Exporting architecture and urban planning emerged as a valuable instrument in Cold War politics, the pretence and the means for cultural colonialism, with East and West aiming to carve out their respective spheres of influence in the Middle East.Starting in the 1950s architects and planners were invited to design modern urban developments, landmark buildings and housing projects.
‘… Eight master builders of the modern world – men of many tongues – are creating a new Baghdad. Among them are – by birth – a Frenchman, a Spaniard, two Germans, and American, a Finn, a Greek, and an Italian. Probably never before in history have so many famous architects worked concurrently in one place. The final result, barring possible curtailment by the Iraqi Government, is widely expected to be one of the modern architectural wonders of the world – a new city superimposed on this ancient, sun-baked capital.’
The eight master builders were Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, José Luis Sert, Gio Ponti, Frank Lloyd Wright, Alvar Aalto, Werner March and Constantine Doxiadis, and they were commissioned to produce city masterplans, state buildings, cultural and sports centres and housing projects.
C.A.Doxiadis, a Ford Foundation architect and planner, had already worked for the reconstruction of Athens after the WWII and he had developed theories on housing and urban developments (Ekestics, Dynapolis).
The commissioned housing and community facilities responded to the grave housing shortages in an effort to suppress discontent and prevent growing social unrest. The vast slums of Baghdad were turned into a massive public works known as Revolution City (Naziha al-Dulaimi, C.A. Doxiadis).
The employment of architects and planners from an Eastern Bloc country aimed to apply their experience of post-war reconstructions and redevelopments to the newly formed nations, but nevertheless, they were also political statements reflecting affiliations in Cold War politics. The East employed a different approach in construction commissions, stressing a vision of cooperation and solidarity, that would be mutually beneficial. City planning and social housing were central in bilateral agreements and would promote export material resources and also knowledge and expertise, introducing housing policies, research and education projects. Miastoprojekt, Technoexportstroy, Romconsult, Gorstroiproekt were some of the state-run construction bureaus that produced work not only in socialist and the non-aligned countries but in some occasion also in the West and they that would operate even beyond the end of the Cold War.
Gutt and Raniszewski collaborated since the 1970s in exploring and developing extra-verbal methods of communication. Their work was a process of visual interactions, which they called ”conversations’. In a censored, stifled and alienated Cold War Poland they became fascinated with the “primitive cultures” and studied ritualistic methods of expression and communication, constructing and exploring a visual language.
‘The Grand Conversation’: Gutt spontaneously painted Raniszewski’s face which led the visual dialogue to a wooden mask, cut-outs, sets, a small cube.
‘Malowanie ciała / Wyrazy na twarzy – Body painting/ Face expressions’: Gutt described it as ‘face painting in a unique, surreal aura created by the context of a gloomy, hungry, disintegrating reality of a totalitarian state.’
‘Dzikość Dziecka – Children’s Ferality : a visual conversation with children in a series of creative actions and body-paintings investigating an unmediated language.
Our work, they were not just aesthetic or formal events. They were rich in terms of both form and meaning. Social functions, that is, the construction of interhuman relations, initiations and ceremonies, led to a communal creation. All the different members of the community took part and all of them performed a creative function. In a sense, these situations were close to the principles of the Open Form of Oskar Hansen. The construction of myths served as a point of ingress to another reality, which was often more important than that of everyday life. Instead of mimetic recreation, it was painting, ornament and body markings that gave rise to ephemeral, multi-vocal forms of expression.
Wiktor Gutt/Waldemar Raniszewski
ink, paper, vinyl
Marshall McLuhan to Jaqueline Tyrwhitt | Dear Jackie: The old plate is piled very high indeed. I must forego any thought of a visit to Harvard this this Spring. Work here at the Centre has become more and more demanding. | Last night I was reading Finnegans Wake pages 492 to 505. I thought at once of writing to Giedion about it. In these pages Joyce runs through the letters of the alphabet from A to Z as a social cycle. When he gets to Z, the cycle begins again. He explicitly indicates the return to primal undiscriminated auditory space, then begins again the discovery of the vertical plane and enclosed space and numbers and measurement. Joyce is quite explicit that (page 501) as the alphabet ends its cycle we move out of visual space into discontinuous auditory space again. This he mentions as the return to “Lewd’s Carol,” that is, through the looking glass into the world of non-Euclidean space once more, lewd, ignorant, tribal, involved totally as in group singing. In his “Beginnings of Architecture” Giedion cites the evidence several times that there is no architectural enclosing of space before script. Giedion does not know why this should be. Visual space alone of all the space discriminated by our various senses is continuous, uniform and connected. Any technology that extends the visual power imposes these visual properties upon all other spaces. Our own return in the electric age to a non-visual world has confronted us suddenly with this tyrannical and usurping power of the visual over the other senses. Kevin Lynch doesn’t understand this matter at all. My own phrase for city planning is that the city has become a teaching machine. The planner’s job is to program the entire environment by an artistic modulation of sensory usage. Art is a CARE package dispatched to undernourished areas or the human sensorium. What the artist has formerly done on a private entrepreneurial basis the planner now must do on a corporate or group basis. This is equally true of education and government. Instead of worrying about program content, the job is now to program the total sensorium. | Understanding Media will be published May 26th by McGraw-Hill. You should be receiving a copy soon. | Had lunch with a Greek chap who is in the research division of McCann-Erickson. He is greatly interested in my proposal about a pre-TV study of the Greek population. We have our sensory typology experiments ready to go. I enclose a description of one of them for you. Our friend, Philip Deane, has left the UN to become Secretary-General to the King of Greece. He will be a great help in any matter that we undertake. | Please tell me your dates of departure and where I can reach you.
from: ‘Letters of Marshall McLuhan’ by Matie Molinaro, Corinne McLuhan, William Toye.
Alexander Graham Bell kisses Mabel Gardiner Hubbard holding one of Tetrahedral Kites
from: The Public Domain Review
The European Voynich Alphabet, or EVA was created by René Zandbergen and Gabriel Landini in 1998 as a system to transcribe the various graphemes (“letters”) which make up the text of the Voynich Manuscript into Roman characters. With EVA, every Voynich sign is represented by a roughly similar-looking letter of the Latin alphabet. The purpose of transliteration of the text is the conversion of the handwritten text of the Voynich MS into a computer-readable format (file). The aim of this is to allow computer software to analyse the text, for example in order to derive statistics or to aid the interpretation and ideally translation of the text. This process was called ‘transcription’. Transcription means a transformation of a text such that it will be substituted by another text made by a well-known alphabet of phonetic symbols. This is only possible in case we already know how the text reads.
Guy Rottier, Cité sur fil, 1965
(maquette en balsa, soie, carton)
Atelier Le Corbusier & Chef de chantier Unité d’ Habitation Marseille / Atelier des Bâtisseurs – AtBat & Vladimir Bodiansky / CIAM (Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne) [Bergamo (1949), Dubrovnik (1956) and Aix in Provence (1953)] / ‘École de Nice’ / GIAP (Groupe International d’Architecture Prospective) [Michel Ragon and Yona Friedman, Paul Maymont, Georges Patrix, Nicolas Schöffer] / Association Habitat Evolutif [Pascal Häusermann, Claude Costy, Jean-Louis Chanéac and Antti Lovag] / La Coopération Méditerranéenne Pour L’Énergie Solaire (COMPLES) / Groupe Conspiratifs à Nice [Guy Rottier, Antti Lovag, Jean Mas, Claude Gilli, Thierry Valfort, Dominique Petry-Amiel, Gilbert Grisoni, Pierre Pinoncelli] / ‘Guy Rottier architecture de recherches illustrées par Jean-Marc Reiser’ / Charles Barberis
Cité sur fil (1965)
lime kiln | ασβεστοκάμινος | four à chaux | kalko
La casbah d’Alger
Kasbah of Algiers
+ Plan Obus
il n’y a que des imbéciles et des professeurs espagnols qui puissent s’intéresser aux dates
Hans Jean Arp, “Déclaration”, Dada: recueil littéraire et artistique: Dada In Tirol Au grand air Der Sängerkrieg, 1921
Erechtheion or Erechtheum
Modern Greek: Ερέχθειο; Ancient Greek: Ἐρέχθειον )
Sounion or Cape Sounion
([/sǒː.ni.on/, /ˈsu.ni.on/, akroˈtirʝo ˈsuɲo];
Modern Greek: Ακρωτήρι Σούνιο Akrotírio Soúnio, Σούνιο Soúnio; Ancient Greek: Ἄκρον Σούνιον Άkron Soúnion; Latin: Sunium; Venetian: Capo Colonne)
Modern Greek: Ελευσίνα Elefsína; Ancient Greek: Ἐλευσίς Eleusis)
Andrew Dickson White Architectural Photographs Collection, Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library
Acropolis Restoration Service (YSMA), Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports
Sigfried Giedion, Temple of Poseidon, Cape Sounion, August 1933 (gta Archives/ ETH Zürich)
Temple of Poseidon, Cape Sounion
A curved arrow stresses its ambiguity through the symbolic difference of masculine and feminine design . The arrow is used here as a metaphor of the god Eros in Greek mythology, whose thin, long and pointed objects in our case do not hit their targets. An arrow that always misses reminds us that the imaginary demands are by definition, unsatisfiable and that the original desire is sustained by its lack.
This exhibition is the continuation of a recent show (Stopping Point, 2018) based on a poem by Antoine Tudal, which describes the difficulty of love through the acoustic and verbal similarity of “love” (l’amour) and “wall” (le mur) in French. The“love-wall” (l’a-mur) in the second part of this visual research is titled as “Curved arrows” .
Artists: Amalia Vekri, Alexandros Georgiou, Maria Georgoula, Zoe Giabouldaki, Dimitris Ioannou, Eleni Kamma, Nikos Kanarelis, Chrysanthi Koumianaki, Markela Kontaratou, Karolina Krasouli, Konstantinos Kotsis, Margarita Myrogianni, Theo Michael, Myrto Xanthopoulou, Nina Papaconstantinou, Tereza Papamichali, Georgia Sagri, George Stamatakis, Stefania Strouza, Evangelia Spiliopoulou, Alexandros Tzannis, Panos Tsagaris, Dimitris Foutris, Savvas Christodoulides
Born: 12 April 1922, Helsinki, Finland
Died: 11 May 2005, Warsaw, Poland
In Splendor (Gradivo), 2018
‘Les surréalistes ont été fascinés par les jeunes femmes criminelles. Par l’anarchiste Germaine Berton qui avait révolvérisé un rédacteur de L’Action française. Par Violette Nozières qui avait empoisonné père et mère, un père qui l’aurait violée quand elle avait douze ans. Par les deux sœurs Papin, qui massacrèrent leurs deux patronnes, leur arrachant les yeux, leur écrasant la tête.
[Ici] le portrait de trois femmes sans lesquelles l’histoire et l’imaginaire du groupe surréaliste n’auraient pas été ce qu’ils furent.
Deux de ces femmes relèvent de l’imaginaire :
l’actrice Musidora, qui ne se prive pas de conduire des actions criminelles dans le film Les Vampires,
le personnage de roman Gradiva que les commentaires de Freud ont rendu célèbre.
La troisième femme est réelle, trop réelle, et se nomme Nadja ou plutôt Léona Delcourt.’
-La femme et le surréalisme, Philosophie et surréalisme par Georges Sebbag
Reproduction of the Gradiva which hung next to Freud’s Couch. Photo by Edmund Engelman, 1938
Marcel Duchamp designed a glass door for André Breton’s gallery ‘Gradiva’.
André Breton writes: ‘You entered the store through a glass door that had been designed and executed by Marcel Duchamp, whose opening silhouetted, as their shadows might, a rather large man and a noticeably smaller and very slim woman, standing side by side.’
André Breton et Marcel Duchamp devant la galerie Gradiva, 31 rue de Seine à Paris, en 1937
On view: ‘Garden Variations: From outside to inside and vice versa’
At The Symptom Projects //// On 15/09/2018 – 30/09/2018 //// Curated: Nikos Papadopoulos and Faye Zika //// Artists: Ianthi Aggelioglou, Alexandros Alekidis, Petros Batsiaris, Lizzie Calligas, Panos Charalambous, Prodromos Charalampidis, Martha Dimitropoulou, Espantapajaros project, Penny Gkeka, George Gyparakis, Evi Kalogiropoulou, Christos Kalogiros, Xanthi Kostorrizou, Anna Lascari, Andreas Lyberatos, Despina Meimaroglou, Maro Michalakakos, Vasilis Pafilis, Tereza Papamichali, Rena Papaspyrou, Katerina Papazisi, George Skylogiannis, Fani Sofologi, Efi Spyrou, Yannis Theodoropoulos, Artemis Vasilopoulou, Theodoros Zafeiropoulos
If architecture has the ability to influence social behavior, the concept of the Social Condenser aimed to recondition social dynamics in the public sphere and generate a new social organisation to existence by creating socially equitable spaces.
Александр Дейнека “В Районном Клубе” ///// Alexander Deyneka “At the local club”
‘In 1927, the editors of the leading Constructivist journal, Contemporary Architecture [Журнал Современная Архитектура], sketched out a radical architectural concept intended to foster a social revolution.
Led by Moisei Ginzburg, the editors declared that it was the duty of the Soviet architect to develop the “social condensers of our epoch”.
A “social condenser”, they explained, was architecture that “shaped and crystallised a new socialist way of life”.
Be it in the form of communal housing, public kitchens, workers’ clubs, administrative buildings, factories or parks, they insisted the social condenser should cultivate a new code of behaviours, norms and habits that would elevate human consciousness and secure the advancement of humanity, through the as yet unrealised potential of socialist organisation.
This was a daring vision based on the imagined virtues of greater human interaction and cooperation.’
from The Architectural Review
Human postural habits have anatomical and physiological limitations, but there are a great many choices, the determinants for which appear to be mostly cultural. The number of significantly different body attitudes capable of being maintained steadily is probably on the order of one thousand. Certain postures may occur in all cultures without exception, and may form a part of our basic hominid heritage. The upright stance with arms at the sides, or with hands clasped in the midline over the lower abdomen, certainly belongs in this category. A fourth of mankind habitually squats in a fashion very similar to the squatting position of the chimpanzee, and the rest of us might squat this way too if we were not trained to use other postures beyond infancy. Anthropoid postures may shed some light on the problem of which human ones are most likely to be “natural” or precultural, although ape limb proportions would deter us from relying too heavily on such evidence.
Descriptions of postures and sketches of figures:
Nilotic one-legged resting stance, Chair-sitting postures, Deep squatting postures, Sitting with legs stretched out, Cross-legged or “tailor-fashion” postures, Kneeling on knees and feet or knees and heels, Sitting with the legs folded to the side, One knee up other down and flexed
Szymon Syrkus – Helena Syrkus
Born: June 24, 1893, Warsaw, Poland
Died: June 8, 1964, Warsaw, Poland
Born: May 14, 1900, Warsaw, Poland
Died: November 19, 1982, Warsaw, Poland
Αδριάνειος Δεξαμενή | Αδριάνειο Υδραγωγείο | Hadrian’s Reservoir | Hadrian’s Aqueduct
νεώριον | νεώσοικοι |
Mieczysław Szczuka (1898 – 1927) was a Polish avant-garde artist, constructivist and productivist. In 1924 co-founds the artistic group ‘Blok’ (Blok Group of Cubists, Constructivists and Suprematists) with Henryk Stażewski, Władysław Strzemiński, Teresa Żarnowerówna among others and they publish the ‘Blok’ magazine. Mieczysław Szczuka was interested in the social functions of art and the utilitarianist ideas deriving from Constructivism, rather that formalism and the aesthetic experience. In 1927 he begins to publish the ‘Dźwignia’ magazine which is supported by the Polish Communist Party.
Architects’ Congress, László Moholy-Nagy, 1933
Film diary of the Architects’ Congress
30 min, silent film with intertitles in English
Architects’ Congress is a film diary commissioned by Sigfried Giedion, that recorded the CIAM-4, the 4th congress of the Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne, in August of 1933. The congress, titled The Functional City, was held on board the ship Patris II from Marseilles to Athens and the results of the congress were presented at an exhibition at the Technical University of Athens. The CIAM-4 congress produced the Athens Charter.
August Zamoyski – Portrait of Adolf Loos, 1922 – published in Zwrotnica magazine
κιούρτος | fish trap
Warsaw Housing Cooperative (WSM)
Warsaw Housing Cooperative was established in 1921, and by 1925 the first colony was built in Żoliborz district.