Week Twelve: FINAL PRESENTATION + THEORY EXEGESIS

URBAN ITINERARY: CINEMATIC SPACE

Seeking to trace the Urban Interior as a point of origin and departure for Cinema

11. 10. 21

As part of my Spatial Theory III assignment this semester, we were to articulate our story of practice through a specific research question, methods of making and a series of contextual influences. For this story of practice, I decided to directly connect it to my developing studio project and self defined brief. As I have been so interested and invested into this particular project and the ways in which it has progressed through these inherent methods of making and varied contexts, it ultimately led me to shape my research question around it. My research question writes: How might underlying dance frameworks and choreographic methods be used to invigorate the intersection between Imperial Lane and Fort Lane, in order to redefine and reconsider public space?

Shown below is my final theory exegesis where I unpack this defined question through my series of explorative methods and contextual influences consistent of literature, architects, performance artists and choreographers. There has always been this underlying choreographic notion to the way I have chosen to actively document, perceive, and question the Fort Lane Precinct, which essentially evolved into the development of producing a space primarily built for this movement and performative enactments. This fundamental connection within my creative practice has always intrigued me, so through this piece of writing I was given the opportunity to explore it much more profoundly. Dancing Into the Building, a story of my practice.

A Story of Practice: My Theory Exegesis

The contextual influences that have helped to shape and define these investigative insights and developments stemmed from a variety of sources as shown in my references list. However the main influences are relative to practitioners and creatives from a range of backgrounds and with very differential practices, yet each of them in their approach has helped to inform my own within this studio project. Along with these contexts, in my creative practice I have implemented a series of choreographic methods, composed of a cinematic device, written script, line drawings, and iterative design, all in which has enabled me to draw on these notions with an unaccustomed spatial approach. An approach that has helped define this design outcome and final design intervention. This recognition has also been informed by an array of contexts consisting of Helene Frichot’s book titled Creative Ecologies: Theorizing the Practice of Architecture, the architectural practice of Bernard Tschumi, David Littlefield’s essay titled Installation and Performance, along with the unique practices of performance artist Vito Acconci and choreographer Trisha Brown.

CONTEXTUAL INFLUENCES

One of the first architectural theorists I was introduced to was Helene Frichot, where an excerpt from her book Creative Ecologies: Theorizing the Practice of Architecture broadened my spatial consciousness, as she expressed “how environments are ubiquitous, everywhere, yet I feel ill-equipped to speak of them and how they are composed” (Frichot, 2018, p. 19). She challenges her readers to reconsider their natural percipience regarding environments, particularly relative to the built one, and how we have hit a moment in time to justify rethinking about our spatial environments. This text not only encouraged me to be more inquisitive with delving into ideas that explore how there is no core of architecture, but rather recognising the fascinating relationship between architecture, the body’s movement through space, and how its inhabitants engage or exist within these constructs. The fleeting, impermanent moments of activation that occur within a particular site and how they could become a part of the documentation process. I understood that these momentary actions would help to build the spatial constructs for what I imagined these spaces to be.

Frichot, H. (2018). Environments. Creative Ecologies: Theorizing the Practice of Architecture. (pp. 17-29). USA: Bloomsbury Publishing USA.

However, once I discovered the architectural practice of Bernard Tschumi and his profound associations with aligning performance and architecture to investigate residual or in- between spaces, did I establish him as an immediate ally. Through his textual methods of scripting, Tschumi’s attitude towards architecture resonates as a spatial discourse associated with exploring the relationship between movement and choreography. His practice essentially helped me to initiate positioning my own approach to space making, but in a way that enhanced these performative and motion orientated site responses. During this creative exploration, all my site imagery documentation was undergone through a choreographic lens. The blurred, nebulous qualities highlighted this sense of spatial performativity with the gestures I used to generate them. Correspondingly through adopting this written script method, was I able to elicit movement in a way that questioned the habitual occurrences of an urban, public environment. This stimulated new thoughts surrounding the body as an expressive tool for reconsidering and reinvigorating the site, where it wasn’t just simply about Fort Lane in its architectural form, but about what happens in that space, the actions, and how it can be activated through the movement of bodies.

Khan, O., Hannah, D., & Tschumi, B. (2008). Performance/Architecture: An Interview with Bernard Tschumi. Journal of Architectural Education (1984-), 61(4), 52–58. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40480866

Drawing from these performative investigations, I started to contemplate how these transient moments could seek to initiate a live encounter derived from performance enactments, a moment to be experienced in person based on the premise of liveness. How could the intersection within the Fort Lane Precinct be reconsidered and reimagined with these spatial approaches and dance performance-driven narratives? An exploration into the choreographic qualities of movement in motion, where one is captivated by something that happens in the present. These direct reflections obtained from my site analysis lead me to David Littlefield’s essay titled Installation and Performance, where he expresses how even a temporal presence can serve to transform a space and the way in which it is perceived or experienced. This specific text helped me to build new connections between the spatial performativity immersed within my choreographic practices to instead recognise this notion of performance as an ephemeral activation, one that focuses on the movement of bodies and their inhabitation of space. Where perhaps the act of introducing a new or unexpected form of programmed dance movement into Imperial Lane could have the most profound effect for shifting or redefining the relationship between urban space and its occupants.

Littlefield, D. (2013). Installation and Performance. In G. Brooker & L. Weinthal (Eds.). The Handbook of Interior Architecture and Design (pp. 226–238). London: Bloomsbury Academic. http://dx.doi.org/10.5040/9781474294096.ch-017

This consideration of exploring the relationship between urban space and its occupants is fundamental to Vito Acconci’s diverse practice. I had always been fascinated by his ability to utilise performative enactments and the body as a way of crossing the boundaries between public and private space, where he expressed how “the public whose space this is has agreed to be a public; these are people in the form of the city, they are public when they act in the name of the city” (Acconci, 1990, p. 901). His outlook added a new depth of perception to my site considerations, where I started questioning the habitual occurrences of the Fort Lane Precinct, and what it would mean to break the monotony of the day-to-day visual landscape of this transitional, urban space through dance. There is this intriguing intersection between performance and city spaces that Acconci consistently manifests within his practice that I draw an insight too. His notions of public and private, and how this could be interpreted through a dance framework to reveal what occurs behind the curtain, the pre-performance rehearsal space. How would this unfamiliar form of programming, one that is conventionally made private, both enhance and challenge what is deemed public space within the city?

Acconci, V. (1990). Public Space in a Private Time. Critical Inquiry, 16(4), 900–918. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1343774

One practitioner whose approach to temporal, motion-orientated space making in a way that redefines public space through dance performance is American choreographer Trisha Brown. Her distinctive drawing techniques embodied spatial concepts generated from marking movement with the body, where the lines drawn formed a depiction of the body moving through space. Brown’s unique approach to visually articulating and interpreting choreographic movement led me to develop line drawing as a fundamental method utilised within my site investigations. I found this form of mark-making became a performative activation of site observations documented in the present, both through my cinematic device and written scripts. The simplicity of the line emphasised this dialogue between body and movement, one focused directly on the action, gesture, and inhabitation of the Fort Lane Precinct. By exploring the site in this way, was I able to establish these connections between dance, performance, and habitual movement to consider reinvigorating an urban, public space with this profound, unaccustomed spatial approach.

Foá, M., Grisewood, J., Hosea, B., & McCall, C. (2020). Performance Drawing New Practices since 1945: Marking Line and body in time and space. (pp. 9–44). London: Bloomsbury Visual Arts. http://dx.doi.org/10.5040/9781350113022.ch-001

To be honest, I never thought my dance experience would play such an influential role in developing and shaping my spatial design practice. Within this project, my dancing background has become a living archive for intrinsically informing my approach to the Fort Lane Precinct, how I document, analyse and reinvigorate it through a series of methods to understand and question that space. However, this recognition has also been informed by an array of contexts that each uniquely draws on conceptual, formal, and spatial leads relevant to exploring the relationship between body, space, movement, and design. Their profound ideas, spatial considerations, and diverse practices have helped to deepen my approach to space making, its underpinning conceptual frameworks, and to openly embrace the choreographic methodologies I choose to engage with.

Our final formative presentation and the reflections gained from it…

For our online studio session this week we were briefed with a context talk surrounding continuing to enhance and refine our documentation in preparation for our formative presentation, as well as given in overview of how the presentation would run and which guest designers would be attending our groups session. For our final hand in, the parameters in which our presentation must conform too are a maximum of 12 A3 pages. Because of this limitation it is crucial that I am showcasing key elements that will help to visually articulate my design intervention and overall spatial narrative. In unity with this I must also make sure I am clearly highlighting the progression and creative developments for how my overall project unfolded. My response to the brief, the site, and how this formulated into my conceptual frameworks, design decisions and eventually the final outcome.

In consideration with our spatial programming, we have built this visual dialogue that expresses the key aspects of our design proposals into the exisiting site. It allows for these newly spatial constructs to start to be imagined, perceived and showcased as a communicative method that forms a sense of understanding. The initial process work, line drawings, design narratives and perspectives showcase a spatial journey through my design, one that is expressive towards both its development and overall influences. It aims to highlight the thresholds, details and areas of activation within the space itself. What it feels like to be immersed, embodied within in through a multiple view narrative. For the formative presentation, it is another opportunity to gain insightful feedback and comments to help us with the last developments and refinements to our presentation documentation and overall design communication. Essentially so that it is the most cohesive, understandable, comprehensive and expressive that it can be for final submission.

As I review over my developed presentation using the array of insights and feedback obtained from my Co-Design Workshop and one on one tutor session, I continue to ask myself what aspects of my documentation are working well? What parts are well communicative and what parts need further clarification or extra detail? In order to fully prepare for my formative I began collating and composing my new presentation and the various documents it is inclusive of. My particular focus was towards the layout and sequencing of documents, as this reconsideration has been critical to creating a presentation that is much more concise and progressive towards shaping the storytelling and design narrative of my project. Shown below is the new presentation order that progresses through my design narrative in a much more clear and organised layout.

New Presentation Order and Sequence

Once I had composed my new presentation layout, I reviewed back over each page to ensure appropriate captions or text where present where necessary. A development to be made from my Co-Design presentation was to add some more text details where required, particularly on my perspective renders pages, in order to help further articulate or explain my visual imagery is showcasing in my design. Along with my presentation, I also reflected back over my project description to make it much more concise and definitive towards the driving conceptual frameworks embedded within my project, its purpose, development and overall function into the Fort Lane Precinct. This project description will help to support and coincide with my presentation document, however I plan to not include it within the documents themselves as I want the visual imagery to speak for itself, instead it will be inclusive to my final presentation blog upload.

13. 10. 21

For todays session we had our final ever Formative Presentation, where we were to present a series of documentations of our design intervention into the Fort Lane Precinct. For the presentations we were divided into a series of smaller groups adjoined with our tutor and two other industry designers, where we all shared our individual presentations followed up with a feedback and comments discussing our work together. Getting another opportunity to present our work to new designers who had no previous insights into our projects was incredibly beneficial, as they were able to help us to clarify, refine, and finalise any adjustments or reconsiderations needing to be made to our documentation. This final presentation is so valuable as it will also help me to realise and identify any of these adjustments or additions needing to be made, so that my final design outcome is the most cohesive and expressive that it can be. Shown below is my Formative Presentation documentation and Project description.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Located within the interiors of Imperial Lane, an unsuspected dance studio awaits as a space supplied for choreographers to expose the naturally performative enactments of dance practices. A carefully crafted, striking pavilion facade situates itself between where the interiors intersect into Fort Lane, allowing for these traditional conventions of a dance studio to be open to the laneway, the passer by, the public. By drawing insight to reveal what occurs behind the curtain, the pre performance, the rehearsal space, Dancing Into the Building aims to invigorate the city by providing a platform for expressive, dance practices to shape, redefine and reconsider urban environments in a completely new way. This design introduces an unfamiliar form of programming into the city, one that intends to serve its inhabitants in an unaccustomed way, eliciting a transposing in habitual worlds where they become captivated by the unexpected gestures composed within these transitional spaces.

These new insights and comments obtained from my presentation was incredibly interesting, engaging and most importantly fulfilling as they really loved all the work I have produced over the semester. They were really captivated by my approach, overall project development within this brief, and the design outcomes that emerged from it. Getting to hear these comments and their unique considerations towards my own project was so beneficial as it will help me with the last clarifications, adjustments and enhancements needing to be made for my final design document hand in. Along with this, getting see a variety of other incredible presentations and hear the comments made on their work was also very helpful, as these insights I can feed back into my design to recognise if any of these considerations could be made on my work over the next few days we have to make refinements.

As a collective class, some of the design prompts or considerations that we have been given to review over in relation to our specific projects and presentations are to: include process work communicative of the starting points of our design concepts, annotations to be included in a subtle way, carry over our aesthetic style into our plan and sections, include images that give viewers an idea of what the space feels like, consider a variety of close up render views to show finer details, increase contrasts of renders where necessary, give images room to breath, ensure text is consistent throughout, and include dimensions where possible for diagrams and plans.

Notes made from Formative Presentation

The initial comments made on my project was surrounding my developed process work and the ways in which I documented, investigated upon, and approached the Fort Lane site. I found it incredibly interesting how one of the designers recognised that my process work drawings showcased an inherent connection to Bernard Tschumi’s Manhattan Transcripts, who was a creative and context I profoundly explored both within this project and my Theory Exegesis. This use of drawing to mediate between space, architecture, and the body. Another creative whom explores a method for analysing the rhythms of urban spaces, and the effects of those rhythms on the inhabitants in those spaces is Marxist sociologist and urbanist philosopher Henri Lefebvre and his book titled Rhythmanalysis. This text upholds really interesting concepts and frameworks relative to my own inherent practice that in the future I wish to continue drawing upon.

One main consideration was drawn from my the line drawings and diagrams produced from my early performative tests, and how they fed back into my project – through the forms in my final dance studio and pavilion structure. Yet how can I make this clearer within my project journal how these explorative investigations are transmutations into the structure?

DETAILS.

In order to fully refine and synthesise my design documentation ready for hand in, I reviewed back over my presentation keeping in mind the comments made in my formative to establish where any alterations, details or additions were needed. The main adjustments I wanted to make consisted of, further intensifying the contrasts of my text and line drawings to make them stand out more, particularly for readability purposes, to experiment with altering backgrounds, along with adding details of figures and text. Using the prompts given from the tutors, I wanted to play around with shifting the black backgrounds for two of my line drawing works. For this I explored each drawings series on a white background and a more detailed, image background drawn from my explorative site and surface studies. However I found the white background wasn’t sharp, or striking enough to showcase the detailed embedded with each drawing, yet the image background caused the line drawing to get lost.

Even though I initially anticipated to alter the exisiting black backgrounds to create more interest and depth, it instead led to the line drawings themselves becoming difficult to read which I have previously learn’t is incredibly important, particularly for these informative, sectional drawings for one to understand the design entirely. Along with this, for both sets of sectional and elevation drawings I wanted to establish this sense of human inhabitation by adding a series of occupants within each drawing. These figures manifest as the public utilising the access thoroughfare lane, the dancers performing in the studio space, and the threshold where the public and dancers adjoin under the pavilion facade. As well as these additional figures, I decided to include a series of line work figures into my perspectival, detailed renders. These renders showcased close up details of the dance studio space, however with these figures it helps to evoke a sense of action and movement of one using these designed elements.

For the process documentation within my presentation, I needed to make the connection between my explorative investigations and their direct influence, inclusion within my final design outcome clearer. The line drawings and diagrams produced from my early performative tests where fed back into my project by transmuting into the forms in my final dance studio and pavilion structure. The most appropriate and coherent way to do this was through including additional captions to specific pages where necessary. These simple, yet concise captions helped to explain this connection as I was always able to verbally articulate it but found it difficult to make the link solely visual.

Another comment made was surrounding this relationship between the laneway and the dance studio. An interesting provocation for a designer to think about how you can use a space to inspire movement, which within my project is representative through both the traditional dance studio space and the pavilion extending out into the laneway. Essentially this design is building a dance community with the public being drawn into it, however could it be more exaggerated? To extend further into the laneway, this threshold between public and private, an invitation for the public to perform. Within my design narrative, I have set up a series of material rhythms that exist in the pavilion structure and filter into the dance studio, but could this explode in the way that dancers use space to the extreme to extend up and down laneways? Filtering these physical rhythms not just as a pavilion but the pavilion hits the ground and starts to filter up the laneways. In this way could it break up ones rhythm to make them pause and stop, the joyous of making laneways dance.

When I consider this I have an extensive array of ideas in my head, my progressions, pathways of design, practice, new possibilities of exploration, however for the final outcome of this design project I wish to keep it imaginative, provisional, potential, a ‘what if’. What if the pavilion filtered up and down the laneway, what if the dancers extended out into the entire laneway without limits, what if the laneway transformed into a dance studio entirely where this threshold becomes completely open air. I find these ideas are endless yet I will always consider it a ‘what if’, where potentially in the future I could begin to unpack it again to create this whole new, explorative brief and project for myself. Personally I feel so fulfilled by this project, the outcome, the practices I have both recognised and created to develop it, that I now feel to explore this whole new possibility would almost begin to unravel my design in a new way. All the documentation included within my final project aid in showcasing my design journey throughout this studio brief, and my own inherent approach to it. It already sits at the maximum page number and I genuinely feel there is nothing I would wish to deduct from it, as each page adds to the narrative building up my design outcome.

This play on the threshold between public and private space will always intrigue me. There are always so many new possibilities of investigations to explore or enhance this further. I believe that this intriguement will continue to play a fundamental and coherent part of my own design practice and driving conceptual interests to space. How I choose to approach, adapt, enhance, invigorate, reconsider, and redefine spaces, particularly relative to urban space. These further future developments exist in a provisional thought or consideration, a what if? What if this approach to space and my design intervention to introduce dance movement into a transitional city environment, extends beyond the Fort Lane Precinct? Beyond the laneways where dance movement itself can stretch out into the open to be entirely uncovered. To be a performative platform that the public can fully engage with, to be surrounded by and immersed within.

Where dance itself becomes a joyous enthral based on the premise of liveness, this moment to be encountered in person, an occasion of experiential admiration and pleasure. Where more of these designed spaces need to be established and accessible for this extreme movement of dance performance to occur. To invigorate urban spaces with dance in a way that makes it more open and exposed to the public, to really breakdown this dividing threshold between these ‘deemed’ public and private spaces, to allow for the art of dance performance to be celebrated and experienced by all.

FINAL DOCUMENTATION HAND IN

PROJECT: Dancing Into the Building

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Located within the interiors of Imperial Lane, an unsuspected dance studio awaits as a space supplied for choreographers to expose the naturally performative enactments of dance practices. A carefully crafted, striking pavilion facade situates itself between where the interiors intersect into Fort Lane, allowing for these traditional conventions of a dance studio to be open to the laneway, the passer by, the public. By drawing insight to reveal what occurs behind the curtain, the pre performance, the rehearsal space, Dancing Into the Building aims to invigorate the city by providing a platform for expressive, dance practices to shape, redefine and reconsider urban environments in a completely new way. This design introduces an unfamiliar form of programming into the city, one that intends to serve its inhabitants in an unaccustomed way, eliciting a transposing in habitual worlds where they become captivated by the unexpected gestures composed within these transitional spaces.

Overall this brief, project and creative approach has been incredibly fulfilling and eye opening. As my final studio project completing my undergraduate design degree, I never thought my previous fourteen years of dance experience would play such an influential role in not only defining the fundamentals of this project but in developing and shaping my spatial design practice. Within this project, my dancing background had become a living archive for intrinsically informing my approach to the Fort Lane Precinct, how I chose to document, analyse and reinvigorate it through a series of generative methods in order to understand and question that space. My conceptual, formal, and spatial leads drew me to exploring the profound relationship between body, space and design through the notion of movement and performance, particularly relative to dance. Previously I had never perceived a site or project brief through this oriented lens before, however I feel it has truely deepened my approach to space making, its underpinning conceptual frameworks, and to openly embrace the inherent choreographic methodologies I choose to engage with. Within my future design practices, whatever they may be, I wish to keep drawing on these spatial leads in my work as a means to further explore how you can use a space to inspire movement or vice versa.

Essentially I hope to keep dancing into every building or project I approach…

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