sean mcalister
@jason bruges studio @project context @matzine @musarc @meta architecture

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rias student awards
29 October 2010

RIAS student awards

the royal incorporation of architects in scotland today announced on their website the results of the 2010 r.i.a.s. scottish student awards. my student architecture projects have done well, gaining a commendation in the RIAS drawing award. very pleased; considering i was ecstatic to be nominated by dundee school of architecture whatever the outcome.

the exhibition of these awards' nominees and nominations is a good thing, however the effort and thought gone into this exhibition is, i feel, unsatisfactory. the space given to the awards is understated, awkwardly placed within the gallery and, in short, is lacking in pride. the likely joke is that given the chance, any one of the nominees could have been more creative with the constraints.

above selected pages from nomination submission 
below [not my] photographs of exhibition at the lighthouse in glasgow, scotland 

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strike the arc i
25 October 2010

strike the arc 
fluorosity and other observations

there is an uncertain moment when you complete the circuit and your fluorescent tube stutters to life. it's a violent event, made all the more startling if at this moment you have the tube in your hands. this is to 'strike the arc'; when the ionised mercury atoms are jolted into a plasma of excitement [think of accelerating from almost stationary to nearly the speed of light in what is effectively, an instant].

it is only now that the electrons meet a small enough resistance between the filaments that the ultraviolet blaze takes hold. over the last few weeks i have, shock horror, begun to admire the technical complexity of these begrudgingly over-used [and often harsh] emitters.

i posted these two receipts a few weeks ago in an admittedly crude attempt to kill the stale-mate between blogger and i, and also as a 'sneak peak' into this fluorescent light investigation.

i want to explain this highly-speculative, modestly-scaled project across two or more posts, with reference to artists dan flavin, olafur eliasson and some observations

observations to expand
reflections in successive generations
thin shadows, the elongated
the emitting object/'soft extent'
dual filaments : a circuitous palindrome : unbiased direction of electricity flow
when against a surface, the tube is in highest contrast as the brightest source against the darkest surface


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matzine#005 ~ views
24 October 2010



Dear Reader,
mat.zine is a conduit for collaborative practice, and welcomes submissions from anybody who is interested. The editorship changes with each edition, as does the theme.
The theme for this edition, which framed the included artistic, philosophical and poetical exploits, was a single word; views. The group originally involved in mat.zine has now disbanded and ventured to different regions of our shrinking terra firma, as indeed has the greater cohort of Dundee School of Architecture class of 2010. Most have before us new cities and towns, landscapes and vistas, or at least new awareness of the places we already know most intimately. The choice of media, method and motives were yours to each decide. Photography, writing and drawing were the obvious ones. All the editor asked is that you each responded in some way to the word; seriously, profoundly, even ironically.
The results are as varied as they are mysterious - see what you think.
Yours, in optimism,
The Editor 

[these are the words of ian pollard]
[this edition is important for the matzine; it represents the language of a broader range of connected individuals, and it is a determination to grow in this way]


city routes 003
17 October 2010

thirteen point nine kilometres
a search for a white shirt for sister's wedding,
architectural words 2,
coffee at monmouth,
and for the sake of looking up at london walls.
could i record 100 kilometres of walk in london?
[ route details ] 

thirteen point two kilometres
a walk to work, to the new house and back.

[ route details ]

twenty four point three kilometres
a long cycle from kingston to newington green,
two door cinema club gig at the hippodrome.
arrived home at 3am.

[ route details ]


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lexicon-scape : down and out in paris and london


above is a list of words taken from down and out in paris and london, by george orwell.
the words are in order as they appear in the book. the collective's common denominators [for there are many] are that the word made me pause reading; usually due to a distracting interest in the word's sound, its phonetics, meaning, etymology, geographical origin, potential malapropism or some other quality of the word. these qualities set out the criteria for a type of survey.

it is a list of words, and it is a survey of a book. i like the idea that this survey can be a reduced reading of the book, granted the particular parameters/filters i employed irreversibly garble any broad meaningfulness from orwell's pages. these three columns of words represent a lexicon-scape, an essence in some form, albeit a contrived one.

the process needs more discipline in order to produce a rigorous series of lists of different books; the criteria needs more elaboration and understand - but as a framework for the re-cognization of text there seems to be at least some obvious benefits for the reader [...questioning the meanings of seemingly unambiguous prose; testing the rhythm of text etc] and i suspect many curious, literally abstract interpretations of books and text out there [...graphing the number of syllables per word?]

i'm reminded of borges' library of babel; more to follow with next lexicon-scape. [note to self; think of a less clumsy word. perhaps into the portmanteaux archive]

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the great wen
12 October 2010

the great wen

London, 1802

Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour:
England hath need of thee: she is a fen
Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen,
Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,
Have forfeited their ancient English dower
Of inward happiness. We are selfish men;
Oh! raise us up, return to us again;
And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power.
Thy soul was like a star, and dwelt apart:
Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea:
Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free,
So didst thou travel on life's common way,
In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart
The lowliest duties on herself did lay.

- willian wordsworth

which suits better? londonium vs the great wen

a note for further reading : william cobbett  - a radical pamphleteer

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