Collage, a technique of collation, involves the selection and placement of multiple layers, surfaces and fragments, often derived from disparate temporalities, in the same moment. This dissertation presents a close examination of the materiality of collage and its pertinence as a tool to conceive and read architecture and the city.
Guided by the specifics of the present architectural condition: one symptomatic of the limitations that the covid-crisis imposes on physical and material experiences, the dissertation consciously selects two primary research sites. These, closely examined in their material form, are threads which weave together various fragments of discussion. The two sites, Irénée Scalbert’s Never Modern: a book-object, and a series of photographs preserving my experience of an architectural project to restore York Guildhall, both inform and are informed by the dissertation’s methodological construction: one of textual, visual and material collage.
The work is structured into various chapters which, using guiding figures introduced by Scalbert - Richard Wentworth, Alison and Peter Smithson, Jacques Tati, and Jean-Pierre Vernant and Marcel Detienne’s mêtis – examine and deploy both Never Modern and a number of specific material conditions observed during my site visit to York Guildhall. I subsequently place collage in an urban, architectural context, with a reflection on a series of photographs taken during my site visit to the Guildhall, and in the city more broadly, before considering the potential of the dissertation as a mediating tool to think about the spatiality and tactility of the city and its surfaces.
A technique of papiers collés permeates the work both textually and materially. Despite digital flattening, the physical collaging of paper surfaces provides opportunities to transpose the material characteristics of the city into the dissertation as a book-object, or book-collage.