The gentle hand + the greedy eye: an everyday baroque practice in architecture by Rachel Hurst

* Click on the red time-stamp to go directly to each segment in the video

00:10 Chair (Pia Ednie-Brown) Introducing Presentation and the Examiners (A/Prof Sarah Treadwell, Prof Rachel Neeson)

03:00 Presentation begins with Rachel reading an excerpt from a poem by Rupert Brook extolling the virtue of ordinary things. This introduction of the ‘everyday’ leads her to the main premise of her PhD.

04:55 Three themes: the everyday; analogue craft and making, and curatorial practice

06:30 ‘Teaching is the background of my practice’

06:50 Description of the exhibition (what’s on the walls and table)

10:00 Introduction of Rachel’s booklet: The Key Codex – which she calls the roadmap to her approach

11:30 Key intentions, Key methods, Key spatial moves

15:00 Collections as a kind of Cabinet of curiosities or wunderkammer

16:46 Explanation and physical examination of a table in her exhibition. It is, as Rachel puts it, ‘the anchor’ for most places of production and in her case a conscious mixing of the familiar and familial with the materials and instruments of her practice.

26:10 Major project: Times tables, tabulation

32:20 Description of a tablecloth (exhibited) which ‘knits the canonical and the personal’

36:00 Fabric sets: embroidered cloths: comparisons between the large city square and the square of an embroidered cloth: the robustness of built form as against the flimsy nature of the cloth.

39:40 Description of the curation of Manual: inscriptions of the everyday: Souvenir cloths

47:05 The Crate explained

49:00 The 'Goodbye Table' road trip

56:00 Contributions and conclusions

1:04:30 End of Presentation

1:05:00 (RN) Architectural exhibition or Art exhibition: how would you describe your (this PhD) exhibition?

1:09:20 (ST) Question that asks RW to talk about ‘a certain ambivalence between the modern(ist) and the everyday’ in the work

1:17:00 (RN) A comment on the tactility of the book supporting the sensory appreciation of the everyday

1:27:30 (ST) Where, in what we’ve seen today is there an example of ‘hybrid production’ (hybrid of analogue drawing and other forms of display

1:30:24 (ST) Discussion on the question of scale in the works. Is there a small thread of apprehension within the thesis that the author (who’s practice is generally concerned with the hand-sized and detailed) might have to enlarge?

1:34:30 (RN) Can you talk a little bit about comfort with imprecision?

1:37:10 (ST) Commenting on the mix, or segregation, in the works of finessed finish and an incomplete quality

1:40:30 (RN) About ‘making do with’ or elevating the everyday

1:45:10 (ST) What are the limits of the strategy to engage the personal, and family life, in a critique of the discipline

1:55:40 (ST) The recurrent icon of the little black cross in the word is discussed

1:59:00 (RN) A question asking Rachel to expand on the colours that she uses in her works

2:01:20 The End

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This research responds to discourse on the everyday in architecture [and cross-disciplinary areas of interior architecture, and art] concerning the multi-sensorial and embodied aspects of architectural perception, thinking and production.

A major premise is that there are instinctive, complex and significant patterns and typologies in the way we use space in ordinary, intimate settings, and that these can give insights to larger, more public spaces traditionally handled by the architectural profession. The argument is that by virtue of their subtlety and familiarity, some of these fundamental patterns – both physical and occupational – have been overlooked by the shapers of our built environment in favour of conventional agenda, such as formal, functional, theoretical or political schema. Alternatively, they may be present but invisible or unrecognised, their profundity dismissed as trivial. The PhD addresses these observations as relevant spatial and material content for an architectural approach redefined by theories of the everyday.

A further argument is that everyday architecture, because of its evolved, interstitial, diverse nature, is inherently multi-sensory and contingent in the way it operates, as opposed to a tendency toward the rational, ocularcentric and definitive in orthodox architectural practice. The PhD addresses these ideas as relevant to the process of an architectural approach influenced by the everyday.

Through a hybrid practice of creative works, curation, critical writing and education, the PhD investigates specific everyday settings, notably the table, to deepen the understanding of potential spatial and operational analogies for architecture. Three publicly-exhibited major suites form the spine of the research. Each has multiple components, uses different media, scales and forms of collaborative practice, and is supported by a raft of secondary creative endeavours and explorations. In this way the PhD demonstrates ways to use the everyday as a productive source for architectural analysis, response, and ultimately as an agent for an expanded model of practice.

Year: 2016
Examiners: Prof Rachel Neeson, A/Prof Sarah Treadwell  Supervisors: Professor Sand Helsel, A/Prof Richard Black


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