mother beast
spring 2019

a drawing series exploring the construction and deconstruction of an image, embracing an ethos of constant transformation

The question of architecture continues to be tested and contested.1 We might initially think of it as structure that stands unyielding and sturdy. We might think of the act of construction - of putting up walls that demarcate inside versus outside. We might define architecture as a “structural grammar for organizing space and situating bodies in it.”2 We might also recognize that architecture is instrumental in the formation of social and political identities that normalize certain ways of knowing and doing. What would happen then, if we were to rethink architecture as the shape of change, as continual transformation, as a process of becoming, instead of a stable, fixed “solution” to a problem? In the realm of architecture, what are ways of knowing and doing otherwise?

Perhaps in contradiction to essentialist conceptions of architecture, this project embraces messiness, resists mastery, and moves toward multiplication, confusion, and an unsorting, or an ‘other’ ordering of things. By embracing an ethos of change, perhaps architecture could facilitate deviation from historically constituted notions of identity and relationality and deconstruct the logics of hegemonic models of heteronormativity (especially binary thinking).3

The flows of this project are shaped with thought not to form, but process. It is an upside-down, inside-out process that builds from the top to the bottom, from the thing generated to the generative thought. Yet working in this way has not obscured theory, connection or meaning. On the contrary, this assemblage of process residue is an interconnected web with several major nodes of inquiry:

the grotesque material container

images the body as multiple, bulging, over or undersized, protuberant, incomplete, celebrating openings and orifices rather than closure, polish and finish. General themes associated with the grotesque include fertility, growth, over-abundance, jouissance - in essence, the grotesque is always in process, ever becoming.

material container, or maternal body:
this is a grotesque, leaky body with odd protuberances, bulges, curves, sinews, tensions, distortions. This body undergoes a messy, bloody and erotic event.

this is a bending of boundaries and binaries. the cyborg, just like the maternal body, undergoes constant transformation through accumulation and culling bits of this, bits of that.

a method of deconstructing the logics of architecture. like the maternal body undergoing a birthing process as a deconstruction of the “normal” body.

one possible result of accepting fluid identities and the ethos of change

defamiliarization of oddkin species to create architectural space

This project is not really about the future. It is about the unraveling, emerging, ongoing present. This is a thick present with inheritances, biases, partial perspectives, but also a nurturing for what comes next.4,5 Architecture is instrumental in the formation of social and political identities. If we were to conceive of an architecture of the shape of change, perhaps we would no longer have to rely on stagnant definitions of identity, but instead, embrace identites of constant change and transformation.

1. Reisinger, Karin, and Meike Schalk. “Becoming a Feminist Architect, ...Visible, Momentous, With.” Field, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 1–10.
2. Halberstam, Jack. “Unbuilding Gender.” Places Journal, no. 2018, 2018, p. 9., doi:10.22269/181003.
3. Van den Heuvel, Dirk, and Robert Alexander Gorny. “New Figurations in Architectural Theory: From Queer Performance to Becoming Trans.” Footprint: Delft Architectural Theory Journal, vol. 11, no. 2, p. 3.
4. Haraway, Donna J. “Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective.” Feminist Studies, Vol. 14, no. 3, Autumn 1988, pp. 575-599
5. Donna Haraway, “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the late Twentieth Century,” Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (London and New York, Routledge, 1991).
6. Bloomer, Jennifer. “Abodes of Theory and Flesh: Tabbles of Bower.” Assemblage, no. 17, 1992, p. 6., doi:10.2307/3171221.