Inflection Vol 2: Projection (Dec 2014)

Website: http://inflectionjournal.com/cfp2015.html
Deadline for submission of abstracts: 1 December 2014

Inflection, the Melbourne School of Design’s student-run journal of architecture and the built environment, invites submissions to its second annual edition, Projection.

If an inflection point is a moment of transition, a projection is something more dynamic. Rather than a fixed point, a projection is intrinsically vectorial – it suggests bold movement and action, but always indexed to a point of origin. In architecture and the built environment, ‘projection’ has a multitude of meanings that extend through the realms of spatiality, theory and technology. In interrogating projection we might begin by identifying three distinct modes, each associated with a different direction: upward, outward and forward.

Spatial Acrobatics: Projecting Upward
The projection of built form upward is perhaps the most basic act of building – to oppose gravity’s universal vector by pointing at the sky. In balancing this equation, a built projection puts human ingenuity to work in the service of height and stability. Today, the international architectural environment is punctuated by plans to build ever-larger and ever-taller. This instinct is hardly new, but it warrants careful analysis; from the Tower of Babel to the Burj Khalifa, built projections have always been complex signifiers, representing both the pinnacle of human technical achievement and the height of hubris. Can the projections of towers, steeples and skyscrapers provide insight into the relationships between architecture and power?

Visualisation: Projecting Outward
The architect, like the artist, must project outward to turn inspiration into creation. This projection, in which an idea moves from the mind of a single person into built form, always passes through intermediate stages of representation. These mediating forms, whether sketches, CAD drawings or physical models, are not just vessels for an idea, but active participants in the creative process. The tools used to develop and present an architectural vision affect the finished product; a single concept might become a profoundly different building when drawn in charcoal, rendered on a computer screen, or modelled in clay. Projection is a process: as an idea radiates outward from the mind of its creator, it is bound to warp, distort and change. Sometimes, a form of representation can be so powerful as to change the meaning of already-existing architecture. In particular, the use of video projections in an urban setting has the potential to disrupt or reshape our encounters with the city. In recent years, 3D projection mapping and digital interfaces have been used to create ‘happenings’, public art and cultural events at an urban scale. The ephemeral nature of digital projection and the overlaying of dynamic digital data onto the (relatively) static surfaces of the built environment points to a new, digitally augmented architectural realm. How deep below the surface does this performative mode extend, and what are the implications for architecture’s interface with public life?

Utopia/Dystopia: Projecting Forward
Every architectural proposal is also a projection forward in time: it posits the presence of something that does not yet exist. Projecting into the future is an inherently imprecise process, and one which architects have often embarked upon with undue optimism. The latest manifestation of this tendency can be seen in the proliferation of hyper-realistic renders to advertise unbuilt works around the world. Inevitably, these sunny perspectives are filled with birds in flight and smiling human cutouts enjoying life in an imagined world where good design provides a better life for all. Of course, this seductive entourage of happy architecture-lovers has been copied and pasted heedlessly from project to project, and represents little more than the architect’s self-conviction. Throughout history, some architects have gone even further, moving beyond the strictures of architecture to project an imagined reality. Today, in the tradition of the Italian Futurists and Archigram, architects continue to design utopias, dystopias and fictional world-systems. Here, the architect steps beyond their place as a designer into an indefinite role which oscillates somewhere between prophet and entertainer. Can these bold projections into fabricated realities help us understand our present? Or are they simply products of egotistical self-indulgence?

These three modes of projection – upward, outward and forward – are entwined and interconnected. Together they suggest a rich field of enquiry, encouraging us to reconsider how we build, represent and imagine the world around us. Of course, the meanings of projection are more than threefold – consider also psychological projection, cinematic projection or astral projection. In presenting this open brief, Inflection aims to spark new perspectives and to encourage contributors to explore and interpret the rich potential of projection.

Inflection Volume 02: Projection invites contributions from students, academics and practitioners in architecture and the built environment, and welcomes work in any mode of expression. Inflection also offers an optional double-blind peer review process for those submitting academic works. All submissions will be evaluated by an editorial team, with preference given to well expressed, timely and critically engaged work. You can find more information on Inflection’s selection criteria here.
Submissions can be of any length up to 3000 words, with all pieces due by April 1st 2015. All contributors wishing to submit peer-reviewed work or pieces longer than 1500 words must submit a 200 word abstract by December 1st 2014.

Submissions should be emailed to submissions@inflectionjournal.com, with text submitted in .rtf format and any accompanying images referenced and attached in .tif format. Please include a short biography of up to 50 words, and indicate if you wish to submit your work for peer review. Contributors assume responsibility for obtaining copyright of non-original graphic material.

Inflection uses Chicago endnote style referencing – click here for more information.

Queries? Want to know more? Please contact the editors: Ariani Anwar, Jonathan Russell and William Cassell at editorial@inflectionjournal.com

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About Fil Salustri
I'm a design methodologist and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada. Adjectives that describe me include: secular humanist, meritocrat, and long-winded. Some people call me a positivist too, as if that were a bad thing. Go figure. My real home page is http://deseng.ryerson.ca/~fil.

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