Author Archives: Merve Anil

context

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measuring the world, one cut at a time

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drawings..

So I have set myself a task for drawing using only line (no fill), so all textures etc. have to be described in hatches… half for fun, half for argument..

some test prints of WIP section drawings –

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5 post-jury points

01. Keep the Foundations
This is contrary to what was said at the crit, but valuable overall for my arguing of the datum being contextual / a sort of zeitgeist guide as well as a physical datum.

02. Turning Palmesino’s comment of a straight line drawn on a map being different to a straight line traced on the globe into one of the key features of the project. Anny suggested to speak of the three realms of the project as – a. paper b. map c. territory

03. Refer to the loop closing in on itself and what that means in terms of reading / writing / time

04. I am ultimately describing a new way of seeing context in section and not in plan and I think the key to explaining the project lies in the sectional relationship between studio / context.

05. Why is it relevant to talk about ‘place-making’ now?

More to come…

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writing the datum!

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it comes alive!

hello hello – some things I have been working on:

mountain terrain for the cnc model:

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the layered drawing

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some images for fun

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wip drawing

3 drawings in process – for the ‘writing’ book. Each one is about a type of cut (physical, cultural/political, architectural) and how that becomes a datum..

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book & text

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ts hand in!

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storyboarding the book – the infinite book / library / text as artefact

am working on reformatting plates into an ‘infinite’ book, one where the format as well as the narrative loops and in each new cycle, a new story emerges…

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& ts, of course!

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The Galaxy Express 999!

The Galaxy Express 999, the story of the train that travels the universe!

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I draw…

also setting a medium constraint for myself for a couple of weeks, only drawings…

for tomorrow I will focus on a drawing that starts changing geographical features based on time

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time-length

In the aftermath of the jury I think I need to revisit the idea of the datum, which has become lost in the project.. I’m really fascinated by the idea of the studio redefining time, and existing standards of measurement that take their definition from time.

Existing examples of this are for example, the one mentioned at the jury – nautical knots.
“Etymologically, the term derives from counting the number of knots in the line that unspooled from the reel of a chip log in a specific time.”

Even though that isn’t the basis anymore for the definition, the contemporary ‘knot’ is still a link between time and distance. For example, a vessel travelling at 1 knot along a meridian travels approximately one minute of geographic latitude in one hour.

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jury text

The Operative Line

The surface of the earth is defined no longer through its geographical features but as a geology delineated through the architect’s marks – a landscape of structures, events and plots.

The architect is the projective storyteller, the author, whose context is as much the surface of the earth as it is the blank page. The strength of the architect lies in the ability to directly control and author context, embodied in the drawing of a line.

Each time we put pen to paper, we are redefining and delineating one possible version of the world. The fundamental acts of architecture – of enclosure, connection and division can all be expressed through the line.

Any line that is removed from the territory that it maps becomes merely representation, and in order not to remain in that realm, the line has to be operative. This happens when it covers a surface at 1:1, and kills the sign. It allows for no interpretation but sets down static instructions for the future.

When the architectural drawing scores the earth it is no longer representation but the work itself. It becomes a direct translation of the architect’s intent straight onto ground.

I am going to present Libeskind’s Micromegas in order to assert this thesis. In 1979, Libeskind borrows the title of Voltaire’s short story – Micromegas – for a series of drawings. In the Voltaire version, a group of philosophers that are lost at sea are handed a book that they are told holds the answers to the universe. They are all very excited thinking that they are finally going to be let in on a big secret. Upon opening the book however, they discover that it’s pages are completely blank.

In the story, the understanding of the universe is an incredibly personal and subjective experience. Each person is handed the power to write their own answers into the pages.

As well as the title, Libeskind also takes on Voltaire’s thesis in his drawings – how does one present the answers to the universe to an audience? What he also concludes through the drawings is that you simply can not. His approach is the reversal of his predecessor’s solution – by presenting pages saturated with lines, the complete opposite to blankness. But they operate in the same way – the further we navigate into this world, the more we realise that the only way to read Micromegas is actually by rewriting them, and so we author our own understanding of the universe.

For example, they can be read as microscopic renderings of dust – or on the meta-scale of the argument, as explosions manifesting their anti-thesis to figure and context.

This is where the strength in the drawings lie – they reveal that as architects we are constantly attempting to describe and control the world around us, and this description is a very subjective one.

The way in which it is communicated is when the architectural drawing has to make the leap off the paper, and on to ground. The line has to physically divide and control, be the road scored on to earth that creates entire cities, or the wall that divides nations. It has to leave behind no confusion, no doubt as to the architect’s intention.

It has to become a concrete act that turns into reality the architect’s fundamental thought –

I draw, therefore it exists.

In the aftermath of the French Revolution in 1798, the French government wanted to discard all old units of measure associated with the old regime, and create new international standards. The first new standard to be defined was a unit of measure, the metre. It was decided that this new measure should be equivalent to one millionth of the distance between the North Pole and the Equator – one quarter of the earth’s circumference. Two surveyors were sent out on this mission. They were going to accurately measure the distance of a straight line running between Dunkirk and Barcelona through a complex system of triangulations, and base the length of the metre on that.

The task took seven years because of the difficulties that the two men faced. They were working in the aftermath of the revolution and political uprisings kept delaying their work. They were both imprisoned several times during the surveying, and one of them even caught Yellow Fever and died before he had finished the measurements. Seven years later, the length of the metre was decided on.

The project proposes to define a new form for the architect’s studio, which comes about through a redefinition of the architect’s role. Like the two surveyors, the architect’s perpetual quest is to describe and control the world around her. However, whilst the only thing that comes out of the story of the metre is a single definition of length, I propose for a unified theory of architecture, where a physical distance wouldn’t have been decided on despite politics or culture, but these events would play a role in adapting that definition.

This studio becomes the embodiment of the architect’s perpetual quest. One that is not tied to a geography but travels continually across the earth’s surface as it does across a blank page.

The project of the studio is trifold. It constructs its own tracks and ploughs through earth to clear its trajectory. It is the vessel through which the architect is asserted as author of context. It leaves behind in built form its manifesto through the tracks it had to build to project itself forward.

Within the studio, which is essentially a single room so long that it appears as an infinite interior – context is at the same time read and authored. It is constantly mapping its surroundings – not just physical features but also histories, politics, cultures, and then taking decisions about how to act based on these mappings. The architecture isolates the architect from the surroundings, and within this containment she exerts control of this vast, limitless domain.

Ploughing through whatever context she encounters, the architect inside the studio sits in front of her panorama, detached from the mechanics that allow that view. Instead, her reliance on paper gives her almost god-like potential. If the vessel encounters water, it will bridge its way across it. If there is a mountain in the way, it will cut through it. The surrounding territory unfolds in front of the architect’s eyes as an endless elevation.

It is the moments of literal collisions that cause ruptures in the studio’s constant velocity and jolt her back from the paper real world to the very real. The selection of a 0.5 point line on paper disguises the violent 7 year excavation period as well as the labour of hundreds if not thousands of people that would be required to accomplish the feat of ploughing through a mountain. But the violence is good, because you learn from it.

The studio authors a new understanding of architecture defined not by former theories or camps but through the immediate action it takes on the very physical realities it encounters. It exists independent of any context but that which it immediately encounters, not tied to any ideology but that which is of immediate urgency.

The architect’s utopian gene is the vessel’s fuel.

Let’s say we are 25 years down the line, and the studio is continually ploughing through, and eventually comes back across its own tracks that it left 25 years ago. This is where its potential lies – it becomes the inhabitation of trial and error. The new readings the architect will do of the same site will now be an assessment of a past architectural act, and its consequences.

The studio leaves behind its own archeology – already by the time it has moved forward, what used to be its projective tracks are behind it. These tracks become trenches, roads or buildings. Walls or congregation spaces. They become a physical as well as a contextual datum. They empower the architect to treat the surface of the earth with the same abstractness as the sheet of paper, and take the line drawn on paper as seriously and as real as the line scored on ground.

Unlike the platinum measure of the metre that is today kept locked away somewhere in Paris, this datum keeps changing and adapting.

What has previously been classified as separate disciplines – social science, history, geography, architecture, civil engineering – all become unified. The architect’s studio is that agency that combines all of these. History has demonstrated how any accepted doctrine can overnight turn against itself and declare the contrary to be true. Because it operates on physical ground, architecture has the power to constantly question its conceptual ground.

 

 

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hello hello! crit progress:

working simultaneously on the following:

drawings :

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images:

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also have plans to reformat presentation & plates into a new narrative sequence…

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images!

Inside the ‘reading’ room of the studio:

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looking out onto water as the studio appears to float across it:

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watching the mountain excavation from inside:

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I really feel like I’ve forgotten how to photoshop.. feels like the lighting is off in some of these… any comments are welcome!

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Update – WIP for previews

Working on a bunch of things in time for previews…

the launch of the white book – which is curation of the ts book with new material (and the format of the presentation atm until I decide on something else…)

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recon plates book v2.0

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back to the folding drawing that never got explored fully at the beginning of the term and using the idea of the score line to be the switch between paper and material space:

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folding drawing in progress:

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drawing the line & other ts updates

aaaaaah!!! so much to do so little time!

working on:

visual contents page to help guide us through the ts pages:

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detail drawings! :

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construction sequence for new chapters:

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and need to annotate like woah overnight…

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references and references!

Spent the morning finishing up the environmental chapter (aka. “why your head would not explode” ;)) in time to see Frederico this evening, now back to drawing drawing drawing!

Meanwhile, thank you to Vidhya for sending me this – 

Jonas Dahlberg model for Norway memorial site

Artist Jonas Dahlberg’s memorial to the 2011 massacre in Norway!

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tank on piles

what we were talking about in yesterday’s tutorial – almost! 

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si units, International Bureau of Weights and Measures, etc.

Some background spreads about existing standards of measurement (SI units and the BIPM) to set the stage for proposal.

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meanwhile in france, in between ts spreads

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The International Bureau of the Line is born!

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some TS thoughts…

Looking into how rails and other transportation lines are put down:

This is a machine that continuously lays down rails that it then moves on :

Also, to legitimize  the cut! Been looking at some of the world’s deepest mines and the one that holds the current title is the TauTona Gold Mine in South Africa – almost 4 km deep!!

Here’s a plan:

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The PLOTTER decides on her route

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Today

has been spent looking alot at this:

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and doing a lot of this:

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I think in the end the Venturi effect WOULD apply to the cut (Venturi effect being the increase in wind speed and drop in pressure due to the area the wind passes through becoming constricted) and it has provided me with a useful equation to figure out what exactly the width of the cut should be in order for your head NOT to explode….

The answer I’m getting is having to widen the cut from 20m to… 375 m!!

Will check my maths with Evan tomorrow! I don’t know why I find all of this so exciting!

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SUPER WIP images of inhabiting the CUT

Really wish I had time to photoshop these for tomorrow! But some super rough images of the space inside the cut

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TS spreads

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Mountain in axo?

Inspired by all the beautiful geological drawings I’m seeing… (and in between open-jury prep!!) am trying to figure out how to draw this mountain in axo… arghhh!!

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open jury!

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Today’s rehearsel of open jury presentation and the resulting drawing!

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crossing the road :)

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Mining!

TS Spreads…

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Updated TS Table of Contents

After a TS tutorial with Evan, much became clear…

My TS will be a case study of how to cut and tunnel through one particular mountain, as a sort of instruction manual on how to perform any cut. Ideally, Mount Everest – as if you can create a deep vertical cut through that – you can through any mountain!

Updated Table of Contents:

 

1 / Introduction

1.1 Project Statement

1.2 TS Statement

1.3 Defining the Operative Line

a. Energy & Work

2 / Geometry of the Line

2.1 The Line Manifested in Different Dimensions

2.2 From One Dimension to Another

3 / Cutting Operations

3.1 Vertical Cuts

a. Wood

b. Metal

c. Stone

Pyramids Case Study
- Panama Canal Case Study

3.2 Horizontal Cuts (Tunnelling)

a. EuroTunnel Case Study
b. Orestund Bridge & Tunnel

3.3 Transition from Cut to Tunnel

3.4 Natural Cutting Formations

3.5 Building in Mountainous Areas

4 / How Do You Cut Through a Mountain?

4.1 Geology of Mount Everest

4.2 How to Cut Through?

4.3 Structural Reinforcement

4.4 Inhabitation of the Cut

5 / Around the World (Territorial Strategy)

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amazing image reference!

Brett had mentioned this artist to me a couple of weeks ago and then this morning Ananth showed me the same image – amazing! So tempting to appropriate…

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forgot to post the reference before!

“Lines, A Brief History” by Tim Ingold

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04

“To write is to carve a new path through the terrain of the imagination, or to point out new features on a familiar route. To read is to travel through that terrain with the author as a guide… I have often wished that my sentences could be written out as a single line running into the distance so that it would be clear that a sentence is likewise a road and reading is travelling.”

Territory becoming paper becoming territory…

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03

The operative line becomes all about creating a scenario or a line of action, never a figure or object.

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02

I argue that the same line that creates the glyph on the page operates in the same way when it is placed at 1:1 on the ground and dictates the way a person’s body moves through space (in the same way that the text delineates a narrative movement)

“Just as to travel is to remember the way, to tell a story is to remember how it goes.”


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And just as it can dictate the individual figure’s movement through space, so it can orchestrate hundreds or thousands of figures…

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back into project mode for the weekend – tracing the line

So the weekend was spent reading this book:

which was Charles’ reference on Friday’s tutorial. It had some great lines! To solidify the argument I’ve been working on a series of A2 plates which at the same time combine to make the long line drawing. It starts by tracing the origin on the line, from representation to text, which becomes it’s first encounter with operation:

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WIP TS Spreads

Kerfing Experiments

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Defining site

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Powers of 10

Backtracking quickly to move forward with argument – am redoing some recon plates to explain my position against the representational line.

The lines in Micromegas empower the reader through reducing the author’s power – scaleless and contextless, the drawings can be interpreted in a number of ways. Looking always to write rather than read, the architect chooses the operative line over the representational one.

(Mis-interpreting Micromegas at a number of scales, the plates demonstrate the removal of power from the author)

As the wrecking of the Continuous Monument:

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As the explosion of Eisenman’s house:

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As dust:

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Current State of Affairs

TS table of contents as it stands this evening

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TS

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textures yo! this is the beginning of a late night..

aand this what all the drawings are looking like right about now.. at least we’re out of rhino! :)

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WIP still!

WIP drawing.. this is the longest it’s ever taken me to decide on format!
So it is currently in the form of 3 A1s, in each case the line is depicted in one of the three operations: controlling, connecting and proposing. Hopefully when I post semi-complete versions tomorrow all will become clear!

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WIP drawing of plan/section overlay

to be out of rhino by tomorrow!

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if last year’s vitrine city and this year’s cut were to have a baby…

… it would be Brodsky’s ‘The Nameless River’ project from 1986. Scary.

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the multi-scale line drawing as of yesterday evening

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The drawing as I showed it yesterday at the tutorial – a new version of this is what I will be focusing my efforts on btw today and friday.

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WIP Drawing & TS tutorial with David

Been trying to figure out how to draw this  –

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It’s supposed to be a plan of my line intervention going through different scenarios, depicted always through what it does to its context. Changes in scale & location.

Also just had a TS tutorial with David. I told him about the bridge+tunnel proposal. His main comment was that I need to find constraints for myself to help guide the TS (e.g. you can only build bridge with whatever material you excavate for tunnel, although he said don’t do that, too easy and overdone)(agreed).

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The Operative Line

The figure of the architect is that of the storyteller, looking always to write not what is there but the world as she wants it to exist.

Fundamental to this figure is the urge to fill in any empty space – whether the blank page, or the empty surface of the earth. A mark left on any blank surface is the rule of the architect’s will over physical reality.

The architect’s primary tool is the line, used not to represent but to project forward and score the future.

The score is the operative line and when it covers a surface at 1:1, it kills the sign. It allows for no interpretation but sets down static instructions for the future. Any line that is removed from the territory that it maps becomes merely representation. However when the architectural drawing scores the earth it is no longer representation but the work itself.

Through the translation of a drawing onto the earth’s surface, the architect is able to choreograph and manipulate natural, social, cultural and political forces in a similar way to movements in a playground or game field.

Like a work of fiction, the purpose of each architectural drawing is to create a context for a new narrative. Each time we put pen to paper we are redefining and delineating one possible version of the world that is coming into being. Every architectural drawing is a map of the future – an architect’s statement in linear form about a projected state of affairs.

I draw, therefore it exists.

The most fundamental architectural intentions are expressed through the scoring of a line – whether it is to define connections and separations, choreograph spatial relationships or speculate on future scenarios. The line is not an object or a singular moment but defines a force or creates a situation.

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WIP book

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In addition to TS I am also working on a booklet for studio precedents – ranging from cuts and operative lines in art, to lines that connect, control, resist and speculate.

thesis statement to be posted soon.

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reorganizing structure by cutting through it

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the line that cuts
the line that divides
the line that resists
the line that controls

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for everyone

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Eva Hesse’s Hang Up
MoMA had an exhibition called ‘On Line’ a couple of years ago and there is a small online catalogue of the work here:

http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2010/online/#works

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scoring / projecting / WIP images

 

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“Everything I have written up to now is trifling compared to what which I would like to write. I am displeased and bored with everything now being written, while everything in my head interests, moves, and excites me.”
- Anton Chekhov

Draft of statement – defining the figure of the architect as a storyteller with the score as her tool.

Let us redefine the figure of the architect as essentially that of the storyteller, as she always looks to write what isn’t there – the world as we want it to exist. The architect’s primary tool is the line, used not to represent but to project forward and score the future.

Like a work of fiction, the purpose of each architectural drawing is to create a context for a new narrative. Everytime we put pen to paper, we are redefining and delineating one possible version of the world that is coming into being. Each and every architectural drawing is a map of the future – a architect’s statement in linear form about a projected state of affairs.

The score is the operative line and when it covers a surface at 1:1, it kills the sign. It allows for no interpretation but sets down static instructions for the future. Any line that is removed from the territory that it maps becomes merely representation. However when the architectural drawing scores the earth it is no longer representation but the work itself.

Something has to be drawn first in order to exist. (I draw, therefore it exists). In the early mappamundi, the spiritual space of Eden was physically located on a map in order to render it real.

Fundamental to the figure of the architect is the urge to fill in any empty space – whether the blank page, or the empty surface of the earth.

 

 

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TS spreads round 01

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TS spreads for tomorrow!

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TS Table of Contents (WIP)

TS Table of Contents

 The project will examine the idea of the line that becomes operative through the two actions of cutting and scoring. A scored line, in this case, is to be defined as the line that adds information to a medium, or produces something new from it, even if physically removing from. Cutting is the line that subtracts. 

The TS book starts with a serious of cutting and scoring precedent studies.

A. Introduction

a. Project & TS Statement
b. Technical Studies Proposal

B. Cutting – or the Line that Subtracts

a. Precedents
i. Small
01. Tools – Scissors, Blade, Holepuncher
How to cut through different materials?
– Paper
02. Record Player
ii. Medium
01. Lasercutting
02. CNCing
iii. Large
01. Fault lines

C. Scoring – or the Line that Adds

a. Precedents
i. Small
01. Drawing (pencil deposit)
How to score different materials?
– Paper
ii. Medium
01. Printing (2D-3D)
iii. Large
01. Rodrigo Derteano’s Drawing Robot
02. Striper Trucks

 

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Book for tomorrow!

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model & the blank drawing to accompany it..

Currently working on turning the ‘building score’ from the previous tutorial – building drawn in stairs, doors and windows – into a scored-paper model, with accompanying scored blank drawing…

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breaking things down

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In order to give the answers to the universe, I am trying to tell the story of
– an object through only light and shadow
– a building through only stairs, windows and doors
– a city through it’s defining elements (which at the moment is just a palm tree but more to come ;))

am trying to simplify the idea of ‘reading-writing’ by using elemental forms to describe a bigger picture. let’s see!
all of this to be put inside a bunker by tomorrow… the staging objects!!

I have 5 hours now to finish hts!!

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thought of the day

Print

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boom

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Folding of context

Preparing for tomorrow – some quick images of scale shifts, and also putting together a booklet of all the term’s images, ideas and references to gather my thoughts & argument together.

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XL – Seams & Scores

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What do seams and scores mean at vastly different scales? From the scale of the object, to the building, to the city, to the terrain…

At the scale of the terrain, the fault line can be considered both a seam and a score. It is a score containing the instructions on where to crack the earth’s surface, and becomes a seam at the moment that it manifests itself after an earthquake?

Pictured above, the San Andreas fault line.

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Fluorescent Yellow

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haych-tee-es for today…

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who knew you could crease curves

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Am thinking about the various forms in which these objects exist, as drawing, as flat scored sheets and finally 3D objects.

The drawings are  a set of instructions to realize the final object, and sometimes do and sometimes don’t look anything like the 3D piece (e.g. 2nd example).

I really like the idea of the ‘score’ sheet, which is the flat unfolded paper which the drawing either cut or scored, but almost invisible to the eye. Once you pick up the paper though it almost starts bending into place without you having to do much manual folding.

Scored lines / scores for realizing the 3D piece?

Also have a set more like the folded piece I showed on Friday. Will photograph them all properly tomorrow in different lights.

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Saturday night & the family is growing..

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whilst a MODEL is on it’s way…

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here’s to hoping my own drawing will surface at the end of the page, by the end of the day…

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Yesterday’s Banned Text

Micromegas envelops the viewer in such as way as to remove both immediate physical context and the cultural context of which it is a product. In order to decipher this very densely saturated spaces in any sense, the viewer has to become a reader of the drawing, recognising the break between the traditional map-territory relationship in that Micromegas is not the direct representation of an external object but a text that calls for a multiplicity of readings. The privilege of the reader, as opposed to the viewer, is the ability to unhook the signs from their supposed intended meanings.

In trying to read the drawings, one then starts projecting his or her own meanings into them. This is not because they are devoid of an original meaning or context, but that this particular context becomes irrelevant through the reader’s subjectivity. Libeskind’s lines exist in a vacuum up until the point that they are subjected to the reader’s inspection. The reader then, in turn, writes their own context for them – based on not what they arbitrarily present but what they actively allude to beyond the page.

The figure of the architect is now elevated to the third and final position, from viewer to reader to reader-writer. The reader-writer sees a figure or a context in anything put before her, and only understands a precedent project through her own production. Exploring Micromegas, one digests the plethora of forms only to constantly derive new spaces, new territories. The reader-writer never views a piece of work in order to decipher ‘what the author meant’ but solely as a platform from which to project forward her own ideas. We should abolish inheritance – as it is only our projection.

The work allows for a multiplicity of readings, not due to ambiguity of content but because it itself is woven out of multiple discourses and spun from already existent citations, echoes and cultural references. The reader-writer finds themselves at the loose end of one of these threads.

Micromegas do signal that they derive from somewhere, that there is an origin to their big bang – as only something that was once a figure can then be broken. However the quest for this origin is more interesting and important than the discovery of what actually lies behind the explosion. Reading Micromegas, we are all the time rewriting it too – writing to explore it, to critique it, and ultimately to create our own version of it. To draw, to write, to author is not to represent but to make.

This leads to the question of whether anything exists outside of its own representation – or whether that is even relevant. If, regarding any architectural work, what is significant is not the territory that the map derives from but the territory it allows me to create, then the ‘reality’ of the representation ceases to exist. Just as in Calvino’s Invisible Cities, the Khan only knows about the various cities in his empire through the stories Marco Polo tells him and it does not matter whether those cities are “real” or exist in any sense outside Marco Polo’s imagination.

The way the architect reads any work is as a work of meta-fiction. Through its highly contrived artificiality, it makes context disappear and works as a portal into its own past and future through what is alludes to and references; all the while rendering you aware of the process.

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Physical vs. Paper Erasure of Context

boullee_micromegas

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Re-Con Text

I want to begin by telling you about a short story by Voltaire in which a group of philosophers lost at sea are handed a book that they are told holds the answers to the universe. Upon opening the book, they discover that it’s pages are completely blank. Each reader is handed the power to write their own answers into the pages.

In 1979, Libeskind borrows the title of this story – Micromegas – for a new series of drawings. Drawn during a context of megastructural and utopian projects, Libeskind’s Micromegas are a graphic exercise that serve as the anti-thesis to context and figure. In addition to the title, Libeskind also takes on Voltaire’s thesis – how does one write the story of the universe? He does so through the reversal of his predecessor’s solution – by presenting pages saturated with lines, the complete opposite to blankness.

 

Or so it seems, on the surface, but the further we navigate into this world, the more we realise that the only way to read Micromegas is actually by rewriting it. Exploring these 11 incredibly dense, subjective drawings – subjective in that they are very much authored by Libeskind – we become elevated from the role of the reader to writer.

 

The process of engaging with the drawings is that you start by falling into the trap of reading Micromegas as a map of a supposed territory that Libeskind is describing, only to realise that this attempt is futile. It’s not that these drawings are without context but that this particular context is irrelevant. The significance of the drawings lies not in what we read being projected out of them, but what we, as the authors, begin to project into them.

When the Territory Precedes the Map

We begin. Let’s place ourselves back in the same boat as the philosophers for a moment, lost in the world of Libeskind’s Micromegas. We are holding the drawing to navigate. On the boat are some other useful tools for exploring; a globe and a compass, as well as Libeskind’s monograph, a book of architectural drawing conventions, a book about the visionary projects of the 70s. My own work.

The first tendency is to assume that Micromegas is indeed a map, and that there is a territory that precedes it, of which it derives from, with the hope that some of these tools can serve to find it.

When the Map and the Territory are Separate Entities

Scene Two. As we explore further we do discover a territory, one that’s constantly changing. It’s not static, like the map implies, but has a life of it’s own. And the more we read the map, the more we territory we create – until it becomes completely different from the original drawing.

When we look back at the map now, we reread it as a carefully curated abstraction, a product of the territory it maps, but not identical to it. It wants us to think it exists in a vacuum – literally, as even its edges are offset within the page – but this is not the case and the project is very much a product of its time. What Libeskind leaves blank on the map is the context that he’s choosing to omit. Hidden, in the background of the explosion, are the monumental utopian projects of the 70s, who Libeskind was battling, and friends, like Eisenman. This omitted context is what we are now writing back into the territory.

When, finally, the Map Precedes the Territory

As we continue moving, we continue authoring the space. We arrive at the final scene, where the two-dimensional flatland of Micromegas has fully become a three-dimensional spaces.

But just like Atlantis has been mapped so many times that it has become hyperreal, when we zoom out we see that we are looking at a map whose territory is only believed to exist, but doesn’t. The new space that we were writing in turn has become so real that we start to believe in it.

Edge of Paper

Navigating through Micromegas is like constantly rediscovering the power of drawing – where abstraction, rather than losing information, creates it, through the multiplicity of readings it allows. Micromegas is the aftermath of an explosion, filled with architectural debris – but it doesn’t matter at all what the stuff is, just that it’s there and hurled at us for our use. So much is gained from a simple manipulation of known forms, a restricted palette of drawing conventions that leave enough questions unanswered to set our imagination off.

 

Whilst the map and the territory relationship is typically understood in opposition to one another, Micromegas collapse this dichotomy. Reading Micromegas, we were all the time writing it too – as a tool to explore unknown territory, to question and critique it, and ultimately to create our own version of it. To write, to draw, to author, is not to represent but to make.

This leads to the question of whether anything exists outside of it’s own representation, or whether that is even relevant. If, in the case of Micromegas, what is significant is not the territory that the map derives from, but the territory it allows me to create, then who cares what the reality of the representation is. Just as in Calvino’s Invisible Cities, the Khan only knows about the various cities in his empire through the stories Marco Polo tells him and it does not matter whether those cities are “real” or exist in any sense outside Marco Polo’s imagination.

Similarly, with Micromegas, we do not read with the drawings to discover Libeskind’s intent. In any case, this is irrelevant and the notion of reading strips us, as architects, of our own freedom, reduces us to the passive role of the ‘reader’. Instead, they really are in a sense the aftermath of an explosion, pieces of architecture thrown at us so that we write our own story with them. We navigate through them by authoring our own territories, by transforming them into something they were never intended to be.

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Re-Con Jury Plates

01_sml
02_sml03_sml04_bg_sml 05_sml

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2am breakthrough…

Conclusion

Whilst the map and the territory relationship is typically understood in opposition to one another, Micromegas collapse this dichotomy. Reading Micromegas, we were all the time writing it too – as a tool to explore unknown territory, to question and critique it, and ultimately to create our own version of it. To write, to draw, to author, is not to represent but to make.

This leads to the question of whether anything exists outside of it’s own representation, or whether that is even relevant. If, in the case of Micromegas, what is significant is not the territory that the map derives from, but the territory it allows me to create, then who cares what the reality of the representation is. Just as in Calvino’s Invisible Cities, the Khan only knows about the various cities in his empire through the stories Marco Polo tells him and it does not matter whether those cities are “real” or exist in any sense outside Marco Polo’s imagination.

Similarly, with Micromegas, we do not read with the drawings to discover Libeskind’s intent. In any case, this is irrelevant and the notion of reading strips us, as architects, of our own freedom, reduces us to the passive role of the ‘reader’. Instead, they really are in a sense the aftermath of an explosion, pieces of architecture thrown at us so that we write our own story with them. We navigate through them by authoring our own territories, by transforming them into something they were never intended to be.

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plate 03 folded & mounted

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thursday evening unit space

20131121_161018 copy

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some Lewis Carroll for the morning

Lewis_Carroll_-_Henry_Holiday_-_Hunting_of_the_Snark_-_Plate_4

He had bought a large map representing the sea,
Without the least vestige of land:
And the crew were much pleased when they found  it to be
A map they could all understand.

 

What ís the good of Mercatorís North Poles and  Equators,
Tropics, Zones, and Meridian Lines?
So the Bellman would cry: and the crew would reply
They are merely conventional signs!

 

Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and   capes!
But we’ve got our brave Captain to thank:
(So the crew would protest) that he has bought us the  best
A perfect and absolute blank!

 

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early days for the white book…

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A4 book for jury on it’s way to being printed…

4 sections –
01. Libeskind’s Micromegas
02. Context
03. Re-Con
04. Key Map-Territory References

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03

03

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Uncovering context in the explosion…

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As we trace back the origin of the big bang.. we come across the projects that form it’s context, that Libeskind so carefully leaves blank on his map…

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Dogville

dogville_grace_running_on_set dogville

Got pointed to this Dogville reference today – stills from the movie which is also playing with notions of map and territory; where the scenes are represented only with plan drawings with only a few physical props..

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The treachery of images

2009-ceci-nest-pas-une-pipe-_0001a_
T
his is a lesser known iteration of Magritte’s famous ‘this is not a pipe’ painting…
Here he is framing the representation and placing it in front of the object, which is in itself a representation…

Map-territory.

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I went on a boat to Micromegas and I took with me…

desk

a little piece from plate 02

what are my tools with which I am navigating this territory?

Voltaire’s Micromegas, visionary projects of the 70’s, dictionary (for reading the language?), book of architectural drawing conventions, Libeskind’s monograph, Magritte, the context of my own work at the AA…

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Plate 05 WIP / pas une image juste, juste une image

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2D to 3D…

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Plate 01 (pimped out version)

01

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text

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A
 million windows in progress!

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drawing!

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– Micromegas ‘Dance Sounds’ projected into net for globe – almost ready to be sent to lasercut for a mockup for tomorrow
– Currently drawing 2 plates

The characters in the narrative [Baudrillard, Voltaire, Coronelli, Borges] have for the time being been replaced by the following binary relationships, each working on a different scale (the first word being the thing being depicted in the main image in the background of each plate (the “territory”) , whilst the second term is what we see in the represented version of it being held in the hand in the foreground (the “map”)):

– Object <-> Drawing [the drawing exists as a pure representation of the object / object precedes representation]
– Movement <-> Notation [the notation is an abstraction of the movement, has a life of its own, only selectively refers to the world outside]
– Landscape <-> Map [map is blank, landscape exists alone]
– Physical Reality <-> Vision [vision exists independent of the physical reality, becomes so real in itself that it doesn’t matter whether or not it actually exists externally]

Still too many different terms with overlapping meanings – updated text and storyboard to come this evening.

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recon recon recon

Some things being simultaneously worked on:

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Three ‘translations’ of Micromegas to come tomorrow, as well as an update on narrative. Trying to produce without overthinking!
Thinking about:
the reference Charles gave about the three types of maps/globes. Philip Buach drew maps for ship navigation, complete with annotations referencing the first hand accounts of sailors, that he based the maps on and that were also kept in the same room.
Fascinating! But almost nothing exists about this on the web. Possible conclusion to recon, zooming out of drawing to realise it exists in a library and can only be understood through its referencing.

Tags: > >
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losing figures..

281013_glassfigure

I am experimenting with depicting the micromegas views in different materialities.. right now the idea is for each plate to be an illustration of one topic that the drawings are “fighting” against. In this case, rendered in glass, you are supposed to lose sight of the figure as all the shapes merge into one another.

Ideas for plates are : materiality, ground, context (literal/theoretical), text, figure, narrative (cause and effect), architecture

In each plate, we see the protagonist (me?) holding various items with which to “read” (like the map-territory relationship)…

Update on text coming soon.

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