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Bas emerging lokken

  1. 1. There are no maps for these territories *The aim for this studio has been to broaden our understanding of complexity –to learn to use complexity as a planning tool and to extend our intellectual andpractical tools as planners, architects and not at least as human beings. Therecognition that we ourselves, and everything surrounding us is in acontinuous and inevitable transformation, enforces awareness towards thetransforming energies – energies which are unfolding along differenttrajectories in time and space - shaping complex spatial patterns deeplyconnected to the changes in the landscape – a landscape which holds theenigma of time and histories as different as the rotation of continental sheetsor the ephemeral conception of a notion or an idea.Our intention has been to see architecture and planning as on-going andnever completed processes as life in itself is never finished or concluded. Ifyou really were to take a slice through time - says (the British geographer)Doreen Massey in her book: for space - it would be full of holes, ofdisconnections, of tentative half-formed first encounters. ‘Everything isconnected to everything else’ can be a salutary political reminder thatwhatever we do has wider implications than perhaps we commonly recognise.But it is unhelpful if it leads to a vision of an always already constituted holism.The ‘always’ is rather that there are always connections yet to be made,juxtapositions yet to flower into interaction, or not, potential links which maynever be established. Loose ends and on going stories. ‘Spaces’, then, cannever be that completed simultaneity in which all interconnections have beenestablished, in which everywhere is already (and at that momentunchangingly) linked to everywhere else. (Massey, 2005)The studio has been an open and inviting testing ground for experimentalapproaches towards the landscape and the practices going on in thelandscape – an attempt to do mapping of even realms that are yet to come –to use words from (the French philosophers) Gilles Deleuze and FelixGuattari. In our effort to develop a profound understanding of the landscapeand to find new approaches to the changes explicitly going on, we need toinvestigate and experiment – to map and to research along lines andtrajectories that have not necessarily been investigated before – to makeconnections and juxtapositions that are not obvious, and to find spatialconnections and openness that are not prejudiced or closed. Make a map, nota tracing. Says Deleuze and Guattari in their text about the rhizome: Whatdistinguishes the map from the tracing is that it is entirely oriented towards anexperimentation in contact with the real (…) A map has multiple entryways, asopposed to the tracing, which always comes back to the same. The map hasto do with performance, whereas the tracing always involves an alleged‘competence’ (Deleuze and Guattari, 1980)This means that the mapping will not be completed or conclusive but befollowing tracks or lines of flight. According to (the Mexican philosopher)Manuel De Landa - Deleuze and Guattari use lines of flight as something tofollow and something expected to redeem new responses – as an operatorwhich transcends the real and ascends to the virtual (Manuel De Landa, There are no maps for these territories - lecture by Gisle Løkken at BAS, 20 December 2011 1
  2. 2. 2002). In her essay ’Loosing Control keeping Desire’ (the French/Rumanianarchitect and philosopher) Doina Petrescu elaborates the meaning of theconcept: Guattari and Deleuze’s ‘lines’ challenge the usual designer thinkingabout ‘lines’. They are an abstract and complex enough metaphor to map theentire social field, to trace its shapes, its borders, its becomings. They canmap the way ‘life always proceeds at several rhythms and at several speeds’.They map individual cracks and collective breaks within the segmentation andheterogeneity of power. The ‘line of flight’, ligne de fuite, is defined not only asa simple line, but as the very force of a tangle of lines flung out, transgressingthresholds of established norms and conventions, towards unexpectedmanifestations, both in terms of socio-political phenomena and in individualdestinies (Petrescu, 2001).Emerging Arctic landscapes - Landscapes in Change – Arctic tippingpointsOur field of investigation has been the northern, Arctic landscapes. Until thebeginning of the 20th century the high-arctic landscapes were with fewexceptions seemingly unspoiled and undisturbed by people, while the sub-arctic areas were characterized by close-nature usage mainly from ethnicminorities, nomads and settlers that lived of husbandry, farming, hunting andfishing.Myths and notions about the Arctic have defined the territory since Pytheas inAntiquity launched the idea of Thule – a land behind and north of all knownland – so unreachable and unknown that it had to be full of precious assets –gold and treasures in a mixture of divine elevation and earthly drama, ofstorm, ice and cold. The myth holds a vital expectation, but also respect forthe unknown and what is potentially dangerous. In this world of desolation andinfinity - behind the myth - a complex interplay of people, animals, birds andplants have taken form and developed for several thousands of years. Theseare ecological systems that resist large parts of both frost and drama - in anenvironment that is ruthlessly lethal to it or those who cannot adapt –ecological systems, that in their subtle balance have proven extremelyvulnerable when facing the global forces that in our time invade the Arctic withan increasing strength. Researchers describe the changes taking place in theArctic today as a series of changes or ‘tipping points’ that in their extremeconsequence are ‘points of no return’. This entails a permanent extinction ofspecies – and a permanent loss of known ecological systems. This could bealteration in marine micro ecology with the consequence of changed sprawlingand migration patterns of fish stocks - or it could be permanent loss of naturallandscapes because of mineral extraction or construction of heavyinfrastructure.From the first exploration period in the late 16th century, the northern oceansbecame an arena for extensive fishing, sealing and whaling - being in realityequal to Europe’s first oil boom (a direct and dramatic consequence of thishunt was the near extinction of a large part of the whale stock). Whilerationality and myth historically existed side by side – not least in cartographyand descriptions of distant countries and oceans – the conception of divine There are no maps for these territories - lecture by Gisle Løkken at BAS, 20 December 2011 2
  3. 3. mysticism rooted in geographical notions is now certainly gone. In our satelliteage one has on the contrary created modern stories about earth-boundwealth, hidden inside the mountain, in the earth, in the ocean and in the seabed – developed through large-scale investigations and prospects, andcarried out by large multi-national economical interests. The Arctic is not onlythe territory of possibilities created by historical expectations and myths, but istoday referred to by modern mining companies as ’one of the world’s lastnatural resource frontiers’.Landscape as spatial condition - Historically, little attention has been aimedtowards these ‘pre-industrial’ landscapes from architects and landscapearchitects. Alessandra Ponte describes the Arctic as territories that have neverbeen traditionally represented as landscapes; they have not been framed,beautified and represented neither as ‘nature’ nor as landscapes until theywere appropriated by the energy producing industry and mediated aslandscapes of energy (Janike Larsen in the field of landscape architecture we rather see an increasingtendency to focus on the ‘design’ of landscapes: as the development of newuses for post-industrial land or as transformations of existing land into newpark landscapes in connection with strong forces of urbanization. A commonfeature that may be observed is how nature becomes artificial, generic and isreduced to a design object simply through processes of medialization andconceptualization, and how physical transformations often are linked toconsumption – visual or otherwise.The major part of the Arctic may still be seen as ‘genuine’ nature and ascognitive landscapes, and therefore demand a different approach anddifferent means of investigation than those applied for already ‘domesticated’landscapes. Global warming, environmental disturbances and politicalpressures combine to create a completely new physical ‘ground’ which putsgreat demands on the enfolding response of architects and landscapearchitects. The need to develop a critical awareness and alternative forms ofknowledge in connection with this development transcends the traditionaldesign focus.Landscape as a concept was in its origin a description of a region or ageographical or administrative area defined by human activity or habitation.During the 16th century, the term evolved etymological through the use byDutch painters to describe natural or rural sceneries, as artistic interpretations.In the 20th century, landscape has by the (American geographer) RichardHartshorne (1899-1992) been defined as ‘the external visible (or touchable)surface of the earth. This surface is formed by the outer surface, those inimmediate contact with the atmosphere, of vegetation, bare earth, snow, ice,or water bodies or the features made by man.’ This also includes movableobjects, but it’s ignoring what is under the ground, the ocean or the sky, orwhat is perceived by other than sight (like sounds). There are no maps for these territories - lecture by Gisle Løkken at BAS, 20 December 2011 3
  4. 4. The fact that the notion of a landscape includes the human factor opens for awide use of the concept including cityscape, or human made, artificiallandscapes, and even interiors. It also makes clear the distinction betweennatural or primeval landscapes (as pre-human landscapes), and landscapesshaped by human impact. In a more resent popular understanding of theconception of the landscape it is reflected a particular meaning, referring to anarea of the Earth’s surface, and a general meaning that can be seen andobserved. In geography and other disciplines as landscape architecture andarchitecture (but also within other social sciences as social anthropology)there is a tendency to use the conception of the landscape covering all theseunderstandings – both as an objective assessment and a subjectiveperception and experience. Without any seemingly limitations the conceptionof the landscape tend to be more liquid and flexible – covering the whole fieldof ecology, environment and context – both physically and cognitively. To giveclear meaning to the concept, landscape commonly has to be explainedthrough an accompanying describing word as a compound-word like:landscape architecture, interior landscape, polar landscape, tourist landscapeetc. This understanding of the landscape implies a radically different coding ofthe landscape then simply something romantic and aesthetic, or somethingonly relating to natural conditions. It is a conception that implies acceptance ofhidden knowledge and for the landscape as something utterly complex.Alterations through time, forces the global ecology towards a constantlyincreasing complexity. While there in science in the nineteenth-centuryaccording to John Lechte, was a concern to create equilibrium and stasis withthe above all aim to eliminating chance – it was by the end of the centurydeveloped an acceptance for science as a concept of open systems,irreversible time and of indeterminacy (Lechte, 1995 in Massey, 1005). This iscreating the basis on which the landscape has to be investigated andunderstood as spatial narration of events and practice. An open andprogressive reading of the landscape as both an objective and subjectiveexperience gives validity to the multiplicity of practices connected to thelandscape – also including natural processes and history – the landscape canbe seen as an assemblage of spatiality and interconnecting trajectories – atime space derivation. What if [space] presents us with a heterogeneity ofpractices and processes? Doreen Massey asks. Then it will be not an alreadyinterconnected whole but an ongoing product of interconnections and not.Then it will be always unfinished and open. This arena of space is not firmground on which to stand. In no way is it a surface. This is space as thesphere of a dynamic simultaneity, constantly disconnected by new arrivals,constantly waiting to be determined (and therefore always undetermined) bythe construction of new relations. It is always being made and alwaystherefore, in a sense, unfinished (except that ‘finishing’ is not on the agenda).(Massey, 2005)This way of reading landscape and practices as an infinite dynamismcorrelates with the Deleuze/Guattarian idea about the rhizome: unlike thetrees or their roots, the rhizome connects any point to any other point, and itstraits are not necessarily linked to traits of the same nature; it brings into play There are no maps for these territories - lecture by Gisle Løkken at BAS, 20 December 2011 4
  5. 5. very different regimes of signs, and even non sign states. (…) Unlike thegraphic arts, drawing, or photography, unlike tracings, the rhizome pertains toa map that must be produced, constructed, a map that is always detachable,connectable, reversible, modifiable, and has multiple entryways and exits andits own lines of flight. (Deleuze and Guattary, 1980)Our entrance in the Arctic is an undefined field of explorations, and it opensfor spatial connectivity both to landscapes and to people. The investigationsare subjective and individual experiences but have to be made evident to writethe future stories of the Arctic – again using Deleuze and Guattari: Writing hasnothing to do with signifying. It has to do with surveying, mapping, [and again:]even realms that are yet to come (Deleuze & Guattari, 1980).Mapping of the unforeseen - In the studio we started with the utterlyindividual expectations towards the territory – tested and developed along aroad trip from Hammerfest to Murmansk – as a narration and a movementthrough a cross section of seemingly remote arctic landscapes and intrusivedevelopments: From the oil-driven growth of Hammerfest which already hasentered the oil economy through the 50-billion ($1billion) base: Melkøya – wecould study the city evolving as a mono economy based on the fishingindustry through annihilation and regeneration during and after the WWII, andmost recently the entrance into a new phase of mono-economy based on oiland gas. Via the new urbanization and entrepreneur based growth of Alta witha history rooted in 7000 years old rock carvings, we entered the core areas ofthe surviving sami culture in Kautokeino and Karasjok – deeply dependent onunspoiled landscape pastures for herds of reindeers, and also bearers ofprofound knowledge about durable, close to nature living. We visited thedecaying and mythical city of Vardø, which seems to be facing a new era ofattention, initiatives and creative undercurrents. We encountered the silenceand presence of great nature in the abandoned but slowly renovating fishingvillage of Hamningberg. The trip took us to the highly multicultural Kirkenes –struggling between the old mining industry and a pending new oil economy –passing by the mined and destructed landscapes of Bjørnevatn – crossing theRussian border and the anticipatory border zone, into the remote anddesolated landscapes, cities and settlements on the Kola-peninsula - via theheavily polluted landscapes in Nikkel – not to say dead and retarded to a postglacial condition. The trip ended in Murmansk – a city in decline andtransformation, from an industrial harbour and soviet military stronghold with apopulation of nearly half a million – to an expected population reduction to aquarter of a million in few years - a city in desperate need for renovation of thebuilding mass – and with a unresolved future political significance and anuncertain transition to a modernized economy.Encountering human energy - Along the journey we met people living andworking in the landscape – with different anticipations – within fields ofplanning and preparation for new economies, or within different performancesof everyday practice:Among many we met: Snorre Sundquist, director Husbanken Hammerfest:explaining the role of Husbanken in a historical and contemporary perspective There are no maps for these territories - lecture by Gisle Løkken at BAS, 20 December 2011 5
  6. 6. - Reidar Nilsen, journalist: giving historical background of Hammerfestsshifting monocultures; whaling, fishing and now oil & gas - Sunniva Skålnes,architect / dr, senior advisor at Samediggi Kautokeino: untangling themisconception of northern landscapes as untouched, enabling us to read itsinscribed signs of history, narratives: cultures, or Unni Steinfjell, duodjiteacher Kautokeino: elucidating how practices and survival are connected tothe ability to read details in the landscape.We met people like Svein Harald Holmen, project manager: highlighting theimportance of committed engagement and synergetic processes forrenovation of historical buildings and sites or Tormod Amundsen, architect:exemplifying how a special interest and expertise can develop unexpectedpotentials; finding, facilitating and promoting ornithological sites.Thomas Nilsen from the Barents-secretary talked about the large view andprospects in the Barents region: namely a new border relation of unknownpotential – and not at least the Fisherman in Kiberg: running high on king crabeconomy. Jhonny Andersen: the true northern multiplicity man: fireman, fish-farmer, crab fisher, tourist guide, our excellent bus driver, and a lot more - orVanja Madsen & Guro Vrålstad, project managers at Pikene på broenKirkenes: presenting mind the map; cultural complexity and initiative as asubversive act in a masculine environment – the Swedish mining engineer inBjørnevatn iron mines: representing the modern migrant worker and thestructure of resource extraction in remote landscapes. Igor Shaitanov: our24/7 indefatigable guide and gate opener to the undercurrents of Murmanskculture and night life – introducing Dimitriy Borovkov, owner of Power HitRadio and planner in the governor’s office: an overwhelming source ofinformation and critical reflections about life in Murmansk in combination witha multiple involvement in cultural and political undercurrents – the anonymousgarage man: representing the Russian man in his kingdom; the garage, andeven Evgeny Goman, theatre producer and director, teacher and idealist:working day and night for the idea of realising the first youth house inMurmansk – in spite of a continuous bureaucratic resistance.The studio has brought us experts and storytellers of different kind and ofdifferent background: In Bergen we started out with Professor Paul Wassmanpresenting geopolitics and ecology in the Arctic - Magnus Jørgensen, architectand researcher with experience from students work in the Barents region andJoar Nango, architect and artist unfolding the indigenous peoples use of thelandscape. Through a seminar with former diploma students at BAS: ToneBerge, Olafia Zoega, Anette Basso; Ina Bakke Sem-Olsen and IwanThomson, we experienced architectural approaches to various Arctic contexts.As a mid term reminder we met geographer and historian Peder Roberts,leading us back into a geopolitical understanding of history and conflicts, andnot least architect and professor Catharina Gabrielsson refreshing thetheoretical foundation for the studio: field work and practised space asarchitecture and how findings can apply to a context.DAV: In between the different assignments of more conceptual nature wesearched a deeper encounter with Sami philosophy and mysticism. The There are no maps for these territories - lecture by Gisle Løkken at BAS, 20 December 2011 6
  7. 7. modern shaman and Dr. juris: Ánde Somby led the students to a differentunderstanding of space and landscapes through his joik-thinking, and throughhis rhetorical practice - gathered around the bonfire in the circular space of thelavvo. The Sami understanding of the landscape, the specific knowledge, andthe language used to describe the complex content of the landscape is soclosely connected to survival that disturbances now appearing in thelandscape threaten to wipe out not only a way of living, but a profoundunderstanding of natural processes that have linked humanity to nature eventhrough history of heavy industrialisation and alienation from nature. Without aprofound understanding of the landscape, and without a language to validateits consistency, the landscape could easily be redefined into a commodity andlaid open for exploitation.What we are mapping is the extraordinary and peculiar, but also the everydaynormal – the layers of everyday experience and everyday practices whicheventually forms the spatial performance in the landscape; the hyper normal.A hyper-mapping might be more subjective and give focus to values related tothe context of the plan, than being strictly neutral and objective. We considerthe studio as a comprehensive learning and a thorough investigation on layersof information that often reach beyond the immediate reading or perception ofthe landscape. To be able to see and understand, we study variousphenomena trough different concepts to charge the investigation withexpectations:Vulnerability: The notion of vulnerability is invariably related to the concept oflife – either it is human life or life in nature as such. The consciousness ofmortality is disturbing and exposes life as fragile. Life does not exist in closedsystems, but does always relate to other life forms or systems of varyingextent and size - in these relations dependency occur, and not at least acontinuous struggle for a position of surviving. It is a slow drama that hasbeen going on since the creation of earth, and encompasses all naturalsystems of all scales from the smallest biotope to global circuits.New Hierarchies: The ascendance of information industries and the growthof a global economy are inextricably linked, and have contributed to whatSaskia Sassen calls: a new geography of centres and margins (The globalcity: strategic site/new frontier, 2000). This means that former structures ofeconomical or political hegemony have radically changed (and are stillchanging rapidly) with the consequence of a displacement (in economicalsense), in both geographical significance of cities and places, and in thevaluation of different kind of labour: Financial services produce superprofitswhile industrial services barely survive. These are phenomena that are clearlyobserved in the geography of the north – and have caused historicalalterations in demography and migration patterns – tendencies that in everyway increase.Flexibility: When adverse global forces and global economical fluctuationsinfluence even the most remote places, it seems more than ever necessary tobuild a flexibility outside the global consumer economy - to be resilient to There are no maps for these territories - lecture by Gisle Løkken at BAS, 20 December 2011 7
  8. 8. economic alterations, to be prepared for devastating environmental impacts orto foresee future effects from expected climate changes. (The Englishanthropologist, biologist and cyberneticist;) Gregory Bateson expressed theneed for flexibility in his book: Steps to an ecology of mind: There shall be amatching between the flexibility of people and that of the civilization. Thereshall be diversity in the civilization, not only to accommodate the genetic andexperimental diversity of persons, but also to provide the flexibility and‘preadaptation’ necessary for unpredictable change. (Bateson, 1972/2000).Even though Bateson wrote this paper in 1970, it contains a strong predictionof the coming climate changes and a foreseeing of the challenges thatplanners and architects have to deal with concerning profound ecologicalmatters. Bateson prescribes the survival of our civilization as closely linked toour understanding of natural processes; We are not outside the ecology forwhich we plan – we are inevitably a part of it. (IBID) The new invention giveselbow room or flexibility, but the using up for that flexibility is death. (IBID)This notion of flexibility leads forward to the studio’s final assignmentconceived as reorientations, which gives ideas about new openings throughnew cartographies – and layers of disrupted knowledge. This means that ourfindings and learning appears to be exercises in new dynamic approachesand entryways to the landscapes and to the complexity of spatial practices. Adynamism that Stan Allen expresses so well (in his dialog with FlorianSauters): Bateson talks about survival not in resisting change, but in terms ofaccommodating change. It means that your thinking has to be every bit asfluent and adaptive as the kind of systems you are talking about. In otherwords you cannot apply rigid or dogmatic principals to systems that arethemselves fluent, adaptable, changing and always incorporating feedback.(…) It is a way of thinking that mirrors the dynamism of ecological systemsthemselves. (Allen and Sauters, 2007)One general objective for the studio has been to address crucial questions,and create a platform for critical discussions about the changes that are goingon in the Arctic landscapes. We have been discussing the role of the architectin these matters, and the need for investigations of openness andexperimentation – in a way that also consider the subjective, the trivial or theunexpected as relevant for a spatial understanding of the landscape. There isan atmosphere of seemingly euphoric global expectations to the prosperity ofthe territory - a rationality that kills the Arctic myth. We are past the pointwhere rationality has substituted the definition of reality in a desire for politicalhegemony and economical profit. The colonization of the Arctic coincides withthe fall of the myths – and a decline in the conception of nature as holy. LikeOdysseus who tied his body to the mast and blocked out the effect of theseductive song of the Sirens, we have blocked out our ability to be influencedby songs that may break down our rationality and our modern conception ofreality. Without myth, all becomes trivial, and without respect andattentiveness the wonder of everything that cannot instantly be translated intonumbers disappears. There are no maps for these territories - lecture by Gisle Løkken at BAS, 20 December 2011 8
  9. 9. It is a challenge for the future to dare to open for a dimension of mysticismand wonder – to open up for literature and poetry that narrate stories aboutreality, which are totally different from the rationality, we today are familiarwith. If a turning point for new ideas about the Arctic were to surface, therational and the mythical must once again meet and intertwine into a hithertounknown story – a tipping point for a new way to appreciate and observe thecountry beyond.* The title of this lecture, There are no maps for these territories, is borrowed from WilliamGibson (No Maps for these Territories, 1996). There are no maps for these territories - lecture by Gisle Løkken at BAS, 20 December 2011 9