Unreasonable Creatures – in dialogue with an activated ground by Urs Bette

* Click on the red time-stamp to go directly to each segment in the video

Panel: Mr William Fox (WF) Assoc Prof Boris Jenson (BJ) Dr Stephen Neille (SN)
Chair: Assoc Prof Vivian Mitsogianni

00:01 Introduction to Examination (chair); Introduction of panel members; Formal examination procedures and disclaimers

02:08 General summary of the exhibition: The exhibition puts forward 3 different ways of talking about the work; - overview of past to present (trace characteristics / external forces) -photographs hand gestures to visualise choreography at the heart of projects -large scale model through which tried to subsume current stat of my research and put it into a model - where practice is currently. (Structuring exhibition)

03:57 Practice Interest: Description of types of emergent spaces that the practice is interested in; - space; embodied in the work as a presence / radiance / energy that emanates -space between the object and other (ground) -space between parts of object itself -space sequential space. Perceive while moving through / along object (Practice narrative)

05:05 Agents involved in each project: Description 4 agents at play, each of equal importance and having equal mandate in each project: -object -ground -space -self as author Each project is a balanced choreography of these 4 forces. (methodology)

06:23 Developing relationship to ground object: Description of how working with the ground and an opposing object was developed out of the need to have an antagonistic or polarity(ies) that can force the object and ground to negotiate the space between them.

06:58 Relationship to the object and the qualitative space it creates: Description of belief that the care and attention put into the object will be reflected in the space that it emanates.

08:00 Hand Gestures - Methodology for crafting object and ground: Description of how the object and ground is crafted. Crafting the void - the process. At the beginning of all projects:
1. arbitrary start; confrontation of a site and some unreasonable external unreasonable chaos.
2. author (self) challenges preconceptions about how things should be by trying to extract form / mass. The authorship slips from empathising with objects, to the site.
3. introduced forces try to negotiate their co-existence, in this process space happens between them and through them. (methodology)

12:16 Diagramming transformations: Description of the diagrams on the panels that offer a different way of visualising the transformation of a field to a figure – to a character than the hand gesture images.

12:52 Modes of assessment: Description of the 2 modes of assessment used to work through a project. (methodology)

15:24 Developing assessment of form: Summary of the modes of assessment that developed through the working through the projects:
- form in regards to space
- form in regard to meaning

15:50 Subjective positioning during the projects: The author flicks between varying observing points (emphasis with character) while also wanting the author’s history to be present in the work. (methodology)

17:14 Overview of presentation and discussion of projects (structuring)

17:40 Project Description and typology: Projects categorized into 3 types.
1. Built project – in Austria
2. Speculative design - Adelaide foot bridge
3. Installations series

18:15 Project Description: Thalia Graz competition

22:14 Creaturely character: Start to assign the architectural object a 'creature character' (methodology)

23:29 Project description: Adelaide footbridge - description of how project was important in research

26:34 Project description: The Whale (installation category) Description of the unreasonable beginning being the collaboration with another artist. (methodology)

28:30 Reflection of work: That reflection enabled seeing that the projects had become hermetically closed and the focus on character had pushed aside interest in the sequential spatial qualities that were present in earlier work.

31:14 Project description: Description on Spinoza's cabinet project being the next translation of the whale installation. Description of how this project developed an additional step in the methodology: the step of dissection.

31:31 Value of installation work: Description why installation work is used as part of the practice. (methodology)

32:22 The dissection step: Discussion around the effects on the object’s qualities as a result of the dissection.

33:28 Presentation complete

33:55 (SN) Q. Talk about sideways force introduced in the Adelaide footbridge project

40:38 (BJ) Comment - Diagramming understanding of practices

49:43 (WF) General comment and praise for the dissertation

52:50 (SN) Q. Can you talk about the responses (in regards to the ground) that have led to the large scale model

58:47 (BJ) Q. Could you be more explicit about spatial strategies

01:13:01 (WF) Q. What is the relationship between a model and an installation?

01:15:54 (SN) Q. Talk about some of the responses at play in the creation of the large scale model

01:22:43 (BJ) Q. Are you ever afraid of reducing architecture to form?

01:27:42 (BJ) Q. What is the role of scale? What is the scale of large scale model?

01:31:13 Discussion concludes

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This research examines the dialogue between architecture and site. It investigates the role of ‘the unreasonable’ in the design process and reveals the strategies deployed to facilitate the poetics of architecture within a discourse whose evaluative parameters predominantly involve reason. The examination of my design practice unveils a cumulative process that starts with intuitive moves, which are further developed through an iterative process charting the project from different perspectives. This is achieved by immersing myself in the architectural object, the site and the observer.

My background in communication design comes into play when I empathise with ‘the other’ – the object, the site, the observer – and translate the experience into a display that can be shared. Themes discussed include, the production of space from the staged opposition between the architectural object and the site, as well as the relationship between the intuitive and analytic synthesis within the design act. In both of these there is necessary engagement with forms of ‘unreasonable’ thought, action and behaviour. The work seeks to promote acceptance of the usefulness and validity of ‘the unreasonable’ in architecture and contributes to discourse on the relationship between landscape and the generation of architectural form and space.


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