MANIFESTO NO. 1
Hong Kong, 24 Feb 2008
1. Mess is perfect.
Using order to curb chaos is the commonest, i.e., boring, method of dealing with the modern space. Disorder is part and parcel of growth. Order and disorder can interact fluidly.
2. Work with, not for, architects.
The Herzog - De Meuron - Ai work on Beijing's National Stadium (dubbed 'Bird's Nest') and the Vietnam War Memorial by Maya Lin should not be exceptions in art-architecture collaborations. No more providing decorations for buildings, or filling art pieces in spaces already set in place. Artists and architects can wrestle on the stage without any prior advantage to one side.
3. Tragedy is a joke.
Terrible things awaken, so welcome tragedy openly, readily, daily. Every problem is an opportunity for growth.
4. Do not exhibit without a fee.
Far too many people see artists as magicians, equally able to create from flashes of inspirations and to make money appear with the flick of a wand. Too many invitations to artists to exhibit in a free venue are framed as charity. People forget that artists need to eat and pay rent. Respect your needs and talents. Demand a fee. Unpaid work is slavery. Unless, of course, the project is charitable or without budget.
An object that is primarily beautiful is decoration. Another that mainly symbolises meanings or carries messages is illustration. A building that is only functional is mere furniture. Great architecture, like great art, is transformative. It changes the ways we see, think and feel. It regulates the energies in the air. Great architecture does not necessarily come in the form of towering skyscraper in the developed cities or the new museum designed by brand-name architects. It can exist elsewhere, such as: in the ruins, where abandoned and damaged architecture evoke emotions like melancholy downplayed in the modern city and provoke thoughts about human civilisation; in architectural fictions, imaginary stories created or extended from existing architecture whose meanings have been deeply ingrained, and in buildings or structures invested with community spirit even if considered disposable (demolishable) by the officials or corporate sectors.
6. Mix things up.
The most repressive lines are invisible. Remove or smudge them.
7. Make or find a rule, play with it.
Invention does not come from unbriddled freedom. It is based in problems. The finest and freshest aesthetics is based in a single invariable rigorously adhered to and about which variables can be maximally explored.
8. To the homeless, home is everywhere.
When appropriated by developers in their sales pitch, the truism "Architecture is art" helps to sustain the economy by keeping people at work, in order to upgrade their living conditions, to fulfill their home-dreams. The less one owns, the less money one needs, the less one needs to work. The more time one has.
9. Pay respect.
Saying kind things to or about your influences is mere courtesy. Doing things similar in idea or form to their work will only tickle them. The only way to pay proper respect is to outdo them, in order to continue their spirit of innovation.
No more guilt about being in a daze. The daydream connects your inner child with your destiny, your inner spaces with your environment.