The Last Studio

RMIT  Architecture & Urban Design

Master of Architecture, Design Studio Semester 2, 2018

Supervisor: Dr Michael Spooner

Students: tbc

Ballot Presentation:

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1. This ballot picks up the broken thread of ambition first encountered in the studio Nabucco, named after the Opera that was loosely framed by the historical siege of Jerusalem, and which was continued in last semesters studio K for Ketamine born of the madness of the film Fitzcarraldo (1982), its director Werner Herzog, the actor Klaus Kinski and the protagonist Brian Fitzgerald’s love of opera . These studios wrestle with my doubt, my sadness, my intense hesitation to continue, and my own visceral hallucinations. It is this fragile condition that anticipates my interest in despots and opera. The Last Studio is certainly a mischievous affirmation for a studio title, but it remonstrates with the discordant even unachievable promise of this broken thread.
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2. I am interested in a terse relationship with the authors of this collective nostalgia. I don’t remember the half time club, but I do remember the first time I saw fashion designer Manfred Thierry Mugler; the self-styled sex minotaur built of muscle, nipples and tattoos whose mid 90s catwalk performances extended into hour long tributes to their time. Nothing has eclipsed them since. Nothing. On your left are images of the Russian artist Oleg Kulik, who amusingly performs as a dog. In one performance he was chained naked to a wall in an art gallery with signs warning of the ‘dogs’ proclivities for violence. He attacked and harmed several people who ignored the signs and got too close, and destroyed works by other artists which were in reach of his territory. If this studio has one absurd architectural ambition, then it is to put a chained dog at the front of this minotaur’s maze.
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3. A dog guarding a minotaur seems like a careless match – but it’s a contemporary condition: the exploitation of choice without consequence; I mean you never actually have to speak to a match, its just nice that they thought you were fuckable. I’ve never been one to ignore the consequences of affection. I indulge in it. Wallow even. This studio has great personal want for its participants, a cohort built on an unspoken baptism and the payment of indulgences after. It’s not that you have to be unspeakable even flagrant, but I have been surprised by how many who ballot are suddenly, inexplicably, surprised by it appearing in the studio. Let me be clear. Listen carefully. I am both uncontainable and divine. I hope we understand each other now.
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4. More recently I have become addicted to youth, especially to the youth of others. It’s a tolerance that has startled me. The unrepentant touching of immaculate skin. But how they look back that is the kicker. It’s a type of familial drama: raw affection; every reaction offered to you with want for more. Please. We can see this on the right in Antonio Moroni’s Cavaliere in Red (1560): his sideways glance a potential model of the world at that moment. If only architecture was this breathtaking. Here then lies the studio’s pursuit of youth: An architecture that aims for the mid-twenties.
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5. A hecatomb was a great public sacrifice in ancient Rome and Greece. Usually the massacre of 100 oxen driven to the temple steps and drowned in their own blood. ¬ Nabucco and Ketamine both began with the sacrifice of Melbourne. The purpose was to achieve a surface with the maximum shine and gleam that could mirror the new ontological principle of a New Melbourne: construction sites. A holy city by any other name. There is no intellectual game here. Im not interested in densities, or in the peculiarities of planning, the incongruities in law, or a critique of economics despite what has now become fashionable: politics without politics. I have no interest in trying to construct ideological paradigms that mean the erasure of architecture itself, but I am almost certain I do not elaborate the profession. I do not think I will become its president. My politics are very clear: I do not imagine that cannibals accept democracy when choosing a meal.
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6. Along the way we will build an intensely private universe of meaning. And we will do so through a sustained enquiry into the archaeology of the world – its cruelty and its gratitude. This is simply the naming of two thieves. What will come of it is a matter for no one else. No One. But our visions will be narrowed as we wake from our slumber – this is a breakfast studio – and we lurch into the sordidness of it all.
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7. Authenticities were the cat cry of the most recent studio leader walk-around. You will hear many of them today. They are of course solid bricks of intellect. I just wouldn’t want to pass one. This studio presents a dream; a configuration of sense without qualification, and wonder; the redistribution of the sensible. It places emphasis on these traits and their similarity with the world around us. I am particularly interested in the use of enumeration and repetition, and how these could be brandished as tools for architectural provenance.
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8. It will of course be, as almost everything has been, a reflection on theatricality and on a Queer vitality. And on longing. This then is my intimate confession…in this studio, we will never be apart from each other.

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