Manny Zermeno_5th Year Topic Studio – Cal Poly Pomona
Stonehenge was; an ancient burial site, a healing center, a solar calendar, and a pilgrimage destination. Its type of ‘use’ has ranged spanning its 5000 years of existence, but its true purpose has long been lost. Its massive scale suggests that Stonehenge was vital to the ancient people who built it. Yet In the 1900’s we restored it by filling cavities with reinforced concrete and placing the enormous fallen stones back into position. Had we undermined the loss of value and authenticity? Why was restoration necessary if only now Stonehenge, like most monuments in the world, is useless. Thus, the purpose of this project was to create an augmentation that would assemble a complete, or a story perhaps, symbiosis of function and meaning. The sacred monument itself would be untouched, but its symbolism and specificity would cause an assemblage of other useless objects anonymous to their purpose.
Influenced by Russian art theory of Suprematism by Kazimir Malevich and El Lissitzy, the method of the project began by taking objects that were once important but have now lost their usefulness. Two-dimensional representations were taken of these objects to abstract them from the context of what they were or where they came from.
The appearances of their origin were in themselves meaningless. The scale and material became irrelevant. Instead, the essential thing was pure feeling. In all operations, space was created through assemblage of representations of objects, not necessarily giving the objects their old or new volume. They acted as planes, folding and intersecting with each other to create spatial intimacy, rhythm, and specificity.
Who influences you graphically?
What influences me graphically typically changes from project to project and it depends what ideas I’m trying to convey. I think it is one of the most exciting moments in a project and I try to have fun with it, without constraining myself to what I think might be wrong or right, or even relevant at all. Sometimes it could be architecture, paintings, art, but many other times it is a collection of many other things that are simply ordinary. Everyday objects and mundane things.
To what extent does the term monument lie in its meaning or in its form?
I think that a monument could be either physical or spiritual, with form or no form. The monument could be Stonehenge, or the stones that compose Stonehenge, and the monument could be the pure feeling that you might have for it. It was this idea of what is the meaning of a monument that I was interested in developing into a project.
What defined the method of representation of the proposal?
The language of representation was defined by concepts of early 1900’s Suprematism. I would take forms of objects that were once important but had lost their usefulness. Objects like parts from a broken camera, an old tape recorder, or a small-unrecognized object that I once found but never threw away. I guess I thought it would come in use one day. I then took two-dimensional representations of these objects, making them abstract to what they were before. The scale and material of the form became irrelevant instead the meaningful part about the form was the pure feeling that I had for it. They intersected one another and folded around each other to create architectural space. As a whole, they composed a collection of visual depictions of feelings more than objects.
What was your work process in terms of concept development and as such sequence and production of drawings?
The work process included different forms of representations and mediums. Sometimes it was a narrative, a sketch, a physical model, a collage, or a technical drawing that helped develop the concept over time. And throughout each process, I think it helped me find new ideas that I hadn’t realize before.
If you had to produce one drawing as a summary and essence of the proposal, what would this be?
I think I would … orchestrate a collage drawn by my peers. I would set up a single drawing board with a set of rules to follow and tools to execute with. I would ask friends and colleagues to outline draw then erase their monument on a single sheet to create a palimpsest of line work and erased parts. They would be representations of objects, places, moments, or anything they felt. So long as they would draw then erase so the next person could do the same. The result would be an overlay of many representations, with some areas more erased then others. It would be abstract, illegible, and unclear, but the object itself – the (erased) drawing – would be somewhat meaningful.