relations and agency – verbs and doors
by thierry berlemont
agency > agencement (fr.) > agencer (fr.)
put in place
verbs describing actions to induce/provoke/make/shape/modify/intensify/attenuate/transform/extend/… ‘relations’ between people, places, spaces and things, in order for them to hold together
and in order to articulate affinities (or aversion) between/from/towards/into/through/… them. A bit like the 6 doors giving the verbs good company.
1. The Pleasures of a Door (Francis Ponge)
Kings never touch a door
It is a joy unknown to them: pushing open whether rudely or kindly one of those great familiar panels, turning to put it back in place – holding a door in one’s embrace.
… The joy of grasping one of those tall barriers to a room by the porcelain knob in its middle: the quick contact which, with forward motion briefly arrested, the eye opens wide, and the whole body adjusts to its new surroundings.
With a friendly hand it is stayed a moment longer before giving it a decided shove and closing oneself in, a condition pleasantly confirmed by the click of the strong but well-oiled lock spring.
(from The Nature of Things, Red Dust New York 2011)
2. Doors (Georges Perec)
We protect ourselves, we barricade ourselves in. Doors stop and separate.
The door breaks space in two, splits it, prevents osmosis, imposes a partition. On one side, me and my place, the private, the domestic (a space overfilled with my possessions: my bed, my carpet, my table, my typewriter, my books, my odd copies of the Nouvelle Revue Française); on the other side, other people, the world, the public, politics. You can’t simply let yourself slide from one into the other, can’t pass from one to the other. You have to have the password, have to cross the threshold, have to show your credentials, have to communicate, just as the prisoner communicates with the world outside.
How to be specific? It’s not a matter of opening or not opening the door, not a matter of ‘leaving the key in the door’. The problem isn’t whether or not there are keys: if there wasn’t a door, there wouldn’t be a key.
(from Species of Spaces – The Apartment, p.37 – Penguin Twentieth Century Classics)
3. The act of making an opening raises the question of how to close it – an opening enables connections, but does not prevent them, so protective or filtering components such as doors, gates, windows, shutters and sun control elements are created to do this. These allow the opening’s function, form and the impact it has on a space to be altered.
Doors and gates are components used to close or open a passage through a wall. They allow rooms to be closed off from other rooms or from the outside area, while allowing people to pass through. The difference between doors and gates is a matter of dimension: while a a door approximates to the size of a human being, gates are used to close off larger openings.Doors and gates can be constructed to permit entry to certain users and to exclude others.
(from Open/Close, Birkhäuser 2010, Introduction – theoretical foundations p.8)
4. When the building was finished he seemed particularly happy with what to some might seem a small detail: a raised door sill between the spaces of the house. While at first sight this is clearly an unconventional detail that might cause a distracted visitor to stumble, these raised sills also form a spatial threshold that, to a certain degree, makes a door unnecessary and makes you conscious of the action of entering a space. An ambiguous threshold that negotiates between accessible and yet secluded.
A parallel can be drawn with the Japanese Noren, the short split cotton or linen entryway curtain that is traditionally hung in a doorway and makes us bow a little and pay tribute to the space we enter. ‘It wasn’t long before Katsuyuki arrived, making a poetic entrance as she gently lifted one side of the noren curtain, bowing her head slightly as she floated through it’.
(from Substantiating Displacement, Arnaud Hendrickx, 2012, p.188)
5. De Drie Hoven, Amsterdam (Herman Hertzberger)
6. hide and see
wipe ones feet
take off ones shoes
put them on again
lift ones feet
sit (in the doorway)
turn the key
give a hug
verbs describing some actions induced/provoked/made/shaped/modified/intensified/attenuated/transformed/extended/… by ‘relationships’ between people, places, spaces and one of many (material) agents of architecture.