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Stillness movement : __________________________________________________ 1- From traces field to traces song


This text is the 1st part of a triptych « Movement in stillness ». It was published in Chroniques d’architecture in novembre 2020.


To close the writings on the trace (1) and because our confined lives reduce our mobility, here is the first of a series of three texts on architecture – From traces field to traces song; Architecture is an instrument of the environment; A formula for every place – like an invitation to travel in immobility.

In n-spaces, the carryer of traces, tools for appropriating places and preserving memories, are at the same time larger, more numerous and more diverse. Each new trace is deposited like a sediment, while taking part in the digital weaving of the place. It « patinates », shines the space and like a door, opens new paths in immobility. The trace is linked to other localities, stories, and it is anchored in the memory of the place, facilitating its appropriation and sharing, its division into space-times.


Memory is the ability to retain information, an event, but it is also the ability to bring it back to life. It is therefore a question of inscribing, storing and allowing and producing resurgence. To classify, choose, establish rules, families, determine the lifespan and organize (the right to) erasure. Without organization, the n-spaces would be quickly saturated and impractical. Each new trace must be able to connect to others (hyperlinks), to multiply the routes.


Tagged in its geographical space, the trace is part of the local network (the Local Thick Web (2)) then inviting each visitor, free, to choose their route in the « digital foam ». He pursues as he pleases each of the « foams’ fibers », personal or more or less public, which can accompany him to other physical or virtual spaces of the www or other neighboring networks. The place grows from/towards the interior and at the same time extends by multiplying the links in particular with other spatially disjointed spaces. The increased weaving consolidates the whole.


A new augmented cartography is taking shape. The relationship between n-spaces of various kinds induces new wanderings… The time spent surfing above ground (on social networks or websites) could be reduced in favor of another wave which would take its starting point or rebound in physical space. To be able to wander in the mysteries of an n-spaces, navigating from place to place, in space and time, to discover I don’t know what, to meet I do not know who; first virtually then, perhaps later, physically, because these relationships are mainly local.


Memories can also appear unpredictably (a program releasing information according to more or less random parameters). So, reminiscences color the place like flashbacks that arise in the heart of a story.

N-spaces makes a new type of movement in still space possible. From a teenager’s bedroom to a coworking space, a theatre, a library or a museum, places are filled and tinged with hidden but linked meanings, giving way to a future archeology of life, of the infinitesimal. After having going through the volume and the past, I enter the infinity of here. I dig, I read, I write and the trace is at work, as a work (3). Each place becomes a museum of itself and the organization of data produces stories, exhibitions, encounters. This motionless movement, at the intersection of traces and places, invites you to travel mentally and physically.

Aesthetics (spatio-digital)

A chimerical vision, a dream? Inside the place yes, but in absolute terms certainly not. It is based on profitable rational tools and simply consists of using them in a complementary way, to produce “music”, immaterial aesthetics, to stimulate the imagination. The technique is there, and soon the infrastructure too, in all our buildings. It will then suffice to put the right arrangements in place.


To the newly designed architecture of the place, a digital architecture that is both generic and specific is therefore added. It is accompanied by a formula containing algorithms and other computer programs capable of capturing local data such as memorial, climatic, sensory, technical ; as resources to produce different effects or events, chances and coincidences. This formula participates in the movement in stillness. The place reacts, comes alive. And its manner characterizes it: it textures and defines the space as do the material of the ground, the color of the walls, the air currents, the temperature, the views of the landscape or the historical memory.

Reactions can take various forms: to the reminiscences (flashbacks) can be added other random phenomena capable of surprising. The space is activated, the formula guides the actions (between sensors and actuators). It sculpts the radiance. From this new material which is digital, the place vibrates.


This formula amplifies the essence of a subtle ar(t)chitecture(4) that reinvents and rediscovers itself at leisure. An ar(t)chitecture which, once built, is never exactly the same, never exactly another. It plays with the environment, with the inhabitants, with memories. It enriches the place by transforming and weaving links. As in a landscape where the stones remain in place, the sea sometimes sways and the climate alters: wind, rain, light – which transform the colors – but also air and animals (the flight of a bird, the exit of a crab or the passage of a deer), the seasons. According to different rhythms, new events, imprints and configurations emerge.

Phenomenology where words, sounds, (smells?), images are engraved in space, in place. Another language. Finally, the book of stone? The book under the stone. The book, the poem, the poem space, the place, the closed space that opens through/towards the senses. Traces: intentional or spontaneous inscriptions, disappearance, appearance.

Listening, reading… in n-spaces, from sedimentation to travel and uses.

Forest of objects, system of layers and weaving.

The digital traces, like variations of renewed abstract paintings, are revealed and eclipsed. Nourishment of serendipity in the space to come, stimulation of illuminations.

Encrypt decrypt? Write, more or less visibly; hide dreams, ideas to feed the mystery, the enigma. The surprise to (re)awake a flash of thought.

And superstition sometimes grows. It reactivates the imagination. The magic reappears. From time to time, the n-spaces sparkle and undulate.

A (necessary) bit of spirituality in our modernized buildings.


Eric Cassar 2020


(1) All the texts below are available in french online here: Chroniques d’architecture.
Trace n°1: The trace, to make time its ally
Trace n°2: The trace, physical nature and presence of an absent thing
Trace n°3: Nature of the digital trace
Trace n°4: Trace and digital nature, ordering the data
Trace n°5: Trace and place: hybridization of physical and virtual spaces
Trace n°6: In the new strata of augmented spaces
Trace n°7: The links of n-spaces contribute to the rhythm of architecture
Trace n°8: From rhythms to personalized resonance of places
Trace n°9: Walls²: from walls to whispers
(2) Trace n°10: From the world wide web to the local thick web… from hospitals to museums
Trace n°11: (to) Trace: a vessel between the webs
Trace n°12: The n-spaces augments a place into a link
Trace n°13: Data center and urban meta-platform: places of memory storage?
(3) Jacques Derrida, Rams. The uninterrupted dialogue: between two infinities, the poem, Galileo
(4) Eric Cassar, The case for subtle ar(t)chitecture, HYX