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Hyper-supersurface

Hyper-supersurface

A collage conversation between Cristiano Toraldo di Francia & Guillermo López

By César Reyes Nájera

National Museum of XXI Century Arts, Rome

The conversation shown here is not a romantic revision of technique nor of Superstudio ideas, but a dialogue between generations on the issues that architecture will still be facing in the years to come.

— César Reyes Nájera

In 1963 a group of students occupied the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Florence, protesting about the Vietnam War, students’ rights and changes to the academic curriculum. Their political actions were reflected in their projects: introducing politics and criticism to production models and also to their means of representation by going far beyond conventional architectural drawings. This was the genesis of Superstudio and Archizoom, the Italian radicals that set a milestone in the philosophical and political interpretation of design and architecture in the second half of the last century.

Superstudio was founded by Cristiano Toraldo di Francia and Adolfo Natalini, who were later joined by Piero Frassinelli, Alessandro Magris and Roberto Magris. The photographer Cristiano Toraldo di Francia and painter Adolfo Natalini were in continuous contact with other creatives from the disciplines of film, photography and painting. As a result, they brought revolutionary new forms of representation into the discipline of architecture that are still in use today.

The work of Superstudio has been widely documented and their influence continues to be relevant since their ideas were “not simply a critique of modern architecture but a more general critique of architecture’s political mandate in a capitalist society” 1. It is not surprising then, that the MAXXI held a retrospective exhibition, Superstudio 50 in 2016, half a century after the group’s foundation. The show’s curator Gabriele Mastrigli also invited contemporary artists to respond to their radical discourse begun back in the 1960s, giving a perspective on the validity of those radical architects and the extent of their influence. We can still find echoes in contemporary events and challenges faced by architecture that were already being addressed by some of the ideas and display methods they used back in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Over the following pages you will find an unconventional conversation created especially for this book. It is a dialogue, developed in the manner of Superstudio, between one of its co-founders, Cristiano Toraldo di Francia and Guillermo López, the co-founder of a young Spanish practice MAIO who have also been generating interesting proposals that question the nature of architectural discipline and explore other means of expression in their projects such as collages or performative installations.

Collages have an evocative power to build symbols anew. It’s hard to find such power in contemporary digital representations. However, the conversation shown here is not a romantic revision of technique, nor just of Superstudio ideas, but a dialogue between generations on the issues that architecture will still be facing in the years to come. The lines leading from Superstudio’s Continuous Monument from 1969 can be continued today because they are the lines of a narrative reminding us of the latent promise of our discipline to merge with the environment, to subtract, to add, to build or destroy; one propelled by forces we can barely infer, but nevertheless keep feeding by our own fundamental actions.

What comes after the complete absorption of architecture by capital? Maybe it’s a stack of histograms, the emergence of a post-human set of beings and values, a dialogue between algorithms, or perhaps just the fortunate ability architecture has to talk about other fundamental things.

Hyper-supersurface

Abis,
Cristiano Toraldo di Francia

Hyper-supersurface

Unexpected,
Guillermo López

Hyper-supersurface

Untitled,
Cristiano Toraldo di Francia

Hyper-supersurface

Afterlife,
Guillermo López

Hyper-supersurface
Hyper-supersurface

Illuminari i deserti,
Cristiano Toraldo di Francia

Hyper-supersurface

Modern life,
Guillermo López

Hyper-supersurface

Supersuperficie,
Cristiano Toraldo di Francia

Hyper-supersurface

Underground life,
Guillermo López

Hyper-supersurface

Animation of the inorganic,
Guillermo López

1 Pier Vitorio Aureli. Manfredo Tafuri, Archizoom, Superstudio and the critique of architectural ideology. Architecture and Capitalism: 1845 to the Present. Edited by Peggy Deamer. Routledge 2014 P. 144

Cristiano Toraldo di Francia

Cristiano Toraldo di Francia is an architect based in Italy.
In 1966 he co-founded Superstudio, a group famous for their conceptual and future-orientated works that often took the form of fictions, storyboards and collages. Superstudio dissolved in 1980 and Toraldo di Francia continued his professional work independently. Since 2012 he has been editor in chief of MAPPE magazine.

Guillermo López

Guillermo López is a young architect and member of a Barcelona-based office MAIO founded in 2005. His partners are Maria Charneco, Alfredo Lérida and Anna Puigjaner.
MAIO’s practice encompasses both built and research projects with a particular focus on the theoretical positions engendered by flexible systems, the ephemeral and the ad hoc. López is also an editor of Quaderns, the magazine of the Catalan Association of Architects.