Nick Learoyd (of Plagiarism is Necessary), was kind enough to bring my attention on a very recent project created within the frame of the Diploma Studio 6 (see previous article) at the Architectural Association tutored by Liam Young (see previous article) and Kate Davies.
This project which allies both an interesting narrative and a beautiful representation has been designed by Oliviu Lugojan-Ghenciu and has been entitled GravityONE. His project, which I invite everybody to explore via the following excellent film, is situated in the remote lands of Australia whose peaceful atmosphere has been disturbed for the last fifty years by nuclear testing, rocket launches and black military technologies. His resistive operation consists in the constitution of a choreographed swarm of autonomous gliders that manage to jam radio transmission and occupy the sky in a sort of silence protest.
In his explanatory text (see below images), Oliviu explains that his role as an architect is not to solve problems through design, but rise awareness about existing cultural and social layers acting as an agitator. Although I could not agree more than the problem solving has been recurrently leading architecture to create more issues than to solve any, I think that his project actually does more than raising awareness. In fact, (and that is why Nick sent it to me in the first place) he created a protocol for what I’ve been calling a weaponized architecture that envisions the implementation of architecture as a political positioning. One could argue that one has the right not to choose any, but my deep belief is that not choosing is actually choosing what has been chosen for oneself by somebody (something) else. In this regard, GravityOne can be determined as one of the manifesto project of The Funambulist.
GravityONE: A Choreography for Militarized Airspace
The remote territories of the Australian Never Never are anything but empty. The history of these landscapes is one of nuclear testing, rocket launches and black military technologies. The skies over this red earth are scarred with the contrails of experimental weapons flights and charged with the militarized electromagnetic waves that reach out to US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Forgotten, somewhere in this landscape, is an abandoned missile tracking station. From here something else is being launched, a choreographed flock of autonomous gliders, to drift through the air in silent protest. Floating on engineered thermal currents their wingspan antennas broadcast white noise through the electromagnetic landscapes over Australia’s Pine Gap military base, momentarily jamming their telecommunications signals.
My animation is not a narrative work, is an architectural project, a architectural representation, a interrogation of a immaterial architectural proposal.
My architecture is not a building, is a lightweight architectural performative system. A silent choreographed trajectory illustrated through super light, cutting edge technological fragments, deployed from a former rockets tracking station.
An architecture which transform the Australian sky, once filled with the scream of roaring rockets in to a silent protest. A project intend to interfere with the aerial occupation, disturbing the aerial traffic and jamming the radio and satellite frequencies, straight from the silenced shadow of the black airspace.
GravityONE, relates to the new occupation and militarization of the airspace, a space without property rights, a space for deploying new cloud based technologies, making use of military technologies, converting them for a different new purpose.
GravityONE, a malign system, replacing another malign system, a sabotage tool, a choreographed trajectory as an aerial, spatial rebellious infrastructure.
With regards to the program of the project I was asked many times about who is behind the project. The point it’s not about who it is behind it’s about what it is, and the fact that exists, being a strange phenomenon that just exist, setting off when the weather is right.
This existence is linked to a mythological layer of the project which came from previous particles simulations of the choreography, seeing some of the particles (generic gliders) drifting from their presumed route in to the infinite virtual nothingness of the 3D scene, similar with the infinite Australian landscape. The entire choreography land on it’s base, where the gliders, once landed, tessellate the base becoming a memorial of the event… since others, victims of an error, are crash landing in to the dessert becoming elements of wondering and mythological wondering for the passing by wonderers of the never-never.
My role as an architect is not to solve problems through design, but rise awareness about existing cultural and social layers acting as an agitator. In this case highlighting an existing technological layer of the Australian airspace, revealing this new airspace occupation.
“I could have gone on flying through space forever.”
Oliviu Lugojan-Ghenciu 2011