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Tag Archives: body and architecture

X-Ray 3b mk.2

I have just returned to some drawings I made many years ago. I had a request to put them in an exhibition, which might interfere with a couple of other exhibitions that are coming up, so I have made some copies with slight alterations. It is part of the second body project (see here and here) where I altered X-ray photographs of the body and the related positioning photographs to take those X-rays. The positioning pictures (the originals are taken from Positioning in Radiography by K.C. Clark, 1949 edition) have slight bumps on the body that reveal the synthetic organs through formal transparency. I have not altered these much but have developed the X-ray images by spraying  transparent cool grey on the interior of the synthetic organs and added soft highlights, which gives a transparency closer to that in an X-ray.

X-Ray 3a – positioning image for X-ray 3b above

X-Ray 2b mk.2

X-Ray 2a Positioning image for X-Ray 2b (immediately above)

Although I have returned to projects before – there are three generations of body projects (and one that was started about eight years ago but lying dormant) and I am working on the eighth generation of drawing instruments, but I have never redrawn an old project before. I know a couple people whose work I really admire who are constantly revisiting old projects, so I do not feel too queazy about it!

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Study for second body project (Nat Chard)

Study for second body project (Nat Chard)

A couple of studies I made before the second body project, before deciding to work with available technology (as far as possible). As with the earlier pairs of drawings in this blog, they are stereoscopic pairs so size them small enough so that you can resolve them when you go cross eyed.

Body project thee X-ray (Nat Chard)

Body project thee X-ray (Nat Chard)

There are more drawing instruments to come, but I thought that I would mix things up with the last of the body projects (so far…).The third body project, from 2002, was an update on the second project and was initiated by two considerations. One was that medical technology had got ahead of the earlier project, especially with the development of left ventricular assist pumps that was much more compact than the circulatory pumps I had drawn. I had been working on the basis of a low pressure high volume pump to avoid blood clots and cell damage around the moving parts, but the new technology seemed to have overcome this problem. The whole system is much smaller, although the energy conversion technology is still a fantasy. Also, I had moved to Copenhagen where the winters were noticeably colder than in London and I realised how site specific the second body project had been. This version played greater emphasis on the thermal performance of the system to cope with the climate in Copenhagen. There were some minor variations where parts that I had previously thought important were edited and some parts were combined with others to improve the packaging. Conceptually, it is the same project.

As before, the pairs of drawings are stereoscopic so can be seen in 3D when you resolve them by going cross-eyed. THe drawings are airbrushed on Polaroid transfers.

Layer1, third body project (Nat Chard)

Layer2, third body project (Nat Chard)

Layer 3, third body project (Nat Chard)

Layer 4, third body project (Nat Chard)

Layer 5, third body project (Nat Chard)

Layer 6, third body project (Nat Chard)

Bird Automata Test Track (Nat Chard)

The different versions of Instrument Five discuss a development of the project shown in this model. One of the limiting agents on an indeterminate condition is typology. The embodied knowledge in things carries with it embedded behaviours. I have visited quite a number of research establishments where new architectural questions bring a combination of new architectures but often with borrowed bits from elsewhere. One such place in Cape Kennedy where NASA launches most of its rockets. Along the coast is a compressed archeology of space flight architecture. At one end is a nipple on the concrete apron and a pole to hold a bleeder tube. This is the launch architecture for the captured German V2 rockets after the war. It is generic, portable, un-sited and does not discuss the body. After passing a succession of ruined Mercury and  Gemini launch sites (as well as an early Apollo site) you come to the space shuttle launch pads, formerly used for the giant Saturn Five rockets of the Apollo programme. These emerge out of the landscape and are tied to it by the gravel roads that lead to the Vertical Assembly Building. In less than forty years a highly developed architecture emerged particular to a new venture.

The Bird Automata Test Track  is the “before” model for the drawings in Instrument Five. Or the drawings in Instrument Five try to develop what is started in this model. It is at the V2 stage – generic, without a site, portable, and the only acknowledgement of people is in an access stair and the seating positions for the cameras.

Why a Bird Automata Test Track? The speculation is that if architecture was more of an automaton – if it had the capability to also be awkward, teasing, silly, precisely helpful, sometimes sulk and sometimes playful, for example, then it could be in a position to nurture a far more indeterminate condition than one that is more fixed in its relationship to our occupation. The test track is the first step – how might we behave with automata, how can I examine the idea of an automaton before looking at it as architecture, those sorts of questions.

Bird Automata Test Track (Nat Chard)

Bird Automata Test Track (Nat Chard)

Bird Automata Test Track (Nat Chard)

Bird Automata Test Track (Nat Chard)

Bird Automata Test Track (Nat Chard)

Bird Automata Test Track (Nat Chard)

Bird Automata Test Track (Nat Chard)

Bird Automata Test Track (Nat Chard)

Bird Automata Test Track (Nat Chard)

Bird Automata Test Track Birds (Nat Chard)

The image above is of the birds that can be clipped in to the track trolleys for the animated films of the rack in action.

Hall and Staircase - perspective section (Nat Chard)

These drawings were made in 1992 when i was looking at the implications that a range of emerging new technologies might have on architecture. One in particular, intelligent gel, offered the possibility of an active flexible surface. In the four sections below someone walks in a hallway that is sensitive to her desires and anxieties. These are translated spatially (and detected for the natural electronic signals in her skin). There are also practical movements – the ground moves up to accept each step to maintain a certain horizon, for instance. In the second section a staircase appears (the same situation as in the perspective above), in the third the person emerging from the staircase enters the first person’s space. In the fourth drawing the two people go their own ways while the space tries to reconcile their composited desires and anxieties. THe project was far more of a question than a proposal but it was the questions that came out of these drawings that nourished the work much more.

Hall and Staircase 1 (Nat Chard)

Hall and Staircase 2 (Nat Chard)

Hall and Staircase 3 (Nat Chard)

Hall and Staircase 4 (Nat Chard)

All these drawings are airbrushed ink and paint on paper