Architectural Animality: drawings out for a walk

“In play, the human enters a zone of indiscernibility with the animal. When we humans say ‘this is play’ we are assuming our animality.” Brian Massumi

This work, Architectural Animality – drawings out for a walk, was produced for an exhibition dedicated to an enquiry into the nature of the act of drawing. The work was a composition of multiple pieces, being constituted by 12 individual drawings/images/objects. The project explored how diverse ideas can become productively entangled through the drawings that take part in the design process. Working with an architectural project (see: Avery Green) still in early stages of design development, the many influences and ideas at play led to thinking about that stage of design development as somewhat ‘wild’ and very much at play – like a complex ecosystem of interdependent but as-yet-unclear relations. This project tested how the process of composing this complex ecosystem into an exhibition assemblage could become a meaningful part of the design process. As such, this was not an exhibition of either a process or a finished product, but rather an experiment in folding the process of exhibiting into the design process. This approach offered a way of exploring the potential role of drawings as part of design processes. Via a play of analogue and digital techniques, the drawings set out for a walk across an assemblage of ideas, influences, and obsessions as they move toward an emerging house-creature.


Trace: Architecural Musings, Leonie Matthews & Amanda Alderson (curators), Mundaring Arts Centre, Western Australia, Oct/Nov, 2014.

Open Wide, Come Inside



This morning, my video presentation for the 3rd International Arakawa and Gins Conference was released here: It works with a series of ideas that are becoming more important in the context of our broader design innovation research project, namely 'open systems', 'play', and 'emergence'. In general, Arakawa and Gins idea of 'reversible destiny' offers ways to rethink approaches to 'futuring'.

Here is the video, on Vimeo, with conference abstract below:

Open Wide, Come Inside: laughter, composure and architectural play. from pia ednie-brown on Vimeo.

This video is a presentation for an academic online conference in March 2010: the 3rd International Arakawa and Gins Architecture and Philosophy Conference.

It is the video presentation for the Art and Architecture stream of the conference. The video is composed as a mock episode of the children's TV show, Play School, intersecting with an academic paper.

This is the abstract for the paper:

My video presentation, which I am aiming to land somewhere between a lecture, an intimate confessional, and the pre-school TV show, Play School, is concerned with the way in which Arakawa and Gins have generated an evolving open system, and the mechanisms through which that system elusively hold together despite radical internal disparity. I suggest that this openness is sustained through simultaneously resisting coming to rest or finding explanatory closure, while maintaining a firm grasp on an elusive quality of connection. Turbulence, vitality and incongruity enter co-created loopiness, openly snowballing into a perpetual motion machine. Their buildings are an integral part of this machine, but their architecture is that machine.

But its not really a machine, it’s an organism-person-environment dynamic – a three part cleavage that plaits infinite strands of hairy connection into an open loop. What most arouses my interest, is the performative, transversal nature of their compositional glue – or in other words, what holds this dynamic together, and keeps it rolling. This I try to personify in terms of the architecture of shared laughter. The act of laughing together becomes an affective diagram and embodiment of their notion of bioscleave.

These characteristics of Arakawa and Gins make them exemplary cases of what I describe as ‘ethico-aesthetic know-how’ – or the art of emergence, which at best is a capacity to resonate in a heightened awareness of affectivity amidst all our organism-person-environment engagements. Here, we find a compositional coherence that is dynamically behavioural, something that might be found, say, in the complex of feelings that animate a face into a smile, rather than in the formal arrangement of a smiling face. And from there the question becomes, what can this teach about composing buildings that can laugh along with us?

cable tie lampshade

This lamp shade is made from the cable tie fabric produced by architecture student, Doris Dopfer, who designed and produced (with a 'cable-tie' knitting circle), this cable tie 'fabric'. Doris's work is featured in the Plastic Green book. In preparing for an exhibition we did in 2007, a cable knitting circle was formed and the rather time consuming process of making these plastic fabrics was sped along by numbers. Doris left us with half of the cable fabric made, and I have now out it to use as a light filtering device. Some tinkering still to go, but its hit a relatively stable stage now i think.It is filled with soft toy stuffing and white feathers to filter the light better. I like the dialogue between the ceiling rose and the lampshade.

you need to click on the image to see it properly :


Intimate Transactions

Intimate Transactions.

This is a link to Keith Armstrong's site and his page on Intimate Transactions, a multi-user interactive work. There is a very good video there explaining the multiple dimensions of the work and its process of development.

I was involved in designing and developing the haptic feedback system for this project (shown in images below), with Inger Mewburn. We did this collaboration back in 2004. Since then the interactive has travelled the world extensively, with significant acclaim thanks to Keith's excellent direction of the overall project. wearable vibration actuator for haptic feedbackBody Shelf, with buttock vibration actuators for haptic feedbackGuy Webster with the wearablesIntimate Transactions in operation

Detailed discussions about our role in this project, and what we learnt from it can be found in two places:

1. My doctorate, The Aesthetics of Emergence, see 'Vibrating Bodies': pp. 240-268.

2. Ednie-Brown, Pia and Mewburn, Inger, (2006) ‘Laughter and The Undeniable Difference Between Us’, in Hamilton, Jillian (Ed.) Intimate Transactions: Art, Exhibition and Interaction within Distributed Network Environments, Australian Centre for Interaction Design, Queensland University of Technology.