Economy of Illusions: A (re)Valuation of Rome's Visual Culture
A magic trick unfolds in three acts. Act one begins with the presentation of something ordinary - an empty top hat, perhaps. Look closely and see that there is nothing distinct about this hat. It is black, cylindrical, and hollow. Chaplin wore one. Trust is established. The second act, however, is meant to stir. Here, the magician takes the seemingly ordinary object and transforms it into something extraordinary. Suddenly, a rabbit is pulled up from within the hat. The affect is unnerving, entertaining for some. At this precise moment, the hat is at once a hat and not. It is the final act, the most prosaic of the three, however, which truly amazes. The magician must return the hat back to its point of origin before the audience shuffles away disoriented. The rabbit is placed back within the hat and with a twirl and a thwap of the magician's wand the hat returns to its original state. No more rabbit, just hat.
Applause. Bow. Replace audience. Repeat trick.
This is an all too familiar game in architecture known as a burlesque, whereby an ideality is constructed from, which a shift is indexed to conjure a narrative. Venturi and Lichtenstein played it. And so do we. We do not invent. Instead, we appropriate from within our ample discipline. Our overlay mettles with architecture's drawn histories - its canonical geometries, shapes, and stylized projections - to encourage layered readings. We favor the familiar and overlook the novel at all cost. We assert ourselves by mining the aftereffects of error, or wrong, to refrain from completing the magician’s third act. This is where we diverge from our predecessor's models. It is the responsibility of the collective, both practitioner and audience alike, to reset together and develop new forms of visual literacy. Like a good one-liner, our tricks are not meant to alienate. After all, architecture is far more fun and far less ironic when everyone is in on the joke.
The Nativist, A Castle In Two One-Point Perspectives, 2014
The Introvert, Reversible Elevation Of A Portico, 2014
The Imaginist, Elevation And Anamorphic Mirror Of A Bell Tower, 2014
The Egotist, Convex Elevation Of An Arch, 2014
The Allegorist, Palace In Axonometric With Local Vanishing Point, 2014
Prop Elevations. Cinecittà Occupata / 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, 2014
Pavilion 125, Preparatory Drawings, 2014
Lincoln Log Cabin, Exploded Elevation, Big, 2014
Lincoln Log Cabin, Exploded Elevation, Small, 2014
Self-Portrait From the Hip, 2014