Scape – Part 3

Some Implications of Scape – Part 3 

By James Quinton

 

 

.pdf here: Scape

Angelil and Klingmann in Hybrid Morphologies and Moystad in Urban by Implication have gone some way in explaining Scape©. Employing the dialectical powers of Smithson’s site/non-site, Angelil and Klingmann present an argument for the relationship between the cerebral and actual in regards to landscape.34 The site is the real conditions of a place, while the non-site is one’s interpretation of that place.35   Similarly, Moystad argues for a “Field of Architecture [that] is stratified, and its main strata in addition to architecture seem to be formed by infrastructure and landscape.”36 For Moystad “every single point in a field contains all the properties of the field…[and] has no clear boundary.”37 Moystad’s preference is for the dual definition of architecture as a field and as a practise, instead of using the term ‘field of landscape’, or even generic ‘field’. His reasoning for this is that “landscape cannot replace the historical city as the basic level of interaction. The historical city was built, it was man made. Landscape is not. We build architectural objects in landscape.”38  This distinction between architecture and landscape has significant implications for the conclusions of both arguments. Both commentators recognise the machinations of globalisation as a process that blurs the distinctions between city and country.39 Nevertheless Moystad is insistent on an ‘urban landscape’ typology (as opposed to the natural) landscape as a way of describing the blurring process.40 Klingmann and Angelil on the other hand are content with the convergence of architecture, infrastructure and landscape, without employing further overarching concepts.41 The arguments can be shown graphically, firstly Moystad’s argument:     Scape Figure 1 42   Moystad argues, apparently quoting Angelil and Klingmann that “infrastructure to be a substratum both to architecture and landscape as well as being a mediator between them.”43 (Figure 1) This statement is untrue. Angelil and Klingmann do not state as such on page twenty five of their article. In any case, the first image represents the traditional hierarchical conception of a cities structure.   Scape Figure 2 44    Moystad argues: “this semiotic model would suggest architecture as the phenomenon with which we interact, both as users and as designers. Infrastructure would be the physical object underpinning the softer (software) architecture, and (the urban) landscape would be the overall system of reference and the global form of the architectural system, or network.”45  Lastly, Moystad’s argument turns from the graphical to the semiotic:   Planning: – turning into a reactive discipline focused on the management of what exists: urban management. Urbanism/Landscape: – basically concerned with posterior evaluation. It would indeed be an ideology of accepting what exists – and then to analyze it in order to maintain a set of references: to cultivate the interpretant and to produce a constructive critique.

Architecture and Landscape Design: – would be a proactive and cross scalar discipline: reading urbanism, collaborating with planners, real estate developers, users and owners, and acting through scenario building, programming and design of individual projects of architecture, landscape and infrastructure46   The semiotic conclusion rests upon what Moystad calls the Peircean synthesis — a dialectical triad that overcomes the differences of landscape, architecture and infrastructure into the three categories planning, urbanism, architecture. These are the further overarching concepts discussed earlier.  In contradistinction, the Klingmann/Angelil interpretation of Scape©.   Scape Figure 3 47  

Firstly, they cite a link between architecture, landscape and infrastructure. (Figure 3) “The traditional city demarcates a figure against the ground of its surrounding landscape.”48 Here dual definitions of landscape emerge; the landscape upon which parts are constructed and the landscape as a practise of dealing with what occur between architecture and infrastructure.   Scape Figure 4   Secondly, through the Hybrid Morphologies, links between the constituent parts are not eroded, but set free from one another.(Figure 4) “In the contemporary city figure ground distinctions are revoked.” 49   ScapeFigure 5  Inline with Koolhaas’ conception of Merge© (“a brutal collapsing of opposites to create new conditions”) over dialectics, Klingmann/Angelil fragment infrastructure, architecture and landscape in an attempt to aptly represent the contemporary city. “The city as urban landscape increasingly evolves as a dynamic process, questioning the authority of self reliant architectural form…de-centering the notion of the architectural object as a closed entity,” write Klingmann and Angelil.50   The main difference between the Klingmann/Angelil versus the Moystad argument for the implications of Scape© result out of whether or not they recognise and accept the collapse of the dialectical process. Moystad, intent on maintaining the field of architecture as “a consistent and well-established concept”51 accepts and maintains the dialectical triad: thesis, antithesis synthesis. Dialectic – the mode of thought used as provocation of rarefied systems of apparent antimonies. The antimonies maintain their status, whilst simultaneously integrating by subcategories that transcend the boundaries of the conceptual dichotomy. In other words, categories share subcategories that relate to other categories. These subcategories may also require a priori reflexive concepts for their understanding. That is, concepts that is not noticeable in ‘the real world’ but help to explain processes that occur in that space.  The conclusion of which is the recognition of the “city [that] dissolves in this general urban fabric, this fabric, or tissue rather, seems to take on a life of its own, and ‘landscape’ in the sense of cultivated nature seems to offer a conceptual handle on the urban discourse.”52 Recognising the city/urban environment as a tissue or fabric, (as Alex Wall also does53) remains a modernist endeavour.54

Klingmann and Angelil’s hybrid morphologies recognise the inadequacy of the dialectical triad to explain the contemporary city. There are no antimonies. The categories dissolve like soap tablets in a dishwasher. Instead of creating new synthetic concepts in an effort to explain the blurring between country and city, the postmodernist, recognising the forces of globalisation, accept the interior and anterior fragmentation of infrastructure, architecture and landscape: 

  “The city is a system in motion, characterised by fluid conditions…[w]ith the dissolution of categories, an undetermined state is attained, that repudiates—as to the logic of a new spatial conception—firmly secured hierarchies.”55  

The rejection of city as tissue/fabric is supported by Koolhass:   “I find [it] interesting to understand the city no longer as tissue – more as “mere” coexistence, a series of relationships between objects that are almost never articulated in visual or formal ways, no longer “caught” in architectural connections.”56  

The implication of the concept of Scape© are important for the ongoing tensions between the tenets of modernism and post-modernism. Globalisation as the phenomenon of high-speed mass proliferation of information, commodities, images and people across borders leads to urbanisation. The urban environment in turn moves back out toward the country side until the distinction between country and city become blurred. Postmodernism, with acceptance of science as a fiction is more equipped to deal with open, fluid conditions, whereas modernism is “caught” in architectural connections of frozen music. Freed from dialectical battles in a fallacious attempt to capture the perfected science, as Nietzsche argues, “We do not always keep our eyes from rounding off something and, as it were, finishing the poem: and then it is no longer eternal imperfection that we carry across the river of becoming.” Scape© implies the conquest of post-modernism over modernism, not simply as a theoretical manifestation, but also via globalisation, the actualisation that certain forces and processes are beyond the control of science and reason.

 

 

Footnotes:

28 Chuihua, Judy Chung,. [et al.]; 2001 Great Leap Forward, Taschen ; Cambridge, Mass: Harvard
Design School. p.706.

29 Ibid, p. 712. 30 Ibid, p. 707.

31 Sassen, in Davidson, 1996, p. 128.  

32 Wall, in Corner, 1999, p. 234.

33 Enwezor, 2003, p. 111.

34 Klingmann and Angelil, 1999, p. 17. 35 Ibid, p.18  

36 Moystad, O,. 2004. Urban By Implication, http://www.ab.ntnu.no/byggekunst/ansatte/ansattesider/moystad/Urban%20by%20Implication.pdf; accessed most recently 2/11/2006, p. 5  

37 Ibid, p.1 38 Ibid, p.5  

39 Moystad, 2004, p. 1 and Klingmann, 1999, p.18.  

40 Moystad, 2004, p. 10.  

41 Klingmann and Angelil, 1999, p. 20.  

42 Moystad, 2004, p.16  

43 Moystad, 2004, p. 16. 44 Ibid, p.16  

45 Moystad, 2004, p.16 46 Moystad, 2004, pp. 16-17  

47 Klingmann and Angelil, 1999, p. 24 48 Ibid, p.24 49 Ibid, p. 24  

50 Klingmann and Angelil, 1999, p. 24 51 Moystad, 1999, p.10  

52 Moystad, 2004, p. 10.  

53 Wall, in Corner, 1999, ‘Programming the Urban Surface’, p.233  

54 Enwezor, 2003, p. 107. 55 Ibid, p. 24.

  

56 Koolhaas, interviewed by Zaera, A, P,. ‘Finding Freedoms: Conversations with Rem Koolhaas’, in El Croquis, (1992) vol. 53 p. 22.  

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One thought on “Scape – Part 3

  1. Nice article but “the actualization that certain forces and processes are beyond the control of science and reason.” what does it means? Marx and Heidegger maybe could say something about it. Globalization it is a set of forces and processes driven by political economy, ie capitalism became absolute (read worldwide neo-liberal regimen). Maybe better call the globalization as globaritarism. Raeson and science are not god (but in the globaritarism seems there is a god: the profit, the money), but they are the way to reach optimized choices, simply. Or we let choose our future to the “device” of economics?
    Postmodernism is a mental state, wake up!

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