Xavier Lelion & Anne Sophie Nottebaert
Architectures Wallonia-Brusses. Inventories, When comis meets architecture
Since it came out, the triple remit of the publication Inventaires is an opportunity to react to, evaluate and account for architecture and its creators in Wallonia and Brussels.
The period 2013-2016 was marked by the presence of our architects in the media in Belgium and abroad. Publications, exhibitions, and participation welcomed in the biennials... The confidence in our project creators has started to grow. This view from outside speaks to us about an engaged, well-constructed architecture, with a rather low budget. This connection to a particular ethic serving the sponsor is often prioritised. The dynamic materializes by the opening up to international architects, who are important to compete with.
We tried to organise our inventory by the plurality of the documentary sources, of the testimonies collected, and also by the view of different authors from different media, namely writing, drawing, comics, and photography following new forms of journalism.
Inviting comic book authors, our “enlightened non-specialists”, is to question representation in architecture. This evokes what the philosopher Jacques Rancière calls “mixing the sayable and the visible”. He makes reference to this in the “sharing of the significant”, speaking of a synthesis of form and content which took place with modernity, where letters and images have an equal level on the page. One does not serve the other.
We take the risk of bringing out codes of the classical representation of discipline to oblige us to have a new acuity, by refreshing our perspective on architectural production. These authors are novice users to a certain extent, they describe a living architecture by discovering it. This creates sensitive and intellectual complicity between the architects and the authors of multiple disciplines, constituting a work of a “broadened agency”, as we call it.
The proposed image is not controlled directly by the architect nor by the editorial management. Who is the author closest to? To the architect or the user? As far as time allowed this, or the authors desired this, work on mediation, transmission and explanation of the architecture took place. Sometimes, in the contributions, there is still doubt expressed concerning the comprehension of the project. Certain contributions do not fully embody what the architect explains. But the enthusiasm of the authors to receive this trust often translated into meetings or surprising plans. This led us to see what we had not already seen, not yet included in the projects; what is often left out of a synthesis between form and its use, its destination.
The intertwining of discourse and image allows us to understand the landscape in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation (FWB), with the successive points of view creating a kaleidoscopic gaze, which rearranges all of the preoccupations of architecture of the last three years on our territory, and is an idea which is moreover present in the coverage of Jochen Gerner. The fragments of architecture collected in Inventaires #2 form the map of a composite territory, where small figures are walking along. Iconic, their speech balloons are the sign which speaks to us. And if we turn the drawing over, a landscape map appears.Abstract of the foreword written by Xavier Lelion and Anne Sophie Nottebaert