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

▪▪▪ p r o l o g u e
▪▪▪ b l o g
▪▪▪ p r o j e c t s
▪▪▪ c o n t a c t

↓↓↓ m o r e

recent articles

deeper archives


drawing on the right
29 November 2010

grimshaw architects recently sponsored a life drawing class, with a set of conditions.
i         no looking at the page one was drawing on
ii        drawing with one's less dexterous hand [in my case, my left hand]
iii       drawing with both hands, simultaneously, with the above two conditions
ix       finally, on selected drawings the pen was not allowed to leave the page.

this applied discipline made producing a self-indulgently pretty depiction of the model's bodyform near impossible, yet still some unexpected attractiveness prevails. there is a child like quality in these drawings - perhaps something to do with the unusually clear evidence of thought/focus on the drawing. the result is almost remedial.

the exercise reminds me of a book that i read before beginning my education in architecture, called drawing on the right side of the brain, by betty edwards. a fascinating worthwhile read.


strike the arc ii
8 November 2010

strike the arc 
and the emitting apparition

"all together, these elements articulate the conceptual ambition of the project: to produce a blinding, over lit object whose geometric finiteness is undermined by the tremendous glare and seemingly infinite falloff of light." - neil denari

this circuit diagram represents my modest exploration into the workings of fluorescent tubes; it is an 'electric-language' - symbol, glyph and line describe the voltaic relationships between components and their demanding potential differences. the circuit reminds me of a plan and its own unfolded sections, the circuit has a definite 'parti diagram' - imagine if architecture had one as simple/concise as this... mapping human movements, object proportions, air flow .... [thinking] 

there are a rapid series of events that takes place when you turn on a typical fluorescent light. the following takes an instant to occur, close to the speed of light, so in order to understand this sequence, and because we can't read fast enough, assume time is stretched out.

  1. push the button
  2. cathode element heats, then emits electrons 
  3. electrons collide with the low density noble gas, ionizing its atoms
  4. gas immediately around cathode turns into plasma and starts avalanche ionization [which is comparable to what allows lightning to occur] [note to self, get tesla into the discussion]
  5. everything inside the tube becomes great at conducting electricity
  6. a high current flows between the opposite cathodes [completing the circuit]
  7. light on

the emitting apparition
there is a ghost filament in a fluorescent light, unknown to the incandescent bulb. the bulb has her tungsten filament whereas the tube boasts nearly nothing inside, certainly no wire connecting the two cathodes. the emitting plasmatic stuff exists in a vastly different atmosphere to us, at just 0.3% the pressure of our air at sea level. [304Pa inside the tube, 101,325Pa of open air]

fluoroscape 2006
" all 224 lights are used as a field (the organizational) of stiffening members (structural) and dashed white lines (the graphic). these are held within seven laser cut, powder coated 3/16" thick steel formers (commonly known as ribs) that produce a series of different closed curves, all of which are filled and skinned with the f.s.l. elements." 

the above exhibition project "fluoroscape" by neil denari architects is a 'light object'-object - it certainly celebrates the module of the standard fsl tube. i like the intended ethereal description of this piece in the quote near the beginning of this post - "seemingly infinite fall-off of light". yet while obviously ambitious and imaginative and i'm excited by the idea of this kind of object, i'm not very much inspired by how it is represented on denari's website nor the accompanying text. maybe i'll ask him in person as neil the dude will be giving a lecture at the bartlett school of architecture soon - 16th november

strike the arc : more to follow

Labels: , ,

shadow catchers and the photogram
1 November 2010

shadow catchers
and the photogram

"   the question is, and this possible with photograms, how to get away from the purely documentary aspect and make a picture of the window about the window.   "

- floris neususs

there is a rich and potent discourse occurring at the victoria and albert museum; the exhibition 'shadow catchers'. five mature photographers recount their inventive and often poetic manipulations of light and representation. through technique, timing, medium and subject this exhibition promises to overwhelm me.

a common appreciation of the 'photogram' knits between these five exhibiteurs. while this is interesting in itself, what i find particularly intriguing are the recurring subjects and metaphors of life ± death, internal ± external, thing  ± thought, as if working with the photogram and the inherent processes involved predisposes a meta-subject, only found in a dark room. 

below i have selected quotes from the interviews of [4 of] these artists, which might give a sense of each own's interests + relation to the exhibition

floris neusüss

"   an important aspect of my work was more conditioned by the medium itself: I carried the photogram out of the laboratory, that is out of the studio, and took it to the objects... I use this technique because I find it to be a medium that is suitable for purpose, and because, and this is the important thing, I am interested in what they used to do with this technique before my time.   "

"   a very important aspect of a photogram is this contact, how do I put it…a photogram is not a reproduced print, it is a contact picture. You sense that the object was originally in contact with the picture.   "

susan derges
"   maybe the underlying desire to make images in the first place was to talk about what underlies the visible rather than to just show the visible   " 
"   photography is kind of tied up with death in many respects in terms of you're looking at absent moments; they're no longer there. So it is quite a lot I think to do with loss as well as holding and showing  "

garry fabien miller
"   my interest in light and time is the accumulation of days... the meaning comes from an engagement with everyday and then making sense of all the days. so
mething happens which is incommunicable, and it can happen in a work of art or it can happen in a moment... and something occurs, a certain kind of light touches the landscape... and something else seems to be in the room with you, and you feel it.
"   in recent work I'm bringing two colours together, and where two colours meet they make a third colour and also a kind of floating transitory space and that kind of edge, that is a kind of place of disappearing or emerging. really what my work is about is to try and create a thinking space, but also a kind of place one can slide into, and disappear into and perhaps not come back from.  "

adam fuss

"   the way I discovered the photogram was through accidentally finding within the pinhole camera process that it would be possible to make pictures without needing the outside world as a subject.  a photogram, which has much less information, has much more intimacy and feeling than a normal photograph.   " 
"   metaphorically I stepped into the camera... bringing images, manifesting images, that bringing out and externalising has been therapeutic for me... you don't create, you die.   "

Labels: , , , ,


designed by sean