As part of the PhD in Architectural Design at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, candidates must complete a MPhil degree and upgrade to PhD status. My submission consisted of a box, a booklet, and a DVD containing a selection of short films, together meeting the formal requirements of upgrade. These elements are interwoven, and should not be looked at separately. The experience of moving back and forth between the different mediums – design, text and film – is therefore an important part of the reading experience.
My upgrade submission is a practice-led project. I intend for my research questions and initial results to be addressed not only through the words I write, but also in how and where these words or ideas are expressed. In designing my submission, I have turned to Anne Friedberg and her argument that the window is both an architectural element, but also a frequently-used metaphor; she argues that the window appears in language, and could be used to describe screens and projections (Friedberg: 2006). I also embrace Lutz Koepnick’s claim that the window is a membrane where all these various uses and meanings, ranging from architecture to cinema and language, intermingle (Koepnick: 2007).How could my submission reflect the window as a multifaceted concept not only with written words, but also through design?
The design of the box itself is based upon my Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera. I have translated the camera into a hollow box made from Finish Birch and translucent Perspex, laser cut and glued together. In doing so, the many windows of filmmaking (specifically lens, screen and projection), acquire different properties, meanings and uses.
1) The lens is replaced with the word window, suggesting interplay between word and object
2) The screen at the back of the camera is replaced by an opening in the wood, which functions as a light box.
3) The potential of projection lies within the box: as a DVD
4) The transparent sheets within the booklet that could be read using the light box, offer another way of reading/viewing.
Does this camera-box allow for many different kinds of windows to overlap/intersect, underscoring the window as a multifaceted concept? What happens in overlap/translation of meaning between different media?
With this work I aim to clarify and define the scope of my research, and to pose questions and queries to be answered and addressed over the next few years. This submission provides an outline of the different ways in which I aim to discuss and communicate my research, various ways in which academic research and creative practice can inform each other, balancing creativity with the more formal requirements of the doctoral thesis.
Back to The Fenestral Essay Film