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RMIT Master of Architecture, Design Studio Semester 1 2018

Supervisor: Dr Michael Spooner


Klara Jonsson, Stefan Frey, Kelvin Urbina, Yuanbo Zhang, Xin Yan Choo, Laura bailey, Howard Aimee, Ju Ern Ooi, Andrea Milovanovic, Michael Strack, Margot Watson, Ilana Razbash, Linyu Cheng, Jocelyn Tay & Caulfield Shaw

Ballot Presentation: WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH AN ARMY?

1. In 589BC the Babylonia King Nebuchadnezzar II laid siege to the Holy City of Jerusalem. The seige lasted two years and culminated in the razing of the temple of Solomon, the sacking of the cities immense wealth and finally its destruction. It also marked the rise of Bablyon as the most significant capital of the then world. Before us lies a city, halted and sprawled. Emissary’s in fluro vests march down main street waving flags – an army of a sort, carrying with them, unknowingly, the memory of the brutal erasure of a city and of biblical ruin. Are they an Omen we have yet to fully comprehend?
2.From my window this army pillages the sequin façade of Building 100 that will be raised yet again to forget the very first. This temple is however empty of its Ark. Collecting like orange and yellow flies before a screen door the Army’s calls of Christ and fuck break through the glass, and their arm and leg embellishments bleed into an unenviable collage.
3.The city is shawled in an infinite veranda of desire and want creating the apparition of somebodys history. It is this unknowable that the studio contends to brush against. You see I’m not prepared to grow up inspite of what you want from me. Nor am I prepared to make sense prior to its making. You can chastise me later. I only ask of you the audience, the animal I will finally wear: What can you do with an Army? This question is a provocation that I am not sure is relevant to the discipline of architecture. But, if I had to say what this studio wrestles with, then it is the foolishness of this question alone.
4. What you will build is an intensely private universe of meaning: A Holy City by any other name. And you will do so through a sustained enquiry into the archaeology of the world – its cruelty and its gratitude. What will come of it is a matter for god, but the vision will be narrowed as I wake from my slumber and we lurch into the paleness of it all. It will of course be, as my other studios have been, a reflection on theatricality and on a queer vitality. The examples here, Felix Gonzalez-Torres Go-Go Dancing Platform and a sequence from Dmitry Shostakovich’s opera The Nose will become some of the first things against which you will brandish your time, if not to hang something architectural from in desperate hope of meeting the deadline. What is a Holy City but a plinth broad enough to hold a spectacle as big as the divine, somewhere to dance, in our silence, against the setting sun in the Maribyrnong. At the end, salute it, thank it and give me three cheers for civilisation.

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