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Floating Room

Floating Room

A catamaran designed as a single room. Its top forms a platform that in the same time protects the interior from the sun —partially or all of it— and serves as a small mobile beach.

The floating room is proposed as another way of working within the condition of image archives. It shows a systematic attitude to interpret disjunction. I have to firstly confess that there are 3 elements in this strange archaeology of the floating room that are not immediately obvious to the viewer of the result. The first element is a precise warehouse door photographed in Crete in 2005.

I worked on this door and presented it already in 2004 Biennale di Venezia as the no foundation building. The second is the paper “emballage” interior of a NOKIA cell phone, model of 2006.

I photographed it and started a work of distortions and virtual deformations of the images I had. The third element is a typical catamaran boat photographed in the port of Volos in May 2008.

The floating room work is the representation of a meeting between those 3 categories of images that do not belong to the same family. The idea of assembling together disjointed elements can have of course its own limits. Why can we not put together anything with anything else? Why does a meeting of this kind could be meaningful? We seek for a sophistication considering the aesthetic structure of the "mises en scene" of possible unities. We may find some aesthetic "rules" concerning the assemblages. Interesting assemblages would probably lead to strange, particular, heterogeneous units. From a structural point of view we do seek for the linguistic depth of images. The German language very clearly present the assembling capacity of putting notions together. What about images treated as notions? Can we think about these assemblages in an aesthetic frame?

We may not be allowed for instance to put together a fire and a kitchen, in the frame of this assembling. The fire is already included in a kitchen. Putting together a stone and a monument, we will get a boring, obvious result. But maybe we can try to joint together the NOKIA box, the distorted warehouse door and the catamaran. The heterogeneous condensation of these 3 elements seems paradoxical: the elements involved do not participate in common family groups. We need this difference in order to proceed to an assemblage. This seems to prescribe directions for cooking, a particular concept for any recipe, but this time the result would be a collage. Out of this collage we will get a united simple form. The collage is a conceptual function here; as such it can be read as a particular archive function. We can say that this kind of work do obey to a certain mathematical function. The result of this work is a binding, a unification, a cementing process. We create out of the 3 elements of an archive a new one, posing as more important rule that the elements we chose do not participate in same categories. We may first specify and then generalize this concept.

We have to specify because the type of difference is crucial here: the rolling door of the rural warehouse is contrasting vividly to the carton NOKIA box. The catamaran is an empty receptacle. If the NOKIA box was in plastic, if it included air in it, then we could say that this could be an interesting object in terms of narrative force. It could float too. If we design a closing system we would have this object provided with a rolling door that suddenly could be called to function in a horizontal surface; then we will have another surprise and one more happy narrative paradox. Narration is structurally depending to paradox.

We can also generalize and think about nowadays condition in relation to this work of assembling. This architectonic move of combining 3 separate elements, found in an image archive, gives us an idea about what thinking will possibly be in the next era. Differently than intellectual investigations of the past, we may rather find their future dynamics closer to abstract irrational assembling force. Assembling images may form the paradigmatic field of this future intellectual inquiry. Thinking would rather be a structural transformation of images. An aesthetic treatment of this image potential is performed in the Floating Room project. Carrying in its single form a door, a box and a boat, it structures an unformed narration with neither needing any driving linear argumentation, nor proposing the rational subordination to any concrete, particular logic. This move of assimilation forms the mythological origin of an object without explaining why we could need this result as an objective presence. This may show a future of rationality. A projected form is proposed to be accepted or not. Architecture could possibly replace a part of thinking. Aesthetic priorities are meant to substitute a function of logic. Walter Benjamin would maybe call understand this as a big loss. Vilem Flusser wrote already, many years ago, about this possible future gap. The question about the specific intellectuality of aesthetics remains intriguing. After an assemblage as this one is done, we may accept it or not, build it or leave it, adopt it or refuse it. Adoption or refusal may show the limits of any thought proposed today. An assemblage is not proposed to be controlled within the context of any traditional, rational elaboration. It can be accepted or refused without consideration. In the archive era this may be a possible framework for the future of thinking. If in the past we were working for intellectual hybridity and for multiplicity, within the conditions of nowadays we will have to step back and think within the conditions of an imposed multiplicity what do we have to construct.

[with the collaboration of Katerina Koutsogianni]

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