Perry Kulper’s Drawn Cosmologies at Greenwich

Assemblies: Drawn Cosmologies by Perry Kulper

Perry Kulper’s ‘Assemblies: Drawn Cosmologies’ at the University of Greenwich brought more than a tease on representational and spatial capacities of the architectural drawing, it awarded us a daydream in colour, metaphors, and phantasies.



Perry Kulper is an architect and Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Michigan. In a prior life, he was a SCI-Arc faculty member for 17 years and held visiting teaching positions at Penn and ASU. After graduate studies at Columbia University he worked in the offices of Eisenman/Robertson, Robert A.M. Stern and Venturi, Rauch and Scott Brown before moving to Los Angeles.

His primary interests include: the generative potential of architectural drawing; the different spatial opportunities offered by using diverse design methods in design practices; and in broadening the conceptual range by which architecture contributes to our cultural imagination.

In 2013 he published Pamphlet Architecture 34, ‘Fathoming the Unfathomable: Archival Ghosts and Paradoxical Shadows’ with friend and collaborator Nat Chard. Recently he has ventured into the digital world, attempting to get a handle on ‘cut + paste’ operations in Photoshop.

Fantastic beasts have also been on his mind.

Follow Perry Kulper’s work on instagram pkulper



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Book of Circles: Visualizing Spheres of Knowledge

Book of Circles: Visualizing Spheres of Knowledge by Manuel Lima

“Circles are truly everywhere. We can witness this elemental shape in faraway planets and stars; in earth formations such as mounds, craters, and small lakes; in the sections of tree trunks and plant stems; in the moving ripples on the surface of water; in a variety of leaves, fruits, shells, rocks, and pebbles; in the eyes of our fellow humans and other animals…”



In The Book of Circles, his companion volume to the popular Book of Trees, Manuel Lima takes us on a lively tour through millenia of information design. Three hundred detailed and colourful illustrations cover an encyclopedic array of subjects, drawing fascinating parallels across time and culture. The clay tokens used by ancient Sumerians as a system of recording trade are juxtaposed with the logos of modern retailers like Target; Venn diagrams are discussed side by side with symbols of the Christian trinity, the trefoil shape of the biohazard symbol, and the Olympic rings; a diagram revealing the characteristics of 10,000 porn stars displays structural similarities to early celestial charts placing the earth at the centre of the universe.

A set of projects from the first of twenty-one visual archetypes featured in the book. The diversity is evident. Juxtaposed here are an art project created inside a petri dish, an illustration of the geocentric model, an image of Jupiter’s north pole, and a map of 10,000 porn stars. The projects span more than 500 years, from the 15th century to 2013.

Circles are truly everywhere. We can witness this elemental shape in faraway planets and stars; in earth formations such as mounds, craters, and small lakes; in the sections of tree trunks and plant stems; in the moving ripples on the surface of water; in a variety of leaves, fruits, shells, rocks, and pebbles; in the eyes of our fellow humans and other animals; as well as in cells, bacteria, and microscopic organisms.

Pages from the section A Taxonomy of Circles which expands on the classification of the various visual archetypes featured in the book.

Over time, the circularity exhibited in nature also became a chief guiding principle of human culture, emulated and reinvented in art, religion, language, technology, architecture, philosophy, and science. Used to represent a wide range of ideas and phenomena pertaining to almost every domain of knowledge, the circle became a universal metaphor embraced by virtually every civilization that has ever existed. We can see them as an organizing model in the cities and buildings we inhabit, the objects and tools we use, and the symbols and diagrams we construe to make sense of the world around us.

About the Author

Manuel Lima FRSA is a Portuguese-born designer, author, lecturer, and researcher. WIRED describes Lima as “the man who turns data into art” while Creativity magazine considers Lima “the Edward Tufte of the 21st Century”.


Buy book here

Paperback | Approx. £20 UK | ISBN 10: 1616895284 | 272 pp. | Princeton Architectural Press | 2 May 2017


Panopticon: The philosopher’s circle as solution to the question of prison design

©Adam Simpson

The Panopticon, 1787

Jeremy Bentham and Willey Reveley, London, UK

‘Morals reformed—health preserved—industry invigorated—instruction diffused—public burthens lightened—Economy seated, as it were, upon a rock—the gordian knot of the Poor-Laws not cut, but untied—all by a simple idea in Architecture!’  

Jeremy Bentham was an English philosopher and a proponent of utilitarianism and animal rights. [image]

That was the prediction of the philosopher Jeremy Bentham, when writing about the Panopticon, a type of architectural design that would allow one person to observe a large number of people – without them knowing when they were being watched.

Prison conditions were a burning issue in late eighteenth-century Britain. Crowded, and unpleasant, prisons were insanitary places more likely to result in the spread of disease than in rehabilitation of the offender. Despite numerous change efforts by campaigners such as British reformer John Howard, all attempts ran up against the problem of money. Prisons were costly to built and to manage. Bentham’s idea was to design a circular prison in such a way that a single warder could keep an eye on a whole floor of prisoners.

Treadwheel, Third Vagrants’ Yard, c. 1862 [image]

The panopticon penitentiary, from the Greek παν- (‘all’) and -οπτικος (‘seeing’) was based upon an idea of Jeremy’s younger brother, Samuel, who while working in Russia for Prince Potemkin, hit upon the ‘central inspection principle’ which would facilitate the training and supervision of unskilled workers by experienced craftsmen.

Jeremy came to adapt this principle for his proposed prison, an ‘Inspection House’ envisaged as a circular building, with the prisoners’ cells arranged around the outer wall and the central point dominated by an inspection tower. From this building, the prison’s inspector could look into the cells at any time—and even be able to speak to the prisoners in their cells via an elaborate network of ‘conversation tubes’—though the inmates themselves would never be able to see the inspector himself. The idea of constant, overbearing surveillance is certainly unsettling, but the panopticon and its central inspection principle would, Bentham argued, have multifarious benefits.

Penitentiary Panopticon Elevation/Section/Plan

One such benefit that Bentham saw in his design was that prisoners could be put to useful or profitable tasks. Prisoners at this time did not normally work – this was yet another activity that required close supervision and consequently cost money. With the panopticon system, it was argued, the surveillance was cheaper and work viable. Overall, Bentham presented this design as an economic advantage – his vision for the prison system involved government-backed private enterprise, paid for in part by prisoners’ labour.

The architectural project was commissioned Willey Reveley, a young artist and architect. As a Classicist and follower of the great Georgian architect Sir William Chambers, he had been to Greece and drawn the monuments there. He’s plans for the Panopticon showed a plain, six-storey building with no ornament but afford a certain grandeur by a series of semi-circular relieving arches. Inside, the main floors each has some two dozen cells around the central lodge.

Panopticon plans (drawn by Willey Reveley), c. 1794-1795 (Image courtesy of UCL Special Collections, UC cxix, f. 125r)
Plan of Millbank Prison, Constructed 1812, on land originally purchased by Bentham for the construction of his Panopticon.

Bentham looked up a number of possible places in London most of them proving problematic – mainly because people with property nearby did not want a prison in their ‘backyard’. However, in 1799, a vacant site north of the Thames at Milbank was found, and Bentham bought it on behalf of the government for £12,000. Then the scheme fell through. The government changed in 1803 and with that came an administration less keen to pursue a project were adequate money for the building was not forthcoming. Ultimately, Bentham was paid £23,000 in compensation and the plan was dropped. A prison was subsequently built on the site at Millbank, but it was not based on Bentham’s principles or design. After the Millbank Penitentiary closed in 1890, the Tate Gallery (now Tate Britain) was built on site.

Other prison designers adopted some of Bentham’s principles, as did a few of the architects of Victorian workhouses in the nineteenth century.  So, although Bentham’s own Panopticon came to nothing, its influence lived on.

Works Cited: Phantom Architecture by Philip Wilkinson, Simon & Schuster, 2017, p. 70-73 | Madness & Civilization by Michel Foucault, Vintage Books, 1965

Assemblies: Drawn Cosmologies: Perry Kulper at the University of Greenwich

‘Assemblies: Drawn Cosmologies’ Perry Kulper

University of Greenwich, Hawksmoor International Lecture Series, 2017-2018

‘Assemblies: Drawn Cosmologies’ will tease out representational and spatial capacities of the architectural drawing. Saddling up Wallace Stevens’ seminal poem ’13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird’ the talk will expose hunches, wild assertions and project images as partial evidence. Equally, behind-the-scenes techniques to build a discipline for design will be foregrounded—these deployed in search of cultural gravity through design that crawls up the sleeves of the discipline, challenging what’s expected, normalized and frequently flattened. These techniques include: conjuring pithy terms; language folds; exercising fast twitch design muscles; analogic thinking; and making work that navigates varied ideas—all mobilized toward prompting the cultural imagination.

Perry Kulper is an architect and Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Michigan. In a prior life he was a SCI-Arc faculty member for 17 years and held visiting teaching positions at Penn and ASU. After graduate studies at Columbia University he worked in the offices of Eisenman/Robertson, Robert A.M. Stern and Venturi, Rauch and Scott Brown before moving to Los Angeles. His primary interests include: the generative potential of architectural drawing; the different spatial opportunities offered by using diverse design methods in design practices; and in broadening the conceptual range by which architecture contributes to our cultural imagination. In 2013 he published Pamphlet Architecture 34, ‘Fathoming the Unfathomable: Archival Ghosts and Paradoxical Shadows’ with friend and collaborator Nat Chard. Recently he has ventured into the digital world, attempting to get a handle on ‘cut + paste’ operations in Photoshop. Fantastic beasts have also been on his mind.

University of Greenwich

Thursday 25th January 2018, 6.30pm | Tessa Blackstone Lecture Theatre

SUPERFLEX: One Two Three Swing! at the TATE Modern

SUPERFLEX: One Two Three Swing!

TATE Modern, Hyundai Commission, 2017

An orange line of swings weaves through the Turbine Hall. It then crosses the gallery and emerges in the landscape to the south of the building.

Each swing has been designed for three people by Danish artists’ collective SUPERFLEX. Swinging with two other people has greater potential than swinging alone and One Two Three Swing! invites us to realise this potential together. Swinging as three, our collective energy resists gravity and challenges the laws of nature.

Swing into action on the count of three – One Two Three Swing!

Danish artists’ collective SUPERFLEX is best known for its playfully subversive installations and films. Founded in 1993 by Danish artists Bjørnstjerne Christiansen, Jakob Fenger and Rasmus Nielsen, SUPERFLEX has gained international recognition for collaborative projects and solo exhibitions around the world.

This is the third annual Hyundai Commission, a series of site-specific works created for the Turbine Hall by renowned international artists, as part of the partnership between Tate and Hyundai Motor.

Bigger than a wrecking ball but smaller than a planet, it moves from a motorised cable slung from the roof. You can lounge about, dreaming of a payday loan, and watch this Foucault pendulum pitch and yaw, as gravity and the earth’s rotation slowly affect the direction of its swing.

SUPERFLEX: One Two Three Swing! at the TATE Modern

Until 2 April 2018 | Free entry

Photography: ©BG-Martin 2018

Modigliani… a comprehensive retrospective of his work at the Tate Modern


See some of the most memorable Art of the 20th century at Tate Modern’s comprehensive retrospective of Modigliani’s work

During his brief and turbulent life, Modigliani developed a unique and instantly recognisable pictorial style. Though meeting little success during their time, his emotionally intense portraits and seductive nudes are now among the best-loved paintings of the 20th century.

Modigliani’s nudes are a highlight of the exhibition – with 12 nudes on display, this is the largest group ever reunited in the UK. These sensuous works proved controversial when they were first shown in 1917, leading police to censor his only ever solo exhibition on the grounds of indecency.

You will also discover his lesser-known but radical and thought-provoking sculptures, as well as his portraits of his friends, lovers, and supporters, including Pablo Picasso, Constantin Brancusiand his partner Jeanne Hébuterne.

Thanks to a pioneering partnership with HTC Vive, the exhibition also transports visitors to the heart of early 20th century Paris using the latest virtual reality technology.

Modigliani VR Experience: The Ochre Atelier

The experience is a recreation of Modigliani’s final studio, which uses the actual studio space as a template.

A limited number of visitors will be able to view the VR experience on a first-come, first-served basis by joining the queue outside room 10 of the exhibition. Average wait is 25 minutes.

Modigliani at the TATE Modern

23 November 2017 – 2 April 2018

The Circle

The Circle is the simplest of the two-dimensional shapes and the easiest to draw on paper or inscribed on the floor.

One can imagine the ancients laying out the circles of Stonehenge. They needed only flat ground, a length of rope attached to a stake, someone to walk it around keeping it always taut, and someone to mark the path.

The circle encloses a given area with the least perimeter or circumference and is the most compact of the plane of geometric shapes. A circle has only one dimension, its radius or diameter, and it is located by only one point, its centre. A complete circle appears to have no beginning and no end, and it has no corners. It is nondirectional unless an axis is drawn.

We are surrounded by shapes like circles, the equator of the earth is a circle; the moon and the sun with their halos are apparent circles; a pebble dropped into a still pond generated circles; there are other circles to be found in nature. In architecture, design, and art; besides monuments, round tables, and cities, circles have been used in the plans of stadiums and arenas, inviting staircases, dome structures, churches, and museums. Numerous patterns can be generated with nothing more than a compass, but the pieces, like a Vasarely painting, rarely will be identical.

Circles are all around us. But how often do you notice them? Circles have fascinated people throughout the ages, so let’s explore some of the most famous and mysterious circles in history.

The Magic Circle of Agrippa

The Magic Circle of Agrippa
The Five Tropes (or Modes) of Agrippa, are purported to establish the impossibility of certain knowledge.

The halo

Portrait of San Francesco di Simone Martini Assisi
A halo, also known as a nimbus, aureole, glory, or gloriole, is a crown of light rays, circle or disk of light that surrounds a person depicted in art.

Olympic flag

Olympic flag
The circles in the Olympic flag, are five interlocking rings, colored blue, yellow, black, green and red on a white field, known as the “Olympic rings”. The symbol was originally designed in 1912 by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, co-founder of the modern Olympic Games. He appears to have intended the rings to represent the five participating continents: Africa, Asia, America, Australia and Europe.

The Japanese flag

The Japanese flag
The Japanese flag is officially called Nisshōki “sun-mark flag” in the Japanese language but is more commonly known as Hi no maru “circle of the sun”. The flag embodies Japan’s nickname as the Land of the Rising Sun.

Superficie Magnetica by Davide Boriani

Superficie Magnetica by Davide Boriani
The circular Superficie Magnetica n. 6 is a kinetic interactive work triggered off manually. It is a horizontal black surface measuring 90 by 90 cm, partially covered with iron powder. Users act on an external handle that triggers the rotation of a cord wrapped around a pair of parallel rolls. Another handle moves a second pair of rolls, set perpendicularly to the first one. The two cords are connected to a mobile cart holding a magnet, which acts on the iron powder over the surface. By rotating the two handles the user moves the magnet along to lines composed by perpendicular motion. Magnetism allows for action and motion of metallic elements without direct contact, which in turn would limit the possibility of variation of the image and of random occurrences. The variation of the image is determined through following interventions of the user, thus it can not be foreseen in the limited space of the artwork and it can not be reverted to an initial position in the span of time of its performance.

The Pantheon

The Pantheon
The Pantheon has a circular floorplan closed by a dome. The circular hall was a perfect sphere, representing the cosmogonic conception of Aristotle. On one side, the infralunar world is represented by the lower half of the building. The supralunar world, the celestial sphere, is shown in the rounded space, in which the central oculus represents the sun.

Madonna of the Magnificat by Sandro Botticelli

Madonna of the Magnificat by Sandro Botticelli, 1481
The painting depicts the Holy Mother, Mary, holding Jesus as a baby while writing in a book, as two men, possibly angelic figures, hold a crown above her head. The fact that the painting is round is symbolic in itself. Circles often represent the cycle of life, death, and the afterlife, and in this particular piece could be related to the life cycle of Jesus, and also to humans according to the Bible.

Colour circle

Colour wheel
A colour wheel or colour circle is an abstract illustrative organization of colour hues around a circle, which shows the relationships between primary colors, secondary colors, tertiary colors etc.

Rotorelief by Marcel Duchamp

Rotorelief by Marcel Duchamp
In 1935, Marcel Duchamp published Rotoreliefs, a set of 6 double-sided discs meant to be spun on a turntable at 40–60 rpm. Duchamp and Man Ray filmed early versions of the spinning discs for the short film Anémic Cinéma. A manifestation of Duchamp’s interest in optical illusions and mechanical art, the two-dimensional rotoreliefs create an illusion of depth when spun at the correct speed. These rotoreliefs were produced in an edition of 500 and were initially displayed and offered for sale at the Concours Lépine inventor’s fair.

Circle in a Circle by Kandinsky

Circle in a Circle by Kandinsky, 1923
“Circles in a Circle” is a compact and closed composition. Kandinsky began a thoughtful study of the circle as an artistic unit starting from this painting. In his letter to Galka Scheyer he wrote, “it is the first picture of mine to bring the theme of circles to the foreground.” The outer black circle, as if the second frame for a picture, encourages us to focus on the interaction between the inside circles, and two intersecting diagonal stripes enhance the effect, adding a perspective to the composition.

Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man

Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man
Leonardo’s famous drawings of the Vitruvian proportions of a man’s body first standing inscribed in a square and then with feet and arms outspread inscribed in a circle provides an excellent early example of the way in which his studies of proportion fuse artistic and scientific objectives.

Pocket Watch

Pocket Watch

The turn of the clock hands determines the logical form of the watch.

Giovanni Pintori

Giovanni Pintori
Giovanni Pintori (1912 – 1999) was an Italian graphic designer known mostly for his advertising work with Olivetti. He is known for his use of geometric shapes and minimalist style in his advertising posters, specifically his posters for the Lettera 22 and the Olivetti logo.

Alphabet by Luca Pacioli

Alphabet by Luca Pacioli
The Franciscan friar and mathematician Luca Pacioli is noted for writing “De Divina Proportione”, a book in vernacular Italian about the principles of architecture and the ratios underlying the human figure. Written in 1496 and published in 1503, the book also includes the result of Pacioli’s research on the correct balance in the shapes of the letters of the alphabet.

Annual Growth Rings

Cross-sections of a tree trunk
Each year, the tree forms new cells, arranged in concentric circles called annual rings or annual growth rings. These annual rings show the amount of wood produced during one growing season.

Rosetta Window

Rosetta Window at Notre-Dame, Paris, France
A rose window or Catherine window is often used as a generic term applied to a circular window but is especially used for those found in churches of the Gothic architectural style and being divided into segments by stone mullions and tracery.

Radio telescope

Very Large Array (VLA), radio telescope system situated on the plains of San Agustin near Socorro, New Mexico, U.S.
The most versatile and powerful type of radio telescope is the parabolic dish antenna. The parabola is a useful mathematical shape that forces incoming radio waves to bounce up to a single point above it, called a focus.

Round Table

Round Table
The Round Table is King Arthur’s famed table in the Arthurian legend, around which he and his Knights congregate. As its name suggests, it has no head, implying that everyone who sits there has equal status.

Shinto Trinity Symbol

Shinto Trinity Symbol
Some view the mitsudomoe as representative of the threefold division (Man, Earth, and Sky) at the heart of the Shinto religion. It was also associated with the Shinto war deity Hachiman, and through that was adopted by the samurai as their traditional symbol.


The bullseye, or bull’s-eye, is the centre of a shooting target, and by extension the name given to any shot that hits the bullseye. By extension, the word bullseye can refer to any design or pattern featuring prominent concentric circles, visually suggesting an archery target, and “hitting the bullseye” is a term for an unexpectedly good success.

Mary Vieira circle and movement

Mary Vieira | Circle and Movement
Mary Vieira based her delicate wire sculptures on the progression of circle fragments.

Yin and Yang

Yin and Yang
The ubiquitous yin-yang symbol holds its roots in Taoism/Daoism, a Chinese religion and philosophy. The yin, the dark swirl, is associated with shadows, femininity, and the trough of a wave; the yang, the light swirl, represents brightness, passion and growth.


M. Gauthier’s wheel, 1881; right – Harper’s monowheel: around 1892.
A monowheel is a one-wheeled single-track vehicle similar to a unicycle. Instead of sitting above the wheel as in a unicycle, the rider sits either within the wheel or next to it. The wheel is a ring, usually driven by smaller wheels pressing against its inner rim. Most are single-passenger vehicles, though multi-passenger models have been built.

Perpetuum Mobile of Villard de Honnecourt

Villard de Honnecourt
The middle ages’ architect and master-builder Villard de Honnecourt (around 1235) seemed puzzled by the unsuccessful attempts of other perpetual motion machine inventors. To close the discussion and end the ignorance of others, he drew a machine both simple as ingenious, whose operating principle is based on an odd number of moveable heavy hammers mounted to the rim of a wheel.

‘Endless Rhythm’ by Robert Delaunay

Robert Delaunay, ‘Endless Rhythm’ 1934
Endless Rhythm 1934 is a large, vertically orientated painting by the French artist Robert Delaunay. Three coloured disks painted on a pale blue ground move rhythmically in a strong diagonal from the bottom left to the top right of the canvas. The main body of each disk is made up of thick undulating black and white lines. The black line connects with the white causing a twisting effect which sends the eye around the composition in an endless loop.


Professor Chip Sullivan | Drawing a Green Future: Metaphysics, Mentors & Comics at the Tent House

Professor Chip Sullivan | Drawing a Green Future: Metaphysics, Mentors & Comics

November 23rd | Tent House, West Point, Edinburgh

Drawing a Green Future: Metaphysics, Mentor & Comics by Professor Chip Sullivan and the kick-off of his exhibit Cartooning the Landscape: Art, Nature, Consciousness.

About the artist

Chip Sullivan is a Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley. Numerous articles have been written by and about Prof. Sullivan, who continues to show his work in galleries across the country. He is the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Rome Prize and the author of the classic Drawing the Landscape, now in its fourth edition.
His creativity, imagination, and passion for drawing can be admired on his website,

Drawing a Green Future: Metaphysics, Mentor & Comics by Professor Chip Sullivan

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Artist’s talk | Drawing a Green Future: Metaphysics, Mentor & Comics by Professor Chip Sullivan

Tent Gallery, Edinburgh

Chip Sullivan, professor of Landscape at Berkeley, kicks off the opening of his exhibition at the Tent Gallery in Edinburgh, with a talk outlining a process for creative practice that builds upon historic approaches while imagining new possibilities for a “functional metaphysics” of landscape architecture.

Chip Sullivan’s ecological narrative charts a map to a world of wonder, imagination, and mystery. For decades, Chip has expounded on the meaning and perception of landscape through his innovative pedagogy, representational techniques, and writing. The philosophy and application of sustainable design through the lens of art and ecology has been the consistent focus of his explorations. Chip will outline a process for creative practice that builds upon historic approaches while imagining new possibilities for a “functional metaphysics” of landscape architecture.
This lecture will also explore the spiritual dimensions of landscape. What is the power of these special places. This presentation will propose creative methodologies and look at how the sequential narrative can make visible the hidden flows of energy inherent in a landscape.

Thursday, November 23rd from 2 to 4PM
Tent Gallery, Evolution House, West Point
Edinburgh EH1 2LE


Catch the exhibition Cartooning the Landscape: Art, Nature, Consciousness from the 24th till the 30th of November

Do not miss it!


Draw New Mischief: Political cartoons inspired by Shakespeare

Coinciding with the Royal Shakespeare Company Rome Season on stage, this free exhibition celebrates political cartoons inspired by Shakespeare with brand new commissions by international cartoonists.

Shakespeare’s plays have long shaped the way we understand and engage with contemporary politics and nowhere is this more clearly seen than in the works of political cartoonists.

Coinciding with the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Rome MMXVII Season on stage, this free exhibition celebrates political cartoons inspired by Shakespeare with brand new commissions by international cartoonists.

Draw New Mischief Royal Shakespeare Company

John Akomfrah’ Purple at the Barbican

British artist and filmmaker, John Akomfrah creates his most ambitious piece to date – an immersive six-channel video installation addressing climate change, human communities and the wilderness.

Winner of the 2017 Artes Mundi Prize.

At a time when, according to the UN, greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are at their highest levels in history, with people experiencing the significant impacts of climate change, including shifting weather patterns, rising sea level, and more extreme weather events, Akomfrah’s Purple brings a multitude of ideas into conversation. These include animal extinctions, the memory of ice, the plastic ocean and global warming. Akomfrah has combined hundreds of hours of archival footage with newly shot film and a hypnotic sound score to produce the video installation.

For his new commission, British artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah mediates on the effects of the Anthropocene  ̶  the era in which humans’ impact on Earth is the dominant influence on the changing environment. Following on from the acclaimed Vertigo Sea(2015), Purple forms the second chapter in a planned quartet of films addressing the aesthetics and politics of matter. Symphonic in scale and composed across six screens with an immersive soundscape, the film charts the incremental shifts in climate change across the planet and its effect on human communities, biodiversity and the wilderness.

The six ‘movements’ that form ‘Purple’

Akomfrah’s films are characterised by a rich, multi-layered visual style that is often non-linear in approach. At the core of his practice is montage – in which he selects, edits and pieces images into a series of mesmerising vignettes – allowing his films to unfold and inviting the viewer to consider previously hidden relations between different types of imagery. In the six ‘movements’ that form ‘Purple’ Akomfrah has spliced fragments from hundreds of hours of archival footage with newly shot scenes from ten countries, from the hinterlands of Alaska and icy Artic Greenland to the Volcanic Marquesas Islands in the South Pacific. Each location prompts the viewer to meditate on the complex relationship between humans and the planet.

Preliminal Rites (2017)

The exhibition also features Preliminal Rites (2017), a series of six tableaux made of two triptychs, which questions our notion of permanence – be it the transience of natural resources or the longevity of human mortality – as a momento mori of our precarious times.

Towards the Curve’s middle section, Akomfrah has created a large, ‘cloud-like’ installation made from recycled plastic cans suspended above the visitors’ heads, illustrating human’s fervent consumption and the inevitable contamination and destruction of our planetary system. At a time when greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activities are at their highest levels in history and the effects of more extreme weather events becoming more pronounced, Akomfrah’s Purple is a timely look at the planet in which we live.


John Akomfrah Purple at The Curve, Barbican

The Barbican Centre

Falling in Line: point-line-hatch

Falling in Line: point-line-hatch

RISD Rhode Island School of Design lecture via Skype | November 13, 2017

“…one is not free just to invent the lines or to treat them as purely independent phenomena. Even if lines were to be graphic, they would be an indication that in their making, there is something that precedes this making and something which has already been distorted into its own future; a future which might remain invisible to those who are not sensitive to what they are handling. … Perhaps the invisible lines are not solely abstract lines that you cannot see. They are inevitably the lines along which the future will move…”

– Daniel Libeskind, el Croquis, 13

Special thanks to Rafael Luna, PRAUD, for the kind invitation

KRob 2017 | indeed… Drawing is the ‘Motive force of Architecture’

The Ken Roberts Memorial Delineation Competition (KRob) has celebrated the best in architectural delineation for 43 years. A Dallas classic that has received international recognition, KRob honors hand and digital delineation by professionals and students throughout the world.

The Ken Roberts Memorial Delineation Competition is the most senior architectural drawing competition currently in operation anywhere in the world. Here’s this year’s winners.

WINNER – The Beck Award for Best Digital/Hybrid Media
Pietro Mendonca, University of Florida

Student Digital/Mixed | Pietro MendoncaUniversity of Florida

WINNER – The Beck Award for Best Digital/Hybrid Media
Johnathon Smith, M.Arch, University of Florida

Professional Digital/Mixed | Johnathon Smith, M.Arch, University of Florida

WINNER – The HKS Award for Best Hand Delineation
Elva Choi, Bartlett, UCL

Student Hand | Elva ChoiBartlett, UCL

WINNER – The HKS Award for Best Hand Delineation
Rachel Wittenberg, BOX Studios

Professional Hand | Rachel WittenbergBOX Studios

WINNER – The Richard B. Ferrier Award for Best Physical Delineation
Chris Cornelius, Studio:Indigenous

Professional Physical Submission | Chris CorneliusStudio:Indigenous

WINNER – The Kevin Sloan Award for Best Travel Sketch
Anna Budnikova, HSE Graduate School of Urbanism

Student Travel Sketch | Anna BudnikovaHSE Graduate School of Urbanism

WINNER – Best in Category
Vamsi Krishna Vemuri, IIA, COA, Städelschule, Architecture Class

Student Emerging Technologies | Vamsi Krishna Vemuri, IIA, COA, Städelschule Architecture Class

WINNER – Juror Citation
Victor Moldoveanu, RIBA Part II Aarhus School of Architecture

Student Digital/Mixed | Victor Moldoveanu, RIBA Part II, Aarhus School of Architecture

WINNER – Juror Citation
Ricardo A. León, OMNIPLAN

Professional Digital/Mixed | Ricardo A. LeónOMNIPLAN

WINNER – Juror Citation
Antonela Sallaku, University of Michigan, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

Student Hand | Antonela SallakuUniversity of Michigan, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

Check all the winners and finalists here. Happy to say that my three submissions are amongst the finalists!

Bea Martin, Archilibs

Finalist | Bea Martin, RIBA, ARB, OASRS /// Professional Digital/Mixed

Bea Martin, Archilibs

Finalist | Bea Martin, RIBA, ARB, OASRS /// Professional Hand

Bea Martin, Archilibs

Finalist | Bea Martin, RIBA, ARB, OASRS /// Professional Hand


Klee’s Spatial Illusion and the Everyday Visual Experience

In 1921, Paul Klee delivers a lecture in perspective. There he explains to his students that “the point of the entire procedure is simply to be able to exercise control,” and that “accurate perspective drawing has no merit whatsoever, if for no other reason than anybody can do it.”

Uncomposed Objects in Space by Paul Klee, 1929

After the departure of Gropius, the Bauhaus comes under the direction of Hannes Meyer, its radical functionalism. Is at this time that Klee held a course titled Contributions to a Pictorial Theory of Form, and here, under the heading “Deviation from the Form”, Klee gave his students forewarning of the theme of “stray centres,” or “stray viewpoints.”

A year later he painted Uncomposed Objects in Space (1929), in which the entire composition seems governed by linear perspective. In reality, the vanishing point is dislocated to multiple “stray centres” and the perspective is so off centre that it could not even be classified as axial or ‘fishbone’ perspective, the latter term having been used by Erwin Panofsky two years before to describe ancient perspective.

Diomede (mind the ‘fishbone’-perspective)

Panofsky ‘fishbone’ representation method, was a complicated spherical perspective that could be schematized in a ‘fishbone’ pattern, in which the points of convergence were aligned on a vertical axis. Klee probably had no direct knowledge of Panofsky’s idea, but in his watercolour Uncomposed Objects in Space, he uses converging parallelepipeds to create an apparent unitary composition even though there is no single viewpoint, just several ‘stray centres’ that are not plotted along a vertical axis. I do not believe to be appropriate to criticize Klee’s painting for its lack of perspective precision, or to question whether the recession of parallelepipeds in space is correctly executed or not. The illusion is obtained by means of a simple composition procedure. My question, however, would be to enquire about the nature of the relationship between Klee’s painting and everyday visual experience. In cities, environments that are mostly geometric, the apparent convergence of the architectural elements and the straight lines of the streets signal that one is moving through three-dimensional space. The edges of a street may only be seen as parallel in an axonometric representation: if they appear as parallel in real life as well, this means that what is being viewed – and this is only possible from a single viewpoint – is in fact an anamorphic construction.

Klee’s rule four says: “Know your viewpoint. Perspective is about your position in relation to the world, and once you know it, you can mess with it

literature | Erwin Panofsky, Perspective as Symbolic Form, 1924-1925, MIT Press, 1991 // Oblique Drawing, Massimo Scolari, MIT Press, 2012

Classificationing: Bryan Cantley tonight at The Bartlett

Lecturer’s Abstract  | Classificationing will be a survey of Bryan Cantley’s recent experimental works, using the idea of the investigational drawing as a source code for emergent ideas.

The lecture will explore technology as a generator of new social space(s); the palimpsest as a vehicle to challenge architectural and quasi-religious structures; the prototype of the SwarmDraw, an inhabitable drawing concept; and the advent of the taxonometric drawing as an architectural typology.

Cantley will discuss the categorising of his work as an internal tool for dissecting content and finding new ways to produce further inventions. The idea of the drawing experiment is an underlying tenet of his studio, Form:uLA, as is the notion of the importance of internal inquiry.”

Bryan Cantley has lectured and exhibited at architecture schools internationally, including the San Fransisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA), UCLA, and the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc).  Cantley’s work is in the permanent collection of SFMoMA and he was visiting faculty at SCI-Arc and Woodbury.

Cantley had a solo exhibition at SCI-Arc (2014), and has been featured in The Bartlett’s MArch Architectural Design programme’s Drawing Strength From Machinery (2008), and Drawing Architecture (2013). He is the recipient of a KROB Citation for the Memorial Delineation Competition (2016), was included in the Drawing Futures conference and book, and was featured in Neil Spiller’s Surrealism and Architecture (2016). His first monograph, Mechudzu, was published in 2011 (SpringerWein).


Bryan Cantley – Bartlett International Lecture Series ///// Classificationing

25 October 2017 /// 18:30 – 20:00

Location: Christopher Ingold Auditorium, UCL Chemistry Building, 20 Gordon Street, London, WC1H 0AJ

Bartlett International Lecture Series