Thesis Defence: Bianca Weeko Martin

Monday, May 2, 2022 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT (GMT -04:00)

The White House, and Other Counter-Narratives from the Lockdown

artwork of the white house


Identity, as described by the postcolonial writer Édouard Glissant, is positioned fundamentally in relation to change and contact with others. Contemporary emplacement thus consists of movement, whether through migration, travel, or transcultural exchange. The loss that these forms of movement necessarily demand begs the question of what (if anything)—in the most ancestral depths of our being—still remains.
The White House is my father’s colonial-hybrid ancestral house (bahay na bato) in Baliuag, Philippines. It serves as a counterpoint to national official history, and becomes the subject of multiple forms of exchange. By being disseminated in the representational forms of drawing, writing, and digital space, the architecture and the histories it embodies take on new lives across time and geographic location, inviting readers to locate the aspects of cultural identity that might be resistant to hypercultural de-siting and boundlessness. The White House tells a story, imbricated within stories, seen through the lenses of domestic space, public graffiti, and fine art. In tandem, the topology of a palimpsest offers a framework for thinking about history. The interactions between the layers of a palimpsest inspire a drawing series of the White House, extending the tradition of architectural drawing, and culminating with a large-scale canvas panel mounted and installed for public view in Toronto.
Just as Glissant left terms such as creolization, archipelago, trembling, and tout-monde as terms to inherit, without presenting them “as a bible for faithful or unfaithful disciplines”, this thesis presents drawings, writings, and their avenues of dissemination not as answers to the question of contemporary identity, but as methods of contemplation towards the past and the future.

The examining committee is as follows:

Co-supervisor: Philip Beesley
Co-supervisor: Anne Bordeleau
Committee member: Eric Haldenby
Internal-external reader: Robert Jan van Pelt
External: Yanyun Chen
Defence date: Monday, May 2, 2022
Defence time: 3PM EST
In-person:  Arch 2026
Remote:  Contact the grad office for the Teams link

The committee has been approved as authorized by the Graduate Studies Committee.
A copy of the thesis is available for perusal in ARC 2106A.