Myths of the Artificial
Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot. – Neil Gaiman, The Sandman
In an architectural context, Gaiman expands the field in which projects can germinate. Focussing on life’s most precious resource, water, Inter 3 leapt outside the strictly scientific approach to infrastructural ecologies and into the world of myth for fresh pathways and inspirations. The paramount aim was to consider artificiality as an interface between man and nature, city and resources, culture and environment.
We traveled to north India at the beginning of November. Seeking the sacred traditions of water and its various rituals, the unit experienced the holy city of Varanasi and the River Ganges, as well as ancient step wells, engineered water reservoirs, monkey temples, salt mines, drought zones and vast industrial landscapes in which students investigated social and cultural issues – identifying not only problems but also beauty and exuberance.
With the trip as a departure point, students mixed local myths with eccentric devices to construct future narratives. Their final projects crossbreed sacred typologies with effective infrastructure systems to create hybrid traditions and programmatic entrepreneurship. 13 students rendered ‘Myths of the Artificial’ into personal and inspiring architectures. Elegant drawings, exquisite models and delicate tales constructed a world of rich and provocative ideas. Charlotte Moe’s ‘Purifying Domes’ and Elina Safarova’s ‘Synergetic Threshold: Crematorium along the River Thames’ eloquently interwove the poetics of scarcity into hopeful landscapes at the human-scale. Song Jie Lim’s airborne structure ‘Airavata’ and Basmah Kaki’s meticulousy drawn seed bank ‘A Journey in Celebration of Earth, Water and Sun’ explore deity festivals and propose new narratives. Under the incendiary sun of India and in the toxicity of a sacred river, facts remained secondary. Investigating technological environments inhabited by traditional sensibilities, Inter 3 constructed an ecology of dreams, rituals and machines, a place of celebration and tolerance between past and future.
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