The emptying out and the abstracted detail

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Hedges, Susan
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Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
drawn detail
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Hedges, S. (2012). The emptying out and the abstracted detail. Fabulation: Proceedings of the 29th Annual SAHANZ Conference. University of Tasmania, Launceston, Australia, 5-8 July. pp. 375-387.
This paper considers the drawn detail as a means of archiving the interior not in terms of the familiar fullness or comfort but rather through the idea of absence and emptiness. Empty drawn details could be understood as intervening spaces, ordinarily empty, or as relatively small or narrow spaces, between things or parts of a body. This paper will consider the empty drawn detail as something other than being without interstice, without meaning, without purpose but rather as a system of reference that enables rather than states further making and imitation. Here the empty detail, full or empty of context is temporarily extracted from context, without reference, until it is used in a particular place or moment of exchange. This paper attends to the drawing archive of the Auckland University for the ‘Building Queen Street For Dingwall Trust’ (1934) designed by Gummer & Ford & Partners and in particular singled out for closer examination are seven sheets of earthquake calculations for the building. At one and the same time the seven sheets show complexity, incompleteness and the promise of structured emptiness. These drawings tamper with the limits of construction, control and safety. They set the scene for the fullness of space and empty space, complex, without meaning and yet full of it. The empty drawn detail is represented as a series of woven calculated notations across an ordered series of grids. The seven sheets suggest an historic emptiness and yet of meaning for both architect and engineer. Calculations caught in the margins of the drawings become the detail of the practitioner, a draft of abstract thought, all of which is deliberately hidden within the architecture. The drawn becomes abstract detail, a dark place hidden from view, a matrix of potent emptiness.
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