"Beyond The Totems" by SCHAUM/SHIEH
Ink on paper.
We came to this place.
Office space, meeting space, sleeping space—everywhere and anywhere.
Want it, reserve it, book it.
Small, medium, large.
By the hour, by the night, by the week.
The culmination of physical space as fungible good. At a very fine grain.
There is no interior space left. There is no place to be alone, except for the kind of alone that you find amongst strangers—the sweet lonesomeness special to cities.
Buildings have become totems. Symbolic stacks of space commodity. They mark place, but there is no admittance. There are only transactions. Like mountains, the buildings cannot be occupied. They can only be negotiated.
The only space is outside (if we’re lucky)—in the streets, in the park, at the edges, between and beyond the totems.
Individuals are uncoupled from cars, apartments, houses—they are abandoned by objects of identification. Or maybe they’ve been freed from these objects? Free now to swarm into the streets, the park, to the edges. Here together, they build different kinds of forms. They stand in circles. They hang together in clumps, standing beside each other. They make lines. They clear a space. They make formations so they can hand things to each other easily, lean on one another, or combine their strengths.
Alone and together--an arrhythmic dance between the anonymous crowds of the city and the obligations of a small town, neither as freeing as we imagined when we departed. There is more to do.
SCHAUM/SHIEH is a small architectural collaboration operating between Houston, TX and New York City. Rosalyne Shieh and Troy Schaum established SCHAUM/SHIEH around overlapping interests in art, form, and the city, and have developed a dialogue through projects ranging from buildings and installations to speculative projects and unsolicited urban plans. The practice has a particular interest in the city at the scale of the building, both as a site of theoretical experimentation and as a reality that may be transformed through building.