Architecture, Sampled And Remixed
November 9, 2008 5:56 AM   Subscribe

Dionisio González makes photographs of imaginary favelas, Filip Dujardin makes photographs of imaginary buildings.
posted by jack_mo (6 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
For others like me who don't know, a favela is a shanty town.
posted by bz at 6:14 AM on November 9, 2008

HA ! these are great !
posted by sgt.serenity at 8:02 AM on November 9, 2008

wow! really pleasing to view. be sure to check the comments on the bldgblog post for links to similar artists.
posted by VulcanMike at 9:30 AM on November 9, 2008

Those imaginary favela photos don't cut it with me. From the picture, it looks like the people living there got together one day and said, "Hey, let's all Gehry it up today!"

Which would be strange, because my impression is that favela housing is not really built all at once---rather one house at a time on an as-needed basis. Also, I would guess that the architectural styles are dictated by immediate concerns like the site you choose, the materials the community has access to, the people you can get to build or help build, local know-how, and so on. The forms tend to be pretty utilitarian.

That said, I found the arrangement of forms in real hillside favelas to be fascinating---"organic" is a good word here, although it's been diluted beyond meaning in writing about architecture. Favelas look like they are built the same way coral reefs and beehives are built: through the global product of a collection of interacting local forces, viz. the site, material, and building considerations cited above. Favelas struck me as emergent structures, not places where some town designer made Plans for a swath of dwellings. "I know! For you guys, funky angular windows!"

[not anything like an architect]
posted by tss at 9:52 AM on November 9, 2008

[but, in fact, more like a computer scientist]

Fans of statistical models will recognize "product of a collection of interacting local forces" as a shabby, off-the-cuff characterization of a number of statistical models, like the Potts model. Now, since I happened to be in Rio for a computer vision conference, I couldn't help but wonder what kind of statistical model would generate visual forms that were unmistakably suggestive of the hillside favela.

A lot of people probably don't know that there are a lot of computer vision people who ask the same kinds of questions about, say, faces, that certain artists do. Both might wonder: what's the minimum combination of lines, texture, and/or color for a thing to be unmistakably a face? The artist wants to know in order to portray or suggest faces; the vision technician wants to know to take measurements and recognize faces in images. Either way, when I have my computer vision hat on and see a striking scene, I often wonder about the underlying statistics.

Anyway, I never did get around to developing a favela model, but overpowering curiosity drove me to go on one of the tours, which some find distasteful and I still am not so sure about. Either way, the tour predictably offers you an opportunity to buy locally made crafts, and I wound up snapping up an abstract painting that, abstract and spare as it was, unmistakably suggested the forms of the favela. I can't find pictures of similar paintings online, but it is a bunch of repetitions of variations on 何, basically, on a mottled color field suggesting concrete reflecting a sunset.

What were we talking about again? That third link is awesome...
posted by tss at 10:28 AM on November 9, 2008

Oooh, I enjoyed those, thanks.
posted by nickyskye at 12:26 AM on November 10, 2008

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