The Situation As It Is

Ring binders in the architect’s archive are filled with photographic negatives. Subjects are scattered. The documents try to tell a story of an existing condition. This is the state things are in. Buildings are perpetually unfinished. The dog keeps barking. It’s our third birthday, again. A plot emerges.

Documenting the existing condition (de bestaande toestand) is a functional tool in architecture and urban development: photographs describe a building, a landscape, infrastructure…. in order for it to be demolished, adjusted, rebuilt. The existence of the image, the document that presents the situation as it is, implies and initiates change.

The stance from which the photographer – often the architect him- or herself – takes these mandatory pictures for the planning application, relies on an implicit neutrality of these visual documents. Nonetheless, this approach can get obscured by the presence of a personal perspective. 

The Situation As It Is is a story that unfolds in episodes of three frames, rhythmically revolving on a billboard mounted onto 019’s facade.

The Situation As It Is is part of Documenting Objects, a research project at KASK & Conservatorium, School of Arts Gent.

Episode 1 - - - Prologue - - - A kid blows out three candles on a whipped cream covered cake. Photography is not how the story is told, but the premise to tell the story. It is the incentive for an action - a building block for a narrative. Smoke fills the living room.

Episode 2 - - - Title - - - Periaktos: a three-sided revolving apparatus used on the stage in ancient Greek theaters. Each side of the apparatus presents a scenery. Rotation of the prisms of the apparatus results in a different landscape.

Episode 3 - - - Setting - - - A nondescript dwelling; flowers in front of a greenhouse’s chalked glass; a muddy bend in the road among newly built houses and empty lots. The protagonist, an architect, is introduced.

Episode 4 - - - The narrators’ perspective - - - In those thirty odd years between then and now, time created hindsight. A post factum point of view on what was, then, barely recognizable as a fact.  

Episode 5 - - - Introducing the architect’s family - - - she says on Sunday your pyjamas are backwards on Sunday your pyjamas are backwards she says your pyjamas are backwards she says on Sunday