4 August 2021 @ 5:00 pm

This time your 24 eyes look inwards

This talk uses the notion of parallax to discuss some recent works from the design research practice of Thomas Pearce. Parallax, the effect whereby the position or direction of an object appears to differ when viewed from different positions, is fundamental to the geometrical reconstruction of three-dimensional spatial positions from two-dimensional information and lies at the basis of technologies like photogrammetry. Moving beyond this metrological meaning, the work proposes an expanded, generative notion of parallax that accommodates and generates multiplicity, thereby challenging the imperatives of homogenous categorisation in current (digital) design practice.

The method is developed through a series of projects oscillating between speculative historical enquiry and experimental technological design practice. Through the description of these projects, ranging from the photogrammetric reconstruction of a long-destroyed unphotographable tailor shop to the fabrication of a prototype for an inhabitable mobile amphibious sculpture, the parallactic method unfolds simultaneously as a mode of observation and creative invention: following parallactic shifts between the heterogeneous points of view of historical interlocutors, technological agents (the projects use digital fabrication, scripting, 3D scanning and robotics) and further ‘others’, heterogeneous design artefacts are created that hold the capacity for an ongoing multiplicity of interpretation and open-ended re-invention.

The talk will also introduce a theoretical framework for this entanglement of parallactic knowing and making by referring to poststructuralist philosophy (in particular Karen Barad’s writings on quantum theory) and questioning the very separability of historiography and design practice, capture and fabrication, instead describing design research as a mutually implicated onto-epistemological practice.

This Forum is free to attend and streamed online. Register to attend here.

Thomas Pearce (www.thomaspearce.xyz) is an architectural designer, researcher and lecturer working at the intersection of digital fabrication, emerging technologies and speculative historiography. Thomas’ research situates the potential of technologies of digital capture, simulation and fabrication between their capacity as tools for increased precision on the one hand and as generators of new uncertainties, shadows and unknowns and hence as spaces for speculation on the other.

After having worked extensively in architectural practice as a specialist for digital capture, design and fabrication, he now works as an independent designer within a changing network of collaborations and at various scales. Thomas is a Lecturer at the Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL) and a research associate at the Institute for Architecture at the Berlin Institute of Technology. He has previously taught at the Architectural Association in London and has lectured and acted as a guest critic at, amongst others, the University of Greenwich, Syracuse University, the University of California San Diego, the UdK Berlin, La Cambre Horta Bruxelles and the University of Toronto.