Luigi Ghirri

In 1969 the photo taken from the space shuttle on its way to the moon is published in all newspapers ; this was the first photographs of the world. The picture pursued for centuries by man presented to our eyes, containing contemporarily all the preceding images, incomplete, all books written, all signs deciphered and not. It was not only the picture of the world, but the picture which contained all the pictures of the world : graffiti, frescoes, prints, paintings, writings, photographs, books, films. Simultaneously the representation of the world in one time only. 
On the other hand this total view, this redescription of everything, destroyed one more the possibility of translating the hieroglyphic whole. The power of containing everything vanished in front of the impossibility of seeing evetything at the same time. The event and its representation, to see and to be contained, reappeared to man as not sufficient to solve eternal questions. This possibility of total duplication, however, let us glimpse the possibility of deciphering the hieroglyph; we had the two poles of doubt and of the secular mystery, the picture of the atom and the picture of the world, finally in front of the other. The space between the infinitely small and the infinitely big was filled by the infinitely complex problem : man and his life, nature. The need for information or consciousness thus arises between two extreme points, oscillating from the microscope to the telescope in order to be able to translate and interpret reality or the hieroglyph.

My work rises from the necessity and the desire to interpret and translate the sign and meaning of this sum of hieroglyphs. So, not only a reality which is easily identifiable or highly loaded with symbols, but also thought, imagination, the fantastic and strange meanings.The photograph is extremely important for the aim I have set myself because of certain characteristic features of its language, which I shall try to explain.The cancellation of the space surrounding the framed part is for me as important as the represented part; it is because of this cancellation that the picture assumes a meaning and gets measurable.At the same time the picture continues in the visible part of the cancellation, and it invites is to see the rest of the not represented reality.This double aspect of representation and cancellation not only tries to evoke the absence of limits, excluding any idea of completness or finished thing, but it indicates something which cannot be delimitated, and that is the real.
On the other hand, the possibility of seeing and penetrating universe of reality passes through all the cultural representations and models known, and which have been given to us as definite and decisive, and our relationship with reality  and the life is the same relationship as the one of the picture from the satellite with the earth itself. So the photograph with its indeterminateness becomes a privileged subject in order to be able to get outside the symbolism of definite representations to which a certain value of truth has been given.The possibility of analysis in time, in the space of signs which form the reality whose completeness has always slipped our minds, thus permits the photograph, because of its fragmentary character to be closer to things which cannot be delimitated, and that is physical existence.

That is why I am not interested in the pictures and the decisive moments, the study or the analysis of their language as an end in itself, aesthetics, the concept or totalizing ideas, the emotions of the poet, the well-bred quotation, the search for a new aesthetics creed, the use of a style. I am occuped with seeing clearly, that is why I am interested in all possible functions, without separating anyone from the whole, but to assume then in a total way in order to be able to see and render recognizable from one time to another, the hieroglyphs I met. The daily encounter with reality, with the fictions and surrogates, the ambiguoous aspects, poetical or alienating, seems to deny any way out of the labyrinth, whose walls are always more illusive even to the point of confusing ourselves with them. The meaning that I try to give to my work is that of the verification of how it is possible to wish to face the way of knowledge, to make it possible at last to tell the real identity of man, of things, of life from the image of man, of things, of life. 

And more about Luigi Ghirri : here Note sur l'architecture 
                                                 and there  Atlante


Ludwig Hilberseimer

« Reason is the first principle of all human work ». Consciously or unconciously L.Hilberseimer follows this principle and makes it the basis of this work in the complicated field of city planning. He examines the city with unwavering objectivity, investigates each part of it and determines for each part its rightful place in the whole. Thus he brings all the elements of the city into clear, logical order. He avoids imposing upon them arbitrary ideas of any character whatsoever.
He knows the cities must serve life, that their validity is to be measured in terms of life, and that they must be planned for living. He understands that the forms of cities are the expression of existing modes of living, that they are inextricably bound up with these, and that they, with these, are subject to change. He realizes that the material and spiritual conditions of the problem are given, that he can exercise no infleunce on these factors in themselves, that they are rooted in the past and will be determined by objectives tendencies for the future.
He also knows that the existence of many and diverse factors presupposes the existence of some order which gives meaning to these and which acts as a medium in which they can grow and unfold. City planning means for the author, therefore, the ordering of things in themselves and in their relationships with each other. One should not confuse the principles with their application. City planning is, in essence, a work of order; and order means - according to St Augustine - «the disposition of equal and unequal things, attributing to each its place»

and if you are more interested on The Principles of Planning , you can see the entire book here, ( it takes a bit of time to appear ) which is more explicit than the sample of texts and images above, and allow to understand Hilberseimer's reflexion as a whole


Gerhard Richter

Richter began to produce these small-scale works by smearing, mostly at the end of a working day; some of the paint left on one of his squeegees - the large-scale spatulas with which he drags great volume of paint accross the canvas to achieve his signature blur - onto the surface of photographs he keeps in this studio. This connects the photographic images, mostly snapshots taken by the artists himself, in a very immediate and physical way with his paintings. The majority of photographs adhere to a standard size of approximately 10x15 cm, the same size Richter also employed in War Cut. The subjects cover a similar range to that Richter ‘s painting based on photographs: mountain ans seascapes, cities and landscapes, self and family portaits and images of friends as well as anonymous crowds of people. On the whole, they have an everyday, if not idyllic, quality to them , circling the same cosmos of holiday mementoes, treasured private moments and records of a personal life that many of us use photography both to construct and to freeze frame. Noticeably, these are few excpetional subjects and no images that would carry a particular message or that would appear burdened by the gravitas of what they depict; no sites imprinted with the traces of German History, no images of particular celebrities or of dramaturgical scenarios - just an ordinary personal universe. 


Thomas Ruff

When I did my first architectural series, in 1987-91, I chose the typical, undistinguished buildings my generation grew up surrounded by. I thought that high architecture might overshadow the image itself, that a Mies building would be too beautiful. I was worried that there would be too much Mies and too little Ruff. But after gaining experience making various series in the meantime, I thought I could transform even Mies architecture into a Ruff image. When Julian proposed the project in 1999, I realized I was ready for Mies–that I could make his architecture look different from the way it had appeared in previous photographs.
We decided to work on two Mies buildings that were near-contemporaries–the Barcelona Pavilion (completed in 1929) and Haus Tugendhat, in Brno, Czech Republic (1930)–as well as Haus Lange and Haus Esters. My idea now was to work in several modes: straight architectural shots, interior photographs like the ones I was making twenty years ago, stereoscopic photographs, and computer-manipulated images. Some of the computer alterations were done to create the impression of speed–something modernity has always been closely associated with. When Mies’s German Pavilion was built for the 1929 International Exposition, it must have looked like a UFO had landed in Barcelona. Speed in photography is always blurry, and my picture of the German Pavilion looks like a high-speed locomotive–modernity arriving at the train station of the present (albeit the present of 1929).
When Terence Riley saw some of these images, he asked me if I would work on the rest of Mies’s buildings in Berlin and Stuttgart for MOMA’S upcoming show “Mies in Berlin.” So I began shooting those buildings too, but I couldn’t photograph all of them–some were obstructed by trees or by traffic and parked cars. So another mode appeared: using archival material. At first I thought I might hand-color some old black-and white prints, but in the end I did all the alterations on the computer.
In this way, I have tried to do a contemporary-art exhibition about architecture from the past, using every technique available to contemporary photography. The computer is a great new tool for photography, an extension of the darkroom, allowing you to alter color, resolution, parts of the image, or even the whole thing. For the Krefeld show I was playing with issues surrounding the documentary aspects of architectural photography. What was in front of the camera is not what you see in the images, because I altered about 90 percent of them. In some I took out the color and made a new sky. In one there appears to be a ghost (is it Mies?), which was originally a bad exposure that I guided into an intention, let’s say. The curtain in the Barcelona Pavilion is red, but I wondered what would happen if it were blue or green. How might this change the reception of Mies’s architecture?
The main idea was to create a kind of resume of the photographic representations of Mies’s buildings and at the same time demonstrate that the reception of his work was hugely indebted to a relatively small number of photographs.
With stereoscopic photography, it’s obvious that our perception has less to do with what we see than with what our brain does with that information. If you look at the two flat images, nothing much happens; but look at them at just the right angle and the images become one–and it’s three–dimensional. We may look with our eyes, but our brain constructs the images. My idea was to make these 3-D interiors look even more artificial by altering the distance between the stereoscopic camera’s lenses, which are normally set apart about the same distance as a person’s eyes. To take stereo h.t.b. 06, 2000, I used two cameras set about ten inches apart, which creates a perceptual transformation: The viewer becomes a twelve-foot-tall giant peering into a dollhouse-size interior.

More about Thomas Ruff Work on American Suburb X channel  
See also Miesology from E2A
        and some other paintings here and there


(Un)City – (Un)Real State of the (Un)Known

Cedric Libert for the Instanbul Design Biennal

Le projet place la ville comme sujet de réflexion et de discussion : la ville abord.e sous l’angle des multiples réalités qui la constituent, la ville perçue en tant qu’héritage autant que projet en devenir, la ville envisagée par la superposition, l’imbrication et la sédimentation de strates singulières. Procédant d’une interrogation précise et vaste à la fois – celle de l’environnement au sens architecture du terme –, il s’agit de saisir la complexité des mécanismes qui façonnent agglomérations et métropoles.

Les aléas de l’histoire et épisodes successifs ont tant.t fourni une vision totalisante, tant.t des revendications localement émergentes. C’est de l’assemblage de toutes ces couches historiques et morphologiques qu’est issue la ville telle que nous la connaissons aujourd’hui. Elle est également le produit d’une s.rie de décisions antagonistes, voire contradictoires, et c’est probablement là que réside sa terrifiante beauté. Pour aborder cette question, la proposition suggère que l’on adopte un regard spécifique : celui qui consisterait à observer les phénomènes urbains à travers le prisme du diagnostic et de la dissection. Dès lors, apparait un dispositif ouvert – un terrain d’étude, de prospection et de négociation – par lequel il est question de d.celer les champs d’investigation et de recherche autant que les logiques territoriales héritées de l’histoire. C’est un terrain de jeu, une aire d’expérimentation ou encore un territoire mental qu’il est intéressant de comprendre au même titre qu’il est important d’en reconnaitre les aspérités.
Très librement inspirée d’une série de documents historiques ou récents, dont l’intérêt consiste à ouvrir la pensée du réel . l’univers poétique de la fiction, la proposition réunit 100 projets d’architecture(s). Dans l’idée d’un récit entre imaginaire et réalité, il s’agit d’une collection de bâtiments et situations urbaines emblématiques de Bruxelles, décrits séparément dans le présent ouvrage et assemblés par ailleurs, sous la forme d’une grande maquette de 4m x 4m. Celle-ci est construite au départ de situations qui ont existé, existent ou pourraient exister. Sous la forme d’un territoire imaginaire, elle rassemble des projets passés, présents et prospectifs : le Palais de justice de Bruxelles, le Cinquantenaire, la Maison du Peuple de Victor Horta, le Pavillon du Bonheur Temporaire de V+, le Théâtre National,
le projet de Jonction Nord-Midi de Luc Deleu ou encore le siège Glaverbel . la Chaussée de la Hulpe. Bref, une petite histoire de l’architecture envisagée par éléments distincts – chacun d’entre eux constituant un prototype  pour la ville. Ce faisant, c’est ouvrir les tiroirs de l’histoire, en sortir des projets et les observer comme spécimen unique, bien qu’issus d’une espèce plus largement répandue dans la ville. Par la reconfiguration autrement de tous ces projets sur la maquette, il s’agit d’une part, d’être attentif au vide entre les architectures construites – l’espace entre les volumes agencés – parce qu’il révèle l’existence de rapports inédits entre les éléments : et d’autre part, d’explorer l’idée que chacun construit son expérience personnelle de la ville – une cartographie sensible, propre et unique, voire une mythologie intime.
Les 100 projets collaborent dans un grand récit, celui d’une ville qui existe autant qu’elle est rêvée. Elle pourrait être l’une de ces Villes Invisibles  racontée par Italo Calvino. Toutes sont le pur produit d’un fantasme alors qu’entre
les lignes chacune evoque les réminiscences d’une ville que l’on a parcourue.
Pour chaque projet, un seul aspect a été retenu, soulignant son importance singulière dans la construction d’un imaginaire collectif. Les 100 projets véhiculent leurs lots de petites anecdotes ou illustrent des chapitres de la grande Histoire. Qu’importe, ensemble, ils font la ville.

(Un)City – (Un)Real State of the (Un)Known lays down the city as a subject of thought and talk. Addressing through its constituting multiple realities, the city is perceived as heritage as well as project-in-becoming, envisaged by superposition, interweaving and sedimentation of singular layers. 
Proceeding from both a concise and vast interrogation – the environment in its very architectural meaning – it is first about trying to grasp the complexities of mechanisms that shape towns and metropolis. Hazards of history and successive episodes sometimes brought up comprehensive approach or locally emerging claims. It is the gathering of all these historical and morphological layers that constitute the city as we know it today. Likewise it is resulting from a series of antagonistic if not contradictory decisions. There lies its terrifying beauty. 
In order to raise up the question, the proposal suggests to observe urban phenomena’s through the prism of diagnostic and dissection. This roughly defined idea of the city then suggest an open apparatus – a common ground for prospection and negotiation – that allows for fields of investigation and new research as well as the recognition of historically inherited territories. It is a playground, an experimentation area and a mental territory that is interesting to understand as a whole but important to recognize in a logic of differentiations.
A large model (4m x 4m) gathers100 Projects for Brussels. As a proposal between fact and fiction, it assembles a collection of emblematic buildings and urban situations found in the city of Brussels. Freely inspired by historical and recent representations, the model is constructed from situations that existed, exist or could have existed. Shaped as an imaginary territory, it brings together past, present and prospective projects : the Brussel’s Palace of Justice, the Cinquantenaire Monument, Victor Horta’s Maison du Peuple, le Pavillon du Bonheur designed by architects V+, The National Theatre, an utopian project of Luc Deleu and Glaverbel headquarter in La Hulpe, among others. A sort of architectural short story, implemented from distinct elements – each one engaging a prototype for the city.
Reconfiguring differently all these projects on the model implies a double fold new approach of the so-called urban reality: on the one hand, it is about carefully recognizing the void between the architectural objects – a space between volumes – while on the other hand exploring the idea that each one of us as individual establishes its own experience of the city – a personal and unique cartography, if not an intimate mythology.

You can get more information about the Istanbul Design Biennal here and in real time here
I will recommand you to go around the 14&15 november for a consortium around the question of the city leads by Cedric Libert