Architecture shifts from the monumental building to the authorless field condition. The thoroughfare is exploited to generate new gaps and thresholds where conflict (subtraction, juxtaposition, and friction between constituencies and programs) is a catalyst for latent spatial practices existing outside of the norm and as a form of resistance to market volatility. By intensifying spatial opportunities, a third territory is produced within an otherwise dense and defined city. Conceived as a densification of incubation spaces overtime, nested voids are left fallow to be activated and deactivated generating new commercial exchange, residential typologies, and programmatic hybrids. The storefront and facade is a zone of surface interface: exchange, views and access, or display and representation. The introduction of a third, parallel space within an existing commercial thoroughfare comes from an exploration of various surface strategies, skin studies, and aperture studies that will blend and camouflage existing programs and building typologies together to create new transparencies a nd interstitial spaces as physical and perceptual dis/connection.


The city is experienced continuously from the inside out. It is a collection of rooms folding upon rooms, a self-contained microcosm. Unfolding surfaces define visual and perceptual experience and operate as layers of exchange, information, and connectivity.

Improvisation towards creation – taking something familiar and previously defined to create new versions/meanings

-For example, pidgin languages that comprise of words, sounds, or body language from various cultures/languages without any formal rules so long as there is a minimal overlap towards mutual understanding. This could result in many variations between two people, groups of people, and entire subcultures… yielding a bastardization of complicated signs, spontaneous creativity, or an extreme reduction of language with little variation (as depicted in the Singlish comic).

-Or, a rube goldberg mechanism comprised of everyday objects used in absurd and whimsical ways in order to achieve an end effect. The sequence of activity towards a clear trajectory could be translated to the idea of a semblance of situations that leaves a lingering memory of immediate pasts in perpetual motion. The space between moments, the intervals between elements (anticipation?) could be an area to exploit “liminality” as an arrested state of volatility.

(Rube Goldberg drawing)

-New methods of folding a shirt subvert the traditional way of folding, pressing, and storing a shirt that previously conforms to standards of “efficiency” (storage and production), the creases becoming remnants of a larger system related to manufacturing and production that one freely wears as a by product of the folds. Meanwhile, inmates have also used decorative creases in their uniform as another form of communication: “But where the tattoo acts directly on the skin, the only possession left to an inmate, the crease acts on the institutional skin–the prison uniform–a defacement all the more subversive in its camouflage” (Diller).

Diller, Elizatbeth. Flesh: Architectural Probes

Decollage/Collage – revealing substrates/symbolic assemblages

“The semblance is a lived expression of the eternal matter-of-fact that is time’s passing.” – Massumi

I was interested in the idea of capturing a series of fragmented, day to day events, that when collaged in multiple ways, would allow for multiple interpretations. I had never filmed anything before so conscientiously and experimented with various techniques–attempting to abstract mundanities along 24th St. in the Mission.

Initially, I wished to abstract “daily life” with the following themes in mind:

Today, looking for (“arcs of fluctuating dimensions” vs. present states):
-Traces, patterns, cues, reactions (in between time scales/production modes, circulation, time scales of people/places, abstraction of habitual life/daily routines, public/ private)
-Sense and perception (esthetic adventures, deprivation/heightening of senses)
-The event and its semblance (spatio temporal mapping)
-Participatory events (non connective/connective, distanced phenomena vs. immediacy)

I attempted to experiment with various techniques that could  isolate and frame situations in new ways though it was my first time filming and awkward with the tool. So in true derive fashion, I ended up exploring freely with my eyes and ears noticing peculiar behaviours of people moving through the streets–people taking pictures, looking at themselves in reflections, waiting in alcoves and corners, grocery shopping, and watching each other.

The next attempt was to film a “heterotopic” event of sorts: the annual Pistahan Parade & Festival at Yerba Buena Gardens. Or rather, I was interested in the idea of the “event” (of heightened awareness, fluctuations of temporary space, specific happenings, observers vs. participators, etc.) as well as notions of cultural identity and delicious Filipino food.

24th Street and  Pistahan Parade & Festival Stills

Juxtaposition and overlap – of the familiar or pre-existing

A temporary  installation (in collaboration with Nastaran Mousavi)  in an old  train station in Esparto, California, allowed us to play with ideas of memory, trace, and anticipation using methods of reflection and projection, as it is affected by perspective and juxtaposition.

Final project text as follows:

We were struck by the stillness of Esparto’s landscape, the quiet distance of the train station resting at the edge of main street, and the slow decay of untouched interior spaces. From conversations with the community, the train station was perceived as invisible, yet rich with latent memories. At present, it is hidden in plain sight at the town’s periphery, but also situated in front of a busy crossroad that leads one out of Esparto.

After visiting Esparto multiple times, interviewing the community formally and informally, and reflecting upon our personal experiences, we came up with two different sets of interests that complimented each other well. Nastaran’s personal interests had to do with finding a way to represent symbolic memories and experiences, conceptualizing the facade of the train station as a threshold that links various spaces, and exploring the interesting variety of surfaces, textures, and patterns found in the station. Tammy’s personal interests lay in the idea of spatially mapping memories and experiences (histories, layers, and traces), for example, mapping territories of occupation and activity (historical and present), mapping historical uses of the train station and main street, and exploring various ways light filters into the train station.

Our combined interests led to an attempt to extract an “invisible landscape” (physical, historical, and personal) out of these various scales of physical experience–landscape, building, and detail–that would relate to the historical and personal experiences that we collected through conversations with the community. These historical fragments, personal expressions, or memories would correlate to physical details of the building to create a physical surface, texture or pattern–a landscape that would reveal hidden memories in building details.

We were initially intrigued by these minute details of the old train station and wished to highlight interesting moments that we felt could easily be disregarded. Upon discovering a natural occurring camera obscura in the building, however, our ideas shifted and simplified. We understood the camera obscura as a mechanism to capture what exists in real time, reflecting it through a hole in a planar surface, and projecting it onto another surface as a slowed and murky image of reality. From this observation, we took the concept of reflection and projection that could link past, present, and future together.

For the final installation, we transformed the building into a threshold that reflects past conditions while projecting future potentials–the building as a camera obscura. We traced the second floor apartment onto the first floor waiting room using masking tape to delineate walls and openings recreating the “past” in the “present”. Carefully chosen “nodes” photographed from the second floor apartment are placed onto the first floor and punctuate the circulation sequence of the installation.  The “nodes”, that when connected to each other through vision, create invisible networks representative of pasts and future. The ceiling dissolves as one experiences the past memories of the second floor apartment in the present waiting room.

Likewise, the corner wall and back wall of the space dissolves as two films puncture through the interior platform space and exterior train track space. A sped up film of the platform installation process lines up with the interior perspective of the platform space to suggest new activity and future change. Moving landscapes, captured from the journey from San Francisco to Esparto, on the adjacent corner project greater exterior connections–representative of past railroad connections and future connections to physical and representational spaces.

-Building Narratives, Spring 2012

Simulacrum vs. Reduction – revealing the essence of something in an altered way

-Lights are used to trace a housewife’s trajectory through the kitchen as she prepares a home cooked meal versus a prepackaged meal. Mapping invisible areas of occupation and activity through abstractions, or re-representations could yield spatial information regarding fluctuating systems (in between time scales, of circulation/activity, and in between public/private conditions, for example).

Diller, Elizabeth. Flesh: Architectural Probes


-Likewise, exaggerating invisible phenomena through the idea of simulacra or caricature drawing (approximating features through resemblance and exaggeration) could be transferred to the scale of an experience, event, or city in order to reveal the essence of something.

Anthony Geoffroy


-For example, Lewis Tsurumaki Lewis’s project, Free lobby  Block 1290, uses the method of subtraction and displacement in order to dissolve the private boundaries of lobby spaces in a Manhattan block. By exploding the city block vertically, it reveals the free lobby “littered with an excess of lobby and street infrastructure: mailboxes, phone booths, security desks, bus stops, continuous benches, real estate hold-outs… Pre-existing front doors are left as rhetorical Playtime residue”. This method of extrapolating and displacing an existing condition creates an entirely new reading of the leftover lobby residue–abstracting daily life to reveal a city block’s essence in a strangely familiar manner. Additionally, an inhabitable plinth above the free lobby becomes a floating landscape that registers the residue of the original block divisions below.

Lewis Tsurumaki Lewis, Free Lobby Block 1290, Situation Normal

“The semblance is a lived expression of the eternal matter-of-fact that is time’s passing.” – Massumi

Today, looking for (“arcs of fluctuating dimensions” vs. present states):
-Traces, patterns, cues, reactions (in between time scales/production modes, circulation, time scales of people/places, abstraction of habitual life/daily routines, public/ private)
-Sense and perception (esthetic adventures, deprivation/heightening of senses)
-The event and its semblance (spatio temporal mapping)
-Participatory events (non connective/connective, distanced phenomena vs. immediacy)

Start with:
-Thresholds, windows, doors, courtyards, streets, ground plane as middle space, spatial continuum and containers
-Churches, sidewalk sale, cafes, retail spaces, lingering/moving activities, exchange/negotiation