farzinfarzin investigates the means by which objects, sites and systems acquire cultural value and examines the representation of value in architectural form. In what unexpected ways might architecture engage questions of history, preservation, and political contingency? Can a method of intervention in these matters be learned from the hairy logic of computational processes?  The studio addresses these questions through the design of spaces, software, and media. 


farzinfarzin was founded in 2008 by Farzin Lotfi-Jam. Lotfi-Jam (b. Tehran) is faculty in the graduate school of architecture at Columbia University and holds advanced degrees from Columbia University and RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. He is a Fellow of the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart and was previously a Sanders Fellow at the University of Michigan. His research has been funded by the Veski organization and the Graham Foundation, and has been collected by the Centre Pompidou in Paris. He has been exhibited at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, the Het Nieuwe Instituut, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, AIGA/NY Annex, the Oslo Architecture Triennale, the Venice Architecture Biennale, and elsewhere. 

 

 

 

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Techno Utopia: The Detroit Sound 1984-2014

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Graduate Options Studio
Taubman College, University of Michigan, Fall 2014

Students: Matthew Biglin,  Andrew Delle Bovi, Amber Brewster,  Derek Chang,  Gregory Dirienzo, Chance Heath, Yuxuan Jiang, Tina Li , Jeni Nguyen, Emma Pierce, Maria Sturchio

 

Thirty years after its inception, Detroit Techno—a sub-genre of electronic music—continues to circulate, mutate and attach itself to an increasingly diverse set of events and spatial conditions. Its creators, Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May, combined synthesizer-infused production techniques from Europe with the Funk and R&B sound of America to produce a new musical form. In a similar way that Rock ‘n’ Roll has been connected to the rhythm and beats of the locomotive tracks of its southern roots, Techno is said to have been a response to the repetitive drumming of the automotive assembly lines of Detroit. However questionable its validity, this creation myth constructs an interesting relationship and porosity between a transforming Detroit environment, as the trigger for a new musical form, and the post-industrial spaces that hosted the parties of its collective consumption. These events—often in opportunistically occupied spaces—allowed for interactions between diverse participants from a multitude of backgrounds. Free from excessive commercial interests, and detached from the constraints of an overly regulated environment, partygoers wholeheartedly pursued new modes of self-expression and collective construction. 


Techno Utopia grapples with, and learns from the legacy of Detroit Techno, tracing the fissures and breakages during its evolution from underground scene to the global mainstream. It surveys its impact on the city, and contemporary culture, analyzing and understanding the ephemeral spaces of its initial attendance as proto-Utopian, probing and troubling the role of architecture as an event-making device within a technologically augmented environment. The studio began by collecting electronic songs and tracing their genealogy back to Detroit, and identifying historical events and sites in which they were performed.  Sites are then analyzed for their governing structures, and engaged as an assemblage of specific devices, with specific agency, connected and held together within a systems logic. Projects respond by deploying architectural systems that antagonize these existing determinations in pursuit of utopian alternatives.

Jeni Nguyen, “Haze.”

 Jeni Nguyen, “Haze”

Chengyu Huang, Matt Bilgin, Maria Sturchio, Jeni Nguyen.

Andrew Delle Bovi, Derek Chang, Maria Sturchio.

Matthew Bilgin, “My YouTube Utopia.”

Matthew Bilgin, “My YouTube Utopia.”

Maria Sturchio, “Entropic Pneumatica.”

Maria Sturchio, “Entropic Pneumatica.”

Jeni Nguyen, “Haze.”

Jeni Nguyen, “Haze.”