Beyond Entropy II

I’ve been in Geneva now for a couple of days. We spent yesterday visiting CERN, trying to inspire the artists, architects and scientists alike (I’ve collaborated with people here, but I’ve never visited before).

CERN tunnel mockup
A mockup of a section of the CERN tunnels. More pictures here.

You can also check out Peter Coles’ blog for his tall tale of CERN’s history and impressions of the project. My Imperial colleagues Roberto Trotta, Amanda Chatten and Dave Clements are also participating (and Dave is blogging, too).

The second night, after our visit to CERN and a dinner of fondue and swiss music (possibly not the high point of the trip), all of the 24 participants (eight groups each of an architect, artist and a scientist) gave a few-minute presentation on their work and interests. I was, to use the cliché, blown away by the ambition and accomplishment of everyone else involved. In particular, I am lucky enough to be working with Budapest-based artist Attila Csorgo and architect Shin Egashira, who works out of the Architecture Association, the overall initiators and sponsors of the project. Both build amazing machines. Attila’s constructions seem to me to be about the interaction of the machine and the environment, or of the components of the machine itself, whereas Shin’s involve more effort on the part of the viewer/participant (but I am sure I will get to understand their work and their practice better as I spend more time with it and them).

We spent the next day in a lovely old Swiss building, brainstorming our projects — we’re meant to come up with a “prototype” to have in place for this summer’s Architecture Biennale in Venice. Our brief was to explore the concept of “Mechanical Energy”, and we found an area of convergence in the idea of cameras, in the process of taking pictures, areas that both Shin and Attila have explored in their work.

Right now, our first idea is to combine the Planck Surveyor‘s method of scanning the sky with a microphone-based sensor and camera, to make sound and light pictures of the volume surrounding the apparatus. We’re looking forward to a weekend retreat into the wilds of Dorset, to Hooke Park, a site run by the AA.

Thanks, finally, to Stefano Rabolli Pansera, the brilliant, optimistic, and enthusiastic mind behind this project, as well as all of the other people from the Architecture Association doing the hard work.