Une architecture des humeurs | R&Sie(n)

“The difference between an artificial machine and a natural machine is like the difference between the finite and the infinite, the static and the dynamic, the fixed and the mobile, the finitely producible or reproducible and the infinitely reproducible. In an ambiguous passage in his De ipsa Natura, Leibniz praises Boyle, a great English scientist of his day, for his attempt to reconcile Aristotle and Descartes, and especially for arguing that “we should consider the mechanism of a body to be its very nature”. This formulation demonstrates that nature and machine are inseparable no matter how far we descend into nature’s depths. No matter how small a machine may be, there are always machines within machines and so on ad infinitum.” -Chris Younès

The studio R&Sie(n) has been always interested in nature and research, this time they are working on a visible a project exploring new modes of architectural structuring and transaction. Looking beyond a strictly scientific and architectural parapet, and reading beyond the philosophical benchmarks [from Gilles Deleuze to Peter Sloterdijk, not forgetting Toni Negri], it is tempting to envisage the R&Sie(n) modus operandi from a metaphorical and poetical angle.

In words of François Roche:

– One aspect is comprised by computational, mathematical and machinist procedures designed to produce an urban structure following certain protocols. These successive indeterminate, improbable and uncertain aggregations will rearticulate the link between the individual and the collective.

– The other aspect is the scanning of the neuro-biological emissions of each visitor so as to analyze their chemical composition. Until now the collection of information involved in the residential unit protocol has been based on visible and reductive data [area, way of life, number of rooms, mode of access, neighbourhood frontiers].

This experiment will provide the occasion for an interrogation of the shadowy “emission of desires” through the scanning of certain physiological signals, and the implementation of a chemistry of the moods of future purchasers taken as inputs generating a diversity of habitable morphologies and the relationships between them.

Is interesting to note that the experiment goes through different levels, from the physiology of humors to misunderstandings. The humors collection is organized on the basis of interviews that make visible the conflict and even schizophrenia of desires, between those secreted [biochemical and neurobiological] and those expressed through the interface of language [freewill]. Mathematical tools taken from set theory [belonging, inclusion, intersection, difference, among others] are used so that these “misunderstandings” produce a morphological potential [attraction, exclusion, touching, repulsion, indifference] as a negotiation of “distances” between the human beings who are to constitute these collective aggregates.

From An architecture “des humeursinterview with François Roche by Caroline Naphegyi, artistic director at Le Laboratoire.

Naphegyi: Why do you introduce contradictory signals – what you call “misunderstandings” – into the heart of your architectural protocol (the inhabitable morphologies)? How does this physiology of desires, this living and unpredictable material, radically shift the architect’s whole approach?

Roche: We decided to take the preliminary step of revisiting the contradictions within the very expression of these desires, both those that traverse public space because of their ability to express a choice, a desire conveyed by language, on the surface of things, and those preexisting and perhaps more disturbing but equally valid desires that reflect the body as a desiring machine [as Deleuze put it], with its own chemistry, imperceptibly anterior to the consciousness those substances generate. The ‘architecture of humors’ is a way of breaking and entering into language’s mechanism of dissimulation in order to physically construct its contradictions. It means staging a break-in to the logic of things when language has to negotiate with the depths of the body, down to the bottom folds, like with Antonin Artaud and his compulsive catatonia.

After diferent experimentation and research on topics as Mathematical operators for structural optimization, The “algorithm(s)”, From the “algorithm(s)” to bio-knit physicality and Toolings/Robotic process among others, the research ends with a material expertise in Tooling/Bio-cement weaving, working on the development of a viscous and adherent secretable material so as to produce this morphologically complex structure [a material and procedures similar to the contour-crafting developed with the Behrohk Khoshnevis Lab at USC for the “I’ve heard about” project]. This is a bio-cement component, a mix of cement and bioresin developed by the agricultural polymers industry that makes it possible to control the parameters of viscosity, liquidity and polymerization and thus produce chemical and physical agglutination at the time of secretion. The mechanical expertise of this material is made visible [constraints of rupture induced by traction, compression and shearing]. This material emits low C02.

The project is a complete research, carried out with François Jouve, the mathematician in charge of working out dynamic structural strategies; Marc Fornes with Winston Hampel and Natanael Elfassy in charge of computational development; the architect and robotics designer Stephan Henrich; and Gaetan Robillard and Frédéric Mauclere for the physiological data collection station, following a scenario by Berdaguer and Péjus. It also uses Marc Kendall’s process of data collection using “microneedles.”

You can read about the complete project and exhibition at New Territories BLOG.
Web-site from Le Laboratoire, here.


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