UnderCover: Form Study Class: Unexpected architectural inspiration

Friday, September 16, 2011

Form Study Class: Unexpected architectural inspiration

On the way in to the studio today, I saw some gorgeous work tacked up on the walls of the main building. (Sadly, I forgot my iPhone at home so I could not take any photos!)

Architecture students created the work, and from what I could glean from the output, the assignment consisted of photographing a simple action—hitting a tennis ball, kicking a ball, doing a backflip—in about 11 sequential frames and from two different perspectives. The students then mapped changes in position in an abstracted way—representing joints as circles and limbs as lines, or mapping the negative space between the subject's legs and arms, for instance—for each frame and for both perspectives. In the final step, both the photographic set of images are superimposed onto themselves and the abstracted set of images are superimposed onto themselves. I'm not sure what purpose of the assignment served for the architecture students, but the exercise produced many stand-alone 2D forms that were both visually complex and aesthetically stunning.

It's a difficult to explain what these drawings looked like. If you can, imagine a blend of the frozen figures in Marcel Duchamp's Nude Descending Staircase and in the photographic locomotion studies of Eadweard J. Muybridge, with the more abstract lines of Jules Marey's man in black velvet.

Although CCA's Design MFA is touted as a 'transdisciplinary' program, time pressures and structural constraints inevitably keep disciplines apart. But today, because the building's main 'knave' is used by many departments for critiques, I was lucky to be able to catch a glimpse of something from another field that I can incorporate into my work.

Here are some additional (loosely related) links:
Men of the Enlightenment
Cubism and Futurism
Beautiful—Then-Gone by Martin Venezky

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