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Essay80 NETWORKS “GIVE ME A GUN AND I WILL MAKE ALL BUILDINGS MOVE”:AN ANT’S VIEW OF ARCHITECTUREBruno Latour, Albena YanevaOur building problem is just the opposite of Etienne Jules Marey’s famousinquiry into the physiology of movement. Through the invention of his“photo graphic gun,” he wanted to arrest the flight of a gull so as to be ableto see in a fixed format every single successive freeze-frame of a contin-uous flow of flight, the mechanism of which had eluded all observers until his invention. What we need is the reverse: the problem with build-ings is that they look desperately static. It seems almost impossible tograsp them as movement, as flight, as a series of transformations. Every-body knows—and especially architects, of course—that a building is not a static object but a moving project, and that even once it is has beenbuilt, it ages, it is transformed by its users, modified by all of what hap-pens inside and out side, and that it will pass or be renovated, adulteratedand transformed beyond recognition. We know this, but the problem is that we have no equivalent of Marey’s photographic gun: when we picture a building, it is always as a fixed, stolid structure that is there in four col-ors in the glossy magazines that customers flip through in architects’ wait-ing rooms. If Marey was so frustrated not to be able to picture in a successive series of freeze-frames the flight of a gull, how irritating it isfor us not to be able to picture, as one continuous movement, the project 1fig. 1figs. 2, 3
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81 B flow that makes up a building. Marey had the visual input of his eyes and was able to establish the physiology of flight only after he invented an artificial device (the photographic gun); we too need an artificial device (a theory in this case) in order to be able to transform the static viewof a building into one among many successive freeze-frames that could atlast document the continuous flow that a building always is.It is probably the

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