Fake Timber House
(also known as the Real Fake house 1)
On August 11, 2005 a structure was located in Kalamaki, on Mt. Pelion, not far from the sea. The wood frame had been erected, i.e., the construction was in the phase before concrete is poured into the moulds, which in Greece, are customarily made out of boards. The structure was photographed for the first time. On August 16 of the same year —the existing condition of the wood frame was documented, photographed yet again, and videotaped. Design blueprints created from that construction stage, using data and measurements obtained during the visit, although the structure, within the space of a few days, was no longer recognizable.
A restoration study based on the original records was then operated: the study preserves, with archaeological rigor, the frozen image of the structure exactly as it was documented in August 2005, even though the appearance of the structure had already drastically changed. The plan aspires to create some kind of temporary living quarters in the interior space defined by the wood frame and the excavated area under the same space.
Some sort of realistic semantic narrative that contemplates a specific structure could be written. The structure in Kalamaki was determined to be such an opportunity. The wood frame’s fixed materials have their significance; however, the specific boards themselves seek to attain their own significance, without our investing any personal meaning in them. Because the boards have been secured there to receive the concrete, their significance is transferred to the specific material they await and thus we use our sight to create an insignificant wood frame. The concrete is the final result that abolishes the wood frame that erases it—in a way—from our gaze. What renders the wood frame intelligible as a regular construct is what halts its narrative composition. What is easily understood is also senseless. Yet, why should we not consider for a moment some sort of habitation of the wood-frame? Why should we not lend this structure’s passing fleeting moment a period of habitation? The wood frame will undergo an experiment at habitation, which will result in its becoming a “find”. Every find essays some type of habitation; it becomes a find through the search and institution of some way to return to it.
“Each gaze already distorts whatever it sees, just simply from assuming it sees ‘it’”
If we, briefly, accept the general validity of this premise, I wonder what significance the concept of a find would assume (in the framework defined by the premise). What does “finding something” mean if I cannot return to anything, save only by distorting or by creating anew an image before me? How can I return to something while dwelling within the distortion? The return itself would be another construct. What specific distortion then, would make every single thing resemble what we thought we had seen a short time ago, so that every single thing remained “in its place”? How would what I see be able to catch up with and identify with itself? How might even the very concept of distortion be defined, were there not already something there to be distorted in the obscure condition that would require something from the past to be before us as a current construct?
We usually consider the answer to some search a finding. The finding establishes the identification of some “thing” with something that was already somewhere as “such a thing”. The very concept of searching defines time differently. Even a chance find may suddenly prove to correspond to some old forgotten search. Memory is crystallized at the time of the finding. Contrariwise, the gaze that is immediately organized by the distortion constructs what it sees as if it were creating the search on its own, or as if it were invalidating its condition. Provided it operates consciously, “what the eye sees” resembles a chance creation, which does not answer questions, nor does it continue previous forms of memory. Such a find, therefore, represents the gaze investing anew while simultaneously withdrawing trust from the external world and instilling new meaning in an “old” body. Investing new meaning into something seen variably—the very same action that creates this meaning—, drains away any “current” meaning the “thing” may possess.
Such a gaze cannot ground the object it sees in time. It simply constructs some temporary residence in the meaning it imparts temporarily.
Within such a gaze everything is a find and simultaneously nothing may truly be found: everything the gaze seeks is lost, slipping on something that resembles “something that was being sought”, while “that, which was being sought” has already changed so much that one may never believe the gaze is revisiting a familiar landscape. This wakeful Heracleitian perspective organizes a type of constructive residence near things and their space. A gaze that suffers from limited memory continues constructing distortions of objects it cannot recall.
The finding would then be the occupancy of an “existing” space with an “alien” meaning. The operations of this distortion attach narrative elements to what is seen, which retreats and surrenders to them. The attachment processes may technically be described as narrative completions that are carried out on particular “bodies”. These bodies, however, disappear, as if these completion processes have rendered them translucent. The intellectual movement itself consists of imbuing common situations (that never appear distinct) with an odd meaning. The movement imbues something with narrative at the very moment it simply demonstrates it. This process, which buries meaning in a hollow shell, constitutes the act of assigning meaning, and the moment the find is identified—which is also the moment its insignificant peace is violated. At the same moment its form is created, it concedes its meaning in some way so that it never appears as a body and always as replete.
CONSTRUCTION OF THE ENTRANCE
Entry into the proposed installation will be accomplished via a ramp, which will descend to the underground section, while a rope ladder will—subsequently—provide access to the enclosed open-air space.
The intellectual filling is located at the depth of every perception of “as is”: some occupancy of space by the energy resulting from settling within it or inhabiting it. The “as is” is also created, it is never as tranquil as it appears. It does not simply apply that “das Inerhörte ist alltäglich geworten .” Deep down, the everyday is unprecedented. Deep down, the “as is” is based on some hidden violent occupancy. The “as is” is always already built. It is described by that unique occupancy that constructs within a hollow structure something, which appears to have already been there. The distortion of the “as is” is “expectance” (Gewärtigen in Heidegger’s terms.). In “architectural” terms, the investment in question is always occupancy of an empty space and habitation. Distortion is defined here as a temporary installation within some invisible interior.
THE FIND “AS IS”
Within this framework, and even more specifically now: what would the concept of a find mean, which would be characterized as a “find of architecture”, a “find on architecture”, or an “architectural finding”? And additionally, what would be the significance of such a find, which is won “as is”? While the find may only be won “as is”, the distortional condition first annuls the tranquility that reigned within the find. This perspective holds nothing to be “as is” any longer.
The work on the find is an architectural distortion of some invisible interior space, the space of the thing and of the object. Thus, installing a specific notional content within some indifferent exterior framework, acquires constructional architectural interest. The way the curved phenomenon is distorted does not disturb the curved stability. It installs its specific construction within the invisible hollow created by the curve’s formation. The architecture of distortion is architecture executed in such a way that we momentarily perceive the significance of phenomena as our own constructive act on the phenomena. We see the “how” of the phenomena because an architecture, which always preceded them, has already constructed an installation that recalls an internal organization and became thus in order to always await the phenomena.
“AS IS” AS INSTALLATION
We have not, as yet, said much about the work on the thing “as is”. The thing is presented as the elevation of a building with a concealed interior space. We are directed by the architecture of distortion: each distortion is controlled by some occupancy. And each occupancy is studied as architectural action.
THE ARCHITECTURE OF ONTOLOGICAL MOVEMENT
If we wanted an image of ontological movement, a project recreating the movement that seeks the “as is”: we would pursue precisely such a temporary situation whose lethargy we would point out with some artificial cessation. In brief, to the question “what is the thing” a possible response may be: “the thing “is” architecture that attempts to create an installation within an unfinished building skeleton. The inhabitation of a structure whose evolution we delay—for a while, the extension of some transitional building phase.
Architect: Aristide Antonas
Collaborators: Nikos Tsimas & Katerina Koutsogianni