds refuge in a tear-collecting shelter (“Would Have Been My Last Complaint”); a scientist captured by a water spirit who remains trapped like a fish in the mindscape of a fish butcher (Although (in) Hapnea); a monster-boy endomorph constantly overfed and protected by a claustrophilic antidote-jacket produced by the excess of his incestuous mother’s love ((beau)strosity); Ariadne, labyrinth overseer, floating between two macho spirals, testosteroned Theseus and alcoholic Dionysus (Naxos, Terra Insola); the feral child — innocent, naïve, and obscene — in the deep jungle, auscultated by a scientistic voyeurism (The Offspring); etc. Each of these scenarios (designed as “shelters” where mind, environment, and architecture co-map each other) unfolds a “mythomania” in which each character transforms, and is transformed, para-psychically, by the environment, in a sort of biotope (habitat) feedback experiment.
Ultimately, our NewT want to create — via architecture and design, myth (literature), and psycho-geography — various conditions for schizoid passages between realism and fiction, expertise and knowledge, mind and built environment, narrative and topology, in order to bring about new strategic-tragic co-dependencies as forms of schizoid resistance to the usual identity regimes, and to also reboot architecture as a form of psycho-social praxis and non-necrotic speculation. (www.new-territories.com/props.htm)
mythomaniaS. New-Territories / M4 (3).
Joseph Campbell once stated that mythology resides at “the interface between what can be known and what is never to be discovered, because it is a mystery transcendent of all human research” and further analogizes the journey into the unknown with delving into the unconscious mind itself (2). What does architecture have to do with myth?
We use mythomanias…in the mindmachinemakingmyths work…as a paranoid critic…myths and the mania (from Latin which means insane as we talked)…uncontrolled emotion or drive-suppression… meaning that architecture is not in this case anymore developed in a bunkerization strategy, in a box of insularization, a gate-community-fort-knox-fortress hiding the human pathologies and making a clear frontier between the public and the private, between attitudes and behavior in common and in particular…We are interested in developing apparatuses in correlation, in co-dependencies with the species that are supposed to be protected… The architecture as a transgender process, which is never completed, always in the between of the make-up and the surgery, porous to our own pathology, bodies and mind diseases… as a clue to negotiate the living…together…
It is difficult to deny that we are definitively immersed in post-structuralism, questioning obsessively the relationship of power-knowledge, through our scenario, our critical aesthetic, where the history of the madness by M Foucault became the political gasoline of our resistance and resilience, if I quote the title of the LOG 25 we edited several years ago in NYC.
We could refer to The River Styx Runs Upstream, by Dan Simmons, where the sins, the deprivation, the “malentendu” of the human condition are no longer hidden in the hypocrisies of appearance, behind the wall of architecture and its representation… rather a factual strategy of daily routine re-negotiation is adopted.
While operating in the overlapping folds of the architect and researcher, designer and story-teller, how do you mediate between the production of objects, and the intent behind them?
As Antonio Negri ‘’professed’’ in Empire: “The great industrial and financial powers produced not only commodities, but also subjectivities”… about the fear-paranoia-security to pick up children at school with a Hummer wagon or to over-CCTV his own shelter, about culture-merchandising as a strategy of information and knowledge (do we need to talk about Trump syndrome), about rejuvenating yourself by the last yogurt with Botox molecules, about managerial industrial fake conflict to Gate the Job… et cetera.
Set in an objective professionalism delusion, architects are still doing the objectivized object, totem, phallus (often), vagina (rarely), androgyny (never)…at the time where storytelling has invaded all the spheres of the how and the sell, we should perhaps or maybe, as the ‘operaism’ movement intended to do, infiltrate this metaphorical industry by and through story-telling to corrupt, de-alienate the small purring of the mass servitude’s machine.
Could we admit that either Euclidean or Wriggling shapes…neo conservative or fancy digital… minimal regionalism or alien station earth based…are in fact Siamese twins… and their apparent conflict is used to drown the fish… to perform entertainment of a fake debate, and to make a diversion… At the opposite we could requote again and again Godard… about the “Nouvelle Vague”… ”to make political architecture, it’s to do politically political architecture”… questioning the format, the structure of decision, the process of doing, and the relation, the connivance with the spectator – for an aesthetic of de-programation – a critical tool, which definitively eradicates the ideology of the completeness, of the finitude, of the achievement…except, if I’m authorized to tell, in the recognition of our DNA drama … “Architecture cannot preserve us from being in the world, to risk the world’’.
The s/he, avatar of NewT wrote three months ago an introduction for his/her retrospective s/he would rather do Fiction Maker at the Frac Centre… better than anything I could write myself:
“Experimental architecture has shifted toward a new corpus of instrumentations – tools, computation, mechanization, but also and simultaneously fictions and lines of subjectivity synchronous with our symptoms, our fears and great escapes in the “here and now”. The purpose of this 1993-2050 flashback is to explore attitudes that show a correlation, a co-dependency with the forms they underpin, through their conflicts and reciprocities. It is to discover a post-digital, post-human, post-activist, post-democratic, post-feminist world… a queer, androgynous, carnal, disturbing, disenchanted, pornographic, transient, transactional world… where scenarios, mechanisms, misunderstandings and psychological and physiological fragments are what make up walls and ceilings, cellars and attics… schizoid and paranoid, between the lines of operative and critical fictions… The androgynous folds and recesses behind which… he(s) / she(s) … hide(s), trigger confusion and gut reactions, suspicious hostilities, fantasized idealization, and even premeditated oblivion. We must use paradoxical postures and aesthetic mechanisms to highlight bio-political challenges, the potentials and disorders of contemporary technologies, from their early stages to their merchandising, and suspect them of not being so harmless, beyond conventional discourses and self-conscious aesthetics…”
Still from Although (in) Hapnea. (A metempsychosis… ) Forecasting logics are no longer able to predict natural catastrophes… these being generated not by natural spasms but resulting from political, industrial and human conjunctions… ‘angry’ biotopes … Elements are raging and the gods, always ready to forgive human madness, suddenly seem powerless in front of Gaia’s infernal rebellion. A new-territories production. A film by [eIf/bʌt/c], Camille Lacadee, Francois Roche. Short-film. 2013.
the Offspring. New-Territories / M4.
How does one begin to teach others to practice in such a way? To be both rigorous in their thinking and fluid in their methodologies, all while engaging the contemporary milieu of design, material research and fabrication?
Sorry / no method for that… Or just the bible Empiricism and Subjectivity, I spoke of before, with a pinch of Parrhesia, the one developed by Michel Foucault as the last shot before he died, both at Berkeley and College de France.
To refresh / Parrhesia is a strategy of discourse, attitude and form which re-evaluate the ethico-political approach facing the social conformism. Foucault developed this concept through the transfiguration of Baudelaire, through the posture of Alteration by Cynic philosophical decay, with the figure among others of Diogenes, and through the method of ‘’estrangement’’, as a displacement of values by Ginsberg. The Diogenes agenda, as an aesthetic research of the being, has to be understood, according to Foucault, as an intentional enterprise of falsification of ‘the habit and currency’. Organized around the celebration of human-beast, or the beast-human, the critical and performative borderline is used as a weapon to corrupt the repetition of the conventional routines and discourses to operate, ultimately, a strategy of transformation, of transfiguration of what is politic, of what we should consider as politic. It’s about to make visible, the singular dimension, through the contingencies of the arbitrary constraints, inside of what is considered as universal, necessary and obligatory…
Could we re-include Architecture as a paradigm of disobedience ‘’to paraphrase’’ the essays of Henry Thoreau or la Boetie, as an experiment of what should not have been revealed, to help us to get back our voice, our scream, through what Foucault defines as the “truth”, which cannot emerge in another way than through an alterity, extreme and radical…
On the other part, as your question suggests… what about fabrication?… How to use technologies in correspondence to this formula of resistance, as protocols of discovering, as artefact, collateral effect, losing control… bottom up…robotic inaccuracy…and illegitimated science beliefs: the fabrication of the ‘prop’ in the mythomaniaS series is developed from robotic processes. We operate the robot with real sensor interface (RSI) using signals, inputs, analogue or digital. In this process, inputs are collected through UPD signal and the chain of Processing, Firefly, Grasshopper, Rhinoceros and re-injected (every 2m/s) in the ‘parcours’ of the machine, creating a permanent conditional position, between ‘the point where the machine was’ to ‘the point where the machine should be’, as a vector of translation in an iterative redefinition … without ever reaching any vanishing point as a goal of achievement. Introducing perturbations and stochastic positioning, in real time, where the trajectory of the nozzle is reacting to the robot’s very noises (machine clicks, inverse kinematics movement, pneumatic piston…) or other agents as any signal able to be transformed in data (even the pathologies and diseases able to be transcripted as input, as Tourette Syndrome with scanning Kinect). Those agents corrupt the programmed predictable work and modify in real-time the path of the fabrication, as a stuttering feedback coming from the intrinsic protocol of doing, increasing the intricate meanders of the tool in an ever permanent inaccuracy of positioning, introducing non-linear processes… as a way of territorializing technologies, but at the condition which is defined as non-deterministic via a loophole of logic-illogic… absurdism from technologies…
Robotic Process: the Shadow Room. New-Territories / M4. Robotic Processes. New-Territories / M4. the Shadow Room. New-Territories / M4.
In an interview in 2008, when asked to describe the evolution of your work, you stated: “in the beginning, we were thinking to integrate nature as a substance and now we integrate nature as a protocol, as an algorithm (…) at the beginning we used nature to mimic its substances and now we are trying to understand what kind of geometry, what kind of unpredictable geometry, we could develop from it.(2)” How has your work evolved since?
The stuttering of the robot described above, with double signal and conditional positioning is now something we use to produce a systemism closed to organic output but without mimicry. We were very closed in 2004 with Rupert Soar and his research in Namibia about termite structures. To make it short / Termites are blind but they are able to fabricate complex underground structures with the help of a natural pheromone positioning-communicating device… their main task is to ”open and close wall and door’’, keeping temperature constant in the mound… for reproduction / queen chamber issue… meaning they are constantly creating an insulated wind modifying their pheromone GPS accuracy positioning, corrupting the zero(xyz) origin… as the feedback consequences of the work they are doing… in real time… so… something affect, infect something else making an unpredictable, nonlinear result as an output-artifact which depends on the condition of the empirical experiment (by versatile signals). As a quantic logic, of probabilities and uncertainties, the system is developing a logic which has to be engaged to emerge… the laws of nature are intrinsic… from a suite of iterative approximation… It’s a main question about technology. Do we use them to “copy’’ or scale one of the previous 3D representations, or at the opposite to discover the passage, the transaction of the doing, between intention and fabrication, as an original, specific, unique trespassing. It requestions the heritage, the hiatus between Villard de Honnecourt and Brunelleschi, between a middle age project manager and the Quattrocento architect.
Is the “I’ve heard about” experiment on-going?
The second opus was in Paris in 2011 at the laboratory / an architecture of humors still in a process of speculation. We should start with my friend Pierre Huyghe something related to the rumors by uncertainties and robotics in Japan, this year, small scale but scale one, with our own 7-axes robots from BKK.
Could you expand on the underlying ideas that lead to such a radical concept?
Could I put again the introduction which was the preamble of this research in 2006 / Mainly questioning the recipes of ‘’computation+robotic+acephalous chemistry’’ from human reptilian secretions as a tool to renegotiation bottom-up-top-down social organization and urban context…
So in 2006, the rumors was:
I’ve heard about something that builds up only through multiple, heterogeneous and contradictory scenarios, something that rejects even the idea of a possible prediction about its form of growth or future typology.
Something shapeless grafted onto existing tissue, something that needs no vanishing point to justify itself but instead welcomes a quivering existence immersed in a real-time vibratory state, here and now.
Tangled, intertwined, it seems to be a city, or rather a fragment of a city.
Its inhabitants are immunized because they are both vectors and protectors of this complexity.
The multiplicity of its interwoven experiences and forms is matched by the apparent simplicity of its mechanisms.
The urban form no longer depends on the arbitrary decisions or control over its emergence exercised by a few, but rather the ensemble of its individual contingencies. It simultaneously subsumes premises, consequences and the ensemble of induced perturbations, in a ceaseless interaction. Its laws are consubstantial with the place itself, with no work of memory.
Many different stimuli have contributed to the emergence of “I’ve heard about,” and they are continually reloaded. Its existence is inextricably linked to the end of the grand narratives, the objective recognition of climatic changes, a suspicion of all morality (even ecological), to the vibration of social phenomena and the urgent need to renew the democratic mechanisms. Fiction is its reality principle: What you have before your eyes conforms to the truth of the urban condition of “I’ve heard about”.
What moral law or social contract could extract us from this reality, prevent us from living there or protect us from it? No, the residence protocol of “I’ve heard about” cannot cancel the risk of being in this world. The inhabitants draw sustenance from the present, with no time lag The form of the territorial structure draws its sustenance directly from the present time..
“I’ve heard about” also arises from anguishes and anxieties. It’s not a shelter against threats or an insulated, isolated place, but remains open to all transactions. It is a zone of emancipation, produced so that we can keep the origins of its founding act eternally alive, so that we can always live with and re-experience that beginning.
Made of invaginations and knotted geometries, life forms are embedded within it. Its growth is artificial and synthetic, owing nothing to chaos and the formlessness of nature. It is based on very real processes that generate the raw materials and operating modes of its evolution.
The public sphere is everywhere, like a pulsating organism driven by postulates that are mutually contradictory and nonetheless true. The rumours and scenarios that carry the seeds of its future mutations negotiate with the vibratory time of new territories.
It is impossible to name all the elements “I’ve heard about” comprises or to perceive it in its totality, because it belongs to the many, the multitude. Only fragments can be extracted from it.
The world is terrifying when it’s intelligible, when it clings to some semblance of predictability, when it seeks to preserve a false coherence. In “I’ve heard about,” it is what is not there that defines it, that guarantees its readability, its social and territorial fragility and its indetermination.
How does the “Hypnosis Chamber” relate to “I’ve heard about”?
It’s not a deep secret to admit that we failed…not only us in terms of personal trajectory but societally by the ghettoization of the architecture discipline. Architecture betrayed, as Bourdieu used the word ‘betray’, and the failure virus was already inoculated in the research, as the consubstantial and contingent failure.
So we included a ‘beam me up Scotty’, a pill of Hollein, a strategy of immersion, suggestion, psycho-psychotropic apparatuses and escape to give the feeling of the desirable urbanism by mind-machine, a neuromancien bachelor system, driven by ‘’mine and your’’ suppression… and the collateral effect… an emerging work-in-progress urbanism…
Francois Roustang, the Jacques Lacan hypnosis specialist died two month ago…he was deeply involved in this chamber, in this claim… Was really Sad… he died in November.
In 2006, we added new paragraph in the dictionary concerning Somnambulism: n. -1. Mental activity produce during the phase called waking sleep, or even heightened consciousness. Somnambulism can be characterized by the sensation of an indefinite, uncertain and problematic state, a state of unstable consciousness revealing a new relationship with the world, others and oneself. -2. Historically, this unusual state of the consciousness labeled hypnosis in the first half of the 19th century has been an attempt to develop spaces of freedom, egalitarian social projects, that could not be perceived and explored except in this state. It could be said that confronted by the impossibility of modifying the mechanisms of the real, tangible, political world, this pre–feminist movement strove, on the contrary, to create a different and distanced layer of existence somewhere out of reach. Although diabolized and treated as charlatanism, nevertheless all of premodern reformist thought drew on this movement. -3. Trans-door, a method of hypnotic suggestion used during the “I’ve heard about” experiment (cf. Teleportation).
Hypnosis Chamber.The hypno-chamber is produced as an indoor chamber, an immersion zone, where a hypnosis session has been registered and help citizen to escape from their alienated social condition. Architect: R&Sie(n). Creative team: François Roche, Stéphanie Lavaux, Jean Navarro, Benoit Durandin. Hypnosis Specialist: François Roustang. Mam, Modern Art Museum, Paris. 2005.
In a world of instant gratification, I wonder if the complexity of your work is often lost on its viewers. Do you feel your work is understood?
Yes… it is a part of the work to keep the relief as shadowing, unreadable…. Explanation (explanara) etymologically means ‘making flat’… so … if I take two examples… the art piece “Air de Paris”, the glass bubble that Duchamp brought when he escaped to the US in the 30’s, was done in the city Le Havre, where he took the transatlantic boat…in a drugstore of the city, which is filled, of course by the Air of le Havre. When the glass bubble broke, some decade ago, it was a detective investigation to check the clues of fabrication, to redo it from its original way… and the AIR the Paris… was discovered as a trick. Similar to this first example of maze logic, M. Duchamp sent multiple a postcards entitled ‘landscape’, with a kind of drawing stain on the back. A collector did chemical research to qualify the pigment and the medium, oil or acrylic, brush or roll, to in fact discover it was a semen ejaculation of the artist…
How to call the Alice logic-illogic-absurdism of the logician Lewis Carroll, who articulates several simple mathematical problems substitution of Variable, Shifting Base Counting, Integer modulo N, the symmetry. The limit, the Infinite loop…using Sciences is a contingencies protocols, narration… not in a trigonometric parametric determinism…
No need to understand, or unfold the work…we are in a zone of stuttering, a kind of Zoo with a bestiary named Ecosophy, Pataphysic, Parrhesia… I could admit that this soup (specifically and with some irony the French system) is too stodgy, toxic, irrelevant…even “libidinal”, which was for Jean Francois Lyotard (as described in Libidinal Economy, 1974) a strategy of excess, able to destabilize the merchandising organization of the routine.
You commonly cite philosophers and philosophical concepts in your project texts. Does your philosophical world-view evolve with the work, and/ or vice versa?
Well… think I’ve already answered without doing it directly…. I just saw lectures of Derrida at Ulm and Deleuze at Vincennes at a time when Students where reading Aldo Rossi… Doesn’t produce the same pathologies…
Regarding your practice(s), New-Territories (R&Sie(n) / [eIf/bʌt/c]) and M4 (MindMachineMakingMyths), would you describe the process that takes place when working on a project?
Was fascinated by the way Kubrick was only doing one movie, one by one…Only one by one, requisitioning all the procedures and all the reason to start… what is the beginning…again…a specific enterprise of narration, free of the previous and the next one…by nature singular..
So even if we didn’t construct so much, as you know … we always try to make scenario in this condition of uniqueness and it is perhaps one of the reason… we are not so involved in industrial corporate repetition…
La Vie en Rose. _robotic process of Amnesia symptom(s)…calligraphic over-&-over-writing via a 6-axes robot disturbed by sensors, here feeling movement. The writing unfolds as letters of fire eating up the wall. It contorts into undecipherable hermeneutics, made of scribbles, of cross-outs engaging codes and mathematical scripts from which they paradoxically emerge. New-Territories / M4 – Francois Roche, Camille Lacadee, Vongsawat Wongkijjalerd, with Than Rittiphan, Jean-David Caillouët + Kittiphan Janbuala, Benjamin Ennemoser. TARS Gallery. Bangkok, Thailand. 2017.
What is missing in architecture today?
Research and free academia (not the US any more after the subprime and Lehman brothers crisis, where just wealthy students from Asia, paying cash, are in the Master class… called ‘the Ivory Tower syndrome’, increasing the difficulties of access for middle or lower class to a more speculative studio) as a counter force of corporate (Zaha, Big, Mad, Nouvel, Herzog…as head of a gondola) and political populism _nourished among other things by the abandonment of the question on the condition of post-capitalism production through operative and aesthetic criticism. This abandon sur-signified, sur-realized by fake “ingenuity” of those corporates…who promote without any state of mind the revival of international architecture… as a MasterCard of deterritorialization. It’s a subject which has to be specifically analyzed, developed and argued… No place here… S/he will do an e-flux lecture in NYC in May…Hope s/he will be explicit.
As a young person, who or what had an influence on your way of thinking? Your work?
Shinohara, Cedric Price, Scarpa… Harald Szeemann and Michel Carouge and their “Machines célibataires’, Duchamp and Hieronymus Bosch, Godard, Rivette and Keaton, Eustache, Jean Rouch and Chris Marker, Xenakis, Thelonious Monk and Stockhausen….but mainly Deleuze and Bataille, Foucault, Lyotard…the Sokal list of impostor! but my playlist… Few architects in fact. Don’t like to be an architect, became just by coincidences and contingencies. I could understand the too much testosterone, arrogance, self-complaisance in our discipline, as a teenager revolting against submission, as a beaux-arts attitude to mask our drama and failure…but it seems so much becoming the standard of cynical behavior to dance to death in farandole as smiling suitors courtier…the main profile of what we call “professionalism’’…
One of the reasons why we created this androgynous queer avatar , in ’93… was to escape from this French beaux-arts pathology, but also to escape from ourselves…
Whose work is currently of interest to you?
We are facing:
-Wu tang Clan album bought as exclusive use by pharma’ boy
-Black color bought as exclusive uses by a ‘square mile’ trader artist
-Assange refugee in Ecuador embassy
-Snowden refugee in Russia…
In the history of Art …it’s a permanent battle… in one way the Fireman Art (art pompier), as the monkey representation of old regime (now called post-capitalism)…with all the honors and the profits…. and …… in the other way the physical restraint, by sequestration, “embastillement”, disqualification, repudiation…of the one who revealed the hoax, from Renaissance perspective to big data. Hackers are definitively the main artist of today, taking a risk similar to Leonardo or Michelangelo, facing organization of simulacrum…
I don’t understand why big Data in architecture is so naively used, as an informative friendly parameter, objectivized, for diagrammatic purpose… In this condition of brainless education, architect are prepared to be the “servant”, the ‘Iago’, badly paid, badly considered… the new proletarian.
What advice would you give to young up-and-coming architects and designers today?
What else can we do but to oppose this system’s obscenity, the obscenity of our pathologies … generated by this very system, affected by an impossibility to the world, facing these multiple disorders … to say, to make-say and make-know … that we as well are pathogen elements … of this very disorder, but in a critical mode, activist, solitary … to produce with this repulsion … this rejection … in a metabolized loop … constitutive of the obscene chain … of these little tales.
Yes, we are only left with obscenity in order to say, to make, to make-say and make-know.
This is what we offer here … our pathologies as paranoid-criticism … the obscenity is not so much the subject than the voyeurism apparatus which forces us to look at it, frontally … In front of the miserabilism of cretinous niches with their hypocritical formulas, we have to re-evaluate what we used to call “Design” as a process of synesthesia of knowledge … crossing the multiple conflicts and embarrassing waste of ideology, criminal positivism, voluntary ignorance, per formative cynicism … . To secrete from its ambiguity, ambivalence … even non sense… absurdity …
… Where some words are definitively “suspect” relative to daily routines / Expertise, Accuracy, Performance, Optimization, Communication, Futuristic, Future, Innovation, Speculation, Improvement, Absolute, Truth, Parametric, Post-Human, Positivism… as the Grail “onanism” and at the opposite, other words are vehicles for some kind of legitimacy… innocently injected into the daily routine / dirty, filthy, X-rated, explicit, lewd, rude, vulgar, coarse, crude, offensive, immoral, improper, impure, off-color, degenerate, depraved, debauched, lubricious, indecent, smutty, salacious, carnal, lascivious, licentious, bawdy, and Nostalgia, Melancholia, Metaphor, but also scatological, profane, porn, skin, vile, foul, atrocious, outrageous, heinous, odious, abhorrent, abominable, disgusting, hideous, offensive, objectionable, repulsive, revolting, repellent, loathsome, nauseating, sickening, awful, dreadful, terrible, frightful and repugnant…
And at least but not last… an extract from one of the first books of Zizek (4):
“ …Le meilleur moyen de s’en rendre compte est de se référer à la distinction entre le fou et l e fripon. Le fou est un simple d’esprit, un bouffon de cour, un petit marquis, à qui l’on permet de dire la vérité précisément dans la mesure où son discours n’est pas porteur de pouvoir [performatif]. Le fou c’est celui qui dit la vérité mais qui n’a aucun levier de transformation de la société, aucun levier de pouvoir, et qui se complait dans cette inactivité critique. Quant au fripon, c’est un cynique qui dit ouvertement la vérité, un escroc qui tente de faire passer la malhonnêteté pour de l’honnêteté, un vaurien qui reconnaît la nécessité de la réflexion illégitime afin de maintenir la stabilité de l’ordre social. Le fripon est bien évidemment le défenseur, le néo conservateur du marché libre, qui rejette avec cruauté toute forme de solidarité sociale comme une forme de sentimentalisme contre-productif, alors que le fou est celui qui choisit une position critique à partir de points de vue sociaux, radicaux … etc. etc….’’
What’s next for Francois Roche?
S/he would rather do FICTION MAKER:
S/he would rather do FICTION MAKer. In 2016-17, nearly twenty years after its first exhibition at the Frac Centre-Val de Loire, New-Territories was invited again for a “1993-2050 flashback” … In “s/he would rather do FICTION MAKER”, the public is invited on a “paranoiac odyssey” through a series of historic projects (most of which are part of the Frac Centre-Val de Loire collection) and “anthropotechnic” scenarios, (including New-Territories’ latest venture : M4 – mindmachinemakingmyths). Instagram: www.instagram.com/s_hefictionmaker/ Promotional short film. 2016.
Shadow Room [The Virgin Case]. A robotic and aleatory method was used in the fabrication of this ‘’prop’’: a heap of vitrified plastic created through the use of ambiguous anthropo-technical procedures (self-generating processes) whose main aim is to discover an engendered shape, a sort of shapeless and computational Golem, an artifact of the procedures set into motion. (…) The film [The virgin Case] is still in editing. The territory done at the Frac is the final scene. A structure at the end of the “exhibition/installation” layout that opens it up to the infinity of the probable. New-Territories / M4. 2016-17.
Lecture on mythomaniaS. Lecture from mindmakingmachinemyths on Vimeo. 2016.
Direct access to S/he / New-Territories:
1) “Ep. 1: The Power of Myth”. Joseph Campbell and The Power of Myth. PBS. June 21, 1988.
2) Interview with Francois Roche. Designboom. 2008. www.designboom.com/interviews/francois-roche-interview/.
3) More videos in the mythomaniaS series can be found here
4) Zizek, Slavoj. The Spectre is still Roaming Around! Arkzin. 1998.