spatial experimentations

drawing machines to parasitic structures

Archive for the ‘APL (Friday’s Lecture Series)’ Category

anthony gill architects

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The final All Program Lecture was conducted by Anthony Gill Architects (AGA). Ultimately, I’ve got to say that I did not attend the final lecture series, but I looked through the designs that were showcased on AGA’s website, and they were amazing. The structures that are created by these designers simply fit into the natural surroundings, whilst creating somewhat groundbreaking ideas and architecture. The following image showcases a Surry Hills House. When I first looked at the webpage, I was trying to find the design that was created on the street. I then saw this amazing terrace, which is hosued between two traditional structures, that you would normally see in Surry Hills. I think the main reason I did not initially realise the difference and variation which is seen in the image below between the structures is because of the materiality of the build. The colour palette and also the structural nature of the building are much the same of the ones that it is housed next to. The tonal and almost greyscale colour palette allows this revolutionary and very modern build to seamlessly fit into the street-scape. Ultimately there is a strong juxtaposition that lies within the structures. Your comparing a completely new build to a federation stylised terrace, but they have built this cleverly enough for a seamless and almost un-noticable transition to be made when looking at the varying facades.


Written by katmcmahon

May 29, 2011 at 3:03 pm

teresa stoppani- dust

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FORWARD: sourced from UWS (2008): Dust traditionally denotes the familiar, the sheltered, the comfortable but often stifling space of the bourgeois interior. Dust settles in time, measures history, preserves the past and its values, but at the same time it destroys and erases its objects from within. Through an analysis of images from mythology, classical painting, the visual arts, film and advertising, the paper aims to show how readings and representations of dust and dusting offer contradictory interpretations and inhabitations of space that blur the distinction of interior and exterior and expose the permeability of their boundaries. Dust becomes a vehicle and an index of these crossings.

This week, Teresa Stoppani hosted the All Program Lecture. Her lecture addressed the aspect of dust within our society and the concepts in which are linked to this matter. She highlights dusts implications and relations to architecture in both the metaphorical and physical sense of the matter. She highlighted how this element relates and can ultimately shape space. She wanted to depict a different perception of dust- challenging the subject matter and moving this concept away from dusting, vacuum cleaners, and war machines, but moving it more toward the interior and perhaps the disappearance of the interior. She highlighted how dust was the result of something- some other object that has been crashed, smashed or ruined in some particular way. From this statement, she stemmed onto how could we reconsider dust, and move it away from these perceptions- especially if dust is the result of something else, it will therefore always have those underlying connotations. Through challenging this notion of the originality and the specimen of dust thus represented her perception on the ambiguous nature of dust in both the interior and exterior.

Ultimately, I can safely say, that I personally did not comprehend the concept of this lecture series at all, as I wasn’t really attuned to her concepts of the metaphorical sense and aspect of ‘dust’-, which is what her presentation was about.

Due to not understanding the complete nature of this lecture series, I carried out some further research in order to potentially further my knowledge and understanding on Teresa Stoppani’s “Dust Reversals”.  The following dot points are sourced from the UTS DAB

  • She refers to the works of Walter Benjamin and his concepts that are linked to ‘grayness, obsolescence and boredom’. In his “Arcades Project dust seems to blanket Paris like a heavy gray coat. Underneath it, dust nests in the plush and dust covers of the bourgeois interiors.”
  • Ultimately dust is ‘inescapable’, whether invisible or visible it is always there, it penetrates both the interior and exterior- it is “uncontrollable, penetrating that which is apparently ordered, organized, systematized.”
  • Dust covers the redundant and the unused. Items, which are no longer useful to twenty first century society. “ It materializes oblivion, blanketing over that which lies forgotten. It produces an opacity that in concealing protects, but obliterates as well, eliminating the differences of things.”
  • Ultimately, architecture displays this matter of dust- both the interior and exterior aspect of architecture and space houses dust. Dust within the interior wraps around and embeds itself onto items, an “indisputable linear history”
  • “Dust seems to condemn space to stillness and inexorable decay.”
  • Walter Benjamin’s work highlights and deconstructs the nature of dust. He represents what dust deconstructs, uncovers and unearths. Dust uncovers “objects and spaces, reactivating them in new relations of tensions between fragments.”

Written by katmcmahon

May 20, 2011 at 9:50 am

michael trudgeon

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The sixth all program lecture series was hosted by Melbourne architect and RMIT lecturer, Michael Trudgeon. Overall, his lecture was interesting, as he highlighted the changing concepts of both the interior and exterior of buildings throughout the prior centuries and societies. I felt that his lecture linked with the previous lectures, which hence helped reiterate points that were outlined in the “Century of the Self” series and also Phillip’s interview on the TED series.

He opened the lecture addressing the changing concepts and ecology of occupation in both a performative and inhabitable sense.  This was furthered as he spoke of the history of occupation- looking right back to the French thirteenth century, and then linking this to twenty first century society. He highlighted that the home was initially all about the façade. The home was built from the inside out, and the exterior face normally highlighted the occupant’s wealth and social standing within their society. This elaborate relational and societal exterior was somewhat lost in the interior of the house. Trudgeon highlighted how the initial home was ultimately one big room with no sections or walls between common spaces, such as bedrooms and living quarters, the interior main focus was to shelter occupants from the harsh elements outside This interior layout of the home remained like this throughout the thirteenth and best part of the fourteenth century. It was only then, that a French architect, Eugene Viollet-le-Duc introduced the notion of figurative space, which sectioned rooms in order to create a sense of both individual and separate space. This formulation of French architecture has thus been embedded in society, and now forms the basis of the common home structure. The concept of having one multi-roomed place highlights the concepts that were outlined in Phillip’s TED talk. He highlighted that the twentieth and twenty first century societies build elaborate homes, with excessive space that they don’t ultimately need. He highlighted the concept of want outweighing the notion of need.  As highlighted in the “Century of the Self” this belief was enforced through Bernays and Freud’s sociological and subconscious theories. The concept of the homes interior from the thirteenth century society to now is completely rapid. Conversely, even in today’s society the exterior of the house still reiterates the occupant’s social and economical status, a notion and theory that has been in society since the thirteenth century.

The main concepts of Trudgeon’s lecture was the intricate nature of a building, and how the notion of an individuals home can highlight their social and economical status within society. He also spoke and addressed the notion of the changing concepts of form, and reiterated the point that we, living in the twentieth and twenty first societies have been exposed to a mass shift and expression of form. Trudgeon highlighted that one of the greatest explosions of form is the Sydney Opera House- a landmark that is completely different to anything that is ultimately housed in the context of Sydney City.

His lecture highlighted the change in the manifestation of personal interior accommodation, and therefore allowed a view into the changing concepts of Interior design throughout preceding societies.

crowd:michael trudgeon

o.s initiative:trudgeon

Written by katmcmahon

May 13, 2011 at 8:00 pm

adam jasper take two

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Today’s All Program Lecture was the second time we have heard from Adam Jasper. Jasper is an incredibly eloquent and intriguing lecturer. He spoke of the works of Akasegawa Genpei- a Japanese artist whom is famous for inventing a hyper art form of “Thomasson’s “. A Thomasson are “aesthetic objects created by removing a structure’s function, while carefully maintaining the structure itself”[1]. The beginning of this whole idea was sourced from the image below, a structure that would normally be disregarded by many people, apart from Genpei, on a casual walk in 1968. After being released from prison, Genpei sat in isolation, only allowing himself to exit for a lunch break. On this break, he walked up this flight of stairs- a flight of stairs that lead to no-where and served no purpose to the resident whom lived in the building. He questions the reasoning as to why it was there. No only was the unusable and strange staircase left there, but it was also maintained and cared for- as signified through the somewhat new bearing structure. Through this he created an art movement- called “hyperart” that encouraged political interaction with the city. It allowed the individual to move around the city as they pleased, thinking little of their path, alas promoting the freedom in movement. This was a direct link to the concepts of the situationalists whom believed and adhered to the concept of “adeverie”- which promoted individual freedom, instead of waiting around for Marxism to promote ones freedom, they could promote it themselves into Utopia.

The concept of “hyperart” or “Thomasson’s” has generated a lot of speculation and attention through recent years, opening up its own website [], allowing members of the public to take part in finding Thoamsson’s around areas in which they live, and posting them to ultimately this public sphere and blog-esque type of website.

There is something intriguing and interesting about these structures. They somewhat link to the buildings past, and allows us to question what the buildings purpose used to be, and why it has changed since its original build. For example, a staircase as seen below, and a door which is now completely unusable must have had an original purpose for the original architecture, thus allowing the viewers to delve deeper into the history of the build. Something like this relates to the aspects we have studied in Kensington Street. Through the drawing machines, and our interventions with the actual buildings in our next assessment allows a reading into the history of the site to be made- thus similar to what happens when one finds a thomaasson.

Jaspers talk was incredibly interesting, as he delved into different spheres of each image he showed, highlighting the different structural, spatial and aesthetics in each image and structure.

Now all thats left is to find one…

[1] Hyperart: Thomasson.

the beginning

image sourced from: the making of: thomassons


The unattainable red door


Written by katmcmahon

May 6, 2011 at 1:26 am

the forum

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Friday’s All Program lecture featured the individual’s situation and context in design. The design process and how one interacts with design is linked to the social standing of the individual and their own personal views and opinions of their surrounding context and personal taste. The lecture linked to both Goodwin’s and the “Century of the Self” lecture. The points that were outlined in the “Century of the Self” video were again highlighted through the impacts of mass media and consumerism. Goodwin’s previous speech about how a person cannot be a designer without his or her own political stance. This lecture ultimately reiterated these vital points.

The lecture series started with a video from TED talks, which featured Dan Phillips- a builder and architect whom uses 80% of recycled materials in his builds. His buildings link directly to the human need, appreciating the mass and the formation of natural life. By using old materials help reiterate that everything can ultimately be used again. His builds make a social and political comment about how buildings have an ultimate hierarchal picture, as houses and designs now have moved away from the shelter, but they have now become a commodity that highlights status, vain and esteem. Phillip’s natural and organic process alas features these recycled materials, making his own political comment about mass production and recycling. This video, and the ideals presented in this video strongly contrasted what was seen in the “Century of the Self” lecture series. The points made by Dan Phillips reiterated how we now live in a consumerist society, as we now have more items that we want rather than what we need. Phillip’s point hence highlights the powers of mass media and how Freud’s theories and Bernay’s implications have created this consumerist and image driven society. Goodwin’s point was also reiterated about ones political stance, as Phillips has broken away from the normal demographic and democratic house that is seen throughout the suburbs of the USA. Instead, he has created something completely different, linking his political opinions about mass consumption and recycling into his own designs and builds.

After the TED talks video, a forum was created that housed all our tutors with different specialties within design. They began to talk about what was shown on the video, and how the house represents the self. This once again related to the previous lecture series that featured the “Century of the Self” video, as it was seen in this clip that homes were becoming more consumeristic and decedent, housing items of the individual want instead of their need.

Within this fifteen minutes discussions started about how interior design was ultimately the strongest non-professional practice, as it is quite easy for the individual to create and design their home, as the arrangement of interior objects is a perception and depiction of their life and themselves, and therefore their social, individual and I guess, political standpoint. The point was then made about how the profession of interior design has potentially become too controlled, through the mass production of magazines, television shows, “do it yourself” workshops and the internet (again, relating to the “Century of the Self” series). Ultimately, the role of an interior designer is redundant. Questions were then asked to what is the profession and demand of an interior designer, as ultimately everyone is their own right interior designer. The conformist ways of individuals highlight the capitalistic way of life and the community. Hence, there is no such thing as the individual in design; ultimately it is a bi-product of industrialization and capitalism. Through these comments made by the panel helped again reiterate points made in the “Century of the Self” clip.

The concept of the social space was then questioned, as to what is social space, and what happens in social space. Social space i.e. Public space is vastly underused although it is vital within cities etc. The main reasoning’s to this is that individuals don’t really understand how to interact with this social space, especially if they are by themselves. This is easily seen, even when observing through a normal lunch hour in a park or food court. If an individual is by himself or herself, they are always distracting themselves, with some form of mass media such as a telephone or newspaper, or some other type of distraction. This hence represents how individuals are trapped in a capitalistic way of life. Not only does this highlight the closing statement in episode one of the four part “Century of the Self” series, but it also links to the concepts, and the future designs of Professor Richard Goodwin. In his lecture, he showed the audience some of his work about parasitic structures, and how he is trying to aim at manipulating public space and making it more functional and welcoming for the individual. His amazing images highlighted how he wanted to build out of buildings, and link buildings within the city to one another, thus allowing an increase into public spaces and the public sphere.

Lastly, the Internet and cyber space has now become the social space of our twenty first century. The Internet is now a realm for moral and physical interaction with others. It’s a realm that transports information, a realm that allows communication and a realm that highlights ones personal stance. The Internet allows individuals to be receivers and audience member’s mass media continuously, hence swaying their political and social opinions.

Ultimately this lecture was quite interesting as it allowed us to hear what each tutor had to say about social space and interior design, and where it’s going. Ultimately, I feel the messages that were presented in prior weeks in both the Goodwin lecture series and the “Century of the Self” video were reiterated and linked to examples that the audience could understand and relate to on a more personal level.

Written by katmcmahon

April 8, 2011 at 11:27 am

century of the self

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The following blog entry was written in response to the “Century of the Self” short series. The voice of this entry is written in a essay way, as I personally felt that the concepts that were presented through the documentary was highlighting the history of cosumerism- a history that has fuelled and built our society today. The easiest and clearest way of me outlining what was addressed throughout the episode was through this type of essay format. KM

The third all program lecture exposed the concepts and ideals of Sigmund Freud through the “Century of the Self” series. The fifty-eight minute first episode of the four part series highlighted the implications of mass production and mass consumerism through control via the human subconscious. The documentary linked the ideals of Freud, to the workings his nephew, Edward Bernays. The series offered an insight into how mass consumption came about in the twentieth century, and how it fuelled society until the Wall Street Crash in 1929. The concepts that were presented throughout this documentary can be linked to design in society both today and in the past.

The opening minute of “Part 1: Happiness Machines” addressed Freud’s theories about human nature and the “primitive aggressive sexual forces which lie deep within each human”, and when these hidden forces are not controlled, destruction and chaos is the bi-product these emotions. The opening minute, further stems to how people in democratic political and social power used Freud’s theories to control the masses.,

Edward Bernay’s (Sigmund Freud’s nephew) used his uncle’s ideas to help political and social leader manipulate the masses through propaganda. He highlighted to the government agencies how Freud’s theories can encourage people to want things that they absolutely didn’t need, by “linking mass produced goods to their unconscious desires”. Through this simple act, Bernay’s begun the life of consumerism, which ultimately controls the democratic society of today.

Freud’s theories in psychoanalysis have become accepted within twenty-first society. Originally this was not the case, as government agencies felt as if their power and control over the public sphere would be tainted through Freud’s findings in psychoanalysis and the human subconscious. At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Freud highlighted how his theories of psychoanalysis existed, and thus were embedded in each individual. He stated that the “saddest thing that this is the way we thought people should behave” and “no one knew how to stop them” as the government had released the primitive feelings in humans through the invasion the Austro-Hungarian Empire into Serbia. Soon after, the USA entered the war effort; Bernays was employed by the government to “promote America’s war aims in the press”.

After attending the Public Peace Conference, Bernay’s thought “if you can use propaganda for war, you can certainly use it for peace”.  He thus tried to alter the ways the public thought in peacetime throughout America through psychoanalysis and manipulating their subconscious.

This aspect of the “Century of the Self” series can be linked to the concepts that were presented by Professor Richard Goodwin in the first All Program Lecture. He highlighted that a designer cannot be a designer if they do not have a political opinion. A political opinion needs to be formed, so an individual (like a designer) is not distracted or swayed by government and social agencies that aim their opinions and ideas by appealing to the publics subconscious. The point is strongly reiterated as the documentary highlights how the public can easily be manipulated and influenced through tactics seen in mass media and consumerism. Alas, by forming ones own political opinion allows individuals to break away from the concepts viewed by the masses, thus allowing designers to challenge and part from the norm, creating new and potentially better ideas and designs.

Bernays experimented with the minds of the masses.  He appealed to the unconscious, and promoted the hidden and unwelcome feelings that were normally suppressed due to social structure and government agencies. These unconscious actions were tested with the concept of women smoking, and the concepts of sexual power of women over men. Through Bernays enforcement and manipulation enhanced women to smoke which thus symbolised independence and power, which is still apparently evident in society today. This made him realise that “it was possible to persuade people irrationally if you link products to their emotional desires and feelings… which meant that irrelevant objects could become powerful emotional symbols of how you wanted to be seen by others”. This point can be linked to design in the twenty-first societies. This is not only seen technological products, such as the latest gadgets and phones- a perfect example being the I-Phone, but also through fashion, motor vehicles and the individual’s home. An individual’s home has become more decadent and elaborate over time, which promotes social status and overall wealth. This concept has been enforced through the ages, as designers have linked and related to the masses subconscious persuading people to buy irrelevant objects that they ultimately may not need. These above points are seen throughout the series, as it points out that humans are “not just purchasing something but they are engaging themselves, emotionally or personally”. Peter Strauss then furthers this concept as he shows that designers can influence the publics subconscious. This is thus highlighted in the concept of fashion consumerism when he states,  “you think you need a new piece of clothing…but you will be better with that piece of clothing- that was his contribution in a very real sense, we see it all over the place today but I think he originated the emotional connect to a product of service”.

Freud and Bernays concepts and theories were furthered in the concepts of mass production and consumerism. Originally products were only promoted to the need of the object for the individual as a necessity.  Paul Mayser tried to move away from functionality into mass consumerism. He stated “we must shift America from a needs to a desire culture” and that they “must shape a new mentality in America…. mans desires must overshadow his needs”.  This would only be possible through Freud’s theories and Bernays creative action into persuading and ultimately using propaganda to sway the public’s perception of what they need and what they want. This thus enhanced public consumerism- the culture that is now embedded deep within twentieth and twenty-first societies. Consumerism and fashion design was a way to “express your inner sense of your self to others” this concept was created by Bernays and widely accepted throughout the public sphere, making the bi-product: “consumptionism”

The episode then continues about the impacts of Bernay’s propaganda and Freud’s theories on the twentieth century. These theories had severe impacts on popular society, and also ultimately shaped the layout and demographics of democracy.

The documentary was incredibly interesting, and the points made throughout the fifty-eight minutes can be linked to design, and how designers can appeal to their audience’s sub-conscious to ultimately want something that they may not need. As the twenty-first century society, is once again driven by consumerism, designers have the ability to ultimately use psychotherapy to appeal their products and designs to the masses.


Written by katmcmahon

April 8, 2011 at 1:55 am

adam jasper

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The second all program lecture was hosted by Adam Jasper. Jaspers lecture was not as enthralling or engaging compared to that of Richard Goodwin’s, but ultimately, it is a very tough act to follow. Adam Jasper related his lecture to the “Anatomical Venus” and the different perceptions and interpretations of this type of sculpture. Ultimately, I can say that I did not really know or understand how this related to the interior aspect of design, as I felt he was more alluding to the artistic form and manner. In reflection from this lecture, I feel as if Jasper may have had an underlining concept to his talk about design. The different perceptions and variations on the wax models and sculputres of Venus can highlight how a designer can interpret and thus represent one thing in a variety of different ways, and how one can ultimately extrude and elaborate on one certain idea. I may be completely wrong, and looking into this way to deep, but this was my general perception after reflecting on this talk.

Secondly, Jasper related these “Anatomical Venus” works to the intricacy of the human body, and how it is severely juxtaposed to that of our exterior. This hence alludes to the sense of a building, as a building can seem quite bland on the outside, but in-fact it can be of an articulate and intricate nature on the interior. The mauled Venus structure in one of the sculptures ultimately was presenting the concept of not “judging a book by its cover”, as the exterior of the sculpture seemed completely normal, but once your eyes followed down Venus’ body to her opened stomach, her organs were completely distilled. I thought the message and the example here that Jasper gave us was incredibly interesting, as he linked a normal artistic sculpture to the concept of exterior, and ultimately architecture been completely juxtaposed and of a different nature to interior design. The intricate nature and the way Venus’ organs were put together relates to the interior of a building- for example, the oesophagus leading to the stomach, can link to how a hallway leads to a room. Before Jaspers All Program Lecture, I would have never thought about the concept of the human body and organs having a metaphorical link to the interior and exterior of a building.

Ultimately, it could be said that I personally did not grasp the full concept of what Adam Jasper was talking about. He spoke of “beauty” in general, and then alluded this to design. His talk was incredibly interesting and highlighted a different angle of I guess, an interior perception.

Written by katmcmahon

March 25, 2011 at 2:31 pm