Marcelo F. López-Dinardi

Advisor: Mark Wigley

MS.CCCP 2013

Destructive Knowledge: Tools for Learning to Un-Dō

As architects, we are moved by a genealogical inertia that drives us towards doing. Our tools –the few that we may share as a discipline– are thought to be the means to build-up, to design, to construct, to draw, in the end, to do. We are taught to conceive something where there is none, to give it form, to materialize it, to fill the white and empty paper, this is, to make. One might say, following the principle of doing, that we build our disciplinary knowledge in the process while we “do”.

The Latin dō, serves as the root to a series of words that are related to the notion of accumulating  and accumulated knowledge, but also to docilis, our docile. With this, my interest is to challenge the notion in which the built and accumulated disciplinary-knowledge (not just knowledge) of our discipline –the doing– is also the basis to produce docility, this is, a state in which we diminish our political self in favor of the discipline.

Gordon Matta-Clark, the artist of the well known piece Splitting (1974), was taught as architect in Cornell University prior to jumping over his career as artist. Matta-Clark, essentially, kept working with the tools learned in the school of architecture, but instead of doing, most of his work is dedicated to undo, to un-build. For him, the architecture tools were instruments to undo, contrary to the basic principle of, to do. By this, he aimed, among others things, to expose and make visible what can be called as the entrails of the architectural accumulated knowledge-in the form of building.

This thesis, considers the making-process of the work of Gordon Matta-Clark as a tool for interrogating the formative moment and the processes of learning architecture. With this, I intend to show, first, the conflictive triptych of docility-discipline-knowledge and second, to develop conceptual tools to un-dō by carefully reading Matta-Clark’s projects, as evidence of building up knowledge by un-dō-ing. The result of this thesis aims to explore the possibilities of non-disciplinary knowledge, and thus, suggesting a path for the re-launching of the political self.

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