ARCHITECTURE FOR THE UNCONSCIOUS
My work explores the intimate, visceral realms accessed through the unconscious mind, and how architecture can bring us to these. Our physical bodies are the most tangible layers of our consciousness, acting as a three-dimensional representation of our ‘Self’. Therefore it is through corporal explorations that one can begin to unpeel these layers and explore the unconscious. I am interested in how we can sculpt architecture through accessing these realms and ultimately how these realms could manifest in a spatial construct.
I have explored ways of reaching the unconscious through a series of meditations, ranging from simple breathing exercises to full-body yogic practice. The process of recording these meditations and the unconscious realm accessed through the exercises, has led me to create large-scale haptic drawings, using my body as a 1:1 drawing tool. The peripheral realms recorded in these drawings allow access to an intermediate world between the conscious, exteroceptive haptic movements of my body, and the unconscious, interoceptive, visceral haptic system. They are representative of a process and journey towards the unconscious state of mind.
Latex is instantly a seductive material for its tactile qualities, and its familiarity to human skin. The process of peeling dried liquid latex from its cast reveals a physical, intermediate world between the cast and the latex itself, which the body is enticed to inhabit. This is reminiscent of our minds slipping between the conscious and the unconscious. Its semi-translucency also supports the idea of an intermediate world – one that is neither here, nor there, exposed but also protected.
To explore this at a 1:1 scale, I made a large sheet of latex to use as a site activator for the body. I took the latex to Teufelsberg in Berlin and Herculaneum in Naples. It was a mediator between my body and the architecture, and led to further site explorations through bodily movements and contortions. I was looking for spaces to slip into, or disappear, using my whole body or parts of my body. The semi-translucency of the latex is suggestive but not certain of what lies beyond.
THE LAUNDERETTE FOR UNINHIBITED BODIES
The building project is located on The Roughs in Hythe, overlooking the military ranges along England’s south-east coastline. The building seeks to encourage immersive, corporal explorations of the architecture, allowing an uninhibited body and mind. After trekking across the hilly roughs, visitors arrive at a launderette, somewhat surprising but an appropriate place to stop, rest, and wash one’s muddy clothes. However the further one ventures beyond the washing machines, the more is revealed: a place to wash one’s hands, remove shoes and perhaps clothes too, before embarking on a tactile journey through a confined passage into the unconscious. Having left one’s clothes behind in the launderette, and perhaps one’s underwear caught in the rubbery walls of the changing room, the explorer is uninhibited. Those daring to fully engage with the architecture are rewarded: at certain points, there are tight thresholds between the rubbery walls and pockets of space for fun activities. In some instances, these are places of curiosity, and in others more prescribed: there are three baths to enjoy along one’s journey – a plunge pool, a small warm pool and a larger, hot pool. At the end, visitors find their clothes and shoes, cleaned and ready to wear again as they step back outside into world of consciousness.