"Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow" (1)
[The Hollow Men, T.S. Elliot]
The drawings presented here are a part of my personal investigations for over 20 years into the phenomena of shadow mapping.†† They have helped me formulate new theoretical precepts in my creative design process as to the forming and shaping of architecture.†† I have been incorporating these design precepts into my teaching pedagogy in my architectural design studios starting in 1989 at Georgia Techís College of Architecture.† In the process new questions were provoked and proper inquiries were pursued.† Questions such as; how does one discover and introduce a new design order and, as an academic/architect, try it out in an architectural design process? And, how does this new order retain an open ended relationship to design where free association to other architectural orders can be fostered yet still allowing design thinking to travel un-stereotypical paths?†
"The contemporary architect must attempt to put forward an abstract order that is not yet known, which cannot be drawn from a defunct belief in pre-established harmony, but nevertheless must be gleaned from perception, and not postulated a priori, as a solipsistic construct.† This is indeed a dangerous, personal task.† The architect must discover order that transcends historical styles, while keeping primordial meanings of architecture in the continuum of human history.† He must search for such an order implementing the power of abstraction demanded today by the generation of architectural ideas, but without creating an architecture that speaks only about meaningless technological processes; in other words, without losing the world-as-lived as a primary horizon of meaning."† Alberto Perez-Gomez
BACKGROUND: THE SHADOW
The shadow as defined by Arnheim in Art and Visual Perception is a layer (or volume) of darkness seen as lying upon or in front of an object and as having brightness and color values different and distinguished from those of the object itself.† The shadow has an interdependent life, one that is tied to the object that initiates its presence and motion, yet its transparent and immaterial essence takes the form of the object on which it falls- "it is born of one thing and reveals something else, articulating the latent potential of reality..."† The shadow takes on a life of its own as the mediator between the visible and invisible, the static and the dynamic, the conscious and unconscious states of design realities.††
SHADOW MAPPING/ SHADOW PLAYS
††††††††††† These images generated by shadow plays trace time by representing sequential frames of individual frozen moments into a single image.† It involves a method of construction where the image is a result of a mechanism that creates a record of itself, a map.† Its composition is not form driven, but is a result of the integration of space and time as an act of making.†† The mapping of the shadow would record the interplay of the object casting shadows, and the reading of the shadow map would re-present, or recast the object.† The object would then be built using the language of the shadow as it was cast by the movement of the sun.† †The map becomes the play -- the trace to represent the experience of that reality.† In order to establish a means of orientation, a coordinate system, the nine-square grid, was initiated.† This grid, similar to the latitude and longitude lines in a map, was an integral element of the object and not a system superimposed over its projection.† Therefore, it was transformed as was the object in the process of its construction. The grid itself became a slice in time only showing us a manifested form of that particular moment.
††††††††††† The tracing of the object's shadow as recorded at three intervals, morning, noon, and evening would become the construction drawing of the object.† The object itself would undergo transformation during the day as the design schema, being formed by the shadows it casts.† These traces of light, almost like X-rays, presented a latent image of what was to come.† This construction of the shadow became a record of its own making, or a map.† The significance of the object exists only in its role as the precipitator of its trace, or shadow field.† The field of light itself becomes the determinant of the structure; it manifests itself only by its effects on the behavior of things within it.† After the shadow map construction, the object was dismantled leaving only a trace, a map of its former existence, and the potential for its re-construing.† As a further pedagogical exploration, the map was now used as a means to decipher the three dimensional re-forming of the shadow in a model.