Action 4 – Step Out and Look Wider – Generation

After completing Action 3, I was able to have my one-on-one session.  It was extremely helpful, but forced me to confront my entire process.  

In Action 3, my stretch lexicon incorporated the words “transform” and “construct”.  I was trying to “expand the screen”.  While my initial, literal interpretation of this led me into a wall, the subsequent reflection guided my through the lexicon.  It informed my directional path towards relational design.  My goal was to combine the tactility and form of nature and incorporate that into my studio space which consists of 3 different screens to facilitate a more participatory relationship that is inviting and allows that digital barrier to disappear.

I accomplished this through the examination of architecture that utilizes nature and the environment to inform its design.

Upon reflexion and my one-on-one session, there was a significant conclusion.  My entire design process is completely informed by outcomes.  Or, rather, I am allowing my perceived outcomes to force my design process. There are so many layers to unpack.  This process is comfortable and it has been developing within my practice for the last 10 years.  So for Action 4, I decided to step out of the comfort zone and try to do something very different.  Where do I start?

The quarantine period along with the extremely hot temperatures, have made it very difficult to explore in Qatar.  In addition the city of Doha has been one big construction project over the last 10-12.  In the place of a desert is a concrete jungle, with flyovers, highways, skyscrapers, soccer stadiums, large cranes, and some well manicured public parks.  As the city of Doha expands further in all directions, it becomes harder to find any natural habitats.  The quarantine restrictions are starting to relax and the temperatures are cooling, so hopefully I will be able to visit these places again soon.

However, in the meantime, I seek to create an environment that reflects, the sights and textures of the forests of my home.  I wanted to do this through a material exploration of cardboard.  Without the use of software, or categories, or digital equipment.  Instead, I would use the surplus of cardboard that has been stored over the last 7 months and cut everything with an Olfa knife.  Without any outcomes in mind, I would just let each action inform the next.

I started with just experimenting with cutting shapes like branches, tree trunks, and leaves.  I experimented with scoring and shaping to create curves and three dimensional objects. I then started to shear the top ply layer, to reveal the corrugated surface.  I wanted to manipulate this into a representation of bark.  I started to experiment cutting it into different shapes.  Then I began to layer it in different ways like jigsaw pieces.  Laying it side-by-side to see what I like and didn’t like.  Repeating the process in different permutations, considering size, orientation, and spacing.  I then started looking at the waste/byproduct of this shearing and realized it had really incredible properties as well.  It could provide an alternative representation of bark.  Soon after I began to look for every type of cardboard product in the house to see what I could make, from tubes to bags.

Finally, I tried to combine all the elements into one object.

In the end, this action was terrifying and enjoyable at the same time.  It was incredible to work in away that was unknown and raw, without boundaries and restrictions.  On the other hand it was very uncomfortable, went against every instinct, and made me feel very vulnerable.

There was great consideration with this Action. It was important to re-use material. To bring nature inside and raise awareness. However, it is ironic to promote an environmentally literate theme and be looking at the corporate logos that contribute so heavily to deforestation and climate change. The significance of my contribution to these institutions is not lost on me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *