Ground XeroxSam Jacob and Tomas Klassnik
Copying within creative practice – especially in architecture and design – is seen as degraded, immoral and sometimes illegal. Yet we are also sure that copying plays a significant role in the history of architecture. Copying is fundamental to the founding myths of architecture. Greek temples were stone versions of wooden structures, Romans copied Greeks, the Renaissance copied both and so on. Each time, the iteration of an appropriated language allowed something new to be said. The copy sets into stark contrast issues of cultural meaning and value. Copies ask us to look closely and to understand who is doing it and why. It's not what you steal, it's the way that you steal it.
The studio will explore the idea of the copy through the following questions:
Intellectual Property: If IP law places creative practice within moral and economic frameworks how might we begin to use its articulation of creativity and ownership productively?
Re-Enactment: The architecture of reenactment relies on techniques of reconstruction, restoration and remaking often associated with conservatism and caricature. Yet in fields as diverse as the laboratory, the sports field and the crime scene, re-enactment is an active condition used to test a hypothesis. How might re-enactment be mobilised as an architectural device?
Pre-Enactment: Prior to their raid on Osama Bin Laden's compound, the Navy Seals constructed a life-size replica in order to choreograph tactics and become familiar with their mission. Projecting into the future, of course, is the central mode of architecture. How might explicitly invoking the idea of pre-enactment crystallise this familiar architectural operation?
The unit will be engaged in research documenting existing examples of architectural copies. It will use physical and digital techniques including modelling, scanning, printing and casting in an effort to understand the errors, degradations and hybridisations that copying introduces, to produce a series of architectural bootlegs, forgeries, mashups, facsimiles and reproductions.
Intermediate 12 is run in association with the Architectural Doppelgangers Research Cluster.
Sam Jacob is a director of FAT ( fat.co.uk ), an award-winning London-based architectural practice. He also teaches at Yale and UIC and is a contributing editor to Icon and a columnist for Art Review and editor of Strange Harvest. ( strangeharvest.com )