Number 8 The Hall of Risk Issue
Our new edition, published in early April 2009, features a formidable array of art, architecture, music and new media features. Highlights include in-depth interview features with artists, Chris Drury and Jem Finer; musicians David Sylvian and Harold Budd, and in architecture - a special feature on the Alpine regional architectural culture of Graubunden, Switzerland and Vorarlberg, Austria; featuring interviews (from Graubunden), with Peter Zumthor, Valerio Olgiati and Jurg Conzett and (from Vorarlberg) Dietmar Eberle, Hermann Kauffmann and Marte.Marte, plus an interview with Juhani Pallasmaa, and an essay by architecture critic Jay Merrick, as well as a piece on water and time by Jay Griffiths and an interview conversation between new media artist Susan Collins and Sean Cubitt.
This Fourth Door Review’s centrepiece looks at two vibrant Alpine regionalist architecture communities. A tale of two architectural regions, is a sixty page plus focus on Graubunden and Vorarlberg neighbouring grassroots architectural scenes.
As well as the in-depth Peter Zumthor interview, there is the first major interview with Valerio Olgiati in a British review, a feature on rising Vorarlberg practice, Marte.Marte by leading Austrian writer Otto Kapfinger, and a look at how digital architects, Gramazio & Kohler used state-of-the-art robotics to design and build the façade of a Graubunden winery, and a set of features on Vorarlberg’s hive of eco-architectural activity, including their Passive House and timber building traditions. This Architext special section also highlights the new generation of architects emerging in both regions and explores what is similar and shared and what, different and distinctive, in its A river runs regionally essay.
To complement this architectural focus, the consciousness/mind section, Dream of Consciousness (DOC) contains an architectural theme, with the Independent’s resident architectural writer, Jay Merrick tackling the thorny relationship between media, celebrity and architectural significance. The interview with Finnish architectural theorist, Juhani Pallasmaa, deepens this discussion in an interview on the dominance of the eye in the built environment, and his call for an architecture of all the senses.
Both the art and music fields are well represented as well. In Framework Digital artist, Jem Finer, is interviewed on moving from the virtual domain into physical art practice and talks about his Longplayer and his prize-winning Score for a Hole in the Ground piece at Kingswood Sculpture Woods in Kent. An in-depth look at Chris Drury’s last decade of work rounds off this Framework, with Drury discussing his increasing absorption in complexity and chaos theory in relation to both the body and the land. We look at Drury’s earlier British medically-informed work as well as his recent journeys to Antarctica and the post-Atomic Nevada desert which are part of Drury’s continued sci-art fusion fascinations.
In Digitalis, our new media section, the new media artist, Susan Collins talks with new media theorist Sean Cubitt about recent webcam works, Glen/Fenlandia and whether these constitute a new pixel landscape art tradition.
We’re pleased also to be featuring in the Margins of Music section a rare and extensive interview with David Sylvian, looking at the many elements to his thirty-something career through esoteric and cult popularity. Alongside the Sylvian feature, his colleague Harold Budd, creator of Lovely Music his atmospheric piano pieces is interviewed and overviewed, making our music section something of a mini SamadhiSound feature.
In Middleground the Mongolian Roaring Hooves festival director, Bernhard Wullf tells us about this wholly original festival happening every year out in the Mongolian plains. We also look at Indigo as a universal clothing material, check out Wood Studio, Europe’s hippest wood studio and salute Steppe a magazine devoted to the near east of the Stans. And Jay Griffiths, author of the acclaimed Wild, contributes an essay on water, rivers and time.
This new Hall of Risk edition is also a part of a broad series of initiatives, which reflects the growth of the Fourth Door project. This new edition also features various book reviews in its Wordwatch section, including a review of Lewis Hyde’s influential The Gift, which, as it happens, will be offered free to individual subscribers.
The full contents
Framework - Art
Part-time guitarist and mandolin player with the Pogues, Jem Finer, has also developed another creative career as a digital artist, which has culminated in his Millennium piece Longplayer. Since then, Finer has moved back into the physical world, with his award winning Score for a Hole in the Ground planting him in the thick of Kent’s Kingswood sculpture woods. This interview explores the journey back into the woods.
Chris Drury, known for his elemental land artwork, has in the last ten years been exploring the connections between chaos and complexity in the world, and how these scientific disciplines are also found in the human body. This comprehensive feature interview brings this new chapter in Drury’s art path up to date with his visit to Antarctica in winter 2008, and most recently, in the post Atomic landscape of Nevada desert. Chris also contributes a short piece recounting his experience at Skyblu, the Antarctic base he stayed at.
Digitalis – New Media
Susan Collins & Sean Cubitt: In Conversation
Between 2004 and 2006 the net artist Susan Collins, used web-cam technology to record and transmit to locations, one in East Anglia, the other near Pitlochry, Scotland. The resulting Fenlandia/Glenlandia works arguably introduce the notion of pixel landscape art. Here noted new media theorist, Sean Cubitt and Collins, use this starting point to discuss the relation of new media to ecological thought.
Gramazio & Kohler/ETH Zurich digital architects + Bearth & Deplazes
Zurich based digital architects Fabio Gramazio and Matthias Kohler have developed software for robots to design building facades. Working from the city’s technical University, ETH Zurich, the pair applied this façade technique to a winery, designed by leading Swiss architects Bearth & Deplazes. This digital materiality offers whole new ways to engineer craft as well as re-defining the parameters of skill, which Gramazio and Kohler explain and explore in the piece.
Koln photographer and video artist Egbert Mittelstadt has developed a unique video slicing technique, he calls Split-Scan photographer. The results make for beguiling visual material, which can be applied to nature video as much as any other subject
theirwork by Dom Williamsonand Emmet Connelly
Dom Williamson and Emmet Connelly discuss their Open Source mapping project entitled theirwork. Based in Cornwall this is a community project which uses new media map-work used in new and dynamic ways.
Architexts - Architecture
A tale of two Architectural regions
In this latest Architexts special themed section we look at two of Europe’s most influential architectural regional scenes, Graubunden, Switerland and Vorarlberg. Austria. Geographically close we explore why, how and in what way these grassroots scenes emerged. The section features interviews with major practitioners in both of these cousin communities, including Peter Zumthor, Dietmar Eberle, Valerio Olgiati, Hermann Kaufmann, Jurg Conzett and Marte.Marte
In this extensive interview feature the Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, discusses materials and technology, craft vernacular and contemporary building, his recent Kolumba Museum and Bruder Klaus chapel as well as current, new and abandoned projects which helped comprise his recent Works retrospective exhibition at the Kunsthaus Bregenz.
Graubunden engineer Jurg Conzett has made a name as one of the leading bridge building practitioners in Switzerland today. Here he talks about the two Traversina bridges, the use of timber across his engineering portfolio, as well as discussing the state of the practice in a country renowned for the engineers it has produced.
Graubunden architecture: The new generation
Although Graubunden is known for a generation of architects , there is scant knowledge outside the canton of the new up and coming Graubunden generation. Here the new young practices are profiled,including Corinna Menn, Karuth and Iseppi and Marisa Feurstein, while the current landscape for architects in Graubunden is overviewed.
Valerio Olgiati is one of the most influential architects in Switzerland right now. His forceful architecture of presence has produced a cult following across Europe. In the first major interview in the British cultural media, Olgiati discusses his buildings, his philosophical approach to architecture, and his sometimes thorny relationship with the wider Swiss scene.
The A river runs regionally feature links the two Alpine regions explored within thisArchitexts. The in-depth feature also provides the geographic, social, cultural, economic and historical backdrop for understanding how these two grassroots architectural communities have emerged . Speaking with many of the key players, from architects through to historians, journalists and theoreticians the piece also uses their Alpine proximity to explore why and whether these two scenes are essentially similar, or different.Marte.Marte by Otto Kapfinger
Stefan and Daniel Marte are the enfant terribles of the new generation of Vorarlberger architects. Here the Vorarlberg’s scenes leading chronicler, Otto Kapfinger, discusses the non-doctrinaire thinking with which they’ve subverted the prevailing orthodoxies of much of the architectural communities thinking.
Hermann Kaufmann, and the Kaufmann family’s influence in Vorarlberg’s timberbuild resurgence
Within the resurgence of Vorarlberg’s grassroots architecture and building scene, timber has played an unusually significant part. And within the rebirth of this timber building culture, the Kaufmann family have been influential right from the earliest days in the 1960’s. Today the current generation includes several architects, carpenters as well as helping to run the Kaufmann timber factories. These include Hermann Kaufmann/Kaufmann families.
Christoph Kalb's Wolfurt project by Robert Fabach
Echoing how Vorarlberg’s early architectural pioneers grew out of co-operative and community projects, Christoph Kalb’s Fruhlingstrasse housing project, emphasizes a participatory approach as well as providing a contemporary take on how sustainability in housing has evolved in the last 30 years. Vorarlberg architect and writer Robert Fabach outlines the project
Passive House histories: Dietmar Eberle, Walter Unterrainer and Helmut Krapmeier
Vorarlberg’s avant-eco credentials include the region being an early incubation period centre for research and development on Passivehouse building and technology, with many of the regions architects passive specialists. This early work is now feeding into the European mainstream. Here BaumschlagerEberle’s Dietmar Eberle, Walter Unterrainer and Helmut Krapmeier from Dornbirn’s EnergyInstitute discuss the coming of passive in Vorarlberg and why this is only the first chapter in zero energy building.
Mongolia’s Roaring Hooves music festival
With its tenth anniversary approaching Festival director Bernhard Wullf describes both the history and the experience of being at Roaring Hooves, Mongolia’s remarkable music festival.Binary Books
Matt Lumby on his books which computers can read; tomes from the western canon comprised completely of digital zero and ones
Jay Griffiths – Rivers and undulant time
Author of the celebrated Wild, Jay Griffithswrites about the relationships between water and time. Illustrated with Susan Derges photographsHelsinki’s Wood Studio
Students travel from all over the world to attend the Helsinki’s cool wood school. Its director, Pekka Heikennen outlines whyFarewell to the Sawmill
Carpenter John Russell writes about the quiet disappearance of Englands’s saw-millsAnother blue world - Indigo past and present
The A Blue to Dye for exhibition presented a way into the timeless use of indigo as a core to clothing and textiles the world over
Fourth Door’s recipe page – another wonderful recipe from our resident artist-cook, Kate Dodd
Continuing our intermittent series of off the beaten track magazines we look at Steppe magazine, which explores the near east Stan countries in a refreshingly creative and non-stereotypical manner
Dreams of Consciousness – DOC – Conscious/Mind
This DOC looks at the relation between architecture, virtuality and the media
Jay Merrick – The Independent’s architecture writer, Jay Merrick, castigates the unholy alliance between media and celebrity architecture and the parlous influence it has had on both the profession and the public perception of the architectural worldJuhani Pallasmaa
In-depth interview with Finland’s leading architectural theorist, Juhani Pallasmaa, and his influential approach first outlined in his book, The Eyes of the Skin
Margins of Music – Music/Sound
This wide-ranging interview with the musician, David Sylvian, covers his entire solo career, with Sylvian responding openly and in detail to questions right across this thirty something journey, from music through to his art installation and film works and his spiritual development
Starting with his retirement concert during the 1995 Brighton Festival, this Harold Budd interview explores both his Lovely Music past and present, from early work, through the California minimalists, right up to the samadhisound and collaborative present, and why now on second thoughts, he’s decided that retirement isn’t for him
Wordwatch – Book ReviewsDark Age America
Dark Age America by Morris Berman, which argues that the USA is in terminal decline is reviewed by New York cultural commentator, Tom De ZengotitaNanoculture Manifesto's
The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson, Prey by Michael Crichton and The Nanotech Quartet by Kathleen Anne Goonan are all reviewed in this overview of nanotech and literature
Re-read - Fourth Door’s Review’s look at books worthy of attention today and tomorrow
The Gift – Lewis Hyde’s classic anthropological and literary exploration of the ways by which we give is reviewed by Heidi Watts