What prompted the project?
My PhD thesis ended in the time period of the early seventies … looking for projects associated with the future I began to find all kinds of representations in which the future was associated with a nostalgic idea of a better past … and in that last, the column was the queen …
I was fascinated by the idea of looking for columns that were in themselves an architectural manifesto that also had nothing to do with the manifestos of modern architecture that I had studied in the faculty of architecture … more strange and dirty was the project more interested in its columns!
What was the very first image of the collection?
The first Bizarre Column that I found was the Capitello furniture (1972) designed by Italians Studio65. The Italian group longed for and laughed at the same time about their famous past, converting an Ionic capital into a polyurethane chair. With this project it is with which I realized how many architects were using the column as a means of communication, as a Manifesto of their way of understanding architecture.
What is the objective of the project?
The objective of the project is to collect bizarre columns … but as in any collection it is almost an uncontrollable impulse to show it to people .. to share it with others … I think that all collections of architecture images work a bit like this … become part of your identity … you identify with what you collect and other people identify with it …
To what extent can we define this collection as a form of a portrait?
Every collection is a kind of self-portrait in that we collect what we want. In this case, the bizarre is a way of embracing the opposite of what I was taught in the university … the modern, the pure, the right … Many of Bizarre’s projects expose an architect who doubts, that he laughs, even that he fails … some of these projects have been forgotten and they were even insulted by their authors … that’s great! a part of your production that you reject is wonderful in a world where everything tends towards the opposite … the style, the recognizable … the sublime …
I have my professional practice at ENORME Studio and what we do has a lot to do with the impure, the bizarre and that way of working within the limits of the discipline ….
What informed the choice of Instagram as outlet for this? Why not tumblr, behance, pinterest or a website?
Bizarre Columns started as a series of posts in the blog of my thesis “Arqueología del FUturo”. Later it became an article for the Argentine magazine PLOT and from there a TUMBLR. INSTAGRAM is the last of the formats, more interactive and that allows me a greater exchange with people. The platforms are changing, the important thing for me is the research and how it changes according to the formats.
How does the project change and adapt according to the mediums through which it is presented?
When starting as an article, Bizarre Columns had few examples and a lot of text … when I became a tumblr I happened to have many projects selected by me, very controlled and little associated text … on Instagram, where people send me new ones references the catalog has become out of control, has increased and diversified … I think it is time to experiment again with other formats … in fact I am trying to mount an exhibition about Bizarre Columns in Madrid …
What is your take on social media platforms as Instagram? How and to what extent have they had an effect on the way we perceive and consume the built environment?
Bizarre Columns in Instagram is a way of interchange… that’s the most important for me… collecting images is a way of speaking… conversations… keeping in touch… net…
Where are these sourced?
At the beginning I only used images from my personal archive… the most of them scanned of magazines or books… but now the archive is increasing with all kind of contributions from people who love Bizarre Columns…
Can we talk about it as having morphed into a collective project?
What interests me most about open research is that people can not only see the process but can also influence it …
That people interested in Bizarre Columns send me references or even their proposals has generated around my account of Instagram a community of its own and that is fundamental in a reserach … For example that way I am connected with architects who are now interested in the column as Manifesto, such as Fosbury Architecture, Parasite 2.0, Point Supreme or ORGPERMOD and artists who work with the iconography of the column as Rachel Youn or Gabriele de Santis.
What role does the caption hold? How important is this in relation to the image?
For me the hold is fundamental information about the author and the project, besides the categories I use to catalog the columns … In the social media there is many times an illicit use of images because designers are not labeled. As an architect who designs, I try to be very careful with that … it is essential not to turn social media into a dance of images without identity.
What was your most popular image? And why?
The most popular image of Bizarre Columns has more than 700 likes and is a column crossing a sofa in Hans Hollëin’s project for Museum Moderner Kunst in Franckfurt. Giacomo Pala (great architect and Instagramer) sent this image to me as reference some time ago … This reinforces that idea of Instagram as a great hyperconnected network.
Is there a curatorial strategy which unfolds through time?
As I have said before, the curatorial strategy in my thesis or now with Bizarre Columns has to do with the taxonomy of similar objects, with the accumulation and labeling of projects to find in that taxonomy inexorable tendencies … that has not changed in spite of that the research adapts in form and content to the different media … Also in my articles I work with catalogs of images …
How is the project structured? How is this archived within your own computer?
I love doing taxonomies and catalogs. The only problem is that every time I have less time due to my practice as ENORME Studio … Today I have cataloged about 1200 projects in an excell file with labels, year of design, author … with images associated with the file. .. ahhh! Crazy!
Where do you see this developing within the next 10 years?
I can see a future of images more and more connected with catalogs controlled by preference parameters that archive our personal collections … ahhh! If this happens now !!! Ahhh!