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Charnel-House by Timothy Burke

Taxonomy of Failed Inventions

The Charnel-House is a speculative project situated on the margin of Newcastle’s working harbour & the post- industrial site of the former Forgacs dockyard in Carrington. The project is positioned as an allegory that investigates the emancipatory power to the human experience of the experimental machine. Taking the theoretical trope of ‘building machines’ recurrent in the architectural avant-garde, the Charnel-House is an archive that reposits the makings of industry as a dialectic to the unrealised potential of Newcastle’s post- industrial aura.

The architecture of the Charnel-House is posited as an alchemistic machine that takes the sterilis of productive capital—the un-moded byproduct of invention of marginal exchange-value or use-value—and refunctions these objects to reveal their latent cult-value. Here, the archive espouses Foucault’s archaeology of semantics & Hiedegger’s questioning of technology to assert a taxonomy of augmented morphologies that dispersively orders the objects of study in oblique and poetic ways. Realised as a phantasmagory of ferrotype images generated by a clockwork of lenses that run off the ebb tide of the harbour, an architecture of the arcane dispenses with the rationality & economic determinism that has undermined the aura of industry.

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