Abram Leonard (Bram) HeijnenAlumnus
Shopping versus architecture.
As one could have read in the essay called 'Shopping Culture' the act of shopping and the research I have done is not about acquiring goods or how a shop should look like.
One could argue that shopping is above all, part of our dominating visual culture
and therefore influences our daily behaviour in many ways, because of its omni-presence. 'Shopping culture' talks about how the world of shopping is connected with a large variety of systems and networks, both as visible as invisible:
'How shopping is related to sports and the military; in what way is it possible to achieve the best performance and conquer the rarest domains.'
'Seducing is the world of shopping to a mass audience in a way one could refer to as religious, using a large range of tools to impress and overwhelm its audience.'
'In what way is it possible to establish or manifest identity, either individual or from a mass-culture state of mind, in a system that only creates identity in order to make money out of cultural identity, without allowing individual expression, such as graffiti, in their system.'
One of the statements in 'Shopping Culture' is that an architect is not a builder:
'An architect is a person who is capable of linking several topics into a consistent network in order to provide a system which can serve its initial user.'
If this results into a building, a square, a highway, an internet connection or interface, maybe even the most efficient way of how to go to war, is not really the topic. It is about over viewing the possibilities of connecting the obvious, the odd and the rare so something different could rise or can be improved.
This is where 'Shopping Culture' meets the basics of architecture. It is not about an advertisement, it is not about sales and neither does it concern a fa?ßade, since all of these are only the physical manifestations of an underlying system. All these are bulges of efficiency, aesthetics and many other lines of thought related as an answer to a question or a solution for a problem.
Where in architecture a building rises because of material and an architects personal mind to give shape and identity to a requested program, shopping's identity is subject to both local or global trends and brand-visualization.
An Aldi-mart expresses an identity which is based on its function; to provide basic needs as food, as cheap as possible and accessible for anyone. A Gucci store on the other hand, expresses an idea of wealth and luxury, and is therefore exclusive.
Both concepts are noticeable in basically every corner of the -western- world, though the brands-name can vary. So in this way, as described in 'Shopping Culture', shopping and its underlying, non-visible network create pop-up identity; due to the changing or adaptation of goods and brands by a customer, his or her individual identity relates to many other 'individuals' across the globe by appearance.
Since the same concepts rise in Tokyo, Amsterdam or Buenos Aires, especially due to our global virtual network where time and place become irrelevant.
This is where architecture turns into pulsing fluidity, invisible though omnipresent, and where shopping and its physical manifestations could be seen as portals, terminals or gates of identity and appearance to enter glocality and its underlying system, ....just like architecture.
So both architecture and shopping create identity, either by an individual or a group of people. Both could also be seen as a network based environment where they are related to a large range of fields:
_military, sports, concrete, glass, clothing, sunglasses, religion, animals, construction, food, program-.
More relevant, though, is that both shopping and architecture are linked to decay, since both a building as a shopping concept don't last forever or change function. This link is directly connected to a bulge. Both shopping and architecture flow on a large vi-real network, though manifest always as a fixed program. Identity is pre-defined by either architecture or provided by the shopping-machine and is therefore oppressing. Bulge..! rejects both.
Rising to the surface as surprising and tickling proposals, the continuously pulsing stream of data runs through the veins of our global visual communicating community. Connecting open sources and free of chain store oppression.
This is Bulge..!
Bulge..! is non-architecture, because it doesn't have a single identity.
Bulge..! is non-architecture, because it doesn't have a fixed shape or form.
Bulge..! is architecture, because it can define space, form and identity.
Bulge..! is architecture, because it provides a flexible content.
Bulge..! is interior, because it creates enclosing.
Bulge..! is exterior, because it separates.
Bulge..! is shopping, because of its network relation.
Bulge..! is shopping, because of its changing identity.
Bulge..! is shopping, because it is exclusive.
Bulge..! is non-shopping, because it can be used freely.
Bulge..! is non-shopping, because it's open for suggestion.
Bulge..! is non-shopping, because it is open anyone.
Bulge..! is nothing until it is being programmed and used!