Even more difficulty in focusing

Even more difficulty in focusing came from the call of the owls from either side of the courtyard. I wanted so much to see one of them coast by. I thought back to my mother and I at the Merritt Square Mall in the parking lot at midmorning, both of us looking at a decoy owl on the coping thirty feet up for ten minutes tricking ourselves into seeing it turn its head or ruffle its feathers. Things out of place in the sad order of our world have the power to become far more fertile grounds for memory (or exaggeration) than their contextual counterparts. I think this is maybe one of PK’s draws on surrealism. These things set off chain reactions of assumptions that can quiver the foundations we rely on in other systems or entities. I recall reading about a coyote wandering into a Quizno’s in Chicago and nosing its way to a cooler full of drinks. Was wilderness encroaching back into civilization, had man pushed too far, what else might force its way into our realm? With Perry’s interest in surrealism, the oddity of placing an architectural drawing, a complex tool, on the wall for casual consumption and reflection would certainly not be lost on him. Not that this is a new or emerging practice. It would certainly have emerged out of client presentations of the far past and been co-opted by the academy. Yet both of those contexts provide the drawings with a function. The drawings are to surrogate the building that either hasn’t or will never emerge from them. They do this by means of their communicative abilities. But in their borrowing from the gallery or salon tradition (in art) these drawings gather a similar power that works of art gain through their exhibition. By recontextualizing the work outside of the studio by a third party it legitimizes it as something to be widely accepted (no longer private) and canonized, at least at some scale. As with art displayed, although with different repercussions, the display ‘stops’ the work. It no longer exists as a vehicle or a function of time. It is complete, it has reached its destination. The display of technical drawings of unbuilt architectural projects cultivates the perception of putting a cork in their instrumentality. Just as you wouldn’t take a leak in Duchamp’s “Fountain” you wouldn’t conceive of these drawings being ‘used’ beyond your capacity for whimsy and fantasy of which you leave nothing behind and are lucky to take any portion of with you. This perception of architectural drawings as ‘ends,’ or being able to end, or culminating in a test of their ability to wail some final aria from the wall is clearly rooted in the traditions and structures of the design academy. If the architect truly wanted to communicate the intention of the drawing to be used beyond the fetishization of its technique or the style of its content she would lay it flat on a table where it could be used, leaned on, or have measures taken from it. I’m not saying however that PK’s drawings end. I am clarifying the context that they find themselves in and the peerage they align themselves with. In fact, I think it is because of this inclination that the drawings are able to become dislodged from their instrumental capacity. They have ‘stopped’ functioning in that capacity (for the time being/duration) which closes off and avenues of convention they might have had to begin with by which we were able to ‘read’ them.

Critical Response:

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