The Man Who Flew into Space from His Apartment, Ilya Kabakov, 1988 | Photo © Svenn Sivertssen

Indexing |
Die Kunst des Verzeichnens


MArch Studio: Geography Landscapes Cities

Kathrin Aste

1 The progressive digitization of planning processes has led to a deluge of lists, and to an understanding of planning based on CAD applications that register presumably relevant data in digital libraries and promise informed building models.
Is an architectural plan a system of classification? No different from the visualization of a list. The better the lists are managed, the more conclusive the design? And what happens outside the format of the plan?

2 In German, the prefix “ver” before the word “zeichnen” (to draw) lends the word “verzeichnen” diametrically opposed meanings. Thus, the word “verzeichnen” means to enter something in a list, to register something, but also to draw something wrongly or to depict it in such a way that it no longer fully corresponds to reality.1 Perhaps this ambiguity can help to challenge our understanding of lists, to take the word “verzeichnen” literally, and to give the order of things its discursive space.

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Indexing |
Die Kunst des Verzeichnens


MArch Studio: Geography Landscapes Cities

Kathrin Aste

3 A fundamental and also fascinating quality of lists is their infinity, according to Umberto Eco. He discusses lists as an intellectual response to the problem of categorisation. This understanding is guided by the epistemological assumption that it has never been possible to rely exclusively on the classification of specific things. In this context, Eco replaces practical lists (footnotes in a scientific paper, a museum’s collection catalogue or a shopping list) with the counter-model of poetic lists: lists that follow arbitrary criteria, lists that can be extended or amended indefinitely.An example of such a list is Borges’ classification of animals, which famously features the following taxonomy: “animals are divided into (a) those that belong to the Emperor, (b) embalmed ones, (c) those that are trained, (d) suckling pigs, (e) mermaids, (f) fabulous ones, (g) stray dogs, (h) those that are included in this classification, (i) those that tremble as if they were mad, (j) innumerable ones, (k) those drawn with a very fine camel’s hair brush, (l) others, (m) those that have just broken a flower vase, (n) those that resemble flies from a distance.”

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Indexing |
Die Kunst des Verzeichnens


MArch Studio: Geography Landscapes Cities

Kathrin Aste

4 A work on the topic of registers that is particularly interesting in terms of methods is Andy Warhol’s Index, published in 1967. The book is much more than index. Consisting of the most varied visual formats such as photographs, quotes, pop-ups, pasted-in objects and more, it very vividly registers Warhol’s interacting world.

5 The GLC studio explores if and how things can be put into relation to one another through indexes/registers, thus creating a “topos of unspeakability”.

> Link Booklet w17