Forms of Living


Research Project | in collaboration with OMMX | 2020

Our image compares, compresses and overlays two ideas about form, both of which are concerned with how the gaze of a visitor serves to frame an experience of a place.

The Albers, through their multitude of photographic studies and depictions of pre-Hispanic architecture, most often concentrated their focus on the shapes, patterns and volumes of monuments. In doing so, people are cropped out, compositions are foreshortened, and relationships between buildings and landscape are abstracted. The attempt to present buildings as pure forms causes dislocation, and it excludes the life and inhabitation that these places would have or could contain. The routine and ritual that would inform and shape the building is rendered illegible, perpetuating a practice where form is dissociated from culture, habit and tradition.
Yet, the long-term future of such monuments is heavily reliant on the gaze of a new visitor, the tourist, and we are interested in the objects, artefacts, and traces that might be associated with the necessary commerce and management that fills such sites today. The image confronts this by offering another framing, that of the site’s present-day condition. By extending its margins to include non-architectural forms that did not belong in the original photograph, we give representation to the daily use and maintenance of the building and the space that surrounds it. The signage, safety netting, rubbish bins and those selling souvenirs at the foot of the pyramid all collate to reveal the realities of contemporary life.

Comissioned by Raul Montesinos and Sebastian Amtmann, as part of Master in Advanced Architectural Projects MPAA in the ETSAM in Madrid