MANIFESTO FOR FOAM

Art foams at the surface of a champagne glass; it froths at the mouth. Cushions the vertiginous free-falls of finance capital. Lubricates and insulates the global art market. Enjoys forgetting. WE ARE FOR AN ART OF FOAMS. We are for a diversity of matter-states and viscosities: polystyrene, bubble baths, spray foam, ocean spray, igneous rocks, beehives, coral, weather stripping, insulation, marshmallow. Foam is both absorption / management and / excess, noise reduction and noise itself. Today the organization of society is foamy. Spheres have given way to bubbles, which have given way to foam—little globes semi-immersed in an ambient fluid or porous, lightweight solid. THERE IS NO FABRIC OF SOCIETY; THERE IS INSTEAD A FOAM. Foam, understood in its “real-surreal spatial constitution [...] is a meta-collector that accumulates spaces of assembly and non-assembly.” (Peter Sloterdijk, Foams, 2016) Images of foam circulate in graphics and advertising, particularly in food, health, comfort, and therapy industries. Foam feels good. “Its infinite proliferation suggests that in the substance from which it issues there is a vigorous seed, a healthy and powerful essence [...] it flatters in the consumer an airy imagination of substance, a mode of contact at once light and vertical, pursued like a sort of bliss…” (Roland Barthes, “Saponids and Detergents,” Mythologies, 1957) Cream, mousse, detergent. We are interested in the assemblage skin-soap-sponge: porous surfaces and porous matter, unhealthy, corroded, and yet sublimely clean. Shampoo, lather, and a clean shave. Sierpenski's carpet, Menger's sponge: more than a surface, less than a volume. Foam-space is similar to sponge-space, but even more unstable in its liquid forms. “There are no representations of any kind, but only floating bubbles or caverns, immanently distanced from each other by an indeterminably convoluted surface. In sponge-space pure spatiality cannot be demarcated from matter as a discrete concept, but conspires with matter in the sole reality possible to either: complexity.” (Nick Land, The Thirst for Annihilation, 1992) We are considering foamy architectures: not only construction with foam materials (styrofoam, geofoam, geodesic foam domes) but whole foamy cities, “urban microfoams.” There are already foams in our buildings—expanded polystyrene (EPS) in foundations, foam board in subfloor insulation, spray foam as waterproof sealant, not to mention mattresses—but these are mere supports, providing softness and spring to harder and more airless elements. WE RECOMMEND A RADICALIZATION, A LIBERATION, AN INTENSIFICATION OF FOAM. Drift across the overdeveloped city, cling to its surfaces like foam. Order a cappuccino. Read the air; become the air; read by forgetting. Were you to stop a short moment: the complex, the gentle, the violent movements of worlds will make of your death a splashing foam. (Georges Bataille, L'Expérience intérieure, 1943)

TB + AMF     2017