Indeterminacy – Dale

I’ve been looking for a way this week to represent the continuous, durational flow of time this week materially, trying to expand upon the stitching and weaving between the two instants. So I looked into Kath Shonfield and her ideas about how the medium through which an idea or object is presented greatly effects the power that the object or idea has over the viewer, and how it is perceived. She looks at construction details and they way in which they are drawn in ‘why does my flat leak?’ in her book ‘walls have feelings’. According to Shonfield, drawings produced as part of guides in the late 1970s by the Greater London Council tend to be drawn in a way which mimics mechanical drawing, so in ink and stencil…. leading to a fixed, impermeable detail which negates the user asking ‘why’ through the impression that the guides are common sense material. Whereas guides produced after this, generally further away from the certainties of modernism, have used pencil in a pluralistic style, implying the ability to be amended, thus encouraging debate.

So I can see how this affects my work in two ways. 1 – in that by applying the common sense, fixed immutable drawing approach, the GLC actively narrow down the potential for difference in the present, actively shaping the way in which architecture is carried out in the present moment. The 2nd, is that I’ve been looking for a way in which to represent time and space in a manner that reflects duration. So the principles of this can be carried through into my work in finding a way that expresses multiplicity, the potential for change, simultaneity etc. She also looks at the work of Mary Douglas in the idea of the border, and how we draw lines in various ways around objects and events, properties etc. in attempts at classification. Shonfield talks about the defense of this border through the medium used, ie. pen, pencil and the extent to which the border is successfully defended. Which is possibly an idea that can be extended to the idea of the instant, Bachelard’s way of classifying and delineating events and points in time.


Big Bambu – Mike and Doug Starn

Big Bambu by Mike and Doug Starn is another example of multiplicity, however it focuses more on indeterminacy, which I think can really help push forward the way I represent time and space. The bamboo installation they produced works on a principle of ‘over time, through time’. According to Mary Modeen (Architecture and Culture: ‘Breaking the Boundaries of Self: Representing spatial indeterminacy’. 2014), ‘over time’ implies the durational and subtle overtones of change, and ‘through time’ implies a propelling life force, which the bamboo structure possesses, even after cut it continues to grow through space and time. The very structure and aesthetics of big bambu display indeterminacy, of multiplicity, spaces viewed simultaneously, defying enclosure, working with elements of both literal (engaging the eye through properties of transparency inherent in the object/ space) and phenomenal transparency (engaging the mind through implied transparency, the kind suggested through the configuration of spaces (Architecturality: ‘Transparency II: Layering of planes/ Layering of Spaces. 2011). The whole point of Modeen’s article was to examine how our ‘self’ isn’t completely defined by the borders of our bodies. They spill out and overlap with others and the environment, so through time and through space there is a layering of different self’s and their impacts on the environment. It becomes something in flux, constantly changing and moving, layering up through and over time. So this might be the link between the two men, the two ties. Their self’s, their identities overlapping, two instants threaded together across a 16 year period by durational continuous time.

In terms of the portfolio, I’m quite interested in producing a book which fully embodies the theories already talked about, drawing links and lines between instants in the process I’ll be going through this year. So layering the book, creating instances where views of spaces/ ideas, instants in time don’t fully open themselves up unless you work through it in a certain way. And then by cutting into the book and layering planes of transparency, I can almost knot between the different events, working the idea of the durational flowing between these events.

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Your House – Olafur Eliasson

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Book of Space – Johan Hybschmann


The above example by Hybschmann (Architecture and Culture’ ‘Binding Architecture: Drawing in the Book’ 2014) is really interesting because it renders space in a completely fragmented way. You cannot review the space all at once due to its form. Which is how time works. According to Bergson, the past and the future exist because everything cannot be given all at once. So I think this is probably the best example of how the portfolio could unfold.

One thought on “Indeterminacy – Dale

  1. Really fascinating research and references to bring into the project. We really like the texts you discuss and its interesting how the media you draw with or even local authorities start to play a role in the definition of the present.
    It seems that you have really hit on something with the Big Bambu example and the eloquence of the ‘through time’ and ‘over time’ distinction investigated spatially and materially. You have already been rooting the abstract theories of time in the material and spatial world with your book and tie investigation and you should continue to develop the project as something that actually employs the dimension of time – like Big Bambu, as well as through investigations that are manifestations of your temporal theories – the solution would be in a hybrid of the two – perhaps the strings between the ties could develop to explore the ideas of Big Bambu and the time distinctions it makes?
    It is worth thinking about how or why we take it for granted that the image of ‘through time’ of the bamboo’s propelling life force is a SPATIAL metaphor. Can you have movement (and therefore your theory of time) without a space to move in or through? Your thorough reading around your project will add depth in a lot of ways but take all the opportunities you can to work through this movement/space metaphor through modelling space – in drawing, 3d work, engagement / interpretation of existing spaces, etc.
    Your portfolio examples are really great – the Olafur Eliasson example is a favourite, where the book is really like an animated model that allows you to flip through a house sectionally. The Johan Hybschmann example is a good one too (he teaches undergrad at Brookes) and that example was his Diploma project – its a fascinating book as an object that navigates through multiple spaces, often abandoning the 2d plane of the page to make a 3d construct – it would be great to view your tie/ book construct for last Tuesday as a first step towards a journey as complex as that one! Keep going and looking forward to seeing what you do next week.

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