Saturday, March 6, 2010

Sand and Clay

Here are a few quick snapshots of some of the castings I've done. I'm beginning to make a family tree of sorts. The single one all the way to the left of the shot is the original that I cast into foam. It's just a few holes drilled out with a spade bit. Then I've taken that positive and used it to make a mold in sand on the top row and clay on the bottom row (clay ones are still going). So each positive cast makes the negative mold for the next one. You can see the progression over time as they lose definition and spread out. Each new positive, though, shows the history of the one previous in form and the mold in texture and residue.

At the same time, this is still about the process of filling in of the negative space in order to understand the emptiness.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Today in a little crit with some classmates and Thomas someone mentioned one of these....and i just stumbled upon this amazing new OK GO! video.


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Castings Update

I've been doing some castings in wood and foam the past few days and they're coming out pretty interesting. I'll post some images and responses to them tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


We know nothing about the people who died during the vesuvius eruption without the castings. The ash hardened around the dead bodies, which eventually decayed. You can't access or see the people because the empty cavity is encased. Only through inhabiting the emptiness with plaster can we see and know something about the bodies. I think the same is true with architecture. I think Maison Bordeaux is a good architectural example. The floor is only complete when the lift brings the owner to where he needs to be. Otherwise, it's not complete, lacking the inhabitant it's made for.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Aldo Van Eyck and Acting in the Interstices

Yesterday I read an article about Aldo Van Eyck's theory of threshold. He describes threshold, or in-between as "a discourse on the need for architecture to reconcile spatial polarities such as inside-outside." The article goes on to talk about a famous issue of Forum from 1960, where Van Eyck "would develop the concept that the in-between must be conceived 'in the image of man,' and that like man himself, the in-between 'must breathe both in and out.' Van Eyck writes, ' Man still breathes both in and out. When is architecture going to do the same.' The article also cites Walter Benjamin, who conceived the threshold not as a border, but a zone that can be inhabited. He called for a "'science of the threshold,' which entailed the perilous art of inhabiting limits, being acquainted with lines and settling in the borderlines."

I also read Acting in the Interstices: Thougts on an Ethic of Hybrid Identity. This passage really caught my attention. "The way is the destination; being as process - identity defines itself anew from moment to moment as the sum of all possibilities, and derives its potential from its positioning in the interstice, the gap between the Self and the Other as empty space conceived of as a setting for activity and dynamism. It is a meditative emptiness in which the Self can experience itself outside of familiar structures in the process of confronting the Other....and by recognizing this friction as the chance for development."

To me, you can switch out the terms Self and Other with inside/outside, here/there, small/large, part/whole, house/city.

Vacancy and Threshold

Vacancy and threshold are two other topics that we talked about at my review, and I think the two biggest propellants for moving forward. The idea of vacancy goes along with Brian's comments on lack. Jon asked if architecture exists in vacancy. He noted that all of my drawings were absent of people and inhabitants; framing of the vacant.

In my woodblock print, the two thresholds took the most carving, the most subtraction, and are what divide the scene. They're what the eye gravitates towards. In my project, this is the 'slack time' that I've been writing about. It's the in between time that garners the most interest. Stuart Blazer gravitated to this idea as well, commenting that the threshold is a space in itself, a space to hone in on. This ties back into vacancy and lack because I have been studying the cycles of activity and dormancy. The vacancy is the threshold. I'm really interested in this positive/negative relationship.

I think the next step for me will be making conceptual models that are only subtractive. As you take away, you open up new opportunities. I think they then will be cast so the negative space becomes the vessel, the holder of a new cast material.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Back at it.

Today was the first day of my last semester of architecture school. Whoa...kind of amazing.

After a week off, I've had time to reflect on Wintersession and our final critique, which was two Fridays ago. Overall, I think the comments were really good and ultimately helpful. The critics were Thomas, Jon Hartmann, his wife Gia, poet Stuart Blazer, Brian Goldberg, and Anastasia Congdon.

Here are some of the major comments and topics of discussion:
Brian commented on the idea of 'lack'. Lack = the abscence of life or prescence. The tendency may be to introduce life into something that is temporarily dead (as in the buildings I've mentioned before that go dormant at times). Instead of an answer being to activate the lack, accept it in a serious way, the lack or emptiness as potential. "The richness of lack"

Gia made a good comment about representation, which I know was part of the problem of what I had pinned up. She was drawn to the time lapse theme, and as I hone in on a project, it may inform the physicality and representation, whether it's small films, comic strips, narrative mode of representation.

Gia mentioned thinking more with material and Jon's response was to explore the subtractive process more. Essentially, I've been looking at the subtraction of people and use in a space, which causes the dormancy, and have begun to touch upon the materiality of that through the woodblock prints. Woodblock prints emerge through the subtraction of the wood and Jon suggested doing more models that are only subtractive.

With that, Thomas mentioned then doing castings, which then take the potential of the subtraction and form a new positive model.

I think all of these comments are right on and are good ways of moving the project forward. I think that the representation comment is the really important because up to this point, I don't think what I've produced conveys my thoughts. At least, not enough. This is something I've been aware of and grappling with this whole Wintersession.

I'll also be doing another woodcarving tomorrow for the grad show. I'm going to take Anastasia's advice and film the actual piece of wood and not me carving it. Makes much more sense