About my work (October 2008)

Exchange is the crux of the architectural skins, membranes that we construct around us. Regulation of exchange of warmth, nurture, information, is the core activity of our organic skin, as it is of our built environment, and in a way even of our cities and states.

In my work I perform a strictly un-academic, foremost poetical and imaginary research in this realm: constructed environment as a model for human exchange. I approach this field of interest from mainly two directions: my own formal, creative actions, and my, often photographic, registrations of what, in daily life, I sometimes find related to the subject.

In the past two years I worked on a series of models proposing a breed of elementary architectural structures. They are referring to the old idea of the “Cella”: a place for personal shelter and withdrawal, seen as a basic condition for reaching-out to the other, in personal, religious, or social sense. A place also including notions of unvolontary isolation by force or mental determination. The idea of it is old and contemprary at the same time.

Jean van Wijk, 28 October 2008





“Hear or imagine and”  (1999)

The Greek Amphitheatre was arguably the first loudspeaker in the world.

In the work “hear or imagine and”   two phenomenal moments of  human acoustic exchange are brought together.

The first one refers to history: when speaking needed  to become  loud-speaking as required by a new theatrical form, the Greek play, a perfect architectural form for it emerged shortly after, and sound went public by way of the architectural loud-speaker: the Amphitheatre.

The second moment is the -always recurring- last moment in which sound is actually physical for us: the moment in which sound is  perceived by the (human) eardrum and then transmitted to the brain. Here sound becomes  personal, and is  transformed into memory and meaning or  is simply forgotten.

Both in scale and time the two moments could not be more distant from each other. On the other hand, sound becoming public and sound becoming personal represent key moments  in cultural experience, and they are inextricably intertwined.

The work has the form of a book. Turning the eleven pages opens the sculptural form and  the animated work transforms  gradually from a sculptural image of the old amphitheatre into an image of a human head construed by a tomographic process.

The work was realized in the series “Acoustic Architecture – Architectural  Acoustics” for the Vedute–collection of three-dimensional manuscripts.

The collection is preserved by the Netherlands Architecture Institute, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

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