This assignment was a university competition brief from the Lisbon Architecture Triennale. It asked students to propose an intervention – programmatically or physically – in the Triennale’s headquarters, the 18th century Sinel de Cordes Palace, based on the political, technological, emotional, institutional, and critical forms of global spatial practice. Tutors: Joel Karamath & Tobias Revell.
Scripts is a user-generated monument to dissent. It focuses on the growing political authority of online discourse. The massive amount of freely shared information feeds a powerful platform for discussion, dissent and active political action.
Camille and Andres have embodied this phenomenon in a column. From the Parthenon and the Alhambra to the Brandenburg Gate and the Lincoln Memorial, the column has evolved from simply being a structural element in buildings to, increasingly, a symbol of institutionalised power.
They write: “Our column is reimagined as 24 ceiling-mounted receipt printers (a direct reference to the 24 flutes found in Ionic columns): each is tracking the discussions of online platforms such as twitter, each on a specific subject. Our software deconstructs and fragments the authority of the column: the more interest certain situations gain, the more the relevant section of the column will grow, and in no way will we be able to predict its final outcome.”
Scripts considers both the strengths and the flaws of online discourse which by its own nature is typically anarchic, unregulated and fickle. The project’s deconstruction of the centuries-old aesthetics and semantics of the column aims to raise questions regarding the endurance and efficacy of online discourse, and to serve as a monument to user-generated content, “a Trajan column for the digital age”.
“The events of the Occupy movement and the Arab Spring, as well as the constant stream of user generated information coming from Afghanistan, Syria, Myanmar, Somalia, India, and more, prove the point that not only is the internet a legitimate vehicle for dissent and free speech, but, sometimes, the only possible.
“Foucault in 1998 wrote of power as something that is everywhere, and ‘comes from everywhere’: the internet, and, by extension, our column, is the perfect manifestation of the unidentifiable origin and nature of power. A movable, unpredictable structure controlled by exchange of information and data.
“The installation aims to raise questions about dissent and social unrest in the age of the internet: can we quantify and visualise online movements? Is the internet the ultimate place for manifesting dissent and challenge the status quo? And, more widely, are we also questioning the relationship between social and political struggle and the space it inhabits throughout history: whether its shift from the permanent materiality of stone to the intangible volatile nature of bytes signifies a shift in the materiality of dissent itself?”