“By undoing a building there are many aspects of the social conditions against which I am gesturing: first, to open a state if enclosure which had been preconditioned not only by physical necessity but by the industry that profligates suburban and urban boxes as a context for insuring a passive, isolated consumer-a virtually captive audience. The fact that some of the buildings I have dealt with are in Black ghettos reinforces some of this thinking, although I would not make a total distinction between the imprisonment of the poor and the remarkably subtle self-containerization of higher socio-economic neighborhoods. The question is a reaction to an ever less viable state of privacy, private property, and isolation.”
As I have been observing before on boiteaoutils, a wall is at first nothing more than a line drawn on a piece of paper. This line then acquires a materiality and thus own a violence that prevent bodies to a freedom of movement (the climax of this violence is obviously achieved in prisons were four walls surround the body). A wall here is not necessarily to be understood only as a vertical panel but also every kind of built surface that prevent the body from a freedom of movement (floors, walls, fences etc.) Any process of “unwallization” is therefore a resistance to this violence. It is difficult to find some architecture that succeeds to apply this kind of processes; nevertheless, several artists did work on that issue and produced various propositions in that regard. Gordon Matta Clark’s work is both the precursor and the quintessence of them, piercing, sawing, digging, rending, rotating, splitting, tearing apart, Matta Clark mistreat the wall as much as he can and the latter almost loss the totality of its violence this way.
The wall as a separation device but not necessarily as a surface needing more energy to be penetrated than a human owns, can also be seen in the example of rows of sheets on clothes lines. The wall thus loose its violent status while conserving most of its other characteristics.
All the following pictures come from the great book. Gordon Matta Clark. Phaidon 2003