ALICIA VELÁZQUEZ

design research

Stupid Structure

Textures Purpose, VideoAlicia Velazquez2 Comments

Things happen. Without even noticing, you find yourself one day in the middle of a storm, or battlefield. 

Me these days, I'm having a weekly back and forth between two cities. And I came to realize that, what seemed to be a matter of organization, has deeper and more complex consequences that what you can fix using time management tools.

After a month of traveling between Zurich and Brussels, living in two places, working in two studios (and even a third one as I take my transition time as an atelier space), one thing resonated with me a few days ago. This phrase by John Cage, shown by my colleague Eric Guibert during his PhD in progress presentation:

"Structure without life is dead, but life without structure is unseen.
Pure life expresses itself within and through structure"

The moment I saw this quote, I captured it and put it on my iPad's desktop. It resonated and I knew I had to place it where I could face it - until making some sense of it. 

Then, a few days later, this started to hit me. The image of being in the middle of shaking water, with little control from my part - basically enough control so as not to drown. 

How can I learn how to hold balance when everything around and under is in motion? And, more importantly, how do I make a surfboard?

I grabbed texture to try make sense of this. And started to connect the dots, literally. Because when in doubt or in storm, the mundane, daily small routines may give a basic skeleton from which to navigate bigger complexity. Kind of the surf board to help us balance on wavy waters. 

I'd love to hear about your thoughts, reflections and experience:

  • What kind of structure do you hold on to when in the middle of shaky life moments? an how do you materialize your stupid structure?

Embracing In Between

Textures Purpose, Being In Between, VideoAlicia VelazquezComment

Last week we had a workshop and exhibition in Aarhus (Denmark) during Adapt-r event Making Research Research Making. Adapt-r (Architecture, Design and Art Practice Training-research) is a European program and network to promote creative practices research.

Together with designer Verena Ziegler, and after working together for one year we presented there and for the first time our project Inhabiting In Between.

Inhabiting In Between started as a shared space. Coming both of us from an architecture background, we both had the urge to explore the humanness in materiality, bringing it closer to the body. What are the emotional connections that we share with and through materials? And how can we, as designers, as makers, as practitioners, explore these connections?

This shared space of being in between, started as a series of material acts. Performing these acts with the materials, letting them speak to us, we seek to unveil new emotional relationships.

From static materializations of in between space, we moved into dynamic techniques, and started working with inflatables.

How do we inhabit a space that is changing, that is changeable? When inhabiting a dynamic space we are not in control. We are simply there, having the experience. We can activate it, we can decide how to handle the texture or wrap it around ourselves. But it keeps a degree of unpredictability, which makes the act a shared space. We are therefore not designing the texture completely, but providing the space for the material, and our body, to have a shared experience. Of inhabiting together.

Will inflatable spaces give us a sense of belonging? Can materials help us to connect emotionally?

As we don't have answers but only questions, I leave you with a narrative video sharing some of our latest works and thoughts on inhabiting the in between.

And with a question to embrace:

  • what could it do for you? 

Looking forward to your comments here below.