2012 - 2013: DWG PROTOCOLS
The mediation of space through contemporary technologies of viewing, reading, and occupying is necessarily shifting traditional dialects for mapping and compartmentalising the world around us. These techniques of drawing and charting have often existed for many years, defining boundaries, borders, pressure zones, territories and so forth. Semantically, Green Lines such as those that striate Israel or Nicosia are derived from the act of apportioning swathes of space using a drawn gesture. The thickness of a pen-line on a map may be a point of territorial conjecture, as we see the limitations and obfuscations of a singular drawing tool apportioning spaces at a multitude of scales.
However, new processes of translation, of interpolation through computation are allowing the drawing to renegotiate its position in relation to territories. We may now articulate architectural spaces through appropriated or self-designed tools for the transcription of gesture and movement. You will begin by investigating the delicate interface between new technologies for manifesting an architecture physically and the codifications and notations that make up the ‘drawing’ that guides this materialisation. New protocols of translation between gesture, drawing and architecture.
This process may slide back and forth, and apply progressive distortions onto our idea of what it is to delineate space. We clearly need the development of new conventions of drawing to be able to understand this – to allow the architect to reclaim aspects of their field new technology allows them to expropriate and then manifest ways of drawing these new conditions.
Rather than the top down kriegspiel view of the world used to draw up borders on maps, the drawing will become suffuse with the multiple scale shifts, currencies of information and data flows that communicate back and forth with it. However, we still witness slippages, abstractions and inconsistencies in the reading and transcription of places that may prove furtive ground for architectural investigation. For instance the fissure between Google and Apple (TomTom) mapping data that has resulted in roads as mountain ranges, disappearing bridges and vertical rivers. Might we see an equivocal set of landscape phenomena due to teething during the early launch of Galileo as a competitor to GPS?
At the same time, we may speculate on how the application of computation and software might be directly related to these territorial slippages or quirks. We will look at architectures that may be deployed remotely, assemble with the user in absentia, or resolve phenomena to allow for new ways of seeing. Whether it be geographer Trevor Paglen taking ‘limit’ photographs of rendition sites in the US using astronomy telephoto lenses, fully automated ports of the world assembling and disassembling giant aggregations of containers or errors in our GPS resolution caused by our physical position in relation to satellites we can see how the potential of computation can allow us to reconcile these situations in new fashions.
Over the course of the year you will develop a critical approach towards software, its augmentation and application. You will test the back and forth translation between the gestural and manufactured, and speculate through demonstrative projects that frame your arguments in the face of socio-political catalysts and contexts for your work. You will engage both with the potential for computation in these processes but also how its proliferation into the world-at-large demands our reflection on existing frameworks of understanding and the proposition of new rules of engagement in respect of design and its application.
Your critical responses will deal not only with technique, and manifestations of architectures through computational means, but the implication for a world where boundaries are increasingly mutable and human protagonists might be increasingly remote from areas with which they engage architecturally.
STAGE ONE - REGISTRATION
The arguments relating to the design and application of new methods of gestural interpolation and drawn dialogues will be formed through a research basis conducted in stage one. Following on from the initial 2-week workshop responses, the cluster will develop a critical approach to the drawing, its potential output through manufacturing, and the potential implications for the dissemination and application of such drawings into demonstrative architectural situations. Working in pairs, students will continue to test and refine a methodology for the exploration of processes and computation of situations through hybridised studies. Cluster 6 will experiment with the interpolation of data, hacking and deriving unique tools for expression, and explore the ways in which the drawing may become suffuse with new levels of data, cognitive processes and physical manifestations.
With the increasing proliferation of interfaces based on the recognition of gestures, and hybridised workspaces where scale, pitch, rotation and azimuth may be constantly updated by the hand (and other) movements of the user, the underlying technologies that weave into our everyday suggest a liberating moment for the act of drawing. The cluster will speculate how these may be appropriated, exploited or undermined to redefine the translatory momentum from gesture to output. Through operating across 2D-2.5D-3D-4D and exploiting the myriad ways in which different programs interpolate the gesture, we will suggest how the drawing may become a multi-dimensional, digital/physical hybrid that is borne from a number of concurrent processes and procedures.
Through speculative manoeuvres into the question of scale and its transferability, students will not only test the limits of forms that the drawing may take, but how these may become new drawn conventions for understanding and designing with new types of material, phenomena or ephemera. The first stage of the year will enable each team to develop a unique approach towards the act of drawing, to redefine the gesture and to design approaches that will use computation and simulation to allow for the subsequent speculation into their application.
STAGE TWO – COLLIMATION
Having derived new approaches towards the act of drawing, recognition and manipulation of the gesture, and the potential for translatory outputs – we will then apply these to architectural situations that question not only the possibility of the representation but its implication in part of a wider dialogue about the increasing proliferation of computation and manufacturing techniques within architecture.
Cluster 6 will question what might be the implication of self-organised and assembled systems that could occupy space without human interaction? How might this impinge onto or subvert already contentious political situations, such as the use of UAVs over sovereign airspace, or of the territorial vagaries of the UN Laws of the Sea. Might we find the possibility for remote structures that further antagonise these situations, or might we propose a series of possibilities for the application of such architectures for human benefit. Through the construction and manifestation of drawn systems that interpret and engage with the gesture, might we propose that computation, and the interfaces we create to manipulate it – will allow for applications operated and derived by the ‘non-expert’? If gestural interfaces for phones, tablets, videogames etc. have opened up pathways for new user groups unfamiliar or inexperienced with older more specialised modes of interaction through peripherals, how might they used to develop new forms of investigative drawing practice which in turn communicates an architecture of constantly shifting, back-and-forth translation?
We will produce and interrogate new protocols for the production of drawing, and probe the extents of the act to see how it may be reformed anew under the auspice of emerging computational techniques and advanced fabrication.
Image: Bubble Chamber photograph by Stanley Greenberg