The Traveling Translator
This research focuses mainly on one important question: How to connect different geographical sites while showing their common general idea and principle of architecture beyond time and beyond age.
Throughout history repeated caesura occurred under various circumstances. Mainly religion underwent overthrows but rather transitions. This is true for the development of all world religions but as well for the transition from a religion-driven urban development to an economy-driven configuration of urban spaces.
Most importantly – the main spatial characteristics of those territories haven't change over time from ancient times to contemporary settings.
What was true for all those sites and situations of transition was the certainty for human beings, that something was existing at those sites without a physical state but translated through a translator and a certain (non-)physical media. This was and still is the first principle of architecture.
Those sites were and are merely physically present in forms of tombs and depictions of the transition of death – which can take the physical form of a stupa, a golden phoenix bird or a tomb in a shape as a negative to the islamic archway.
MEDIA & TRANSLATOR
Those transitions were mediated in different forms but made always use of a translator, who was able to use the fuzzy and unclear borders between existing physical objects and translated the idea into something that can be described as ambiguous boundaries – a matrix the forms the fertile soil for the existence of a greater idea.
The research does not only centers around this idea itself but rather on the translator and the physical environments of each case being looked at.
By tracing and reconnecting those different sites in a complex way without a linear emphasis on time but rather a re-arranged simultaneity of those sites, these different expressions of one idea are being put into conversation with each other and can help setting the ground for what can be called the double-character of the media:
1 The translator is making use of a certain way of telepathy through media
2 Media can transport the translator anywhere
In addition to that, it is important to see the translator on a very physical level. In this sense, he finds himself on the very physical topography which he walks continuously as part of the translating process itself. Walking as means of translating becomes the focal point of this investigation.
In this sense this research makes use of the idea of a traveling translator, a person, object or idea, that can connect all researched site-specific icons alike. The translator not only becomes a subject, but sometimes an object and medium too. An important emphasis is being put on the activity of traveling and the topological landscape in which the researched sites are being put in.
The idea of fetish within this perspective can be seen as manifestation of a cultural necessity. The fetish feeds the childlike imagination and is a product of our fantasies; In the blink of an eye, we, perhaps naively, perhaps necessarily, bestow particularities we encounter with significance and power. This moment, within which meaning is appropriated, is difficult to grasp; all that remains is the certainty of power of the object.
In that sense, the surface of the earth, the topography, consists of multiple layers on various scales but could never be considered a volume. It is not an stand-alone object or an replacement of the subject. It is rather a thick fabric of complex relations that can arise by the translators capabilities.
50 Meter, photo credit: SCHMOTT