Four Footnotes to History
Spring 2012, Jackson Studio
Zach Crocker’s thesis, Four Footnotes to History, targets contemporary architecture’s predominant post-critical emphasis on engagement in “the real” (through discourses of performance, sustainability, material production, etc.) by arguing strongly for a value in the un-real or not-yet-real. In asserting the social and cultural value of fiction and architecture’s ability to productively engage individuals in such fictional constructs, he identifies four types of essential experiences which have been problematized by contemporary cultural habits and practices by virtue of our networked connectivity, and then develops four corresponding fictional dwellings within which one can once again inhabit these crucial experiences. These experiences (which might be roughly characterized as unfulfilled longing, estrangement, nostalgia, and remaining in place) are all ones which have been neutralized or eliminated by the network’s ability to provide immediate access to and control over information, social connectivity, and spatial experience. This informational, social, and spatial liberation is analogous to the liberation enabled by the removal of the Berlin Wall; the experiences that this thesis project attempts to restore are thus, in many ways, a manifestation of a fictional wall—one which metaphorically restores the wall’s ability to defer, delay, and resist. Each dwelling proposed by this thesis is therefore “sited” in Berlin—a timeless and fictional Berlin, in which the Berlin Wall still haunts the city, and is reincarnated in the form of these four houses.