Allegory of the Lunatic

Leave a comment
Photo-Manipulation, Students

Relief from the Order of Architectural Transparency via the Monad and the Nocturnal: Allegory of the Lunatic

Mark Keller_University of Michigan thesis studio under Perry Kulper


This work is a response to transparency: “that paradigm of total control”* championed by René Descartes and later Jeremy Bentham and Le Corbusier. Transparency was a primary tool for the measured, logical edifice that denies “the domain of myth, suspicion, tyranny, and above all the irrational.”* A gut-renovation of the Great Lighthouse of Alexandria, circa 200 B.C., exactly at the pseudohistoric origin of the architectural transparency. Strangers of all humors loiter in its deep interior spaces, subconsciously imagined and otherwise: the lunatic in allegory. “The monad is the autonomy of the inside, an inside without an outside. It has as its correlative the independence of the façade, an outside without an inside…. a severing by which each term casts the other forward, a tension by which each fold is pulled into the other.”** The culmination of the project are the moments where nightmares are brought to light, moments where the monad lies bare.



Who influences you graphically?

Agnieszka Osipa (photographed by Marcin Nagraba), Gregory Crewdson, Olafur Eliasson, Francisco Goya (Quinta del Sordo paintings)


How could the multilayering of the drawing on acetate reinforce the thesis so that the medium is part of the message?

The images are actually just screen shots read from a .xyzrgb text file of the Great Lighthouse—a point cloud on display (about 20 million points). The intent was to describe the content of veiled / conflicting narrative through a completely transparent medium: one that could be understood, packaged, and reproduced yet held within it something much more difficult.

How did you develop a visual narrative? What parameters and points of reference did you choose to translate literature to drawing?

The first step was to find some friends to have in the room. Thinking about spaces at night-time and those nightmarish visions, I found myself in the seeing William Blake, Francisco Goya, Anthony Vidler, Gilles Deleuze, and Slavoj Žižek to name a few. The visual narrative was pure pleasure. It became less about a correct way to translate ideas, and more about how much I could develop the repercussions of those ideas in combination with each other. Entanglement and growth allow feracity, I think.



What is the effect of the black background? How did this affect the way the images were then rendered?

The .xyzrgb background was actually set onto a void (black) background that then registered the proximity of a viewer and turned blue then white, revealing different aspects of the dataset. Had the display been paper, the default void would have been white.



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.