Essay: Objects of the Inbetween

Sometimes the most obvious things hold profound mysteries. And sometimes such things happen to be physical objects. Like circus plate spinners sustaining a spinning motion to prevent the plate from falling, we constantly fix, uphold, tie, cover and continue to update our environments. The fragility of our seemingly solid spaces and attached meanings are most apparent, not within the realms of formalized “proper” architecture, but within our everyday banal and ephemeral objects. Not despite, but because of their fleeting quality and in-between state, they reveal a primal condition of architecture: that of a constant and common process of re-make.

This mutual project of give and take plays out with different actors and switching roles up to the point where it seems unclear as to who the spinner is. The uncertainty about whether we act upon an object or wether it acts upon us opens up unexpected possibilities of understanding interdependency within the framework of architectural thinking. Beyond being a passive material that is transformed according to our liking, the object's potential lies in forming spatial arguments, articulating a state of affairs between human and non-human intentions. Beyond our skill to live with other people, the structure of our life is based on the ability to live with non-humans. Cohabitation also means living together with objects or things. How do we live with them and how on the other hand do they live with us?

As common beliefs shape the way we want our communities to look, the city as built form could be seen as a sort of agreement. The frictions between and within the structures of individual desires, common values and circumstantial physical phenomena are visible within such objects. The incompleteness and transitory character of the captured situations are models of a general and much wider unfinished process. One that is constantly being re-negotiated. This condition gives way to misinterpretations, intentions lost in translation and meanings stuck somewhere halfway.

Stripped of their initial purpose, the mystery such things hold, lies not in what they reveal, as more in what they conceal. The circumstances, decisions and often odd coincidences that led to the way they are, often hold a comedic kind of play, arising from practical complications but also ideological dilemmas. By hinting at the frictions, shortcomings, agreements, misunderstandings and criticisms that are latent in such objects, the photo series alludes to the marginal yet omnipresent physical phenomena as a common condition, which is rooted in the very act of living together.

Type: Essay
Location: Horizonte Magazine Issue #13
Year: 2019