In this page, we present first our Collective, MASI, then the framework of the project and our methodological program of realization.
A thread network in the urban fabric
Project of an urban stagecraft that occurs in different places of Latin America, between june of 2018 and june of 2019. A research that combines architecture and sociology.
We are a young duo of one architect and one sociologist. Our common ideas, values and references allies those two approaches of the city, hence allowing us to develop a collective pratice.
Together, we share a approch of « urban scenography» ; the public space is the stage where we all perform our own lives and our cities. So, we focus on this co-construction both physical and spiritual of the urban space and we act to put on stage the bonds between actors that can be residents, workers or just people passing by.
Thus, we want to strengthen social bonds, on a local scale, by the common experimentation of a stagecraft changing everyday life. We want every actor to appropriate our installations, sometimes strange, sometimes playful, but always unexpected.
Her diploma project « A network passage through a block » at the Paris-Malaquais Architecture school, completes a training course in architecture (also in Seville and Madrid) by an experimentation of the links between public and private spaces by proposing urban design schemes. She is also a specialist in environmental engineering graduated at the École Polytechnique of Crete. During her studies she was set designer and director of the theater group. She worked at the architectural agencies Jfa and Arep, while creating puppets and inventing their passports. Today she works as a scenograph, from the theater of the city to theatrical stages.
His experiences in the shantytowns of Ile de France (associations Les Enfants du Canal, CNDH Romeurope) allow him to question and test the limits of the city and moreover the relations between the shantytowns inhabitants and its neighbors, aiming dialogue and fight against the prejudices. He deepened this goal during his interventions with young people (association Citoyennete possible) about citizen education and fight against discrimination. To do this, he relies on his training in social sciences, with a hightlight on migration and anti-discrimination (Master’s degree in University of Paris Diderot) combined with his theatrical experiences during 7 years.
From the utopia of a network passage…
Madlen Anipsitaki started from the different uses of Parisian passages, such as creating shortcuts or entangling neighbors up to wobbling around. She transformed their simple architecture from a straight-line trajectory to a network of transitions between these three ideal and typical trajectories.
The passage networks 3 different types of trajectories :
- the passage that pierces the existing, passage allegro.
- the passage that bypasses the existing, passage moderato.
- the passage that slips into the existing, passage lento
The third type is the passage that interests us most here. It passes through existing common areas such as the common courtyards, staircases, corridors of each building.
Its program is situationist, it seeks to disrupt habits, hoping to elicit new behaviors. Spontaneous situations emerge, created by human contact. For example, a spontaneous projection on a blind wall, a shared garden.
When the passage passes through apartments, « filters » separate them from the passage and allow direct or indirect contact with the resident. For example, double-sided libraries have one side for the house and the other for the passage. The value of the public use of a private element also lies in other elements, such as the water leading to a kitchen sink that at the same time refreshes pa ssers-by, like a spring in a Greek village.
This is an important point of our urban scenography approach where the set of the theater of the city takes part in the interactions between the actors.
In addition, this project is located on an enclosed block. By linking its sides, it carries an ambition of opening up and social mixing between their different populations, rather bourgeois on one side and popular on the other. As J.P. says. Vernant, « between the banks of the same and the other, man is a bridge ». For us the passage and more broadly the city, is also a « bridge » that connects different groups in a common history and space.
Slums are informal living places on the outskirts of the city inhabited by precarious migrant groups stigmatised as Roma and excluded from the housing market. The work Simon Riedler has done there and his fight against the exclusion of Roma leads him to question the city’s ability to join different social groups. It therefore has a local development objective by working, for example, for mutual acceptance and dialogue between slum dwellers and local residents.
Our collective journey is therefore both architectural and social, utopian and committed. For us, it is about questioning and transforming social relations at the local level. We intend to materialize and nourish them with a new network. We plan to initiate it, then it will be co-constructed by the people depending on the uses they will find in it.
So the network is not a static scenography, like a theatre set, but a set that comes to life as people pass by and interact with it. They may make it more visible as they may also break it. Each reaction is respected as an integral part of the urban scenography.
…to the realization of a new thread network
The city is already interwoven by many networks represented above.
The analysis of social networks considers the actors as « nodes » of bonds and proposes a modeling of virtual networks which we use as analogy to represent the material network that we are going to build.
Geographic, historical, social, symbolic: the bonds are proteiform and representing them requires a plural matter. At the same time, this material must maintain a certain unity, a balance between past and present, between different generations, a continuity open to the future, respect the built environment and stimulate movement. We logically choose thread to meet these requirements.
We also choose the thread to allow the actors to easily weave the network, everyone has thread at hand, whether it is string, cables, sewing thread, linen or laces. We ourselves will choose a simple thread such as we will find it locally on a market, in a local store.
Representation of the fill and void of the block of the net crossing different layers of altitude. The analysis of the vacuum and the fill allows us to consider the routing of the thread through the existing vacuum.
Realisation : a three-stage program
We plan three phases of one week each: preparation – experimentation – restitution. The following programme is provisional and will probably be modified in the field. In addition, we are considering several achievements to improve the project as we go along.
The diagrams above are based on the block where Madlen elaborated her project of network passage. There are different sources, the red dots, where the threads start, the red lines. The network is developing as time goes on. We will analyze the site looking for where to locate the source points of the network, the places where the thread can be unwound.
1/ Preparation – 1st week
We are looking for facilitators in institutions such as departments of architecture and urban planning, social sciences, fine arts, local universities and schools, and also associations or cultural social centres. We establish distance contact with students, teachers and researchers in these areas whom we will meet there.
During the first week, we will organize a workshop with these relays on site.
The first objectives to be achieved collectively are the following:
- Choice of the appropriate thread material according to the indications of our local contacts. We will take it in large quantities (e.g. from a factory agreeing to sponsor us) and assemble it into large balls or rolls. These balls or rolls will have multiple thread ends, these will be the source points of the network.
- Choice of the location of the network source points thanks to a site analysis.
Example of a relevant place: pedestrian space with a tree to hang the thread and a wall to cross.
- Raising local actors’ awareness of our project, information meetings, posters, towing. Search for volunteers.
- Set safety rules in the use of the installation
2/ Experimentation – 2nd week
This central phase will begin with the deployment of the network’s source points with the help of sensitized volunteers, probably students.
It will be multiple threads that we will unroll. We will make them pass through public spaces using urban elements such as poles, trees, benches. And, with the agreement of the inhabitants, they will be able to penetrate private spaces such as balconies, windows, or even the interior of homes. The scenarios will be spontaneous and will depend on local reactions.
Projection of the thread network on the block used as the basis of our project. It passes through public and private spaces.
The network could be extended by wire transplants of all kinds by the inhabitants and the passers-by, such as clothes line, electric cables, laces…
We will continue our work of informing local actors, encouraging them to feel free to use the installation, to make it their own. And we will observe and record how the installation will evolve and respond to us. We will use different media to form a daily log:
- Photo, video, of the actors and the network taken by us or the actors themselves and shared on virtual social networks with hashtag #reddehilos
- Observation notes and drawings, in regard to the ownership of the network by the actors.
- Ethnographic interviews (if possible recorded) with actors, questions about their reaction to the project.
3/ Restitution – 3rd week
During this phase, we will continue our observations and recordings, guided by the following questions and hypotheses on the evolution of the scenography:
Will it become a real communication network, with people hanging words to communicate?
Will it become an attraction for children to jump and play?
Will acrobats or dancers take advantage of the threads to express themselves with the body language?
Will the threads take the form of strings on an instrument that people will enjoy playing and listening to?
Is someone just gonna cut the thread to create a disconnection?
Everything remains possible, there is no « bad » or « correct », these are always reactions that have a presence and a meaning in space. Need. In our co-construction process, these reactions will be respected and discussed at meetings with the volunteers involved and at public meetings. We will propose a synthesis of our daily log that will be discussed and re-evaluated by the protagonists of the network.
The restitution phase can be prolonged, thanks to the actors who will continue to keep the network alive. We leave the door open for our possible return to the site, to obtain results with a more extended temporality.
Finally, we will eventually be able to compare experiments on different sites and provide material for our utopian and committed architectural and social research. That is why we communicate our project and will continue to do so to document the experience through various means (blog articles, magazine, book, documentary, exhibition…).
We deeply believe that this project, through an urban dialogue, a plasticity and an artistic appropriation of space, enchants everyday life and develops social relations with poetry. At the crossroads of architecture, sociology and interactive art, the proposed thread networks and co-developed has a utopian ambition, that the thread continues to unfold…
Projection of the thread network in San Pedro, on Lake Atitlán in Guatemala