© Aiste Ambrazeviciute

Atmospheric Fiction

Designing the mental infrastructure


Master Studio: Analogue Digital Production

Ernst Fuchs

In his novel »The Baron in the Trees«(1), Italo Calvino tells the story of a baron who decides to leave the ground in order to live in the trees: »Cosimo rises from the family dining table, climbs up into a tree and never puts his foot on the ground again.« As a result of this change of perspective, Cosimo is able to overcome everything that previously held him back. He enters a new sphere of life. This story manifests many aspects of what architecture can do. Where does architecture begin? How is it to be defined? What are the parameters upon which it is based? Architecture is a three-dimensional expression of a society and its particular views. This expression acquires its vitality and identity primarily through atmospheres, which we call the »mental infrastructure« of a location. This mental infrastructure has no scale and is the immanent accompaniment of the space we inhabit. It is our belief that its quality and variety depend upon our ability to rigorously question habits we have grown attached to. In his treatise »KybernEthik«(2), Heinz von Foerster characterizes western culture’s infatuation with foreseeable (thought) systems as hostile to all innovation.

>>

 

Atmospheric Fiction


Master Studio: Analogue Digital Production


Ernst Fuchs

Hence, experiments constitute an important field for our society, providing the possibility of delving into worlds of thought that are »out of alignment«. They open up new perspectives. The program of the semester, »Atmospheric Fiction«, observes social patterns and investigates their capacity for change through means of atmospheric interventions in space. The program starts with an analysis of the relation between two urban visions that will subsequently be developed into a spatial structure. The first vision, Constant’s New Babylon (1956–1974), defines the city as »an open city without boundaries that has the ability to expand in all directions like liquid, a city for ›playful‹, mobile people.« Extending the notion of playful, the computer game SimCity (1989–2013) with its imperative slogan »construct the city of your dreams« is selected as the second vision. In SimCity, you are the mayor of your very own city. You are the one who draws roads, designates zones and manages everything from health and safety to education, industry and beyond.

>>

 

Atmospheric Fiction


Master Studio: Analogue Digital Production


Ernst Fuchs

Hence,

1 Italo Calvino: Der Baron auf den Bäumen, München: DTV 1999.
2 Heinz von Foerster: KybernEthik, Berlin: Merve Verlag 1993.

> Link Booklet s15