The different versions of Instrument Five discuss a development of the project shown in this model. One of the limiting agents on an indeterminate condition is typology. The embodied knowledge in things carries with it embedded behaviours. I have visited quite a number of research establishments where new architectural questions bring a combination of new architectures but often with borrowed bits from elsewhere. One such place in Cape Kennedy where NASA launches most of its rockets. Along the coast is a compressed archeology of space flight architecture. At one end is a nipple on the concrete apron and a pole to hold a bleeder tube. This is the launch architecture for the captured German V2 rockets after the war. It is generic, portable, un-sited and does not discuss the body. After passing a succession of ruined Mercury and Gemini launch sites (as well as an early Apollo site) you come to the space shuttle launch pads, formerly used for the giant Saturn Five rockets of the Apollo programme. These emerge out of the landscape and are tied to it by the gravel roads that lead to the Vertical Assembly Building. In less than forty years a highly developed architecture emerged particular to a new venture.
The Bird Automata Test Track is the “before” model for the drawings in Instrument Five. Or the drawings in Instrument Five try to develop what is started in this model. It is at the V2 stage – generic, without a site, portable, and the only acknowledgement of people is in an access stair and the seating positions for the cameras.
Why a Bird Automata Test Track? The speculation is that if architecture was more of an automaton – if it had the capability to also be awkward, teasing, silly, precisely helpful, sometimes sulk and sometimes playful, for example, then it could be in a position to nurture a far more indeterminate condition than one that is more fixed in its relationship to our occupation. The test track is the first step – how might we behave with automata, how can I examine the idea of an automaton before looking at it as architecture, those sorts of questions.
The image above is of the birds that can be clipped in to the track trolleys for the animated films of the rack in action.