UNIT 12 [2023-2024] – Sacred Monsters

Rahesh Ram, Philia Yi Sian Chuna

This is NOT a Brief –this is a Garden of Speculative Abundance

You are on your way to becoming an architect. It is a label that, if not monitored, can lead to a monotonous world of overwhelming pragmatism. This world is plagued by the grey, the bureaucratic, the standard, the certain, the obvious, the rational, the obedient, and the safe, all of which can lead to the delivery of the lack lustre ordinary.

Unit 12 asks you to accelerate into a different territory which marginalises the grey in favour of entering a space of abundant speculation. We see this space as analogous to a garden that needs cultivating.
The speculative garden is exotic and plentiful in nature and the opposite of the list above. Its offerings are full of joyous possibilities but its speculative edibles are of a type.

The landscape is pregnant with ideas but, we the explorers of the garden, will feast upon particular low hanging fruits that enable a line of flight into the imagination. These fruits include the notions of storytelling, fictioning, allegories, mythologies, and metaphors. Edibles that have within them vitamins that empower different forms of thinking.

Edible Fruits in the Gardens of Speculative Abundance
We need to tell new stories to change the world. The one story that has been the most powerful and overwhelming is the story of the capitalistic rational world. This story has changed our practices and behaviours and has taken us to a world crisis of environmental disaster and major social inequality. We need to tell new stories and make them more powerful than the story that has brought us to this impending catastrophe.

We will tell new stories to make a newer world.
As Donna Haraway, the writer of ‘A Cyborg Manifesto’ and the ‘Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Cthulucene’ stated:
“It matters what matters we use to think other matters with; it matters what stories we tell to tell other stories with; it matters what knots knot knots, what thoughts think thoughts, what descriptions describe descriptions, what ties tie ties. It matters what stories make worlds, what worlds make stories.”

Fictional Fabulation:
To fabulate is to invent.
Umberto Eco, great scholar and writer, stated that fiction enables us to “explore the plurality of possibilia to find out a suitable model for real’.
We see fiction as a form of thought experiments that will enable us to speculate how the real world could be. Unit 12 will use fiction as an experimental instrument and will fabulate into existence a fiction in which certain conditions will be altered so that we can observe how new architectures comes into being in the new context.

“Metaphors have a way of holding the most ‘truth’ in the least space,” Orson Scott Card
Apply a metaphor to an idea/notion/thing and you reinvent a world. The metaphor is a small fruit that is packed with a thousand notions and if eaten can enable abundant outpourings.

Mythologies are a form of communication that uses the real, the unreal and abstract notions to convey ideas and can be used to transmit our speculations.

Mythologies have been part of human existence for a millennia and has the ability to time travel from the past and linger in the present to create fantastical juxtaposition of a past/present sphere of thinking. Here lies another fruit that links us to our past that will help project us into the future.
Historically, Carl Jung stated that myths are important to the human psyche which needs it to find meaning and order in a world which often presents itself as chaotic and meaningless. The stories comfort, direct and provide a sense of unity, cohesion, and protection. It provides hope, directions, and purpose in an uncertain world.

It seems appropriate to use mythologies in our time of uncertainty.

Sacred Monsters in the Gardens of Speculative Abundance
By cultivating and feasting in the garden of speculative abundance you are to conjure up a Sacred Monster (Architecture) that is derived from what is important to you. It is sacred because it is important to you and it is a monster because monsters interrupters of the status quo.
Gardens of Speculative Abundance

  1. You: We start by asking you the question, “What are you interested in? ”. Through in-depth conversation, we together, will formulate a masters project that is based on your interests.
  2. Ideas: Concept first( Site Second- unless site is the concept). As this is masters we are interested in evolving ideas and concepts as part of the speculative process. This part of the garden is the most important as it is from here great outpourings will emerge.
  3. Research: Research is key. All projects will have to be comprehensively researched. Intelligent projects require research.
  4. Imagination: Imagination is at the centre of speculation. We are interested in using art, literature, poetry, theatre and science to enable lines of flight into the imagination that will aid the conjuring up of your scared monsters .
  5. Unit 12 belief system: We believe in speculative and experimental architecture. We believe is expressionism and narrative architecture. We like buildings that tell stories; so we like ornamentation.
  6. See our past student work: https://www.instagram.com/unit12greenwich/?hl=en

///////////////////// Unit 12 : Welcome to the Gardens of Speculative Abundance /////////////////////////