Writing Transparadiso: Across and Beside

Jane Rendell, ‘Writing Transparadiso: Across and Beside’, catalogue essay for a monograph on the practice of Transparadiso, Direct Urbanism, (Nürnberg: Verlag für moderne Kunst, 2013). (German/English).

transparadiso, comprising architect-trained artist, Barbara Holub and architect/urban designer, Paul Rajakovics, based in Vienna, but working internationally, have, over the past 10-15 years, produced a complex assembly of artefacts and events—art installations, performance pieces, video works, urban interventions, master plans, design competition entries and completed works of architecture and urban design—often with other professionals, clients, planners, user groups and urban citizens. In the text that follows, in the spirit of my site-writing practice (Rendell 2010), I attempt to write transparadiso. In so doing I pick-up on many of the dominant moods and modes of their operation—two of them evident in their name which includes the prepositions: trans—across and para—beside. My intention is to write across and beside the different facets of their methodology which continually experiment with combining attitudes to urbanism held by art, architecture and planning: always critical, astute and questioning, but also playful. Acknowledging the importance of threes in understandings of transitional space and transversality in the work of D.W. Winnicott, André Green and Félix Guattari, the text is trivalent: the first two texts are placed beside or ‘para’ to one another, positioning the voice of a theorist/philosopher in parallel with that of a practitioner;1 my own voice comes in as a third, writing across the space of relation between the other two. The three voices are distinct and do not attempt to define or explain each other, rather they allow for different associations and connections to be made by the reader.


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