Author Archives: Fabienne Tjia

Jury success! 

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In the Puberty stage

Rapidly growing, but being a massive pain in the butt. 

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Machine growth

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Into the Machine

model photo_0405 screenshot_mechanism0405Just finished the 3D model of the mechanism and continuing with constructing the machine mechanism to rotate and raise ring #0 and #1. So far ok, but wood has warped, so new plywood must be cut. Hands full of grease and the mind could use some lubrication too..

Further ideas for the stage include a hidden layer in which a screen can be seen, on the screen is a live video of what can be seen on the other side of the model. The screen is at 1:100 transporting the people interacting on the other side into the model. Also now layer #2,#3 and #4 have to be lifted through cooperation of two viewers, they each have to rotate their respective crank at the same time in order to operate the machine. (sketches to follow)


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Landscapes, Identities and the meaning of life

Rephrasing of project

My project is re-examining the landscape through identity.

The focus of the unit being the continuum, the project that I’m presenting to you is the continuum of a series of machines culminating in the ‘landscapes of the I’ The design is focussed around understanding space, in specific landscape, in a new way that is relevant to the contemporary context in which I argue landscape is not only bound to its geographical limits but perceived as an experience, transcending the material into the ephemeral and immaterial. I see our identity as being a continuum of landscapes, of sites. Each of our lives consists of many sites, mine exists at the AA, my flat in London, in The Netherlands, my commute over Waterloo bridge, on a holiday, in a way the site is a very disparate and disconnected landscape and yet it is connected through the continuum of my life. Our personal landscapes come into contact with identity other defining landscapes and start to collide and intermingle. My designed landscape is a multiplicity of sites taken from different people, essentially a collective landscape. The model that you see here is my current investigation of how to make these places spatially meet, interconnect and how they are displaced forming a space that is ever in flux. The apparatus of my project is landscape (the site) and the machine is the delivery of the it.

My designed machine reflects our identities as I see them, a string of landscapes merging and meeting with other(‘s) landscapes forming new spaces with each action.  

Why I think this is of importance to architecture, is because how we see and understand our environment is how we shape it, our cities and our landscapes, and in turn our environment shapes us, thus becoming an ever changing portrait of the collective self.


Current: Ghost in the Shell and why it’s relevant

The following is an excerpted transcript from Ghost in The Shell: Identity in Space, a video essay by Nerdwriter. It’s a good analysis of the ideas behind the movie and and quite relevant to my topic of identity and space. For inspiration purposes:

[…] Since most bodies in this future world are at least partly artificial, people locate their identities in their ghosts or their minds, but with the troubling knowledge that these also can be hacked. Memory, identity and humanity are all called into question. “All your memories about your wife and daughter are false, They’re like a dream. Someone’s taken advantage of you.” So how can a meditation on space illuminate the problem and theme of identity in Ghost in the Shell? Well, maybe the first thing we should say is that spaces, like identities, are constructed. Though space often feels neutral or given, like we could move anywhere within it, our movements, our activities, our life, is always limited by the way space is produced. In most places, but especially in big cities that production is controlled, not by the people, but by gigantic moneyed interests, state governments or both. And the same is true for identity. Spaces and identities are constructed and not always by ourselves. […] Cyberpunk has always featured these uneasy composites of multiple cultures. These are not utopias, but they don’t have to be imagined as dystopias either. The philosopher Michel Foucault called spaces like this heterotopias, places that exist in a dynamic state of layered and changing meanings. Heterotopias don’t succumb to those forces that try to make everything the same. They are marginal spaces for the voiceless to construct identities for themselves.

ghost in the shell

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Landscape of the I


In the unit we are given no context and no site but only the task to link things, objects and concepts. In the absence of a place to work with I am simply making my own site, comprised of ‘self portraits’. Each of our lives consists of many sites, mine exists  at the AA, my flat in London, in Holland, my commute over Waterloo bridge, on a holiday, in a way the site is a very disparate and disconnected landscape and yet it is connected through the continuum of my life. Our lives also continuously come into contact with other people, with other self-portraital landscapes. My designed landscape is a multiplicity of sites taken from different people, essentially a collective landscape. The model that you see here is my current investigation of how to make these places spatially meet, interconnect and how they are displaced. The apparatus of my project is landscape (the site) and the machine is the delivery of the it.



Throughout the year I’ve been making different machines that deconstruct space through vision and investigate the relation between viewer and viewed.

  • From the peepshow box called the Wonderbox that confines it and distances it from the viewer,
  • to the Mirage periscope that still confines it inside but starts to turns space back and around through mirrors and transports the viewer into the constructed space
  • to the Mirror telescope that turns space back inside the viewer.
  • The viewer thinks he’s viewing his surroundings but actually observes his insides, the interior of the eye, the blood vessels are projected on top of the view.
  • to ultimately the Landscape Orrery, which combines and connects the landscapes gathered through the previous machine. Here the viewer is in front and around the space, able to see it from many different angles.

Further explaining the last two machines I start with the Mirror telescope. The reference for this machine is the story of the Canals of Mars, in the early nineteenth century a popular theory was that there was life on Mars. Scientists were looking through their telescopes and seeing lines on the surface of mars so geometrical and distinct that no environmental phenomenon could have caused them, Schiaparelli drew them and further popularized the theory. What the scientists were actually seeing was the shadow of the veins in their eyes overlaid onto the image in the telescope. I think this is a great story about how we constantly project our own interpretation onto the things we see, and based on our identity and experiences this is different for everyone, it forms essentially a self portrait, much like my machines does.


The Mirror telescope is the device through which I captured the pieces of my landscape. It is a product of self portraiture and interpretation or imagination.

The process behind the construction is as follows.

  1. By looking through the Mirror telescope I observed and drew my self portrait.
  2. I showed other this seemingly abstract drawing and asked the question:

Drawing eye template

‘What is this a drawing of and at what scale?’

  1. I noted down their interpretations, subjective views which became their self portraits
  2. All the collected ‘self portraits’ are compiled in an imagined architectural site.

Each person’s subjective view sees a different part of reality, together they form the whole picture. Collecting these subjective views into collective sight forms my contemporary architectural site

IMG_9531 IMG_9533

The landscape orrery is based  consists of several landscapes, the rice paddy fields from the interpretation of the canals of Mars, the landscape of mars itself and central park from both sides as a landscape showing the theme of man-made vs nature and incorporating the interpretation of tree canopies and city diagrams.



I argue that landscape is comprised of a disconnected array of sites taken from our lives. Landscape doesn’t just exist in one set of coordinates anymore but in many places at a time connected through vision and memory. In my project I attempt to spatialize this concept through the Landscape orrery.

For further development of the project I aim to expand the landscape orrery and investigate in what other ways it can perform, working with another dimension of movement, possibly incorporating some of my former machines effects, using mirrors, and or screens.


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Producing landscape 

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The Mars chapter

Going back to the initial reference, Canals of Mars, one of the landscapes scenarios is

A = The mars landing (Mars currently)


B = Mars in the future (Mars settlements etc) answering what are the canals we saw on Mars

For the model I am taking from this: the rover, rocky dune-y landscape, domes space-like structures.


This is Mars’ landscape as photographed currently from the Rover

mars_gallery_habitat_6terraform marsAnd these are artist impressions of the first steps of Mars colonization, project Mars One (Volunteers for a one way-ticket leaving in 2036 wanted btw). Also shown a more futuristic vision of terraforming, completely changing the landscape and atmosphere, Mars.

And below is The Biosphere 2 project, an attempt to simulate Mars-like conditions on Earth. mars_biosphere2

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Landscape of the mechanism

Like a forest the rods of the mechanism stand tall.

mechanism drawing 01

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Parts of the machine

Today the framework of the machine finally became physical. The bones are made, the organs (the gears etc.) are in the making and the skin (the theater stage pieces) is being designed. IMG_9448 IMG_9449It has become a bit of a monster..


The theater stage I’m exploring making out of paper, a couple of references for (semi) 3D paper work:

3721068076_c2c6a367c6_b berg ChristinaLihan6 once-upon-a-time-campos-en-plymouth-washington paperarch01 paperarch10 release_img_01



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Scale(less) Landscapes

Currently looking at the interpretability of landscapes in terms of scale. Landscape can have a certain scaleless quality that when put with different other ‘scale references’ can be seen as either large or small scale. Context is everything.


beach_scalesmall Above is a simple photoshop version demonstrating the concept, but in the physical model, orrery version, these objects are connected by rotating them in front of one another.

So I am compiling different landscape scenario’s and scale reference object that can be interchangeable and universal.


Another couple of possible landscapes include:

lawntulip fieldsonce-upon-a-time-campos-en-plymouth-washington Meridian, California Knights Landing vineyard greenhouses

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Machinery heaven

Found out about this guy who makes musical machines and I am totally amazed and in awe. Such beautiful music too, I can take a note or two on how his mechanisms work too. Really love the sound all the parts make and maybe I can incorporate some audio performative aspect into my machine later on as well.

This one has another crazy amazing electric instrument in it called a ‘Modulin’ designed by him. It’s a handheld synthesizer played like a violin.

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Catalogue of mechanisms

As a start of a study I analyzed and cataloged potentially useful mechanisms to make my Landscape Orrery

Catalogue of mechanisms2

Catalogue of mechanisms4 Catalogue of mechanisms5 Catalogue of mechanisms14

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Landscape of the I – Orrery

Trying to mechanically figure out how to make a machine that moves items left and right on a circular track, rotates the item around its own axis and how to move the item up and down.

Therefore studying all kinds of mechanism and Orreries (models of planetary body movements).



ornamental detail inspiration

Also interested in incorporating mirror to extend space and transport objects into scenes. For some reason humans are still very bad at comprehending the concept of mirrors.

For instance: The following picture shows Venus looking at herself in a mirror peterpaulrubens_venus_at_a_mirrorPsych! If you can see her face, she can see…. yours.

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Perception and perspectives


Topic of interest: different view = different information

Trying to tie together self portrait, the blind spot, subjective and objective in a meaningful way to form a stand point connected to the contemporary context, but Emma’s fog has crept into my mind and a whiteout has been created.


White out

Whiteout occurs when the sky and snow assume a uniform whiteness, making the horizon indistinguishable and eliminating the contrast between visible objects both near and far. The observer loses all sense of perspective, and aircraft and other operations become extremely hazardous. Whiteouts happen most frequently in spring and fall, when the sun is near the horizon. Further conditions necessary to the development of whiteouts are uniform snow cover and cirrostratus, altostratus, or stratus overcast. The sky cover is the most important factor in the development of whiteout conditions and forecasters therefore use the cloud forecast to predict possible whiteouts.


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The blind spot

After last Friday’s jury the main topic I am interested in is the Blind Spot

I have started to research what kinds of things blind spot can mean, starting with the physiological meaning.

A blind spot, scotoma, is an obscuration of the visual field. A particular blind spot known as the physiological blind spot, “blind point”, or punctum caecum in medical literature, is the place in the visual field that corresponds to the lack of light-detecting photoreceptor cells on the optic disc of the retina where the optic nerve passes through the optic disc.[2] Because there are no cells to detect light on the optic disc, the corresponding part of the field of vision is invisible. Some process in our brains interpolates the blind spot based on surrounding detail and information from the other eye, so we do not normally perceive the blind spot. – wikipedia

Most interestingly is that again our brain uses a mechanism to prevent us from perceiving the blind spot. Our brain fills in the spot with what it guesses is there.


Small test: close your left eye and look at the black dot with your right eye. Move closer to the screen until the blue dot disappears.

Here’s another test with which you can draw your blind spot, I’ve tried it and it’s insanely difficult, haven’t yet managed to properly do it.


Helmholtz[6] gives an excellent method for drawing your own blind spot. You close one eye (say the left) and you look at a fixation point marked on a piece of paper. You localize the region of the blind spot to the right (when looking with the right eye) of the fixated point, and with a pencil, you blacken the paper over all the area for which the tip of the pencil remains invisible. As soon as the tip of the pencil comes out of the blind spot, you stop marking. By proceeding in this way, and keeping the eye completely still (this is difficult!), it is possible to draw the vertically extended patch corresponding to the blind spot, and even to begin to draw the stumps of the two blood vessels that leave the spot at the top and at the bottom. The technique is illustrated below

blindspot1 blindspot2



Another thing to alert you to something that might have been residing in your blind spot, today’s Emergency Demo to protest Donald J. Trump’s invitation to the UK

protest video


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Imagination land

Looking at these satellite images that use color to analyze certain aspects I was thinking of how the site I’m creating is an imagined space and so does not need to follow real world color either. What remains is texture and contrast which is enough to recognize the photo based scenes, but the ones that are an analysis of material and for example the beehive will need another treatment. colima_volcan

Maybe not so psychedelic but imagined colors is the idea. rice terrace water cloud_color


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Subjective Vistas

rice terrace water cloud


This is the first of many vistas into the Collective Selfportrait

(aka the architectural site)

The vistas represent each Viewer’s (the people I asked: what is this a drawing of?) subjective view

Separately these subjective views see only a small part of the truth, together they form the whole (the architectural site).

The site as a whole is comprised of all these different parts/elements people saw in my self portrait. Because they are always looking through their own filter (literally the blood vessels, figuratively their subjective view), their interpretations are in essence also a self portrait (self portrait inception!)

So, these vistas are a representation of what one viewer sees, one viewer sees only a piece of the whole, the viewer’s sight has blind spots.

These blind spots might very well be the parts on the site that other people do see. The blind spots refer to the other subjective views / vistas.

They appear either in silhouette or are completely unrecognizable and obscured by clouds.

The printed vista’s will have mirror paper there where the silhouettes are. Whoever then views the vista sees him/herself reflected in the vista’s, this is a metaphor for how we fill in those blind spots with our own interpretations, our own self portraits.


I’m also looking at references for how to draw a map of my site, here are some of them. The site map will then refer with indicators of location to the vistas.

map old 3d map old 12.12.17_Iceland Main Map_Compilation_FOR PRINT map new2

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A view through time and space

A retrospective view through time and space to the machine that came before. The viewing hole of the Mirror telescope lines up with the viewing hole of the Mirage periscope (previous machine), drawing a link between the two devices.

Don’t know what exactly what I want to say with this but it’s an interesting image I think..MT_retrospective2

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Throwback to first jury


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White book spreads

A collection of spreads that I’ve been working on. The book shows the viewing devices with images as though looking through the hole, maybe the book as a whole could work as a looking device and have pages with cutouts that hide and reveal the information on the next page.

Also added a bunch of recipes and realized I need to make everything again to take better pictures, what a bummer… :p

The red line is the crop line.

White book_upload_Page_01White book_upload_Page_07

White book_upload_Page_09White book_upload_Page_11

White book_upload_Page_19


White book_upload_Page_20


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Landscapes of imagination


Colour, texture and detail I can use to transform my original ‘template’ map of Mars (selfportrait) to fit a certain perception of the drawing.

Making drawings for at least two perceptions of the following list that I collected:

  • tree canopy
  • volcano
  • cracked earth
  • marble
  • microscopic biological matter (plant, vegetable, illness, cells)
  • rivers
  • diagram of city
  • tunnel
  • settlements
  • beehive
  • map
  • mountain
  • conurbation/agglomeration
  • crystalline growth on wall
  • cracked glass

Some amazing photos of landscapes, hard to distinguish what they really are, abstract quality

jakobshavn-glacier-greenland aral-sea aster-mining high-resolution-landsat-satellite-imagery-oman

And some images showing what people saw in the abstract selfportrait

circle-of-trees cracked-earth diagram-infrastructure-1 grand-prismatic-spring-aerial-view-2 marble2 meteor_crater night-light tunnel-2 volcano

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The machine works!


With an eery squeaking sound the first maps of Mars are being drawn. Afterwards a ‘storyboard’ of the next jury presentation containing the project’s subject and objective step by step laid out.

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Drawing Mars machine

Making the machine, status: In progress

Now taking a break to bake a cake and then the first tests of drawing my own ‘Map of Mars’

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(Un)covering the (un)observed

I am currently designing a whole new device (partially for HTS Vanishing point course, but in parallel to the studio work). This new device is based on one of the references given to me at last jury: The Canals of Mars

The Canals of Mars


For a time in the late 19th century, it was believed that there were canals on Mars.

The Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli, who observed Mars in 1877, was the first to describe, name, and lovingly illustrate mysterious straight lines along its equatorial regions, which he called canali. Viewed with the telescopes of the day, in brief instances of still air amidst the optical strangeness of atmosphere, Mars was tough to figure. There are areas which appear darker or lighter (these are called Albedo features); to an enthusiastic observer, it was easy to speculate of continents, oceans, or even straight-line canals.

Beset by the same optical illusions, many astronomers seconded Schiaparelli’s observations. The maps of the day show a Mars riven with peculiar webs and lines–lines which successive high-resolution mapping of the planet have definitively shown do not exist. The mechanism that caused this illusion appears to be internal: faced with a shifting landscape of foggy forms, glimpsed at through simple lenses of glass through the refractive index of Earth’s atmosphere, the human brain tends to impose order.


Schiaparelli’s map of Mars

The Irish astronomer Charles E. Burton made beautiful sketches of the lines, and (according to an unsubstantiated Wikipedia entry) speculated that they were ley lines used by Martian sorcerers. The American Percival Lowell, who founded the Lowell Observatory in 1894, made the most committed speculations on the subject. Despite ramping scientific skepticism to the contrary, Lowell almost single-handedly popularized the notion of the canals as proof that the planet once sustained intelligent life. His drawings of the canals look like Italian Futurist masterworks or the spacey doodles of Joan Miró.


Lowell’s drawings of the canals on Mars


In fact they were drawing the reflection of their own blood vessels onto what they were seeing, a projection/superimposition of themselves onto an image.


left eye blood vessels, right map of mars

These fantastical ideas relate back to my sentence about the satellite image (believing in what is seen, the view through a telescope changing the perspective of the viewer) and the sentence about the Nazca lines (seeing meaning in patterns, where there might be none)

The device I want to make is a device that uses the following video’s principle to allow you to see your own ‘map of Mars’ aka your eye.

watch starting from 5.28 for the DIY test



The viewing device is meant for me to discover my own personal filter that is always present in my vision but never seen. Our brains filter it out of our perception, it is seen but never perceived. I am discovering the unperceived (Uncovering the unseen, while my brain is covering the seen), then I will attempt to draw my ‘map of Mars’ and make that into another viewing device (drawing printed on acetate) so that I can always be aware of this image that is there but filtered out. Or show someone else what is like to see the world through my eyes.


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Exploding the device

(Sorry for the horrible photo)

Working on the drawing showing the device and its workings (exploded view of the box and later added the corresponding ‘exploded’ views seen inside the box.

Trying to somehow incorporate the movement of the parts as well.

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Drawings of the mechanisms

model-misdirectional-boxCurrently working on an exploded view drawing (above is only the Rhino model, no drawing yet) of the [eyebox / Ibox / Wonderbox II / Misdirectional box / Mystical box / Mirage periscope]?

The drawing is to explain the mechanical workings of the apparatus and to illustrate what is seen inside. (It is somewhat of a how to/how does it work drawing) More drawings of all boxes are to be made and together with photos compiled in the White book.

Have been looking online for book styles, formats and fonts, what do you think of these?




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Wonderful website

pdr-logoThis website is really amazing, great collection of wonderfully absurd books.

For instance:

– The Up-To-Date Sandwich Book: 400 Ways to Make a Sandwich (1909)

My Experiences in a Lunatic Asylum (1879)

– The Splash of a Drop (1895)

– The Influence of the Blue Ray of the Sunlight and of the Blue Color of the Sky (1877)

– Spectropia; or, Surprising Spectral Illusions (1865)

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The non-singular experience

My attempt at making the singular experience non-singular. The box has now transformed into a ridiculously elaborate stage set, achieving video crossfade effect through mechanics rather than post production editing.
This form of presentation does take away some aspects of the performance however, the directionality (could be solved with a second video frame), the believability of the trickery (video being manipulable). It does add also some weird elements, the cropping of the frame, the non-realization that the opening image is looking at a mirror.

Also another clue you might have missed in the Truman scene

Note the road sign, the places and distances on it

Note the road sign, the places and distances on it

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Misdirection(al) device

I’m expanding my latest itteration of devices that misdirect.

The misdirectional device transports the viewer through time and space. Transportation happens between reality and ‘stage’ and present and past. (the future can only be predicted, not viewed ;) )

Important references for this box are Dan Graham’s Time delay rooms and Marcel Duchamp’s entant donnés. The time delay rooms are transporting the viewer in time through video and sound. 

dan-graham-time-delay-room-1This closed-circuit installation was varied by Dan Graham six times following the same structural set-up as described below:
«Two rooms of equal size, connected by an opening at one side, under surveillance by two video cameras positioned at the connecting point between the two rooms. The front inside wall of each features two video screens – within the scope of the surveillance cameras. The monitor which the visitor coming out of the other room spies first shows the live behavior of the people in the respective other room. In both rooms, the second screen shows an image of the behavior of the viewers in the respectively other room – but with an eight second delay.
The time-lag of eight seconds is the outer limit of the neurophysiological short-term memory that forms an immediate part of our present perception and affects this «from within». If you see your behavior eight seconds ago presented on a video monitor «from outside» you will probably therefore not recognize the distance in time but tend to identify your current perception and current behavior with the state eight seconds earlier. Since this leads to inconsistent impressions which you then respond to, you get caught up in a feedback loop. You feel trapped in a state of observation, in which your self-observation is subject to some outside visible control. In this manner, you as the viewer experience yourself as part of a social group of observed observers [instead of, as in the traditional view of art, standing arrested in individual contemplation before an auratic object].

(Gregor Stemmrich, «Dan Graham,» in Thomas Y. Levin, Ursula Frohne, Peter Weibel (eds.), CTRL[SPACE]. Rhetorics of Surveillance from Bentham to Big Brother, ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, 2001, The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, London, 2002, p. 68.)

Dan Graham’s work brings video and architecture together. These time delay pieces address the idea of who’s viewing who, he sometimes lets the viewer decide to be either audience or performer (in the time delay room series), but in other works like Two Rooms/reverse video delay the conversation is more about surveillance (as the viewer can move between rooms A and B, the screen in room A shows footage from room B 8 seconds ago and vice versa. One can see himself in room A if he was in room B 8 seconds ago, if not he sees either the reflection of an empty room or others in that room.)fullsizerender-3

His work Present continuous past(s) is adressing time. It shows footage on a screen of the room 8 seconds ago, two walls however are mirrors. This means, if the viewer is not blocking the camera view directly, he can see the footage of him 8 seconds ago AND reflected in the wall behind him the screen with footage from 16 seconds ago and inside that screen another with footage from 24 seconds ago, and endless view back in time. fullsizerender-2

He even goes further with the time delay method and incorporates sound. Instead of just a screen showing images of people in the room 8 seconds ago there is another room with a performer describing the actions he sees in the other rooms. This audio is added to the effect of the time delay.fullsizerender-1

Dan Graham also has great works with one and two way mirrors that just mess with your perception of space. The viewer doesn’t know anymore where is real and reflected or where the view they’re viewing is coming from. This is an important idea I want to take on board in my Misdirectional device.dan-graham-two-way-mirrordan-graham-4

Marcel Duchamps Entant Donnés are in a sence also a transportation, not in time but in space. He creates a ‘veil’ which is the door into another realm. Behind the veil or filter as I would call it, there’s a whole other world, completely fabricated and fake though. I find this transportation into the ‘theater set’ interesting, looking through the door, but the transportation is only one way. I am more interested in being continuously being transported between reality and stage only to discover you didn’t really know which was which. 



I got really into Dan Graham’s work and want to incorporate his time delay method into my new and improved box. The main idea is to layer a lot of fakes and realities over each other to utterly confuse the viewer and ultimately make him aware of the illusion. Going in with a number of expectations and starting at reality, diving into the fabricated and then step by step coming closer to reality again.

 Working on

A drawing of my box that explains the sequence, content and direction of viewing. It’s a kind of exploded view diagram drawing that incorporates construction with viewing lines and what is actually viewed inside. Here’s a little reference of style I’d like to achieve eventually. If anyone has more references, please let me know!!


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Finding the meaning of life [not 42]

Trying to find the meaning of life on a cold winters day.




Questions of the day:

– How for god’s sake am I using the pepper’s ghost effect?

– What is inside my boxes?

– What is my thesis, what is the conclusion, what is the point?

– What is the meaning of life…

caption: Major question escalation


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Notes on Misreading

In the installations I make we are as a third party/onlooker on the scene.

The reason for misreading is that we seek understanding of [literature/art/object/situations]. Therefore we interpret what we see.

Reality vs Illusion What is real? All things have multiple truths, all situations have multiple perspectives. Such is life, opinion and experience differ from person to person. We determine what is ‘real’ with our own cultural framework, formed by our experiences, norms and values.

Misreading happens when expectations collide with reality, either no meaning is seen where there is a greater message or higher meaning is sought where there is none.

Misreading might also occur when a single moment in time is observed severed from its context. As in narrative information about a scene can travel forward as well as backward in time, all of this information is left out of consideration when a moment is ripped out of it’s timeline. 

Misreading can be intentional through trickery and misleading. Methods of misdirection can be to focus the onlooker’s attention away from the clues that tell about the truth or to place important information out of focus or hide it. Also one might create false expectations from the onlooker by feeding false or misleading clues previous to observing a scene. 

Misreading can happen when a situation is only fleetingly observed. The mind will automatically filter out what it deems important and ignore the rest of the information, in every day life I argue that most misreadings happen this way, filtering out ‘unnecessary’ information that was actually crucial to the understanding of a situation.

Misreading is the only way in which we can experience the world. We all live in our own realities and can only be made aware of existing other realities (perspectives, perceptions). A person can be made aware of another reality and can ‘peer into them’ as if he were looking through a keyhole into another room. Someone aware of other realities existing alongside his own can see reality, a multiverse of perspectives all overlapping, 2D images together making a 3D universe.

For misreading to happen the scene observed must fulfill at least the following requirement:

  • it must be more than a/or a series of objects (an apple is an apple, only when placed in context can it have meaning)

Misreading happens when our eyes and brain selectively see what we want to see, a truth that is preferable over another, a truth that we are more likely to accept is noticed over one that will make us feel uncomfortable.

When we are knowing of being mislead we might be actively searching for clues to other realities and that on it’s own can lead to misreading (referring back to seeing meaning where there is none, for example reading into the meaning of nazca lines)


Inspiring readings:





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Color and vision | Wildlife photography exhibition

I also (hmpf, CY beat me to it) went to the color and vision exhibition and dropped by the wildlife photography exhibit while I was at it.

Beautiful and inspiring material about perception of humans and animals and the evolution there of at the Color and Vision exhibition.


Iridescent material, perception of the color changes with viewing angle




Particularly interesting I found the concept of structural color vs pigments. Structural color is like the first image you saw of iridescent glass, your perception changes with viewing angle. Pigment however is pure, your perception does not change no matter your perspective.



Some lovely pics and an amazing book for OCD people.

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At the wildlife photography exhibition one particular image caught my eye. This picture of fungi struck me because of it’s scale deception. The way they are framed and the focus, out of focus in foreground and background, the image acquires a real depth. The horizon line here is also such that the plants seem huge rather than tiny, this is a nice play on perspective vs perception.





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Visceral wonders

The next itteration of the Wonderbox will incorporate the human body in it to interact with the interior/stage of the box. Visual trickery will further play on the idea of making things seem different from what they actually are.

Techniques that will be incorporated are forced perspectiveaperture/lenses and Pepper’s ghost hologram technique.  

The wonderbox function as a stage, a theater with illusions to trick perception.

The themes of

  • - aperture/framing
  • proximity (physical as well as mental)
  • illusion

incorporated in the apparatus are a critique on ‘theater stages’ in society. Where you might find these veils of illusion and performance are illustrated below.

(several images are made per theme so I can choose later which ones work best)


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living-room-stage looking-out-window

Pepper’s ghost

An old theater technique to make an ‘apparition’ of an object appear, precursor of the hologram as it were.

Below there’s a video of a Coachella performance of Tupac and Snoop Dogg using Pepper’s ghosts illusion. This performance was done three years after Tupac’s death. (skip to 2.30 to a live and a dead man interact)


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Architecture of the unexpected

In the Wonderbox you are looking at a scene: what you see is determined (framed) by the aperture. You think you know what to expect inside of the box because you can see and measure it’s exterior, trusting your eyes you form an idea about what lies beyond the four walls of the box. Inside the architect is the director, the interior is a world of manipulated and unknown. It is like being transported into a different dimension but only through the eye, the aperture is the path.

The Wonderbox is as a play with three acts. After act 1 the world inside the box seems one way, but when seen from a different perspective, your perception is changed.


Act 1, the fire

Act 2 throws off your preconceived notions of the scene, the previous becomes known as illusion.

Act 2, the building is a model

Act 2, the building is a model

After seeing act 2 your perception of the scene evolves as more information has been added.

Act 3, the reveal

Act 3, the reveal

Once again your perception of the inside world is upended and all has been revealed to be a ruse.

The potential finale of the play can be the following:

Act 4, perception from inside the box

Act 4, perception from inside the box

Some of the tools through which architecture of the unexpected can happen are:

  • framing (aperture)
  • distance (proximity)
  • lighting
  • perspective manipulation (forced perspective)

Next topics to look at are how to transform the box and investigate further into these tools.


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After last Friday’s seminar about narrative I looked further into making an apparatus that takes the idea of changing perspective from one of the narratives I analyzed. The first narrative was Paprika, a linear narrative but constantly jumping between dream world and reality until both eventually crash and merge.


The second non-linear narrative I analyzed was from the film The Handmaiden. This story tells a series of events from three different perspectives, when one ark is done at the point of arrival at the sanatorium the story starts anew but from another characters perspective. This happens three times and with each time the viewer gets more information about the whole. It is as if seeing a ‘landscape’ from different angles and each new angle makes your perception of it more complete.



The reference I looked at for constructing my apparatus is the exhibition by Ai WeiWei exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts earlier this year. In it were 6 containers. Each of these containers had a couple of peepholes through which you could see a part of the prison cell inside. I take this idea of the ‘peepshow’ and add to it the concept of a looping narrative, giving the viewer through seeing a scene from (literally) different perspective a different perception (figurative change of perspective) of the whole.

Click the link below to visit an interactive website showing the RA’s exhibition.



In this image you are looking through a peephole showing the overview of the scene, but you can see a peephole over Ai WeiWei’s bed through which you can only see a fragment of the scene, him sleeping peacefully in his bed, where in reality there are two guards uncomfortably close watching him 24/7.

The concept of the wonderbox (peep box, raree show) goes back to the 15th century and were used to depict theatrical scenes to people for a fee. They were small enough to carry around on a cart or someones back.



Below some sketches of the design of the Wonderbox, still a work in progress but tomorrow the physical model will be there to show you the concept in action. It is a ‘set’ inside a box, showing a story from three different view points, the next viewpoint offers a new bit of information showing the previous was but an illusion.





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Sir John Soane: Cabinet of Curiosities


Exterior of Sir John Soane museum

The Sir John Soane museum, an art and architectural archive of sorts, is label- and practically sign-less. Wandering and discovering in this miniature cramped and stuffed to the brim museum/private house feels natural. The way it is set up, resembling more Sir John Soane’s private house rather than a museum gives it a remarkably inviting feel, you feel more close to the displayed art (human proximity). Virtual barriers of ‘do not-s’ and physical barriers of glass casings have been replaced by funny little thistles (prickly little dried flowers) placed on all surfaces not to sit on, if you accidentally do you’ll definitely get up again real quick.

Speaking to the extremely helpful and enthusiast man on duty in the picture room I found out the whole museum was more or less a museum already before it was officially opened to the public. The architect Sir John Soane devoted his life to neo-classical architecture and the study thereof after being immensely inspired by travelling through Italy to Rome on a government scholarship (he was barely 20 at the time, Grand tour  1778). His students would be invited to his house to study architecture by drawing and analyzing the objects he had collected. He did not care about the authenticity of the material, many of the sculptures are actually plaster casts of originals still in Italy, for him it was all about building an archive rather than a collection, for the purpose of study rather than showing off.

He also built an archive of his own work, built and un-built. Many of the original architectural models are preserved in the museum as are many many paintings of his designs. Almost all of these are painted by the artist Gandy. He was offered 50 pounds per painting (twice a housemasters annual salary at the time) and all paintings took 21 days to produce. The painting are strangely futuristic, the designs are often painted as ruins in a distant future. Probably inspired by ancient Roman architecture and thinking, this is how I want to be remembered in the future, his architecture treasured and preserved as ruins.

Painting of an imaginary archive filled with realized designs by Soane

Painting of an imaginary archive filled with realized designs by Soane

An imaginary landscape of un-built designs by Soane, Soane's utopia as it were

An imaginary landscape of un-built designs by Soane, Soane’s utopia as it were

Fun fact: The reason John Soane could afford all these ridiculously lavish things like 50 pound paintings, build every thing he could dream up and collect an insane amount of architectural paraphernalia is because he inherited a whole portfolio of London real estate from his wife’s supposed uncle(?). So they were rich as .. , good thing he decided to dedicate all that time and money to education rather than squandering it (which is why he decided all his inheritance would be given to the government instead of his son..)

The picture room is one of the most interesting spaces in the museum. In this tiny space of about 3.5 x 3.5 meters over 100 paintings are displayed. Shutters on the wall open up to reveal more wall space behind. This ingenious wall display system (built in the former horse stables) compresses a lot of information in a very small space. Layers of information open up behind one another reminiscent of data compression on a computer or webpages opening doors to new layers of information.

Skip to 2:20 in this extremely boring low quality video to see the full effect of the ‘ window-wall’ opening. (I’m sorry this is really the only video that shows it well)

Cabinets of curiosities also called Kunstkabinettt, Kunstkammer and Wunderkammer are encyclopedic collections of objects. Many of these Wunderkammers had items spanning many different categories, ranging form natural history, to biology, to art and religious relics. They were essentially private musea for the purpose of study but also to reflect ones rank in society.

Liber Collection Security Conference

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The Hunterian: Cabinet of Curiosities

I found myself sneakily taking pictures of the Hunterian museums displays this afternoon, like a child in their parents office, trying to avoid being caught.

The Hunterian is a museum displaying John Hunter’s collection of medical instruments and biological specimens. The collection was purchased by the government in 1799 and given to the Company (later The Royal College) of Surgeons. The collection formed the basis for a museum constructed as part of the new Royal College of Surgeons of London’s building on the south side of Lincoln’s Inn Fields.


Interior of the ‘wunderkammer’

The dim lighting in the main space which exhibits the specimens gives the space a rather eerie feel. Marveling at all the different species displayed I notice it is somewhat organized. Marsupial families are put next to flying fish and deformed Elephant tusks, but overall the specimens are categorized by type of organism; I think.. It is an archive of sorts, cataloging animals, humans and diseases. displayed in an overwhelming manner. A cabinet of curiosity, imposing and intriguing. The way the the glass jars full of alien looking matter are haphazardly displayed makes you want to explore each and every shelf. So much information compressed in a small space..

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Because you see all the specimens in such a close up manner, some posed as if they were giving birth, others made with ‘peek-holes’ into their bellies exposing their intestines, it makes you experience the once living things in the jars more closely. All are labeled with their Latin name and given some annotation as to what it is. The first time I experienced this exhibition and saw the hacked off foot of someone with ‘elephantitis’ it made me question the ethics behind all of it, goes to show that how you display an object can really influence the mental proximity of your experience.

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