2008 - 2009: Parallel Botany, Parallel Biology and Parallel Architecture
Neil Spiller, Phil Watson
With precision, with authority, with wit, with inefferable brilliance of supreme scholarship, Leo Lionni, in his book Parallel Botany, presents the first full-scale guide to the world of parallel plants - a vast, ramified, extremely peculiar, and wholly imaginary plant kingdom.
"It is a botany alive with wonders from Tirillus silvador of the High Andes (whose habit it is to emit shrill whistles on clear nights in January and February) to the woodland Tweezers (it was a Japanese parallel botanist Uchigaki who first noticed the unsettling relationship between the growth pattern of a group of Tweezers and a winning layout of Go) to the Artisia (whose various forms anticipate the work of such artists as Arp and Calder - and some believe, the work of all artists, including those not born)..." - excerpt from the book blurb of Parallel Botany by Leo Lionni, 1977.
This year Unit 19 will consider Parallel architecture and its bio-engineered linaments. It will find suitably complex sites and create great works of Parallelism. These works will push the boundaries of architecture deep into botany and biology and talk of time-based architectural space, ethics and new technology, ecology, different ways of seeing, ascalarity, epistemology, cyborgian geography and archaeology.
In conclusion there is little that is impossible, florescent rabbits have been bred, stem cells have been wired up to drawing machines (what status has art when its artist was never born?). Stelarc has grown an ear on his arm and many, many more polemic biotechnical art projects have been created. It is now time for architects to address these very important issues and ethics.
Unit 19 wants to really mix it up this year.