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Architecture as an instrument: Restoring the Flamenco culture in Granada

Part 1 Project 2013
Jack Ford
Leeds Beckett University, UK
The duel-headed project located in the Albaicin district of Granada interrogates the decline of the seemingly rich tapestry of performance indigenous to the Paseo de los Tristes. The intervention considers the site as a catalyst for fundamentally restoring the performance culture in the Albaicin.

The initial intervention integrates into the original palimpsest of the River Darro which bisects the Albaicin from the Alhambra. Manifest via a enfilade of themed platforms located in the void of the river cutting, maintaining/implying the schism yet paradoxically providing connection.

The sequential project is created as an augmentation to the intervention. Drawing from the Performance proposition, it focuses on the prime culture of Flamenco which is prominent in the Gypsy neighbourhoods of Sacromonte which envelop the site. With the onset of a polluted 'tourist Flamenco', the traditional Flamenco artists that reside in the area remain in relative obscurity which is nullifying the art's existence.

The purity of flamenco is embodied within the collaborative Cante Jondo performance known as the Juerga. This theatrical experience is a truly Dionysian one. The emotion of this flamenco performance is dependent on this Juerga setting where there is no separation between performance and listening and the initiation of the song is sporadic and spontaneous.

The project speculates on the impact of acoustic energy in flamenco performance to retrieve the emotive qualities so endemic to the art. The project seeks to create a subterranean performance listening system, using the architecture as an instrument beyond the visual, where it can be understood as a body of resonance. Exploiting one of the base elements of sound art, namely the relationship between sound and space a series of aural devices collaborate to inform a system of sound transmissions which make use of pipes, parabolic and elliptic shaped architectural constructions. From both outside and within, vessels produce sound by impacting the way sound is diffused, resonated and amplified. As a result there will be a re-birth of the traditional flamenco culture within Granada. Resulting in an enhancement in the capacity of the local, to communicate, the artistic culture of Granada to its worldwide audience.

Jack Ford


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