Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Jason M.OShaughnessy
SETTING-OUT. Architectural Humanities Research Association (AHRA) Annual PhD Conference
Spiralling Tendencies: Hejduk and Beckett's Purgatoria
Dublin, Ireland.
Peer Reviewed Abstract
Optional Fields
‘I am like a fly that comes in and says, "OK, here is one aspect that has been left out, yet which has great potentiality, it should be wrapped up’.... (Hejduk, Mask of Medusa 1985, 129-131) Likening himself to a winged insect, Hedjuk makes a case for finding and developing a type of breeding-ground for architecture; one which on the face of it, rests in the penumbra of the ‘Great Masters’ (Mies, Le Corbusier etc), and in a field termed ‘minor-architecture’. Yet, this term and its tactical capability conceal hidden potentialities that when subjected to scrutiny and translation, expose their imbricatory nature. Such tactics inherently require an orbiting of the main subject, and the development of an intra-textual field of points that are inherently part of a wider (panoramic) view of that main subject- or in other words, the scanning of the main site corpus. Whilst this is relevant to any design based epistemology, arguably it requires more consideration as one move’s in and out of, or between modes of architectural abstraction and fabrication. It can of course be equally argued that through a constantly negotiated series of intersections that these two modes of production hold other and significant potentialities. Hejduk alludes to such designation’s in the opening section of Diary Constructions as ‘the places they attempted to precisely describe were not the main issues; there was something else....being alluded to....’ (Hejduk, Diary Constructions 1987). These questions are posed for the purposes of mediating the spatio-temporal structures developed in the side-notes, diaries, texts and drawings of other current-day ‘Masters’- architect John Hejduk, and author Samuel Beckett. They represent the conceptualisation, construction and (re)contextualization of Hedjuk’s and Beckett’s oeuvre, requiring the development of its own inter-textual and intra-mediated constructions; both textual and physical or ‘elements’ in Hejduk’s own words. This attempt- of revealing something in a conceptual mileaux, is in some way considered analogous to what Stan Allen has argued about Hedjuk’s own work in Hedjuk’s Chronotope (Allen 1996) (Hays 1996:85), whereby ‘distinct practices improperly occupy the same ground’. This paper aims to reveal the way in which these ‘fly-like’ operations are thought to produce a field of debris, altered time construction’s or chronotopes- that are both punctual and late, and extra-territorial conditions which through their nomadic nature- seek out, claim, and mediatise other territories beyond themselves. By situating these reading’s against a number of key works by Hejduk (Victims/Diary Constructions etc) and Beckett (Lessness (SANS)and Krapps Last Tape), it aims to describe their affinities. It also argues that the spatial directional, and constructional aspect of these works- understood through readings of the spiral and labyrinth emblemata, are an extension of the purgatorial project.