Wednesday, October 13, 2010

lecture 12

presentation techniques
how to make the best of your work


what is the thought process that resulted in the particular work?

you don't just whack your first idea on the project
the idea must be refined, modified, manipulated, etc etc

the greater the range of visual language the broader the outcome (although i wouldn't always agree with that approach)

the importance of history in the development of the project

Sunday, October 10, 2010

macquarie place 3d

tadaa! here is the biggest addition to the 3d bit. i'll use a real law book from my days at law school. it's actually a book on constitutional law and includes cases and legislation about aboriginal people. i also bookmarked them so people can flick through the pages and read them themselves.

but of course i had to make some changes, so i thought i might design my own book cover.

there. i hope people can see the irony in this.

Friday, October 8, 2010

macquarie place 2d

so what the hell is this?

i went ahead with my little bits represent the whole theory, and took bits and pieces from the 1000000000 photos i took. i tried to form them into some kind of composition but it looked boring. so i thought i might go even further and make them mostly unrecognisable by folding them.

i found a triangular origami shape online. the triangle refers to the triangular shape of macquarie place; it is also the shape of the whole composition. so the viewer can kind of interact with the work. they can pick a piece, unfold it, and if they've been there they can recognise what spot or feature it is, or they can at lest try to figure it out. this way they interact with the place, but they interact with it within the parametres i set up, and more importantly, from MY eyes.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

macquarie place 2d solution

after going to macquarie place again and reflecting on the second experience, i've thought of two important things about it.

1- it meant nothing to me before i started working on this project. therefore, it had no personal value. what could this mean? to me it means that a place is only a place if you've spent time in it, you've got memories in it. a place doesn't become important for you just because it is important in terms of the historical significance of the city you live in.

from that i skipped onto what proust mentions about his room in 'in search of lost time', and his involuntary memory. i think even a very small feature of a place is powerful enough to represent the whole. the opera house or a kangaroo represents australia overall in many contexts. so the water feature, the obelisk, or any other thing in macquarie place can represent the whole place. i will work on that idea.

ah-nother thing: i took several photos, and after that i realised one thing. the frames i photographed can only be framed from that very point i stood, in macquarie place, at that particular time of the day, with those people passing by. they are frames that i could never ever recapture. but to me, they still represent macquarie place. so i will combine this with the idea above.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

lecture 11

circular quay

the ambitions of city of sydney becoming a 'global city' , as well as making money

enterprises, government, and the society all in one

circular quey is where sydney is on show (no wonder tourists come here and get a wrong impression of sydney)

cahill expressway : the car was more important than pedestrians back then
circular quay was kind of like a central station of all modes of transport

customs house, its history and its interiors
top floors had to be reserved for profit to finance the lower library floors

the toaster and the hype around it

circular quay feels very upmarket overall, it's like you can only afford to enjoy it if you're willing to fork out the money

symbolism in aboriginal arts and more

some information to unlock a few symbols used in aboriginal arts and apply them on my own composition

and some real artworks

Monday, October 4, 2010

macquarie place 3d solution

the article on macquarie place is rather interesting. it says it's the first public space in australia...well, what about the public spaces aboriginal people had? it is very well documented that they had public spaces, along with private spaces reserved for individuals or people of a certain nation or clan. this is a remnant of colonisation that still lurks. australia began with the arrival of the british...

not quite. aboriginal people had been here for a very very long time, and they had clearly defined nations, more than 200 of them actually, with very different cultures, traditions, languages and laws. and yes, they actually did have laws. so what happened? with the british invasion entire aboriginal nations got wiped out.

so in my 3d project i will try to represent the arrival of british and and how they imposed their laws on aboriginal people, and how they used the law to cause that massive destruction.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

lecture 10

semiotics of public space

sometimes you don't notice certain features of a space but they all make an impact on the overall character of the particular space

designing a public space is never neutral and never objective
people who design the spaces are the ones who determine what the space will be like

those spaces play a role in also forming the character of the city itself and its inhabitants

(one thing i notice in sydney is the lack of big public spaces like those in europe where people hang around, drink, eat, talk etc)

anzac war memorial
the whole park exists in reference to the monument
it dominates the entire space
constructed as a shrine
the design is a traditional interpretation, so people automatically read it as a memorial

the reflection of the monument adds to the effect
water also represents contemplation

the panopticon and the all-seeing eye
the male figure which dominates the interior and represents the human sacrifice

Friday, September 24, 2010

macquarie place site visit

so this was a hands on kind of was very interesting and i really liked the whole experience of visiting a place for the purpose of analysing it.

so these are my reflections:

the site feels a little odd, since it is just so small it doesn't even take you a minute to walk from one end to the other.

it is surrounded by buildings on all sides.
it is surrounded by busy streets on two sides and a walkway on the third, which gets quite busy during rush hour but not so much otherwise.

there are quite a few monuments and sculptures etc, including the obelisk, which signifies just how important macquarie place was; it was literally the centre of sydney, once upon a time

not a lot of people sit on the benches etc during the day, even around lunch time it's not quite packed.

there is an interesting mix of plants, some look native to the area and some imported

the water feature is probably my favourite spot; it's so small yet so defined.

the trees create almost a natural dome over the place, you can't see the sky very easily..

all this creates a feeling that macquarie place is like some kind of open-air museum, reminiscent of the old days of the colony, something to keep not necessarily to use within its perceived function, but to look and learn.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

lecture 9

macquarie place continued

macquarie place was on the waterfront (hard to believe so much land has been reclaimed)

one of the earliest built public spaces in sydney and australia

the obelisk is an important feature of the was literally the centre of sydney

the only part of the first fleet you can touch is there, all other remnants are protected in various sites

macquarie place is like an open air museum of colonisation and british invasion of australia

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

lecture 8

macquarie place

understanding the site

the historical development and use, contemporary importance, how it changes over time

'nothing is static!'

natural factors such as water, vegetation, climate, orientation (although water and vegetation is also mostly man made so maybe they're not 'natural' in the sense that they weren't there initially)

man made factors such as the cultural attractions, services, utilities, buildings that surround it etc
how do the roads affect the use and the overall feeling of the site?

on-site/off-site conditions

elements of design requirements

'separate transitory features from permanent features'

visible/invisible features of the space that all contribute to the character os the site

who uses the space? and perhaps more importantly, who DOESN'T use the space?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

lecture 7

representation 2

more diesel ads!

representation in 3d spaces and objects

the fortress of brest (amazing)
very different from a traditional interpretation

barcelona pavilion & farnsworth house

manipulation of space and communicating a message with that, or creating an experience that would convey the message

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

lecture 6

two way street: the designer and the viewer
how do you communicate ideas?
representation sits between what i want to say and how th eviewer interprets it

there is no single definition of representation though

using signs to stand for an idea or an object

what plays significant a role?
the sign
the mental concept
the users of the sign

"building a mental picture of reality"

representation is not universal, it depends on cultural background, life experience, etc

as a viewer,everytime you intereact with a design or concept you assimilate that information within your own life experience

example of orientalism
representation of the 'orient'
painting played a key role, which of course didn't represent the orient accurately

propaganda as a very dangerous method of representation, the manipulation of representation to achieve a particular goal

the analysis of diesel ads (very interesting)

Monday, August 23, 2010

studio 4: coffee machine 2d

this composition also examines dalisi's process, but without colour. i looked at the 'problem' ie the design as a maze dalisi had to see through, but then i thought that the design process entails multiple mazes, so i included five of them. this layer is underneath the second and is physically separated. on the second layer i looked at how he created ideas, and how they become clearer as he goes through the design process. there are no complete words until he experiences the rather chaotic stage where all sorts of ideas clash with each other, but there is still nothing concrete. eventually he starts developing complete words (ideas) and they get together to form the coffee machine.

studio 4: coffee machine 3d

this one develops the first study i made, which is the process dalisi went through. the initial part is mostly black and pink. the black is the uncertainty, and the pink is the initial ideas/plan he applied, which then disappears after the middle part where he has a phase of confusion and there is bit of a chaos. however, the ideas he ends up applying are still visible from the beginning to a certain extent. in the end he comes up with a smooth and concrete form which incorporates several interrelated ideas.

studio 4: paradise carpet

my analysis of the carpet uses some of the methods i applied for my grid exercise. i wanted to work in a grid but not a rectangular rigid grid like the one i worked on for the exercise. so, i made my own grid.

grid sketch:

so the grid still has a mid point like on persian carpets and has several smaller sections. it is also semi-symmetrical.

next i looked at the patterns. i looked at the curvy forms and colours and prepared a study from which i cut pieces to form the patterned part of the composition:

then i combined the patterned pieces with the calligraphic compositions i made for the grid exercise. the words are different, but they're still persian.

and the result:

the composition can be arranged in a circular or rectangular form. in the rectangular form in the photo above, it is spread on an a2 size, however, it fits on an a3 when all the pieces are put together.

i will refine this further during the break.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

studio four: different trains. steve reich, by roger sutherland

"systems music":
represents process, little variation of pitch, rythm, etc.

the emhpasis is on the texture rather than intricate composition. this technique is also observed in arvo paert's work.

heavily influenced by non-western musical traditions. in reich's case, balinese and ghanian music.

reich went through a very long process of experimentation until he found his musical language.

even though reich's works sounds very subtle to the ear, they have a complex structure underneath.

different trains, performed by the kronos quartet (who also perform many of arvo paert's works)

in different trains reich interprets everyday speech into music.

reich's work reflect his experience in ghana, and his jewish background.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Evelyn Glennie : how to listen to music with your whole body

this was a very very interesting video, and as a music lover opened my eyes to a complete new layer of music.

evelyn glennie is a deaf musician, who 'hears' music through the musical values the notes represent, the vibrations within the space and her body, and through the rythm, of course.

it was quite amazing to see how she interacted with the audience and made them think about how they perceive music, and explained that you don't only 'listen' to music with your ears but there are several different factors to be taken into account.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

studio 4: paradise

another study of the paradise. this one draws heavily on islamic patterns.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

drawing in a grid

my paradise: to me paradise is an abstract concept, not a physical place with sunshine, tropical fish, hot guys, perpetual summer etc etc. so i chose two persian words and distorted them, and then combined them together to form an abstract composition that represents my paradise. i first looked at a couple of traditional calligraphy.

some examples:

initial study for the words:

secondary study

for the rivers i applied the same method of distortion, this time more literal, so someone who can read persian may be able to make out one or two of the words. the words are the names of the four rivers in the "paradise".

they are:

for the animals and plants, i thought i might be a bit more literal, so i looked at how animals are represented on persian carpets:

and my interpretation:

Monday, August 9, 2010

studio 4 lecture week 4

recap: generative metaphors, how to approach problems, coming up with solutions etc

three case studies

one. diller and scofidio
blur: the making of nothing

switzerland, looking into the culture, geography, languages etc
exhibitions as forming a national identity in a diverse country like switzerland
"a laboratory of ideas"
analysis of the different parts of the exhibit

"a matrix of associations"
clashing ideas and concepts
the project in evolution
constant exchange of information and ideas
analysis of the site
natural elements; mist, water, wind, etc
interaction between the visitors of the exhibit

the swarowski chandelier; analysing the characteristics of the chandelier and reinterpreting them

some others

studio 4: dalisi's process

a 3-d study.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

studio 4: paradise reading

the first article talks about the concept of paradise within the western context, as well as examining some myths.

the second studies the concept of paradise in islam, drawing on several verses from the koran, and some poems. this is particularly interesting for me, since i grew up in a muslim country so i have a deeper understanding, but i grew up in that muslim country as a non-muslim so i still cannot completely understand how a devout muslim would feel about these ideas.

perhaps the most well known one is pandora's box! pandora opens the box and all blessings escape, but hope stays. hope is the only blessing mankind has to survive.

it is interesting to contrast the perceptions of the west and the east, but what is most interesting about both is the effort people have made to make sense of the things happening around them. people have, in a sense, made up stories in an effort to explain their surroundings, the world they inhabit, and of course, their lives. no wonder religion still plays a very important role in our lives today since there is still so much we cannot explain, including what happens when we die, hence all the ideas about paradise! =)

a study of my paradise:

Monday, August 2, 2010

studio four: paradise

persian paradise carpets

based on the islamic idea of paradise, designs have evolved over many generations

concepts of paradise among different cultures differ

the word paradise is of persian origin: literally meaning walled garden
(reminds me of the garden of earthly delights)

the story of garden/paradise in the genesis

adam and eve are expelled from the garden and since then have desired to go back to that garden

similar ideas in the islamic tradition and certain similar concepts in the buddhist tradition

tibetan tantric art

paradise in ancient greek culture:
perpetual spring with its own stars

garden in islam
a confined space within a wall
(however, there are several interpretations of this concept among different islamic cultures.)

some attributes of the islamic garden:
-usually rectangular
-usually include water channels
-textured plants
-the water brings sound to the space

the manifestation of this concept of paradise on carpets:

kurdish carpets, with different approaches towards the manifestation of paradise ( so they're not limited to persian carpets)

the immense amount of labour and skill that goes into producing a single carpet is in itself a metaphor of the difficulty (or even impossibility) of attaining the level of awareness and perfection one needs to be worth of "paradise"

patterns used in persian carpets and their symbolism (

the use of colour:
red great:joy
green:sacred colour

garden in persian miniatures:
babur's gardens
plants were chosen for their symbolism, their texture, etc

symbolism in alhambra

other cultures:

garden of eden is believed to be based in historical kurdistan

"the task is not so much to see what no one has yet seen, but to think what no one has thought about that which everyone sees".

Sunday, August 1, 2010


a conceptual study of the coffee machine. i looked at the coffee machine as the result/embodiment of several ideas and thoughts etc, how they clash, how they stand as separate entities within the same frame.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

studio four week two lecture notes

generative metaphor in design

everyday actions are also design in a way

“a good designer is a good decision maker”

a designer deals with both precise and vague ideas, there is both imagination and technical issues going on simultaneously

how to come up with ideas?
-learn by doing

the consideration of the end user: design cannot be for design’s sake unlike art

every project is unique: don’t do what you have always done!!!!

-The set up:
what am I dealing with? (research)
What are the parameters? (set the scope)
What is the problem (define and analyse)
How will I look at it, test it, and incorporate new ideas? (generative metaphor, looking through new eyes)

-The problem solving
what are my possibilities?
What are my limits?
What materials?
What environmental or aesthetic issues do I have to consider?

"generative metaphor is the scaffolding that supports the design process."

how to create one?
be open to surprises, embrace confusion, suspend judgment, consider non-solutions

tulip chair and egg chair:
all the design decisions revolve around the metaphor
-must be durable, functional, beautiful etc

war memorial:
-pragmatic, cultural, spatial, spiritual aspects

frank gehry fish lamp and guggenheim
-personal memories reflected on the design

liebskind war museum and jewish museum
-shattered pieces
-deconstructed star of david

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

studio 4 week 2 reading

semiotics: science of signs

drawing: system of signs

how would semiotics be studied on a general level? if it's the study of signs, it must take into account the time, place, culture, and several other factors into mind. a sign that means A in one culture might mean B in another.

"semiotics covers many fields ranging from linguistics to film theory and cultural history."

what is seen vs what is meant: signifier and signified

this applies to so many things! it's in visual arts, in our everyday life, and also in language. mankind created and grouped signs and attribute certain sounds to them, and those sounds meant ideas, objects, emotions, and so on.

logo: a symbol of both the company and its mission/character

symbols in design: shape, colour, line, etc etc

different kinds of signs:
-open to only one interpretation
-open to more than one interpretation
-open to unlimited interpretations

the six functions of communication

drawing in fine arts vs drawing in design: must keep in mind the conative function

shahzia sikander: a master of symbols

studio 4: northern italy vs southern italy collage

Monday, July 26, 2010

studio 4: northern italy vs southern italy


more liberal
claims more sophisticated culture, cities such as torino, venice, milan etc
smoother lines


less prosperous
greater rural areas
less liberal
only one big economic and cultural centre (naples)

images of northern italy:

images of southern italy