COMING OUT OF THE MONSTER'S CLOSET
video collage installation
In a concealed space behind a wall, unseen entities bear witness to historical architectural teachings. These entities emerge from the pages of the architectural work, "A History of Architecture on the Comparative Method" by Sir Banister Fletcher. Originally published in 1896 and revised in 1921, this book provided a crucial reference on architecture through the 20th century. It employed the comparative method, juxtaposing different civilizations' architectural styles. However, Fletcher's Eurocentric perspective focused mainly on Western architecture, notably from Italy, France, and England, downplaying non-Western contributions as "Non-Historical Styles." This approach perpetuated Western architectural superiority, neglecting the cultural essence of non-Western architecture.
Fletcher's methodology emphasized architecture's formal elements, overlooking its cultural, social, and political dimensions. His work also propagated colonialist viewpoints, positioning Western architecture atop a hierarchical "Tree of Architecture" and sidelining contributions from women and other marginalized groups. The latest 2019 edition, "Fletcher’s Global History of Architecture," addresses some of these biases, but acknowledging these past limitations is crucial for self-awareness in the architectural community.
The installation concept visualizes a critique of Fletcher's book. A video collage portrays the act of "breaking" the book, symbolizing the inclusion of marginalized groups. Transparent cords, resembling knives, slice through the book's projected pages, intersecting with the emergence of previously excluded cultural groups. This artistic representation calls for greater emphasis on ethics, culture, identity, and equity in the architectural realm.
Clear cord, staples, projector on a 4ft closet area. Recorder homemade video and video collage with ethnographic footages, transfer process of several videos over still images scan pages from the book “A History of Architecture on the Comparative Method” by Banister Fletcher, published in London in 1896.
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