We are reading: The Sniper’s Log by Alejandro Zaera-Polo
We continue our reading of Alejandro Zaera-Polo's The Sniper’s Log which will be finished next week and will then be followed by a review. This passage is from The Politics of the Envelope, a critical, theoretical and projective essay, very long (about 40-50 pages!). It was originally published in Volume 17 (Fall 2008), in two parts in Log n. 13/14 (Fall 2008) and Log n.16 (Spring/Summer 2009).
The passage below is from pp.492-493:
Instead of a revolutionary architecture, an architecture of explicitation would imply more complex political directionalities as it transforms the space and the material organization of the built environment, even if those transformations cannot be inscribed in a holistic political program. For architecture to express the domestication of density and high-rise life through specific massing strategies in tall buildings, to convey that certain tendencies in the articulation of the building envelope capture the new political affects, to communicate that certain manipulations of the ground and the roof indicate the politicization of nature, or to explain the breakdown of the correlation between interior and exterior and private and public are legitimate political performances.
My interest in envelopes as political devices is that they constitute the element that confines an atmosphere and regulates the flow of energy and matter in and out of that system. If traditional politics was based on equilibrium and closed systems, the contemporary mechanisms of social and economic integration suggest that systems need to operate in an open mode. And, like in thermodynamics, equilibrium in only valid for closed systems where the overall amount of energy is kept constant. Once energy flows in and out of a system, the number and type of possible historical outcomes greatly increases. Instead of a unique and simple equilibrium, there are now multiple ones of varying complexity regulating their attached power regimes. By analyzing the building envelope, architects may be able to reempower the practice of architecture as a truly transformative force in the reorganization of power ecologies. As an alternative to historical directionality, I would like to propose an analysis of the political dimensionality of space. The dimensional analysis of building envelopes is an attempt to reground architecture’s political performance in space and material organizations.
* About an architecture of explication, if you have the book at hand, check page 483. Briefly, it is based on Peter Sloterdijk’s explikation or an alternative process to revolution and emancipation.