After about 8 hours of this work over 2 days I think that I can say what it is: its just building as meditation. It is as hard work as you want to make it and it is endless. Its worth just describing what it involves.
First of course it involves sorting, as discussed in the earlier email. This is about recovering material and spreading the pile. It is DE-forming the geometry of the tipping process through RE-forming according to ones own “ecocathedral feeling”, that sense one gets at any particular moment of working. It is practically impossible to discuss what the process is generally without reflecting on any one moment of the actual process one has personally undertaken. It is only a generality for as long as it is talked about because when its happening it is completely specific.
ETO 3 The process is always reactive; between site and stockpile.
It is only on plans that sites can appear blank and this is the value of them. Through surveying processes certain identified characteristics are prioritized and represented, generally n the basis of permanence. As much as designers want accuracy what they really want is a precise ignorance. When gardeners build or garden they work from what is happening on the site, right in front of them. They make an evaluation on the basis of the potentials in their immediate milleaux in terms of materials or forms to react to. To build a form that is perfect is to set it against the information that is in front of you. In the Ecocathdral process there is always the site as a vegetated ground or the stockpile as an intermediate potential.
So its instructive to look at how Thomas and I started. We worked from an existing wall alignment that Peter had been working on. It comprised two tables, one on the right as you entered was almost complete and was about 1.5m high. It was perfectly formed and was immaculate except for one dodgy-stacked corner. After our initial sorting we moved onto constructing the wall according to the detail of the opposite table. Continuing the configuration of Peter’s was definitely going to produce an elegant treatment but at a certain point we introduced a tangential design which was about putting in a ramp onto the platform. This act changed the direction of the construction and re-cast the existing work, and was in no small part an act of rebellion, that is our own desire to quickly make a mark. Even while I was doing it I knew it would not give a better outcome but the desire to make a mark is strong.
Turning the corner to start the ramp we attempted to undertake a corner detail that mimicked the one opposite us and we were confronted by a lack of material, which referred us back to sorting and assessing the geography of the pile. This meant uncovering what we would hope to be the right material, but might not necessarily be or undertaking laborious unassisted transits of pieces at the farthest outer edges of the stack. In examining the required modules it was obvious that a sense of the constituency of the stockpile must first be ascertained to make an informed decision about what constriction methods to persue. This is like gambling on what is buried.
ETO 4 Design in construction is about control of material beyond the immediate.
In the Ecocathedral it is easiest to make “something” with whatever is at hand, in a “craft” manner (to use what is probably not the right expression). Because the time that one works is so intermittent and because there is no plan, the most immediate approach is to use whatever is available to build something visible there and then.