Architecture as Scenography for the Play of Life

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Architecture as Scenography for the Play of Life

Alina Kvirkveliya


The main idea of the project is to use text as a data source for developing an architectural environment. This project is an attempt to translate language of literature into architectural language or use architecture as a tool to transfer information, expressed in text form. The initial source was a novel of Andrei Beliy «Petersburg», which was first published in 1913. Ideas and concepts of the novel  can be regarded as symptomatic of the epoch, when novel was written.  Scientific discoveries at the turn of the nineteenth/twentieth centuries transformed our perception of reality and highly influenced philosophy, society, culture and art, literature in particular. The architectural model of the novel is composed of two main parts, representing two paradigms juxtaposed in the book or two coordinate systems (cartesian and spherical). This parts also represents 2 main characters of the book. Each part is divided into overground and underground space, which reflect consciousness and subconsciousness  of characters. According to this structure,  4 stages were formed.  For developing geometrical and spacial solution of  each stage was used one of the following phenomena: Golden Ratio, Distortion, Caustic and Noise. Way through the stages is a travel through spaces of different dimensionality.


Who influences you graphically?

When I work on images for a particular project, I have a pool of objects in my head, which reflect the spirit of the space. They come from different fields and they make architectural space complete, in a way they are part of architecture. My first insipiration for this project were works of Russian art-group AES+F, I used characters of their spectacular work “Action Half Life” in my first collages. In general, over-dramatized athmosphere of their works was exactly what i wanted to achieve in my images. This was the first input for building a local esthetic of the project. In order to highlight the abstract nature of the space, I filled it with still objects –  ancient sculptures and works of Rodin. I played with the scale of objects (enourmouse crystalls, shells etc). And half-naked or , on contrary,  full-covered in burkas bodies are symbols of anonymity.

How and to what extent could the formatting of the proposal through a book format (digital and/or physical) have reinforced the thesis?

The interesting thing when working with text as a shaping apparatus, is your own mental shift. It was crucial to get rid of any external impacts, except ones, that appear in the novel. This led to interesting solutions, like placing project in the undefined, mystical location (edge of the world). In principle, there was not so much difference between working within phisical context, as we got used, and digital context of the book. In general, I consider architecture as scenography for the play of life. In this proposal i went to literarily and frankness in this approach, by that I could reach new level of abstraction in architecture.

What draw you to this specific novel and how did the graphic language develop as a response to it?

In a work of Gilles Deleuze “Cinema” he mentioned this novel. I had interested, because Deleuze describes it as an excelent piece of work. “Petersburg” triggered my imagination and I came up with the idea to depict this amazing text in architectural form. Novel is not eventful, but filled with descriptions of mental work of characters. Language of author is very rich with mathematical and geometrical terms. Main characters have their geometrical alter-egos (cube and sphere), wich i used for build the space.  I was also using colour code of the novel in my images.

What is your work process? 

In the begining it was quite painful, to be honest. I had an idea, but I couldn’t imagine, how it could be done. I’ve tried several ways and methods, how to extrude any usefull material from novel text. My first attempts were focused only on objective analysis of text as a sequence of letters, later I went from purely algebraic approach to work with interactions of characters in the book. In the end I had to simplify everything to reach the main core of the novel and define clear parts. On one hand I am happy, that I went to simplification and was focused on very general analysis of the text, without going deep in details,  but on the other hand I would like to try later to depict text in all of complexity and richness. So in the end first part of the work was manual analysts of the novel, then to achieve geometry and shaping tools I was combining different software: C4d, Autocad, Adobe packge, Rhino + Grasshopper, Wolfram Mathematica.

How and what parameters dictated the transformation from text to architecture?

Time and historical circumstances, when the novel was written, it was time of radical transformation of the whole society, conservative ideas were opposed to new fresh ideas in different fields, geometry in particular. Interaction of characters in the book, all of the characters build pairs, juxtaposed to each other. State of mind of characters of the novel, each of the character of the book goes through the mental transformation and has space conscious and subconscious. Colour code of the novel was used in the architectural proposal. as I mentioned above. Set of abstract and metaphysical objects, appear in the novel, are placed in the space. This are main parameters, which were important for me in the work.










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