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It’s time to push forward the ideas that have been developing through the maquettes and smaller sculptural works. This is a 1m x 1m board which I have meticulously hand drawn onto. The floor is in direct relation to the bed constructed on the top of the board.

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The drawing is completed and now the shuttering needs to be made and the round bar frame needs to be constructed.

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Now all that needs to be done is pour the plaster and allow it enough time to soak up the image below.

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It’s always nerve racking doing a presentation, even if it is just a ten minute one. However, during the time I was preparing this presentation I had an ethical dilemma about the subject matter. The task was to present our topic for our individual essay’s and I have elected to write about the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and its 3 identities. Throughout my research I have been confronted by horrific tails of human cruelty and some very vivid re-enactments and renditions, this left me with worries of whether or not it is my place, or if I have the right to discuss this subject. After rethinking my approach and the realisation that looking at this structure from a western perspective could be beneficial I decided to press on with it.

A plain reading of the history of S-21 is not what I feel is necessary, instead I have decided to look at the manifestations of power within the walls and the power the structure holds now. This will be done in relation to the power structures discussed by Foucault.

The structure has moved seamlessly from a school to a prison to a museum, all of which have got structures of power within them.

The school had western traces already built into it since the education system was a surviving element of the French occupation so it wouldn’t be hard to find traces of the Foucault’s Power/Knowledge ideas implemented within its walls. The school could be seen as a micro centre for control, instead of consolidating all control into a central body, it was individually implemented across different systems, the schools, prisons, barracks and hospitals. The control in these micro-systems allow the image of power to be separated and distributed across smaller groups.

The notion of education hit a reversal point in 1975, with the introduction of the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot’s decision to impose the agrarian society. With the beginning of “year 0” all elements of Cambodian history and culture was to be erased. The power spread across the micro-centres was removed and consolidated into one central point. The first stage of this structures transformation began with the hollowing out of its occupants. The people first and then the interiors with few exceptions. This structure had lost the power imposed on it and now faced a form of punishment for having that power in the first place. It was mutilated to fit its new purpose as a prison.

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. This is the identity that I experienced and as the name suggests this object now has museum status. It does however have two other functions, one as a memorial and another as a site of performance.

Museums implement the same form of control you’d expect in many micro-centres of power, the interior establishment expects certain behaviours from visitors and implements them with surveillance and other measures.  We also frame them as institutions with our own expectations. Coming from a western society I have certain expectations to what a museum is and how I am expected to behave within them.

This is a bare-bones synopsis of what I am interested in writing about, I know I need to expand on the Foucauldian notions of power and also the agencies that have used the power within this structure, but this will come in due course.

I will be looking to expand on these ideas and will publish the finished result on this blog

I had a one to one tutorial with Kenny Hunter today. Discussing these ideas I am having (moving concrete objects) appears to be more ambitious than I originally thought but I have no doubt that its doable. So many options arose; piping fed through the structure supported through the center by solid cylinders, half cast piping on runners attached to the bottom, runners attached to the bottom, suspension from the top. All of which ha left me with food for thought. However one idea has really stuck with me. Does it really have to be an exterior support? The structure its based on already has a visible source I can use… an interior support, which can hold a track which provides a proper amount of stability and movement. I will have to calculate out the amount of movement that can be provided or dictated by the shape. There is a way to provide this movement and make the object transportable. New materials that have been brought to my attention during this tutorial were jesmonite and also glass reinforced concrete. Both are viable options to make this project a reality.

Examining the actual principles of the objects also resulted in an examination of the reasoning behind its ability to move.

Stemming from one maquette in particular which was used as a three dimensional study, planning what can be achieved in a larger scale, however the movable elements took on possibilities of their own. The idea of control that comes over the architectural element of the piece provides the viewer with the ability to change the appearance of what architects try to make permanent. It goes against this permanence which in the material world is  unobtainable.

The Cantilever Principle

This image appeared on my facebook feed courtesy of  Lost Edinburghs facebook page.

Circa 1890 these three men demonstrate the cantilever principle using this human experiment. I am tempted to try this human experiment if  I can get volunteers. The other reason for posting this is in relation to what I am trying to do for open studios. I am trying to suspend a structure in my space, a rather heavy structure which is making things difficult. Its creating extra challenges, I do see this as a stepping stone piece which can lead to more elaborate works now I have some experience with the materials I will be looking to expand on this knowledge and be even more adventurous in my work and processes.

Its becoming more and more apparent that my sketchbook is an integral part of my thought process. I have drawings, notes and designs. When talking about my ideas thats what I show, i don’t go for the structural models I make its the designs. The coded drawings that don’t make much sense to anyone other than myself. In the past these have always been throwaways. I don’t use them other than as tools but they cause so much intrigue that they could work in my favour to show a selection of pages or have it open at a different page to whats displayed around it. Theres room to play with this.

I’m used to one to one tutorials in my undergrad but wasn’t sure what to expect from a postgrad one. I already have a sort of field of interest already established in the built environment and want to spend this time experimenting with certain ideas and places. My tutorial with Torsten was basically me introducing my practice to him and it gave me some extra confidence about my work and ideas. I spoke about the different locations I thought about using and the notions of Sense of place. One particular thing I took from this tutorial, which Torsten reminded me of, the works of George Perec

Species of Spaces and Other Pieces