Blueprint – Hans Demeulenaere & Esther Venrooy

Posted in Sound Art, Transmedia Research by tpdr on December 24, 2009

This project took place in Ostend (Belgium) starting from 28 March till 5 May 2009.

According to Hans Demeulenaere and Esther Venrooy, all architecture
is alive. Taking this as their starting point, the artists built a site-specific
installation in a grand, vacant belle-époque-era mansion in Ostend,
Belgium. The architectural and acoustic qualities of the house were
analysed with the purpose of being reconstructed and transposed to
spaces across the building. Through their collaboration Demeulenaere
and Venrooy attempt to reconcile architecture and sound in a suggestive
and poetic manner, whereby memory of and movement through the
space will dictate the subjective, physical and mental experience of
this unique house.

Hans Demeulenaere (1974, Ostend) is a visual and installation artist.
His work has been featured in Be-Part (2006, Waregem) and BUDAFest
(2007, Kortrijk).

Esther Venrooy (1974, Rosmalen, The Netherlands) is a composer
and sound artist working in the field of electronic music.

(text source If you are interested you can also have a look at this pdf)

What I found interesting is that I also came to the same conclusion that all architecture is alive. Even though I came to this thought under the influence of reading about Toshiya Tsunoda, a quote from Georges Perec one can read in the pdf was equally inspiring especially since I like questions that can not be solved by chewing bubblegum. Perec’s quote ends with ‘The problem is not to invent space, and certainly not to re-invent it … the problem is to question space, or even more simply, to read space’. … I would already add ‘…let space trigger you’…but this would take me to far from the actual subject.

What I wanted to add is that Esther Venrooy has started a PhD with the subject Audio Topography and is especially interested in the sculptural/physical value of sound. Being interested in cartography, mapping, … she had me at ‘Topography’ but connecting it to ‘Audio’ or sound…that was really making things interesting as I decided not so long ago to pay more attention to sound when working on my own research in creating some sort of personal/subjective spatial map.

Another interesting riddle by Georges Perec, taken from the pdf mentioned before to end this post maybe? …‘If, in a given room, one changes the placement of the bed, could you then say that you have changed rooms or not?’


Cartography – topography – topology – mapping

Posted in Theory by tpdr on December 19, 2009

While working on my first mapping project 2 years ago I tried to find an explanation to clarify why I preferred the term ‘mapping’ to the word ‘cartography’.

I finally decided that I preferred ‘mapping’ to ‘cartography’ as ‘mapping’ refers more to a process and therefore seemed more appropriate in today’s modern, dynamic, … society. As society and our environment in general is constantly in flux, we also need maps that can keep up with the pace and are kept up to date constantly/in realtime if possible.

Topography and topology never really were part of this discussion. However while I am working on a new project, I felt the need to investigate these two concepts as well, in order to try and re-determine my field of research.

First of all I would like to stress the fact that this mail is just the first in a series, as defining and comparing these four terms. I will start with a modest attempt to define topography and topology first.

Topography: Is a word with a Greek background composed of ‘topos’ and ‘grafein’, which would mean that it can be translated as ‘the act of describing a place’. It is the study of terrain features (not the process of how these features/the terrain/the landscape were/was created) of a region and the representation of the landform on a map. However when studying a place one can also focus on all details that distinguish a place, without just taking into account the physical shape of the surface.

Even though this might still be a very very brief definition, topography to me seems to much occupied with the surface and has no attention for processes (of the landscape). Therefore I wouldn’t really want to use this term and it actually reminds me of why I didn’t really feel much for using the term cartography (as it also seemed to neglect the ‘processes’ constantly going on in our environment). Even though ‘describing’ a place can also be interesting, but I think it would have to mean that it would have to allow it to be a subjective description(being interested in subjective/personal cartography and mapping this doesn’t come as a surprise). Subjective topography would therefore be more interesting to me as it reveals already more of a place/space then a mere ‘so-called’ objective description.

Topology: Is again originally a Greek word combining ‘topos'(place) and ‘logos'(study), so literally the study of a place. In this way it suggests a deeper notion of a place. Based on this ‘analysis’ one wouldn’t maybe suspect that this term is actually a mathematical term concerned with the features of space that are preserved even when under continuous distortion/transformation(the objects may not be torn nor pasted). It doesn’t make use of describing points nor distances, it is interested in describing the way in which a space is constructed, taking into account orientation and coherence.

Even though this definition would need to be more sophisticated, more detailed, it becomes already clear that my tutor was right to point me into the direction of topology. This term really grabs my attention because it suggests processes and a continuous distortion or transformation without breaking the ‘object’. Putting it like this it almost reminds me of how you could see life, but this would take us too far into spiritual or philosophical directions.

Reading a bit about topology, my attention was drawn by the term ‘homeomorphism'(or topological isomorphism or bicontinuous function (from the Greek words homoios = similar and morphe = shape, form. It is a continuous function between two topological spaces that has a continuous inverse function). Next post I will write on this subject I would like to continue on the subject starting from this term as it feels like an interesting subject to think about while working on my project which involves some ‘mirroring’/’transformation’/’distortion’.