Hein Smedts


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This is a story about dealing with space in a fluid form. With the invention of film, we changed our way of looking at things. We have discovered that when we make a sequence of images we can make a moving story, and with this knowledge the opportunity of manipulation began. Architecture is movement, and in a way it tells us a story of sequences of space. The film ‘smoke’ tells us a story of an owner of a tobacco store. He goes out on the street at a certain time a day and takes a picture of the other side of the street. Since we put the human being in the centre of the universe we started to look at this planet in a different way. With the knowledge we gained we started to manipulate the situation. We turned the principle around: we should not live with nature, nature should live with us. We built an environment for ourselves. We are able to look at our own body as if it isn’t ours. We now know almost everything about nature, but at the same time we are alienated from it. In a way we can consider our body to be a piece of architecture. But what about our basic needs of shelter, safety and our knowledge about the human condition? We look at objects because we can use them, and we consider our environment as something that we can occupy. But what about if we consider our environment to be consisting only out of objects? We can define space by its limitations. But what if we can’t define any limitations, does it seize to be a space? Space and the human condition are about tactility. We have developed a way to sense space and feel its limitation. Why do we consider one place different from the other? Space should be fluid, it should be exchangeable and open for multiple use. The city has to move on, to more density. We can keep the façade, but we have to claim the space back. We are looking for moments to escape.
We are living in cyberspace. This has become the new public space. So what about this place? We should think about how to use our space fluidly. We no longer need a city centre for consumer space. We can buy things everywhere, all time we want. This leaves a lot of new opportunities open to redevelop emptiness and use architecture in it’s fluid form. The film SMOKE is more than taking a picture everyday on the same spot. The tobacco store is the place where people come together. It is something that can have a great impact. I think architecture is about movement. It’s about the human condition moving through space. So in the end it’s not about how to compose a story, but bringing stories together.

PechaKucha lecture dec 2011  

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