Request: A building conglomerate approached us* with the request to bring to life again a vacancy in a critically endangered street.
Proposal: Inspired by Buckminster Fuller‘s ideas of provoking “change of directions” by creating a vacuum we propose (besides other interventions and modifications) the erosion of the corner building of the street. TAU, by presenting an open emptiness within an existing structure of an existing community, will emphasize the inter-relations of disciplines, communities, neighbors, and life-forms.
Process: Our proposal** is accepted and building operations are commenced. After a development of 2 years the project is rudely discontinued by the building society. *Jugoslav Mitevski, Frances Scholz, Sarah Steiner
The TAU PROJECT aims to make use of the fortunate intersection of a number of institutions whose very collaboration will be a workshop for ways that art can find a new role in the context of the twenty-first century. Recent contemporary art has been more and more concerned with finding a role in local com- munities beyond the ordinary idea of museum and gallery. How can artists benefit from the expertise of engineers, architects, scientists and city planners without being in active collaboration with them? Of great concern to the students involved in the planning: how can art itself be a benefit to the community in which it occurs.
Tau is the chinese ideogram signifying, among other things, the drop of dew that forms on a leaf in the morning. It‘s also the name of the Greek Letter used define revolutionary movement in thermodynamics. The specific proposals are as follows:
1) To clear the building of all walls, floors and other architectural material not structurally and legally necessary. Including, as far as possible, the roof itself.
2) To make a contained (roofed) environment out of the four story stairway. This environment, „the thinking room“, will be an environment in which visiting artists and lectures can stay and work. It will be heated in the winter and attached to the electric grid and internet and have adequate plumbing.
3) To plant and tend a garden, „curated“ by students and artists along the back property and to have this garden in enter the opened structure of the main building.
4) To emphasize a single architectural structure: a spiral unwinding to the circumstences of the entire building. Beginning in a round pool/bath and rise like a ramp to curl up to the top floor. The only remaining architectual element, the towerlike staircase.
5) To begin experimental use of alternative energy sources, with the goal of creating a carbon footprint of zero when economically feasible.
The structure itself, which will be maintained by students year round, will serve as an experimental „kunsthalle“ in which various activities will be possible, but no one necessarily dominating. Exhibitions of single works, small performances, lectures and a sort of studio for art students interested in working with architecture, gardening, and energy are all possibilities.
It will also be open for the neighborhood. A place for the community to experience their own architecture in direct relation to their neighbors and the local natural environment and simply relax among the elements.
In ecology, „General tau theory“ considers the organism acting as a unified whole in dynamic relations with its environment, rather than conceiving of the organism as a complex mechanical device reducible into analysable parts.
Tau, by presenting an open emptiness within an existing structure of an existing community, will empha- size the inter-relations of disciplines, communities, neighbors, and life-forms. It will enable art students of Braunschweig to investigate and develop new ground in the real local reality of their town.