Prophecy and Memory: Wavelength as Architectural Drawing

By Eleanor Suess.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

‘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

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp.139-150. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 5.571MB).

Eleanor Suess

Principal Lecturer, School of Architecture and Landscape,, Kingston University, London, UK

Eleanor Suess has a background in fine arts and architectural practice, is currently a Principal Lecturer in Architecture at Kingston University, London, and is the Course Director for the BA(Hons) Architecture (RIBA Part 1). In addition to more than ten years experience in architectural practice in London, Eleanor has taught Undergraduate and Diploma architecture courses at the University of Portsmouth and Kingston University. Eleanor’s main research interests lie in the intersection between architecture and art practice. Interdisciplinary installation work has been exhibited at the Adelaide International Arts Festival and experimental film work has been exhibited in the UK, Australia and Hong Kong. Her current research focuses on structural/materialist film as spatiotemporal architectural drawing and includes the production of experimental digital film as a form of architectural drawing.


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