PROTEST

June 16th, 2011 — 5:59pm
puritans milk
Painting of American Puritans (source)
Milk Farmers Protest, 2009 (source)

 

Reformation theology emphasized the intangible quality of faith and its location within the hearts of believers, rather than in the prescribed ritual of an ornate and hierarchical Catholicism. Embedded here, generally, was a rejection of the material. As waves of iconoclasm spread with Protestantism, so did the articulation of a new church architecture – one spare and plain, puritanical, rather than bejeweled or gilded.

 

This new religion founded itself in reaction, in protest, to the dominant practice thus, forming a network of Protestants in various guises, across Europe. Central to their belief was the philosophical distinction between the visible and invisible churches, between those who participate in religion in a material, empirical way—attending sermons, Sunday school classes—and those who, more significantly, are spiritually bound to Jesus.

 

The Westminster Standards, composed during the English Reformation, became the basis for, among other movements, Presbyterianism. The Standards articulated this difference between the invisible and visible, while denouncing the Pope of Rome as the head of the church. Instead, this vision of Protestantism imagined a community of individuals bound not by ecclesiastical authority but instead by a persistent and invisible faith. Protest then, unites a group diffuse in location or body under an immaterial priority.

 

In a staged protest however, it is exactly visibility that is valued. The accumulation of individuals… more

 

 

For the average protest, attracting media attention is as critical as the grievance itself. Although current modes of digital communication can help to spread awareness of a cause, in order to maximize the (physical) platform for presenting concerns and to provide an accessible forum for generating public debate, demonstrators are known to collectively appropriate the city.

 

As societies become increasingly sophisticated, so do their forms of demonstration. Instead of throwing stones at government buildings, brute physical aggression may be superseded by psychological methods. In 2009, dairy farmers in Belgium began spraying milk onto farmland in order to protest the extremely low prices that they were receiving for their products. Responsibility for the protesters’ actions was directed at bureaucrats, while the inability of observers to witness such wastage spurred the end of the protest.

 

Because resistance is often a response to acts of oppression, protesting can instigate representation for alternate perspectives and even mediation between them. In May of this year, a group of Spanish citizens criticized what they perceived to be a corrupt government, through the formation of a grassroots democratic movement. What began as an informal protest camp, is developing into a hyper-organized micro-society that aims to guide the parties involved in the political system, on collective decision-making.

 

Through their many forms, protests typically maintain a spatial dimension, be it urban, rural or otherwise.

 

Rachel Engler

 

 

Daniel Fernàndez Pascual

 

1 comment » | Regular Contributors

UNIFORM

February 4th, 2011 — 8:38pm
zeltbahn leather
Zeltbahn 31 (source)
Peter Marino, Architect (source)

 

Zeltbahn 31 is a triangular piece of waterproof fabric with thirty buttons, thirty button-holes, nine rivets and an opening the size of a head. Developed in the 1930s for the German army, it was a versatile device, which was to be used as a piece of clothing, dwelling and as an all-purpose survival tool.

 

It was possible to fashion it in six different ways: as a poncho-style raincoat for marching troops, mounted soldiers and bike riders; as a tent housing four, eight or sixteen men, depending on how many units were fastened together; filled with straw and securely tied, it worked as a flotation device; as a winter blanket; a rain-canopy; and as a hammock or a stretcher to carry wounded soldiers… more

 

Uniformity arises through repetition as evinced by many architects’ preference for monotony where work-wear is concerned. While the overwhelming cliché (uniform) remains the architect in black, many designers have found a way to set themselves apart: by wearing customized garments. Unlike the usual connotation of the uniform, which typically unifies a group of wearers, these individualized outfits maintain the integrity of the architect’s personal identity via originality. As uniformity is reinforced by repeated adornment over time, the ubiquitous black ensembles can maintain their uniform status by being worn by anyone in the architecture tribe for any given length of time, whereas individualized garments can only gain uniform status through consistent adornment by a single person.

 

Daniel Fernàndez Pascual

 

 

Erandi de Silva

 

1 comment » | Editorial, Guest Contributors

BRUISE

December 7th, 2010 — 8:54pm
oil kirche
Oil in the Rain, Photo by Samar Singla, 2009 (source)

 

A blow lasts a hundredth of a second. Its registration, a bruise, may last several days or even weeks. Trace evidence is left behind when different objects come into contact with one another revealing a past narrative. Fingerprints indicate a hand that was once in contact; skid marks on the runway recall a flight.

 

Trauma affects mushrooms, like humans they may suffer similarly by undergoing a change in color following an impact. Once the cap of a Boletus erythropus is nicked and the cell walls are broken, oxygen alters their color from brownish-orange to a range of iridescent tones. There are many famous blue-bruising mushrooms, which are mostly either poisonous or hallucinogenic. Walking amongst these psychedelic fungi in a forest could produce fantastic blue-black footsteps, as their color transfers onto the shoes which tread upon them.

 

Light unveils marks on a road; foreign fluids such as oil, spilled on the wet surface of the asphalt generate rainbows through reflection. These colorful stains indicate a car’s dripping engine, which may have since left the scene.

 

When derelict buildings are demolished, they also leave signs of their one-time existence on adjoining structures. A white-tiled wall of a bathroom may remain on the second story of the neighboring party wall or perhaps the fragments of steps from a former staircase may have survived.

 

Like bruises, renewal and regeneration will usually diminish any remnants with time.

 

Frauenkirche Rubble, Berlin (source)

 

A bruise is a photograph in flesh, an abstracted index of action in color. It is a place of injury, whereby red and blue mark the site of impact. A locus of tenderness, with its red and blue demarcation from undamaged tissue, the bruise depicts in two dimensions, a violence now past.

 

An urban assault can be remembered as well and traced in physical terms. In Dresden, the Frauenkirche’s flecked, reconstructed surface represents an enduring urban trauma. Since German reunification, and the extension of Western funds to the formerly socialist state, Dresden’s historic center has been reinstated as a predominantly baroque city. Tourism and civic pride have encouraged this refurbishing and in a metaphorical spirit far from subtle, authorities have reconstructed the Frauenkirche from mixed materials, from both new stones and from those charred building blocks rescued post-war.

 

The Frauenkirche’s combination of new and old stones, some clean and others charred by the bombing, creates a collage. The black and white geometry builds a form of seemingly positive and negative spaces. The black, charred bricks, picked from heaps of rubble and reused in the restored church, mark the specific site of violence and commemorate the larger destruction of the city during the Second World War.

 

Unlike a bruise which exclaims itself for some days before it, and its ache, fade away, Dresden’s injury has been made monumental and persists in the church’s built form. The Frauenkirche is a site unhealed… more

 

Daniel Fernàndez Pascual

Rachel Engler

 

1 comment » | Guest Contributors, Regular Contributors

 

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