“Double Vision”

Proposal for Center for World Music and Dance (2002)

Site: Isle of Capri

Client: Chinese Writers Association

Music: Philip Kraus

I revisited a 2002 Columbia University GSAPP project when our son returned from China in February. The premise of the original project was the “monstrous,” exemplified by Adalberto Libera’s design for Casa Malaparte.

The Center for World Music and Dance comprises housing and performing spaces for visiting world artists, along with technology to create a digital archive of traditional practices.

In 1957 Curzio Malaparte bequeathed Casa Malaparte to the Chinese Writers Union “in order to strengthen relations between East and West”. His heirs successfully contested his gift as Italy didn't recognize China as a legitimate political entity.

The ubiquity of the expressions “western,” "non-western," and "world" suggests that identity and negation are two sides of the same coin. Inspired by a paper about optical correction that I wrote in the History and Theory Sequence, I used aspects of perception, including binocular vision, to generate form, and evoke and promote cultural pluralism.

“Single vision produces worse illusions than double vision or many-headed monsters.”

Donna Harraway, A Cyborg Manifesto