The Decay of a Liminal Protest [Des Baker 2012]

    2012 Des Baker Student Competition Joint Winners (Gold).
    Project Title: The Decay of a Liminal Protest.
    Details: Re-scripting architecture.

    Architecture out of shadows
    _ A protest - [ proh-test] - is an expression or declaration of objection, disapproval, or dissent, often in opposition to something a person is powerless to prevent or avoid; remonstrate

    The existing script represents the passage of time evealed through the degradation and decay of bandoned architecture. It scripts the premeditated expiration of a spatial vessel as a measure ofchange and the toll of time - the condition of 
    inevitable and continuous weathering towards 
    ruination. This tangible process is the measurable 
    evidence of the instability of the human condition and its mortal transcience. The ruination of 
    architecture is a narration of the unofficial 
    histories of place. Architecture, like us, cannot resist time. It has the capacity to become a means for us to confront our own corruptibility and 
    morality. The script transverses many societal layers - a societal Palimpsest. The visible 
    constructs of a society are palimpsests; layered 
    constructions revealing and exposing diversions and diversities in the course of 
    temporal progress and decline.
    In re-scripting this ‘decaying’ script the intention is not to resist or refuse time but to confront it through experiential and emotional interactions. Rather than re-scripting the text of time, a super and subscript are added, layering the text as a 
    palimpsest of possibility and revealing unexpected or unintended meanings between the lines.


    Situated in an abandoned productive facility - a flourmill - the question arises as to how such a place has become discarded, a space that once represented productive sustenance now 
    symbolizes futility and regress, indicative of a 
    fluctuating society of consumption and disposal. Altered and transmuted through time the 
    structure dates from 1908 and represents the prototypical space as machine. The site occupies a liminal space between dissolving and emerging conditions on the periphery of the central city. 
    Although the place is particular, 
    its condition is universal.

    The intervention is an interjection in the script of time, a deliberately crafted - as opposed to a produced - route that exposes the hidden spaces to public scrutiny and possibilities of 
    liminal occupation. 
    These liminal programmes refer to the hidden cultures and subcultures of the urban condition, a space for the transients produced as by products of contemporary society. The inserted structure has the capacity to become a liminal infrastructure. It both conceals and reveals decay in its construction of materials such as Corten steel where, ironically, decay becomes its own protection. The tectonic is intentionally direct and essential as a means to experience rather than being experience in itself. As such its construction signifies work as poetic act in contrast to the labour associated with the programme previously containde in the structure. The route is ultimately a reflection of the obesrvers’ perception of the existing deteriorating structure and the realization of the fate of its former occupants and the building itself as a manifestation of transcience. The syncopated route is progressively revealed as a sequence of liminal experiences punctuated by varied threshold conditions. It seduces the imagination to deviate from the world of everyday escapisms. It has the capacity to awaken our imagination beyond immediate gratification towards reflection on and acceptance of our transient state...
    Produced with good friends Rikus de Kock and Alex Becker.