Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dictatorship of Sensitivity

C-Laboratory: Cover of the free newspaper "Il Uomo".

Marco Casagrande
- See the video

Writer architects


- Yoshio Kato, Professor, Tamkang University.

Professor Yoshio Kato with architecture students from Tamkang Univeristy during the CityZen Garden -workshop in Zhuwei of Taipei Taiwan.




Antti's message


I would like to forward you Antti’s message concerning our garden. He pretty much underlines the Eternal elements and I believe this is good to share with you and you should understand.



I like the swings. Pendelum. Time. Sinus -> circle. Too much linear movement in the garden and too little swinging.

Vegetation and water is not part of the message. Why should one do anything if one cannot say something (art…). We are living times where bullshit and NOT NECESSARY decoration should not be needed. The sharp edge of a message is the essential part of things. Besides this one should remember the location of the exhibitions space. Courage is part of the picture. Open the eyes. Mankind seems to be in a hurry. Still again, wee do not necessarily have to give up the gift of life. I hope so. (correct me by all means if I am wrong)…


Of course there might be even a better way to get the elements highlighted. But swing. Man as part of time and as a prisoner. This is important. No?

I DO THINK you are on a right track. As I hope to be too. One must grab to the fragments of real reality though the shit tries to blur the screen.
Real reality is and tolerates observing in time and space.

I carry the thinking with me. So more will become…

CityZen Garden

CASAGRANDE LABORATORY in Danshui, Taiwan, 2006. Glass Zen Garden and back-packs ready for Venice Biennale.

The Zen garden is at least a visual platform of environmental meditation linking the human nature as part of nature and furthermore to more cosmic entities.

On one hand one can see the Zen garden as a reflection of the surrounding environment scaling down the mountains into its stones or the movement of the ocean into the racking pattern of the gravel. Meditation can build connections and dynamics between the elements of the Zen garden and its surrounding nature. Meditation can also reveal tensions, balances and directions between the Zen garden elements themselves and help the viewer to erase the realities around the garden letting the mind travel in this highly controlled environment.
George passing by the glass Zen Garden. The solid glass rock is an industrial mistake and accidentally formed in a sheet-glass owen during years of extreme preassure and heat conditions.

The paradox of the Zen garden is in its highly controlled nature as a platform of accident. It may be that the form of the garden ha remained the same some 500 years having the every element articulated into their exact position – the racking of the sand or gravel, the pattern of the growing or merely being of the tree, the color of the moss around the stone…nothing has changed but still one has to admit that the slightest breeze of the wind might turn one piece of sand or fall down a leaf from the tree and the same gardening work has to be started again. This ultimate human control celebrates the superiority of the smallest of the environmental changes.

Marco Casagrande: CityZen Garden, Zhuwei, Taipei 2006.

We try to control cities with millions of people. And we easily forget the nature. We are capable of creating surroundings where human nature is no longer part of nature.

Garden is a window of eternity.


If a Zen garden is trying to build up a harmony between the natural elements, the human nature and the universe the city does not seem to have the time. And the time is in essence. To justify its being the modern city has created the artificial time and invented stress. After stressing for time and money death has become a defeat – a bankruptcy.

CityZen Garden, detail. Marco Casagrande, 2006.

City must be a compost.

In nature death is the beginning of a new life. When a tree is growing, it is tender and pliant, but when it is dry and hard, it dies. Hardness and strength are death’s companions. Pliancy and weakness are expressions of the freshness and being. When a man is just born, he is weak and flexible, when he dies he is hard and insensitive. Because what has hardened will never win. Stalker.
Nikita Wu. In the future architecture will be done by writers (Yoshio Kato, 2006).

Thinking of the Zen garden and thinking of the city. A new Zen garden for the city, the CityZen Garden of post-urban meditation. The city of slowness, the urbanism of acupuncture, the new urban nomad - in a compost, as a garden.

When an architect is a gardener he is a constructor. If he is not a gardener he can be a destructor. There is a danger.

Ice Speedway

Clean Country Living

driver: Oski camera: Artta team: Ikirouta (Permafrost), Inkoo, Finland

Technical bases:
60 hp
fuel: metanol
lubricate: straight through (driving 8 laps, then more oil)
gears: 2
breaks: no
gear switch on the right side (cannot be on the left side...when tilting the foot don't fit between the bike and ice...)
0-80 km/h, approx. 1,5 seconds
max speed according to the tuning 130 -140 km/h
track: 400 m oval / driving direction counter clock wise (in a race one drives 4 laps)
spikes: 28 mm
bike is so to say "stiff rear". this you will understand....

to start A) take the weight to the front B) gas OPEN C) slip in the clutch (if in any stage happens any mistake of "mercy" the outcome is usually bad)

Glass Garden

Glass garden for Venice Biennale Taiwan Pavilion 2006

General view of the glass garden in the Venice Prison.

This is the third time for us to participate in the Venice Biennale. The previous ones have been in the special exhibition of the year 2000 and representing Denmark in the year 2004 (CREW*31). Every time we have brought in Venice a garden. The "60 Minute Man" / 2000 was an oak garden in an abandoned barge on top of composted human waste and "Post Industrial Fleet" / 2004 a bigger strategy of recycling industrial ships and urban waste in forms of floating gardens.

When the modern man loses his connection to the nature he will die.

The Yuo-Yuan glass garden in the Taiwanese Pavilion is a spatial meditation platform for post urban rehabilitation. The outcome is a mixture of Taiwanese and Finnish interpretations of being present in the circular movement in different levels and nothingness. Basically it is a rock garden with a swing. It is also just a cultivated junkyard - all the material is recycled to form a temporary collage of meeting of material streams trusting that also the city must be a compost.

Sketch, Marco Casagrande.

The base layer of the garden is out of crushed glass and the walkways and the swing out of recycled wood. The glass rocks are fantastic accidental side products of glass industry - like pearls in mussels. The flat glass ovens are kept hot for 12 years for glass fabrication after which they will be cooled down for maintenance. Sometimes it happens that during these 12 years the glass plasma inside the oven starts to form a stone or a rock under quite extreme heat and pressure conditions. The clear glass rock is an accident - no man can make this.

The swing is something tht you see in almost every house in Finland. The family can sit together there and this is where you take a nap in the summers. Teh slow rocking rhythm, floating, human body as part of circular movement is what we all carry in our genetic memory. It is good to sit in the swing and look at the dark forest.

City must be a compost.


SEE: The Description of the World

Red Square and Black Square

Steel suprematistic gate for Chen family in Danshui, Taiwan 2005. Homage Kasimir Malevitch.

My Movies


1. Stalker / Tarkovski

2. Metropolis / Lang

3. Apocalypse Now! / Coppola

4. Karlson På Taket / Hellborn

5. Ivan the Terrible / Eisenstein

6. Fata Morgana / Herzog

7. Dersu Uzala / Kurozawa

8. Das Kabinet des Dr. Caligari / Wiene

9. M / Lang

10. Man Without Past / Kaurismäki

My Movies

The best and most inspiring architect for me is Andrei Tarkovski. Some others stand in line too obviously commanded by the eternity like Eisenstein, Kubrick, Bergman and Coppola in "Apocalypse Now!". Of course architecture is in connection with eternity too, but the questions seem to be disappointingly small. Movie can talk about righ and wrong, the choices man makes. No architect says anymore: "Light is the oldest daughter of God", and just a few die on the construction site. Where is the construction site of eternity? It should be up always, but mainly only from the movies I can sense this. I guess the same way like all the great movies are made with no commercial ambitions the architecture must follow. We must just build.

The Mist

I was sitting on top of this mountain - the highes peak on a ridge actually. All of a sudden a mist starts appearing and getting thicker. It ends up so that only my upper torso is above the mist level and I see all the world disappearing under this white layer of cloud - a white, alive table and everything stops. The war stops, the tanks can't aim, because of the mist. I sit quietly a while there, then get my kit together and walk down into the mist.

Marco Casagrande

City Horoscopes

You will face a difficult decision but the direction is right.

You think many kinds of things. Be aware of the hidden truth.

The good things are about to come if you open your eyes over the shadows.

Many things have been done many times and there is no freshness anymore. Be aware of making quick decisions.

You want to clean away one misunderstanding but you must take initiative.

You know one thing better than any other. Enjoy that.

You can do things right. Don't let anyone question that.

Many things have started cooking. They will end up good.

You seek for closeness and you will get it but with pain.

You dream a lot. You should walk that way.

You see a thing that you don's want to see. Approach it calmly.

In life is many feelings. Don't start forgetting these.

Oliver Salminen, futurist, C-LAB

Editorial Team

Casagrande Laboratory for IL UOMO:

Marco Casagrande, architect, principal, Finland
Nikita Wu, writer, Taiwan
Frank Chen, design assistant, Taiwan
Wei-Chen Weng, design assistant, Taiwan
Shao-Shien Chang, design assistant, Taiwan
Antti Antinoja, partner, Finland
Oliver Salminen, futurist, Finland
Christian Edlinger, architect, Germany
Martin Ross, industrial artist, Alaska
Nathalie Pozzi, architect, Italy

Sakura Iso, artits, Japan
Eri Asano, designer, Japan
Tommy Plummer, biologist, UK
August Kunnapu, artist/architect, Estonia
Vilen Kunnapu, architect, Estonia
Hsieh Ying Chun, architect, Taiwan
Roan Chin-Yueh, architect, Taiwan

The IL UOMO is produced in Taipei, Taiwan for Venice Biennale of Architecture 2006.

Caveman Style

The new answer for escapists

Post Urban Rehabilitation Therapy (P.U.R.T.) is set to change the face of escapism as the evolutionarily regressive treatment takes man back to his natural roots - caveman style!

The vast increase in regressive approaches and therapies as a means to correct recent and harmful progression is fast becoming a popular vision for the future, not just within the Philosoply Treatment industry, it has also been adopted by urban planners and town councils.

Since ins introduction, P.U.R.T. has overwhelmed its competition pushing the previously popular "Thinkabout" into the numper two slot. The popularity of the "Thinkabout" has been diminishing in recent years and the developers of P.U.R.T. have answered teh call of people disillusioned by the stresses of modern society. Much like the "Thinkabout" P.U.R.T. has its basis in the instinctive natures of society. The Philosophy Treatment industry, however, is now looking beyond oral cultures such as Aboriginal society (afterall, the name Thinkabout was derived from the Walkabout) for answers, now probing the deapths of early homo sapiens philosophy and finding answers in caveman society.

P.U.R.T. is designed to remove one from the afflictions caused by modern society, its politics, pressures, and the drive for materialistic possession and return him, for the duration of the therapy, to the environment of the cave. Here the experience is that of our ancestors - just the need for necessity. Shelter, protection, basic food and water are the pleasures. The Pressures of materialism are replaced by the pleasures of necessity.

The recently noted popularity of the treatment has caused the costs to skyrocket and, despite the expense, the result is a philosophical overhaul and a mental renaissance. The paradox is that financially and mentally it is necessary to die a little to dispose of ones central philosophies build up on the foundations of a modern society ruled by money and capitalist economic policy and adopt a philosophy of necessity rather than greed. The irony is that by relinquishing such finances, in order to pay for P.U.R.T., the healing is in itself the cost. The man behind P.U.R.T., afflicted by the stresses caused by his new found wealth, was himself receiving treatment, and was thus unavailable for comment.
Tommy Plummer for C-LAB

At Home in the City

At Home in the City
Angela Nkya, Iowa State University, USA

Despite the efforts to provide affordable housing, the number of people who are homeless continues to increase. The problem has now crossed the boundaries of dense urban areas and reached small communities such as Ames. When I started to research the homelessness I was surprised to learn that some of the homeless people who live on streets have the choice of living in a shelter, but choose to live on streets instead. Homelessness as a choice of living presents the greatest challenge to the problem. How can you design or provide a home to someone who does not want it? As long as it remains a choice of living for some, we will never be able to eradicate the problem of people living on the streets. But is there anything we can do to assist those who choose to live on streets? And how can we as Architects, justify being involved or not being involved with the homeless?

To some extent I agree with what the Professor of Urban Planning Peter Marcuse says in his article, "Criticism or Cooptation - Can Architects reveal the sources of Homelessness?" where he states, "Homelessness is not a design problem. Yet to the extent it has been considered by architects, by schools of architecture, by the Architectural profession .....Indeed, it is desirable that architects should help address the present crisis of homeless....we can enlighten ourselves and others about homeless as we try to detail housing for them. We can show them that their needs are essentially ours." (i)Homelessness is at the core an economic problem. However homelessness as a choice presents new avenues for designers to rethink the idea of a house. Can we and how do we meet the housing needs of a homeless man on the street?

There are various reasons for the homeless to reject the shelter services that are being offered. Some enjoy the challenge of living by day, others do not want to live "under" someone else's "rules" or codes of behavior and expectation. Whichever the reason, shelter is one of the basic human needs and still continues to be whether one chooses to live in the house or on the streets. Those who choose to live on streets need protection from weather, security and privacy that housing can provide as much as the people who live in houses do. They already have a way of obtaining these that differs from the people who live houses. They have places such as soup kitchens where they go for food, places they go to shower, and places to sleep. Rather than having all these under one roof, the homeless obtain these from different places in the city. In essence, the homeless live in the city in the same way as one lives in a house. Their home is the city.

During my study of homelessness I had an opportunity to converse with two homeless men who chose to live in the city. The first man I met at the men's homeless shelter. He is a seasonal worker in Ames and came to the shelter to shower and do laundry but not to spend the night or eat. He willingly agreed to stay for dinner and socialize when invited, but rejected the offer to freely spend the night at the shelter. The second man, on the other hand, does not want to live in shelter because he can not have much privacy at the shelter and he does not want to be dependent on anyone. He makes his living waking up early in the morning to collect cans and use the little income he gets from that to support himself. He lived in a forested area, concealed from the public where he made a small tent and spent most of his day time reading. He had lived there since June but his home was exposed during fall and he did not live there longer after that.

One lesson that I took from studying the homeless is that the homeless patterns differ from one place to another. In Ames you are most likely to find people who work and not pan handling as you see in other places. In addition to that, Ames is only a temporary stop for the homeless not a destination. Most of the people who are live on the streets in Ames are here for just a short period of time -about six months. For example the first man was a seasonal worker while the other had been in Ames for five months and was planning to leave soon. This means some of the homeless projects done in other parts might not work in Ames. Any homeless project needs to specifically respond to the nature of the homeless people in that area.

While homelessness is a new problem in our society, the homeless nomadic lifestyle predates urban settlements. The homeless are the modern day nomads moving from one city to another in search of favorable conditions and jobs. This is especially true in Ames. The second man could have moved to another place in Ames where he is well concealed from the public or to the southern states where it is much warmer. In the same way the seasonal worker migrates from one city to another to work. But even though the homeless live in cities, cities, being a result of established settlements, do not cater for the nomadic lifestyle. Cities have a hierarchy of spaces that range from private to public and have rules and regulations that control how one occupies and behaves in these spaces. For example, private behaviors such as sleeping are only allowed in the private spaces and hardly on the public spaces. Our houses reflect this hierarchical arrangement of spaces by having rooms that are designed for specific purposes, - a dining room, living room and bathroom. What makes a person homeless in the city is the lack of private spaces. They can only use the city's public spaces. This hierarchy of spaces therefore alienates the nomads from the city.

The British Architect and Lecturer Robert Kronenburg, supports this idea by arguing that, for a person to create a home in a place, they have to have the freedom to arrange the space in a way that they like. In his essay, "Modern Architecture and Flexible Dwelling" he says, "when I travel I bundle my possessions into compact containers....when I arrive at my destination a part of settling in is that I open my possessions out into the room I occupy......when we arrive somewhere different we "create" a new home by endowing it with our presence in the form of the interior landscape of our possession. But it is not just the variety and familiarity of these possessions that define our identity in this adopted space, but the way we distribute them..." (ii) He gives an example of a perfect holiday house as the one in which the temporary owners have the freedom to move the furniture and change things around to make the place more at home. Flexibility and objects that can be adapted to serve different functions have always been the characteristics and elements of the nomadic lifestyle. Based on his argument, for a homeless man to be at home in the city the public elements of the city will have to be adaptable and the set of rules and regulations loosened to allow for some of the private behaviors such as sleeping. In other words, the way to provide a home to someone who lives on the streets is by the creation of flexible spaces.

This is good news to both the designers and the city residents because it frees us from the expense of creating new spaces for the single purpose of serving the homeless. Instead of creating a new building, which raises the questions of where it is to be located and who will fund its construction we can simply use the existing elements such as bus shelters and make them adaptable for sleeping at certain hours. The bus shelters in Ames are used during the day and remain unused after midnight. We could design them in such a way that they can transformed to a sleeping compartment from midnight to 6 am. Buildings such as transit bus depots, which Ames does not have at the moment, can serve dual functions by providing services such as public bathrooms, telephones and lockers to both the travelers and the homeless.

We can not fully address the issue of homelessness without looking at the causes for homelessness. Family breakup is the number one reason for homelessness in Iowa followed by domestic violence.(iii) But urban redevelopment ranks high among the causes for homelessness nationwide.(iv) Urban renewal projects have left some of the urban poor homeless. These projects involve a wide range of professionals - Architects, urban planners, developers, and city officials. Urban redevelopment may not be the cause homelessness in Iowa but it impacts us all due to the nomadic lifestyle of the homeless. The homeless men I met in Ames were from San Francisco, Kansas and other parts of the country. We are therefore not isolated from the consequences of what happens in other places.

Homelessness is not a poor design problem in terms of aesthetics and functionality of the architecture of the built environment, but is in part poor design in term of failure to address the impact of the built environment on the society. That is what makes homelessness an architectural problem. The profession of Architecture is as much about aesthetics and functionality as it is about social implication. Homelessness is in a certain way a reflection of how the built environment is becoming more and more geared towards the rich and the elite and is ignoring the urban poor. It is therefore not only desirable that architects should help address the problem of homelessness, it's our duty. Homelessness has become one of the new elements of the urban environment and it's our duty as designers to raise its awareness to the society. It is our duty too to suggest ways in which the homeless can be helped. Homelessness is an economic problem and there will always be the poor amongst us, but we should not ignore them. We need to look at alternative ways of providing housing to those who can not afford to live in a house.

In the city, the nomad is at the mercy of the resident because the city is the resident's territory. The resident is the taxpayer and the one who supports and maintains the city. An Architect may be able to provide adaptable bus shelters, or design public bathrooms but the one who approves of whether the project gets to be executed are the city official, representing the community. The client then is not the homeless but the resident. This makes the resident responsible for the homeless. We are the owners of the city and based on that we all have a choice to make when it comes to homelessness. We can either ignore them, reject them, or accept them. However, as the number of homeless people continues to increase in our community and nationwide the problem becomes more difficult to ignore. Rejecting them by pushing them away will not address the problem. Furthermore it can be argued that we can not push the homeless away from us for the majority of the ones we have in Ames are from other places. We should accept their lifestyle and provide the environment that suits both our lifestyle and theirs.

There are opportunities to provide housing for the homeless people on streets but these can only be accomplished by a joint effort between Architects, the community and different professions. It is our responsibility as Architects to help the homeless because we have the training to design, among other things homes for people. Our services need not to be only traditional homes to those who can afford but non traditional and to those who can not afford normal houses.


(i) "Criticism or Cooptation: Can Architects Reveal the Sources of Homelessness?", Peter Marcuse, Crit, Spring 1988, p. 33

(ii) "Modern Architecture and flexible dwelling," Robert Kronenburg, in "Living in Motion - Design and Architecture for flexible dwelling" edited by Mathias Schwartz-Clauss and Alexander von Vegesack, 2002, Weil am Rhein : Vitra Design Museum

(iii) "Iowa Homeless Population: 1999 Estimates and Profile. A Report Prepared for the State of Iowa by the University of Iowa in Cooperation with the Iowa Department of Education and Other State Agencies."

(iv) Arlene Zarembka, "The Urban Housing Crisis", 1990, Greenwood Press Inc, Westport Connecticut

Special thanks to the homeless men who provided me with a wealth of insight on being homeless and to the staff and temporary residents of the Ames Emergency Room project.

Prison Pantheon

A New Home of Hope in Prison

The Tallinn prison is located near the city centre between the old Jewish cemetery and Magasini Street. There are around 1000 inmates in the prison including the guards. Inside the prison is streets and squares. The prison is surrounded by a high stone wall. The prison is a city inside the city.

Architect Vilen Kunnapu proposed building stands in the central square. The orange temple is constructed out of reinforced concrete. It is a 7,5 meters wide cylinder. Inside is a small amphitheatre. It is the Pantheon of the prison.

Vilen Künnapu is an Estonian design-shaman focusing on energy-centre architecture.

Fermentation Cemetery

The last stop for the urban ecologist. Mechanical Biological Composting units for fementing biological waste including human bodies. When you throw a man into the MBC -unit he gets composted, or actually fermented totally in two weeks. The unit is hermetically sealed so the whole process is anaerobic and computer controlled - so that the fermenting conditions for the anaerobic bacterias are perfect - the moist level, the heat and the preassure. From a 100 kg man you get 30 kg of top soil, the best. The rest is mostly water - biologically cleaned fresh water. The process also produces gases that can be collected into a gas conditioning plant that then feeds the electrical generator. 25 % of the electricity produced is enough to keep the whole process ongoing. The rest you can sell back to the city.


The IL UOMO is produced in Dan-shui Taiwan with the kind support of:

Mr. Ching-Yueh Roan, Professor of Dept. Architecture Shinchien University
Mr. Chen-Cheng Chen, Professor of Dept. Architecture Tamkang University
Ms. Chi-Wen Liu, Professor of Dept. Architecture Tamkang University
Mr. Kwang-Tyng Wu, Professor of Dept. Architecture Tamkang University
Mr. Kuang-Chein Bee, Professor of Dept. Architecture Tamkang University
Mr. Tsun-Chih Yang, Professor of Dept. Architecture Tamkang University
Ms. Yu-Chen Chiu, Student of Dept. Architecture Tamkang University
Mr. Chia-Ching Lien, Student of Dept. Architecture Tamkang University
Mr. Shu-Yang Hsueh, Student of Dept. Architecture Tamkang University
Mr. Chien-Chun Sun, Personal Sponsor
Ms. Yu-Chun Chen, Personal Sponsor

Artist Statement

August Kunnapu
* Themes that I like are the same as in real life - movies, medicine, literature, music, sports and architecture
* In my paintings I try to describe the world as it is - without making it more beautiful or frightful
* As a source of inspiration I use various black-and-white photos - either taken by me, friends or total strangers
* I mostly paint pure and simple images
* I like to use clear colours - otherwise the images would not be so distinct
* I love images that are dynamic and full of action, but sometimes I also make static paintings
* It is nice to use different format in different places - everything from tiny canvases in cosy coffee shops to huge wall paintings in oil shale factories
* Sometimes I make experiments with different boards - doors of gas stoves, washboards, tv -screens, cupboards or green houses
* I never make sketches or copies of my paintings
* Dislocation in art seems to be an interesting theme

1000 White Flags

Landscape installation in Koli Nature Park, summer 2000. Casagrande & Rintala

1000 white flags made of used sheets from mental hospitals on three metres long iron bars mounted to a downhill skiing range in the Koli Nature Park in order to celebrate the madness of the businessmen who cut down the ancient forest in this one of Finland's most beautiful spots. Winning entry of a national competition.

Bird Cage

An architectonic installation for the third Yokohama Triennial of Contemporary Art 2001 in Yokohama, Japan, curated by Fumio Nanjo.

A cone shaped hangar building for 72 balsa birds which carry 5 seeds and messages in test tubes inside them. The birds are sent to the height of 10 kilometres with Vaisala -meteorological balloons.

After the balloon bursts the bird will glide long distances according to the turbulences and winds landing around Japan and to the Pacific Ocean. The finder of the bird is asked to take responsibility of planting and taking care of the seeds and to send information to Casagrande & Rintala. The building was made out of concrete ironing steel bars and hemp rope.

May Manifesto

Indoor and outdoor installation in Helsinki and Tallin Kunsthalle. 

The hand of a Finnish farmer from Mäntsälä. Casagrande & Rintala

Part of Maaseudun Sivistysliitto (Cultural Union of Agriculture) 50-years anniversary exhibition Juuret-Juured-Roots in Helsinki and Tallin.

Hanging forest on the facade of Kunsthalle as new urban nature.

Indoor installation of 81 aluminium hands of a farmer lined up for a marching formation on composted topsoil and connected to the roof with fishing lines.
Casagrande & Rintala

Post Urbanist

One has to die a bit to be reborne. City is dead, long live the compost. For my urban sins I needed Post Urban Rehabilitation and for my sins they gave me one: the cave. Every time I wake up in this chamber the walls move a little bit closer. When I am here, I want to be in the city and when I am there all I want is to get back into the cave.

Marco Casagrande

Chamber of the Post Urbanist 104
* Marco Casagrande, Martin Ross, Frank Chen, Nikita Wu.
Taipei MoCA - Museum of Contemporary Art 2005

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Last Socialist

Build now. Talk abaut the design later.

In the morning at 1:47 a.m, 9/21, 1999, Taiwan suffered from a major earthquake. The epicenter was located in Jip-Jip, Nan-Tou County in the middle of Taiwan - the region where many of the aboriginal tribes have withdrawn from the dominating Han Chinese.

Where as the farming and urban Han received disaster relief from the central government much of the aboriginals were left outside the rehabilitation activities.

Since year 2000 Hsieh Ying-Chun has been activating, training and employing the social outcast aboriginals to form teams of construction workers to regenerate their original societies outside the damaging cities. The aboriginal tribesmen are building their own houses and their own villages. The materials and building methods used are highly cost effective and ecological.

Hsieih is the last socialist in the Republic of China.

E-mail from Hsieh 13.5.2006 18:44:

Tian-Huw tribe resettlement will move in recently. The collaborative construction team set up in December, 2000. Most of the members are unemployed, handicapped or alcoholic aboriginal young people. However, they build more than 300 houses until now.

Hsieh Ying Chun

Last Socialist

In the morning at 1:47 a.m, 9/21, 1999, Taiwan suffered from a major earthquake. The epicenter was located in Jip-Jip, Nan-Tou County in the middle of Taiwan - the region where many of the aboriginal tribes have withdrawn from the dominating Han Chinese.

Where as the farming and urban Han received disaster relief from the central government much of the aboriginals were left outside the rehabilitation activities.

Since year 2000 Hsieh Ying-Chun has been activating, training and employing the social outcast aboriginals to form teams of construction workers to regenerate their original societies outside the damaging cities. The aboriginal tribesmen are building their own houses and their own villages. The materials and building methods used are highly cost effective and ecological.

Hsieih is the last socialist in the Republic of China.

E-mail from Hsieh 13.5.2006 18:44:

Tian-Huw tribe resettlement will move in recently. The collaborative construction team set up in December, 2000. Most of the members are unemployed, handicapped or alcoholic aboriginal young people. However, they build more than 300 houses until now.

Hsieh Ying Chun

Martin Seljeflåd

This used to be a naked landscape, until the government decided to plant the Canadian Sitka-fur trees for wood production purposes. They spread out all over the island and nobody can do anything about it, because there are no more farm animals to eat the vegetation and keep down the growth. I make a living out of the way this landscape looks, so I am cutting down as many trees as I can, trying to slow the forestation.

Martin Seljeflåd
Lanscape painter, language teacher for refugees, and landscape -janitor
Interviewed by 3R-W Architects, Norway for Venice Biennale 2006

Most Human Place

What is the most human place you can think of?
Christian Edlinger, arch. student, Weimar / Jollas, Helsinki!

* Underground stations with the smell of fresh pancakes and cinnamon rolls
* Castles collected and put align to form streets
* Bricolage cafes in orange tents
* The scent of burnt birch wood in the air
* Views leading outsidet
* Whole night buss sings "In excelsis deo" at 2 a.m.
* Street musicians, fried potatoes and masses of people in the streets at 3 a.m., in -15C
* Summer sun
* The glorious amount of silent joy in the people
* Spring comes late, but then!

Cover of the Human - free newspaper for the London Architecture Biennale 2004, C-Laboratory.

Chain Reactor

Architectonic installation for the 3rd Biennale of Montreal, Canada, 2002.

6 x6 x 6 metres cubic steel frame supporting walls of steel chain in the heart of the Montreal information technology area in the Old City.

Inside the structure is a qhite gravel floor in the middle of which 4 benches and a fireplace out of stone.

People enter to gather around the fire and return to their offices with the smell of smoke in their clothes.

Casagrande & Rintala

Monday, October 15, 2007

Real Reality

The hacking rhythm of life with no space to see the horizon, no supporting values to look for the horizon.

Consuming without questioning and destroying nature which cannot be seen around and so making all this easier. Nature being a loser in economical speculation.

Globalization is concrete in the means of pollution. Economic speculations are fictive. Streams of material are close to reality. Pollution is reality. The responsibility of environmental design is lost to fictive economic speculations with no connection to real reality. Surroundings shaped by no real values will destroy us. Design has replaced reality.

A bear has hair because it is hairy and not because somebody has decided so.

Urbanism is turning into the designing of objects, city planning inhuman. A modern metropolis brings a new perspective to the urban development. Responding to the new urbanism with its chaotic, unpredictable energies and hidden orders – this energy (qi) is the start of a new era. The underground of real reality has to surface.

The city cannot be treated as a camp for a fixed amount of legionaries. Instead of design we need psychoanalysis. The hectic rhythm of life and dominance of economics is reflected in the cityscape, causing bad environments, ecological problems and the illusion of stress. The illusion of stress is the atmosphere in which pollution and prostitution is created. This atmosphere of temporariness provides an excuse not to consider the future. Horizon is of no social value.

A city is organic and the human layers are everywhere in small scale. To save the city this must be scaled up and the structure of Urban Acupuncture must be introduced. It will be easy. People know, what is good, the real reality. All human existence should be in connection with the eternity, nature.

- See the video

Thinking of the real reality, looking at the horizon is mysticism – being in contact with the realities that are behind the reality that we see. Mysticism also applies to modern man: Old people are not shot as they should be according to laws of economics. People sense it is not kind to kill the old people and kindness is real reality. Kindness is just kindness, concrete. Real reality cannot be financially speculated, or otherwise – it is concrete.

We should not be blindfolded by stress, the realm of economics, the online access to entertainment and information. What is real is valuable. City must find a way to be connected to real things, not destructive things or design as entertainment. What is not real is not valuable.

Horizon needs space to be seen, time is not money. One has to have the possibility of being taken from this place and time 1000 years back to see, things are the same. Forcing oneself out of this time and place and going medieval let us go from the illusion of today. It is the social responsibility of artists and architects to look for the future, to be sensitive enough to see the reality and show the horizon. The power of environmental design, such as urban planning, has to be taken away from material speculations. Nowadays architecture and art is traumatized by economics, entertainment, shock values and other external influences.

Ethical awakening in connection with nature should be religious. A city can find its inner peace by admitting her mortality. We must find a strong sense of layers of reality other than material. If so, death is a beautiful end to begin a new life. But if we are stressed by running after money and material, stress for stress’ sake, death is a defeat, bankruptcy.

Economic surroundings do not lend themselves to kindness. Without kindness there will be no positive results.

City has grown hard and dead with temporary masses, thinking cities as microchips, replacing components with more effective ones. Human layers are not valued, the connection between the modern man and nature does not fit into the context of the urban amusement park.

Urban Acupuncture is trying to find new methods to understand the organic city and its energies, it is trying to bring in the reality of nature to the city, with its rhythms, mental space and values. Nature’s flexibility and capacity to adapt to new situations or to die and by dying fertilize ground for better solutions. Nature works in all scales from mega structure to one cell as one. Man is part of nature.

Real reality, values and ethics are always finding a way to push back. They are like the air around us, we notice it when we are running out of it. New air always comes in – the corners are windy. Today’s void in a valueless society will be filled with ethics. People are good deep down in the end – that reality is now depressed by material nonsense.

The thinking of Real Reality is partly inspired by conversations with professor Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila, Helsinki University department of Arabic studies.

Installation 1:2001

The installation 1:2001 is a circular wall of religious, ideological and philosophical books from all over the world. The diameter of the circle is 6,37 metres (diameter of Earth 1:2001000 according to Neil Heimler's Principles of Science) adn the height of the wall is 6,37:2. The books are used as bricks, title-backs outwards.

There will be one entrance to the interior of the installation, which will be a white wall to the contrast of the various title-backs seen on the outside. The viewer inside the installtion will be in focus.

Casagrande & Rintala
Architectural installation for the Biennale Internazionale dell'Arte Contemporanea di Firenze