Do not Bodies and Light act mutually upon one another; that is to say, Bodies upon Light in emitting, reflecting, refracting and inflecting it, and Light upon Bodies for heating them, and putting their parts into a vibrating motion? (from Isaac Newton's Opticks (1704), Query 5)
White is not a colour. It's a combination of all light frequencies, playing on your rods and cones, see. Your brain, on the receiving end of those rays, perceives white. When something appears coloured, it's because the object has absorbed some frequencies of light and reflected others. The rays that bounce back onto our eyeballs define the colours we see. A crystal is a machine for revealing white's constituent colour frequencies. Similarly, this analog device, which operates like an oversized lenticular, is white when viewed one way. But as your body—and your eye—moves around it, another condition is revealed.
Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) Toronto, CANADA
"Architecture is too slow in its realization to be a 'problem solver,'" said Cedric Price. If this is true, how much stock can we place in architecture's ability to define the future of museums? And who's to say these future museums will be physical entities at all?
So what fate beholds these jagged, serpentine, crystalline and crumpled architectures? The proposed suggests an end to the museum as we know it, and a way of reading these institutions as majestic necropolis for a time when standing solemn before an artifact of art/culture, with hands stuffed in pockets, was among the noblest of pursuits.
Historically there has always been something of a contrivance or deceptiveness about the folly as an architectural type. Frequently we find it used as a vehicle for romantic escapism: images of ancient ruination mixed with visions of vernacular exoticism, designed deliberately as imperfect counterpoints to Palladian perfection. Such images often spoke to a nostalgic longing for the “wholeness” of past civilizations, just as the contrived formlessness of the picturesque revealed something of nature’s lost “purity” (in the face of its rational cultivation). Indeed, as a “planned accident,” the folly has always lent itself to an ambiguous or contradictory definition. On the one hand, it stands as a deliberate appeal to “otherness”—to the strange or uncanny; on the other hand, it remains perfectly integrated in the routines and rituals of enlightened society.
This insight, in our view, is what distances the folly conceptually from its modern incarnation as the technologically-mediated “expo” pavilion. The folly in its contemporary expression should rather resist such exhibitionism for its own sake, attending instead to questions of built form from the standpoint of the contradictory or paradoxical.
Hand-stamped newsprint, tape, 12'-4" x 9'-8" x 12'-0"
For the annual design event Come Up To My Room, WE-3 installed thousands of hand-stamped and hand-numbered waybills on the walls of a room at the Gladstone Hotel. The piece explored the ideas of place and personal collection, home, hoarding and the mundane, and attempted to create an effect (random, communal, bodily), and evoke emotion (wonder and weariness) via the collection and display of a single banal artifact ad infinitum (ad nauseam).
Cities are inevitably shaped by historical events and urban phenomena. This project examines a sites capacity to resuscitate the memory of a spectacle in the absence of the architecture that generated it, and asks whether or not this can reverse the effects of what Robert Smithson described as the ‘entropic city’. The KAI TAK PROJECT positions the individual as the primary focus by engaging the culture of casual aircraft spectatorship (or ‘planespotting’) that once existed in the city of Kowloon in an attempt to evoke an alternative reading of the cityscape.
The history of Kowloon and the evolution of its first airport can be characterized as one of transience and of constant change resulting from inadvertent shifts in the political and economic landscape. During its 73-year tenure (1925-1998), the site, which is located on an ocean inlet between Hong Kong Island to the south and Kowloon to the north, endured numerous ownership changes and one World War that was underscored by a Japanese invasion. Although the site’s initial formation into an aerodrome was happenstance in nature, its successive development was largely influenced by piecemeal urbanism in the absence of a comprehensive master plan. When a business transaction between two investors intent on developing the vacant lands dissolved, the government recognized the site’s potential to become an airfield that could be extended and expanded as needed into Kowloon Bay. Over the following decades, the site would undergo several transformations - from an aviation school in the 1920’s to a naval air base that was further modified to suit commercial aviation in the 1950’s. Inevitably, the growth of South Kowloon was defined by a constant negotiation of space – urban space to aerospace.
The landings into the airport, which grew increasingly more difficult, were a dramatic spectacle in aerial acrobatics - aviation enthusiasts grew accustom to watching aircrafts sweep across the city at dangerously low altitudes during descent. The approach path into Runway 13/31, in particular, left an indelible impression on the urban fabric, inscribing a path of distinct low-rise buildings along its trajectory as a result of both aviation clearance requirements and the city’s natural topography of rugged hills and valleys. Planespotting was a term coined to define this culture of casual aircraft spectatorship that was akin to watching birds in an aviary. Nearby building rooftops and hillside plateaus became makeshift observatories as other buildings and landmarks (fashioned with checkered paint and beacon lights) provided visual cues for pilots during final descent. South Kowloon was the Mecca for planespotters until the airport could no longer sustain the pressures imposed by both population and infrastructural growth.
By the 1990’s, the growth of the airport had reached its tipping point, warranting plans for a new airport to replace it. Kai Tak Airport was officially retired in July 1998 and was preceded by Chek Lap Kok Airport located 19 miles to the west on reclaimed land. The site of the former airport remained predominantly vacant for over a decade due to extreme levels of petroleum contamination and escalating property costs. Today, Kai Tak exists as a ferry cruise terminal with tall residential developments occupying what was once restricted airspace while the airfield and the checkerboard markers are the only remaining relics from the past. The landing approach itself is immortalized in amateur home videos, photographs, and recollections gathered from retired pilots and planespotters alike.
The project is organized by a series of urban interventions (or staged disturbances) mapped along the trajectory of the former flight path down to the airfield and make reference to the landing approach by utilising the city as an instrument for memory. A direct relationship is created between the new airport and the old airport, as one is programmed to respond to the other through various transformations in architecture and landscape in South Kowloon (Figure. 1). Highrises are retrofitted with “spotters” (or mechanical oculi) that move in unison to scan the city for aircrafts during take-offs and landings (Figure. 2). Street signs momentarily rotate like flapper boards at an arrival gate to display the flight codes (airline and flight number) of both outgoing and incoming flights. At the runway, the process of remediation is exhibited as a symphony of air and sound as pipes buried in the soil extract and exhaust contaminants in the form of gas at regular intervals (Figure. 3). The interventions, which are deployed in sequential order, simulate the presence of a phantom airport.