the- documents.org
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the-documents.org
is an online platform, collecting, describing, presenting and generating documents of all sorts. It documents documents.
Your path through the collection lead alongStraight in the morning, curvy in the afternoon, Inflation, Raisins, Vérandah, Market, 12M m3 [8/8] Heating, 12M m3 [7/8] A Fissure, 12M m3 [6/8] 56 years, 12M m3 [5/8] It’s Freezing, 12M m3 [4/8] Dam, 12M m3 [3/8] Swell, 12M m3 [2/8] Thaw, 12M m3 [1/8] Rapid Snowmelt, Marmara, Elevator, N 47°12.346′ E 18°10.400′
13.01.2022

What constitutes a ‘document’ and how does it function? A document has trouble defining itself. 

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the etymo-logical origin derives from the Latin ‘documentum’, meaning ‘lesson, proof, instance, specimen’. As a verb, it is ‘to prove or support (something) by documentary evidence’, and ‘to provide with documents’. The online version of the OED includes a draft addition, whereby a document (as a noun) is ‘a collection of data in digital form that is considered a single item and typically has a unique filename by which it can be stored, retrieved, or transmitted (as a file, a spreadsheet, or a graphic).’ The current use of the noun ‘document’ is defined as ‘something written, inscribed, etc., which furnishes evidence or information upon any subject, as a manuscript, title-deed, tomb-stone, coin, picture, etc.’ (emphasis added).

Both ‘something’ and that first ‘etc.’ leave ample room for discussion. A document doubts whether it functions as something unique, or as something reproducible. A passport is a document, but a flyer equally so. More­over, there is a circular reasoning: to document is ‘to provide with documents’. Defining (the functioning of) a document most likely involves ideas of communication, information, evidence, inscriptions, and implies notions of objectivity and neutrality – but the document is neither reducible to one of them, nor is it equal to their sum. It is hard to pinpoint it, as it disperses into and is acted upon by other fields: it is intrinsically tied to the history of me­dia and to important currents in literature, photo­graphy and art; it is linked to epistemic and power structures. However ubiquitous it is, as an often tangible thing in our environment, and as a concept, a document deranges.

The-documents.org continuously gathers documents and provides them with a short textual description, explanation, or digression, written by multiple authors. In Paper Knowledge, Lisa Gittelman paraphrases ‘documentalist’ Suzanne Briet, stating that ‘an ante­lope running wild would not be a document, but an antelope taken into a zoo would be one, presumably because it would then be framed – or reframed – as an example, specimen, or instance’. The gathered files are all documents – if they weren’t before publication, they now are. That is what the-documents.org, irre­versibly, does. It is a zoo turning an antelope into an ‘antelope’.

As you made your way through the collection, the-documents.org tracked the entries you viewed. It documented your path through the website. As such, the time spent on the-documents.org turned into this – a new document. 

The-documents.org is a project created and edited by De Cleene De Cleene; design & development by atelier Haegeman Temmerman.

The-documents.org has been online since 23 May 2021.

the-documents.org

On a pile of fresh hospital sheets, near the radiator, the tangerine curtains and the black marble window sill (the window looks out over the parking lot), underneath the two-day-old bouquet of flowers and next to a pile of magazines with a handwritten note on top (about a syrup that relieves slime and tastes like oranges), lie two sheets of paper. 

Earlier that day the physiotherapist had come by. Twice. Once in the morning and once in the afternoon. He had each time drawn the first line, as an example. A straight line in the morning, a curvy line in the afternoon. 

With a ballpoint pen my grandfather, who is recovering from an accident, diligently copied the examples (31 in the morning, 5 in the afternoon).

the-documents.org
Straight in the morning, curvy in the afternoon
18:04:36
the-documents.org

A 250 meter walk away from the seaside. A sign states in Dutch and French: 
‘!!! NO PARKING !!!
Wrongly parked cars will be chained and only released upon payment of a € 40 parking fee’

The 40 EUR parking fee the sign threatens to charge is communicated by a relatively new sticker stuck on an older sign. Underneath the three black characters (€, 4 and 0) on a white background, there’s a relief: 7 characters declaring a parking fee of 1500 BEF. 

1500 BEF equals 37,18 EUR1. In changing currency, the fee increased by 7,58%.

1.

The Belgian franc was the currency of the Kingdom of Belgium from 1832 until 2002 when the Euro was introduced. 1 EUR is worth 40,3399 BEF.

the-documents.org
Inflation
18:04:41
the-documents.org

When I grew up, my parents told me that the number of raisins in the local baker’s raisin bread attested to the result of the most recent soccer match of KAA Gent. A victory was celebrated by throwing more raisins into the dough than usual, a loaf following a painful loss was hardly a raisin bread at all.

The baker retired long ago. Today my two-year-old son picked out all the raisins from his slice of bread. KAA Gent’s last game was a tie against Union.

the-documents.org
Raisins
18:04:41
the-documents.org

In the archive of the architect O. Clemminck, there is a piece of a plan of a building in a suburb in Gent. It presents the ground floor. There is a kitchen, a salon, an eating place, a meeting place. The missing part would have stated the exact address, the name, and maybe the profession of the owners. The plan of the first floor might have given an indication of the number of (anticipated) family members, based on the number and size of sleeping rooms.

At the southern edge of (the plan of) the lot, O. Clemminck has drawn a laundry room that gives out to a vérandah. The spelling of the Dutch word – nowadays written as veranda – is remarkable, as is its etymology, which is unclear and a matter of debate among scholars. The word might have Portuguese (varanda: railing) and Catalan roots (baranda: barrier), maybe also origins in the Lithuanian Žemaitan dialect (varanda: loop plaited from flexible wings) and might also be traced back to a Sanskrit root (varandaka: rampart separating two fighting elephants). 

The vérandah O. Clemminck proposes is 2,40 meters by, at least, 2,80 meters.

the-documents.org
Vérandah
18:04:42
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K. says that the stall where he usually buys fruit has already been packed up. But he is not worried about the quality of the fruit the other vendor sells. He gestures encouragingly. 

Five signs of type-1, eleven of type-2 and two of type-3 are visible. Four of type-2 (two visible, two deduced) and two of type-3 retain two vehicles.

1.
2.
3.
°

Márk Redele pursues projects that fundamentally relate to architecture and its practice but rarely look like architecture. www.markredele.com

the-documents.org
Market
18:04:43
the-documents.org

Shortly after crossing the Thur the couple reaches their car. They’re freezing. As the sun sets they drive through the mountainous landscape. The heating hurts their fingers.

The next day, they return, but the scene looks different. It’s warmer. The Thur appears to flow faster.

the-documents.org
12M m3 [8/8] Heating
18:04:45
the-documents.org

What they took for ice that slid down the dam’s slope, appears to be the reason for draining the reservoir: a fissure in the watertight layer. The dam became unreliable.

the-documents.org
12M m3 [7/8] A Fissure
18:04:46
the-documents.org

Where once there was twelve million cubic metres of water, excavators and trucks are moving dirt and rocks that have been hidden from sight for 56 years; piling them up into a temporary dam: a batardeau.

the-documents.org
12M m3 [6/8] 56 years
18:04:47
the-documents.org

On January 23, 2020 a young couple walks around the drained reservoir of Kruth-Wildenstein.

It’s freezing. They’re expecting their first child within a month.

the-documents.org
12M m3 [5/8] It’s Freezing
18:04:48
the-documents.org

Seven years after the devastating flood, in 1954, the building of the dam is decided upon. Between 1959 and 1963 the infrastructure is built, and the reservoir gets filled with water in 1964 to act as a buffer for sudden floods and to guarantee a flowing Thur through the highly industrialized area downstream.

the-documents.org
12M m3 [4/8] Dam
18:04:50
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The river swells and eventually overflows, causing the death of six people and extensive damage: washed away bridges, damaged homes, submerged factories, destroyed food stocks, heavily eroded roads and paths.

the-documents.org
12M m3 [3/8] Swell
18:04:52
the-documents.org

It snows on December 19, but the situation changes on the 22nd with the arrival of an Atlantic low-pressure area, bringing masses of hot and humid air. Thaw follows.

And then, it snows again on December 26 and 27, before the arrival of a new warm front on the same day. A significant and brutal rise in temperature ensues: at Lac Noir, at 920 m, the temperature shoots up from 0,3 °C on December 27 at 7 AM to 7,4 ° C on the 28th at 9 PM.

the-documents.org
12M m3 [2/8] Thaw
18:04:53
the-documents.org

December, 1947. Rapid snowmelt coincides with torrential precipitation. At the bottom of the Thur valley, in Wildenstein, the water gathers.

the-documents.org
12M m3 [1/8] Rapid Snowmelt
18:04:55
the-documents.org

Fairly detailed map of the two major marble quarries on the island of Tinos, Greece. The spontaneous route-advice was prepared by a local marble worker, P.D., in the Karia region of the island on a locally extracted, green marble slab. The waved lines represent roads traversing uphill, while the straight lines represent roads following a contour line of the topography.

‘Tell your friend that the wine is for girls; it’s very sweet,’ the marble worker alerted my travel companion K.S. after offering us local sweet wine. The workshop smelled like boiled meat and bones.

Notes on map from left to right, top to bottom:

  1. Towards Vathi 
  2. Quarry 
  3. incomprehensible 
  4. Towards Vathi Bleu 
  5. Isternia 
  6. Pirgos
°

Márk Redele pursues projects that fundamentally relate to architecture and its practice but rarely look like architecture. www.markredele.com

the-documents.org
Marmara
18:04:59
the-documents.org

The building is almost finished. One apartment is still up for sale, on the top floor. The contractor is finishing up. There’s a long list of comments and deficiencies that need to be addressed before the building can be handed over definitively to the owner. The elevator’s walls are protected by styrofoam to prevent squares, levels, measures, drills, air compressors, chairs, bird cages, etc. from making scratches on the brand new wooden panelling. 

In 1932 Brassaï began taking photographs of graffiti scratched into walls of Parisian buildings. On his long walks he was often accompanied by the author Raymond Queneau, who lived in the same building but on a different floor. Brassaï published a small collection of the photographs in Minotaure, illustrating an article titled ‘Du mur des cavernes au mur d’usine’ [‘From cave wall to factory wall’].

the-documents.org
Elevator
18:05:00
the-documents.org

During the 1950s, as part of the communist reconstruction, a large coal/gas power plant was built close to the village of Inota, Hungary. This is the place where I grew up. It operated until about 1994. In the run-up to the final shutdown of the operation they gradually lowered its output. By this time the coal mines in the neighboring city had shut down as well due to the diminishing yield of the low-quality brown coal they had mined for the purpose of fueling the power plant. This resulted in mass unemployment and general decline in the area. The small lake in the photo is an artificial reservoir that collected all the water from the nearby streams. The substantial flow of one of those rivers powered about 11 water-driven flour mills; I know this on account of my grandmother, who would often pick up bags of flour for bread.

The ruin in the photograph once was a pumping facility that drove the water from the lake to the power plant about 3 kilometres away. In the years following the systemic change of Hungary and its celebrated evolution towards a western-type capitalism in ‘89-’90, the rules of ownership and the perception of public and private property were somewhat elusive. The lack of state control resulted in a transfer of public property to private hands on a monumental scale throughout the whole country, and – by extension – the Eastern Bloc. At the time some of the village dwellers of Inota, driven by the force of a major change and the prospect of a new, prosperous future of capitalist entrepreneurship, gathered to disassemble the water-pumping facility along the artificial lake. Slowly, day by day, under the mist of this elusive moment, they carried away carriageful after carriageful of bricks, disassembled from the facade of the building. It was perhaps a way of taking revenge, but certainly also claiming the moment’s opportunity. The bricks made their way into the walls of the new-built family homes of some of the villagers. The former water pumping facility became a sort of material reservoir for the construction of a new future. The transformation from a water reservoir to a material (and ideological) one and its subsequent exhaustion, left a ruin that has remained untouched for the last 30 years. The bricks that were difficult to reach were left in place, thus forming a curtain around the upper part of the building just above the pillars. Freed from all perimeter walls, the leftover structure appeared as a pavilion-like, open floor plan.

The cliffs at the sides of the valley on the photo served as the location for the film My Way Home (Így Jöttem, 1965) by the iconic Hungarian filmmaker Miklós Jancsó, about a 17-year-old boy who falls prisoner to the Russian army and forms a friendship with one of the foes. The film is said to display all the main themes of the director: the psychological presence of landscape, the randomness of violence and the arbitrary nature of power.

In the distance a formation of meadows can be seen in the photograph. Those meadows make up 16 acres of land that were given to my grandfather and subsequently inherited by my mother. It was a reparation for having been stripped of their wealth by the Soviet establishment in the 1950s. The worth of the land is a couple thousand euros as of today. It is part of the largest consistent nature reserve area of the EU.

While standing on the cliffs and looking south-eastward, the power plant can be seen. The orientation of the photograph is approximately north facing.

Turning southwards one can see the stone cellar, about a kilometre away, where my grandfather’s adolescent sister had spent more than a year, while two German SS officers occupied their family home. During the advancement of the Red Army, a Russian soldier, entering the cellar, attempted to take advantage of her. The soldier’s superior intervened and shot him in the head without hesitation. My parents store potatoes and apples in the cellar to keep them from rotting in the summer and freezing in the winter. It is easy to say when a potato or an apple comes from the cellar; it has an unmistakable, musty taste.

°

Márk Redele pursues projects that fundamentally relate to architecture and its practice but rarely look like architecture. www.markredele.com

the-documents.org
N 47°12.346′ E 18°10.400′
18:05:01