Architecture and the Mundane
A series of collages and stories regarding everyday activities and imaginative built responses.
The Cabinet that Feeds
Staring blankly into the kitchen cupboards. He has risen from his bed in the room
adjacent, hoping some undefinable delicacy has inched its way to the front of the cabinets. Turning defeated he shuffles back into his den of relaxation for a few more minutes. This event repeats itself several more times over the course of an hour. Each occurrence resulting in defeat.
Cravings begin to overwhelm him as he lays turning in his bed. The previously engaging Netflix series has lost its ability to distract from the real problem at hand. With frustration and intensity the man rises up, in one final attempt to solve the pressing matter of his hunger.
He stands there again looking upon a myriad of options, none of which will do. His eyes shift up and down, back and forth, along the surface of the cabinet. Scanning it for anything that may have been missed previously, with an audible sigh he reaches forward to open the glass encasement and retrieve a second rate treat.
As he grasps the delicate handle and pulls the cupboard door towards him, he is met with resistance. Tugging more and more vigorously, he begins to utilize all the frustrations of his gastronomic defeat. With a clap the door unlatches and the man stumbles backwards. he entire cabinet begins to slowly unfurl itself in front of him. The doors smoothly swing downward towards him, like a hand
steadily becoming unclenched. As the hatches reach out toward the man, the shelves there within slide back into a space previously unknown,taking the snack with which he intended to settle deep out of sight. The shelves of china reach themselves out to him, granting a single entry into his new cupboard room. With hesitance the man climbs inside and works his way into the dimly lit space.
Enamored by the events that have just transpired, he forgets the hunger that has plagued him this past hour. He crawls onwards passing pots, pans, glassware, and dust on his journey. In the distance he sees the warm glow of food packaging. Hastening his pace he arrives to the new space of his hunger. Gliding around him in an oddly orchestrated tornado of wood, hardware, and food are all the things deemed formerly unfit.
Bags of pretzels collide with jars of peanut butter, Mac and Cheese powder explodes overhead, Raisins roll into neat piles by his hands and feet. Amidst the display he grabs whatever he can and inches his way back through the alley of stainless steel and dust and onto the swinging china.
Stepping down into his home he gazes once again onto his kitchen cupboards as they contort themselves back into regularity.
He returns, food in hand, to futon and a sitcom.
A Growing Sink
Placing a cutting board upon the countertop, he flips a bag of onions onto it. Next to this pile of onions is some broccoli, a few potatoes, 2 cloves of garlic, and three sausages. Taking a large kitchen knife he begins to peel, dice, and chop the ingredients. 5 feet to his right water boils on a stove and a pan slowly heats up, liquefying a pat of butter there within it.
The sink lets out an endless stream of water as he discards the things unfit to make this meal down its piping. Onion and Potato skins, the nub at the bottom of broccoli, sausage casings, and the fibrous outer layer of the garlic. All these things slide down into the abyss of his home’s inner plumbing.
This activity of feeding the drain happens every few days pending his financial ability to eat out and or his interest in preparing a meal. Gallon upon gallon of water slips into the abyss alongside pounds of organic waste.
He thanks the heavens every day that he has not had a clog but continues to tempt fate. Months pass and spring arrives.
Parading around the home in his briefs, celebrating the warm weather; he is called tothe kitchen by his roommate to inspect something suspicious. A small mushroom poke itself up from a slit in the countertop. Perplexed he plucks it up and throws it in the garbage.
The next day he inspects the location again only to find two fungi in its place. Removing them both and depositing windex into the slight crevice, he hopes the issue is resolved. For 8 more days, nothing emerges and so he decides to prepare himself a meal in the formerly affected area.
Cutting and mashing another similar group of ingredients he feels his counter flex and bow beneath his touch. Curious he pushes down with great force upon the flat surface. His hands break through and he falls back pulling with him his entire kitchen counter.
It tears away from the wall with the consistency of damp paper. Spilling the innards of his kitchen out onto the floor, and revealing the hidden world beneath. Rich Black soil rolls out onto the linoleum, large mushrooms of red, orange, and purple burst forward, and water mists the air.
He gazes into the dark to see a system of miniature aqueducts, zigging and zagging beneath his counter. Spanning small valleys, and distributing water and compost to various locations throughout the kitchen.
Reaching deep into the dark and through the water channels he plucks two mushrooms. Standing up he dices them and throws them in a pan for his dinner.
Come Closer Mirror
Strutting down his hall way, umpteen times a day, he passes a mirror pinched to his wall by several clear clips. Its trim is of white plastic and its bottom left hand corner has fallen victim to fog. Regardless of how many times he has passed said mirror, he cannot leave it be. Either his pace will slow down as he glances over his shoulder to see himself gliding through space; or he will bring himself to a full stop to gaze on as he twists his body and fluffs his hair.
Day or night, clothed or naked, proud or shameful, it does not matter. His eyes must always gaze upon it and subsequently himself. His vanity is fed by the placement of this mirror and his concerns with self-image grow more prominent every day.
The mirror knows it is merely a vessel of self-absorption and grows ashamed of its role in his psyche. Unable to change itself the mirror, requests the assistance of the home upon which it lives. Feeling an obligation to its dweller and pity for the mirror, the home agrees to help.
Days pass and the man strolls by the mirror continually considering it for a reflection of self. With each passing day, however the mirror begins to slip back into the walls of the house. Deeper and deeper, to escape the man’s vision. After several days, the man passes through the short hallway that leads from his living space to his kitchen, he turns his head in his typical way towards the mirror but finds no mirror there. In its wake is a thin cavern of wood, insulation, and cobwebs. Deep within it he can see the glimmer of the mirror as it reflects a thin shred of light from the hallway.
Astonished by this new condition and quite peeved by the brutal tear in his wall the man ventures to the back of the crevasse to investigate this new space. Turning sideways he sucks in his stomach and begins to shuffle back. Grey pink fiberglass fluff, poofs around his mouth and eyes and old nails tear his shirt as he slinks deeper into the cavern of his home. Reaching the end he sees the old mirror, absorbed into the long untouched makings of hiswalls. Angrily he pulls the mirror from its tomb and precedes back out of the cavern. Once outside he dusts himself off and checks his appearance in the mirror.
Unaware of how to fix such a large crack in his wall and too tentative to tell his landlord the man allows the cavern to remain. He simply hangs the mirror across its span.
He looks at the mirror everyday as before and now also a scar.
Hurry Up Shower
A long day has transpired for him, resulting in a severe build-up of grime. Having started his day early this morning the list of events that have occurred that bring us here to
9:26 pm EST are as follows.
- Bike to Delaware Park
- Carry timber and concrete from point A to point B
- Assemble timber and concrete into something
- Bike to South Campus
- Inquire about construction
- Bike back to park
- Disseminate information received from South Campus
- Destroy the construction
- Bury the evidence
- Bike home
His body is sore and his back is twisted from the hours of manual labour that occurred on this day. His shirt is covered in grey concrete dust, his pants streaked brown with grass and mud, hands and shoulder blades fraught with splinters, and body caked with a wonderful mixture of sweat and earth.
Arriving home late he immediately disrobes leaving shoes, pants, shirt, socks, and briefs in his wake. Flying into the bathroom the door closes behind him, and with two flicks of his wrist warm water springs from the shower head. Giving it the natural 30 second warm up he steps into the shower.
Closing his eyes the cleansing warmth of the water rushes over his body and removes both internal and external discomfort from him. In his meditative state, he begins to hear a low soft humming, looking around he discovers a single tile within the shower has been replaced by a metal grate.
Putting his hand to the grate he feels a suction and thinks perhaps the landlord has installed a new bathroom fan. Warm steam and air swiftly flow into his wall as he continues to rinse and relax.
All the while overhead a bladder is filling and expanding with air and moisture, steadily drooping into his personal bubble. 7 minutes have gone by and finally the elastic ceiling has touched his head. Looking up with astonishment he pokes the ever-growing bladder, which jiggles and wags about.
Unfettered by this and determined to continue enjoying the warm water on his sore body the man attempts to work around it. Shoving it this direction and that as it slowly swallows his head, shoulders, and torso. The bladder is swelling to a point of rupture, hearing the hiss from this tiny vent and feeling the great pressure within the bladder the man turns the shower off.
Exiting he looks down at his ankles still caked with dirt.
Heat a Seat
A man walks steadily down his street on his way home from school. He is encapsulated completely in thick pants, a pillowy coat, rough woven gloves, and a pair of tennis shoes that have grown cold and wet from his quarter mile journey. Snow surrounds him on all sides and impedes his journey by billowing here and there with no regard for his pilgrimage. Arriving home to his unshoveled walk he attempts to leap between the left behind footprints from his venture out this morning. Finally, at the door he removes a single glove to retrieve his keychain and gain entry into his home.
Once inside his body relaxes as its steps from the outside world which sits at 12 degrees and into his home which hovers disappointingly between 58 – 61 degrees. Striding quickly up the stairs to remove his heavy garbs and freezing wet shoes he arrives home.
Walking about handling a series of mundane tasks, boiling water, folding shirts, bothering a roommate; his body soon is unsatisfied with the temperature at which he affords to keep the home. He can feel the cold stagnant air clinging to his body, the floorboards chill his naked feet, and the walls around him radiate chill. Seeking an escape til bed he moves himself to the study.
Opening the door to the small room just off the home’s main gathering space, he carefully steps inside. The floor has been cut away, and a large silver bowl has been placed inside the void. Clinging to the walls he edges his way around the large metal pit, taking note of the vast number of lightbulbs there within it. Extending from one edge of the basin is a large metal rod that extends towards the ceiling and veils the space in a dark cloak.
Reaching the adjacent wall, he begins to climb a small set of stairs which curve halfway up the space, encapsulating a large portion of the metallic bowl. Once atop the stairs he steps out onto a small balcony hovering over the steel and glass basin.
Floating by a series of thick ropes over the centre of the bowl is a brown pleather La-Z-Boy chair. Stepping gently off the balcony and onto the swinging recliner, he transfers the full mass of his weight onto the dangling chair. With a slight drop and a loud click, the bowl below him illuminates.
Every bulb within lets out a buzz as the entire basin turns a crystalline white and the space becomes radiant. Reclining in mid-air, the warmth from the bulbs begins to lightly toast the chair and the man. Warm and comfortable he places a novel onto an extended rod across him to read and relax. Hours pass.
Using the sweat from his thighs the man then slips out of the chair and onto the floor below him. His exit returns the chair to its original height and the lights fade off. Feeling his way along the heated walls, he finds the door and heads off to sleep.
Who influences you graphically?
I have been strongly influenced by my Professor Dennis Maher , having worked on a wide variety of projects with him over several years, I would say he has had the strongest influence on both my 2 and 3 dimensional aesthetic. Other inspiring groups in regard to this work specifically would have to be the Independent Group and the collages of Max Ernst.
What is your process in selecting the material and then ‘archiving’ it? What are your primary sources?
I take frequent trips to local thrift stores and used book shops as a means of collecting my material. These books offer an incredible pallet of images, colors, and textures from which to select, as well as informing me on interesting cases of domesticity and ways of living.
The archival technique of collage allows me to steal distinct moments and things in time; altering them to tell a new story. These fragments however maintain a whisper of their past existence, giving the work a distorted sense of familiarity. It is this peripheral familiarity that allows the work to be relatable and at the same time fantastic.
You compose on a blank white background, what is the effect and purpose of this? How neutral is the white and how does it affect how we perceive your compositions?
The work is composed on white paper to allow the collage to layer itself up at its own fruition. The high neutrality of the white paper allows for the space and event produced to stand independent from any other contextual or material factors, keeping the focus on the subject.
How would the formatting of this into a book-short animation help reinforce the theme of narrative and maybe develop the collages into more static images?
I have been toying with the idea of turning the collages and tales into a proper story book. Not a collection of short individual stories but a single narrative that begins to weave together the various events and spaces of my every day and turn them into something wonderful. The book would need to utilize a distinct timeline however to properly combine all the imaginative and mundane scenarios there within it. That timeline would be a single day, from the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep the story is unfolding, and each scene being accompanied by a collage.
Although I believe a short animation would be an exciting and interesting project to pursue, one of the qualities that I enjoy from the book and single images is the reader’s ability to project their own memories and perceptions onto it. With an animation, a touch of that could be lost, with viewers being more fully absorbed into my step by step version of the space.
What is the effect of separating text from images?
Separating the text from the images allows the work to affect the viewer on two separate occasions. If they view the image first, they may find one moment fascinating or perhaps not understand the work through the scope that I had while producing it. In this case, the following story will act as a moment of discovery and framing.
If they read the story first, then they will have a preconceived notion of what the following image should be. The image will undoubtedly differ from the one that was in their heads as they read through the text, which will act as a moment of conflict and reflection.