Accepted Paper:

A Magic Map: in the Studio of Rita Alaoui  


Edward Hollis (Edinburgh College of Art)

Paper short abstract:

A book of stories concealing a hidden drawing, that represents the studio of an artist, this exhibit experiments with the representation and exhibition of an architecture that is lived in, rather than represented and exhibited.

Paper long abstract:

A 'map' of the studio of the artist Rita Alaoui in Casablanca, this exhibit for the museum of architecture can be read and unfolded to encounter the practices, objects, arrangements, that make an architectural space an occupied interior, and a portrait of the artist herself.

There is nothing new in the interior portrait, either in Benjamin's trace, or Colomina's architectures of representation. The anthropologist Danny Miller's The Comfort of Things is composed as series of interior portraits.

Architectural representation and the anthropological gaze share similar problematics. In both, something lived (in) is transformed into something looked at. In the architectural museum and the anthropological study, buildings, and the lives they contain, are suspended in time, removed from use, diminished in scale, and removed from context.

Creatures displayed in a vitrine, they have been removed from life; and this exhibit represents the experimental conjuring of a resurrection of sorts: using the reading of stories and the unfolding of architectural drawings to turn an object looked at into a space lived in; an absent place and person into something present.

It is an experiment in interior representation. Such ephemeral phenomena often evade schemata of architectural representation developed to depict and instruct the construction of solid, durable, bounded objects. How, can we draw, or write, such phenomena?

And what creative opportunities do their representation provide? This exhibit is designed to re-create an absent room, to provoke a discussion among its imagined inhabitants, to open up possibilities for the representation of living architecture.

Panel P086
A Museum of Architecture: Challenging Representation(s)