Archipelago of Wonders

Conception of Anatoli Bugorski Independent Research Institute for Scientific Failures

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A fascination with obsolescence as an inherent landscape condition lies at the core of a project that thematically focuses on fundamental scientific inquiry in reference to the Big Science. It stems from the preconceived tensions between the notions of progress versus obsolescence and progress versus accident.

The former is a result of the latent dependency of economic progress on the perpetual obsolescence of space, as is argued in the theory paper entitled Territories in Obsolescence. And the latter is a controversion that scientific progress and technocentric accident are two sides of the same coin, as the philosopher Paul Virilio argued in his University of Disaster. The theory provides a critical understanding of the scientific experiment and introduces the counter notions of accident and disaster.

The project is centred on the need to contain scientific progress architecturally inside micro-regions of concentrated knowledge production and satisfy the territorial concerns of the Big Science that—more often than not—take on an infrastructural scale. It addresses these themes in Trieste—a territory of contested history and sovereignty once envisioned as the city of science and knowledge.

The project concerns the conception and the design of Anatoli Bugorski Independent Research Institute for Scientific Failures which inhabits a post-industrial landscape of the former cement quarries that allow for sustaining such an institution. That is both materially and conceptually by providing the underground territory for experimentation and the primary structural material. The project speculates reversing re-naturalisation processes and excavating the underground spaces by employing the room and pillar dogmatic mining method superimposed upon the critically unstable conditions of the Karstic terrain. Here, the notions of accident and disaster materialise within the post-industrial landscape.