It all began with memory… and mapping that memory.
“…That’s the precision programming you’ve got built in. You yourself don’t know a thing about the inner shenanigans of that program. ‘Tisn’t any need for you t’know. Even without you knowin’, you function as yourself. That’s your black box. In other words, we all carry around this great unexplored ‘elephant graveyard’ inside us… No, an ‘elephant graveyard’ isn’t exactly right. ‘Tisn’t a burial ground for collected dead memories. An ‘elephant factory’ is more like it. There is were you sort through countless memories and bits of knowledge, arrange the sorted chips into complex lines, combine these lines into even more complex bundles, and finally make up a cognitive system”.
Murakami, Haruki. Hard-boiled Wonderland and End of the World. 1985. Trans. Alfred Birnbaum. Toronto, ON: Penguin Group, 1991.
Which is lined with all things technical and artistic pushing both my artistic and mechanical brain into overdrive – it seems in this case my logical brain had a jump start and so I dabbled in the work and ideas of everyone from jacques lecan, to karl chu, to neil spiller, to jean baudrillard, to j.g. ballard, to franz kafka, to charles baudelaire, to jorge luis borge, to wolfgang strauss, to name a few … but in the end came back to the simple idea of mind mapping and the ability to collect memory through time and architecture in ‘this’ world, with ‘this’ body.
Memory ultimately led me to Joseph Cornell and his collaged boxes. As I studied Cornell and his work I also examined the collage-like work of the Situationist International (I have a soft spot for them to begin with), and Surrealism and its techniques — they both carry the sense of rejection of the traditional instruments and preconceived notions of something ‘is’.
Not to say that collage is not a method that is not employed often, in fact because of its disjunctive and combinational nature it can speak to many different disciplines, however, rightfully so in many ways, architecture still defaults to the traditional plan, section, elevation.
Before I get to deep into an aside, here are the collages that I created for each chapter of the novel (Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World). Which functioned on several levels. First they allowed me to become familiar with the technique and get my hands a bit dirty, revealing that the inherent ambiguity of the method is governed by a set of conditions that the creator must recognize. Further, they allowed my to translate the novel into a physical, non-literal medium that I could begin to read spatially and relate to my site and program.