ESSAY


COSMICOMICS*
— workshop ArtEZ Art Academy, 2017


COSMICOMICS* – was a three-day workshop by Annee Grøtte Viken in collaboration with Jorge Mejia Hernández and Mark Proosten, as part of an event by Writingplace laboratory for architecture and literature on time, storytelling and space at the art academy ArtEZ, campus Zwolle. The workshop followed lectures on the theme by Klaske Havik, Rob Hendriks and Jacob Voorthuis and explored how time is conveyed in literary narratives and how it can be translated into spatial structures and experiences. A selection of storylines touching on various conceptions of time formed the program for a 1:1 exploration of time, storytelling and space. The preceding text is a brief account of the conversations around the process and works produced by students from Corporeal, MA Interior Architecture, during the workshop.

With Alana Jansen (NL), Mandela Jap-A-Joe (SUR), Malgorzata Gniatkowska (POL), Mariska Boer (NL), Qi Liu (CHN/NL), Rosie van Beuningen (NL), Fenne van den Heuvel (NL), Phuong Duy Dao (VIE), Xiaomin Deng (CHN), Cille van den Brink (NL), Ashley Hoekerd (NL) and Maarten Mulder (NL)


excerpt
“I couldn’t say I’ll make it the same or I’ll make it different, there were no things to copy, nobody knew what a line was, straight or curved, or even a dot, or a protuberance or a cavity.

I conceived the idea of making a sign, that’s true enough, or rather, I conceived the idea of considering a sign as something that I felt like making, so when, at that point in space and not in another, I made something, mean­ing to make a sign, it turned out that I really had made a sign, after all.”**
* **Italo Calvino, The Complete Cosmicomics – A Sign In Space, Penguin Books Ltd, London, 2010

Buildings retain the testimony of time like a continuous progression of their existence. Some will grow old and count the centuries, while others exist as temporary spatial manifestations of weeks or even days. Yet no matter the timeframe, buildings have to endure traces of use, modifications or other external forces that leave their mark upon them.

We travel constantly in architectonic space and through time, it is an inevitable, continuous process of existence. As much as architects are often unable to influence the time and its impact upon a building, authors explore their ability to do so. A novelist can build up a storyline that embraces the entire history of the universe in 432 pages or turn 1076 pages into a sole event, on a single day, in a specific place. Time is an inherent part of storytelling, whether it exists inside or outside the words on the page. Time can be sped up or slowed down, manipulated or enhanced. Time is of the essence.

How can working with the concept of time in literature open up the way we understand and create architecture?


CORPOREAL


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