Current architectural circles tend to divide into two camps over the use of technology in architectural design. Some argue that new technological developments have freed the architect from previous constraints in the creative process and that the new tools ultimately improve architecture. The opposing faction believes that the age-old tradition of drawing is an integral part of the creative process and is key to the marriage of instrumentality (techne) and representation (poiesis). This group views the trend of CAD programs replacing traditional hand drawings as a loss to the discipline. In order to capture and demonstrate the poetic gesture inherent in the craft of hand drawings, an exhibition at A:D/B Project Space in Brooklyn, sub:line, presents a collection of drawings by eleven architects. Although the works are diverse, each piece explores spatial possibilities through a handcrafted approach to architectural representation.
In choosing pieces for exhibit, curator Effie Patelos stretches the definition of "hand drawing" to include any sort of work whose creation involved the act of drafting. The result is an eclectic mix that demonstrates the multitudinous potential in architectural representation. Petra Kempf’s interactive cartography box allows visitors to slide overlaying maps to create a city blueprint. Andre Vovk’s large-scale paintings of amorphous buildings evoke a fantasy landscape that tickles the imagination. Alicia Imperiale’s photographic grid teases the eye by superimposes perspectival and Cartesian planes. Other participating artists include Maria Berman, Victoria Marshall, Michael Webb and Lebbeus Woods.
The works in sub:line are removed from the physical manifestation of architecture. Most are not representational of actual buildings; none are traditional orthographic or axonometric diagrams. The exhibition consciously blurs the line between art and architecture blurs. Even the press release reads: "sub:line is an attempt to present works whose beauty and expression realize drafting and rendering as a valid art form." Are these artistic manifestations of the architectural process or stand-alone pieces of art? The answer lies in how you definition of architecture. Patelos contends that any spatial exploration is an act of architecture. Thus, the physical drawings, evidence of the mind’s creative process, are not documents of architecture, but are architecture themselves.