The Manhattan Transcripts
Architecture is not simply about space and form, but also about event, action, and what happens in space.
The Manhattan Transcripts differ from most architectural drawings insofar as they are neither real projects nor mere fantasies. Developed in the late '70s, they proposed to transcribe an architectural interpretation of reality. To this aim, they employed a particular structure involving photographs that either direct or "witness" events (some would call them "functions," others "programs"). At the same time, plans, sections, and diagrams outline spaces and indicate the movements of the different protagonists intruding into the architectural "stage set." The Transcripts' explicit purpose was to transcribe things normally removed from conventional architectural representation, namely the complex relationship between spaces and their use, between the set and the script, between "type" and "program," between objects and events. Their implicit purpose had to do with the 20th-century city.
The dominant theme of The Transcripts is a set of disjunctions among use, form, and social values; the non-coincidence between meaning and being, movement and space, man and object was the starting condition of the work. Yet the inevitable confrontation of these terms produced effects of far-ranging consequence. The Transcripts aimed to offer a different reading of architecture in which space, movement and events are independent, yet stand in a new relation to one another, so that the conventional components of architecture are broken down and rebuilt along different axes.
While the programs used for The Manhattan Transcripts are of the most extreme nature, they also parallel the most common formula plot: the archetype of murder. Other phantasms were occasionally used to underline the fact that perhaps all architecture, rather than being about functional standards, is about love and death. By going beyond the conventional definition of use and program, The Transcripts used their tentative format to explore unlikely confrontations. back