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The Archive of Reciprocal Storytelling - a Mnemotechnical Exhibition Landscape

Part 2 Project 2002
Sam Harvey
University of Edinburgh Edinburgh UK
"We will ask what it functions with, in connection with what other things it does or does not transmit intensities, in which other multiplicities its own are inserted and metamorphosed, and with what bodies without organs it makes its own converge." (Deleuze & Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia)

Can we conceptualise our environment in terms of a sequence, or field, of 'spatial operators'? What form might these operators take and how might they respond to one another? Attempting to answer these questions led to a series of physical processes which gathered in elements of the city, ran them through a codification system and re-deployed them in a new format for continuing evaluation.

The 'Archive' is a component in the proposed regeneration of one of Ghent's most rundown areas. In the north of Ghent, where industry has retreated out of the city, there are empty slivers of land which nestle between canal-side loading bays and 19th Century terraced housing.

These areas are now home to a large number of immigrant families. As in many other European cities, these people have been purposefully placed on the periphery, (in this case) away from the picturesque, medieval heart of Ghent. This diverse community represents a living link to the rest of the world, to distant places, stories, events and family histories. Rather than isolate their 'differentness', it should be acknowledged, accepted and celebrated.

The re-folding, collapsing, coding and linking that marked the different stages of my project were all part of a very deliberate attempt to draw out connections between the city at large and the specifics of the site and programme. The pliant fold overcomes problems of scale and remoteness.

'The Archive of Reciprocal Storytelling' gets its name from the simple fact that when you sit someone down and tell them a story, it is human instinct to tell a story in return - narrative has always been vital to human communication. If you extrapolate this phenomena onto the scale of an exhibition zone, then one can imagine a building which starts to help people communicate and celebrate both their differences and their similarities through reciprocated storytelling. It is envisaged that although the folds of the 'Archive' are loosely thematic, they would be capable of hosting exhibits and artefacts from almost any culture or period - the more diverse, the better.

Sam Harvey


Sam has tremendous abilities to imagine and represent space. Physical models are an important part of the way he works and were the focus of his discussions and presentations during the year. Beginning with a very large urban structure which ‘drifted’ through a sector of Gent ( the city around which work in the year was based), he went on to explore ways in which the architectural assemblage might be compressed and stratified in the context of particular sites. This led on to a strongly topographic urban proposal based on the interplay between a thick folded wall and a modulated shifting landform.

2002
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