+ - 99 mins
18 x 25 cm
ENG/SPA Bilingual Edition
DANIEL FERNÁNDEZ PASCUAL
Partytopias in Berlin
The allure of the analogue caves
An interview with MI 5
Andrea Lissoni / Tomás Saraceno
On space time foam
Exodus & The Berg
States of emergency
Homo ludens ludens. Experience the city from a spontaneous gathering of strangers around some loudspeakers; get carried away by the trance of a nightclub; immerse ourselves in that dark space where constant flashes fragment our body into a piling sequence of snapshots and disconnected postures; observe how the space around us deforms, swelling and sinking with the sound enveloping us; dream of sensorial cities founded on hedonism and excess; take photographs of gigantic mountains, inexistent mountains; jump on a soft amorphous surface transforming us into a weightless particle floating in space.
Play is the essence of life’s manifestations of intelligence, and it is through play that humans reach a special abstract dimension where they become aware of themselves behaving differently.
Many of the most important researchers in the field of psychology (Jean Piaget, Melanie Klein, D. W. Winnicott or Lev Vygotsky) have understood play as an inherent activity to the human species. It is, at the same time, at the genesis of culture itself, being its foundation and primordial element.
The Dutch philosopher and historian Johan Huizinga, in his quest to understand the social condition of human beings, exposes the terms Homo Faber and Homo Sapiens as insufficient, affirming that neither actually delimits the exclusive and defining quality in them. His work Homo Ludens positions play as the differential manifestation of the human condition, and makes a case for the use of the term in evolutionary taxonomy. In Vilém Flusser’s reflections around the understanding of language, human communication, freedom in the context of postindustrial societies and the importance of play for contemporary humans, the philosopher goes even further. For him, we live in a moment where instead of working we produce information, and our interaction is now filtered through games with the ‘devices’ we must use in order to be part of society. Play can thus also be considered as an act of emancipation.
The diversity of spheres we inevitably touch on when we dive into any act of play is what makes it such a complex and interesting manifestation. And it is through play, an activity essentially of freedom, that reality is deformed by designing new rules of space and time; fragile and ephemeral, but necessarily ordered, defined and conscious. Space confronts its users directly, turning them into fully active intermediaries who must chose-design the limits defining their subjective experience of the reality surrounding them. There is also a psychological fracturing of the rigidity of rational constructs through pleasure, thus becoming one of the states leading to most experimentation in the design of our spaces of coexistence, of our cities, or of our spaces of intimacy. And what it more, these apparently thoughtless states deriving from experiential inertia are actually able to reflect our deepest considerations both in regards to social questions as well as political, ecological, aesthetical or ethical ones.
Throughout the history of architecture there has been a constant defence of space as a sensorial catalyst. There are many examples, but it was probably from the 60s onwards when the manifestations of architecture based on hedonism and enjoyment became more radical. In fact, even now we continually revisit utopias and proposals from that time, as they formed an immense and heterodox range of spatial forms trying to condense what society wanted to experience.
Far from attempting to establish a historical continuity or to pose the succession to these movements and evocative images, what we want in this issue is to offer a glimpse into the enormous amount of research, whether as an object of study or as the backbone to creative activities, being carried out today around the themes of play and enjoyment.
Through Partytopias, fragile structures and nomadic constructions built for partying, from utopian cities, phantasmagorias and sensoria, to club architectures and experimentation, DESIERTO publishes nine pieces of work which seem to be looking to redefine that Homo Ludens in relation to its new spaces of activity, broadening it to the complexities and new forms taken on by current architectural production.◊