WE MAKE IMAGES WE MAKE ARCHITECTURE
‘DI-ORA-MA is a cross-disciplinary studio that uses representation as a tool of design choices and coordinated strategy. Diorama is a team of professionals who adapt advanced technologies using language and traditional technique to produce unique contemporary artefacts.’
Diorama exists between the real and unreal, in a space where the future awaits and constantly surpasses our invention.
The habitat is one of speed, time, change and continuity. Our world is one where scale is immersive. An abstract quality of incomensurable force in a world where numbers dominate and disturb perception. Modernity introduced the ideal of ordered perfection and in its maturity it reavealed the impossiblity of the project. Diorama follows the philosophy of scale, abstraction, disruption in an imperfectly balanced reality. It asks, how can we operate effectively in this world of radical complexity?
The practice is one of collage, of mania and ambivalence. It is one of creation, conversation and strategy. Each project is a concise text, an abstract source of multiplicity, a construction toward a new visual culture. Scraps of information, facts and figures collect and reform into new works, ideas, concepts and creations.
The process is one of collection, sorting, sifting and cataloguing. It is the creation of a complex map of time and place. It is a work of dialogue and collaboration: with people, resources, objects, places and other texts. All outcomes are contingent, they are reliant on process, feedback and collective comprehension. These outcomes are both singular and multiple, inward and outward, connected and unique. It is the aim of Diorama is to construct new texts that stimulate, construct, disrupt and confront all marginal futures.
Diorama, text, 2d, 3d, vr, photography, animation, collage, print, object, diorama.
What defines the exhibitions you choose to stage within your space?
We’re not yet particularly precise when it comes to the curating the space, we’re a small team finding our way and seeing where we can be effective. So far we’ve exhibited the work of friends and colleagues who share our interests and are engaged in architecture and the city. Naturally these works raise questions about the role of representation within architectural practice in which we have a real professional investment. There’s an interesting dialogue developing between our dual roles as curators and creators, it’s a confrontation that challenges us to be more critical in our practice.
How and to what extent does your manifesto dictate the means through which you operate?
That’s exactly the question we’re asking ourselves. It’s difficult to read the news, to engage in the madness of the world and retain a rational relation to the quotidian. Every topic becomes multiple, nothing can be trusted, our certainty is disintegrating. We struggle for stability and yet we embrace the unstable as some sort of potential solution. It’s not simple to maintain this position of ambivalence and contradiction: our manifesto is our roadmap, it shows us the frontier. We have the experience now to successfully complete each project, whether it’s an image, or object, or architecture. On each project there’s always a moment where everything becomes fixed, decisions have been made and direction determined. At that moment we become robotic and we begin to polish something that is effectively complete. There’s a strange seduction in the safe repetition within this moment and it’s a necessary component of what we do, but in terms of research and innovation it’s absolutely deadly.
The obverse of this becoming robot is the first moment of each a project where we are unguided, lost, exploring the frontier. The process is raw and somehow more real. From that point however, everything we do establishes a boundary that encloses us. We’re not sure whether we can ever fully avoid these imposed constraints, but there have been a few great moments in the past where we’ve been able to extend the unbridled moment throughout the entire project. It’s the dream, we know it’s possible, now we need to understand how we can achieve it more frequently.
To what extent do you trust in the idea of the continuum (diorama 1822- and your contemporary interpretation in 2016)
For us Daguerre is the father of modern representation, between his preliminary work in panoramas, through to his creation of the diorama and to the invention of the daguerrotype. There’s an interesting story the follows between optics, drawing, production, affect and simulation that parallels the work we’re doing today. We like the idea that we’re having the same discussions now that others were having in the nineteenth century on the nature and role of representation in reality and perception. It’s a stimulating and important conversation with regard to development of the office and how we work every day.
Are there specific parameters you respect when constructing an image?
When we’re making images for architects, we try to understand their intent, the mood of the project and the context. The images we produce really have to reflect these parameters to be successful. At the moment we’re trying to model more of the site and context, we’re visiting the site ourselves to shoot context photography, we’re investigating the possibility of drone based photogrammetry. We want to create more specific and integrated images, not just a generic impression. We have to recognise that our images may serve as the only representation ever to exist of a project beyond a plan and there’s a responsibility that goes hand in hand with that unique situation.
How much is it the clients choice and/or yours?
We’ve been making images for architects for a long time now and it’s become an intuitive process. We’re always investigating photography, painting and drawing as a counterpoint for our everyday practice.
These references teach us about the cultural conventions of how we read images in terms of composition, tone and colour. It’s because of this study that we can have real and productive conversations with our clients about intention and possibility. And it’s through these conversations that we can be most productive. In the end each image is an artefact of a conversation, they are the product of collaboration and are better because of it.
What is your take on the hyper realistic render?
The hyperreal is dangerous. It’s also an inevitable and not too distant future of shear unproductive stupidity.
There are too many illusions in the hyperreal, which really we should call the photoreal pretending to be the hyperreal. An invented image pretending to be a photograph of an reality that does not exist. There’s an aesthetic developing between the render and the photograph of a false perfection, where renders are starting to look more like photographs and photographs are starting to look more like renders. Frankly it’s confusing and fetishistic.
In technical terms a photoreal image takes an inordinate amount of time to model, texture and render correctly, it is an immutable and static simulacrum. We’re not trying to trick our audience into believing the false reality of an image, but to visually communicate an intent or experience, or test out an idea. Architecture is a slow burn, it takes more courage and more patience than we can imagine, we’re there to assist that process not to replace it.