New AA Research Clusters Launched in 2011/12
Ines Weizman and Sam Jacob
The research cluster Architectural Doppelgangers aims to explore the relationship of architecture to the multivalent meanings and implications of copying. Subject to law the idea of the copy also brings profound moral disturbance to our idea of architecture. Though the profession increasingly relies on technologies of copy, duplication and replication the idea of originality remains a disciplinary foundation. Does the myth of the doppelganger haunt the discipline? Is architecture’s imminent death signalled by the encounter of its doppelgänger? Does its doubling create an evil twin? Or conversely, might architecture find a productive relationship with the culture of the copy? Originating with a sequence of public interviews, small symposia and talks that will examine a variety of intellectual products and properties, the cluster will explore two main questions: One concerns the nature of the copy, the other the problem of copyright.
In a comprehensive atlas of practices and forms, architecture doppelgangers, obscure cases of architectural curiosity will be archived, categorised and investigated in its myriad forms of duplication, doubling, faking, pirating and re-enactment. Interestingly, every research about a doppelganger always requires an intense study of the original. The question about the value and meaning of the authentic work of architecture as well as the technological possibilities for reproduction will pose very challenging questions for both historians, architects, students and legal experts.
On the basis of such an extensive atlas of ‘architecture doppelgangers’, we will investigate scientific and legal methods to assess the meaning and potentially also unsavoury dealings with architectural doubles. This part of the research will open perhaps also a more unconventional way to explore architecture between legality and illegality. It will concern the rights to architecture, that is, the meaning of the legal owner of the copyright as a private property, but also aims to think through a legal definition of ownership about architecture as a ‘public commons’.