Discontinuous – Viewing / Imaging Device – Albert Street, Brisbane CBD, Australia
To select a word from a reading and filter one street of the city architecturally through that word… and then design a viewing/imaging device that helps the user see the city the way that I did.
The Street and the Device:
‘Discontinuous’ has 2 distinct meanings; (1) “consists of distinct or unconnected elements” and (2) “marked by intermittent breaks or interruptions”… both of these apply to Albert Street. On a macro level, Albert Street is intermittently broken up by open air malls, King George Square and a multitude of cross roads. On a micro level, once the viewer takes the time to dissect what he or she is looking at, it becomes clear that the street-scape and cityscape is broken up into many distinct and varied elements… not only in the physical form but also through the function of the buildings, the streets and the user groups.My device is a combination of both of these definitions but it is the latter that I have chosen to explore more deeply. The device is, at first, a continuous form… this is the way I believe most people view the city… a place to work, to shop, to dine… but rarely does someone stop to analyse it in any depth.
It is not until the user begins to manipulate the device that he or she becomes aware of the fact that it is actually made up of 22 separate elements… each bearing a characteristic of Albert St, from the park-lands to the historical buildings; the contemporary architecture to the streets inhabitants to the building and landscape finishes.
The device is not a puzzle. It is not something to be re-assembled to make a complete picture. It is, in fact, through manipulation of the pieces by the user into the most unconnected, random and distinct forms possible that they will begin to see Albert Street the way I saw it. It is the purposeful placement of the contemporary next to the historical that creates the stark contrast and discontinuity that gives the street its character.
Device is made from balsa wood blocks with custom cut channels. Sketches of different elements of the street are lacquered on to block surfaces. Heavy duty elastic runs through the centre of the device, enabling blocks to be repositioned, twisted, turned and rotated.