The Ha­cienda: The Con­ver­sa­tional Aes­thet­ics of Liq­uid Ar­chi­tec­ture


Session Title:

  • The Art of Software Cities

Presentation Title:

  • The Ha­cienda: The Con­ver­sa­tional Aes­thet­ics of Liq­uid Ar­chi­tec­ture




  • Panel: The Art of Software Cities

    “The ar­chi­tec­ture of to­mor­row will be a means of mod­i­fy­ing pre­sent con­cep­tions of time and space. It will be both a means of knowl­edge and a means of ac­tion. Ar­chi­tec­tural com­plexes will be mod­i­fi­able. Their ap­pear­ance will change to­tally or par­tially in ac­cor­dance with the will of their in­hab­i­tants.” (Ivan Chtche­glov, ‘For­mu­lary for a New Ur­ban­ism’, 1953). ‘The Ha­cienda’ is a mo­bile, in­flat­able, pop-up pub­lic space with a do­mes­tic in­te­rior, and a flex­i­ble stack of equip­ment and soft­ware that can trans­form it into a creche, a sports sta­dium, a meet­ing hall or a dance/per­for­mance space. It is the out­come of a 3 year con­ver­sa­tion con­vened by artist group ‘The Peo­ple Speak’ as part of the large scale re­gen­er­a­tion process of the Cray­lands Es­tate, an im­pov­er­ished sub­urb of Basil­don, in Essex, about 60 miles East of Lon­don. The story of ‘The Ha­cienda’ is an ac­count of how the bu­reau­cratic imag­i­nary of a pub­lic/pri­vate part­ner­ship of de­vel­op­ers, ‘non-profit’ hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tions, and local gov­ern­ment is ar­tic­u­lated through soft­ware, ser­vices, sig­nage, com­mu­nity events and spaces in ne­go­ti­at­ing and sanc­tion­ing the cre­ation of hy­brid pub­lic/pri­vate places.

    Analysing the roles of the var­i­ous groups in­volved in the pro­ject: res­i­dents, prop­erty de­vel­op­ers, chil­dren, com­mu­nity rep­re­sen­ta­tives, artists, pro­fes­sional ser­vice providers, politi­cians and gov­ern­ment bu­reau­crats, re­veals how they in­ter­faced to each other through meet­ings, sur­veys, com­mu­nity pub­li­ca­tions and events, ar­chi­tec­tural plans, and so­cial pol­icy de­ci­sions. This talk will pre­sent the tools and per­for­ma­tive tech­niques em­ployed by The Peo­ple Speak to re-me­di­ate those re­la­tion­ships in fun and en­gag­ing ways through the pro­duc­tion of new com­mu­nity in­ter­faces as pub­lic media events, lead­ing to re-ne­go­ti­a­tions of those re­la­tion­ships, and the pro­duc­tion of ‘The Ha­cienda’: a plat­form for the de­vel­op­ment of pub­lic in­ter­faces. Fo­cus­ing on the fail­ures of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and the fric­tion gen­er­ated by in­di­vid­u­als, groups and in­sti­tu­tions break­ing down and re­form­ing around me­di­ated rep­re­sen­ta­tions of them­selves as a com­mu­nity should help to stim­u­late a wider dis­cus­sion of the po­ten­tial of plat­forms for pub­lic in­ter­faces, and the pit­falls of reify­ing com­mu­nity re­la­tion­ships as art in soft­ware.

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