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Editorial: cut and paste

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12 JULY 2021 BY MANON MOLLARDELEANOR BEAUMONTLILI ZARZYCKI AND ELLEN PEIRSON LETTERS FROM THE EDITORS

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The July/August issue looks at the different worlds we can imagine when existing structures, spaces, images and words are torn apart

Many new things are in fact made of old things. The case is increasingly urgent in architecture: as we run out of materials to burn or dig out of the ground, as we reckon with the catastrophic costs of extraction and demolition, fewer things will be new, but assemblages of existing things. Now in its third edition, the AR’s New into Old awards celebrate the ways new life is brought to existing buildings. 

Traditional, industrial or simply banal, all spaces can be adapted and reimagined, with new layers inserted, fragments cut and pasted. As they inherit doddering frames, treasured stories and decomposing materials, architects appropriate the work of others. Like with any collage, it starts with the stuff it is made out of. 

Tensions build when words, images and buildings are brought into conversation. Operating across fields of art, architecture, text, film, and spaces from the urban to the virtual, the collage can be a device ‘for communicating modes of cognisance outside canonical thought’ as Khensani de Klerk writes (p74); imagining new dimensions as the closeness of previously separate pieces builds new worlds and unbuilds defunct structures. These worlds create new imaginaries of practice, collaboration and being, where many hands must bring the pieces together before being set in glue and tape. But as Lucas Crawford tells us, ‘collage must also dissolve the very assemblages it creates’ (p80). Always reinvented, it becomes new as previously accepted practices are ripped apart and yesterday’s discards picked up from the cutting-room floor.

Lead image: Glues and adhesives are the final fix in the making of a collage. They bind elements together and resign a dynamic, expressive process to invisible stasis, a join without a joint. The hidden intersections of adhesive literally hold pieces together in space, seen here, as workers apply glue to the underside of a NASA space shuttle before its launch from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, 1979.

Source: https://www.architectural-review.com/essays/resisting-the-controlling-image-collage-as-a-subversive-tool

Department of Architecture: https://www.ibu.edu.ba/department-of-architecture/