I have been invited to judge the Melbourne/Victoria regional finals for the national architecture student competition SuperStudio. Students across Australia will be issued a brief on Friday night and have 24 hours to develop a idea-led design response. More details on the SONA website.
My paper “Atmospheric—Making” has been accepted for the upcoming Transdisciplinary Imaging Conference “Cloud and Molecular Aesthetics” which is to be held in Istanbul, Turkey from June 26–28. Further details are available here.
Taking turbulence as both conceptual driver and organisational strategy, this paper gathers together recent drawing, installation and performative works, and examines the dynamics of this collection, drawing out and articulating the forces at play. Turbulence is understood as forceful and transformative, occurring in the space between, and as a result of, dramatic changes in atmospheric pressure. Projects are developed through an experimental practice of “atmospheric–making,” accreting particles across a range of scales to the point that these individual constituents become subsumed within a larger atmospheric condition. This two-way dynamic between the particular and the atmospheric seeks points of tension, where new qualities emerge from the interplay between particles and systems.
Three modes of crossing–between the particular and the atmospheric will be discussed. The first is developing relations between material and immaterial media to inhabit a threshold position between these two. Secondly, these (im)materials are used to activate spaces of betweenness, drawing attention to these liminal zones. The final crossing–between aims to disrupt a clear and defined epistemology, instead privileging an approach that embraces uncertainty, vagueness and changefulness.
These approaches question the idea of a defined and knowable world that is able to be captured through representational techniques. In its place it suggests a bodily process of figuring out, requiring immersion and active participation in making sense of atmospheric conditions. This bodily engagement results in the blurring of a distinct sense of self, and challenges participants to take part in a process of co-formation between environmental surrounds and distributed presence.
I have a new piece of work developed in collaboration with Jeff Hannam in an exhibition at BUS projects at 25-31 Rokeby Street in Collingwood. The exhibition opens on Wednesday 9 April from 6-8pm, and then runs until 26 April 2014.
“THISNESS is an exhibition by a group of artists and designers who are engaged in the theoretical investigation of spatial practice. The exhibition explores the concept of ‘haecceity’ through the presentation of works that express the essential quality of their nature through the fashioning of their materiality/immateriality. The pieces displayed interrogate the defining properties of the perception of the material world and challenge the audience’s relationship with the physical and the spatial. In doing so, the works seek to evoke a visceral encounter and provoke a heightened sensibility in the viewer/experiencer. The works in the exhibition range from a variety of approaches and disciplines; from drawing, photography, objects, sculpture, installation and sensorial environments. The exhibition as a whole seeks to highlight compelling approaches toward the manipulation of the physical and in doing so contend the actions and perceptions that constitute contemporary spatial art and design.”
Works by Suzie Attiwill, James Carey, Chris Cottrell and Jeff Hannam, Anthony Fryatt and Roger Kemp, Leah Heiss, Ross McLeod, Caroline Vains and Phoebe Whitman.
More details available on the BUS projects website.
INDEX, the RMIT Interior Design graduate exhibition opened last night, after a year of hard work planning, fundraising, designing and making by the graduating class and their tutors. Many thanks to Pandarosa for another amazing job on the identity, publication and environmental graphics, and to Rob Sowter and Rohan Bevan for their help onsite with the exhibition build.
My paper “Drawing of Breath: a provisional diagram for the reciprocal relations between atmospheres and affects” has been accepted for the upcoming Interstices conference “Moved: On Atmospheres and Affects” which is to be held in Auckland, New Zealand from November 22–24. Gernot Böhme will give the keynote presentation. Further details are available on the Interstices website.
From a young age I have always enjoyed exhaling into the cold dry air of wintertime and delighting in how breath, made visible, dissipates into the wider atmosphere. Evidence of the atmospheric differences within and without gives rise to wonderment, and in turn, a will — to the point of hyperventilation — to create more and more breath-clouds. This play of breath is an example of the distinctions between affects and atmospheres and their reciprocal folding together. The commonplaceness of breathing offers productive ways of understanding the remaking of self and environment and their ambiguous inter-relationship. The act of breathing is an intimate, energetic exchange between the world and our bodies; sustaining us, it is also a distributed act of collective connection. To breathe in is to draw the world inwards, to take in its forces and to draw sustenance from it. To breathe out is to expel something very personal into the public domain, where others may in turn draw it inwards in a constant process of exchange. Absorbing and being affected by diffuse, ephemeral qualities of space, means making sense of atmospheres and affects requires understanding bodily engagement.
Numerous art and architectural projects make specific use of breath as a motif or modus operandi, two of which I will examine in detail. A discussion of Decosterd and Rahm’s Hormonium will focus on how the drawing inwards of atmospheres via the respiratory and endocrine systems creates internally registered bodily affects. The second project, Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s extension to the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC, emphasises the registration of breath as a collective act in the public sphere. They see the project as making visible the “air of democracy,” via an inflatable public space for lectures and discussion. These projects, while using breath in quite different registers, build on an understanding of bodies and environments as being intertwined, if still separable. This condition of being together-but-separable is explored in Ben Anderson’s essay Affective Atmospheres. I similarly investigate the always in-process nature of atmospheres in this paper, drawing conscious attention to the process of breathing as a specific mechanism for becoming aware of the interrelationships between affects and atmospheres, bodies and environments.
Taking the building as a site for research and experimentation, Building Movements works directly upon the RMIT Design Hub, to interrupt habitual processes through the production of environments, drawings, and events. Following on from a research workshop held at the Design Hub in June 2013, these projects will reveal how we interact with, and are embedded within, architectural surrounds. Demanding an active engagement with the space leads to a deeper awareness of the mechanisms at play in the interaction between organisms and environments.
Installations by the Affective Environments architecture and interior design student workshop led by Chris Cottrell, Scott Andrew Elliott and Olivia Pintos–Lopez.
Projects by James Carey, Zuzana Kovar, Nick Skepper, Pia Ednie-Brown, and Adele Varcoe.
Curated by Pia Ednie-Brown.
A DRI associated event – supported by the Australian Research Council and a residency funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
In this intensive workshop elective students will take part in the construction of an installation project at the Design Hub developed by Chris Cottrell (RMIT), Scott Andrew Elliott (Aalto University, Finland) and Olivia Pintos-Lopez (RMIT).The course will begin with an introduction to a series of experimental art–architecture spatial practices and ways in which the construction of environments can test and probe relationships between the body and architecture.
Students will participate with the building process in creating an experimental installation, sourcing found materials, learning and developing techniques of making, engaging in team work, experiencing the challenges of collaborative, open-ended exploratory process first-hand, developing techniques for careful and intensive documentation of a process, and learning about research through the practice of making.
This course focuses on developing critical design practice by constructing experimental spaces, particularly in getting to know the hands-on practical skills for realizing a medium/large-scale collaborative project, and how this process of construction and its documentation can become integral to a research enquiry.
I attended the Drawing Out conference Writing—Drawing, organised by RMIT University and University of the Arts, London; and hosted at the RMIT design hub. The conference addressed the relationship between writing and drawing through various ideas including discovery, translation and notation.
ONE to ONE was a Masters of Architecture studio that I developed and co-taught at the University of Melbourne. The studio investigated materiality and immateriality through methods of architectural representation, focusing on an expanded notion of architectural drawing. The design process began with material/immaterial explorations, before moving to the production of a detail drawing at 1:1 scale. Students were asked to consider material and spatial relationships with the body, before developing a larger architectural proposition.
This was a two-day conference hosted by UTS and Interstices journal. Keynote speakers were Jonathan Hill who spoke on ‘Weather Architecture’ and Philip Ursprung, whose talk was titled ‘Limits to Representation.’ More details here.