Between Paper and Pixels: Transmedial Traffic in Architectural Drawing

The third annual conference of the Jaap Bakema Study Centre Faculty of Architecture, TU Delft and Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam

3D-modelling on a flat computer screen has revolutionized architectural drawing and representation. It has transformed drawing into spatial script-writing, integrating data sets and blurring boundaries between disciplines and between production modes. Not so long ago, in the 1990s when the computer invaded architectural practice, paperless studios and offices seemed the avant-gardist way forward. Yet currently, the architectural drawing on paper enjoys a surprising and refreshingly new interest from architects, historians and collectors alike. The digital turn in architecture did not result in the abandonment of paper. On the contrary, the predominance of the digital in contemporary communications and architectural production has elicited the rediscovery of the specific qualities of the old-fashioned architectural drawing and its representation techniques. In architecture schools and museums there is a new interest for sketching, drawing, collaging et cetera as a forgotten tool for observing and analysing. At the same time, one can see a new productive, transmedial traffic happening between the realms of electronic representation and the paper drawing. Experiments in digital modelling borrow from classic techniques on paper. Contemporary software enables hand drawing on touch screen devices. Annotation software faciliates immediate interaction creating electronic palimpsests. Immersive representation technologies bring about a refocus on the human body and experience. These new developments raise profound questions concerning the status of the architectural drawing, as a tool for communication, research, design and imagination. For its third annual conference, The Jaap Bakema Study Centre, in collaboration with TU Delft and Het Nieuwe Instituut, aims to look closer into this new cross-pollination between the media of paper and pixels. We are interested in contributions that bring to the conference a wide variety of perspectives, both historical and theoretical in nature, and which address, but are not limited to the following questions. What exactly is an architectural drawing today? Can we still talk about clear definitions here, in terms of an object, a medium of representation and communication or a tool to realize an actual building? Hand drawing comes with a draughts(wo)man. The drawing is a space in which an author appears. We might recognize the handwriting, an individual style. How are authorship and originality reconceptualized in an age of electronic reproduction? What happens when drawings become platforms for interaction between multiple actors, for instance in the case of BIM (Building Information Modelling) software? How do we keep the new architectural drawings, where do we store them? Why should we keep and store them? Are they proper ‘objects’ to collect? How will they transform the archive as a space of memory and knowledge (re)production? How does one exhibit the new drawings? The whole notion of ‘exhibiting’ seems in need of redefinition here, since the exhibition becomes the staging of a reproduction without original. Can we go beyond the postmodernist notions of simulation and hyperreality to understand the kind of representations we are looking at? And eventually, if the drawing is the ultimate medium of the architect, how is this transmedial traffic effecting the figure of the architect, his or her role, and the architectural discipline?

 

Abstracts of 300-500 words plus a short bio (300 words max) should be sent to Dirk van den Heuvel: d.vandenheuvel@tudelft.nl

Deadline: Monday 29 August 2016

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