Super Colossal

Componetry

Thursday, 21st August 2008

The process of assembly of most things means that we do not often see the pieces that make up the whole. Assembled rapidly on the production line, they arrive on the shelf and then our homes as complete, ideally seamless objects. Those produced by Apple go out of their way to diminish the role of the component; for all we know, these items are made of solid, manifest stuff. They have no moving parts, they are not made of smaller pieces, they just are.

component blender

Blender (Link)

component blender

Iron (Link)

This separation of process and product has resulted in the popular internet pastime of unboxing and dissembling where consumer products become pornographic in the revelry of the exposure of internal components. Curiously the objects once reduced to their parts do not necessarily betray their workings and are no easier to understand. For instance in the cars below the function and operation of the wheels and the seats are easily understood, however there are a thousand other parts whose purpose is completely mystifying to me.

carparts
carparts

Damian Ortega’s ‘Beetle’.

As an side, are dinosaurs more or less awesome when seen en masse in parts, than

nodosaurus bones

And which city, disassembled and unpacked would look like this?

eboy city kit of parts

(Link)

Likewise, the landscapes of the game Braid (and I assume most other games), are in fact the assembly of chunks of reusable landscape. A kit of elements is developed and programatically assembled and blended into a multitude of environments:

braid
braid
braid

Buildings, although fundamentally concerned with the assembly of bits, do not present an easy unpacking. Components are often fixed to one another by adhesion and pulling these elements apart (with crowbars, mallets, enormous demolition dudes) destroys the integrity of the original. It is true that some buildings are put together in such a way as to promote their own disassembly and in this situation, the above examples applied to such building would make an intriguing installation. Like the reverse of Rachel Whiteread’s concrete voids, the building would be present, its components laid out, all of its spatial enclosure, its purpose, flattened and diminished.