Friday, 31 December 2010

Building 1

Pastel pillboxes, florid piles, some indeterminate in between and a door somewhere, inside. 

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Aoyama Tower

An image from a speculative proposal for a tower on Omotesando Street, designed over @ Madam. Full info here.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Digital Ceramics: Architectural Tiles and 1:1 Prototypes

^Michael Wetmore's wall
Phase 1 of Madam's Digital Ceramics course at the AA just concluded with a final presentation last wednesday (see here for the page @Madam). Each student fabricated a 1:1 section of a ceramic wall, from computer design, through the whole process of milling of the negative mold, repeated casting, glazing, firing, and eventual assembly of their piece, including the design and implementation of a mechanical, and preferably removable ad adjustable system of attachment.

^Thomas Michael's book
The design and fabrication process was documented in a book, one of which above, which was where they could archive the series of experiments, revisions, conclusions, successes and failures that led to their final process. I have uploaded Michael Wetmore's book as an online pdf HERE.

^Anna Muzychak's self-supporting tiles
In response to the brief's requirement that the attachment of the tiles be a designed system, Ana above created a wall of tiles that can hold itself up as a screen without the need of additional support beyond the joints between each unit.

^Minh Van's Turquoise and Gold

While some students attempted to make their tiles as three dimensionally symmetrical as possible, Greta here focussed on making the joints between tiles disappear as much as possible, creating variation in density across large areas with a series of three tiles.

^Alexandria Mathieu and her wall

^Michael Presenting His tiles

^Christina Dreibholz's wall

^Akhil Bakhta's work

Look out for the faces...

^Anny Stephanou

^Fortuné Penniman

^Thomas Michael

Thomas developed a system for attaching his tiles which used Guitar machine-heads, in order that he could continue to adjust the position of, and relative strength with which the tiles were held to his panel.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Graceful Gets Immortalized

Episode IV
After trials and tribulations, Graceful's sweet smelling mortal coil is laid to rest in a grove, later triumphantly built over, for eternal recollections of the indecent elegance, the lascivious beauty and erotic oblivion of martydom.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Tottenham Court Road Redux

An additional interior image for Madam Studio's alternative Crossrail proposal for Tottenham Court Road station, a three dimensional free for all micro-void in London's sclerotic and ill-advised planning system, and a space protected from the city's single ownership super-estates, where regulations keep themselves strictly quantitative, and the liminal qualities of additive urban space, built, designed and owned by multiple landlords, can sprout over the city's yawning skyline...

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Clip of "Her Chambre Bleue", Performed at The Hospital Club

A performance of two discrete but simultaneous parts by Ilona Dorota Sagar with text and spoken word by me, whic you can see in full here over on TextBin. Dancers dressed in blue moved around the space (a bar and socialising space in a relatively exclusive members club in Covent Garden, London) blocking people's paths, dividing the crowd, slipping between and under people, and splaying themselves along the walls, bar and carpet; at the same time four actors dressed anonymously approached people as if they were acquainted, and eagerly told them a strange tale (which was my contribution to the performance) about the dancers, the room they were in, and how, in some way, its sagging velour walls and velvet ropes were all lit in the critical blue light of the Salons of old, of the bright and refined conversations of the Hotel de Rambouillet, its cashmere and marble fittings, and its sparkling wits.
The video is a short snippet (all that my camera's CF card could hold) of one moment of the performance when the dancers were weaving their way through the crowd, after just having just divided the room in two. The actor, whose conversation piece I caught a second of in the film, started talking to a person behind me just as this was going on.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Graceful Gets Martyred

Episode III.
Following encounters with Incubus & Succubus, Graceful learns to find ecstasy in his own pain. Angelic guardians and devilish Corbels assist him in his journey to the stake.

Corbels to the right and left, and Guardians (actually a rather effete Neptune, and a very well proportioned Demeter) in the centre.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Digital Ceramics

Madam will be teaching two courses of Digital Ceramics at the AA this coming academic year, where students will embark on a rather messy path of experimentation in plaster, clay and glazes.

Term 1 will be pushing the limits of what can be done working with press and 1-part moulds, with the following term breaking out into objects more fully three dimensional, and using 2, 3 or more part moulds.

After designing in the computer, we will have free access to the school's smaller cnc milling suite, and will test what the limits and idiosyncracies of the machine can bring to the clay-forming process.

Before the start of the course, we ran through a few tests with these two Madam tile-types.

Restraining ourselves to an unusually monochrome sheen, so that we could test the fundamental procedure from milling machine to kiln, the series that we produced came out looking rather techno-hokey.

So there will be a good 6 months period during which the aa will be seeing lots of painted clay, tiles and proliferating ceramic forms and architectural elements, as well as Marco and I hanging around quite a bit as assistants to Diploma 9.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Graceful Gets Indecent

Graceful (the porcelain figurine) gets naughty and discovers Tweedle-Dee, Tweedle-Dum (the blue heads below), and Incubus & Succubus (the hanging figures below).
See here for the article over on Bi-Blog where the miniature protagonist first got singled-out.
His journey shall continue...

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Exquisite Souvenirs: Madam Studio at AA Tel Aviv Visiting School 2010

Marco Ginex and I taught a unit at this year's Architectural Association Visiting School at Tel Aviv university -a 10day workshop- with a brief whose starting point was a found drawing -a large ice-flow survey map of Alexander Island in Antarctica- which was cut into a grid of smaller maps for the students to use as a starting point for their projects. The students were not told what the map was representing, but its rich layers of information necessarily implied the presence of some sort of organising legend, and they were invited to invent their own, but of a twofold kind: first a mythic legend that described a scenario, at a given scale, in the place they imagined to be defined by the various lines on the drawing, and only secondly a quantitative legend that elaborated the form and delineations of that places contents. A process of manual and digital collaging and layering, together with story-writing helped them to enrich their given square in their own way, as well as developing techniques that were immediately taken up in 3d models and larger drawings, culminating in their final, conclusive Souvenirs. 
The Intro to the brief is below.

^ before and after the "storm" by Dori Sagan


“After a tumultuous night traversing strange lands full of wondrous halls, bedecked both with maidens and vaults in equal profusion, as well as terrifying precipices criss‐crossed by folding bridges and twisted towers, David awoke to the sight of the ancient and inscrutable map he kept across from his bed, and about which he had always wondered as to its referents, realising that once again he must have been speculating in his sleep as to the worlds contained therein, until as he rolled over to sleep again, he found a strange object under his sheets which had not been there before, a white confection of forms that could only have come from where he had just awakened. ”

Maps, scientific surveys, even the most pedestrian ones, contain legends and myths. It is in their perfect abstract clarity, their utter extraction of detail and digression that they stimulate our instinct to embellish, elaborate, imagine. And so as contemporary archaeologists of the map, the story, and the machine, we will construct architectural souvenirs of the worlds that we see existing in the interstices of representational abstraction. We will create strange physical artefacts that summarise an imagined hinterland, and which together act as a gateway to a lost/just‐discovered world.

Above are Dori's three stages. The colourful model was his interpretive stage, leading to the black and white drawing that became the map of his storm-space, a detritus laden landscape watched over by huge rusting watch-towers, of indeterminate occupancy, that was drawn up in the two first drawings (and others not shown that depict a full sequence), and modeled through the folded and laser-cut model above.

Noga Smerkowitz's project, which is also the purple-and-yellow model at the bottom, repeated a set of motifs, including a rotated oval, extruded sine and cosine waves, and the curvilenear profiles of topography, across three scales simultaneously: that of the ritual cultic object, that of a building, and that of the landscape. So that her legend was defined by intermingling and cross-referencing objects like the one above which was both a religious object, as well as a vast architectural intervention (purple and yellow model below), and the shape of the ground on which all of these sit.

This colourful beast is Yasmin Schmidt's psychedelic cavern of lurid melancholy, which she navigated through by creating a comic strip that follows the journey of a prototypical subject of this over saturated enviroment, who begins high up surveying the lay of the land, but who unfortunately ends up tumbling helplessly, and endlessly, through the fractal-like fronds of yellow perspex.

Nitzan Sharon produced one piece of a larger game that he was designing on his computer, a three dimensional puzzle garden consisting of grottoes, waterfalls, follies, avenues, and paddocks contained within various cubes whose sides rotate to match up with the sides of their adjacent element, becoming something different depending on which way up they are.

The six images above are of Noa Kedar's exploration of how images and models can simultaneously be seen to be of a vast scale, whilst also being apparently tiny, a bit like the strange scenes one sometimes sees under the microscope where it is not only palpable that there are whole worlds within the head of a pin, but that they look very similar to lunar landscapes, forests, cities...

Below is the intermediate scale of Noga's rotated oval, where the landscale penetrates the interior of what was once able to fit in the plam of a hand, and creates a cascade of iconographic terraces.

A big thank you to all the students, to Chris Pierce for organising the programme, Chris Matthews and Aaron Sprecher for their support, Ruth Kedar and Arthur Mamou-Mani for being so much fun and such inspirations, and to Eran Neuman for bringing the AA in.