Tag Archives: collage

‘collage making’

 

It all began with memory… and mapping that memory.

 

of biblical proportions, josh dorman, 2007

of biblical proportions, josh dorman, 2007

But not what you typically think of when you hear the word ‘memory‘.  But instead as Murakami characterizes it in the novel.

“…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.

duane michals/pace/macgill gallery

duane michals/pace/macgill gallery

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.

Sooooo…..

cornell's tilly losch

cornell

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.

moth man

moth man

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.

elevator, silence, overweight

elevator, silence, overweight

golden beasts

golden beasts

rain gear, INKlings, laundry

rain gear, INKlings, laundry

the library

the library

tabulations, evolutions, sex drive

tabulations, evolutions, sex drive

shadow

shadow

 

skull, lauren bacall, library

skull, lauren bacall, library

the colonel

the colonel

appetite, disappointment, leningrad

appetite, disappointment, leningrad

the wall

the wall

dressing, watermelon, chaos

dressing, watermelon, chaos

a map of the end of the world

a map of the end of the world

frankfurt, door, independent operants

frankfurt, door, independent operants

 

woods

woods

whiskey, torture, turgenev

whiskey, torture, turgenev

the coming of winter

the coming of winter

end of the world, charlie parker, time bomb

end of the world, charlie parker, time bomb

dreamreading

dreamreading

hamburgers, skyline, deadline

hamburgers, skyline, deadline

the death of the beasts

the death of the beasts

 

bracelets, ben johnson, devil

bracelets, ben johnson, devil

gray smoke

gray smoke

holes, leeches, tower

holes, leeches, tower

shadow grounds

shadow grounds

meal, elephant factory, trap

meal, elephant factory, trap

power station

power station

 

encyclopedia wand, immortality, paper clips

encyclopedia wand, immortality, paper clips

musical instruments

musical instruments

lake, masaomi kondo, panty hose

lake, masaomi kondo, panty hose

hole

hole

fares, police, detergent

fares, police, detergent

shadow in the throes of death

shadow in the throes of death

rainy-day laundry, car rental, bob dylan

rainy-day laundry, car rental, bob dylan

shulls

shulls

nail clippers, butter sauce, iron vase

nail clippers, butter sauce, iron vase

 

accordian

accordian

lights, introspection, cleanliness

lights, introspection, cleanliness

escape

escape

popcorn, lord jim, extinction

popcorn, lord jim, extinction

birds

birds

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what’s the point?

As part of my final submission of my thesis to McGill School of Architecture I am required to submit a ‘thesis proposition’ (the question and its theoretical context) and the ‘final thesis description’ (a statement of the intentions and results).  However, in editing 12 months of work many layers are lost or buried, so the purpose of this blog is to expose the structure that lies beneath those final 2000 words.

First things foremost, a loose record of the reiterations and initial research and interests of the thesis can be viewed here, the course website for the winter 2008 semester.  This blog will focus on the development of the thesis between September 2008 and December 2008.  

 

untitled

untitled

 

subject

The premise of this thesis is derived from the dual narrative of Haruki Murakami’s novel, ‘Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World’.  In which the narrator of the novel flips from chapter to chapter as he simultaneously flips between his inner consciousness (which has been frozen in time) and his outer consciousness (which continues to progress).  The purpose of the thesis is to ‘navigate the mind’– examining the technique of collage as a tool that allows the seemingly random cognitive mind to retrieve and input information which in turn processes and produces further information and how that can influence the process of ‘making’ architecture’.

 

site

The site for the application of this thesis is located on the land directly east and parallel to the Jacques Cartier Bridge — which annually processes approximate 43 million vehicles (constructed 1925-30).  The site also bears the historical icon the Craig Pumping Station which is considered a historical piece of architecture in Montreal and therefore stipulates it’s preservation.  As it sits now isolated on an island of land in the midst of eight lanes of traffic it becomes an anomaly within its current context.  The station was built in 1887 to assist in flooding.  The project will engage this other world as part of our daily process rather than abandon it.

 

program

This thesis will make manifest in the programmatic ensemble of a community centre for the Sainte – Marie borough of Montreal Est.  The program is chosen for several reasons.  A community centre has many ‘given’ spatial dimensions such as regulation sizes for hockey rinks, soccer pitches, swimming pools, gymnastic floors, etc.that enhance the layers of the collage process.  As well, the site bears a history of an immigrant population and point of arrival to Montreal and therefore a place that will allow the community to come together and engage in activities is essential.  Further, the ability to recall the history and memory of a place is important to a community as a whole, across demographics and not just a specific user group.

 

process of production

The process of production of this thesis is inspired by the collage works of the artist Joseph Cornell, yet not namely ‘collage’, but also the process of the mind in collage ‘making’.  It is very free and allows instinctual and whimsical actions and reminiscent of the outer consciousness.  Yet ‘collage making’ stimulates the inner consciousness as a processing system that sequences and engages the input of its given components.


“The encyclopedia wand’s a theoretical puzzle, like Zeno’s paradox.  The idea is t’engrave the entire encyclopedia onto a single toothpick.  Know how you do it?”

“You tell me.”

“You take your information, your encyclopedia text, and you transpose it into numerics.  You assign everything a two digit number, periods and commas included.  00 is a blank, A is 01, B is 02, and so on.  Then after you’ve lined them all up, you put a decimal point before the whole lot.  So now you’ve got a very long sub-decimal fraction. 0.173000631… Next, you engrave a mark at exactly that point along the toothpick… You follow?”

Murakami, Haruki. Hard-boiled Wonderland and End of the World. 1985. Trans. Alfred Birnbaum. Toronto, ON: Penguin Group, 1991.