Architecture Parlante Show

Jan Van Eyck Academie, From October 2019 to March 2020, Maastricht.

Architecture Parlante concerns an artifact’s potential to tell stories and to envision new paths for collective living. Its title “speaking architecture” derives from a term coined by Claude Nicolas Ledoux to describe structures that explain their own function or identity. The project includes a series of objects and possible architectures inspired by what we defined as an “Architecture Novel” about a fictive group of individuals enmeshed in a conspiracy to take over the main institution controlling their city. If this architecture novel is based on an extreme connection between narration and his surroundings of building and object, the idea behind the plot is connected to the JVE Academie routine. While living the life of the institution, we’ve daydreamed about a group of participants secretly conspiring against it, behind the silent, quiet and polite atmosphere, from the shared kitchen table or the smoking area in the garden to the narrow corridors and the studio-caves. The protagonists of the story are suspended in the act of organizing themself, in a sort of buffer zone without any exit route, in the eternal act of looking for a common view in which the final aim seems impossible to reach.
The main reference behind the story is La Città del Sole (The City of the Sun ), written by the Dominican philosopher Tommaso Campanella, and one of the milestones of what has been defined as utopian literature. The book, based on the fictional city of the sun, was written during Campanella’s imprisonment, accused of leading a conspiracy against the Spanish rule and trying to establish a society based on the community of goods. The result is an architectural fabula of sorts. The story serves as a script and backdrop to a city construed as small ceramic maquettes. Together they form a plenary mystic vision combining elements of the primitive-future, new possible tribalisms, modernity’s inheritance of standardization, internet culture’s memetic aesthetic, and non-western symbolism and signs. The project takes shape in three parts: a ceramic maquette of the imagined city where the story takes place, a series of daily objects, and the imperative architecture parlante. The outcome is a sort of theatrical representation, where the actors are a series of artifacts, objects and maquettes, while a narrating voice and a moving spotlight trace a line between them.


Narrator: Gary Farrelly

Ph. Stefano Colombo