As architecture students we are taught to draw, to distill information into lines concisely and abstractly. We diagram the relations between events and spaces over time. We zoom out. We make abstract to understand the scope of questions we seek to tackle. We find relationships. We highlight them. The aim is to zoom back in when we design, to touch the everyday. At times, however, the abstraction causes us to forget the human.
Photographs capture the quotidian. They are literal traces of light in a moment, proof for the details the abstracted maps and time-lines leave behind. They make the affects of larger spatial phenomena tangible. They capture the human. The six graduate theses on display all seek to document the traces of spatial phenomena on the everyday. The themes explored are complex, caused and sustained through the affects of politics, religions, and economics on spaces, people, and landscapes for years. With these photographs, the authors aim to translate the big data back into the architectural scale, the scale in which individuals experience their surroundings. The photographs show the haunting truths of contested questions without judgement. They are a tool for empathy. They are evidence.
At first glance, all the photographs capture mundane movement through everyday life. Yet they have embedded within them great questions about the apartheid separation of the Holy Land, the affects of the Chinese Cultural Revolution on individuals, the pragmatic brutality of cremation, the heritage of placeless exile in Iran’s LGBTI+ community, the inflicted wounds of roads and towers on the Great Plains, and the legacy of the Belgian colonization of the Congo. The pictures on display aim to capture the truth of individuals, moments, and places ignored or misunderstood.
Master Works is an annual juried exhibition that provides an opportunity for recent graduates of the Master of Architecture program at the University of Waterloo to submit proposals for solo and/or group exhibitions based on their graduate theses. Master Works encourages applicants to expand their research into a new three dimensional form and to experience developing, designing and presenting an exhibition in a professional gallery.
Photo credit: Marco Chimienti, I went for a Drive (thesis).
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