Resolution Room. International call for ideas
Making Room. The term implies providing space, addressing a necessity. The expression “making room” is used to facilitate something not necessarily related to space, but uses words related to space. To clear a space is part of the process of carving out a place for something to happen, to make room. Before building, a site is cleared so a foundation may be laid. In human relations, emptiness is necessary to rebuild trust. In both cases, the first act in making something happen is to make a space for it. The discipline that takes care both of the physical and symbolic elements in the construction of space is architecture.
Can architecture solve what words cannot? Language is thought. But language includes a bias. Thought precedes speech. An element of thought is caution, to answer “no.” Language maintains a safe distance between people, and at the same time, prevents them from coming together. In architecture, the distance between body and space is eliminated. The body is in the discourse. In logic, while there is complexity in the rules of the analysis, there is not complexity in the conclusion. Logic is a binary system of judgment (true or false) but not one of invention. Architecture is invention.
Architecture is a mediator in human relations. It is a form of pure negotiation between individuals. One gives the other something the other didn’t know he needed or wanted. Negotiation takes so much effort and creativity that it will only lead to resolution when the parties are committed to staying in the discourse. In many conflicts, the first impulse is to ask for a neutral, third party space. Why not make this space physical, to build the space for resolution?
Call for ideas
RESOLUTION ROOM is an international call for ideas to create a place for resolving conflicts in the context where the conflicts happen. In everyday life, the act of conflict resolution has no specific place. Does this mean that conflicts can be solved in many locations? Or does it deny the existence of importance of the resolution room? Will the place, merely by its existence aid the act of conflict resolution? How? To what extent will being in this place affect the process of reaching a resolution? What tools for conflict resolution will the place offer that logic or verbal language cannot? How will the space effectively communicate the conflict and the resolution to those not closely related to the space and/or to the conflict?
The resolution room is effective when both parties wish to remain, like a couple. The strength of a group is also its fragility; like a bubble, firstly it can break anytime and secondly the bubble can turn into a fortress and what was chosen isolation can turn into confinement. The resolution room fits into the context of institutions that pursue agreements for what “things are in and of themselves” and not for what they may imply, that deal with complex relationships among individuals, like a school. The word “school” means both a place for learning and a path of thought. Ideally, a school is an intellectual path-maker. It creates other unique paths committed to pushing the discipline that is taught beyond its limits.
The site of a conflict has a location, but is not merely local; it appears in different scenarios, countries and at different levels. Conflict is universal. RESOLUTION ROOM should be equally applicable to any situation or institution dealing with the conflicts in a group.
This call for ideas, though generic, should not remain on a theoretical level. One way to envision this resolution room as a “real” room is to ground it in as a “study-case”. The study case offers the specific and the universal. The study case is a geographic and symbolic mark: Cooper Union at Cooper Square in New York located at the intersection of Third and Fourth Avenues at 7th Street. It marks the division from the West and the East Village. It also marks the separation between the North and the South. The scale of its importance is larger than its size. It is an emblem of thought and progress.
What are the force that makes the small big and the local universal? Is it complexity? Is it that conflict generates progress? How does complexity remain when conflict arises? How does an institution prevent itself from following standard models that weaken its progressive force? How can a group be loosely defined and still be a unit? How can individual voices remain when the individuals belong to categories and have hierarchical relationships? The entrants will define specific conflicts by their submissions.
This call for ideas offers the framework to think about conflict and space with architecture as a mediator. For those involved in conflict it offers an arena for each individual voice to be heard regardless of position, offering an equal playing field, and in the distance dialog through the discipline of architecture. The entries by those in conflict will reveal the subtlety and complexity of each individual experience and will provide a universal resource.
Every conflict needs to redefine not only the nature of the conflict, but also “what is conflict” and “what is solution.” How does an individual become part of a conflict? What are the repercussions of the conflict? It happens that one is part of some and not part of others. Does one choose to be part of the conflict or does the conflict choose its participants? .
DEADLINE: May 21st 2005
STUDY CASE: Cooper Union -Cooper Square in New York.
GOING INTO PUBLIC: All entries will be published in a web page,
A forum and exhibition will take place in December 2005 in New York.
WHO CAN SUBMIT: All
PROGRAM: RESOLUTION ROOM. It should offer an intimate place symbolically loaded, and a public place for others to witness. It should be large enough to be used by 3 people and provide a concept that can be applied to different scales (2-400 people). The meaning of “Room” is open to interpretation, entrants should redefine what a room is.
FORMAT: Each entry will consist of a one 8.5”x11” or A4 page with images and/or text. Sent a hard copy and a CD with the digital format (PDF: resolution 300 and JPG: resolution 72 dimensions: 200K). Each page has a 5 digits number also print in the mailing envelope.
SUBMISSIONS: Deadline for entries due at SITUATION by 5:00 pm, May 21st 2005. (Date for entries to be in the office not postmarked). Mail to the following address: SITUATION Jana Leo, 323 W. 39Tth St. Suite 711 New York, NY 10018. (Hand delivering: May 21st from 3-5 pm)
The desire to “make room” and the belief that architecture has an important task as a mediator are my chief reasons for working in architecture. In 2000, I made a place for new relationships by inventing a program with the project: Communication Lair, a building for egalitarian, undefined, anonymous and unexpected encounters among strangers. In 2004 Communication Lair was placed in small scale in a room in Times Square, as the foundation of SITUATION. Since then, Gabriel Park has unofficially collaborated on this room and continues the participation with this call. In SITUATION, the space as well as the interaction is constructed within the framework of “Public Intimacy.” The aim is to create another world on a small scale. A new world is nothing else but a new way to relate to people