The visual above narrates my process through graphics so far. Beginning with my creative and resource influences of Russian Constructivism, Architecture from Art, and Dystopian Novels, I’ve illustrated how these topics have trickled down into a focus on the relationship between architecture and social/political change.
In furthering my research, I have found an interesting common thread. Through the readings of Neil Leach’s Architecture and Revolution, Anthony Vidler’s Warped Space, and David Wild’s Fragments of Utopia, I’ve noticed that this very idea of “fragments” has appeared every time. According to Vidler, “the fragment has a double significance. As a reminder of the past once whole but now fractured and broken, as a demonstration of the implacable effects of time and the ravages of nature, it has taken on the connotations of nostalgia and melancholy, even of history itself” (Vidler 151). Simply from the dictionary, a fragment is a small part broken or separated off something; an isolated or incomplete part of something. I have taken to thinking of fragments both metaphorically and physically, and have speculated ways in which the fragmentation of some thing or some idea conversely changes the meaning. Is a fragmented utopia a dystopia ? Is the fragmented conscious a result of the unconscious influence? Is a fragmented unconscious the experience of déjà vu? Is a fragmented collective a collection of individuals? Is a fragmented society a cause of societal unrest? Does fragmented memory cause miscommunication? How does this concept apply to architecture?
Looking back to Vidler, “an incomplete piece of a potentially complete whole, it has pointed toward a possible world of harmony in the future, a utopia perhaps, that it both represents and constructs” (151). Fragments of architecture brought me to an investigation of artist Toba Khedoori’s work, which features architectures like tunnels, stairs, houses, or doors, drawn incompletely. Despite the fragmented representation of these pieces of architecture, they are still understandable, leaving the viewer ready to put the pieces back together (152). One characteristic of the idea of fragments that I find most evocative is the accompanying idea of the seam. Fragments imply a need for rehabilitating seams and a wonderment of the cause of fragmentation. The mind map below translates “fragments of” into connecting ideas:
And leaves me now with the potential thesis question of:
How can architecture use the utopian convictions of Constructivism
to influence the fragments of society?