Summer Workshop at Confluence

Much has been written on the convent of Sainte Marie de La Tourette (1959, Evreux, France) designed by architect Le Corbusier and his then assistant, mathematician and musician, Iannis Xenakis. It is indeed an architectural masterpiece, fit for its usage. Anyone can, looking at photographs, appreciate the masterful use of light, color and the undulatory façades that bring joy to ascetic living. Yet, one needs to experience what I come to call a *friar’s habit*, a garment barely comfortable, insulating and quiet, adjusted to monastic activities: the study of religious texts and philosophy, the prayers before each meal, and meditation. When the building material and volumes amplify the sound of the worship service, light sublimes it.

It is also space where silence is obliged—any other sound is very much a disturbance as one can hear a whisper or the alarm clock of their next-door neighbor. With the concrete at times so thin and so old that it cracks, without any insulation except maybe for few rooms under the planted roof, the habit (the word translates as ‘clothe’ in French) intimates us to silence and sensory engagement.

It has been a pleasure to experience the building along with summer school students of the Confluence Institute for Innovation and Creative Strategies in Architecture. We felt extremely privileged to be given access to the rooftop and the crypt:

On the rooftop. Photograph: Yara Tayoun

We spent a couple of days producing sensory maps of a section of the building—we chose to map the corridor linking the church to the dining hall. A section of this corridor slopes up when you come out of the church highlighting the fact that we are in a “higher state of mind” as Nathalie observed—physically ascending as we are spiritually elevated!

We were trying to make sense of sensory data collection, meaning and representation:

Students collecting sensory data.

The process of mapping luminance by Nathalie Bellefleur transforming image data into a pattern using Grasshopper.

Map capturing the elements which contribute to rhythm our walk through the walkway, activating our body-memory. Work by Kailin Jones and Yara Tayoun.

Thank you Confluence for the invitation and everyone for the wonderful work!

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My Body Is A Hypertext

Summer time – August 16, 2005 – As I was reading (and writing for my thesis) on augmented bodies – William J. Mitchell, Me++, The Cyborg Self and the Networked City (MIT press, 2003) – I thought of getting a 2D code tattoo – though a washable one, for that I don’t like things permanent – or let’s say it differently – I accept that things have an expiration date – that death is part of life. That is true (ecological) neo-nomadism btw.

That is the vignette (with a text) I had produced to illustrate the concept:

project number . 20050816
project title . shotcode tattoo
medium . ink or washable tattoo
my identity has shrunk to my skin…
<< I link therefore I am >> says WJM
my tattoo is no more a barcode that one scans
for revealing the identity of a product
the extension of my body is a url
we exist because of the envelope, the image
which is drawn, written, or projected onto it
our skin is a state of mind, a habitat, and our identity
the last private space?
my body is a hypertext

On August 23, 2005, I received the email below:

My name is [x] and I’m the founder / CEO of [x] / ShotCode.

I loved your blog entry and I just wanted to let you know how close to home it hit for me.

In the coming month I will tattoo a ShotCode on my chest. It’ll be a ShotCode that I can point to any type of content that I want. We’ll make a little movie of it to prove that it’s an actual tattoo and not a stick on or penned shape.

And then again on the same day after I had answered:

I’ve had the ShotCode drawn on my chest to test if it works and it does. The next step is the actual tattooing which I’ll have done in [x] (a city in Sweden) [etc.]

Anyway, I had also been forwarded another link… Here you will find the newest way to pick-up a Japanese Babe! Or when bodies become blunt commodities.

Nowadays, my reflection on augmented bodies (And what this has to do with space) has evolved – especially in light of the Arab Spring. Neo-nomads are bio-political agents – More about this concept in the book: Néo-nomadisme.

Actually pushing the #hyperbody project further (Paris is so intellectually stimulating). Stay tuned. It is coming very soon.