Power To The User
The outcome of this project was to create an archive gallery plus a cultural arts centre. the archive galley expands on idea of ‘participation’ creating a hub for past influences of the city deemed redundant by political leaders and taken away from the community.
The structure follows ideas of Stuart Hall and Kevin Kelly such as sharing, communication, collaboration and cooperation, to give a sense of power to the user, and enable them to express current issues within surrounding communities through art, film and photography. The context, Digbeth Birmingham is what I call the original Birmingham with abandoned factories and graffiti defaced walls on brick facade canvases.
The result therefore is to focus individuals into empowering their freedom of thought and expression and in turn give Digbeth a new representation beyond a derelict industrial town in the shadow of the city. These ideas merge past and present to form an overall cultural hub theme being for the people, run by the people to benefit the people.
Who Influences you graphically?
I still believe I am understanding the way in which I work and certain styles I try to evoke so I still feel open to developing my graphical approach. For this project however I was influenced by architects with a strong sense of participation and flexibility in architecture such as Cedric Price, Eilfried Huth, Arata Isozaki, as well as artist Kasimir Malevich whose artistic approach was the very representation of freedom and the movement of a new era. These ideas were the theoretical foundation of the project so I purposely tried to create a compilation of these graphical styles to communicate the final visuals of the project.
How could the formatting of the proposal itself as a digital or physical archive helped in pushing the proposal further and exploring it under yet another aspect?
Archiving uncovered different layers of participation beyond the idea of architecture, creating what I feel are either hard or soft flexible spaces, or communities being directly involved in working with the architect. Here archiving or self-archiving worked physically by mimicking the virtual nature of how we use the internet, for example uploading photos onto facebook, at the hub you can archive information of your choice for others to see and receive and insight. Really, I was influenced by Kevin Kelly on New Socialism on how sharing, cooperation. collaboration and collectivism is based on ideas of the internet and how it has over thrown top-down hierachy, making us all important components of one machine. I believe archiving would answer an idea of participation in bringing power to the individual.
What dictated the choice of palette and texture?
Well besides a lot of the fantastic student work I have been influenced by, I also gained a lot of inspiration from architectural influences dating from 1950s-1970s, this also explains why the characters within the visuals are from that era. A lot of the visual inspiration however comes from Malevich, such as the black circle featured in the section to present new representation of Digbeth, Birmingham. I found the use of these characters romanticized his heavy contrasting photographs and bold colour painting style.
How is texture explored and to what end?
As I mention about Malevich being a graphical inspiration, the outcome of the textures I used would aim to convey a painting heavy in contrast, bold and also dramatic, almost like a scene from The Fountainhead, which would explain why I have used scenes from the movie over projector screens in a few of the final images.
You neglect to explore the proposal through the typical plan/section/elevation-why so?
Although I had these drawings presented in my portfolio, I did not find them essential to communicate the ideas I wanted to convey in a curated series of selected imagery. One reason being because of the awkward arms of the structure at different heights which are better shown through a perspective section to demonstrate their spacing and activity. Due to the complexity of the form, I felt that the project spoke through a dimension that wouldn’t well be presented through flat imagery.