P R O S O D Y
ANECHOIC NAAD DARKROOM
EVOKED EPIGENETIC ARCHITECTURE
DEVELOPMENTAL DIFFICULTY AND THE FELDENKRAIS METHOD
THE PROSODY BUILDING
TABASCO HEALTH CARE
ARTS AND ECOLOGY
ANECHOIC NAAD DARKROOM
Prototype for an anechoic darkroom, built in an abandoned bank vault 2 floors below street-level at 14 Wall Street as one aspect of a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council residency in 2006. The darkroom was used for deep listening, meditative sounding of phonemes, darkness retreat and other prosody-related experiential inquiries. Individuals and groups could reserve time in the darkroom, shifting from the hubbub of the Financial District to total sensory withdrawal in a matter of a few moments.
FOLLOW UP PROPOSAL FOR BUILDING A RAISED ANECHOIC DARKROOM IN THE MIDDLE OF LOWER MANHATTAN
A proposal for an experiential darkroom addressed to a team of potential partners—Mark Collins and Toru Hasegawa (design firm Proxy), Bobby Johnston (Co Adaptive Architecture), Michael Skinner and Matthew Castellano (Arup), and Sam Miller (Lower Manhattan Cultural Council)—providing initial design, functionality and fabrication criteria with a special emphasis on computation and device culture.
We want to construct a space that offers elemental experiences of darkness and light and silence and sound. We’ll provide these experiences by means of prosody. Prosody is interrelation. It’s the rhythm of our speech and the quality of our silence. It’s the pressure of what we say and don’t say to each other. Light and sound (as well as their absences) are pulsations and pressures (‘frequencies,’ if you like, or ‘waveforms’ if you prefer). Our sensitivity to these energy patterns we call ‘prosody.’ Prosody is composition of the medium of which we’re made, in which we move and interact.
We want to make prosodic knowledge more commonplace by providing people with an opportunity to become aware of prosody’s potential benefits. To this end, the Anechoic Naad Darkroom will serve as a place for both somatic and inner practices (a whole interoceptivity). It will function as a care facility, lab, exhibition space, open platform, reading room and school.
EVOKED EPIGENETIC ARCHITECTURE (or the Stress Response Building)
The Stress Response Building or Blood Pressure and the Built Environment— biochemistry of a building that could treat the cause of our climate crisis, developed during a three-week residency at The Watermill Center for Scott Eliot, Saara Hannula, Christina Guerrero Harmon, Elisa Laurila, Rikka Notkola and Alan Prohm from the Environmental Art Department at the University of Art and Design, Helsinki, 2007.
Evoked Epigenetic Architecture is an immoderate intermingling of internal and external environments in order to arrive at an unflappable physiological balance. Homeostasis (stability through constancy) is the classical modelof physiological regulation. In recent decades, allostasis (stability through change) has replaced homeostasis as the core regulatory model. This writing introduces a third regulatory model called evoked epigenetics (stability through evoked parameter values). Evoked epigenetics will be used to describe the Stress Response Building—a novel healthcare facility with a comprehensive approach to both distress and eustress. The Stress Response Building is the first instance of architecturally evoked epigenetics.
THE PROSODY BUILDING: A PLAN FOR EXPANDING THE ROLE OF POETS
What’s the relationship between poetry’s lack of consequence and the absence of spaces designed specifically for the practice of poetry? In the U.S., there are only 2 buildings designed specifically for poetry (Poets House in NYC and the University of Arizona Poetry Center). In light of this startling lack of facilitation, I could either suppose that poetry has no specific functioning to accommodate, or that it functions well enough (perhaps optimally) outside the need for specifically designed spaces. Generally, the public venues for poetry and poetry centers are found in spaces originally designed for functions other than poetry. Obviously, poets interlope, adapt, renovate, transgress, but rarely, if ever, further their work through the designing of spaces in which their work would be fulfilled.
The Prosody Building is a plan that accommodates the activities of poets by expanding and deepening the very nature of poetic activity. In this way, the Prosody Building offers our society the withheld benefits of poetry by revamping what is of benefit and the ways in which it’s offered.
TABASCO HEALTH CARE, KERHONKSON, NY
Built up from the foundation of a dilapidated wood mill, an office for the practice of two family doctors who live on the same property. The doctors treat addiction and chronic illnesses caused by environmental and biological toxins. Their personalized, integrative approach was heavily influenced by the work of Ivan Illich and his book Medical Nemesis. As the design/builder for the project, it was imperative for all material decisions, building techniques and intentions to be part of the treatment, integral to the therapy. Materials were site-sourced whenever possible, furnishings were site-built by hand, as the office was palpated into place, with every effort and thought knowingly inscribed into the being of the building, becoming part of the counteracting of the "counter-intuitive misadventures characteristic of industrial society.
ENWREATHING DEVELOPMENTAL DIFFICULTY AND THE FELDENKRAIS METHOD
A cover letter accompanying preliminary plans and consultation for the proposed renovation of the Field Center in New York City, submitted to the Field Center Executive Director Sheryl Field, 2006.
My role is to provide an environment that helps practitioners and parents take part in the learning process of children with neuromotor difficulties.
By focusing on the practical, material needs of The Field Center space, it’s possible to furnish an environment that effectively extends the somatosensory dialogue with which the Feldenkrais practitioner engages a child.
We’re imbued with our surroundings. Even when we pay no attention to the built environment, when it seems to be serving, for example, only as a backdrop for the kinesthetic loop between practitioners and children, we’re deeply influenced—exteroceptively, viscerally and introspectively—not only by the material attributes of a place, but the quality of the care with which everything was made and put into place. (Perhaps we’re especially susceptible to such suffusion when we’re not paying attention.)
Objects are part of the afferent nervous system. They are not simply separable sensory input; they flow back to perception as their impulses are transduced into electrical signals. Developmental exploration situates itself along this afferent flow. Greater awareness of the effects of an environment on internal bodily processes (digestion, breathing rate, body-based emotions, muscle tension, etc.) enables self-composition, clarifies action and tends to heighten one’s sense of empathy.
Just as objects are part of the nervous system, so the nervous system is integral to the exterior receptive field. The two are constitutively dependent.This nervous system/receptive field interchange is referred to as a wreathe. An ‘object’ experienced as enwreathed in this afferent=efferent conduction is called a gesture, or wield, spate, rollick or cadence. This gesturing points out how objects are co-materialized by the interpretive nature of perception.
A person orienting herself intentionally or therapeutically anywhere throughout the wreathe—as external stimulus, cutaneous mechanoreceptor, ganglia, gut feeling, or in the neural underpinnings of a psychological state— is referred to as an ambitus.
A device or environment designed specifically, assistively to help people function by conducing to a bodily knowledge/built environment fluency is called an optative. An optative is the construction of the enwreathing process mentioned above. Basically we are unable to want for ourselves what we can’t imagine. Because full development of ‘person’ involves connecting the motorsensory to motivation and emotion and reflexive awareness (awareness of one’s emotions and motivations) an optative must draw on all that we live for, all that we long for. Optatives construct the imaging of completely unknown—yet to be known—actions relative to desires recognizable and satisfiable only by means of their actions. The optative mood (the verbal mode of wishing) generates its receptive field. It is its own action. Less intense, focused and necessary emotions aren’t necessarily embodied as their own actions. Construction is a process of beaconing, of building what the optative, as action, perceives.
CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS FOR THE CONVERSION OF AN ARTS AND ECOLOGY CENTER FROM A FORMER MEDICAL FACILITY