Friday, 17 April 2009

Unit 6 of the AA Summer School 2008

Marie Isabel De Monseignat and I taught Unit6 in last year's Summer School. The theme for the year was "London Disasters", and our brief proposed to create a Factory for the Recycling of London's discarded passe architecture (a form of disaster prevention). We wanted a brief that would allow the students to bounce backwards and forwards between zany story-making, fun sessions of impromptu designing, and periods of serious discussion and debate and deliberation about the points where their work was navigating through interesting and relevant topics. Each student spent a week on an individual project, which was then critiqued in an internal jury. That work was then concluded while the whole unit embarked on pulling their individual thoughts and designs into one working factory.

This is most of the Introduction which we played for all the students on the first day of the Summer School, the other bit being an explanation of the schedule and way of working (so i left that out). Students watched all 6 Units present, and then filled in ballot papers to choose the unit they wished to attend... as you can see we were extremely fortunate with the students who chose us:

These are some images of the final model (scale 1:50), and the final drawing, which were the vehicles through which the students combined their disparate ideas into one functioning project... it was very interesting to watch how the group production of these drawings and models ingnited several discussions which kept running (and nourishing) all the way through the course and culminated in a couple of rather long, tiring, but ultimately fascinating debates which tied-up the unit's work in a way that showed how engaged everyone had been, how the students had really been drawn into the work and the collaboration both intellectually and emotionally, which all resulted in a sort of strangely ecstatic mood by the time we made our final presentation, a mood which I took as resulting from the feeling that together the group had produced something that could never have been done separately, a sort of bond of successfully materialised creativity.

The whole model of the factory

The whole final drawing

a zoomed in area of the final drawing

a zoomed in area of the final drawing

image of the factory in the site, with reclamation-copter leaving to go and fetch passe fragments...

reclamation-copter carrying Dimitar's recombined product

Students working on final model

This was the unit just after presenting in the mid-Jury. You can see the collaboration on the model has begun in teams of four to each part, and the individual projects are on the wall to the left...

A film of a small part of the final Jury presentation, which we made into a bit of a performance, costumes and all:

everyone just after the presentation

The wall of our studio
The students' rather forbidden way of saying thank you
me and marie after the last dinner/drinks
We also exhibited the unit's work in a month long exhibition at the AA in October of the same year. Here are the only surviving images:

And a random addition (it was on one of the films, and you can see me all dressed up for the final presentation at the end), me and marie visiting our Diploma 9 Projects Review exhibition, which used as a base the stairs from my Church of Perpetual Experimentation project:

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