AEEE, Esther Choi, Marrikka Trotter eds.
"Architecture at the Edge of Everything Else is the first in a series of planned Work Books being produced in alignment with a new generation of spatial thinkers and practitioners working to assimilate interdisciplinary methodologies into architectural action and discourse [...] Seeking to bridge the gap between what students, practitioners, and academics are willing to risk in private conversation vs. public forums, each contribution in AEEE contains a speculative and creative proposal for thinking and acting architecture differently. Interwoven with these proposals are conversations between emerging thinkers and established authors and practitioners including Sanford Kwinter, Sylvia Lavin, K. Michael Hays, Philippe Rahm, Liam Gillick, Teddy Cruz, and Michael Meredith." (1)
The Collective Image: Form, Figure, and the Future. Trevor Patt.
This is not by any means a neutral review, I have an essay in the book (2) and know almost all of the contributors. Nor do I want to summarize my argument or provide some kind of post facto commentary track for the essay itself. I'm only going to say that the essay I began with so long ago has changed so many times, each time a little bit for the better and that rereading now I'm very happy with the state it ended in as an accumulation and expansion of the many threads I was trying to fold together. For this I owe a debt of gratitude to my amazing and patient editors, Esther Choi and Marrikka Trotter, and their tireless work launching the project.
Having had a chance to read the book in its entirety now, they also deserve a huge amount of credit for the job they've done organizing and structuring the book. In the light of the anxiety and supposed incohesive state of the discipline (as well as the number and diversity of participants) it is both encouraging and surprising to track a note of cohesion throughout the texts. There is a recurring insistence that architecture is always attended by action (3), and that far from relegating the politics of resistance (4), we are interested in how this action can be used to create new political forms (5). All of this is accompanied by a tone which felt—to me—more authentically optimistic (6) than many recent attempts to play at glib, too-cool-for-school rabblerousers (7), which is truly an accomplishment.
2.Trevor Patt. "The Collective Image: Form Figure and the Future." p138-151
3. See Esther Choi's conversation with Philippe Rahm, "Airtight" p153-159. which unpacks so many areas I had wished to read more about in his previous monographs.
4. In this insistence, Bret Albert's interview with Sylvia Lavin "Neither Sweet nor Sour" was cathartic to read.
5. Matthew Allen. "Control Yourself! Lifestyle Curation in the Work of Sejima and Nishizawa" p22-33
6. In particular, the excitement of enchantment that arises in Marrikka Trotter's discussion with Michael Hays. "Re-enchanted Architecture", p130-137.
"Singing into being" ecstatically calls to mind Badiou's recollection of his primary disagreement with Deleuze, ("Deleuze spoke highly of what he characterized as my poetic and impassioned song in praise of sets but remained steadfast on the issue on which our exchange had come to an impasse: for me, multiplicities 'were' sets, for him, the 'were not.'
The Deleuzian song of the virtual is no less impassioned and certainly more poetic—it should be listened to attentively." Alain Badiou. Deleuze: The Clamor of Being. p48) but speaks to an ontology which is not so dependent on the void as a creative necessity.
7. R.E. Somol and Sarah Whiting. "Ok, Here's the Plan..." in Log 5. Cynthia Davidson ed.