Lists from prior to and during the summer school
Construction site materials; Alexander Römer, Bernd Rathke, negotiation on site prior to the summer school
Capacities for board and lodging
Proof of Attendance of summer school participants; necessary for compensation
List of regulations to be met during the summer school
Agency Agency as a mode of operating lists
The video shows a project manager and a worker from the company Bunte, who works in construction for the project Poppenbüttel 43 going through all materials and tools ordered for the duration of the summer school. Let’s unfold the process of how these resources materialised on site.
Alex Römer and Bernd Kniess started talking about a prototype building, which could be realised in the given situation and following the summer school’s motive. That process included laying out a) all pertinent permits and safety issues, b) experience, embodied skills and know-why in construction among participants and of course the duration of only 10 days. Alex proposed a support structure that would meet all regulations employing Anlage 2 HBauO – Verfahrensfreie Vorhaben nach § 60 and still give enough flexibility to encounter heterogeneous assemblages of uses during the summer school.
In addition to having an architecture degree Alex is also a trained carpenter. Thinking about construction techniques fit for both professional and lay people he calculated the necessary amount of wood, screws and tools for the construction process. Members of the research and teaching programme Urban Design calculated the concrete necessary to build the mini golf lanes. Together this list of materials was sent to a project manager at Fördern & Wohnen who took care of the order. Kniess and Rathke met on site to discuss the position of all materials and tools, negotiated construction techniques and the vast difference between building for the project Poppenbüttel 43 and the Summer School – mostly an issue in calculations.
The list of books as research tool
The list of books for the library was comprised with the summer school’s motive and the project construction practices in mind. Their practical re-shuffling and contextualisation happened by way of a material technique of transposition from one list to another. According to criteria such as the structural approach to self-building as seen on the wall (referring to 3 basic types of beam, wall and cube and four materialities, namely wood, metal, concrete and miscellaneous) fragments of the books were extracted by photocopy to create new lists. In these lists the constellations of the fragments appeared as epistemic objects. Each fragment was subject to questioning of how it could function in relation to a specific aspect of construction.
With the examples above we can see that the list implies an epistemological shift. The shift takes place from a description of phenomena or isolated facts (statements on reality) to a description of a structure of relationships between facts. This structure appears as a list of non-linear narratives about the making of relationships.
That every enumeration (Aufzählung) is also a narration (Erzählung) is illustrated by the example given above.
We can distinguish between two dimensions of the list: firstly, its functioning and secondly, its dimension of a theoretical technique. We can have a list of materials as indicated in the videos, but we can also have a list in order to theorize the work with lists. In this theory we refer to Bruno Latour and his book »Science in Action«. Here, Latour concentrates on what science does and describes it as a performative practice. This performativity is strongly connected to a specific mode of representation. One of the main epistemic factors of the work in the lab consists of the practice of writing, visualizing and inscribing scientific data. We see the making of knowledge as a process of translation into and inscription as list. The production of epistemic things is revealed as a material culture in which the epistemic object is produced in a symbolic as well as a material dimension as list. As the actors of the summer school are confronted with the indeterminacy of the setting on site, the scientist is confronted with a black box in the laboratory. There is no other way to start interacting with the things and actors of the situation in search for what Bruno Latour calls “unknown actants” (1987, p. 88). The decisive point is that the knowledge-making process is not about unravelling an epistemic thing but about producing this thing through “a list of constitutive actions” (1987, p. 88). Thinking in design terms, the shape of the epistemic object is nothing but its list. Thus an object cannot be traced through determining its essence but by listing its characteristic features. The list is at the same time both the production and the medium of the epistemic thing. The relation between things and lists is by no means accidental, as the research on the wall in the container shows. On the contrary, this relation allows for collecting and ordering heterogeneous actors and actants.
Finally, we need to mention that lists are representational spaces. Regarding the discipline of design lists are always a question of design. This is where design and knowledge conflate. For example the book »Content« by Rem Koolhaas (OMAAMO) can be regarded as a simple strategic framework. It not only selects and files structures of the urban that it wants to show, but it also gives it a frame and an order. The thesis put forward in the book that the diagram is a way of seeing the world should therefore be complemented by the fact that the diagram of a book as a list and frame is also a way of selecting what is seen in a diagrammatic fashion.
Using lists, photographs, plans, drawings, interviews, text, timelines, all this heterogeneous material in one book which has a list of pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and so on … mixing it with ads by Prada become a way of assembling heterogeneity and in that way put forward the production of knowledge in the way of an epistemic thing that comes about through listing heterogeneous actors and actants. You can also work on different scales. At the same time the book is a list, but also for example a timeline such as the one you can see here is a list in itself. So lists can appear – here you have a list, let’s see what kind of list it is, yes, a list as text – a collage that assembles a little bit of Peter Röhr, a collage of a serial repetition of photographs means that this framing itself is serialized: as a repetition to show what the take shows us, that the serial repetition is engrained in difference. Running through the serial repetition the difference is shown as a mode of production of knowledge. In this way the list becomes performative as a book.
What is a list?
A list is an administrative tool that allows to connect and order collected data in order a) to give the process a structure, b) to be able to re-assemble the data.