Blockchain

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Blockchain is a digital docudrama set in in the limitless universe of Minecraft. The film follows the ghost of Walter Gropius on an extended dèrive through ten of the game’s worlds, shadowing him as he ponders the social and political fundamentals of creativity. Fragments of conversations with the creators of maps and servers, memories from the past, observations, speculations and conjectures of one of the 20th century’s great utopians intersect with a transnational digital universe in which learning, labor and play are all mediated by the basic shape of the block.Drifting in childlike wonder through the imaginary landscapes of a culture whose transition from the industrial to the digital is complete, W_Gropius becomes a pioneer of uncharted spatial dimensions—intangible meta-mechanics, utopian city plans, robotic prototypes, dream-like realities— tracing, as he progresses, the art of construction from the physical to the cybernetic.
Blockchain is a digital docudrama set in in the limitless universe of Minecraft. The film follows the ghost of Walter Gropius on an extended dèrive through ten of the game’s worlds, shadowing him as he ponders the social and political fundamentals of creativity. Fragments of conversations with the creators of maps and servers, memories from the past, observations, speculations and conjectures of one of the 20th century’s great utopians intersect with a transnational digital universe in which learning, labor and play are all mediated by the basic shape of the block.Drifting in childlike wonder through the imaginary landscapes of a culture whose transition from the industrial to the digital is complete, W_Gropius becomes a pioneer of uncharted spatial dimensions—intangible meta-mechanics, utopian city plans, robotic prototypes, dream-like realities— tracing, as he progresses, the art of construction from the physical to the cybernetic.
A film by Space Caviar (Joseph Grima, Martina Muzi)
Soundtrack: Charles Tapp
Voice: Simon Beckmann
Produced with Replay Mod by Crushed Pixel and johni0702
Skin Design: Brain Juice
Filmed on location in:
The Dropper by Bigre
Titan City by Colonial Puppet
Minecraft Automatic Farms by RedstoneSpire
Red rose city Cathedral by Caesreon Team
Scale model of my house by Capp00
Climate Hope City by Block works Team
Redstone Computer by LPG
Controllable Battle Robots by CubeHamster
Bauhaus building by Jduartemiller
Sango Sho dreamscape by Lentebriesje
SkyBlock by NoobcrewProduced with support of Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein

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SQM: Fortress of Solitude

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‘Fortress of Solitude’ is an essay film in three chapters investigating the technology used to make the home smarter. The internet and alternative network protocols are the backbone to home automation. Much of the technology infused into homes and our everyday lives have a history of defense funding or only exist because of military research. Is the smart home in fact a militarisation of the domestic, home.mil? Is our home becoming a data machine rather than architecture for living? Are our most privates spaces broadcasting our lives involuntarily instead of providing shelter? Tracing the possibilities of a military-domestic complex, Fortress of Solitude is an investigative narrative interspersed with future product proposals.
‘Fortress of Solitude’ is an essay film in three chapters investigating the technology used to make the home smarter. The internet and alternative network protocols are the backbone to home automation. Much of the technology infused into homes and our everyday lives have a history of defense funding or only exist because of military research. Is the smart home in fact a militarisation of the domestic, home.mil? Is our home becoming a data machine rather than architecture for living? Are our most privates spaces broadcasting our lives involuntarily instead of providing shelter? Tracing the possibilities of a military-domestic complex, Fortress of Solitude is an investigative narrative interspersed with future product proposals.

Project team: Simone Niquille
Sound: M.E.S.H.
Voice: Patrick Ethan Donovan

Commissioned by
Biennale Interieur Kortrijk

Exhibitions:
7 – 11/10 2015
Architectuur Film Festival Rotterdam

23/05 2015
Architecture On Film
Barbican Centre, London

27/02 – 26/03 2015
CC Strombeek, Belgium

31/01 – 27/02 2015
White Hole, Genova

17 – 26/10 2014
Biennale Interieur Kortrijk, Belgium

Press:
Architecture Foundation
Nicolas Nova for Near Future Lab
Artribune
AQNB

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99 Dom-ino
In 1914, Le Corbusier published his design for Maison Dom-ino, a slab-and-column frame intended to redefine domestic architecture by embracing the versatile and affordable new technology of reinforced concrete in the service of modernism. Maison Dom-ino efficiently deploys the principles of modern architecture while embracing the unanticipated, and as such, it represents a moment of synthesis and aperture: by absolving the vertical planes of the building from their customary load-bearing duties, it effectively relinquishes control of the building’s exterior mantle, making any number of aesthetic solutions and languages viable.Inspired in part by the vernacular Ottoman architecture he observed during his travels in Turkey in 1911, Maison Dom-ino could be read as a manifesto for openness in architecture—a hypothetical proposal for a new symbiosis between the hand of the architect and the individuality of the occupant. One century after the project’s publication, thanks to the virtues of economy and versatility that inspired Le Corbusier to employ reinforced concrete, the same slab and frame has established itself in southern Europe and in much of the rest of the world as the default formula for urban and non-urban construction: a technological, stylistically agnostic vernacular that articulates modernism’s impulse to colonise the landscape.99 Dom-ino takes the centennial of Le Corbusier’s design as the trigger for a survey of Italian domesticity and the relationship with the landscape over the last 100 years. Throughout history, few inventions have been as transformative of Italy as the concrete frame, to the point that it could be described as an object of collective self-identification in which pride and chagrin overlap. On the one hand, it is the symbol of the wealth generated by a building industry that rebuilt Italy from the rubble of the Second World War, as depicted in the opening scenes of De Sica’s 1956 film Il Tetto; on the other, it is the primary instrument of “abusivismo”, or unregulated construction’s assault on the landscape. As such, it is the ultimate symbol of the architect’s extraordinary power—and enduring helplessness.

99 Dom-ino was presented in June 2014 in the Corderie of the Arsenale as part of Monditalia during Fundamentals, the 14th International Architecture Exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia. The designer Alicia Ongay-Perez was commissioned to create a series of concrete moduli inspired by the Maison Dom-ino to accompany the films.

In 1914, Le Corbusier published his design for Maison Dom-ino, a slab-and-column frame intended to redefine domestic architecture by embracing the versatile and affordable new technology of reinforced concrete in the service of modernism. Maison Dom-ino efficiently deploys the principles of modern architecture while embracing the unanticipated, and as such, it represents a moment of synthesis and aperture: by absolving the vertical planes of the building from their customary load-bearing duties, it effectively relinquishes control of the building’s exterior mantle, making any number of aesthetic solutions and languages viable.
A film by Space Caviar (Joseph Grima, Martina Muzi)
Photography: Andrea Bosio
Editing and post-production: Gabriele Mariotti
Post-production audio: Shakeeb Abu Hamdan
Subtitles: Alessia Santoro, Manuel Francolini, Silvia Ciotto
Concrete moduli: Alicia Ongay-PerezProduced with the support of Fundación Alumnos47

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Mud and Money: The World Archipelago
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Mud and Money by Bruce Sterling:

Nowhere but in Dubai could the world be so richly re-imagined.

The World would be visible from the International Space Station, and it would look, more or less, like our actual world. To tell the truth, The World looked like a world fragmented into private real-estate lots, because The World was, in fact, a huge yacht harbor. Asia, Africa and the Americas had been broken to sellable bits.

The World, being newborn and consummately artificial, would have five special qualities unknown in lesser settlements. It would have technical intelligence. Marketing magic. Royal grandeur. Visceral appeal. And it would leave a legacy to astonish the world for generations.

These were plausible aims. They merely seemed unlikely by the standards of places in the world that weren’t Dubai. Before the fiery launch of the War on Terror, Dubai had been a backwater emirate with an ancient fishing port and a couple of modest high-rises. As ruin stalked the Middle East, this oasis had escaped the deadly Curse of Oil, because Dubai didn’t have any. Instead, Dubai had a grand strategy to launder other people’s oil money, through finance, shipping logistics, trade, and tourism — all of them dependent on Dubai’s 85% foreign population of jetsetters and migrant laborers.

From the point of view of the Dubai locals, The World was a highly logical solution to Dubai’s unique problems. As landlord, Dubai wanted to lure in the world’s richest tenants. These eccentrics would be cordially parked in fancy island mansions five kilometers offshore, with their own malls and resort bars. The apotheosis of liberal capitalism was a golden ultra-ghetto.

Unfortunately the success of The World was entirely dependent on the goodwill of foreigners. The scheme failed abjectly, but this had nothing to do with Dubai’s stellar ability to construct new infrastructure out of mere sand.

It was the world that failed Dubai, because a planetary real estate crisis in 2008 broke the nerves of the very clientele who should have chosen to infest a resort like The World. The global overclass had panicked, and Dubai’s many other newly-built charms: the huge robot tramway, the ozone-piercing skyscraper, the seven-star seaside hotel shaped like a sail — none of these things could mellow them. The planetary elite had lost their taste for real-estate flipping at precisely the moment that a tax-free entrepot in an autocratic micro-state might have been really handy.

Dubai had finessed the deadly War on Terror by offering the world an Arab sheikdom even more globalized than the West; but in a credit crunch, Dubai was just another paper-shuffling finance hub.

No buyers, no World. Under capitalism, nobody can huge build a royal utopia just to have one. So the oddly-shaped cluster of islands became one of the world’s largest shipping hazards.

There are those who claim The World is sinking back into the mud that gave it birth, but since it’s made of 321 million cubic metres of sand spread over 31 million tons of rock, that fate is unlikely. The World isn’t sinking to perdition. Not at all. Having lost its reason, The World is just sitting there.

It was the world that failed Dubai, because a planetary real estate crisis in 2008 broke the nerves of the very clientele who should have chosen to infest a resort like The World. The global overclass had panicked, and Dubai’s many other newly-built charms: the huge robot tramway, the ozone-piercing skyscraper, the seven-star seaside hotel shaped like a sail — none of these things could mellow them. The planetary elite had lost their taste for real-estate flipping at precisely the moment that a tax-free entrepot in an autocratic micro-state might have been really handy.
A film produced for Utilitas Interrupta

Aerial filming by Navigation Films
Supervision and production by Elian Stefa
Accompanying text by Bruce Sterling

Exhibition dates:
28 September – 27 November 2011: experimentadesign 2011: Useless, Lisbon
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Diwaniyah: Architectural Space of Political Exchange
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Kuwait is a country in which political parties are banned. Yet throughout recent history, Kuwait’s political process has found an indirect form of democratic expression in a deeply rooted cultural tradition that also corresponds to an architectural typology: the Diwaniyah. The Diwaniyah is a simple, four-sided room, with seating on each side, in which daily meetings are held; a central element of the ritual of this discursive articulation of Kuwaiti politics is the consumption of tea and coffee. By providing a platform for facilitating quick communication and consensus building, Kuwait’s diwaniyahs constitute an instrument of political expression and debate that in man ways mirrors the role of the newspaper in the West; it is no coincidence that the Diwaniyah was of central importance in the struggle against the Iraqi occupation in 1990, a fact acknowledged with poetic subtlety in Colonel Khalaf Al-Tebi’s address to the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) prior to the first Gulf war.

Concurrently, when considered in the general political frameview of Kuwaiti society, it acts as a form of distributed assembly where consensus is achieved in small interconnected groups, and societal grievances are broadcasted and filtered as they climb the hierarchy of these congregations. It is significant that in the parliamentary elections in 2009, four female candidates won their seats and became Kuwait’s first female lawmakers. All four had been visiting those typically male spaces of the Diwaniyah prior to the election, a fact that was not always received positively.

Our interest in the Diwaniyah rests in its concrete role as an architectural/spatial typology that is also a protagonist in the contemporary history of Kuwaiti political life. The Diwaniyah is both a real thing and a metaphor; it is an architectural typology whose precise historical role in defining a nation’s political identity can be clearly and extensively documented. But it is also the elementary particle of Kuwaiti politics – an unusually crystalline manifestation, in a commonplace and humble architectural form, of architecture’s potential as a facilitator of political expression.


Brew me some coffee, brew me some cardomen
These black beans will heal my soul.
How can we burn this and pour it in our hearts,
So that it may release our dreams and our goals.

(Poem recited by Colonel of the Saudi Arabian Army Khalaf Al-Tebi at the GCC conference prior to calling for the invasion and liberation of Kuwait from the Iraqis)


Brew me some coffee, brew me some cardomen
These black beans will heal my soul.
How can we burn this and pour it in our hearts,
So that it may release our dreams and our goals.

(Poem recited by Colonel of the Saudi Arabian Army Khalaf Al-Tebi at the GCC conference prior to calling for the invasion and liberation of Kuwait from the Iraqis)
By Joseph Grima and Markus Miessen
Filmography by Elian Stefa
Exhibition dates:
2 December 2010 – 10 January 2011, Harvard University, Graduate School of Design
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