Manthey Kula

(Norway, 1963 & 1967)

Beate Hølmebakk & Per Tamsen

The narrative and functional approach to architecture, with its specific characters and locations, underlies the work of the Oslo based Norwegian agency Manthey Kula. The installation has been conceived as a landscape depicting the destiny of five historical figures struck by exile and isolation: Grette Aasmundsson from Iceland (XIh century), Dutchman Leendert Hasenbosh (XVIIIth century), Petro Kalnyshevsky from Ukraine (XVIIth century), Amerindian Juana Maria (XIXth century), and Mary Mallon from Ireland (XIXth-XXth century). However, these stories are not illustrative. Instead the architects prefer to work on speculative grounds: What did these characters dream of, what feelings did they experience, what existential questions did they pose? As a response, they have created five small scale singular spaces, each corresponding to the personality of a character: the delinquent, the deviant, the antagonist, the victim and the outcast. Playing dichotomies inside/outside, center/periphery, up/down, etc. they express, above all, the relationships between the lives of users and space. Manthey Kula’s approach doesn’t give priority to predetermined functions, but instead is part of a movement that privileges the invention of multiple narratives that give form to space.

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