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Prophecy and Memory: Wavelength as Architectural Drawing


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1 Kingston University, United Kingdom
     

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'Wavelength' (1967), by Canadian artist Michael Snow, is a study of temporality and its recording; these are characteristic, repeating themes in Snow's work, and in the work of other structural/ materialist filmmakers. This paper will assert that this film also operates as a study of space and generates a construction of space in the active mind of the viewer, in a manner similar to that of architectural drawing. The architectural drawing depicts a subject that does not yet exist, and as such operates prophetically, in a temporal direction reverse to that of conventional representation. It is in the reading of architectural drawing by the active viewer that its subject comes into existence. This paper will analyze Wavelength as architectural drawing and consider the implications for architectural representation - the structural film may provide a method for the recording of spatiotemporal architectural concerns, offering the practice of architectural drawing methods for documenting time as well as space. The paper will refer to critical theory surrounding the production of structural/materialist film work and identify potential correspondences between this theoretical discourse and that surrounding architectural drawing.

Keywords

Architecture, Architectural Drawing, Representation, Drawing, Film, Cinema, Structural Film, Michael Snow, Wavelength, Active Viewer, Robin Evans, Peter Gidal, Malcolm LeGrice, P. Adams Sitney.
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  • Prophecy and Memory: Wavelength as Architectural Drawing

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Authors

Eleanor Suess
Kingston University, United Kingdom

Abstract


'Wavelength' (1967), by Canadian artist Michael Snow, is a study of temporality and its recording; these are characteristic, repeating themes in Snow's work, and in the work of other structural/ materialist filmmakers. This paper will assert that this film also operates as a study of space and generates a construction of space in the active mind of the viewer, in a manner similar to that of architectural drawing. The architectural drawing depicts a subject that does not yet exist, and as such operates prophetically, in a temporal direction reverse to that of conventional representation. It is in the reading of architectural drawing by the active viewer that its subject comes into existence. This paper will analyze Wavelength as architectural drawing and consider the implications for architectural representation - the structural film may provide a method for the recording of spatiotemporal architectural concerns, offering the practice of architectural drawing methods for documenting time as well as space. The paper will refer to critical theory surrounding the production of structural/materialist film work and identify potential correspondences between this theoretical discourse and that surrounding architectural drawing.

Keywords


Architecture, Architectural Drawing, Representation, Drawing, Film, Cinema, Structural Film, Michael Snow, Wavelength, Active Viewer, Robin Evans, Peter Gidal, Malcolm LeGrice, P. Adams Sitney.