+ LIGA . photo: © Cristobal Palma

Proposing ‘an environment’ for the exhibition of a series of architectural works in a single space appears, at least, a contradiction of terms (an environment within an environment), if not a redundancy (an environment that is already an environment) or an openly rhetorical proposition (an environment that is reiterated as ‘an environment’). It is like painting white on (a) white (canvas), in this case ‘within’ the spatial canvas of the white box of an architectural gallery, precisely the condition in which the architecture of the cultural event transcends insofar as it represents the architecture of the material fact. Such proposal, as well as the larger project that it both embodies and reproduces, would seem, at first glance, to be embedded with a paradoxical will: that of producing a ´thing´ unassumed as such at the very moment of it being assumed as such, and using the place where it is being situated as if it where its material, and therefore getting confused with it. Moreover, this is not just ´some place´, but a particularly objectified space, charged with an active institutional will, and characterized by an extremely reduced size, to the extent that it is not completely clear whether it is in fact inhabitable. The space has a high but mediated exposure to the exterior, a corner of a busy avenue to which its disproportionate windows, objectified as well, serve as framework for the views as much as they condition them. And it is next to the open hall of an architecturally well-known building, in respect to which one of its three sides visually exposes it, only to make it appear hermetic.

In such a paradoxical, ambivalent context, and with the agenda of simultaneously constituting, replacing, emphasizing, and containing ´an environment´ as a premise, Sebastián Adamo and Marcelo Faiden propose in LIGA a project that rehearses a subtle but intensely distorted sense of the classical ideas of unity, identity, irreducibility, and singularity in architecture, ideas that manifest themselves here congested in the construction on an ´intense interiority´, which reveals itself as the ´inscrutable exposure´ of a pure exteriority to the outside. Pure exteriority, explicitly offered as a built atmosphere, and intense interiority, tacitly exclusive of any form of atmospheric intrusiveness. It is as if it were a capsule, not in the objectual meaning of the word, but in its double condition of being perceptible but impenetrable, or to be more accurate, an incubation space, a test tube, where any physical access of ´real´ human beings would turn out to be, if not something unwanted, at least something unusual, strange, or unthinkable. Or as if that environment had ended up being there after a series of failed tests, surviving the man himself, or as if it were a post-human record, a register of what long ago was known as architecture, now a foolish and blurred idea. To those who, decades ago, used to celebrate the death of architecture, and those who still do so, an architectural celebration of the death of mankind is here (perhaps melancholically) offered, a sample of an imprudent, improbable, diffuse, and yet still preserved memory of the idea of habitat.

'An environment' unifies object and subject(s) into a specifically abstract subject of architecture, inert and post-human. ´An environment´ is an environment of thewhatsoever, in the sense of the monumentalization of the idea of space as an entelechy. It is selected from a catalog of one single possibility. It is a whatever-singularity(1). ´An environment´ builds a form of emptiness and releases from it a sense of the architectural that is both figuratively indefinite and materially precise, a generic embodiment of the incorporeal. ´An environment´ makes of everything, space, objects, images, enclosure, ground, light, energy, machines, and technology, a diffuse and vague medium. It even attempts to do the same with the thought on its concept. ´An environment´ happens as a mental space characterized by the uncertainty of its own being, uncertainty that does not contain doubt. It is a space of indiscernibility, a region of undecidability and banal ubiquity. ´An environment´ is, obviously, an atmosphere, a constructed climate in the literal sense, and a manifest climax in the figurative sense. Allegory of a perpetual but variable state, its same variability, its relativity as a presence, makes it both absolute and extensive. Its formlessness exceeds the mere lack of shape and takes the form of an abstract form of affect. Is it not actually a manifesto on affect as a constructible fact? Its architecture (and that which it exhibits) dissolves at the same time as it manifests itself strictly as a material medium. It embraces vagueness and attempts to build it as an object-medium, an environment with an outline.

Precisely because of its ability to manifest itself hermetically, we find ourselves at the same time in front and virtually inside of an architecture that assumes itself as themedium of the contemporary void, as the spatiality of the ´whatever´, a disturbing ecosystem where culture has sublimated into vapor and yearns to become (once again) pure life, experience of the pure immediacy. The architectural work, tenuously exhibited inside is, just like these cryptic construction details, its obverse..

‘Untitled’ . Ciro Najle . May 2012
Architect of the UBA FADU, MsAAD Columbia, Director GDB General Design Bureau, Visiting Professor Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Professor at the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella

(1) See Giorgio Agamben, The Coming Community
(translated by Michael Hardt) University of Minnesota Press, 1993

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